2007-05-14: Restoring A Painting


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Cass swings by Monica's House to try and get her painting back. She talks with a defensive D.L. and even talks to Jessica.

May 14th, 2007:

Restoring a Painting

Monica's House

Perhaps it's not the smartest idea for Cass to show up at Monica's house alone. But she's left some instructions of what should be done should she not show up after a set amount of time. Holding onto the resume that Niki left behind at the store that gave her current address, she tries to keep herself from looking the tad bit nervous and scared that she is with the very real possibility that she may come face to face with Jessica after she knocks on the door. Despite all that, though, here she is, knocking on the door trying to get Tom's stupid Isaac Mendez back.

Answering the door is the complete opposite of Niki: A big black man. D.L. rolls his eyes, pulling open the door and almost stretching some. He doesn't completely recognize the face on the other side, but he does show some familiarity. Immediately, though, he's going into a defensive mode, since that's the best thing he can do right now. "Niki ain't here." It could be a lie, but with Jessica taking the forefront lately, it's definitely not one.

Blinking when D.L. opens the door, Cass looks slightly relieved that it's not Niki/Jessica opening the door. "I, uh, that's alright. Mr. Sanders, right? I'm Cass Aldric. I own the store that Niki…used…to work at. Um, do you have a minute?" This is a little intrusive, but she wants some answers and she wants to figure out what exactly is going on. Going to Niki's seems like the best way to do all that. Because even if Niki's not there, her husband might know /something/. Right?

"Hawkins." he corrects, since he's too busy trying to keep her out. "D.L., though, if you're gonna' be askin' questions." He leans against the door and pokes his head out. Since he's too busy trying to make sure she doesn't come up in the house, he'll just play this role like there's no tomorrow. For him, there might not be. "I got some time. What's up?" Apparently, he's not the type to just let strange white girls in his house.

In this day and age, that may be a good move. However, the things that Cass want to talk about may not be good for outdoor conversation and when she's not let in, she does the look to one side and then the other thing. "Hawkins. D.L. Sorry. Right. I shouldn't have assumed." Already she's off to a bad start. But, she'll try and recover. Frowning, she tucks her hands into her pockets and looks straight at D.L. "I…it's…about Niki. Does she happen to have a sister or something? Like…a twin sister?" Awkward.

"Not legally." This is D.L.'s defense. And he's going to have to stay on the defensive if he's going to get this girl out of here. "But she's fine. And she'll be back to work soon as possible. Just a little sick." He pushes the door a little bit more, just to make sure Cass can't see inside his home. Well, his cousin's home, anyway. "So, don't worry 'bout her, alright?" And now that he's seen that she's okay, he can tell Niki and it'll all be fine.

The frown still stays right where it is as Cass studies D.L. She notices him trying to shut the door further and the fact that she's still on his doorstep as opposed to being invited in. "Well, the way she was talking, it sounded like she wasn't going to be coming back at all." Not about to just try and rubberneck to try and get a view inside of her former-employee's house, she frowns. "And what do you mean not legally? I /am/ worried about her because some crazy woman is parading around pretending to be Niki, ripping up the back room of my store, stealing things from me, choking me, and, oh yeah, nearly eviscerating my friend. So if you really want to keep talking about this outside where I can make a scene, then that's fine. But I just want some answers. I'm worried about her."

"It's being handled." D.L. remarks, already knowing where this is headed. He's probably weakening, since he's leaning away from the door a bit more, in case things are needed to be said on the inside. He doesn't really care, though, too much about the causing of a scene because he can just call the pol— okay, that's not really an option so nevermind. "What'd she take? I'll get it to you." He's blissfully going to ignore the talk about his wife being some sort of crazy eviscerator. Cuz she's not. -Technically-.

A muffled rattle toward the back of the building is the first hint that someone other than D.L. is home. As it turns out, there's a back door that opens into a small yard, and it's through this door that someone slips in - using a key; always a good sign - and makes their way into the residence, wasting no time. That someone would be Niki - in, perhaps, D.L. and Cass's ideal word. No, the demeanor is all wrong: all too self-assured, domineering, all in a few fast strides. It's Jessica that appears behind the doorstop that is Niki's husband; in black pants and long grey tanktop, there's a rather heavy-looking black canvas bag slung over her shoulder. She's on her way /past/ D.L., gliding toward the hall, when she stops. She looks around him to eye whoever's at the door. She pauses. Her eyes narrow. "Heeey," she says in a low, sing-song voice. "… I thought I /quit/." She quit. Niki quit. Way to be confusing.

"Handled?" Cass gives D.L. an incredulous look. "That sounds dubious. And even more worrying." This is the way he's talking about his wife? "She took a painting." At least she'll get that taken care of as it's another reason why she's here. "I'm just…if Niki needs help, I want to help." Because of the how Niki helped her before and because she's a friend. Even if Jessica certainly isn't. Luckily, she hears Jessica coming before she continues and when she appears in the doorway, her frown deepens. With so little of a view of Jessica, she can't tell who this is. Niki? Jessica? Might as well play it safe until it can be figured out. "You did. I came for what you took."

Great. Jessica. Here she is about to screw up everything. D.L. spins on his heels to look at Jessica and shakes his head. "Hey. Don't you have anywhere else to be but here?" He sighs and looks back at Cass, now just letting the door open up, since there's no point in trying to hide it. "We're not exactly into art, in this house. So unless you have some proof or a warrant or something, we don't have anything to give you." He crosses his arms over his chest, since he's busy trying to side by his wife's crazy side and help Cass at the same time.

"Why would I want to be anywhere else but here, baby?" Jessica counters D.L. with sarcastic sweetness, sidling up to him, touching his arm, looking up. The bookstore owner's reply, then, draws a roll of her eyes. "Whatever," she murmurs, blase, under her breath - an inflection of that uncaring tone is fed up. Completely contradicting D.L., the woman folds her arms and steps back. "You can have it." How generous of her, giving back what she stole?

Jessica. It doesn't take the sarcastic tone for Cass to be able to pinpoint just who this woman is. The body language helps. As does D.L.'s response to her. However, she's still acting like she's married to D.L. and…well, this is all just way too confusing. "I don't have a warrant, but I can come back with proof that it's mine." Now she's gone from embarrassed to wary. This is the woman who eviscerated Peter and knocked her out. Walking into her house would possibly be a bad move. A very bad move. Suddenly, staying outside seems like a very good idea. Witnesses. "Great. Well. Um, I can wait while you get it."

Right. Well. D.L. might as well not even be here. He tries to keep things under control, but when Jessica's mouth is open, control is always lost. Gone. Nothing he says or does will be on the right wavelength with her. He stands there for a moment, looking from Cass to Jessica and back. "Well, you two lovebirds do whatever it is you gotta' do. I'm goin' to work." And there he goes, heading off towards the bedroom and leaving an 'innocent' woman alone with Jessica. Oops.

For a moment, after D.L. saunters off being incredibly unhelpful much to her complete lack of caring, Jessica just stands in the doorway. She leans against the frame, arms crossed, one hip jutting out against the bag that she carries, staring down Cass. She has the faintest of smiles for her (sort of) former boss, but there's nothing kind about it. "Don't mind him," she tells Cass, squinting her eyes ever-so-slightly and smiling wider in what /would/ be a cute little gesture, under very different circumstances. "He's moody." Pushing away from the door, she turns her back on Cass to, presumably, fetch that damn painting herself. Let's never mind the seemingly new tattoo Niki never had on her shoulderblade, just covered a few hairwidths by the edge of her shirt.

There is a slightly panicked look to Cass when D.L. goes off on his own. "I'm not…hey!" Dammit! While she's not really sure of his part in all this, she's /pretty/ sure that she's not about to do anything while her husband was watching. He seemed decent enough that way. At least until he left her stranded in the doorway with Jessica. The smile she's given isn't at all construed as something that could be friendly and she doesn't take it as such. "Right." When Jessica turns around, Cass notices the symbol tattooed on her shoulder and it makes her eyes widen. Without thinking, she takes a step forward just so she can try to get a closer look at it. That's the symbol on Suresh's book. The one that they were using as a bat signal. And she's never seen Niki with it before. "I…where'd you get that tattoo?" If she can't get information off of D.L., she might as well get it off of the source herself.

A mere few steps away, Jessica looks over her shoulder. "Package deal." That vague answer is the only one Cass is going to get, it seems, because she goes on her not-so-merry way. In the bedroom, ignoring D.L. as much as he's presumably ignoring her, Jessica does exactly what she implied: she opens the closet door, shoves aside the hanging garments, mostly women's, and takes out a large, rectangular object. The painting. The protective wrapping Cass had over it at the store is still intact; so are the spatters of blood. The painting itself, however? A-okay, and offered to its rightful owner. On a fine line between rhetorical and serious, she asks: "You know what this is a picture of?"

"Ah." Cass doesn't really understand what that means, but Jessica is already too far away for her to bring it up further. By the time she returns and has the painting already in her possession, the store owner lets out a relieved breath. It may be a disturbing and crazy painting, but it has sentimental value. It was Thomas'. Reaching out, she takes a hold of it and then cradles it, careful to not let it drop. "I haven't looked at it in months," she replies truthfully. "Some room. A girl and a guy who's hard to see. I was going to inspect it again, but, well, it kind of went walking."

Jessica gives a soft noncommittal sound in her throat as the painting is passed along; she eyes it as it shifts out of her possession. Not about to voice her thoughts or explain herself, that leaves Jessica with… Cass. Here. At her door. For no reason. Quick to try to change this scenario, she starts to close the door in the woman's face.

Well. Cass got what she came for, namely the painting in her arms. When Jessica starts to slam the door in her face, she should just let it close. Get out while she still can. But there are still questions that are nagging at her, so she shoots out a hand in order to try and stop that door from shutting in front of her. "Where's Niki?" It's a question she think she may know the answer to, but she wants to know for sure.

Although she could easily slam the door in Cass's face all the way - which would involve slamming Cass /with/ the door, but, you know, semantics - Jessica lets the woman have her little impediment… but not for long. She smirks at Cass, cocking her head to the side. "It's none of your business where Niki is anymore." A palm splays on the back of the door, itchy to close it. "Oh, but don't worry. She's going to be just fine. Better than fine."

While Cass has none of Jessica's strength, that's not going to stop her from trying to keep that door open. At least for now. Shifting the painting so that it's not so awkwardly held against her, she frowns and gives the woman who looks like her friend a very determined stare. "It's always my business when one of my friends are in trouble. Especially when I don't trust your definition of fine." But, then, she really doesn't have anything else to say to that, so se lets her hand drop from the door, where she's sure it'll slam in her face. She doesn't let up on her staring, though.

Jessica stares back: all traces of her smirk have faded, leaving nothing /but/ that stare, steely and just as determined, if for a completely opposing reasion. "Find another charity case." The door, as Cass predicted, is slammed.

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