2007-05-03: Time Out, Cash In

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif Jessica_icon.gif

Summary: D.L., with the best intentions… according to him, comes home like he said he would, but it's hours too late. Niki tries to get some answers and doesn't like what she hears — that's when Jessica turns things around on D.L. There are schemes, baby. But are they going to benefit the right people?

Date It Happened: May 3rd, 2007

Time Out, Cash In


Monica's House, New York City

Everybody has a key to Monica's house. Well, at least D.L. does. He's hoping everyone's fast asleep by this point and thus, well, he doesn't even really use the key that he has. He's needing to just get himself inside the house as quietly as possible. He's already surrounded by guilt to the point that, well, he shouldn't even be coming home. But here he is. Phasing right through the door to get himself on the interior of the house. Nice and quiet, D.L. Take it easy. Just get inside and get into bed and everything will be all good to go. It's not like anyone's decided to stay up and wait for him. Right?

Wrong. Niki has been awake ever since this afternoon the moment Micah stirred her from the couch, and now, she's waiting. The house may be masked in darkness, but even so, it's fairly obvious that she's not /here/, not in the living room - so perhaps D.L. will be lulled into a false sense of security. That's not her intention. She doesn't hear him enter; how could she? She's in the bedroom that's become theirs. The door is ajar, but the light isn't on. As she sits on the bed, on top of the covers, her knees drawn up and hugged, the pink of her shirt is the only splash of colour in the room: greys and dismal blues from the streetlights outside make up the rest. After supper came and went without D.L., she could only occupy herself before so long before her mind just takes over. Thinking. Waiting.

Scott free. Except not. D.L. makes his way through the living room, staying nice and phased as to not have to worry about making any noise. And then there's the passing through of the bedroom door and the sudden abrupt stop when there's a Niki awaiting his arrival. Damn pink. Immediately, the phasing is discontinued and he works on heading towards the closet to get out of this stupid work shirt that he wears all day for no reason, since he obviously doesn't have a real job. "I didn't want to wake you." comes the defensive explanation of all that is why he phased himself into the house. "Or Micah."

D.L. doesn't exactly surprise her, but Niki does turn her head sharply when he appears so silently. Her expression is … tired, and that makes it blank, which in turn makes it nigh on unreadable. "He only just fell asleep. He's been waiting for you to come home." And so has she, it would seem. She doesn't move, save to bring her knees in a little closer, bare feet sliding over the bed; she just drably watches him at the closet.

D.L. comes out of the overshirt to reveal his classic wifebeater and turns back around to face Niki and the bed. A bed that he's not quite sure if he's welcome in. So he stalls, leaning back against the wall next to the closet. "I got caught up. How was the pizza?" First sign of something wrong is usually the denial of any and all responsibility and the changing of the subject matter to a particularly useless degree.

The blonde's jaw visibly tenses; instead of answering, she focuses intently on her husband. Niki was waiting for - at least hoping for - some kind of explanation, one that D.L. brings up himself, but no dice. She's a little tired of waiting by this hour. "Where were you today?" More than accusatory, she in fact, anxious. Scared? Very nearly, but she keeps it in check, her voice low, quiet.

"Working." D.L. answers quickly. Maybe he had time to rehearse all of this on the way home. He figured there'd be an issue or two to deal with. But he wasn't sure there was going to be an interrogation in the middle of the night. And even though the rehearsal time was good enough for his reflection in the mirror, he wasn't really prepared to lie to Niki's face. It's hard to lie to someone you love. Someone you'd give your entire being for. He sighs.

Niki's gaze in unwavering as it pins D.L., but it's not a particularly /intense/ stare - no, her face is all knit with worry for what feels like hundreds of reasons. Some of those reasons could spark, set off a blaze, but she doesn't want to wake Micah in the next room - and D.L. needs a chance to explain himself. She has to give him at least that. "Working where? For who? Come on, D. I've been waiting all night. Trying to convince myself you weren't gonna just lie to me when you came home."

Don't lie. Great. And D.L. spent the whole night coming up with a lie to use. This is not going well. Luckily, there's still some distance between him and the bed where Niki is. Distance that can be used as a diversionary tactic. "Niki, please. Just… I don't want you involved. You or Micah. I'm not exactly sure what's going to happen after all this is done. And you're going to need to be able to take care of Micah in case… things don't work out." He looks down at the floor.

Niki looks like she was just kicked in the stomach. She's almost literally winded - whatever she was expecting D.L. to say, it wasn't /that/. "What? What were you doing out there? D!" /Now/ the accusatory tone sneaks in. She scrambles off the bed, bare feet hitting the floor, and soon she's standing - or trying to stand - right in front of him. Distance as a diversionary tactic can bite her. "I'm your wife, I'm involved, alright? And not just me. When you were off 'working' today, Micah—" She turns her face away, tense emotion roiling in the blues of her eyes. She levels the man with a firm stare. "We got a kid in there who's starting to think we're both bad guys," Due in no small part to the fact that they… kind of are, and Niki repeatedly told Micah as much about D.L. when he was gone, but this is different. He never believed it then even a little bit. "And he doesn't know if he can trust his father anymore." Niki takes a step back and folds her arms. Skeptical. Critical. "I don't know if I do either."

Figures. Juuust figures. Try to do something good for the family and it backfires to no end. This is not what D.L. wanted to come home to. Not at all. He sighs and backs up further from Niki as she's getting close. Backs up towards the mirror that's hanging nearby. "Maybe I should just be out then." comes the reluctant phrasing from D.L.'s lips. He doesn't even sound like he means it in the slightest bit. He's much too… just trying to find a way out of this situation right now. "I'm involved in something that could put you two in danger. I shouldn't even be here right now. But I love you. And I love Micah. And I can't…" He sighs and closes his eyes, clenching a fist at his side to try and stay focused. "I'm not trying to hurt you, Niki. I'm just trying to make a better life for us. And if that means I gotta break a few laws to do it, then that's what I gotta' do."

Placing her palm the wall as an anchor, Niki doesn't follow D.L. as he distances himself again - but her eyes do, searching his out, mindless of the dark; she's been sitting here in the dark so long that she hardly notices how dim it is. Every word out of his mouth has Niki more and more worried, and damnit, angry. There's a flash of heated tears in her eyes, but they stay where they are. Working up to it until she's on the verge of asking more questions, a whole barrage of 'em by the looks of it, she's about to open her mouth and then… the woman just falls silent, that hurt and cross expression caught on her face as she looks straight past D.L., just for a fleeting, singular moment.

She hesitates.

That's all it takes. That one instant where she gives in, lets it happen.

"Bet you never knew we had so much in common." It's a voice completely void of frustration and hurt. She slants her gaze back to D.L. slowly. Ice blue. "Time out."

"What?" D.L.'s confused. Well, he /was/ confused. He's figuring he knows what happened by this point. Which is why he's already gearing his mind up to prepare to jump into being phased land. Which is always a good place to be when he's around someone as crazy as his wife is. "Jessica?" Or, apparently, his wife's sister. The lack of frustration and hurt is what he's using to tip him off, as he tries to get confirmation on what he fears may have happened. He holds up his hands, though, to show that he's not armed or even wanting to start trouble of any kind. Fighting in the middle of the night would be the wrong kind of example to set for Micah. "Give me Niki back. Now." Let's see if the voice of intimidation works on a crazy bitca.

No such luck - but it would appear, by the way that she eyes D.L. with coolness that shouldn't, typically, lend itself to the situation, Jessica has no imminent plans for carnage. Tipping her head back with a subtle but flippant toss of her hair, she answers. You know the voice people tend to use when talking down to someone smaller and slower than they are? Well, she doesn't think twice about using it on a big black man. "We all want the same thing." Jutting a hip out, she folds her arms, hands lying calmly on her arms. A cynical smirk curves her lips. "We're both looking out for her and Micah. 'And if that means I gotta break a few laws to do it…'" Quoting D.L. back at him, she clicks her tongue softly, running it along her teeth. She strides ahead slow, one step, two, three, closer, looking up at him with very, very feigned innocence. "So what, you running with a new crew now?"

"Solo." D.L. states, crossing his arms over his chest. "This is going down, Jessica. So whatever you're thinking about… stop thinking it." D.L.'s anger is rising and this could prove to be bad for not doing the whole physical confrontation thing. He pushes on his heels to get some more distance between her and his ready-to-phase body. He doesn't take his eyes off her for a moment. She's fast. "I'm doing whatever it takes to provide for my family. Not because I'm out of my mind, like you."

Jessica's eyes flash dangerously, but she doesn't so much as lay a finger on D.L. Her arms are still crossed, casual as can be. They stay that way. "Please." Scoff. "Relax, would you? God." She rolls her eyes-that brief interlude is the only time she looks away for /him/ for even a split second. "I'm not going to kill you. Coulda shoulda 'cause I woulda been rich by now, but did I? No. It would have destroyed Niki. But /you're/ just going to go get killed all by yourself." Her point in all of this? Perhaps not the expected track. "Hear me out." There's nothing pleading about that request; more than a request, it's an order with a distinct 'or else'.

D.L.'s not worried. He's not really… okay, so maybe he's more worried than he's letting on. Okay, that's a lie too. He's nervous and worried and definitely figuring that he may be killed at any moment, but that's okay. She's said she's not going to kill him. Which is good. But not good enough to relax and not worry about actually being killed. Rule #1 of Being Married to Niki: Don't. Trust. Jessica. "I'm listening." Though, he's probably not -really- listening. But if this will keep the crazy woman from going crazier: score.

In the wild, the body language of predators is key. They circle around each other, they posture; the slightest eye movement means they'll either go for each others throats or wait another round. In the wilds of the bedroom, Jessica, eyeing D.L. with that predatory cat's smirk firmly in place, turns her back. That's how much she trusts that he's not going to pull anything stupid. Don't mistake - it's trust in /herself/, not in D.L. She just trusts he's intimidated enough by her to be half-smart. "I have something lined up that could set us up for life." She looks over her shoulder, her gaze instantly pegging him again. "We've worked together before. Didn't wind up too badly." Except for, you know, D.L. getting shot. Totally doesn't count. Referring back to Rule #1, something has to be up. Right? Jessica works alone.

"The last time you and I teamed up, I got shot. You'll forgive me if I'm not jumping at the chance to be shot again." Not that he hasn't been shot before that, but it still hurts like a damn bitch. D.L. narrows his eyes, thinking better of pouncing the crazy woman and sticking to leaning back on the wall. Somewhere that he can actually be paying attention to everything around him. He may have to make a fast-phasing get away. "So unless there's something more to this cryptic lackluster recruitment… I think maybe you should let Niki come back so we can finish our conversation. It's rude to interrupt."

"Niki didn't have anything important to say. I do." And that's that. "It's a lot of money, D.L. And it's long-term. But there's a lotta work, and I'm only one person." Yeah, those words just actually came out Jessica's mouth, of all people. Her already devious smile twists in irony. "You have certain… skills," she says, her voice dripping with innuendo even though there is none. Well, not that she cares about at the moment. Strictly professional, you understand. "You're either in and I'll tell you more, or you're out and I'll do it myself. I'm going to Vegas in a week and I'm taking Micah." She turns and holds up a hand before D.L. can protest. "Few days. I don't trust you not to run off with him."

"If you think I'm going to let you take my son with you on a trip to Vegas to get him killed, then you're sadly mistaken. You're going to have to kill me first." Probably asking for the wrong thing, knowing Jessica, but D.L. has no qualms about fighting her to the death if that will protect Micah from being used as some pawn in all of this. "What's the job?" If anything, he's going to have to go there to be able to protect Micah. Which is the only reason he's considering this in the second damn place. Maybe even a chance to stop her will come up.

That answer, right there? Exactly why Jessica brought up Micah. She hides her self-satisfied grin by looking away. "You know anything about casino heists?" The wicked alter ego of D.L.'s lovely wife looks away, followed by a slow turn on her heel, revealing a farce of a sweet expression plastered saccharinely on her face. "And don't worry," she purrs, striding toward him again where he stands, back to the wall — not that it's much of a barrier for someone like him. "We don't have to tell Niki."

"I can get inside anything." D.L. remarks, not exactly worried about the whole fact that there's planning going on in the bulk of this bedroom. He nods a little bit, crossing his arms over his chest. "Casino's included." He finally slides himself down to the bed so that he can get slightly comfortable. But he's too busy trying to figure out how this is going to play out. With Micah involved. "What's the prize you have your eyes on?"

On that note, Jessica leans against the dresser facing D.L. She gives a low, sly little laugh under her breath, as if she finds his simple question pretty damn funny.

Her smile couldn't be wider, and never has it been more scheming and wicked. It doesn't exactly inspire.

But her plan might.

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