2010-02-28: The English Job



Date: February 28, 2010


An AP Agent acting on her own grifts an English thief.

"The English Job"

Morningside Heights

A free Sunday for Tori meant a day at the Museum of Modern Art taking in the Tim Burton exhibit. Now back in the Morningside Heights neighborhood, she gets off from the subway and stops for a cup of coffee from an outdoor vendor, and begins a meandering journey back toward her small studio apartment. Once off the main street, it's amazing how empty New York City can be on a weekend, when away from the touristy areas. Many New Yorkers spend their weekends elsewhere, so the more residential neighborhoods can be as quiet as a small town — a surprise for non New Yorkers like Tori, once they get away from the hustle and bustle of the areas that cater to the visitors.

Sipping her coffee, Tori is distracted by the earbuds in her ears, snaking to lime green iPod tucked into her houndstooth coat.

There are times that having a sugar daddy/baby with good taste in women's clothing comes in handy. This is exactly one of those times. Dressed in one of the swanky gray suits that Max had bought for her, Cody snakes along the sidewalk a few paces behind the English woman. When she is approximately one step behind her, the agent reaches out and Tori might find her left elbow in a tight grip. The agent's other hand quickly reaches up and tugs the wire of the earbud, cutting the music out of Tori's left ear.

"Miss Duffy, my name is Agent Barker, from homeland security." There's a quick flash of a gold badge which is pocketed an instant after and the black haired agent gives a tight smile. "I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind. We'll go someplace private, your apartment perhaps?"

A gasp is followed by a whirling, or attempted whirling, around as her elbow is taken, as Tori assumes it's a mugger, but Cody's grip is too tight — all she manages to do is turn and face the agent, dark eyes wide with fear. Brows furrow, and she gives a slight shake of her head. "I … I'm afraid I don't understand. Can I see your badge again?" Her eyes flicker to the pocket and back up. One hand reaches up to her other ear to pull out the remaining wire, though she seems to know better than to reach for her pocket to turn off the musical device. "What did I do?"

"Your … past has come to my attention, Miss Duffy. Do you know what sort of crime it is to come over to the United States while withholding that sort of information?" Cody doesn't let the woman see the badge again, not now anyway. The right corner of the woman's lips twitch into something of a smirk as she guides the younger raven haired woman down the sidewalk, presumably to Tori's apartment. "Now, we can do this hard hard way, a way that might be a little uncomfortable for you and involve a cell and handcuffs. Or we can do it the easy way, a way where you cooperate with me and I can make this all go away."

"I'll cooperate!" Tori says in a hurry, moving as Cody directs her. "I didn't… I'm trying to be better. I'm here for grad school and to put the past behind me," she adds earnestly, tears coming to her eyes. "I … don't I get a barrister — a lawyer?" She turns to enter an apartment building, then glances at Cody. "My key's in my left pocket," she says, so the other woman can either retrieve it or allow her to do so. "I'm on the fourth floor - or do you already know that?" she says as she reaches to push the elevator call button.

Nodding just once, Cody lets go of the young woman's elbow and places her hand in her pocket. "Open the door and I suggest that you don't run or try to evade me. I came prepared." With a gun? Tranquilizers? Who knows. "And I'm sorry, Miss Duffy, at this point you don't get a lawyer. The lawyer is something reserved for upstanding citizens." With her left hand, Cody reaches into her pocket and produces a pair of sunglasses, which she flicks the arm out on and places over her eyes. The lenses are a light tinted blue, not especially dark but enough to obscure her eye color. "Let's get a move on then, up we go."

Tori opens her mouth as if to protest the unkind remarks so ironically coupled with civil niceties — Miss Duffy? She pulls her key out of her pocket and steps into the elevator when the doors open, pushing the fourth floor button with her gloved hand. "I wouldn't try to run," she says quietly, glancing at the blue-tinted glasses with curiosity. It's a short elevator ride to the fourth floor, which is right in the middle of the nine-story building. The doors ding open again and Tori moves out, nodding in the direction of her apartment to the left, then heads that way. The key is slid into the lock, and she slips into the small studio apartment — it's neither a slovenly mess nor a neat freak's paradise, but somewhere between the two. The overall decor is "starving student chic" — some attempt at interior decorating has been made as far as having a color scheme of black, white, gray and red, but the furniture is made up of mismatched garage-sale finds for the most part.

Cody looks around the apartment and quirks an eyebrow. It reminds her of… well nothing that she's ever owned or rented. But it looks as familiar as an apartment from one of those shows that her room mate watches. "Quaint," she says as she takes a few long strides into the room. Her hips sway, not on purpose, but because of the high heeled shoes she was forced to wear with the outfit. "Now then, Miss Duffy, you said you're trying to make a clean start of it, hmm? Convince me. Convince me that you're not just here as part of a big grift to unload a few millions off of one of our upstanding citizens." Reaching into the inner pocket of her jacket, she pulls out a picture of Senator Nathan Petrelli, probably one of his campaign pictures, and holds it up in front of her.. just out of reach. "Him perhaps?"

"I… millions? Would I be living like this if I were capable of that?" Tori says with wide eyes to the first bit. "I'm here to go to grad school." She points at the pile of books on the coffee table as if they are hard evidence that her words are truthful. Tori's dark eyes drop to the picture of Nathan — Brayden — and she gasps a little. "No — I didn't even know who he was, and I didn't know he lived in New York when I chose to come here! I just found out he's … he's a senator … like a week ago, but I applied to Columbia in September. He was my friend… I wouldn't try to steal from him. Even if I could." She knows it sounds ridiculous, too coincidental, but it's the truth. "What can I say that would convince you, Ms… what did you say your name is?"

"Agent Barker, Miss Duffy, you can call me Agent Barker." Cody says calmly as she replaces the photo back into the pocket of her suit jacket. Her hand lingers there for a moment before she withdraws it and places it into her pant pocket again. "You're an experienced young woman, Miss Duffy, so I'll just cut to the chase. I need someone that can perform certain little tasks for me. Nothing too large or too difficult, but since I have but one set of hands, I can't do everything myself. If you agree to do that for me, I will make certain that your past won't ever bother you in this country again."

A clean slate (aside from personal safety) is why she ran away, throughout Europe and then to the United States. The offer is enticing, an apple held out, but what sort of serpent is behind the offer? "You're … you're government? What you'd be asking me to do is legal?" Tori asks uncertainly before catching her lower lip between her teeth to worry it as she considers the offer. "I … I'd like to help but I'm not sure I can. You say I'm experienced, but I've not really a head for government sort of things, especially American. I'm barely able to suss out the post office or train schedules at times." Schedule is the British "shedule." Silly Brits. "You're sure I'm capable at these … little tasks?"

A faint smile is delivered to the young woman, one that's accompanied with a pair of narrowed eyes. "It's not as if I'm asking you to run drugs under the noses of Interpol, Miss Duffy. Your options here are rather limited. You can agree to my terms, or I can arrest you and turn you over for deportation." Cody's blue eyes flit around the apartment and then she pulls her right hand out of her pocket and flicks her wrist. The sliver glint of a watch can be seen as she checks the time. "From the state of your apartment, your funds are rather limited. Lawyers cost money and they take time. Two things you don't have much of." Then the smile becomes just a little warmer as the agent looks over at the English woman, she knows that Tori can't call the police without fear of having herself exposed.

"Right then. I agree, I suppose, when you put it like that," Tori says dryly. She's still afraid but the offer of not having to be has made her perhaps a little more brave. "So is this a legal job offer or am I under cover and being paid under the proverbial table?" she asks, lifting her head and tossing a lock of dark hair out of her eyes. "I am a grad student, so my schedule might be a bit limited, unless you are suggesting I drop my classes for this arrangement?" She will if she has to, clearly.

"Paid?" Cody's eyebrow twitches over the frame of her glasses. Letting off a small chuckle, the agent just shakes her head. "No Miss Duffy, you might receive a small bonus from time to time. But these errands will largely be unpaid ones. They'll be done around your class time, so you won't need to alter your life too terribly." Slowly, the woman wanders over to the door and removes a hand from her pocket to turn and salute to Tori with two fingers touching her eyebrow. "I'll be in touch, Miss Duffy. Here…" With her other hand, she extracts a small pay as you go cell phone from her other pant pocket and tosses it to the student. "Keep that with you at all times… if you don't answer, I'll just assume that our little deal is off." Content that Tori understands the terms of their deal, the agent slips out the door.

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