(2018-03-15) I Bet She Is Pretty Wonderful
I Bet She Is Pretty Wonderful
Summary: When Wendy turns up dead with one of Eddie's cards, the cops come sniffing around with questions, but it turns out Ida's the real person of interest.
Date: 2018-03-15
Related: http://darkwater.wikidot.com/log:2018-02-20-the-misty-mountains-cold
Player Characters: Eddie, Ida, Emmahsue as ST

-| 6th Floor - Brundle Investigations - Cahuenga Building - The Bay |

A room of hazy lights and lots of shadows. A trio of windows would offer a spectacular view of the bay, but they are hung with nicotine yellow blinds that seem permanently glued in the 'closed' position judging by how speckled they are with flyshit and the permanent bends and tears in the old plastic where someone has roughly bent them apart. Over and over and over again.

There are shapes in the half-dark. An uncomfortable looking loveseat and rickety side-table faces a bulky oak desk with a large armchair behind it. On top of the desk is a crossword collection. In a corner is a cheap office chair and a smaller rolltop bearing a beige computer that looks to be from the 80s, along with a matching elder coffee maker. Next to the door is a coat rack, and numerous boxes line the walls, several seemingly permanently employed as makeshift filing systems. Yellowed photos adorn the walls. The magazines on the side table are years out of date and contribute to the musty smell of the place. Somewhere a hidden radio plays jazz made sibilant with white noise.

It's just after lunchtime. The sound of traffic outside is a distant roll of wheels over concrete and the occasional honk. One of the lamps in the room has gone buzzy, fitzing out every now and then before turning back on again; someone ought to fix that. Some day. Some day. It is, as the classics put it, a hot and steamy near-summer day. All this joint needs is a bottle o' booze, a dame with a look in her eye, and a private investigator slumped in his seat contemplating the heavy noir of it all.

The booze all gone, a casualty of a real rough time of a weekend, but two out of three ain't bad. Eddie's sitting behind his desk, sweating, wishing he could bring himself to open up the window. With all the birds around these days, it doesn't seem like a good idea, so he's settled for breaking out the fans. The one on his desk right now is on its last legs, barely able to flutter the ribbon tied around the frame, and he stares at it resentfully. "Just a little apartment on Baker Street," he says, continuing a conversation he's been having with his still-unofficial secretary, "Not much of anything, but I got a good rate. The landlord has a guilty conscience. Guilty something, anyway."

Ida is prowling Eddie's office like a tigress through a Burmese orphanage, all gleaming hair and legs for hours. There is a bit more than the usual pout to her lips, "Eddie. I am glad you have a new place, really that sounds wonderful, but you are dodging the real question and you know it. You have to get rid of that thing. I do not wish for you or I to be bit parts in this towns own version of The Birds." She takes out a cigarette, lights it, blows a plume at the window. Her eyes are narrow, her shoulders are tight. And even with the hit of nicotine her fingers are twitchy. "We should be investigating, not be targets. There has to be a fleetfoot or.. Or *something* that could dash around the town and throw these things off."

The first sign of a visitor is the silhouette. Someone's coming up to the door, barely visible as a shape against the frosted glass. Second sign: whump-whump-whump. That's a startlingly heavy fist, laying down a presence unmistakable: whoever it is has the cop-knock down *pat*.
"You think I haven't tried pawning it off? It's all I did for a month, practically. There's nobody." Eddie takes out a handkerchief and mops the back of his neck. He's even left his coat on the rack, today. From the sound of things they've had this conversation, or one very much like it, several times today. "Anyway, now that we know what they do, how am I supposed to do that to someb—" His eyes come up to the door, and he sits up straight. Shit. He takes a quick mental inventory of the office, trying to think if he's got anything particularly illegal in here. He doesn't think so, but there's a lot of boxes he hasn't had a chance to search, yet. He looks back at the window and maybe thinks of going out it, again, but finally gestures Ida toward the door.

Ida casually grabs a handful of extra sharp metal pens and a heavy steel binder and brings them with her on the way to the door. She unlocks it and opens it up just enough to see who is there, "Good afternoon, do you have an appointment?"

The gentleman with his fist up for another thumping knock is broad shoulders, probably a football player back in the day, before middle-age set in. A rumpled suit — brown — with matching rumpled hair doesn't do much to show him off. The tie is loosened in deference to the heat, but the badge visible on his hip is only slightly less noticeable than the gun in holster under his arm. His mouth opens when the door does: "Is this Brun—" but he doesn't get anything else out. He's too busy staring at what he can see of Ida in no small staggered shock. What else is a fella to do when an amazonian beauty is standing there so calm and professional-like?

Eddie can't see what's going on, on the other side of the door, but he can guess. He takes a brief moment to feel smug about it, getting all his smirks out right now, then clears his throat and assumes his best professional demeanor. It's not bad, all things considered. "Let him in," he says, loud enough to be heard out in the hallway, "I'm always happy to talk with my friends in the PAPD."

"Certainly, Mr. Brundle," Ida replies smoothly. She opens the door, smiling at the police officer with all the smooth warmth of a hostess at a *really* good restaurant. Like she is genuinely pleased to see him, brown tie and everything. "It is a pleasure, detective. Please, do come inside. Would you like some iced coffee? It is such a hot day."

For that brief moment of the door swinging wide, Eddie is greeted with a sight he will no doubt treasure for years to come. Frame it, call it "PAPD Detective Looks Pole-axed With Fist Held High," sell it for millions to the local museums. But a man cannot stare for long without feeling the awkwardness of it in his gut, so the good detective turns a bit to come inside, offering Ida his very best smile in return. It's not as good as hers, but at least it's not a leer. "Ma'am," is added in bemused afterthought. "No, no coffee, thank you." Once he's inside and has managed to tear his gaze away from the lady, he does a visual sweep of the office itself. That sweep ends with his gaze settling on the Eddie behind the desk. "Mr. Brundle?" Not so much a guess as confirmation: he crosses over towards to offer out a heavy hand for shaking. "Detective Malloy." Of course.

So many little cameras, and none of them arranged to capture this moment. Eddie contains a sigh, with some difficulty, and rises to his feet behind his desk. He wipes the sweat off his palm with that handkerchief, and gives the public detective his most respectable handshake. "Eddie Brundle," he confirms with a nod. "What brings you by the office, detective?" They like it when you call them that, in his experience. He always did, anyway.

Ida has retired to the background for now, as much as is possible in such a small office. She's busying herself with making that coffee the detective said he didn't want - using a thermos, rather than the thick sludge that's brewing in the actual coffee machine. There's a tinkling of ice, and she leaves a glass by Eddie's elbow. There's already condensation dripping from it, and there's a dribble of both extra sugar and honey on the rim. Sweet enough to make an ox stagger. She leaves a simple glass of ice water by the detective, then goes back to ostensibly reading something from a manila folder on the loveseat.

From Eddie's angle, it's possible to see the repeated 'detective' help center and stabilize the visitor. Malloy's broad shoulders straighten, his handshake firms: that's right. He's an officer of the law, no matter what Ida looks like when she's leaning ov— no no. Officer of the law, dammit. He swipes up that glass of water and takes a gulp to punctuate her moving out of sight. Once it's safe (relative values apply), he finally informs Eddie, "Some potentially difficult news, Mr. Brundle. Do you know this young woman?" His free hand dips into pocket, pulls out phone. After a swipe, he holds it out where Eddie can see the photo.
EmmahSue pages: That… that is Wendy. That's a Wendy with her hair laying limp and flat, her eyes staring and dull, no more the crazy gleam. It's from the neck up, but the image is too blunt to be anything but CSI work.

Eddie takes a swallow of his coffee, and aims a little smile back into Ida's corner of the office. That goes away when he looks at the image on the screen, replaced first by surprise and then by a troubled frown. He squints, then comes out of his front pocket with a pair of scratched up turtleshell reading glasses, one of the arms broken off. He holds them up to his face and leans in to give the picture a closer inspection. They aren't strictly necessary, but he figures the human touch might help in a situation like this. "I wouldn't go that far, but I've seen her before," he says. "At the community garden a friend of mine works at. A street kid. There are lot of those, around Baker Street. What happened?"

Ida sits up a bit more straight over on the loveseat, her own glass of iced coffee clinking as she puts it down on the side table. She doesn't come over, however, just stays attentively in the background like a proper secretary might.

Rather than answering right away, Malloy swipes to close the phone and tucks it back into his jacket pocket. All the while Eddie squinted, and pulled out his glasses, and squinted some more, the detective was watching him steadily. That gaze doesn't quit just because he got an answer. "Any idea," he asks thoughtfully, "Why she'd have your card in her hand when we found her, Mr. Brundle? How many times would you say you'd seen her before? Does this friend of yours who works at the garden have a name? What makes you suggest Baker Street?" They rattle out rapid-fire, and all the while he's watching.

Eddie falls back into his chair, taking away the glasses and setting them on his desk. He takes a moment to gather his thoughts, keeping that troubled look on his face. This is a troubling development, and he might as well use that. "Anybody might have my card. I hand them out as often as possible," he says. "I saw her once, maybe twice. It's hard to say. Like I said, there are a lot of street kids in that part of town. Baker Street's where the garden is. I can give you the address, if you'd like. My friend Beatrice Bramble does a lot of work for the community, there, and at the shelter."

The radio in the background has switched over from some elevator muzak offensively inoffensive classic tune to a low, raspy jazz piece with a lot of suggestive sax and thumping drum. ''I consider myself lucky to have fallen in love / With a girl, the city and the river of mud / Let me know!……… where I can go to save my soul?

Ida has risen from her seat, sauntering over. Her mouth is in a sad little moue, those big glacial eyes all troubled. "This is terrible. I am sorry to hear something happened to the young lady." Her jacket's been left behind on the couch. She leans against the wall, holding the glass of ice coffee against her throat. Water beads slide slowly down her hand and wrist, adding a wet shimmer to her skin. "It is not someone I met, but please, detective Malloy, do let us know how we may help. I do know Ms. Bramble, she is a wonderful person." When she smiles this time the dimples show.

With every passing word droppin' out of Eddie's mouth, Malloy's gaze intensifies. That right there is the look of a man who hears something. He might not know *what*, but something… something is off. "Beatrice Bramble," he echoes absently, "I'll have to give her a visit too, absolutely. Would you or Ms. Bramble happen to have any thoughts on who might want to have hurt the young lady… what was her name?" When Ida swans over and commences with the water rolling down her neckline, his attention slides over to her. There's a moment of distance. But only a moment, because the good officer swallows abruptly at where those drops are sliding. He slides a hand over his hair, but it doesn't help a bit. The rumple remains. "I bet… I bet she is pretty wonderful, it's awful nice of you to offer, ma'am." All thoughts of what Eddie might possibly be hiding are clearly flung right out of his head for the nonce.

Eddie watches Ida go to work, and shakes his head a little while the detective's head is turned. He almost feels sorry for the guy. Almost. "I think she said her name was Wendy, but I couldn't tell you if that's genuine or not. These kids lie about that kind of thing, I'm sure you know. I don't know why anyone would hurt her, particularly, but the city can be a dangerous place for a young woman on the streets. Honestly, she seemed a little off," he gestures vaguely around his temple, "told some wild stories, about living in the mountains, and that kind of thing. I wish I could be more helpful. I've worked with your department in the past, you can ask around."

"It is absolutely no trouble at all, detective." Ida's smile remains, perhaps turning a little more rueful. "You seem like a Port Angeles kind of man, did you grow up here? I was here first some years ago, I remember when it was small and sleepy. Any violent crime was a shockwave through the community, it was rare, like it should be. Now we are a big city and things are so… So polarized." She breathes in deep, fanning herself with her free hand. "I do miss the sleepy small town. You used to be able to walk through Baker Street- well. At least during the day. Usually. If you had the proper strong, protective company." The smile returns, just a little impish, she is not going to pour quite that much sugar on the nostalgia. Baker Street has always been bad news. She bends just so, brushing something invisible off the elegant hosiery that adds a faint gilded shimmer to her long, long legs.

The radio has changed, though it's still jazz, low, moody. The saxophone is a brassy, sexy snear. 'The maddest kind of love / is a love you know is wrong / It burns a hole, right through your soul / And cuts you like a knife'

"Terrible… terrible shame," he agrees. It is with a highly unbecoming flush to his cheeks — who knew a hardboiled detective could blush like this! — and a nervous twitch at his jacket that Malloy yanks his gaze away from Ida. "Ma'am. Brundle." The PI (and supposed focus of the visit) gets a brusque up-nod before the police officer turns to head for the door. If he heard a word of that last answer, it doesn't show in how he responds. His partner is going to razz the hell out of him when he tries to explain this interview.

"Let me know if I can be of any further assistance," Eddie calls after the detective on his way out. Settling back into his seat, waiting for the door to close, he takes a big swallow of his coffee and studies Ida over the brim. When he hears the click of the striker and the footsteps going off down the hall (he can hear just about everything on this floor) he sets down the cup and finally allows himself a grin. "You're hired," he says, and he picks up his phone and starts dialing a number with the Forks area code.

"Do come again, detective Malloy. It was such a pleasure to meet you." It's a gilded little hook thrown at the fleeing officer, a lure to hold him for any future run in but still allowing him to escape for now. Ida smiles, keeping her curvaceus pose in the flattering window light just long enough to see the door close behind the man.

The radio glides into the triumphant last verses of the song. It's a mad, mad love / Ooooooooooh yeah, you're in love / (Yeah) / Don't fall in love…' The piano ends it all with a few dark lingering notes.

In the silence, the Fairest raises her glass to the Beast, sipping as she saunters back to the couch. Objective reached.

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