DawnsLight & DisreputableCharles

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by DisreputableCharles, Jul 24, 2012.

  1. It occurred to her that it might have been a trick. This was the case with every lead she followed---a girl has to be careful, after all---but it wasn't until this evening that she'd experienced genuine doubt in the credibility of her informant. Clandestine dealings on a pier at midnight seemed almost too cliché to be legitimate, but still, she couldn't let anything go uninvestigated. Not after what happened.

    After ten minutes of waiting she flicked out the kickstand of the black Yamaha and dismounted to lean against it, staring up at the edge of the pier with intensity shining in those pale eyes. Though this was another mission of stealth, she dared not go without the motorbike, which was the only thing of real value that she'd acquired since her escape. In certain scenarios it made her stand out, but in this urban environment it was the perfect tool for blending in.

    A chill from the water's edge swept by and Annick London zipped up her bomber jacket further. Soon the noise passed and it was replaced by another: the quiet hum of a car engine and fierce whispers from above. Annick London gripped the revolver at her waist and listened closely.
  2. James stepped out of the car and looked about the surroundings covertly, tapping a cigarette from the pack and placing it back into the breast pocket of his long coat. Leaning forward on the still-open car door, he lit up and looked at the men standing expectantly in his headlights. He shut the door and moved toward them with an air of nonchalance, his arms spread in a welcoming gesture.

    "Gentlemen! Don't tell me there isn't a bar someplace where we could have been warm and had a drink while we talked business?" He took a long drag on the cigarette, exhaling smoke through his nose. The nicotine helped to calm him; the only time he had a smoke was when he had a 'meeting'. From here he could tell that the larger man was packing, probably a Glock, in a shoulder holster under his coat. The tell-tale bulge at the smaller, older man's calf said that he had something smaller and wasn't really expecting to be involved in any trouble. And here he thought that everyone was friends. The men glowered at him, but James kept the smile on his face.

    "Just the two of you tonight, boys? Big man off on business again?" James stopped a few yards from the two; they looked in no mood to be out here this late on a freezing godforsaken dock and he was inclined to agree. The shorter man uncrossed his arms and held his hands clenched into fists by his sides. "None of your business, Jimmy. You just make sure the package has a clear route, remember?"

    James' blue eyes hardened, the wide smile faltering for a fraction of a second. He forced a chuckle. "Easy, Andrev. I didn't mean anything by it, just making small talk. And don't call me Jimmy." He tapped the ash off his smoke and stuck it back between his lips, inhaling deeply of it. Damn nasty thing. "Alright, brass tacks it is. Your package has got clearance, the port authority's been paid off to keep their nose out of your man's warehouse for four hours, got me? I couldn't talk 'em into any more time than that." James tensed. He knew that it wasn't what they wanted to hear. The bigger man shifted his weight and James' eyes darted to him for a second before they were back on Andrev. The little man nodded.

    "That's all good, Jimmy. All good. The Man, he'll make it work. Product just has to move extra-fast." The little man said with a nasty grin. It made James' stomach roil; there was something not right here. Despite appearances this was going sour fast. Pressing his hands together, he smiled again. "Alright fellas, if we're all done here I'll just be getting back in my nice warm car over there and going to have those drinks I mentioned. My check is in the mail, as per usual?" He began backing towards his car, trying hard to hold on to that air of nonchalance.

    Andrev grinned that nasty grin, more like an animal baring its teeth than any gesture of mirth. "You know it Jimmy. Take it easy, huh?" The little man turned and walked back to his larger companion before calling over his shoulder: "And enjoy your bonus on this one, Jimmy!"

    The comment confused him, his brow creasing in thought. He was just about to ask when a low buzz cut him short, the air knocked from him. He spat out his cigarette and fell to the weather-beaten planks of the pier, one thought racing through his mind before being kicked over the edge: Yep. They always did work in threes.
  3. A sudden splash in the still water of the bay drew Annick's gaze from her vantage point looking up towards the pier and down towards its edge: what looked like a body had dropped over the edge. If that was the case, then her quarry was probably already moving on, and it'd be difficult to catch up to him.

    "Dammit...God dammit." She muttered that and a few other choice swears before noticing more movement out of the corner of her eye. It hadn't been a body that was dropped; the man was still alive. In that case, he might be worth something to her. In one deft move she whipped off her jacket and made for the water, where she dove in and almost instantly regretted her decision. It was frigid, her clothes quickly began weighing her down, but she persevered. If she didn't gain any sort of information from this venture, then it was another week wasted.

    He was barely moving when Annick reached him; she gripped the collar of his coat and pulled him back with her to where she'd parked the Yamaha. Aside from a bit of coughed-up water (that and being thoroughly soaked), he seemed fine, so she caught her breath and pulled out her Colt, pointing it at the stranger with a foreboding click​.

    "I'm feeling impatient," she said quietly, "so tell me: was Augustus Lamont involved in this 'meeting'?"
  4. Not my night. This is really not my night. James spluttered and coughed, forcing the foul water from his lungs. He was cold and he was bleeding; already shot once and with a gun now pressed to his face. He liked it better when he didn't know it was coming.

    "If Augustus was the third man, I wouldn't be breathing right now. Could you get off me and help me stop this?" He was far from his usual dapper and charismatic self at the moment, but he hoped that that gun-toting lunatic woman would at least have a little sympathy. A glance into those icy eyes and that hope withered on the vine. Instead, he pressed a hand to his side to staunch the flow of blood, taking a hissing breath through his teeth against the pain. It felt like the bullet went all the way though, but not near anything important. It was just going to hurt like hell.

    "Lady, I've got to get some medical attention right now. Understand?" He flipped a soaking mass of dirty blonde hair out of his face, his blue eyes pleading.

    If all else fails, at least I can try to pull the charm card.
  5. Given the dangerously decreased temperature that was eating away at both of them, Annick swore a few more times as she reluctantly accepted that she didn't have much choice. She sighed angrily; his attempt at looking pitiful was slightly nauseating to her, but since he'd been involved in those kind of dealings, he could probably tell her something. He recognized Lamont's name, at any rate.

    "Guess you're no good to me dead." Annick twirled the gun around her fingers and returned it to its holster. It was dark, but when she stood up she could see in the faint light from the docks that there was blood on her hands, and another glance back at the stranger told her that if she wanted information, she'd better move quickly. "C'mon," she said, pulling him up. They made for her bike; the hospital wasn't far, in fact it was quite near waterfront property, but there was no telling how long this guy would last. "I'll have to take you to Caesar."
  6. James barked a laugh to hide a grimace of pain. "Hail Caesar." The charm worked every time.

    Riding on the back of the little Yamaha did nothing for his health, each turn and bump sending nauseating shockwaves of pain coursing through him. A few times he thought he would vomit, but managed hold back. By the time they reached their destination, he was pale and was having trouble holding on. If he could just close his eyes for a minute... Instead he hauled himself off the bike and tried not to stumble like a drunk.

    "Thanks for taking it easy with me on the back, sweetheart. It was like floating on a cloud," He spoke dryly, using the bike to steady himself. He really wanted a cigarette.

    James would have been something if a looker if her weren't bedraggled and going into shock. Blonde haired and blue eyed, he had a roguish gentleman feel about him. He was a compact man; not stocky but all tight lean muscle that he hid beneath expensive suits. Or really good knock-offs. And he prided himself at being able to talk himself into- or out of- just about anything. This made his current situation all the more frustrating.

    He felt like he was going to faint.
  7. Annick flinched a little at the pet name, as it brought back unpleasant associations. Clearly he was the type to try and charm his way out of anything, and she guessed that it usually worked. She had to keep up an inner mantra: it's just for the info, it's just for the info, it's just...

    After his "graceful" dismount, she pulled his arm over her shoulder and continued into the alley they'd parked in front of. Caesar's clinic was the third back door down; it was closer than the hospital and drew less attention to them. Adjusting her grip on the stranger's arm, she knocked on the metal door and a rough man's voice echoed through the mail slot.

    "For the love of God, do you know what time it is?"

    "Yeah, Caesar, it's almost one in the morning, and I've got a patient." Annick rolled her eyes; for an unlicensed doctor, Caesar wasn't privy to the hours required of his patients. She knew, however, that he owed her one.

    "Annick?" The door opened and she squinted at the sudden light that flooded the alley. "Who's this?"

    "Not sure myself, but I can't get anything out of him if he's dead."

    "...Very well." Caesar stepped forward and helped her carry the man to the operating table inside.
  8. "Woah woah woah..." James slurred. There was light and then a man's voice and then he was being manhandled onto a table. The world spun and tilted and he tasted the bile rise in his throat. He didn't think the wound was this bad, but then again he'd lost a lot of blood. He muttered something about his blood type and wanting to leave everything to his brother in Ohio if he didn't make it before he fell into unconsciousness.
  9. The operation went along as most of Caesar's work did, with minimal hindrances and the surgeon's occasional swig from the brandy that was supposed to be an anesthetic. Annick had found the place due to backalley rumors, but after her first visit it'd become her default option for medical attention. Given her objective, a normal hospital would attract too much attention.

    For the duration of the process she sat in the corner in silence, staring at the faded and worn fabric of Caesar's couch. Annick was, to the casual observer, unladylike and taciturn; it had even been remarked that she sat like a man. Of course, she wasn't unattractive, otherwise traffickers would've never targeted her, but appearances weren't high on her list of priorities. Hardly anything she wore wasn't black, and the only thing that suggested a conscious effort was the cherry-red of her hair, which had been dyed and cropped to a chin-length bob. Currently, though, it was covered by the hoodie that she wore beneath her jacket, which was now damp from the plunge. A shiver shook her, and she rid herself of both jackets, leaving her sitting there in a dark tank top, arms crossed in impatience.

    God, I better not have saved his life for nothing.

    Hours passed before she fell asleep, figuring that Caesar would wake her up when it was necessary.
  10. Light filtered through grimy windows set high up in the wall. Motes of dust danced in the sickly rays that entered the room. James watched them from where he lay on a beat-up old cot, quiet contemplation on his face belying the panicked progression of his thoughts. He was bandaged and at the moment feeling relatively normal, but he knew that getting up was going to be a trial.

    Scanning the room, he looked for his clothes. Nowhere to be seen, but there were a couple doors and one of them might be a closet. If he could at least find something he could get out of here while it was early and quiet.

    James swung his feet over the edge of the cot and sat up, suppressing a grunt of pain. He wrapped the thin blanket that had been covering him around his waist like a sarong, taking a moment to inspect his wound. It was bandaged neatly, and he could only hope that whatever was under there showed the same amount of care. He had seen a lot of messy cleanups come out of back-alley places like this.

    He moved slowly but in this way managed to stay quiet as he moved to the door on the near wall. So intent was he on his destination and his need for quiet that the figure of a woman in the dimness almost caused him to cry out in surprise. She was all in black except for the shocking red of her hair. No way that was natural. Carefully schooling his features into a practiced look of calm, he inspected the woman from where he stood. It was definitely the woman who had pulled him from the water and then shoved a gun under his nose last night. She had wanted to know where Augustus was. Nothing good could come from wanting something like that. James knew how Augustus treated women; and a pretty, damaged one like that would be chewed up without a second thought. Thinking about it made him feel sick again.

    Deciding that the woman was sleeping, James continued to the door. He turned the knob slowly and began to pull when the aged hinges cracked and creaked. He froze where he stood.
  11. Many people would toss and turn, mumble in their sleep, or refuse to stir regardless of what went on around them, but Annick was not one of those; she was a relatively light sleeper. A sudden noise disturbing the early morning silence caused her to flick her eyes open and sit up. Of course, having just woken up, she wasn't altogether sure what exactly had woken her, but she knew it had to be nearby. She stretched her arms over her head and let out an exasperated sigh when her eyes came to rest on the man doing a terrible job of sneaking away. That's it; Caesar's door.

    "Hard to get away quietly in places like this, innit?" Her informant was obviously disappointed at his being caught, but she wasn't about to let him slip away. Not that he'd have it easy, recovering from a wound like that. "Caesar's in the habit of not fixing things that need it---gunshot wounds excepted, of course." Annick crossed her legs and leaned her chin on her hand. "Of course it was beneficial in this case. I don't intend to let you go without acquiring anything in return." She raised her eyebrows at him pointedly. "So take a seat."
  12. James groaned inwardly and turned to face the woman, holding tight to the blanket around his waist. Thank goodness for a sense of modesty. He grimaced and slowly made his way over to the threadbare couch, the original color of which was lost to the ages, and eased down to sit before the young woman. Drawing a shaky breath, he leaned his elbows on his knees and bent forward a bit, running a hand back through unruly wheat-colored hair.

    "It looks like I owe you. And as someone who's supposed to be dead, I guess my day just opened up." Blue eyes slid over the woman before him, taking in details. Apparently he needed to do a better job of it otherwise he wouldn't be sitting here at this moment with an extra hole in his body. His earlier appraisal of her appearance proved correct; she was very pretty indeed even if the cut of her hair was a little severe for his taste. The pale eyes staring back at him were hard as granite and from the tone of her voice she meant what she said about not letting him go without getting what she wanted. Meeting the intense gaze, he kept his eyes on her face, all charming pretense dropped.

    "You wanted to know where Augustus was last night, and that's a trail you really don't want to follow. He's bad business, ma'am." James paused, scratching absently at the pale hair on his chest and looking up at the dirty windows. "I don't even know exactly where he is at the moment anyhow."

    Leaning back caused another flurry of dust motes to fly from the weathered cushions and a sharp jolt of pain to radiate through him. He grunted. "James Carveldt, dead man at your service," he joked bitterly, "Can I have my clothes?"
  13. Though she was as of yet unsure what to think of him, Annick was at least relieved that he'd dropped the act. It was going to make this process so much less irritating. So she obliged, standing up to open the closet where Caesar had put his patient's clothes, saying,

    "Annick London." She pulled out the few hangers that held his belongings and handed them to James, looking him over as she did so. Her opinions were perhaps biased, but from an objective perspective he---blonde haired, blue eyed, and charming---was likely considered handsome. Something about that irked her a bit; she could tell that he was apt to use it to his advantage, which was admittedly probably useful in his work. Finishing her appraisal, her eyes met his and she was reminded of why she was there.

    "And I'm well aware of Lamont's reputation. That said I've made my decision about tracking him down, and given your occupation, you're probably the type with a tendency to hear things. So I'm willing to strike a deal."
  14. The clothes were still a little damp, but he took them gratefully. His gun was missing; either the woman had it or it was at the bottom of the harbor. In the midst of trying to work out how he was going to get dressed with her staring like that, she spoke. James was admittedly not proud of how he made his living sometimes, but the way she spat the word just pushed his buttons. He was on the defensive immediately.

    "Look lady, you don't know me from Adam as far as what I do day to day." He sneered, finger pointed at her for good measure, "What are you anyway, a cop? Ex-wife or girlfriend or something?" James glowered and began putting his socks back on. It was painful to bend like that.

    "Whatever 'deal' you're wanting to strike, I'm not interested. Augustus Lamont is a dangerous man who for one reason or another has decided that I've outlived my usefulness. Literally. I'm lucky to be sitting here and I'm not about to tempt fate. I'm getting out of town, today." He glanced up, blue eyes set in an icy glare, "Now get out or turn around so I can get dressed."
  15. Oh joy. Rolling her eyes, Annick turned on her heel and leaned an arm against the wall, faced away from him. They weren't going to get along, that much was obvious, but there had to be something she could offer that would persuade him into helping. First things first, however, she felt the need to clear something up.

    "I'm not a cop, but you can bet your ass I wasn't involved with that monster." She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, clenching her fist against the wall in frustration. "Just going after the bastard who took my life from me." It became apparent that she was letting anger take over, and that sure as hell wasn't going to help her win this.

    "Look, I don't need you to involve yourself with Lamont, but if you know anything, or know someone who does, I can make it worth your while to get me access to some information. All I need is a lead and I can do the job myself."
  16. James finished dressing, and watched the young woman seethe. It made him feel better and he needed a small victory at this point.

    He considered her words briefly as he tried to get his hair back to some semblance of normalcy. "His roots run deep, you know. Just poking my nose around to the wrong people and you and I both could disappear. I don't know you and if we're going on first impressions here, there's no way I'm sticking my neck out for you." He shoved his hands in his still-sodden pockets and set his jaw. "No matter what you're offering."

    A thought occurred to him. He needed resources if he was going to skip town.
    "Just what do you have that you think I could want anyway?" He began to approach both Annick and the doorway, his shoes clicking against the linoleum of the floor. He looked down his nose at her. His mouth was a grim thin line.
  17. Annick's lips curled into a subtle half-grin as he spoke the question; at least she'd sparked his curiosity. Keeping her composure (mostly to avoid another outburst of backstory), she turned around to lean against the wall, arms crossed over her chest. Perhaps she was being cocky, but it seemed this James fellow needed to be taken down a notch or two. At least that was her experience, given the people she'd associated herself with over the past couple of years.

    "If you're looking to get out of Dodge, you're going to need funds, and I'm guessing that's an issue, considering how splendidly your last job went." A short sigh escaped her and she pushed a red lock behind her ear, proceeding to look up at him with a piercing gaze. "I have...contacts. How do you think I snagged that Yamaha? There are powerful people who'll benefit if Lamont dies and I'm thinking a reward is all that interests you." It was beginning to seem like he'd lost interest, so Annick carefully prepared her final pitch. "Let's face it: you owe me. You can walk away if you like, but know that when you do, you're throwing away millions of dollars, because revenge isn't the only thing I'm concerned with."

  18. James kept his face impassive. The m-word was always exciting but he also knew the regularity with which it was tossed around with no intention of fulfillment. He did owe her, but he wasn't sure if it was that much. He grimaced, curiosity getting the better of him.

    "And just what else are you concerned with where Augustus is involved, huh? This isn't like the movies honey. Whatever Kill Bill revenge fantasy you're having isn't likely to play out that way." His jaw worked in frustration until he at last heaved a sigh and hung his head. When he looked at her again his eyes were sympathetic, hair falling in front of them just a bit. "You're sure you know what you're getting into with him? That if I put you on the trail, you can follow it? Look, I just want my ass covered. You pay up-front and I'll get you on track."
  19. Annick rolled her eyes. She was so sick of being cautioned or doubted that it was now almost physically nauseating. But she'd gotten him hooked, which was more than enough for now. There had been too many shady informants to let a possible legitimate walk away.

    "Like I said, there're people who'll benefit, and some of them have paid me up front. Greta Parks, heiress? Her sister was taken a year ago, and she's put two and half mil up front for her return. Theodore Alkoff, the oil tycoon, he's got a similar reward up front for his daughter." She pulled herself up to her full height, placing her hands on her hips. "Those and plenty more are willing to pay whoever takes Lamont down, some of them straight up like the ones I mentioned. I've already got more than the funds I need to get where he is once I know, so there's no problem paying off informants." It felt like everything necessary had been mentioned, though her pride still stung from his assumptions.

    "And this isn't some fantasy; I can handle myself. This has been a long time in coming."
  20. James looked at Annick like she had grown another head. True, he had heard of the people missing as well as their very wealthy relations, but he had no idea Lamont had gotten this brazen. Augustus Lamont had always been something of a madman, and James had heard whispers about trafficking and just what it was he was paying the way for, but this news made him feel physically ill. He looked at Annick hard, his face stony.

    "Are you sure? Are you absolutely sure that he's the one taking these women?" He knew in his gut that it was true even before he asked and as he looked at the woman before him with such an ambition for vengeance, a realization washed over him. It wasn't a good one. The color drained from his face. He started to put on his sopping coat, anything to keep him from vomiting on his shoes.

    "C'mon. I want to leave this behind me as quickly as possible. We'll go talk to Old Nat in Little Russia."