2010-05-20: Aggressive Negotiations



Date: May 20, 2010


The key to a successful negotiation is inventing options for mutual gain.

"Aggressive Negotiations"

Acqua - Miami

While there isn't much for dance, the small restaurant dimly lit, setting a romantic scene for the various tables of lovers. At a table for two sits a lone woman, a woman who is looking out at the ocean with a rather wistful expression on her face. There's an untouched plate of miniature food in front of her, probably something quite expensive but well worth the price.

Something that is touched? The bottle of champagne that rests in a bucket of ice alongside her table. Plucking her glass up, she tips the remainder of the sparkling liquid into her mouth and curls the empty flute up near her shoulder. It's an indication that she wants more, something they've been getting accustomed to. She's working on her second bottle.

The rattling of heavy glass against melting ice and a silver bucket rings out from behind her. Seconds later, a hand gently steadies hers while another fills her flute from a towel-wrapped bottle.

Porter replaces the bottle in its bucket and takes the seat opposite Vasha's. He's wearing a lightweight cream suit, a black shirt with a Mandarin collar, and an unreadable expression. For a moment he only looks, his brown eyes boring into Vasha's mercilessly. When a waitress passes, he snags the young woman without breaking eye contact. "I'll have a cranberry juice," he murmurs.

When they're alone again, Porter wets his lips with the tip of his tongue. "Where is he?" he asks, his voice as flat as his expression.

The glass is brought to her lips and a languid sip is taken before it's replaced in front of the untouched meal in front of her. As she reaches forward, one of the spaghetti straps on her filmy sundress falls off her shoulder and her other hand crosses to slowly pull it back up.

Her gaze is more of the lurid and sensual variety as she stares across at him through her eyelashes. She licks the last droplet of champagne from her lips and puckers her lips gently in consideration. "I find it fascinating how it is you are able to find me across the country, Captain. In a restaurant, alone."

She raises her chin just a touch and rolls her left shoulder as her hand slowly reaches under the table. "Tell me, who is it you are seeking and I might be able to assist you?"

"Wherever you go, whatever you do, I'll be right here waiting for you," Porter quotes. When his cranberry juice arrives, he leaves it untouched. He raises his eyebrows slightly and his jaw clenches and unclenches rythmically. It's his first outward display of emotion. "I will always find you," he continues. He pulls something from his pocket and drops it on the table. It's a Ninetendo controller. Wheeler's belt buckle.

"I almost had you in Richmond," he says ruefully. "But I lost time tracking this down. Now quit dicking around and tell me where he is."

"How romantic, Captain, I did not realize you cared so much." Vasha's tone is calm, almost amused. She reaches out to the belt buckle with her right hand and traces a finger against it, a faint glimmer of recognition crossing her otherwise unreadable expression. The right corner of her lips twitch in a smirk when she leans back in her chair and as she draws her hand back. On its way past, she scoops up the glass of champagne again, her left hand remains well out of sight.

As she sweeps the glass through the air, the liquid inside swirls up against the side, leaving a ring of little bubbles that quickly dissipates. "If I had come to you in such a way, how would you react?"

"Oh, I might point a gun at you under the table," Porter replies, his voice deceptively light and airy. He smiles, but there's a wolfish quality to the expression that's more likely to be disconcerting than endearing. "But we both know guns aren't really my style. No, I'd probably do something like this."

Still smiling, he reaches up to set something else on the table. A metal ring with one end worked into a crimp. It's the safety pin from a grenade. If one were to look closely, one might see 'V40 MINI' stenciled on the side in tiny letters.

Taking another long sip of champagne, Vasha smiles at the end and Porter might feel her bare foot tracing up the inside of his right leg. Her mouth opens as she takes a small breath inward, a pleasured gasp of air, much the same as the ones he brought her their one night together. "Explosions are your specialty."

Her foot continues to rise until it hits his knee and then it slides forward a few inches. She doesn't break eye contact nor does her small smile fade. "If I hand him to you, then my reputation will suffer. If we were to trade, let us say, fair market value for the product in my possession… How much do you think it would be worth?"

Porter glances down at the tabletop, as if he can see through it to Vasha's playfully exploring toes. He glances back up at her with one eyebrow quirked amusedly. "Put your money where your mouth is, eh? I can live with that. The question isn't what he's worth. It's what you want."

Finally, he picks up his cranberry juice and quaffs it in a single, manful draft. "Ahhh! Money? Too easy. New car? Done. Expunge your criminal record? Whatever. But I want proof of life, and I don't take damaged merchandise."

"I can want quite a lot, Captain. Money, new car, new home… homes… I have no criminal record to speak of, my status aids me quite well in that respect." Thus far she hasn't done anything to warrant an international incident. Vasha's expression hardens then and her toes jut forward just a little more, stopping a fraction of an inch from Porter's most precious assets. Her expression is no longer amused or playful, it's quite serious and businesslike. "But — I disagree, his worth is very much the question. You see, if I give him over to you, I will constantly be looking over my shoulder."

Her expression softens somewhat and her toes twitch upward just as a soft click sounds from under the table. "What I wish, Captain, is freedom. You offered it to me once, at terms that were interesting but now I have a card in my hand that I wish to play. I wish immunity without Hertzog around my neck. I wish the freedom to move whenever and wherever I wish without fear of deportation. Perhaps, I might even be of some use to you."

"Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps," Porter muses, still cool as cucumbers. Outwardly, anyway. "I want the kid, but there will always be more kids. You want a free pass, and those come dearly. I think you'll have to be of use before you get rewarded."

He glances down and back up once again. "Doesn't sound like a Jericho. What's that, a .25? That's cute. How about you come in? Let me debrief you properly. You can tell me what you know about Hertzog and your father. Along with the boy, that might be enough for your free pass."

"That is unacceptable, there is no amount of protection you could offer that would keep my status among the living if I were to betray my father, my family." Taking a deep breath, Vasha pauses for a moment, still eying him carefully. The champagne in the glass is slowly swirled around and around, every once in a while another sip draining from it. For a few minutes they remain at an impasse, neither speaking, simply staring. Until she breaks it.

"The 'kid', as you call him, if he is one of many it should be of no consequence what I do with him. After all, there will always be one more to replace him. Mm? Is it a matter of pride? Is he your charge?"

"He is," Porter admits, reaching out to toy with the grenade pin absently. "So if anything were to happen to him, it would put a damper on our friendship. I hope you're not forgetting that I hijacked government property and nearly blew my cover while I was saving your life. Again. A little gratitude wouldn't go amiss."

"Very well, because I owe you my life, I will show you a little gratitude." It's a concession that seems a little painful to the woman. Though she doesn't lower her foot, there is another click from under the table. Setting the glass of champagne down, she reaches over to her opposite side and raises her napkin. Raising her left hand, she places something underneath the napkin and releases it.

"Now for negotiation. Five hundred thousand dollars, and a favor to be named at a later date. No questions asked."

"One hundred thousand," Porter replies. Beneath the table, he pulls a rubber band from around his wrist and wraps it around his grenade's arming handle over and over until it's secure. Gingerly, he tucks the assembly into his pocket. The corner of his mouth curls into a smile as he hooks the toe of his shoe around the leg of Vasha's chair and pulls, bringing her close to the table. At the same time, he leans forward very suddenly. "And I won't kill anybody or give away any state secrets."

There's another gasp of surprise as she is suddenly jetted toward the table and one of her eyebrows twitches upward, as though they are playing yet another game. Meeting his smile with one of her own, Vasha's eyes narrow dangerously as she leans forward as well. She places her elbows on the table and laces her fingers together, resting her chin upon them. The smile fades just enough to allow her lips to pucker in consideration before she murmurs, "Two hundred and fifty thousand and no state secrets."

Porter strokes his stubbled chin thoughtfully. "Two hundred and fifty thou'," he agrees, nodding. "No state secrets and no killings. I don't do that anymore. Not unless someone makes me."

Pause. Meaningfully, he glances down at the napkin-covered something on the table.

"Sound square?" he asks, lifts his eyebrows to match Vasha's expression.

"Simply delightful, Captain." Vasha purrs as she withdraws her leg and leans back in her chair. The napkin and what is underneath it is swept away with one hand and placed inside of her clutch. With a sharp snap, she closes it and grips it tightly. Rather lazily, she pushes her chair backward and stands from her seat to slide next to Porter.

Extending her right hand toward him she gives him another crooked smirk, a handshake to seal the deal. "I find it much more pleasurable dealing with you on these terms. When will you be able to make the trade?"

"Hmmmmm… Why don't we say forty-eight hours?" Porter stands as well, thought he's scarcely as tall as Vasha. Still, he meets her gaze readily and with a confident twinkle in his eye. He takes her hand and gives it a firm squeeze. "What you're asking… Well, that's more than my allowance. I'll have to call Mom and have her send me a check."

"Mmmm…" Vasha moans lowly as she tightens her hand to a comfortable grip. She's not pulling her hand free, not until the deal is finalized. "No checks, I will take payment in the form of precious metals or stones. Cash is always acceptable as an alternative means of payment." She lowers their gripped hands between them, stepping within inches of him. "Checks have a horrible way of being canceled or not being good."

Porter nods his head once. Slowly, deliberately, he glances down at the very narrow space between their bodies. His eyes linger on Vasha's curves, taking their time and then some on their way back up. "Whatever your pleasure," he murmurs. "I do aim to please, after all. Speaking of pleasure, that's a lovely dress you're almost wearing."

With the agreement of her terms, Vasha loosens her grip on his hand, not letting go just yet. "You certainly do, Captain," she utters. The mention of her dress has her turning her head to the side to glance at the strap that had gone wayward earlier in the evening and then back to him. "Almost? I believe it is covering every part of my anatomy that most Americans find indecent to expose."

Porter glances at the strap as well, but he doesn't limit himself to that alone. Then, smiling lopsidedly, he reaches out to slide the strap back into place against Vasha's tanned shoulder. "All that cleavage is still a distraction. A pleasant one, though," he says. "Day after tomorrow. We meet here. This restaurant, this table. You bring the boy, I'll bring the money."

With both of the table's occupants standing, the waitress brings by a folder and pen. Only then does Vasha slip her hand from Porter's grip. She turns and leans over the table, flipping the folder open and writing a room number in the charge location. "The day after tomorrow, same time?" She leaves the folder open for a moment before reconsidering and adding a generous tip. After flipping it closed, she straightens and turns toward him again. "I will see you then, Captain, if not before."

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