2007-04-01: Someone's Watching Over You

Starring:

Desiree_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Elena_icon.gif

and various NPCs

Summary: Desiree sees some images that prompts her to go on an adventure from a convenience store to a hospital where the unconscious, recovering Ramon might be in trouble.

Date It Happened: April 1st, 2007

Someone's Looking Over You


A Convenience Store, New York City

Beep-beep. Beep-beep. The sound of items being rung through a convenience store checkout at a gas bar. Behind a burly man in a leather jacket and typical biker gear, Desiree Russo stands idly inspecting her nails. Sans hot pink today, for the record. She has a few random food items and a magazine tucked under one arm. The fluorescent lights overhead flicker, and she glances up blandly before watching the argument the man is having in front of her is now having with the clerk over a lottery ticket. Serial killers on the loose, crazy things abounding… Dezi just wants some damn ice cream right now.

Poor Dezi. As she's looking at the line of groceries splayed out across the conveyer belt, they start to form pictures. A little warning nudge, a new view on the future, it's 1-800-Psychic-R-U paging Miss Russo.

Desiree's gaze naturally wandesr, and when it falls upon the sprawl of groceries the clerk is putting away, she squints. Hold on a second. "'Scuse me, sorry!" She sidles up to the biker and-shoulders him to the side. Smart move, Dezi. Oblivious, she leans over the counter, shoving her own items off to the side and reaching for the clerk's hand to draw it back. "Drop that twinkie, I just needa— "

The very tattooed and leatherbound customer takes offence to the woman who tries to A) /push him away/ and B) jump ahead in the line. "'Scuse YOU? How about you wait your turn, missy? Get the hell out of my face!"

She swats at him without looking; she's staring at the counter. "Oh, how 'bout shut your face, Snake-Eyes. I jus' need a minute!"

And here's the clerk. A sort of heavyset African American lady with the name Retta on her badge, she gives Dezi a wide eyed look. "Did you not want that ma'am?" She sort of has her hands up, lest she grab something else and Dezi slap it out of reach again. Squarish glasses help magnify her eyes, making them look all the bigger.

The other customer has backed away with his hands up after getting smacked by the woman. "What're you doing, Loony Toons? I want to pay for my goddamn lottery ticket."

"No, no, I just gotta— gotta look for a minute, I just, I need you to keep it all there, right where it is," Desiree answers distractedly, crouching down so that she's practically eye-level with the groceries. "Come ooon, what're you tryin' to tell me…" She taps a manicured nail on the glass countertop, bites her lip, and carefully adjusts a bunch of bananas. Why did she get stuck with the crazy power?

Glimpses. A needle, forms and unforms somewhere in the logo on the ice cream. The angle of the bananas as they lean against the bread is suggestive of a man in a hospital bed. A shimmer on the packaging of some chips, a heavy set man, leaning over.

Then it all resolves into an image of Ramon, still not awake after his coronary and emergency bypass, sleeping peacefully and utterly vulnerable. A heavyset man steps into the room, one whose posture and form will be familiar to Dezi. He's holding a hypodermic needle, and he's moving with determination towards Ramon's i.v.

"Ohshit!" Desiree suddenly stands up, nearly leaping backwards with her hands up in the air. Worrying on her lower lip, rubbing them together fretfully, smearing the coffee-coloured lipstick about, she hesitates amount before reaching to very careful pat the bag of chips and readjust the bananas. "Aw, hell, Ramon." She holds her hands up again and looks at the cashier. "Sorry! I— do you know how to get to— oh it don't matter, I'll take a cab. Yeah so… yeah! Bye!" She rushes away, leaving everything behind. She pauses with one hand on the metal handle of the exit to look at the biker man over her shoulder. "You should get one a' those scratchy tickets with the picture of the yellow race car. Serious." The woman bobs her head, quirks a smile, and hails the next cab she can spot. Next stop: Beth Israel Hospital. Or something like that.

The Biker and the Cashier are left looking at each other as if they're not sure what's happening. Then he picks out the ticket. Why the Hell not?

The cab zooms up to Dezi and a man with dreadlocks turns to face her. "Beth Isreal? Ok, lady. Where's the fire?" Dreadlocks, but no Rastafarian accent. That said, he seems to have a penchant for swing music, which blares through the cab. And a hi-di-hi, ho-de-ho, swing swing swing swing, when that music starts to sing.

Where's the fire? "It better be under your tires!" Desiree tells him, all a-fluster when she piles in - and still, as she shifts about restlessly in the backseat. She rummages around in her purse, brown leather with a braided strap, and finds her cell phone. But when she has it in her hands, she doesn't know who to call, so she just twirls it about in her hands, tap-tap-tapping her thumbnail against the faceplate along with the music. Only slightly more erratically. "How far is it?"

"I charge extra for fire under the tires." Tires squeal as the cabbie rounds a corner, dreadlocks flying. But his grin shows white, straight teeth. "That said, I can get you there in fifteen minutes. Anything more than that and we'll be a street pancake."

"Yeah well, I can pay!" The woman says, digging in her purse to have money ready for— fifteen minutes? SIGH. "Come on come on come on come on." Desiree veritably bounces in her seat, tipping her head toward the window to watch the city rush by. Eventually, her tapping of the phone stops, but her foot starts underneath the cabbie's seat. She's ready to fly out of the car and throw money at the dreadlocked man the second they stop moving, even though she's still trying to formulate some sort of /plan/. "Why don't these things come with instructions," she mutters under her breath.

"Most people already know how to ride a cab, lady," the cabbie says, catching the money and driving off, leaving Dezi in front of the Beth Isreal hospital. Silly crazy lady, tricks are for kids!

Beth Israel Hospital

That's not what she meant, of course, but Dezi only flashes the cabbie a smile and "Mmhmmm!" before tossing that money and running toward the hospital. In the high, gold heels she's wearing, it's more like a bouncy little jaunt across the pavement. Once she's actually inside the hospital, she slows down long enough to look at the signage an compose herself. But only for a second. "Hi," she says with a big, friendly smile plastered over her /very urgent/ expression as she heads for the front desk. She lays her hands on it. "You got a patient by the name of Ramon Gomez? It's real important that I go see him."

"You family?" The nurse asks, in her very brusque Bronx accent. She's got big thick piles of big hair teased to insanity, a perm gone quite wrong, and too much eyeshadow. Pink scrubs make her look like some sort of combination between a Vegas Show Girl and Lolita at a PJ party, but she sets well manicured nails on the computer keyboard and looks up at Dezi expectantly.

"Umm… well…" Desiree's elbow goes ceilingwards as she toys with her curls, which are tied back today and made neater by her olive green headband. "Well no," she answers. She's too honest. But she's not about to let that stop her! "The thing is, see, I'm a paramedic," She rummages around in her purse. Give her a second. Any time now… "Oh, here, see!" Smiling encouragingly, she flips open a wallet with identification that has a surprised Desiree in a photo, the name Desiree Ginger Russo, and the title 'Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (EMT-P)'. It's outdated. Shh. She flashes it quickly and closes it again. "And I'm lookin' to work as a in-the-hospital paramedic, see, and Mr. Gomez is a good friend of mine who requested my care and I jus' wanna see him— can you jus' tell me where his room is? Please?"

For a long moment the nurse only stares at this flood of southern babble. Her eyes fall on the expired license. Then she snorts and shakes her head, and her fingers fly across the keys. "Room 362," she says. "I'm marking you down as his cousin." She flicks her fingers at Desiree and then turns to answer a ringing phone.

Desiree could just hug the nurse - but she's in a hurry. "Thank you-- " She peeks over the desk (as if she needs to, with her height), and looks at the nurse's ID. " --Corrina." With that, she stuffs the wallet back in her purse and makes a mad dash for the elevators, which, thankfully, are just opening to let a family out. When she's alone in the elevator, she shifts about from foot to foot and peers up at the ceiling, clenching and unclenching her fists. She goes through a murmured practice run, adopting an overly polite voice as she talks to herself. "… 'Hi, Mister Puppet Man, if you could… hi, mister, I'd really appreciate it if you could not stab my frien's IV with… no… hi, you goddamn—'" She stomps once. She's still going with her agitated little speech as she heads down the hall toward 362. "…'hey, if you'd just put down that hypodermic needle 'cause I'm trouble too I'd be real thankful… hi, mister…'"

Ding. Third floor, near 302—that's where the elevator lets off. The hallways are broad, inscrutable, empty save for a cleaning woman and a man walking by who seems lost in his own little world of worry. The lights overhead flicker with their fluorescent dreams, uneasy and as sickly as their charges.

Desiree's manic mumblings hush by the time she starts to truly near 362. She comes to a stop a few feet away, heaves her shoulders up and down, squares them, and defeats the purpose of doing so when she peeeeks meekly around the door as she opens it. That's funny. Why is Ramon's door closed when all the others on the floor are open at least a little? "Hey…?"

The heavy set man's head snaps up as the door opens. He stands beside the bed, the IV in one hand, the needle in the other. Full needle, not yet used. There's a steady 'blip blip beep' as the pulse and heart monitors show Ramon's progress — steady, stable progress which the heavy set man is attempting, in his blank way, to disrupt. There's nothing in his eyes or on his face, no shock of recognition or fear. There is more the jerking of a puppet reacting to a noise, but his eyes meet hers.

"Oh— damn." Desiree was hoping she'd be early. She slowly steps into the room, her hand still on the door. She keeps it open a crack as she takes another step in, toward the man. The scary puppet man with the scary needle. "Hey there," she says in a low, gentle voice. "I see what you're doin', there," she says with a little nod of her head toward the needle in the man's hand. "Yeah. So the deal is, you're under some kinda… crazy control, right? Someone pullin' the strings? Tuggin' 'em so you come over here and… yeah. Okay, that's okay," Desiree says, keeping that soothing tone of hers. She reaches a hand out, palm flat down — but it trembles, just a touch. "Weeeell… how's about you put that needle down?"

She'll be able to see a few details. His face isn't fat or heavyset at all, but a little gaunt and worn, as if it's been fighting against something too long. It's the /body/ that is heavyset, like he's wearing, for whatever reason, far too many clothes. A single, frustrated tear runs down his face that he doesn't appear to consciously notice. He raises the needle in a gesture that might be threatening if it weren't so mechanical, his hand shaking violently as the point of the needle hovers right over her outstretched hand, trembling on the precipice between merely giving it to her or between trying to stab the point into her, instead.

Desiree takes in the sight of the man as calmly as she can - but, though her voice may be calm, her forehead is tensed by a multitude of worry lines. "Aw now, you don't wanna do anythin' to hurt no one. There's some part'a you inside don't want to. Some real part's tuggin' back on those puppet strings. Ain't that right? I can tell," she says, slow and confident, nodding to the man. She sees that tear. Whatever it means, it's /something/. Emotion. "Mm-hmm, I can. I think…" In what may be a dangerous move, she steps toward the not-so-heavyset man and overturns her palm. "…you wanna gimme that needle, cupcake. Hmm? Don'tcha? Nice and— and easy, like. You don't wanna hurt my friend Ramon here."

His eyes grow tight, and then he lets out a sharp gasp, like an 'ah', and turns the needle on its side to lay into her hand. Then he backs away from her. Clutching his head as if this one act of defiance against his control has hurt him desperately, he staggers and stumbles out of the hospital room and into the hall. He's wearing a janitor's suit over all those clothes, perhaps explaining his own entry.

"There, there. Thank you," Desiree coos tenderly to the would-be killer. "Tha's real, real strong of you, mister." Her long fingers curl tightly around the needle. When he rushes out of the room, she follows him a few paces behind, her heels clicking tentatively on the floor until she's in the doorframe, watching him. She looks over her shoulder at the still form of Ramon, then back at the man in the hall; she's reluctant to let him amble away, but she's not sure how to help him, either.

The man is now scrambling, booking, dropping his hands and headed for the elevator. Behind her, there's a stir, a sudden shift in sounds of the monitors. The heavyset man — or not so heavyset — is making his way towards the stairwell rather than the elevator, as if he intends to make his escape by the least used route ever.

Desiree watches with an anxious, conflicted expression as the heavyset - or heavy-clothed? - man takes off. What's she going to do, chase him down and jump him? Jarred by the sounds behind her, she turns, making her way hurriedly over to the side of the bed. She takes in the monitors with a knowing eye and looks over the man in the bed with concern. "Ramon…?"

He does seem to be waking. His eyes aren't open as he murmurs, at first seemingly in answer: "Catalina," and then something in Spanish, like he's trying very hard to explain something. Then his eyes snap open, and he gives a hard, shuddering gasp, and stares wildly at the ceiling as if not at all sure where he is. His head snaps to Dezi seconds later, and his eyes tighten, as if she's a friendly and recognizable piece of an otherwise incomprehensible puzzle.

"Heeey," Desiree greets quietly, a friendly voice hardly above a whisper, like she's scared to startle him. She pulls up a chair and sits on the very edge, leaning over her legs toward the bed. "It's me, Desiree. Did you jus' wake up? Are you okay?" She reaches out to lay a calming hand on Ramon's arm overtop the blanket. Her other hand still clutches the needle. "I should call the nurse, they got the equipment…"

"I heard voices," Ramon mutters. "I feel like I've heard so many voices for days and days, but I can't make out anything. I felt like I was drowning in my own blood." He lets out a short, sharp bark of a laugh. "But I am alive." His eyes fall to the needle, and he gives her a questioning quirk of the eyebrow. Something seems to strike him as momentarily funny: it flashes through the despair that's settled into his eyes like a lightening storm through winter clouds. He doesn't comment though, saying, "It's good to see you, bonita. It seems lately you are watching over me quite a bit, si?"

Ramon's wording, all blood and voices, have Desiree widening her eyes and trying to understand. In lieu of that, she just squeezes his arm. "Someone is," she answers humbly. As if remembering only now what she's holding onto, she places the needle on the bedside table, letting it go by flattening her palm open. She pats it for a moment, making sure it doesn't roll off. "It's good to see you too. Didn't know… where you were, 'n I coulda used a frien' these past few days. Got here just in time."

"I'd have called if I could," he says. The awkwardness he displayed on the phone is gone. "Sit down and tell me about it." His voice is rough with disuse, but there is something in him of the Ramon that stopped her at the church to talk. His brown eyes turn on her, steady, listening. His color is still off, but his breathing is steady enough.

"Man from the store before was here," Desiree says, hooking a thumb over her shoulder in gesture. Her hand falls back to her lap with a little flop. "I told him to go away. Think he's still a real person somewhere needs help. All this craziness, with the man who killed your wife and those other people… it's like… one storm outta a whole bunch. S'too many. There's another man walkin' 'round wantin' to kill people can do weird things with our minds like us, did you know? An'… I been seein'…" She trails off, becoming rather subdued for a moment before she cracks a smile. "How'd you land in here anyway? Still look like hell, by the way."

Stoic as a stone, Ramon listens. "I don't know. My chest hurt, then I got dizzy, and that's all I remember. Nima from the shop was there, and her brother, who would like to blackmail me, and Cass." A pause. "What have you been seeing that disturbs you? The least I can do is listen to you, bonita." He gives her a long, piercing look. "You keep rescuing me."

"All's I do is go where I see in the pictures," Desiree says simply. "You have a heart attack or somethin'?" She casts a worried expression on Ramon and glances over her shoulder at the door, as if contemplating getting a nurse - but she can see his vitals from here, at least. She's hesitant to talk about her visions, it seems, but after looking down at the floor and up at Ramon several times over, she speaks up reluctantly. "Well. I keep seein' all these little spots on a map, first of all. S'why I came back, 'cause it's New York. Been seein' it everywhere. Then everythin' just…" The woman makes a vague, swirling hand gesture. ""'Bleh'. Then I saw a woman, a detective in a hospital, I saw her maybe die. I dunno. There was a clock, it didn't make much sense. She just flipped out when I told her." She pauses and looks solidly at Ramon. "Then I saw you here today."

"That can't be pleasant, seeing frightening things." A look like remorse rockets over Ramon's features. He seems to remember something. "The baby — weren't you going to help your friend have a baby? Did she?" He struggles to sit up, then pulls an irritated face when he cannot. He's either too weak, in too much pain, or has far too many drugs running through his system.

"Yeah, well, looks like I'm stuck with it…" The gloomy expression on Dezi's face is forced away by the smile she breaks into. "Oh, yeah! Yeah, she did, baby boy, kickin' and screamin' like anythin'." She stands up, then, and puts a hand on Ramon's shoulder. "Hey now, you don't look like you should be movin' yet, mister," she mothers. She tugs at the IV bag, eyeing it. "What they got you on. Ugh. That is just way too many drugs for someone sleepin', surprised you woke up at all." Mutter, mutter. She bustles around to the other side of the bed to look at the various monitors. Click-clack-click go her heels.

Ramon sort of watches her with something like bewilderment. The chart will show a triple bypass surgery, and a regimen of low fat, low cholesterol foods for him when he wakes up. He can't even have eggs. The blood pressure monitor still shows fairly high blood pressure to begin with, even at it's lowest rate, and all the charts show it to not ever vary much from this, though he's been asleep the whole time. His pulse is good and strong. The drugs are…post-heart-attack-surgery stuff.

Desiree is very much perusing every detail she can, and by the way her eyes just skim the chart with no hint of confusion, she must understand it. "Aw, honey," she looks sideways at Ramon, her forehead all wrinkled. "You been through hell and survived. You jus'— you jus' woke up now?" Blink blink blink. "Well, I'ma get your doctor," she announces and starts to decisively stride around the bed. She swipes that needle from the bedside table, frowns at it, and roams the hospital room until she finds an appropriate toxic waste garbage to drop it in. "You want me to call your daughter or anythin'?"

"Hey don't!" Ramon says, holding out a hand as she goes to dump the needle. "Did he have on gloves? If he didn't…" he pauses, then makes a decision. "Bring it to Nima." Somehow the girl is wrapped up in this too, though he doesn't understand now. And Nima is kind, even if they're somewhat at odds. And perhaps the best hope of unraveling everything. "Please." There's this really long pause, during which he wets his lips, and his eyes tighten, and he looks like he's going to say something. Then? "And yes, please call Elena." Pause. He opens his mouth and then? He grunts, his face shutting down into the sort of helpless-when-it-comes-to-words stoicism that marks him.

Desiree just stands there, paused, staring at Ramon until he gets all his words out. "Uuh. I don't think he did. Well, okay," she says agreeably with a shrug, even though he was slightly too late, in that she already dropped the needle - but lucky in that there's not much else in the bag. So she takes the whole thing. It's like an oversized blue Ziploc, really, save for the biohazard symbol. "I'ma need her number," she notes as she readies a pen, poised over the obligatory notepad that sits by the bed. "I bet she'll be real glad to know you're okay. Seems to care about you a whole lot."

Ramon's face betrays confusion. "Nima? I destroyed her shop." He shakes his head. He pauses, and reaches out to try to touch Dezi's arm for a moment, a gesture with no words. Whether or not he is successful his hand falls again in moments. "The number to her shop will be in the phone book. I do not know her personal line. I told her," he chuffs a laugh. "That I'd leave her be."
"You-wha?" Desiree doesn't move, so the touch is there. She looks completely lost. That would because she is. But she goes with the flow and just nods her head a few times. "Okay. Well, y'are leavin' her be, I'm the one gonna call her, ain't I?" she retorts good-naturedly with a silly smile. "Now, as for that daughter of yours… where can I get a hold of 'er?"

"Nima was the one who jumped out with the tonfa," Ramon explains. "Oh. Elena's number." He starts to laugh. "I've gone insane." He shakes his head, and then rattles off the number from memory. "I'm sorry, bonita." He lets out a long breath. "My head is not on straight."

"Me 'n' you both. Don't you worry about it. I needed shop-girl's number anyway, now I know where to find it. What on God's green Earth is a tonfa? Anyway," Desiree says as she scribbles down the number. "You sit tight. I'ma get those docs. And— I'll be around, to see how ya are." She stuffs … toxic waste into her purse like it's the most casual thing ever, heads for the door with the notepaper of phone numbers in her hand. She pauses with her hand on the doorknob and looks back at Ramon. "I'm glad you're okay too."

Ramon smiles at her. It's a sad smile, but this one lingers, instead of shooting across his face like so much lightening. "Yes well," he says, his voice still gruff for all that. "You did, after all, make sure of it. Good night, bonita."

PHONE: You dial the number 283-9721. It begins to ring.

PHONE: The other end answers, "Hello?"

PHONE: Desiree sounds pretty chipper when she replies. "Hi 'Lena! It's Desiree.

PHONE: Elena says, "….oh. Hi, Ms. Russo! How are you? Listen, sorry if I sound hurried, I'm trying to catch the bus so I can head back to where Papa is."

PHONE: Desiree says, "Oh, I'm there! I mean, at the hospital. Yeah. Uh. He's awake, wanted me to call you so you know he's okay. He's doin' good, real strong."

PHONE: Elena says, "Oh thank god! He's awake? I'll be there in a few minutes I just…. *pause* ….you're there? How did you know he was there?"

PHONE: Desiree says, "I saw it in a bag of chips… and… some… bananas."

PHONE: Elena says, "…..I see. Well, thank you very much for being there with him when he woke up. I was just leaving my job for the day. I'll be there in a few minutes."

PHONE: Desiree says, "The doctors are all buzzin' around him right now but I'm sure they'll let you in, OH BY THE WAY, if anyone asks I'm your cousin. See you later!"

PHONE: You end your current call.

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