Where Would You Like Them Left?


ling_icon.gif ellen_icon.gif

Scene Title Where Would You Like Them Left?
Synopsis Ellen Fung Xue receives her first shipment of Refrain for storage
Date August 18, 2009

The Lucky Monkey

It's a quiet evening here in the shop as the clock ticks on towards closing time. Since it isn't quite there yet, Ellen sits at the glass counter of the otherwise empty store, quietly sketching something, simple ink on paper - nothing fancy, though technically quite apt. The air conditioner hums where it's mounted above the door, but otherwise, the only real sound of note is the quiet strains of a classical radio station, from a cheap radio sitting upon one of the shelves behind her. Despite the somewhat serene look of things though, Ellie is a little more on edge than she lets on, and spares some attention for her surroundings.

The subtle silence is broken with the creak of a door fills the room momentarily, announcing the arrival of a new arrival to the store. A Chinese woman steps in, a black bag slung over who shoulder that sits in obvious contrast with her business attire. She runs a hand through her hair, exhaling sharply as a mild look of surprise crosses her face. She looks around for a moment before finally spotting Ellen at the counter, a smile crossing her face as she beings an approach towards her.

Ellen looks up at the sound of the door opening, hinting that she's not been quite so wrapped up in her idle sketching as she might have chosen to appear. Upon seeing Ling, she offers a smile in return, flipping her sketchpad shut and capping the pen, before sliding both off to one side of the counter. "Good evening," she greets, defaulting to English after a day of dealing with customers - not that there are ever that many of them these days. "Something I can help you with?" It's a standard question, asked to most who come here to shop, since helpful sales clerks are more likely to make a sale. But tonight there's a bit more of a curious edge to it than usual.

As Ellen speaks, Ling's posture relaxes a bit, presenting what would normally be an unusually friendly look for her. Reaching the counter, she places her hands down on it's edge and gives a nod. "A good evening to you, as well," she responds first, glancing around the room in a not-so-furtive manner. Leaning forward a bit, she looks closely at Ellen. "Actually, I was hoping to speak with the owner… if you are not her, that is," she continues, looking a bit more thoughtful. She wasn't sure if Ellen kept staff, just that she'd been told that this was the place to bring… things. "If it's not a problem, that is."

"Since I am she, it shouldn't be a problem at all," Ellen assures with a reassuring smile. She slides gracefully from the stool and offers a hand in greeting. "Ellen Fung Xue. And as you don't seem irate, I take it you aren't complaining that we sold you something that broke when you got it home." No, Ling's visit does seem purposeful enough that Ellen has some guess as to what this might be about. The humour is quiet and wry, not really meant to illicit a true laugh so much as seem friendly and at ease.

Ling offers a small chuckle in response before her expression becomes much more serious, eyes narrowing a bit as she stares at the other woman or a brief moment. «That makes things much easier,»" she says, switching to Chinese rather abruptly. "«My name is Ling Chao,"» She begins, her posture stiffening a bit as she speaks in an effort to make herself appear a bit more regal. "«I've here to speak with you about storing some… expensive materials.»"

The change from one tongue to the other is something almost subconscious at this point. As Ling changes language, so does Ellen without missing a beat. "«Ah yes. I was told to expect you.»" She gives a slow nod of her head, a gesture of recognition and greeting, now that they both are clear on what exactly this is for. Her glance goes towards some cheap watches on display by the counter, designed to look like a Rolodex if you've never actually seen a real Rolodex before. "«It is near to closing. I could lock up, if you would prefer to speak privately?»" she offers, her eyebrows lifting just a little. She makes no move to immediately do so though, instead deferring to what she assumes is Ling's expertise in these back room deals.

Ling rubs her chin, nodding slowly to Ellen. She wasn't surprised Liu had told Ellen to watch out for her, in act it really only made sense. She was a bit surprised by how warmly she'd been received, her experiences with the other members of the Triad she had met had been cold, to say the least. Drumming her fingers across the counter, LIng speaks up again. "«It would probably be te best idea, though I can wait until normal closing time, if you'd like.»" She was in no real hurry, since she knew chances were she was only either going home, or to Rapture from here.

Ellen considers the offer only a moment before shaking her head. "«I doubt it will make too much of a difference at this point.»" She speaks wryly of the lack of custom, but then, that's what has brought her to this point in the first place, for good or ill. In a way it's easier though, making it clearer where the true business lies now. And she's not about to make that business wait while she sits around in her empty shop. Already, she's crossing towards the door, flipping the sign around and throwing the deadbolt. She can worry about the finer points of locking up later, but this should assure they aren't interrupted by unwitting customers. "«We should be able to speak freely now,»" she notes as she begins heading back towards the counter.

Ling smiles as Ellen moves to the door, watching her carefully as she does the quick lockup of the store. Turning fully the face her, Ling removes the bag from her shoulder and sets it down on the counter with a bit of a thump. "«I do apologize for showing up without any prior notice, but my days tend to be quite busy,»" she remarks, her tone shifting just has her posture had. "«I've been told that you'll be holding shipments of Refrain until they can be picked up,» she begins, looking increasingly more stoic. "«I have you first shipment with me. Small, but still enough that it should be kept here until ready for pick up,»" she continues as she pulls a small box out of the bag, a barely audible clinking sound coming from within.

"«Not at all.»" Ellen simply dismisses the apology politely. "«I can usually be found here when the store is open. Stop by whenever you need to.»" It isn't intended to seem ingratiating, merely practical. Her schedule is pretty consistent, so if the other woman is so busy, then it only makes sense to work around that. She glances down at the box as it's pulled out, but without any of the hunger of someone eager for another fix. Of course, as far as most are concerned, the drug would do little for her anyway. "«I'll keep it safe until then,»" she promises, bringing her gaze back up to Ling.

A small grin appears on Ling's face, once again offering a nod to Ellen. "«I wouldn't expect much else. Liu Ye only picks the best, after all.»" she responds. It's unclear if she's speaking in generally, or merely about herself, but either way Ling's are spoken with a distinct slyness. "«I have some information for you, however, so that you can contact me if you have any problems.»" Leaving a trail like that is probably something both Liu and Bao-Wei would probably frown upon her for, but there was subtle purpose to what might otherwise be seen as self sabotage. Ling pulls out a small pad of paper and pen, and begins jotting, only pausing to look up back up at Ellen, to watch her for a brief moment.

"«Of course,»" Ellen replies, the sly comment earning a sly grin in return as she gives a knowing nod of her head. Her eyebrows go up a little as Ling starts writing, but there are no reprimands from her. Instead, she considers this a moment before nodding. "«Yes, perhaps that would be best. I'm sure there will be no problems, but should there be … I will let you know.»" She could always get in touch with Hao-Tung if she needed help, but that comes with its own share of headaches; especially considering his misgivings that she get mixed up in this at all.

Ling chuckles. "«I'm sure. But, it's always better to be safe than sorry, and I'd rather you go to Bao-Wei or I rather than anyone else simply for sake of ease,»" she remarks as she tears a piece of paper from the pad and placing it down on top of the box. Upon inspection, it reveals both a set of phone numbers, including a cel-phone number with Ling's last name attached, as well as the appropriate numbers for Bao-Wei's medical center, in the event Ellen didn't already possess them. «There. This should be sufficent,»" she comments, returning the pen and pad to the bag. "«Is there anything, schedule or locationwise, I should know in the case I need you?»"

"«Of course. Always better to avoid being sorry if one can help it.»" Though it's hard to tell if she means merely the apologizing or avoiding the screw up that required the apology in the first place. Both, perhaps. Ellen glances down at the paper, giving it a cursory look, but returning her attention promptly to Ling at the question. "«Generally, I can be found here, at least during store hours. And I live upstairs.»" Making this really the best place to look. She takes a business card from the little stand beside the cash register - a brass dragon who wraps his tail around the remaining cards - and then sets the card down upon the glass counter. "«However, we are, ah, looking to expand onto Staten Island. I suppose there are untapped markets there.» Probably more for Refrain than for cheap Chinese knickknacks. "«I imagine that will require some of my time as well.»"

An eyebrow is raised as Ling reaches out to pick up the business card. "«Staten Island?»" The curiosity is palpable in her voice. She had never spent much time on Staten Island, and with good reason. Current developments there only reinforced her decision to avoid the place at all costs. She had a feeling there was more to the second shop than just expanding sales, however, particularly considering the location. Ling is quiet for a moment, glancing over at the radio. "«Interesting,»" she finally remarks as she slips the card into a pocket. "«I imagine such things aren't cheap, no?»" A grin spreads across her face, drumming her fingers again. "«If you need any help with such things, please, give me a call,»" she remarks as she slings her bag back around her shoulder.

"«I imagine it will be, yes. Interesting.»" Ellen offers a small smile with that, though if there's humour to it, it's definitely dry. Is she getting in over her head? Quite probably, but then she half-expected that might happen going in. Her eyebrows arch at Ling's final remark, considering that, filing it away for now. "«Ah. Yes. I will keep that in mind, thank you.»" She isn't accustomed to people tossing these offers out so very casually, and perhaps that shows just a bit in her expression. "«And please, feel free to call on me whenever I might be of use.»" It seems the offer has made her more charitable in return.

With a nod, Ling steps back from the counter. "«I'll keep that in mind myself. In the meantime, I suspect we'll be seeing a lot of each other, Ellen. Perhaps we should get some dinner sometime soon,»" Ling says as she turns around, looking to the door. A pause later, she looks back over her shoulder. "«Do try and keep things safe,»" she concludes, speaking in a very businesslike manner before taking strides towards the door. Ling smiled to herself, pleased with how the conversation had gone.

"«Yes, I'd like that,»" Ellen agrees as to dinner, canting her head and offering another small smile. As Ling turns to go, Ellie slides the box towards herself, folding the paper neatly once to tuck it away in her pocket, the box tucked away out of sight behind the counter. She'll move it to the safe once she's alone again. "«I will do more than try.»" The promise is delivered in a direct tone: she has no desire to find out what would happen should she be remiss in this new duty. "«Have a good evening.»" No, she's definitely not cold - or if she is, she hides it well.

As Ling reaches the door, she hesitates purposefully. Looking back to Ellen, a grin crosses her face, one more devious than she had had previous. "Of course. A good evening to you as well, Ms. Fung. I do hope everything works out for you," she replies, perhaps a bit more cryptically than intended. The door shuts quietly as the woman finally steps out, one more leaving Ellen to her semi-silence.

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