2007-05-28: The Derexian Empire


Jack_icon.gif Trina_icon.gif


Jack and Trina get in an early morning talk about the new single-man militia of the Derexian Empire. (That would be Jack, in case you couldn't figure it out.)

Date It Happened: May 28, 2008

The Derexian Empire

Midtown, NYC - Jack's Apartment - Prestige Midtown Apts.

This lofted-ceiling studio apartment is quite spacious and tastefully furnished. There's a closet just to the left of the door and a kitchen area to the right. A propane stovetop, standing pantry, large refrigerator, and an island countertop with several barstools tucked around it dominate the cooking area.
Farther into the studio, the smoothly-polished, irregularly-fitted marble cobbles that make up the kitchen and entryway floor give way to buffed, varnished red oak slats. In the sitting area there is a matching set of overstuffed, maroon leather couches and recliners arrayed around a fifty-inch LCD television and high-end stereo. A grey-green, blunt nosed lizard no less than three feet in length is sunning itself beneath a reading lamp that's positioned over the back of a chair. Along the wall next to the television, floor to ceiling windows and a sliding glass door lead out to a balcony that provides a spectacular view of the hustle and bustle on Madison Avenue.
In one rear corner a heavy bag and a speed bag are positioned almost too close together. Even an overpriced studio has limits, after all. Propped in the other rear corner is a rolled workout mat large enough to cover most of the floor as well as a wooden striking and parrying dummy. Most of the rest of the rear wall is taken up by an enormous fishtank where dozens of koi fish in several different colors swim about lazily while an impossibly fuzzy, round, and orange kitten looks on with predatory interest. Next to the fishtank, a shallowly pitched ladder leads up to a simple sleeping area that contains little more than a closet, a king-sized bed, and a bedside table and lamp.

Jack is rested, showered, and shaved all at the same time! (He's a little hung over, but that's to be expected.) Inviting Trina over last night turned out to be the best decision he's made all week. After a little talking, more cuddling, and several things that can't be described in detail on NBC, the Irishman felt more like himself than he had in days. Then he got some sleep, which was also pretty awesome.

An early riser by nature, he slipped out of bed about an hour ago, kissed the sleeping Trina, and organized himself for a field trip. He's just now stealthing back in through the front door. He's got a cardboard drink carrier loaded down with several disposable coffee cups in one hand, and three small paper bags clutched akwardly in the other. Despite his best efforts to catch it with a boot, the heavy security door slams loudly behind him. "Shit," he mutters.

There's a sharp gasp from the designated sleeping area as a blurry-eyed Trina flies up into a sit with the sheets held tight against her breast with an arm. It takes her a few moments to remember where she is, and she then chances a glance to the other side of the bed. No Jack. Squinting against the light, her voice mumbles a questioning greeting into the morning air even as she yanks the sheet with her in order to make it over to where her clothes landed in a disheveled pile the night before just in case it isn't the owner of this joint who's making all that noise down below. "Jack? S'that you?"

After letting out a soft sigh at his own lack of grace, Jack shakes his head and sets his armload of goodies down on the kitchen counter. "Sorry, baby, it's me," he replies. "I brought breakfast." After a bit of rummaging in drawers and cabinets, he comes up with a chef's knife, a cutting board, and a couple of plates. A small loaf of bread, a half-wheel of pale yellow cheese, and a fat, spicy-smelling sausage are unloaded from one bag, and an assortment of pastries from another. Once he has things arranged to his liking, he starts slicing everything into pieces small enough to be neat when eaten with fingers. Who needs utensils for breakfast, anyway?

As Jack's announcement breaks the brief silence, Trina heaves a sigh of relief and finishes buttoning the fly of her jeans. She was halfway there anyway, so it'd be stupid to not just get dressed now. Once she's got her bra fastened and black tee shirt pulled on, she makes her way towards the kitchen. Unbrushed, messy hair gets a quick ruffle with her slender hand as she walks before she finally reaches her destination. It's an important destination.
Rolling up onto the balls of her feet, Trina goes to peck Jack on his clean-shaven cheek before turning her gaze down towards his handiwork. "Mmm," she rumbles in her feminine timbre. "Fooood. You keep this up, darlin', and you're never gonna get rid of me."

By the time Trina makes it down to the kitchen, Jack has deftly snipped each bit of breakfast into small triangles and seperated the pastries onto their own plate. Presently, he's munching on and improvised open-faced sandwich with a slice each of the cheese, sausage, and french bread while he unwraps his third and final treat. A pint of Carolyns. It's difficult to unscrew the lid with one hand, but he manages. "Two of those are strong and black," he says, pointing to the coffee. "The one with the red sticker is.. uh.. Marionberry? The other is vanilla. I wasn't sure what you liked, so I guessed."

The cheeksmooch earns Trina a smile and a low, pleasant purr. After dropping his snack on the counter, he turns around and pulls her close for a brief squeeze. "Get rid of you? Never. You look too sexy when you come downstairs all messy-like," he quips, and teases a hand through her mussed hair.

The extra hand gets Jack a shake of brunette hair for his trouble. "Now you're just puttin' me on." Then Trina's hand comes up to rub the back of her knuckles against his cheek, even as she presses herself in close and drapes her other arm atop one of his. It feels good to be in his arms first thing in the morning. Makes the rest of the world disappear for a little bit. A smile pulls at her lips in kind. "Aww. You shaved! Was that for me or should I be jealous?"

Jack grins crookedly and snuggles his jaw against Trina's touch. "Mmm. For you, silly." Normally rough in demeanor, the bartender snuggles his girlfriend close with a gentleness that's rare to see. Absently, the fingertips of one hand trail up her spine. The kiss he brushes against her forehead is is soft.

Breakfastly duties momentarily forgotten, he gives her another squeeze. "Thanks for coming over last night," he murmurs. "S'funny, but I sleep better when you're around."

Trina drinks in said gentleness with all due appreciation, more than content to be held. And the feeling that surges in her breast as Jack presses that kiss against her forehead is not easy to ignore. Maybe that's why she doesn't. She closes her eyes. She savors it. "Feelin's mutual, babe," she finally murmurs. When she at last reopens her eyes, she gives a melted flash of a smile. "I should be the one saying 'thank you', though. You're the one playin' host. All I gotta do is show up. I think you've got a thing goin' for the best damned host in Manhattan."

"Nah," Jack replies modestly. "I just know how to treat a pretty lady. Wanna agree that we're both awesome and have some grub? I dunno about you, but I'm famished. A night with you is like running a marathon." With a meaningful wink, he reluctantly seperates himself from his sweetness and goes about the business of doctoring coffee. Once lids are pried off of the two cups of stout black, he pours a liberal helping of Irish cream into one. He pauses with the bottle held over the second cup. "Wanna try? It's good."

Freed from that warm embrace, curious, long-fingered hands begin picking over various bits of nourishment, picking them up and stacking them in order to try each in turn. Eventually, she's got a glorious pile of crumbly delight and the dark haired female is only too happy to start testing out bits of things before shoving them in. Food, she muses wordlessly, is possibly the most awesome invention ever.
And then she is asked a question. Trina peers at the bottle in Jack's hands as she nibbles the casing off a piece of the sausage. "Sure," she finally declares with a decisive nod. "Himme up." Oh, hey, there went that whole hunk of sausage. OM NOM NOM NOM. Okay, may need another one of those. As she's plowing her way through a second slice, however, her brain starts to turn and her chewing starts to slow as she begins processing anew the Current Situation.

Once two cups of coffee have been properly liquored up, Jack sets on in front of Trina and takes the other up for himself. After a long sip and a luxurious, happy sigh, he peers over at his lady curiously. "You ok, hon? You're looking a bit pensive this morning." As he speaks, he plucks himself up a tidbit of blueberry shortcake that's only moderately drenched in icing.

Trina's head snaps back to Jack with a smile, the young woman smiling and shaking her head. "Right as rain," she replies, taking another bite. "Just… wondering who it is exactly that you're takin' on that needs a rocket launcher." And how much it might cost to get Baby fixed up enough to survive a drive to Ohio if the need were to arise for her to quickly relocate. "Don't tell me your friend got on the bad side of the Predator or something. Because those movies never really went so well for most of the folks involved." Pause. "…I… I'm sorry. That was bad taste." Shoving the contents of her hand into her wide mouth, she looks downright comical as she chews with an exaggerated bite in order to get the ridiculous portion down. A portion quickly chased with coffee.

Rather than offended, Jack again looks sheepish. Trina isn't the only one who vividly remembers the encounter in his gun-filled office. "It's ok," he replies. "I was just pissed off. Every time I thought, 'Oh man, I'm gonna shoot this fucker with a _' I immediately thought of something bigger and better. Once I calmed down I got rid of most of it." The small stuff, mostly. But those are unimportant details.

"Men," Trina teases lightly. "Always with the 'bigger is better'." Swallowing the coffee with an appreciative roll of her head as she feels that thick liquor glide down her throat, the young woman then cracks open one eye to peer in Jack's direction. "Where'd it all *come* from, anyway?"

Jack nearly chokes on his coffee, but by turning his head at the last second, he skillfully manages to avoid spraying Trina. Needless to say, this is not a question he expected or wishes to answer. Honesty is good though, right? So after briefly considering the inkblot painting of coffee he just made on the floor, he relocates a tea towel and explains while he cleans up. "Stolen, mostly. Police stations. Armories. Some of it was bought from illegal dealers here in the city."

After a quick side-step to make doubly sure she doesn't get a coffee bath, Trina watches Jack as he goes about cleaning up the mess for a few moments. For once, she doesn't instantly move to help. Instead, she takes another slow sip. "I don't really gotta say nothin', I'm guessin'." That said, she sets down her coffee cup and moves to go get a wet paper towel. Sticky floors are gross, after all, and they're an unavoidable reality at work. All the more reason to keep them clean at home.

Now that he's wiped up the worst of the mess, Jack evacuates the area so Trina can go to work with her paper towels. When he sighs, it's ponderous and heavy, and his cheeks puff out. This is not great. Not a great way to start the morning at all. "I'm not a bad person," is his quiet defense. What else can he say, really?

"I know you're not," Trina says, voice soft, but not for lack of sincerity as she mops up the rest of the mess. "Met bad people before. Y'ain't anything like 'em. I'm not comin' down on you. Not judging. Just sayin', s'all." With another sniff, Trina pushes herself back to her feet and makes her way to the trash can without really looking at him. She feels bad for saying anything at all after he's been so kind to her. "You know it ain't quite right, 'else you wouldn't have done your fountain statue impression with good booze. But, hey. Few things *are* right in this world. So. Ain't judgin'. Just sayin'," she repeats. Just to make sure he heard that part.

Jack nods solemnly. This is a line of reasoning he can understand. This is a now or never moment, and he's going to opt for now. "I do things differently from other people," he begins tentatively. "I always have. I sort of consider myself a sovereign nation of my own. Recognizing no other government within my borders, y'know? But I'm still the same Jack who cares about you."

"There are rules for a *reason*." Trina's brow furrows as she swallows down the 'so you don't get noticed' tag line that threatens to escape. She's not really one to talk. With the… punching. And threatening strangers. And underage drinking those not-so-many years ago. And murder. Definitely can't forget the murder. "Just promise to nod your head at 'em once in a while for me, and we'll call it a compromise. Else it's gonna be kinda hard to live in the Derexian Empire with you." Finally, she comes back to her cup of coffee, and she's glad for the chance to occupy her hands with something. Something to hold and cradle, it keeps them from fidgeting. "Not that I have any right to ask. I know that, Jack." A shrug. "Barely know each other at all, really."

"Hey.." Jack closes the distance between himself and Trina, then reaches out to gather her up into his arms. Far from being his normal, outgoing self, it's a gesture that could easily be pushed aside. "Me telling you this is giving you the right. And it's also me acknowledging that I'll have to compromise sometimes." Just not now. Please don't say now is one of those times. Must. Kill. Mugger.

Trina easily lets herself get all gathered up. Honestly, that's what she really wanted but never would ask. "Then next time, we skip the grenade launcher. …And the police station's stuff. No more police station's stuff after this." Note her use of words like 'next time' and 'after this'. They're important. Resting her head on his shoulder, she just stares at the counter of food. Everyone's got a downside. This is his. At least he's only doing it to come to the defense of a friend. That's something in her book. "And you have to come back in one piece. I *need* you to promise me that you won't be coming back 'some assembly required', 'kay?"

Jack cups Trina's chin in one hand and looks her in the eye. "No more police stuff. And no grenade launchers. Next time." He smiles and rubs a strong palm against her back reassuringly. "I'm really sorry you saw what you saw. That's not me. Well, it kind of is, but…" This is not helping, Jack. Quick, recover! "I just want you to know I'm not some crazy grenade-murderer. I sort of landed where I landed in life." Suspiciously absent are any promises about what condition he'll return in, but he does add, "This might end up going nowhere. I just wouldn't feel right if I didn't /try./"

Trina's pale blue eyes watch Jack's as he draws her back to reality, and she listens very intently to what he's telling her. She tries to smile back, but she fails partway through and gives up the effort. "Then you have to try," she finally allows. "Just make sure it's not something you're gonna regret. I ain't got words for people that did what that guy did to your friend, but you're *better* than he is. You gotta remember that: you're a *better man*." Then a thought finally tickles and coaxes a smile out of her. "S'why I'm absolutely stupid for you."

That's enough ominous talking for just now. Trina isn't running for the hills, and that's all that matters. Smiling back, he strokes his knuckles down her cheek and along her jawline. All traces of the sarcastic humor he normally humps around like a giant shield are gone from both his features and his voice when he says, "Never felt quite like this, especially not so soon. You're a rare person, and I plan to keep you."

"Ain't rare. Yoooou," Trina replies, snaking a hand up so she can tap him on the nose with her finger. "Just ain't been lookin' in the right places. …And you're bat-shit insane if you think I'm ever gonna tell you where those places are." Her smile becomes broader and downright devious as she pushes her arms back through his so she can wrap her arms about him. Which is in no way a sneaky method to get her hands to his backside. No, sir. She'd never…! Well, okay, maybe she would and it is, but, really, who can blame her? "I don't like sharing. You're a hundred percent all mine." Then her voice adopts a sing-song tone as she continues the thought. "Mine, mine, mine." A few more kisses are pressed to Jack's lips to punctuate the sentiment.

Jack doesn't seem to mind either the treatment he's receiving or Trina's staking of her claim. Quite the opposite, in fact. He returns each kiss eagerly. "I don't-" Smooch. "Need to-" Smooch. "Know where-" Smooch. At this point, he gives up on both breakfast and rational conversation in favor of snuggles and kissies, though he does manage to squeeze out: "Dun-needa-look-gotta-Trina." Jack can haz Trina. Jack happy!

And for the first time in two days, Trina feels an honest gurgle of a giggle make it to her lips and then she pulls Jack tight to her so she can sway him properly, with all due fondness. "I was puttin' some thought in last night, and you need to let me know when you're planning to go visit Cassie — right? — again. I'm gonna send you up with goodies. Hospitals suck ass, the food tastes like it, the air smells like it, and the nurses let you look like it."

"I'm sure she'd really appreciate it," Jack replies, and there's a merry sparkle in his eye as he sways along with Trina. "Hopefully she'll be up to seeing me sometime tonight or tomorrow morning. She was pretty out of it when I stopped in last. Three bullets to the chest will do that." Despite the seriousness of his statement, he's still smiling. "She'll tease me about ruining a sweet girl like you, I'm certain."

"Meh," Trina replies, sticking her tongue out distastefully and rolling her eyes upwards. "I got ruined a loooong time ago." Still swaying, she lets her hands go to her wrist to pull free the elastic sitting on it so she can pull her nightmarish hairdo into a equally messy ponytail, doing her best to smooth it down with her hands. "Since I got the shift tonight, I better hurry up then. Since I'm up, might as well get all of that stuff yanked together." And with that, she offers a final kiss and then moves to slip free, a hand going backwards to grab that cup of coffee. "You could really throw her for a loop and tell'er it was all you. It'd mean more, anyway."

Jack shakes his head slowly. "Nope," he replies simply. "I want people to know how freakin' awesome you are. And that you think of doing nice things for people you don't even know." After leaning forward for another kiss, he grabs Trina by one shoulder, spins her around playfully, gives her a pat/push on the behind in the direction of the bathroom. "Go shower. I'll wrap you up some snacks for later."

"Your wish is my command, Emperor Derex," Trina replies with a funky curtseyish step. Heavy on the 'ish'. Then she turns away to start walking in the direction of that shower, only to throw her head backwards and keep on walking as she talks. All the while, she prays she doesn't trip on her own feet. "…Or you could always join me." And she makes her trek without so much as a stumble. Victory! Bait now laid, into the bathroom she disappears.

Jack looks at food. Looks at coffee. Blinks. Then, barely slowed by his injured leg, he dashes after his girlfriend.

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