What is love? – GS.

Tattoos that tell a story.  Frank learns more about his friend, Isolde.

Scene setting :  Jax’s Coffee House – GS.

Co-written with Chor.

Chor: Isolde nodded her head, thinking of low, low times in her life. Isolde just happened to be in the right place at the right time to save Frank, but Isolde had no one but Khalil, who practically dragged the ambulance to her apartment. The kid knew she wasn’t right and he saw where she was headed, but if he had been just ten minutes later, it would have been too late. His hand came to rest over hers and she looked at it, goosebumps crawling up her sleeved arm , over her clavicle and up her neck, where the baby hairs in the back raised. His thumb caressed her hand as he took it into his. She focused a bit, making sure he didn’t flip the hand over; view the wrist. Suddenly, he withdrew, and she looked up at the waitress, blinking.

Finally, her meal arrived and she pulled her napkin into her lap; wouldn’t want to ruin such lovely shorts with a blackberry stain. Frank’s meal had not yet arrived and she refused to eat, despite his urgings about it ‘getting cold’. Patience is a virtue. Her mother would have rolled in her grave if she’d begun eating. The thought made her grin. She poured a little cream in her coffee, then a literal ton of sugar. She liked coffee’s effects, but not the taste. She drank a lot of coffee as a youngster, but only because her family couldn’t afford it for years until the market went down, so then they drank it religiously.

In my family, we do not eat until everyone has been served,” she said politely, not wanting to make Frank upset because clearly he was just trying to make her happy. Isa appreciated this fully; it was more than anyone else ever tried to do. He mentioned the tattoos then and her face changed. She’d totally forgotten, wrapped up in her outfit of something that wasn’t quite choice.

“Ah, well. If I had a shirt on under this, I’d likely pull this off to show you, but you’ve seen quite a bit of it already,” she said, rubbing her neck, “but it’s a poem in Hebrew:

In the merciful time, at twilight,
Bow your head and I’ll reveal,
the secret of my torments:
They say there is youth in the world-
Where is my youth?

And another secret I will confess:
My soul has been seared by a flame;
They say there is love in the world-
What is love?”

Razorbackwriter:  Watching Isa as she mentioned that in her family it was tradition to wait until all plates were on the table had Frank taken off guard slightly. He honestly thought that he was being polite in asking her to go ahead and start. Thankfully, one of the waitresses brought over Frank’s order – placing the eggs benedict down before him as he whipped a napkin out from under his cutlery and draped it across his lap. Well, I have mine now so..”

Conversation went back onto the strange markings that ran up and down Isa’s legs. She mentioned that had it not been for the fact she was only wearing the hoody as a top, that she could show him the extent of the markings. Truth be told, he got a good eyeful back at the apartment when she was hunting for a towel. Frank toyed with his fork as he listened to the poem, which is what the markings represented in hebrew. This was the first that Frank had ever heard of someone having an entire poem tattooed on their body. Made a change from the usual fare, of flowers, butterflies and ex girlfriend’s names.

Cutting into his toast and then dipping it into the holanaise sauce, Frank nodded as he was deeply impressed. “Must have been hell getting it done.” Frank clearly was not a fan of the tattooist needle. He then popped the toast into his mouth and chewed heartily – thankfully with his mouth closed. Frank had excellent table manners around the ladies. With the guys, well that was another story.

“You know, Tommy Elissa and me were here just the other night. Mhm. We were running on adrenaline, I can tell you.”This was before the shooting….right before. Funny how Frank had ended back there again for breakfast. To be honest, Frank didn’t mind. His cooking left a lot to be desired, plus his pantry was not exactly packed with choice ingredients. Like many it was simply easier and more enjoyable to eat out.

Frank took another mouthful, this time with egg and bacon on his fork. You could tell he had an appetite, but still tried to make interesting conversation. Placing down his cutlery, he reached for his cup of coffee and then took a sip. Amazing how coffee just perked him right up.

“So what do you do…for fun? Away from the lab, I mean.”

And here come the questions.

~RB~

Chor:  Oh, gute,” she said, her ‘gute’ a sort of German-American mixture of the word. Old habits die hard.

Isolde smiled at Frank, lifting her own cutlery to cut her crepe as he settled the napkin upon his lap. The first bite was utter euphoria and Isa’s mouth and stomach reveled that finally she was eating real, delicious, and nutritious food. Truth be told, the last time she’d had crepes was the morning before Claura’s disappearance. She’d sung silly tines their grandmother taught them as she cooked the German crepes and wrapped in them the redcurrant jam. Isolde used to remember that as the last happy day she’d ever have. Of course, who could have predicted that yesterday could have changed her so fully. She took another bite as Frank went on about the tattoo. A shrug moved in her shoulders. It wasn’t painful to her, who has a pretty high pain tolerance; and in fact -though she won’t likely ever admit it- she actually enjoyed it. She felt as if she deserved the pain.

At the mention of Tommy – that must be the reporter- and Elissa – who must be the woman- Isa again wondered if they were alright. Frank really ought to call his friends back. He surprised her then, with a question about what she did outside of the lab. This was going to be an awkward answer, since all she truly did was work in the lab, then take cat naps and eat vending machine food. She should tell him about before her small, abysmal life began.

Well, I’ve really been lacking there lately, but I’m also employed at the American Museum of Natural History in the Forensic Anthropology department. I used to do studies, demonstrations, and tours and all that. Mainly. I did a lot of casework, working on specific bodies we’d get in. I also used to play in the symphony. Strings; cello mostly, but a little violin or viola occasionally. I mean, I’m no master at it, so second seat was pretty exciting for me. Before…I used to ride horses often. There’s something about them that’s so elegant and just altogether they’re just magnificent beasts to interact with.

That was the end of her spiel. She didn’t really do much aside from work after school started. She figured she had to dive head first to pay off her loans, but as soon as that was done she still remained deeply buried into the workplaces. Her friends from school all lived close and they would often meet to hang out, but after Claura she pretty much dropped everything.

Razorbackwriter;  Some of us find it hard to get time to have any kind of life outside our working hours. Frank’s used to revolve around his son, but of course when his ex took him away that left Frank with little to do but drink and spend his waking hours at home studying the wall. The wall being the one in his home office with the trails to nowhere on Rory’s death. Some nights he wouldn’t even sleep. Just sitting in his old leather chair and rock back and forth slowly. His mind going over that night again and again till the first rays of light would filter through to the office. Not much of an existence.

Frank ate heartily as Isa told him all of her life away from work which was a darn sight more interesting then his own story. Nodding at appropriate times and only placing his cutlery down to replace them with his cup of coffee, he was genuinely interested. She was also employed at the American museum of Natural History A role that Frank was sure was of some importance. Is was also into music. Playing the cello – as well as a little violin. Frank smiled at the mention that she was second seat in the symphony, which meant she must be good.

The last part however brought a big smile from Frank, she used to ride horses. Why you might wonder this brought such a reaction was due to the fact it triggered a memory of just how much his ex hated them. Whenever there was a parade and the police horses came along, his ex put on such a performance it was a wonder people didn’t throw down money in front of her. Drama Queen.

“I couldn’t agree more. Majestic and beautiful creatures. I haven’t ridden though since my teens. My parents used to send me out to the Grandparents farm some holidays and that is where I learnt to ride.” Course he couldn’t go near horses after Missy reacted to them so badly. Much to his Grandparents disappointment. He hadn’t been able to go visit with his son, thanks to Missy. How he hated the woman.

Frank placed his cutlery down on his cleaned plate with a clink, before picking up his napkin and dabbing his lips.

“I enjoyed that. You know, you are a very interesting woman, Isa. You’d make quite the catch. If only I had a net.” At this he laughed at his own poor joke. Such a sad sack.

“Enjoying those crepes?”

~RB~

 

 

A quiet night in – GS

 

Scene setting : Frank Malone’s apartment – Gantz Series.

co-written with Chor.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The ride over in the taxi had Frank feeling a little heady. Was it the music or the scent of exotic spices? This cab driver’s wife must have been a good cook. Trying not to burst out laughing when the cabbie started to sing a long with one of the tracks playing on his radio, he instead placed his arm around Isa and whispered in her ear. “Only in New York.” You had to admit the whole thing was comical. The smell, the music, the cabbie’s lack of musical training. Least now Frank had an idea as to why the guy was driving cabs and not appearing in an off broad way musical. Finally, the ride was at an end as the cab pulled up in front of Frank’s apartment building. The guy did understand English after all. Paying the cab driver, Frank was handed a pamphlet for the cab driver’s wife’s restaurant. No wonder the cab smelt the way it did. He was carting spices in the boot.

“Ah…the Sitar Restaurant. Might have to try that. Thanks.” Frank got out of the cab on his side, only to race around and get Isa’s door. He offered his hand to help her out which he hoped she would take.

Any nervousness that Frank might have felt about bringing Isa up to his apartment was quickly quashed, since he couldn’t get over her smile and the way she handled the cab ride over like a pro. It was often cheaper to use the cabs than trying to find a parking space, which is why Frank favored them as much as he did.

Taking Isa up the three flights of stairs, they finally came to the front door of Frank’s apartment. He rummaged for his keys, before opening the door. The tell tale creak of the hinges showed that it could do well with a bit of oil. Frank dashed in and immediately started a vain effort to tidy a little. Picking up old pizza boxes and Chinese take out containers – hurrying to the bin. He was like a fiend in racing about. Clearly he wanted to impress Isa if he could. Soon, he came to a stop and then clapped his hands together. It was almost like he didn’t know what to offer her first. When she had been left at the door, she may well have seen his study that was where the [i]”wall of mystery”[/b] was. All the cases, Rory…pictures and reports all tacked up on a massive board that covered half the room.

No doubt she would have questions.

~RB~

 

Chor:  While Isa’s family was still adjusting to American life, her father began work in the city. The money he sent the girls from his job paid for the small three-year stint they spent in upstate New York. The place was lovely, quiet, and Isa’s mother often marveled that it was so alike Germany. Isa was too young to even remember, but she knew in her heart that – from the few visits she’d been granted to see her father in the city- that downstate is where she wanted to be. Upstate was nice, but the city was beautiful. It had colour, originality, and brought so much more brightness to Isa’s life. This cabbie was what brought Isa to this place, it was the reason she resigned herself to the city and sold her soul to the idea that she could make it better one body at a time.

“Indeed,” she agreed. Only in New York.

The restaurant’s pamphlet, printed on bright orange paper, make Isa’s stomach growl furiously. Grateful of the loud, overwhelming music, Isa waited as Frank rushed to the other side and allowed him to help her from the automobile. He was acting very strange, which made Isa’s brow raise at the behaviour. As they entered his apartment, nothing really caught her attention as being overly filthy or too out of order. It was the home of someone who didn’t have the time for the little things. Sweeping, dusting…eating, sleeping, you know? She shook her head as he moved around like a whirlwind. He didn’t have to, she was not judging him.

Something her eyes gazed upon removed her attention from all else. It was the study, where it was clear Frank was attempting to solve the very case that destroyed his life so wholly. She was unable to keep herself from it, as if it had reached its saddening tendrils out to her and pulled her in. When Frank would clap his hands at the end of his cleaning spree, she’d already be gone, poring over the files and pictures like it was her own place. She pulled herself away, then, thinking the situation a bit inappropriate. Shutting the door as she exited, Isa went to look for Frank.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank had stuck the Indian restaurant’s pamphlet to his fridge while Isa had been drawn into his study. It was only natural for her to take a peek, since everything that was pinned to the wall was to do with the case that had consumed Frank’s life. Quietly, Frank came up behind Isa as she was shutting the door to his study. She would find herself facing him as she turned to look for him.

“Probably best to let that all be tonight.” He referred to the wall of investigations. For a moment there was an awkward pause, as though Frank really wasn’t sure what to do next. But his body had a funny way of showing just what he needed. A pained growl was audible and he rubbed his stomach with a rising blush to his face. “I can’t remember the last time I ate. Can you?” Frank had probably consumed a couple of gallons of coffee to keep himself alert, but as for food, he couldn’t even think of what he had last. Remembering the pamphlet on the fridge, he made a gesture towards the kitchen. “I’ve got nothing in the fridge except for some frozen dinners and that shit isn’t fit for consumption. Say, how about I order some Indian from the restaurant the cabby recommended.” Frank dashed back into the kitchen and took the pamphlet off the fridge door.

“Couple of curries…a few naan. I’ve got beer.” His face now hopeful that Isa would take Frank up on the idea. “Got a few movies we could watch while we eat.” Frank clearly had not dined with a lady in a long time. He was as easy going as they came.

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isolde felt embarrassment crawl about her skin as she turned right into Frank, nearly walking straight into him. She found herself nodding in agreement; they’d had about enough of that for the day. At the mere mention of food, Isa’s stomach replied for her, louder this time than in the cab, and she gave an almost guilty look.

“I can’t even count on my fingers the amount of days since the last time I really ate, ” she said shyly, feeling foolish about it. She could only imagine what he thought of her now as he truly realized the extent to which she was allowing herself to rot away. Isa always fed her cat, she always made sure everything was finished with bodies, always did her job to the fullest, but never found it of great import to nourish herself. Her bottom lip found itself between her right lateral incisors, biting gently.

Anything sounds good, really,” Isolde told him, not wanting him to worry about any special kind of food. She’s never been picky. At the mention of beer, Isa was the slightest bit conflicted. She wasn’t a drinker, for reasons she didn’t like to think about, but she felt safe with Frank. One wouldn’t hurt?

“Movies? Sounds good.

Truthfully, Isa has seen very few movies in her short life. As a child her family owned one movie which they watched repeatedly and in school she didn’t have time for the cinema. Now? Well, she has even less time.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Then it was settled. A curry night with a movie or two. Both would probably fall asleep on the couch, but Frank really didn’t mind. This was the closest he had come to actually relaxing. What he didn’t realize was that he had turned off his phone, so Tommy’s message had gone to message bank. It would be some time before Frank bothered to check it. Taking the pamphlet down, he used his landline to call the number on the back, and leaned against the doorway to his kitchen as a lady with a strong Indian accent answered on the other end of the line.

“Could I order a number 4 mild, with extra cream and a number 16 medium. Oh and a couple of naan breads.” Frank gave the lady his address and was told the meal would be there within the hour. They must have been having a busy run. That was good enough for Frank, who didn’t mind waiting. He keenly wanted to change out of his suit into just jeans and a t’shirt so that he could truly relax. Hanging up the phone, Frank explained how long dinner would be. “We have an hour or so before the take out gets here. Why don’t you rummage through my movie collection, while I go get changed.” Offering a light smile, he strolled into his bedroom, leaving the door open slightly as he took off his shirt and tie, dumping them both in a hamper. On his back you could see a tattoo on his right shoulder of an eagle. It was well detailed and had been there for sometime. It must have had some meaning to him, and that in itself was another story. He was well built and you could see that he did work out, from the tone of his muscles. Frank then went into his closet and dug out some jeans and a black t’shirt, before getting changed, while Isa amused herself. By the time he was done, he came out looking like a completely different man. He even ran a comb through his hair. He was still a tad rough looking, but in a handsome way.

https://i0.wp.com/thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/dvd-movie-collection-21744723.jpg

His DVD collection had everything from thrillers, detective stories, supernatural and of course a stack on the Marvel comic superheroes. There was three book cases filled, and a great choice for Isa to choose from. Wandering into the kitchen, Frank took two beers out of the fridge, then walked back into the lounge, offering one to Isa.

“Found something you like?”

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  This very situation was odd. Isa had never really stayed the night at a man’s house, save it be for overnight cram sessions with her laboratory partners in med school. Now, she’d just met this man and she was wholeheartedly ready to stay the night; no questions asked. It was definitely a change in character for Isolde, who mostly kept to herself lest she be interacted with. As Frank talked over the phone to the take-out place, Isa watched him secretly. His entire demeanor had changed from the first time she’d seen him. She could not imagine them having this same conversation and this same situation happening several hours earlier.

“Uh, sure,” Isa replied to his suggestion before he mosied off to change. Oh god, how was she going to find a movie? Isa’s television experiences consisted mostly of documentaries or interesting lectures and she didn’t want to bore him straight to death. He had a serious collection going, which made things infinitely more difficult. What if she chose the movie he didn’t like? Or one he just watched? With a sigh, she settled on two that sounded pretty interesting. As she turned, her eye caught the open door, just glimpsing the tattoo resting on his toned scapula. With that image in her head, she spun herself around, wide-eyed like a scared doe, and returned to reading the back covers of the films.

As Frank emerged, Isa peeked around once more, now glad to see him clothed. She looked at his casual wear and felt undoubtedly over-dressed for the occasion. She hadn’t planned for this…impromptu hang-out session when she’d scoured her closet for the day. Her hand reached for the two wedding rings on a chain around her neck, as it was a nervous tick, only to find them blocked by her button up. Oh well.

“Ehm, I’ve got World War Z or Shutter Island?” she said, holding the two up to either sides of her clavicle and looking forward to him. It was his choice now, because she figured the odds were better in pleasing him if she picked two. After his choice, she took the beer with a light thanks and opened it, the top digging happily into her finger as she twisted it off.

 

Razorbackwriter:  “Shutter island it is then.” Frank made the choice fairly quickly, as he had watched World War Z too many times to even count. Taking the DVD box, he went about removing the disc from the case and then walked over to the entertainment system, where he inserted the disc into the machine. At this point, he looked back at Isa and asked. “You sure you’re okay being here? I don’t want you to think I am like…trying to make moves or..” There it was. Frank was about as out of practice of how to act around a lady as she was about staying over at a man’s apartment. It was the first time Frank had spoken about just the moment, rather than the case, or Rory’s death. He stood awkwardly for a moment – pausing to let her say something. In behind him on the wall, was a picture of Frank with his small son on his shoulders. Happier times obviously. There was no pictures of a woman in Frank’s life. He had removed those when she walked out on him after Rory had died and their marriage fell apart.

Frank toyed with his beer can, having not even opened it yet. His mind was now going over everything and now he wanted to do the right thing by Isa. “If you wanna change, or freshen up, feel free to use my bathroom.” Was he falling over himself? He meant well, but you could tell now he was nervous. Dinner was yet to arrive. Maybe they needed an ice breaker.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa was a little glad that Frank chose the psychological thriller. She really would have picked the medical inconsistencies and pseudo-science in the other film to shreds. She was that kind, yes…

Frank’s question really caught her by surprise. She nodded almost fervently.

It’s fine, really. I think it’s better even,” she said, then thinking that too eager, added “…I mean if I go home I’ll just work.

An awkward silence. A sip of beer. Yes; good. At the mention of changing, Isa wished she had something. She resorted to just pulling off her jacket, which was a huge deal considering she would probably die in that lab coat. After doing so, she noticed her skirt had come up a bit to reveal one of the many symbols that ran all the way up her side from the outside of both thighs to just under where her armpit began. The skirt was swiftly pulled down to cover her and she made herself comfortable on the couch.

“I’m quite alright thanks.”   she said with a reassuring smile. He really needn’t fuss.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank may not have said anything, but his eyes, oh they could talk as they followed her skirt up her thigh when she had taken off her coat. Were they symbols on her legs. He even moved his head slightly to the right as though that might help him see better, but no sooner had her skirt risen up, Isa had caught onto the fact and then quickly smoothed it down into place. As she wriggled to get comfortable on the couch, she said she was alright with hanging out at his place after all. There was a tension there between them. Like two high school kids on a date, not knowing what to say or how to move forward. But just when Frank was going to say something about the markings on Isa’s legs, there was a knock at the door. That had to be dinner. “Just a sec.” Frank said; making his way to the door and opening it to see a young fresh faced Indian boy carrying a large bag. “You Malone?” Yeah, he had the right place. Frank took out a wad of notes and pressed them into the boy’s hand as he took the take out dinner bag from him. “Keep the change.” There was at least a ten dollar tip, and the young boy grinned. “Thanks, man.” Frank gave a little shrug before closing the door. It was the least he could do, since his apartment wasn’t exactly in the best neighborhood.

Walking back into the room, Frank got an idea. He motioned with his hand for Isa to get up and come to the kitchen. “Get it while it’s hot.” he called, as he placed the bag down on the bench and started to take out the curry box containers. The smell was a lot like the cab that they had ridden over in, but better. In his own element, Frank went to take out plates and cutlery, handing a plate to Isa as she came in. “There is enough for four people at least. You won’t go hungry.” This was said with a smile, as he opted for the Lamb korma with some jasmine rice. The other container had Butter chicken in a mild coconut and tomato sauce. In a paper bag was some garlic naan, that was easy to tear off and use for dipping.

Once Frank had helped himself, he headed back to the lounge room, where he cleared off magazines and his ashtray on the coffee table. It was casual dining at its best and Frank reached for the remote to start the movie. Isa would be able to hear the pre movie trailers starting on Frank’s sound system, which was fairly loud for the size of his apartment.

Frank picked up his beer and offered a toast, when Isa sat down.

“To Rory…” he paused so that Isa could add the name of someone she loved that had passed away.

 

~RB~

 

 

Sophia’s secret – GS.

 

Scene setting : Jax’s Coffee House.

co-written with Moo & VunG.

 

VunG:  It was so adorable to see the girl react to Frank’s unintentional flirts, a small smile creeping onto her face at the sight. Of course, really she just enjoyed watching anyone enjoy themselves, she didn’t get jealous or anything like that, and this girl was kind of cute. The fact that the girl was asking their names was fine by her, but of course Elissa’s vocal problems tended to be a bit of an issue, she let the more talkative Tommy handle that situation. When the reporter complimented her, Elissa’s reaction was definitely more subdued than what Frank or Sophia were doing, but she still blinked rapidly with surprise, looking at him with a slight blush. She was able to recover quickly enough and waved her greeting to the girl, but it still threw her for a loop. Did he really think she looked ‘lovely?’ That was… an interesting note.

Letting it go with no more than a continued blush, she watched the banter between the lot with a smirk. When the subject of Tommy being jabber, she snickered a little and made a *blab blab blab* gesture with one of her hands, of course smiling at the reporter the whole while and showing that she was just playing with him. Like Tommy, she was just as shocked by the change in haunts for Frankie, looking at him skeptically before laughing quietly into her hand when it was suggested that it was because of a pretty girl. Reaching up, she pulled out her notepad and pencil and passed them both to the man, giving him a smile and looking meaningfully towards Sophia. She was trying to tell him to get her number, if he really was interested.

However, even as she was recovering from doing that, she caught the tail end of the strange expression on the girl’s face. It raised her curiosity, but she didn’t put two and two together, thinking she’d just seen a stain on the floor or something of the like. And then… oh Tommy… Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. Elissa had been in the middle of taking another gulp of coffee, and would wind up swallowing this one prematurely with surprise, sputtering a little afterwards and rubbing her neck in pain, again the scarf getting disturbed as she just tried to get the worst of the pain out. What the heck was he thinking?! Was he out of his mind?!


At about this moment, another fellow would come into the coffee house, all smiles with an oblivious spring in his step. A brand new pewter cross bounced against his chest as he went and he was whistling an unidentifiable tune. He’d just gotten some good news: his sister had found herself a job in Savannah and was a nurse at the moment. It had been a real turning point in his day, and while he hadn’t told her anything about what had happened to him the last couple of days, it was good to hear from his family again. Of course, as he entered the place, he didn’t even realize that Sophia was there, he wasn’t even going for coffee at this point, he was just coming in for the Wi-Fi and only noticed that there were the three people at a table talking to a barista. He didn’t even look close enough to realize that it was Sophia, he was just doing his thing. And so, while all the drama was happening over there, he sat at a table, opened up his laptop, and went to work.

 

Moo:  Sophia had gladly listened to each introduction. Of course the only name she thought was familiar was Tommy’s…a given, really. Though the public she’d been around usually listed him as a bit of a nut, what with the cases he attempted to publish in the newspapers. Looking at him now, she didn’t feel that he was a nut in the least. And given her own circumstances, he wasn’t a nut for believing in the supernatural. Merely inquisitive…and it wasn’t as if he were wrong. Not in the least. No…this man was definitely well suited with intuition and intellect. Even while she smiled in a care free manner, her eyes roamed over his face and body for a moment while allowing these thoughts to flow.

Elissa was introduced next, causing Sophia to smile politely while she gave a brief nod. “It’s nice to meet you.” Given the woman’s bashful reaction, she found herself chuckling. Rather enjoyable to watch, as she clearly couldn’t take a compliment very well. Did she know how beautiful she was? Truly? Sophia admired the woman from where she stood, even her smile turning a bit sheepish while she nodded, agreeing with Tommy. “A real beauty, that one.”

Turning her attention to the man introduced as Frank Malone, she nodded with a brightening smile. “Frank,” she repeated. “I will remember that.” Extending her hand, she had to bend slightly in order to reach his, giving it a nice shake before straightening once more. Really, this guy didn’t look as old as Tommy made him sound. Maybe his mid twenties. In any case, Sophia only looked younger than she really was, currently at age 23 and a senior in college. Though, due to Tommy’s commentary, the girl began to blush rather sheepishly, tucking her fingers tightly around the tray she held while she bit her lip, averting her attention to the floor nearby. Not that she could really help it, as she was never use to this kind of attention. Perhaps she wasn’t any better than Elissa when it came to taking compliments, as she wanted to hide her face completely.

All of this having taken place even before she’d caught a glimpse of that picture. Whatever that thing had been, Tommy clarified it for her. After commenting to Elissa, she’d been asked a question she hadn’t understood right away…until he very bluntly threw in the bit about a ten tonne slug; the same as in the image she’d glanced at. While Sophia had a fit of discomfort run through her body, her stance was easily changed due to the mute woman’s sputtering on coffee. “Oh- Are you okay?” She moved to grab a few napkins, bending to offer them to the woman, before catching a glimpse of her bared neck. It was a simple flash, but enough that Sophia saw it clearly. Something tragic had happened to this woman…but the scar itself would not bother Sophia; simply the story behind it, whatever it had been. Moving her eyes to the woman’s face, she smiled and held out the napkins before turning to look at Tommy. “Is this a fan club? The X Files is a good enough show for the attention.” She grinned, playing dumb for the time being. Hopefully the man wouldn’t prod further. But she had been right; he truly was someone she would have to be careful around. Whatever Gantz was capable of, she didn’t know the extent of. And it was obvious it was meant to be kept a secret, so for her to go blabbing her mouth would be dangerous. She felt it…deep in her gut. Luckily enough though, the opening of the door meant a new guest, and an escape from this awkward situation. “Excuse me,” she said lightly, waving her hand just a bit.

Upon turning to greet the new customer, she’d actually paused in her step to find herself looking at none other than Sasha. “What a pleasant surprise,” she greeted as she stepped closer. Her tray was still nicely tucked against her front while she hovered near him. “Can I get you anything, Sasha?” Perhaps in hearing his name, he would turn his attention to her. And while it looked as though he were hard at work, she really wanted to escape any questioning from the trio on the couch just behind her.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Why is it reporters have such a way of asking probing questions at the worst possible time? Tommy’s question to the barista created a chain reaction of events at the table, that left all either covered in coffee or choking on it. All except Tommy of course, who waited with baited breath to see if the girl HAD noticed the picture of the monster on the table. Her reaction however, was swift and well thought out. “Is this a fan club? The X Files is a good enough show for the attention.” Tommy’s smile faded as it appeared the girl wasn’t fazed at all. Perhaps he was just thinking she noticed the picture. Was he losing his touch? The barista was on the job, offering napkins to Elissa, which was a kind gesture. Frank simply grabbed one off the center napkin holder and dabbed at his shirt, but it was a useless gesture. He had stained his shirt. Great. He’d need to run back to his apartment to change, since he didn’t have his car. Tommy let out a half nervous chuckle, putting the photos back in the envelope and answered Sophia, while Frank shot daggers at him with a glance.

“No, this is more like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. We like to do detective work off the clock.”

Frank groaned, as he started to slink in his seat. The more Tommy spoke, the more stupid he was feeling. As luck would have it, a new patron entered the coffee house, and this would have the young waitress excuse herself, leaving the trio to either have it out, or Frank to berate his friend.

“What are you, nuts? You don’t just ask some poor waitress if she has seen a ten tonne slug like that? Seriously, man.” Frank ranted, then taking out his wallet and putting down a twenty to cover their coffees. He hadn’t had a wink of sleep, and the fact that they still hadn’t been to Rory’s murder site was grating on him. The school stop off having taken up a lot more time than he had anticipated. Frank rose to standing, and then ran his fingers across the coffee stain on his shirt. A muttering of obscenities followed. “Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys? Really? Couldn’t have said something cooler…..I don’t know…like…Scooby Doo and the mystery gang?”

Tommy could now see that he had really pissed off his friend, not that he had meant too. He kept shrugging his shoulders, as if words weren’t going to be enough. “Frank….come on.” But the Detective already was now looking at Elissa. “Going to head back up to my apartment to change, thanks to Tommy. You wanna catch a cab?”

~RB~