2008-06-02: Confusion, Conflict, and Confrontation

Starring:

Trina_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Summary: It's hittting the fan. No, really.

Date It Happened: June 02, 2008

Confusion, Conflict, and Confrontation


TOUCH - Uptown, NYC

Trina is still overwhelmed when she is led to the private room. Jack would be enough alone to warrant such a fuzz of thought, but then there is also Efron and his gushing exuberance. Ruby lips are curled into a polite smile, but she might be betrayed by the right hand that lifts perhaps a little too often to brush her bangs out of her face or back into place. Her left hand she keeps curled tightly around her fiance's, as though he might disappear the moment she would let go. "Thank you." It's her hushed and embarrassed response to the gush of praise that flows from the stranger's lips.

A cute couple? Well, she'd have to agree with him there. It's a sentiment that prompts her to delicately tilt her head against Jack's shoulder, gaze lifting up to him and taking reassurance there as they're swept inside.

And then it's a blur. The room. Being seated. The view. The champagne. The gun.

The gun.

The smile immediately disappears, evaporating bliss in the burning rush of panic. Her eyes harden as they focus in on the gleam of metal once the shine of dewy glass is gone and her hands jump up onto to grip the edge of the table and press there. The muscles of her slender neck become more pronounced, her whole body becoming rigid. "Jack?" she intones softly and low with warning, the vowel of the word drawn out and panic creeping into the edges of a voice that is otherwise soft — as though faced with a disrupted and displeased cobra. What the hell. It hasn't even been ten minutes. Her gaze flits briefly to Jack, and then back to the man and his handgun.

"Do what he says, baby," Jack whispers, his voice tight with a mixture of anger and disappointment. That's all the time he spares for Trina for now.

"Efron," he continues, making no attempt to hide the hurt that this betrayal causes him. "Don't do this. We've known each other for too long. We used to smoke hash together before your shifts at that shitty restaurant in Hawaii. I promise you, you don't want to do this."

Jack's protests don't fall on deaf ears, but Efron's gun doesn't waver. "They have Silva," he says simply, as if this explains it all.

And to Jack it does. Some of the hurt slides from his face as Efron quickly frisks him. A battle-worn Webley revolver is dragged from the shoulder rig the Irishman has on under his Mandarin coat. Likewise, an IMI Jericho pistol is tugged free from the holster at the small of his back. Both are deposited unceremoniously on the table.

Hands still held high, Jack cocks his head to the side as he peers at Efron. At the same time, he takes steps backward until he's between Trina and their attacker.

Whether it's from respect or sheer disbelief that Trina could hide a weapon in a dress that clings to her curvy figure, Efron doesn't bother frisking her. Instead, he backs up toward the door and raps on it briefly without taking his eyes off of the couple.

Trina's hands lift to touch at her head obediently at Jack's encouragement to comply, slowly lifting up onto her feet. By the time she's unfurled her lithe form to its full height and sent the hem of her dress slipping back to her knees, Jack's far broader form is interposed between her and that gun. Her breath is shallow and unsteady, ribs barely moving with the effort; her heart pounds in her ears. It may clear things up for Derex, but not for her. "What are you doing?" she whispers hotly with a brief and emphatic narrowing of her eyes, all pretense of euphoric reunion shattered. "And what the hell is going on?" Her eyes flit once from side to side. Private room. Damn private rooms. Damn private rooms to Hell.

There's a near-instantaneous pause in the thrumming music as the songs change in the main area of the club. Now Jack's training as a stage magician comes to the fore. Whether it was missed accidentally or purposefully during the frisk, he has a revolver in his sleeve that's so tiny it's almost laughable. Only a few inches long, it loads five rounds of .22 magnum hollowpoints. Despite it's diminuitive size, it's nothing to sneeze at. Leaning back until he's barely brushing against Trina, he stretches one flexible arm around far enough to slip the weapon into his lover's cleavage. "Relax, baby," he murmurs. "Everything is gonna be fine."

The exchange is so fast and so smooth that it's impossible to track. It's finished just in time, too. The door swings open, revealing a pair of men that are as different as night and day. One is tall, slim, and blond. He's impeccably attired and stylishly manicured; almost feminine in his beauty. The other is short, stout, and swarthy. His dark skin is marred by many scars and a heavy wrapping of bandages is stretched around his forehead and the upper half of one cheek. His scowl is impressive, to say the least.

Before either of them can speak, Efron halts them with a wave of his free hand. "Silva? Where is she? I did everything you wanted, Sembler."

The blonde man, now identified as Sembler, digs a cellular phone out of his pocket, flips it open, and thumbs a few numbers. When it starts ringing, he hands it over to Efron wordlessly.

The exchange on the phone is brief, but the waiter seems satisfied. He closes the phone, drops it on the floor, and turns his gun to point at the new arrivals instead of Jack and Trina.

Smart money says that all hell is about to break loose.

As Jack slips the gun into her dress, there's a fleeting moment where it seems as though Trina might protest, ribs moving away a degree from the cold metal. Instead, she keeps her mouth closed and presses in just a little closer to Jack's back once the transfer's been made. She peers out from behind his shoulder, and then her hands — ever so slowly — behind to lower to something a little more shoulder-height. It's hard not to be swept up in Jack's assurances. Hard, however, is not impossible. Blue eyes are growing only more distrustful of the possibility of their continued safety, narrowed and suspicious.

And then the tables seem to shift in their favor. The only thing that Trina does to indicate her awareness of it is a subtle shift of her feet in the black stilettos upon her feet as she ensures that they're snug. "Jes' say the word, sugar."

Jack doesn't get a chance to say anything.

Moving so fast that his hands are a blur, Sembler snatches the revolver from Efron's sweaty, nervous grip. "I took your advice and picked up a few tricks," he calls out to Jack over the waiter's shoulder. Then he presses the gun against Efron's ribs and shoots him twice. The unsilenced gunfire is deafening in the enclosed, soundproof room. Outside the closed door it's completely inaudible.

Jack's scream isn't any quieter than the shots. Whoever Efron was, the two must've been very close. Still roaring, he springs on top of the table and pulls a slim throwing knife from a sheath tucked against his belly. With an underhanded toss, he pitches the knife across the room and sends it winging toward Sembler.

The swarthy man's reaction time belies his bulk. He throws his body forward, intercepting the knife before it can reach Sembler. The blade sinks deep into his neck. A mortal wound, but not immediately so.

Trina's hands, meanwhile, are quick down the front of her dress to take up the handgun to extract it and settle it into her hands. "Jack!" cries she, no other words seeming to be as poignant or reassuring upon her lips. Her back curls forward as she takes aim at Sembler. "Hey," she calls out, voice trembling a little but by no means quiet. Her hips sway as she widens her stance.

Jack on table. Efron. Sembler. Swarthy man is on… Jack's side? With her breath nearly at a pant through her nostrils, Trina keeps the firearm in her hands trained on the swarthy man, her demeanor entirely that of a caged animal with its teeth bared. Protect Jack. Protect self. "What the hell is going on?"

"Shoot him! Shoot the fucker!" Jack cries. There's no time to collect either of his firearms from the table. He tumbles into a roll that brings him face to face with Sembler just as the blond man raises his appropriated revolver to fire.

No time to think. Must act. Act. Act NOW!

Jack's nimble, wiry fingers shoot out and clamp around the cylinder of Sembler's revolver. Funny thing about revolvers. If they can't revolve, they can't fire. Sembler's trigger finger is pitted against the vice-like grip holding the weapon at a stalemate, but neither can gain an advantage over the other.

"Shoot him, baby!" the Irishman repeats.

Squeeze, don't pull.

Jack says to shoot. Jack says to shoot, and there's no time to hesitate. In this, it's a choice. Jack or the man seemingly looking to kill Jack. It's not really a choice. But, were she to fire with her fiance so close by… there's a chance she could hit him instead of the man who is trying to kill him.

Trina's gaze darkens as she readjusts her grip on the gun in her calloused hands and levels angry, iced eyes upon Sembler. Her jaw sets even as her lips dance between a straight line and a distraught frown, and she forgets to breath as she focuses everything on not hitting the man she loves. Her waffling back and forth feels like it takes the better part of a lifetime. It, in actuality, is a matter of seconds. And then the call comes again. Jack. Said. Shoot.

And the sound of a pistol firing splits the air.

The shot doesn't hit dead center, but it's close enough. It parts Sembler's pretty blonde hair and puts a crease deep in the bone of his skull.

It's all the distraction that Jack needs to gain the upper hand. He tears the revolver from Sembler's grip and presses the muzzle against those pretty, blood-stained locks. Then he pulls the trigger and Sembler is no more. The last three rounds in the cylinder are fired into the body of the swarthy man, ensuring that he remains down. Permanently.

It only takes a few seconds, but it's a tense, intense time. Spattered with red stains, sweating, eyes crazily wide, Jack falls to his knees and clutches Efron's hand. The Hispanic waiter isn't dead, but it doesn't look good. Pink bubbles and froth come from his mouth when he speaks. "Hey. I owed you one… right?"

"Shhhh," Jack replies sadly. He's seen enough battle wounds to know when a man will and won't survive.

"C-coat check," Efron spits out, fading fast. "Sembler left a bag. It's…"

It's the end for Efron, is what it is. His body wracks and spasms briefly and then he dies.

Sorrow and guilt mingle in the air, making for an awkward melody that prances its way through the bars in a disjointed series notes and thoughts. Jack is mourning; Trina's hands are shaking as she lowers the handgun and lets it hang loosely in front of her. She stands there, silent, for a long time. Then she takes in a deep breath and slowly picks her way over to Jack to take a place by his shoulder as she chews on her cosmetic-stained lips. She glances in the direction of the bodies, but keeps the assessment of her gaze to nothing more than 'moving' or 'not moving'. "We… We should get out of here, sugar. Before… You know. People." Time to go hide now, right?

"Right," Jack replies weakly, his eyes still fixed on the motionless face of his dead friend. Gently, he uses two fingers to close Efron's eyes and staggers to his feet.

"Right," he repeats, heading for the table to scoop up his personal firearms and reholster them. Efron's used handgun is crammed into his belt. Then, unceremoniously, he searches Sembler's body until he comes up with a ticket for the coat check.

There's no way to dispose of the bodies. Not even a way to get rid of any trace evidence. With a deep, weary sigh, Jack turns to face his lover. This is not how he envisioned their reunion. "Go get your car," he says tersely. "And wait for me out front. I'll be there in five minutes."

A nod. That's all she really needs to give to communicate to Jack that she has this handled, moving to follow his orders with a grim and strained acceptance. Following orders is, at least, something to focus her and help her think about anything other than the fact that there are dead bodies in her wake. Police. There are going to be police.

Remembering the way up, Trina grabs her purse, sticks the gun inside, and then carefully picks her way back down to the front entrance again to have the valet service bring her car around. She's a single, slender body among dozens, murmuring apologies and avoiding meeting anyone's eyes as she slips through the crowd, a pale reflection of the brave, confident, and smitten woman that passed through earlier.

When her car comes at last into view, there's a glimmer of a smile for the attendant who's standing beside her and waiting with her. It's brief and fleeting, like a flash in the pan, and then she pays to have the keys released back into her custody. Conversation has been filled with nervous chuckles and constant rechecks of her makeup. She's glad to be done with it.

She slips into her car soon afterward, sinking down onto the black leather seat with an unceremonious hurl of her body. Her purse is set on the floor on the passenger side, and then she sets her hands on the wheel, letting it reassure and calm her like a security blanket. Another big breath is indulged upon as the brunette leans her head back the headrest with her eyes closed. One breath followed by two more, and then she leans across the seat to unlock the passenger side door before resettling in her seat to wait — in silence, for her fingers turn the car stereo off as soon as she gets in — for her trouble-magnet lover to return.

Moments later, Jack emerges with a small black duffel bag tucked under his arm. Somewhere between the private room and the front door he's got his hands on a jacket that isn't bloodstained. As smoothly as he's able, he slides into the passenger's seat of Trina's car and leans his head back wearily.

"Drive, baby. Just drive," he whispers.

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