2007-07-02: Den Of Thieves

Starring:

McAlister_icon.gif Erin_icon.gif George_icon.gif

Summary: The crazies of Central Park strike again. This time, someone gets hurt.

Date It Happened: 2 JUL 2007

Den of Thieves


Central Park, New York

8:50pm, Central Park, near the Tavern on the Green.

It isn't raining; a reprieve from the afternoon storms that have been stomping in each afternoon with a flash drench and a crack-boom of thunder, and then gone. The sun fails slowly in the west, shattering the sky into streaks of purple and deep red, orange near the horizon - and here's one of the prime spots to see it - a green sward that actually has a hill to it, 'falling into' the northern park and presenting an incredible view of the western skyline above the trees of the Park proper.

It's also only sparsely populated at this time of day, in the middle of the week. Part of it's just busy work weeks for most new yorkers - but more? This is also a (relatively) unpatrolled section of park - too many trees along its edges, too many paths, too many nooks and crannies to get lost in to make many entirely comfortable with it after the sun falls.

—-

One would have thought Erin would have learned after the first time, and to some extent, she did. She's not carrying the laptop, at any rate, and is heading through the park with determination on her way back to her apartment. As long as she can get through before the sky is completely dark, she's sure it'll be fine… Nothing to worry about, and besides, lightning never strikes the same place twice. She doesn't look like a target, either, or so she hopes. All she's carrying is her purse.

Given that it's coming up on Indepenance Day weekend, it's unsurprising that there's not a whole lot of people in the park at this moment. It seems more people are wandering off earlier on vacations. Not Erin, though, because she has to be at the studio for set and filming right up through Friday. At least she'll get the weekend off.

It seems quiet, the air still smells like rain, and it's so pretty out here. It's just too bad that this is such a bad area to be hanging around after dark.

—-

Sound carries well on the evening air - sound ahead and to the right, off in the brush-woods some small distance from the marked footpath along which Erin travels. In this case, it's enough to likely catch an interested ear - sounds that are likely not anticipating discovery, or listening in.

It's the voices that carry the farthest:

"C'mon Mitch - hurry /up!/"
"Oh shut it, man - nobody's anywhere."
"Yeah, but this one's a - woah!"

The sound of zippers and the rummaging of clothing and canvas gets louder if one approaches - as well as the quiet and muffled grunt of a faint struggle.

"Easy, girlie - you don't want me breakin' anything, do ya?"

—-

Her footsteps are faint, canvas shoes making little noise on the path. When she hears the voices down the path, her first instinct is to walk faster - until she hears that someone's in trouble. Erin's a big fan of paying it forward. Someone helped her here, so…

She takes another couple steps toward the safety of her apartment.

Her feet skid on the path, though, and she scowls. What if she goes home and hears about a murder in Central Park on the 11:00 news? She'd never forgive herself, especially when she could actually do something. Who knows /what/ she can do, but… She steps off the path, anyway, heading through the trees, pulling her keys out of her purse to use as a weapon if she has to. Using the vegitation as cover, she approaches as quietly as possible; it's too dark in here. This was a bad idea.

—-

Probably. Oh, probably.

"Check it /out/, dude!"
"Jackpot!"

The struggling picks up for a moment.

And /then/ - quiet as a mouse, the interloper comes on a scene straight out of a dimestore novel. Two rough young guys - one somewhat familiar, the other far less so, are in the shadow of an overhanging maple with a third: the woman from the park a few days back. Her pack is discarded to the side, largely empty; clothing is strewn in the near part of the clearing (and not a lot of it), along with a few simple toilitries. A hairbrush. Two books - "English Romantic Verse" and a newer, heavy thing called "Activating Evolution."

The mugger has her shoulder bag, most of its contents dumped at his feet - but he's leering. Not at the girl, no, but at the white envelope he's got in his hands, thick with 20's, apparently having just been pulled from that bag.

His buddy? He's got hold of the girl, a hand over her mouth, his other holding her arm behind her back, keeping her from going much of anywhere, at the moment.

The woman? She looks stricken. Mussed. Dirty - and, somehow? Angry and paniced, all at once.

—-

It crosses Erin's mind that she could easily turn and walk away at this point… Helping someone in trouble sounds like a good idea in theory, but this isn't the same as a scene in a soap opera. The people that are stealing from this girl are real, they could hurt her. To that end, Erin's heart is beating in her throat, she's shaking, body rushing with adrenaline as it decides whether or not it should run away or do something to help. She could take the middle ground - use her cell phone to dial for help, but at the moment, that's not crossing her mind.

Run. /Run,/ you idiot!

Hey, wait. The one guy looks familiar. She can't place it right away, but the vague familiarity gives her that briefest boost of courage. This? It's all like stage fright, really. She just has to take that first step on her own—

"/HEY./" And that's when she starts stomping toward the guys. She's not too big, but she's hoping that the fact that she /looks/ confident is going to work in her favour. Unfortunately, 'hey' was Erin's entire speech. She didn't much think this through. And to that end, she states, "HEY!!" again. Then, "What the hell do you think you're doing?"

—-

Moneyman looks up - "Shit!"

His compatriot - skittish - looks to the other man for a cue - but is already edging toward the woods, not /quite/ yet having let go of the woman he's dragging with. "C'mon man, we have the cash - let's get out of here!" Witnessess, apparently, are a bad thing.

Moneyman isn't quite ready to go yet, though, "Just talkin' with my girl. Beat it. This doesn't have anything to do with you." Bravado in /spades/, there.

—-

Uh-huh. Erin believes that like she believes the Titanic was made of strawberry Jello-o, or that little grey men live on Mars. You don't threaten to run away with someone's cash if they're 'your girl,' and so the blue-eyed actor isn't going anywhere. Except she's not sure what she can do at this point other than glare. She's not a powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination. "Uh-uh. I don't think so," she says. "Give the cash back." She heard that much. What else can she do, other than act, really? And if she has to pretend she knows what the hell she's talking about, hey. Why not?

And. /And./ "Seriously, you /useless jackasses./" Seems she's found her voice. "Look at you. Get a god-damned job. Here's a newsflash, it takes a whole lot less effort to get up in the morning and go to work than — than—" And it's gone. Because this is about the point where she's hit the realisation that these guys could have a weapon, and she wouldn't even have to get close for them to use it.

Then, she does perhaps the stupidest thing she could do. "I already called the police. They'll be here in a couple minutes."

—-

It's a corner of central park, past the Tavern on the Green - in a tangle of woods near a long, swooping green that shows a gorgeous NYC skyline to the west, one in which the sun is slipping away with remarkable rapidity.

In that corner, away from prying eyes on a day when little traffic is crossing through, is where this drama unfolds - two men, having strewn the various contents of Ali's pack and handbag over this small space and holding her (hand over mouth and arm behind her back) - are waving an envelope heavy with 20's and apparently at a bit of an impasse with a crazy woman who's just announced she's called the cops.

Moneyman gives the woman a snort - "Yeah. Thanks." And he starts to cross to his partner, and Ali - "Get out of here - this doesn't have anything to do with yo…. hey. Aren't you .." eyes narrow.

Uh-oh.

—-

One of the few people who is passing through this neck of the woods is George, who winds up a cell phone call off in the distance and then squints to see what's going on up ahead. He doesn't recognize Erin, and certainly doesn't recognize Moneyman or his hetero life mate. He does, however, recognize McAlister, even with part of her face obscured.

It'd be lousy luck for those two, he thinks to himself, if they were to get distracted and let go of Ali. Why, they might get in some lucky kicks to the crotch! (Or something even more interesting.) In any case, his eyes unfocus as he visualizes reaching out—

—-

Familiar. He's so familiar. It's not until he steps into the little light that's remaining that Erin actually realises why. Sorry, Ali, her attention's not on you at the moment.

This is the guy who tried to steal her laptop. That just makes her angry, though unfortunately, Erin is incapable of saying anything cool like 'you won't like me when I'm angry,' because she is not, in fact, the Hulk. Eyes go wide, and she loses a good fraction of her nerve, mostly because this is the same guy who could have hurt her before. And she realises that she's still shaking; the fright never went away, she just acted on it. Stupidly.

Say. Something.

"No!"

Because that strikes fear into the hearts of men. "No, I'm not." She can't. And she's probably going to pay for it, too. Maybe a compromise. "Take half the money and get out of here. I won't tell the police which way you went." Because there aren't any police on the way, mostly. And the lost money, well. At least it's a compromise. It's a whole lot better than having none, for both sides.

Plucking up her courage, she takes another step forward.

—-

…. unlucky. You know, the way the fellow holding the DJ somehow manages to shift his hand and get a finger in range of her teeth.

The yell is pretty gratifying, though - and he /certainly/ snatches his hand back. "Lemme /go/ you sonofabitch!"

Moneyman starts to say something, and settles on spitting at Erin. "Bitch - " And turning to run. "C'mon!" It's aimed at his buddy - who's cursing up a storm and waving his hand around. And - remarkably? Not letting go. Well, not before Ali gets a shove and then a faceful of palm at high velocity. She drops. He doesn't.

—-

Returning his attention to the immediate aspects of the situation, George charges forward at a dead run, eyeing Moneyman, who already has the sort of idea that he likes to hear. "Yeah, asshole, get outta here!" (NBC's censors are earning their keep this week.) Not that he's that good in a fight, really, but hopefully the thugs won't stick around to find out, now that they're outnumbered.

—-

It's not until the girl actually yells that Erin recognises her, and then this becomes a whole lot more personal, because Erin actually likes Ali; she's a good person, and a fellow entertainer. Eyes narrowing, teeth clenching, it almost seems as if the woman's eyes catch the light in just the right way so they they show up clearly blue against the dark, and she, too, heads at the muggers when she figures out she's being backed up.

Except a couple steps into her brave charge, she hears the sickening crack of the man's hand against his victim's face. "/Ali!/" is called, Erin's attention now fully on the hurt girl, rather than her attackers. She still /hesitates,/ though, before dropping down next to her. After all, the mugger is /still standing there./ "Get the hell out of here, or I swear to god— " She's so angry. So, /so/ angry. "When I get to the studio tomorrow, there are going to be a dozen commercials with your ugly face plastered all over them." She'll do it, too. Not that she really has the power, but she's going to make the threat anyway.

—-

Moneyman is /gone/. Fled. Absconded. Beaten feet.

The other guy? He sends a kick after the swat, and /then/ turns to run - there's other people coming, yup. Yes, the foot connects. But…

He probably shouldn't have though - he turns /face first/ into that maple tree. Serious bad luck, forgetting an entire tree was /right/ there. That looked like it hurt, too.

Stumbling, bloodied, he starts to head off after his friend, there.

—-

Earlier, there was good reason for different people to approach the problem from different angles. Now, with the hoods run off, George slows down as he gets closer and kneels down on the other side of Ali. "Jesus, you okay? —Well, of course not, I mean how bad are you hurt?" One hand absently fishes that cell phone out again, flipping it open and getting ready to dial 911 if things turn out to be dire enough to require more than a lift and an ice pack. He glances up at Erin, now, checking out whether she's suffered any worse than being pushed around some.

—-

Oh god, oh god. At least she isn't as squeamish about blood as Taine is, but dear god. "Ali. Alyssa. Hey." She's already kneeling, hand resting on her shoulder gently, neither shaking nor pulling, just remaining there as a sort of comfort. Erin seems to be perfectly okay. Shaken surely, but not hurt at all.

Her eyes turn upward in the direction the attackers ran, and she allows herself a moment for the sheer volume of adrenaline in her system to just give her the shivers. There's a quiet whimper as her hand now reaches for the DJ's face, hand resting on a cheek so she can turn Ali's face upward to see the damage. It doesn't look awful, but then again, Erin's not a doctor. She doesn't even play one on TV.

—-

Mumbled - "m' fine." And - despite the good intentions, Ali's doing her best to wave people away, even as she coughs and does her damnedest /not/ to uncurl for a moment. Dirty, tired, clothes strewn across the clearing - and then violence? Hell of a night.

"They gone?" THe Dj coughs again. "Ow. Christ."

It's not much damage. A split lip, a good smack - nothing's swelling more than expected. Her voice is more than a little dull, however.

—-

George winces at the sight, then nods, offering Ali a hand up and glancing away to make sure Moneyman and partner didn't change their mind. "Probably going after easier targets," he mutters, his tone a mixture of relief and annoyance. "Better get you home, get some ice on that before it gets any worse."

—-

"You're not," Erin says. She's never walking through this park again! EVER. Every time she does, something weird happens. Weird and dangerous. "Yeah, they're gone. Hang on a sec…" Now that she knows Ali isn't in any immediate danger, she scoots over toward where the clothes are, as well as everything else, and starts putting the items back into the bag. As before, she can't help wondering if Ali's homeless, so when George suggests that they /get her home,/ Erin immediately pipes up with, "My apartment's right up there." A gesture to Parkview. "It's close, and we can probably walk."

She continues putting things back in the bag wherever she can find them, but it's dark, and some things might be missed. Hopefully not. Once that's done, she helps George with the picking up of injured radio jocks, slinging the pack over her own shoulder.

"We'll see if we have to get you to the ER after we get you some ice. You took a good kick. We should probably head to the hospital anyway." Pale blue eyes turn toward George momentarily. She's not really in the mood for introductions at the moment; instead, she asks, "So, are you just a good Samaritan, or do you two know each other?"

—-

"m' fine - " Ali does, as Erin's packing up stuff, manage to get at least uncoiled, and then - with George's help? Standing. She flat out ignores the 'go home' part, flushing slightly.

Those wet cheeks? Wet grass. Seriously. Jersey girls don't cry.

"Don't need a hospital. Honest. Did .. " Ever seen hoplessness hit? "Damnit.." She takes a breath. "They got away?"

—-

George has not figured out the homeless thing yet. But, between the out-in-the-rain-all-day thing the other day, and the flushed face today, things are at least setting up for the time when he finally does clue in. Give him a little longer, he's had a really busy work week off-camera.

"Yeah, sorry," he answers her last question, then nods to Erin. "Good idea— probably closer than anywhere else. Uh, yeah, I know her… sort of. We've met once or twice."

—-

Supporting Ali from the other side, Erin starts off toward the apartment. The going is a lot slower now that she's trying to support someone's weight, and given that the actor herself is only /just/ over five feet tall, it's one of those things where she's almost slowing them down. "Yeah, they got away. Don't worry. There's not going to be a station or channel in the area that isn't going to be broadcasting. There'll be APBs out all over the place.

"Well, good enough, she states, leading them to the apartment.

It's not long before they're there. It's huge, as far as apartments go, and pretty well maintained. There's some art on the walls, a couple posters, a nice-looking entertainment center… In short, it's pretty obvious that whomever lives here makes a decent living, at least. Erin takes her own shoes off at the door, since they're a little muddy, but doesn't indicate that the others have to do the same. Her carpet is prety dark, after all, and carpet can be cleaned. "You want to rest on the couch?" she puts the bag down at a point where Ali can get to it. "I'm going to go get some ice."

—-

By the time they get there, Ali's mostly walking on her own - a hand over her stomach, and… she keeps /trying/ to get her bags back, with more than one glance at passing streets. Unfortunately, she doesn't ask for them, and apparently she makes the apartment before managing to reclaim her possessions.

Off come the shoes. Slowly. Anyway. Lots of laces there.

"Really.. you don't have to." A pause, as the decor dawns on the DJ - "Really.. really great place."

—-

"You're going to be staying here until I'm sure you have a place to go." There it is. Tactless, not particularly sensitive, but that's that. She's not the most empathic person ever in the world. Plus, she's a little angry now, not only at the people who attacked Ali, but… Now that they're safe, Erin's kind of peeved at Ali, too, for reasons she can't explain. "You could have come back here any time. What were you going to do, pull up a bench in the park? Jesus." George seems to be mostly ignored as, from the kitchen, the apartment's owner continues to rant.

Inappropriate words are thrown in amoung a tirade of subjects such as the police not doing their damn jobs, the damn criminals in the area being lazy asses, the /NERVE/ of some assholes— And she never blames Ali for any of it, except the part where she knew she had a place to stay, and she just /didn't ask for help./ "Down the hall in the closet, you can get some towels. Bandages— There's some of that Ambisol stuff in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom." That's to George. At least they can clean the girl up a bit, to try to disern which of the marks on her face are dirt smudges, and which are blossoming bruises. When she finally returns with ice, she's calmed down a little. "If you think you need to go to the hospital, you need to say something. Because I'll be damned if you die on my floor."

—-

Ali.. endures. Almost shell-shocked - she picks whatever furniture it looks like she won't leave much mud on, perches on it, and touches her cheek. "I can't ask for help. You don't get it. Look. Don't worry about it.. I've been working, right? YOu saw - I got paid. Just.. I wasn't expecting, you know, to.." And she heaves a sigh, with a wince - but with a thankful, if worried and a bit lost, look up to George. "Thanks." Then she raises her voice. "Thanks to both of you. I just didn't see them before.." A shrug.

—-

George nods to Erin and heads down the hall, erring on the side of excess as he collects materials and brings them back, using a bath towel to help with the carrying. "Well, then don't ask— but some of us are gonna help out anyway. How it goes." The stuff is set down on a nearby counter as he starts to get it sorted out again. "And don't beat yourself up over tonight, it's their fault for being out there in the first place, right?"

—-

"You're not asking. I'm telling." And it looks like Erin's going to start yelling right here in the living room if Ali doesn't just shut up and accept it. Maybe she seems brash, but /this isn't fair./ A nice girl, who has a job, and somehow has /nowhere to go./ "I'm going to worry about it, because if I let you leave and you wind up dead again, I'm going to feel bad, then how am /I/ going to work? Seriously, you didn't think this through at all, did you?" The ice pack is handed over.

And no, Erin doesn't understand. And she knows that it's hard to ask for help at times - Erin finds it nearly impossible - but when you've just had the shit kicked out of you, that is a very good time to ask for help! "That's completely ridiculous. You ask for help if you need it. If you don't, you'll be spending the night in the ER. At least maybe the doctors'll be able to talk some sense into you. What're you going for, the crazy bag lady routine? Maybe with brain damage? That's where you're heading."

She means well. Honest.

When George returns with the supplies, Erin snaps up one of the hand towels, heading back to the kitchen to run it under warm water for the cut on Ali's lip. She mixes it with a little bit of Ambisol… After all, she can't exactly spray Bactine, and this'll deaden the pain a little. "Sorry. SOrry, I just… hate that this has to happen at all. This is /stupid./ The whole thing is."

—-

"Yeah, well.. " Ali /snaps/. Apparently, the circumstances of the evening - the last couple of weeks of sleeping wherever there's a spot, hoping for a couch. Bad news. Lost jobs. No showers, and finally getting /paid/ and then having some twit run off with it? And the beating. Yeah.

In months to come, it's likely she'll look back on this as a 'less than stellar moment', but right now? She just cuts loose.

"Ask for help? ASK FOR HELP?" She squeezes her eyes closed. "Yeah. What. Force some poor schmuck to give me a bedroom somewhere? 'Oh, excuse me, sir, I broke some kid's arm and the DA's prosecuting me for inciting a riot - mind if I crash on your couch?' Why don't I just /make/ somebody let me, right? It's alright - who cares?"

She buries face in hands. Makes it a little hard for anyone to get to the mud /or/ the bruise. "I didn't /want/ this crap, I didn't want to /deal/ with it, and I never /asked/ for it."

—-

George pauses, shooting Ali a Look (tm). Not like he had much of anything else to do at this point; Erin's got the medical supplies issue in hand, plus she knows the DJ a good bit better than he does. Here, though, is something with which he can connect.

"So that's it, then? 'Hi, my name is Earl, I cheated my way through the fourth grade so I deserve a kick in the nuts'? No way!" He reaches out and rests a hand on Ali's shoulder, if she lets him, and continues whether she does or not. "So you messed up, you hurt a few people. So have I. So have a lot of people. Doesn't mean you /meant/ to. Gotta let it go a little, all right?"

—-

Yeah, see? That's good. Get angry, Ali! Those assholes who beat you up /deserve/ that anger, because … something. Erin has no idea. But as Ali snaps, Erin seems to calm down more, since she no longer has to be angry for them /both./ Of course, what Ali says? Makes no sense, which kind of makes any intent to continue shouting /leave/ the actress, because obviously, Ali got hit harder than any of them thought. Her voice comes surprisingly gentle. "Asking isn't /making/ me do anything," she says, holding the towel up to Ali's face as she sits down next to her. "I'm helping you because those jerks decided to hurt you."

And… unless Erin's mistaken, she pretty much told Ali that she's staying here— not the other way around, which is why she's a little confused. Then again, trauma does things to people - she learned that from playing a character on a soap opera. "Hey. Come on. I can't help if you're hiding your face." She attempts to get the towel to Ali's lip again. "You think I asked that bastard to try to steal my laptop? No one asks for it. People are just jerks. Look, do you want to go to the hospital? Just tell me yes or no."

Wait. Hurt? "Hurt a few people?" Sigh. "Oh come on, now. What am I missing here?"

—-

Rueful - "Like I can afford it." See? That wet grass is just /everywhere/. Ali - oddly? She leans into George's touch, and looks - rather strangely - at Erin. "You're.. serious? Without me asking?" That.. seems awfully important to her, for some reason.

A breath, then - "I may have, you know. CHeated through fourth grade. I can't remember. But yeah. No feeling sorry, right?" Rebound. Wiping at eyes, the woman takes another deep breath. "Sorry. It's been kinda a rough couple of weeks."

—-

George walks around the end of the couch, sitting down next to Ali and offering more of a leaning target, since that seems to work. Which may well lead to further complications down the road, but oh well. "I won't tell the principal if you don't," he mumbles. He exchanges a confused glance with Erin, much of McAlister's subtext flying over his head, but mostly just hangs out and waits for the time when things do start to become clear.

—-

This isn't unconditional by a long shot. She wants to know what that whole 'hurting people' comment was about, because that does make her a little uneasy. Then again, who /hasn't/ hurt someone? "Come on, Ali. It's basic human compassion." /Duh./ "If you see someone kicked to hell and back, what are you going to do? Wait until they ask? Okay, so if I saw those guys in trouble, I'd look the other way. They'd deserve it, though."

She can put off the worries for now. It's not like Ali's suddenly going to jump up and attack them both. "I'm Erin, by the way," she says to George, because now is a better time for introductions than it was in the forest. "Now, can you answer me?" This is to Ali. "Do you think you need to go to the hospital? Because it'll take awhile for a cab to get here."

—-

"No. I'll be fine." Ali, at this point, is allowing towelling and even leaning on George. "I've been hit worse." A slight shrug.. that comes with a wince and a faint, rueful, lopsided smile. "So maybe today shaped up a bit better."

—-

"George," the older man answers. Somewhat older. Whatever. "Hi. So! How 'bout them Yankees, huh?" Yeah, it's a blatant change of subject. Accept it for the gift offer that it is.

—-

This leaning on George is noted as Erin attempts to help. They seem to know each other a little better than they initially let on, or… That's the guess, anyway. "You I'm going to have to kick out tonight," she says to George. No offense, but you're /pretty/ much a complete stranger." And those don't belong in houses. "You can stick around 'til I have to sleep, though." Yeah, work tomorrow. Bah. She has to be up really early, too, since make up is at six o'clock in the morning. "Thanks for helping, though. I'm pretty sure I would have been flattened if I tried to take those guys on my own."

—-

Wait. Knowing - kick out.. huh? Ali blinks, sits up (and it brings a wince) - "He's.. uh. Not with me." Oh, she's quick to point that out. "We ate pizza. That's it. Seriously." Apparently, given the chance to discuss baseball, she picks on 'not dating.' Kind of her!

—-

George blinks, looks to Ali, then back to Erin. "Yeah, we… um." Yeah, the leaning is just instincts doing their thing. He's doing the wet grass thing himself, in fact; good thing Ali's looking the wrong way to spot it. "But yeah, sure thing. Just wish I would've been there a little earlier, maybe they wouldn't have hit you two in the first place."

—-

This makes Erin smile. "I never said you were." And she didn't! It's just — strange guy staying in her home? Bad idea! See, she might not be the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to walking around in New York, but she's not letting strange guys hang out here overnight. "Eh, they didn't hit me. I'm fine. At least we got most of your stuff back." That last bit is to Ali, of course. She examines the bruise on the younger woman's face, scowling a little. If it's too bad tomorrow, they'll have to go to the hospital. Besides, there's the other thing to worry about, too - the kick to the stomach. "Your bed's still made up from when you stayed here last time. I've been too busy to strip it and all. So. You'll be staying in it for awhile, anyway."

And because she doesn't want either of them to think she's /completely/ naive - after all, Ali is almost as much of a stranger as George is - "You steal anything while I'm not home all day tomorrow, and I'll injure you." Erin doesn't think she will, but… Hey, she's had a bad day, too.

Again, she /does/ mean well…

—-

Ali's face clouds.. but she nods. "Fair enough." a sigh, and she keeps her head tilted for the examination - "It'll be fine. Seriously - and.. are you sure? I.. can't exactly pay you right now. I know, I know, it's not what you're offering. It doesn't matter."

She adds, softly, to George. "Hey. You saved my butt. I owe you - don't worry about it, huh?"

—-

George scoots forward a little so that Ali can see him better as he answers. "Promise me another non-date and we'll call it even, all right?" And nods to Erin, belatedly addressing that part of it as well. "Yeah, don't worry about me, I'll get a ride when the time comes."

—-

So, crisis averted for the night, it seems. Being a decent hostess, Erin heads back to the kitchen for … A bag of potato chips, and a couple bottles of water, which she sets on the table for George and Ali to snack on. "I'll be back in the kitchen if you need me. Need to go over some stuff for tomorrow." Lines, set direction. Hopefully when this storyline is over, she won't have to get up at four thirty every day.

"I'm sure. Really. What am I going to do with an empty bedroom?" It'll sit there, and… sit there. "If you feel like you have to, when you can afford it, you can pay me back." Picking up a remote control, she tosses it in George's direction. "There, in case you guys feel like watching TV. Keep it low, though. Can't concentrate if the volume's all the way up."

—-

Even potato chips lack one important allure.. "Uhm. Either of you mind if I get a shower?" That would be, apparently, /soap/. Ali offers a faint smile. "I /really/ want a shower. Bad. I smell."

—-

George leans back, letting Ali get up now, and remains politely quiet - though he does grin a bit when he thinks she isn't looking. "I promise not to put on Guns of the Navarone," he says to Erin as he catches the remote.

—-

That seems like a fair request. In fact, Erin will actually divert her intended path to head down the hallway and show Ali where the bathroom is, where the towels are, and even gets her some clean clothes, since no one wants to wear anything that's been thrown all over the ground. "All yours," she says to the girl, and, with a smile, will return to the living room where George is sitting.

You can't really go through that without at least feeling some kind of bond with the others who went through it with you. And while Erin looks at the kitchen where she's got a script sitting, she figures - just this once - she'll hang out with her company for awhile before shooing them out the door. At least 'til Ali's cleaned up. Plopping down on a nearby chair, she leans back, closing her eyes. "I'm more of a figure skating fan," she says, finally getting back to the question about the Yankees.

They'll probably still be chatting whenever Ali returns.

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