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    Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

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    Serenity
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    Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:17 pm



    Maria was exhausted. She hadn't slept for the past six nights and was practically falling asleep while she walked. It was all that stupid Frankie's fault! He wouldn't leave her alone. It had been two weeks since Neil had brought them both onto his team and Maria wanted Frankie gone! She didn't care how 'useful' Frankie was. He refused to leave her alone, kept touching her any time he got a chance, and wouldn't stop following her around. Maria wasn't able to tell whether he was a nice guy or not either. He helped her with some of the chores and 'assignments' she had been given, but would then trap her in a corner, touch her face, and compliment her. Each time, she dodged and snuck away form him, but he wasn't getting the hint! He'd go "Aww, come on! Just one" and then continue his chase.

    The first and second mornings in Neil's home were the worst of them. On the first night, Maria didn't think she'd have to lock her door, so she didn't. When she woke up, Frankie was standing over her bed with no shirt on and telling her it was time to get going. She kicked him out of course; his behavior was very confusing. The second morning, even though she had locked her door, she woke up to him shaking her. He didn't do it hard, but his "Rise and shine babe" was not something she enjoyed having said to her. Ever since then, Maria has gone through different lengths to keep him away. The past six nights she had given up and just didn't sleep. Any time he came into her room, she was already awake and dressed. At this point in the week, Maria was drained and had very heavy bags under her eyes.

    It hit some time around four in the afternoon and Maria's chores and whatever other assignments she might have been given were done. "Alright, here..." she handed one of the house employees a packet of paperwork and began walking back toward her room. As she turned the corner, she saw Frankie standing there leaning against her door. He was waiting for her, wasn't he? She panicked and turned the other direction. "Hey Maria?" Frankie called out, so she assumed he caught her. Maria ran down the hall and into a random room, not realizing that it was Neil's office. When she turned around and saw where she was, she thought to run back out, but was worried that Frankie would catch her. She ran onto the other side of Neil's fancy desk and crawled under it, being as quiet as she could.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sat Apr 25, 2015 8:44 pm



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Mornings for il Drago were simple. After a shower, he'd rinse with mouthwash (he wouldn't brush until he ate breakfast), and then go to his office. Two weeks had allowed for the marvelous approach of carpenters. And of course, it would only be the best to repair this mansion. Neil's office's structure was back to normal. The walls—all of them—had been re-upholstered with a red and brown argyle, and the wood was now new mahogany, which matched his desk.

    But most of the wares in his office were gone. The area where bookshelves would lean against the wall were still barren, as he had yet to replace the countless books and oddities he had lost. It was a bit of a shame, really. He liked some of the stuff on those shelves. Especially a ship in a bottle—a Man O' War, the Oriana. It was a beautiful ship. Its hull was black, save for the scarlet trim above and below the carronades. It had three masts, and the tiny flag atop it bore a horned helm. Unfortunately, the model was almost too far-gone to be repaired, but Neil still had it sent off to see what could be done.

    This early in the morning, Neil did not wear his trademarked black trenchcoat. He didn't want to get breakfast crumbs in that jacket of all things. So instead, Neil wore a morning jacket and a pair of silken trousers. To top it off (or bottom it out), he had a pair of red crimson slippers that were just slightly fuzzy. Neil carried his own cup of coffee to his office, and set it on the desk before it sat down.

    The new chair was going to take some getting used to, but he would eventually. It was black and leather, and it had wheels. This was a feature he was fond of. Neil sat down, and pulled out his cigar lighter and a cigar. He didn't light it just yet, and instead pushed the chair up. Then, his leg seemed to catch something. He thought maybe the rug was a little scrunched up. So, Neil pulled at it with his foot. Well, it turned out to not be a rug. He kicked it lightly as he peaked under. It was Maria. "Well now. You're not supposed to be under there, are you? I don't think we're at the point in our relationship for you to be between my legs under my desk."

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:12 pm



    Maria found herself laying on a small hill. It was day and the sky was perfectly clear. Besides the sound of softly moving air as a cool breeze washed over the valley, the place was silent. She sat up fom her place on the cool grass and looked around. She raised her arms and stretched, yawning at the same time. Suddenly a hand was set on her shoulder and she looked back to see Neil smiling down at her. She smiled back and he began to speak, but she heard nothing come from him. She looked at him confused and went to speak, but her voice didn't sound either. She looked down and held onto her throat, wondering why she couldn't speak. "Rise and shiiine." she heard Neil's voice that time, but it sounded like it was coming from everywhere. When she saw a shadow shift in the corner of her eye, Maria looked up and realized she was staring down the barrel of a gun. Her eyes widened, her pupils dilated, and she began to shake. She tried to ask why, but her voice just wouldn't work. She watched Neil smirk down at her and saw him begin to tighten his finger around the trigger and bang.

    Maria jumped as she was startled awake. Her head slammed into the desk above her and she instantly curled, holding onto her head. "Ow, ow, ow, ow, owww...." she whined, almost on the verge of crying, waiting for the pain to calm down. Once the pain faded enough, she looked up and remembered where she was. Seeing Neil, she jumped back away from him and ended up hitting her back against the other end of the desk, but this one didn't hurt. "You kicked me!" Maria said like a child would. It was then that he said something a little confusing. She narrowed her eyes and puffed out her cheeks, but then her normal smile returned with a following giggle. She reached out and poked his tummy as quickly as she could, "Beep! ... And why not? It's safe down here, you know." Maria curled up again and was obviously extremely tired. She was still a little out of it from waking up. As if in a sudden daze, she blinked a couple times to refocus. When she couldn't do that, her head began bobbing up and down, one time hitting the desk, "Ow...." She was trying to stay awake, but desperately needed some sleep.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:22 pm



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Served her right. She was hiding under a man's desk with no real reason to be down there. She wasn't a cat. Neil didn't like cats. He wasn't even a dog person either—although he kept a few guard dogs on the premises. He was more of a fish person. Thankfully, his aquarium was out of the room at the time of the explosion. It would have been far more personal if his fish had been harmed. They were innocents.

    "As a matter of fact, I did." Neil curved an eyebrow at her, acting like she had just said something stupid. And she kind-of had. She stated the absolute obvious. He had kicked her. So what? She wasn't supposed to be under his desk. Anything under his desk was meant to be walked on or kicked. It was as simple as that. As she poked his stomach, he batted her hand away as it retreated.

    "Don't do that." His voice was unamused. He was no doughboy. He was a gangster. He wasn't going to "hoo-hoo" and giggle. He just looked at her like she was crazy. And for all Neil knew, she was. "And you say it's safe?" Neil sat up, then rolled his chair in closer, making sure there was little room for her to move around in. If she were claustrophobic, she'd be flailing about like a madman if she could. "Does this disprove your thoughts? And for that matter, safe from what?"

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    Serenity
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:37 pm



    Maria was surprised when he batted her hand away. She was just being nice... Even Mister Vonnera wouldn't hit her hand away when she did that. Of course, if she did it in front of other people, he'd have her whipped. For some reason, Maria felt like she was in a lot of trouble. She couldn't look Neil in the eye and any time she saw the expression  he held, she felt her stomach turn. Was he going to have her whipped too? That was it reminded her of. She thought this would be different.

    As he went to prove her wrong, Maria clenched her jaw and jumped in instinctive panic. The chair had actually run over the tips of her fingers. "Ow!" she said as she was able to pull her hand back. "Disprove my what? What does that even mean!?" she semi-shouted back at him, trying to push his chair back away from her. "You're squishing me!" she stated the obvious again, but she didn't understand that he was trying to prove a point with this and kept trying to push him away.

    "S-Safe from Frankie!" she said, putting her hand on the seat to try and push him back, "Please move back! I'm sorry! Please!" Maria was used to having to beg, but she didn't like it. It didn't seem like he was going to move either. She was about to ask again when he finally moved back and she fell toward him a bit. Catching herself, she moved to all fours and rushed out from under the desk, but made sure to keep hiding as well. She curled her knees to her chest and held them there.

    "Frankie won't leave me alone... I haven't been able to sleep because he keeps getting into my room..." she explained looking angrily up at Neil. She was pouting to a degree, but there really was a strong sense of irritation at him. She thought he was going to be different! He treats her like everyone else does: like trash. "He helps me with chores when I ask him not to and he makes it where my back is against the wall and can't go anywhere so he can say weird things to me..."

    "I came in here because he doesn't." Maria explained, holding her sore hand, "If he can't find me, I'll be okay... I don't like him. He scares... me..." She was falling asleep again.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:49 pm



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Neil didn't move the chair. "It means proving you wrong. You said it's safe here." Neil laid his elbows on the desk loudly to make it sound like he wasn't moving any time soon. "I am proving to you that it is not." Eventually, she said what it was that was causing her to hide under his desk. Frankie. He seemed like a nice lad, if a bit odd.

    Neil finally did roll the chair away, allowing her to scurry out. It wasn't meant to be a torture session. But pain is a great motivator, as is fear. And Neil was a great motivational speaker. Neil was a little perplexed at what was going on, and so he let her finish talking before saying anything. Neil actually laughed when she said he scared her. "Scares you?"

    It took him a moment to regain his composure. "That man would have to deal with the wrath of my entire complex if he hurt you. He's too much of a self-preservationist to risk doing something so stupid for... so little reward." Neil was saying that she was an employee—and a special one at that. He wouldn't go bonkers over losing her, but he wouldn't just toss her to the wolves. She had worth in gold and value in spirit to Neil. "In other words, I doubt he'd actually do anything to hurt you"

    "What is it he's been saying though? And don't worry, I will be sure to inform him he will not be paid for assisting you with your assigned chores. That might discourage him some." Neil smirked as he joked, finally lighting the cigar he was going to earlier.

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    Serenity
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:03 pm



    "Yes, he scares me! Why are you laughing at that?!" Maria was actually very embarrassed. She didn't like being laughed at, especially when it came to something like this, something she didn't understand. Him laughing at her being scared only confused her more. Once he stopped laughing and explained it to her, Maria listened to him with more confusing forming in her mind. "Hurt me?" she repeated the first time. That wasn't what she meant, no. She shook her head at him. She must have said it wrong!

    "No, no. I don't mean he wanted to hurt me. He didn't say that... I think." Maria looked away for a moment and then crossed her legs, looking up to Neil like a kindergartner attending class, "He said stuff about taking me away, like 'ditch this place' and see a little bit more of each other. He keeps trying to kiss me and hugs me when I say no. I run away or hide and he finds me again. In the morning, he wakes me up and complains about my pajamas being on me. Where should they be?!"

    "He sneaks up behind me and pulls me to him and whispers 'hey cutie' into my ear..." she rubbed her ear and shivered as chills shot up her spine, "He plays with my hair, tries to lift my skirt, tells me my hair is pretty, he likes my eyes, and laughs when I smack him, push him away, or my face turns red... He says it's cute and he likes the chase. I don't understand what his problem is... I think he needs something more to do. Can you make him go away? I don't want to go to 'date' with him!"

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:17 pm



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Neil did his best to keep a straight face as she explained it. Oh dear lord, she was innocent. Hell, Neil was surprised she was even able to take out old Johnny before. She was so wet behind the ears, she must have drowned to death in a past life. And it wasn't just assassination stuff either. She didn't know that the guy like-liked her. Granted, in this town, most people take what they like-like without a chase. Frankie was at least giving her some free reign.

    But when she said that last part, he just exploded with laughter. The cigar bobbled in his mouth, and he slapped his hand on the desk repeatedly. Nearly half a minute passed before he stopped. "Oh boy... Listen 'ere. How do I explain this to someone who's got no idea what the hell he's doing... He wants to get in your pants. Well, not literally—mainly due to the fact you don't have pants, but that's beside the point. The guy is tryin' to... make you a friend. A closer-than-close friend."

    Neil pondered for a moment, trying to get the right words across. "He's just tryin' to be a good guy. I think he might be coming on a little too strong for ya, but hey, the guy's a wild card. I plucked him away from everyone else for that fact." Neil always had goals when he picked employees. "However, I will have my own words with him about 'ditching this place.' I am not a fan of AWOL—that's absent without leave—employees."

    Neil dug around in his drawer, bringing out something and tossing it to Maria. It was slightly larger than a jewelry box, but rectangular. It would fit nicely in her hand, and it even had a pair of triggers beneath a bulbous end. And on that end were two metallic prongs. "If he pins you against the wall again, stick that into him and pull the trigger for a few seconds. It'll stop his re-volt-ing advances... Maybe if you take charge, he'll lose that spark."

    "If it gets too bad, though, I will assist. But you'll have to promise me one thing." Neil pointed at her. "You stay out of my," he pointed back to himself, "office unless I ask you in. Don't just go wandering in here anymore, understood?"

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    Serenity
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:51 pm



    "Wh-... What... Why are you laughing at me?!" Maria just did not understand what was going on. She watched him just keep laughing and laughing. She clenched her fists as he continued on. When that half a minute passed and he finally stopped, she did her best to calm down while he explained things. When he mentioned the pants, she looked down to her legs in confusion. She wasn't wearing any! He seemed to notice this because he immediately continued on trying to explain it.

    "That's stupid." Maria said bluntly, actually sounding like she was accusing someone of something. This time, she was accusing Frankie of just being stupid. She looked away and narrowed her eyes, staring at one of the drawer handles for a few seconds. That same drawer was soon opened and something pulled out. She caught the strange object that he pulled out in her hands and stared at it. Maria pulled the trigger that Neil was talking about and saw this strange zap happen between the metal.

    "Ohh..." Maria's eyes sort of sparked with curiosity. Before she got a chance to test it, Neil asked her to promise something. "I don't know, maybe... Probably, yeah. I guess." she just shrugged. Thoughts passed through her mind while she thought about her answer. She wanted to be around him, but was quickly losing interest in doing that. "Yeah, I promise." she said and shrugged it off in an almost uncaring manner and looked back toward the little strange box he had tossed at her.

    Maria was more interested in this contraption right now. She placed her hand over both pieces of metal and pulled the trigger. Her body suddenly jolted, tensing heavily. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head and her muscles convulsed harshly and she fell. Maria was completely out of it for two minutes before finally waking up. She felt her body twitch, especially her arm and was fighting to regain control over it. When she did, she looked up to see Neil smoking his cigar and reading a book.

    "That was new." she said as she looked to the box. She stood up and set it down on his desk. "If I can barely handle it, I'm not using it on him. I prefer not torturing people." she said and then turned away, "I'll be in my room if you need me..." Maria said with a hopeless tone and walked toward the door with her head lowered. If she was stopped, she was stopped. If she wasn't stopped, she'd made her way back to her room and just sit on her bed until the sun was down, and then finally just go to sleep.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:06 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Truthfully, Neil was half-expecting her to do that. He didn't give her instructions on what it did. Well, besides the copious amount of puns he dropped. Sadly, they all flew around her. Neil was heartbroken. What cruelties had she endured to not enjoy a good pun? Oh, the humanity! And thankfully, when she did, he was prepared. He checked her for a pulse, and made sure to remove the taser from the impact site. He kept a watch over her for a moment, and picked up a book to pass the time. He didn't have anything else to do.

    When she finally stood up, a smirk curled on Neil's face and he closed the book. She was an interesting one. And then... she placed the taser on the table. He hadn't expected what came next. She couldn't handle it, so she wouldn't use it? Neil's smirk turned into a smile and he placed his cigar in an ashtray. "Good girl." Neil called out to get her to stop.

    "I had expected you to try it on yourself, and then be prepared to use it on him. But you couldn't handle it. That's fine. You couldn't handle the Wyrmsbreath," that was referencing his hand-cannon of a .44 magnum, "either. And I wouldn't expect you to be able to handle that. But what I like about you, Maria, is that you're smart."

    Neil's eye watched her carefully, and he leaned back in his chair, crossing a leg over his other. "You see, there are many people in this world who use a weapon. Self-defense and all. But rarely have they ever been harmed by what they choose to wield. Clubs and knives are easier than anything because you've been hit with a book or cut yourself with a knife before. It's common, everyday damage. But something like this," he picked up the taser, "is not common."

    He pressed down the triggers and the kzzzak of electricity arced between the prongs. "I like people who only use weapons they can handle the pain of. It makes them more... sensitive to the damage it can do. You decided this was above your limits, and you won't use it on anyone because of that. I like that in a person, and I love that in an employee."

    "What do you say about joining me for breakfast? You've impressed me this morning so far, so I say you've earned a meal with the boss." Neil offered, and if she declined, he'd only offer a raincheck instead. But he wanted to have her eat with him. She was interesting, and her brain would be one fun pick-through.

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    Serenity
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:48 am



    Maria stopped walking away when he spoke; she would not ignore him. As he continued, she turned around to face him. She kept eye contact like she had always been taught to do when someone of authority was speaking to her. "If that is what you want, then sure." Maria spoke still in that hopeless tone she had before. She sounded half-dead, but it didn't exactly matter. It's not like he would really care, right? There was no difference. No matter where she was at, nothing changed.

    "I should probably let you know that you're wrong about something though..." Maria said and held up the hand she had shocked. There were two deep red marks where the electricity had burned her. They may not have been big, but to anyone else they would have been very playful. "I can barely feel it." she told him and then looked to the palm of her hand, "It wasn't the pain that mattered. The 'pain' was not what made me decide to not use that weapon against Frankie... It was the effect."

    "I don't know if you've ever been hit by that thing, but I couldn't control my own body." she said as she pointed toward where the taser would be, "I could feel my muscles not working right. They wouldn't listen to me. I don't like that. My body has been stretched, whipped, thrown, stoned, cut, and stabbed over many occasions just to get me use to the pain. Mister Vonnera said it would help me to fight. He hurt me a lot, all the time. If I wasn't cleaning, I was 'training' with him."

    "I can handle pain better than lots and lots of people..." she dropped her arms to the side and stared rather dully toward Neil, "I don't want you to think I wouldn't use that weapon against Frankie because I didn't want to hurt him... I won't use it because I don't like feeling like I can't control the way my body moves... It's the one and only thing I've ever been able to be in control of and it's not something I would take away from anyone else, or allow anyone to take away from me."

    Surprisingly, that final bit sounded sort of like a warning that said 'don't fucking do that again' at the same time as 'that includes you'. Maria may not have been the smartest, the strongest, or the fastest girl out there, but she appreciated the few things she felt did actually belong to her. She'd rather die than someone take that away from her. "So what are you wanting for breakfast?" she asked, her tone becoming slightly lighter than it had been through this entire conversation.

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    Tsubine
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:33 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    "You..." Neil arched his fingers together. "You are just chock full of surprises." Neil's tone was amused. She... didn't feel the pain? Or rather, she barely felt it? Neil had been hit with one once before, and he understood what it felt like. But he also knew it hurt like a son of a bitch. The fact she didn't feel that much...

    Honestly, Neil didn't want to imagine the things she went through. He may be able to blow a woman's brains out, but that doesn't mean he likes to do it. Hell, he didn't eat for the rest of the day he did that. Gore, especially high-intensity stuff like he did, never sat well with his stomach. He was still a human after all. Neil placed the taser back in the drawer and closed it. Neil ordered breakfast for the two of them, a duo of biscuits and sausage links. Nothing else, although jelly was provided. It was not a large breakfast, but it would fill them.

    You would think that a man with gold enough to re-wall an office the size of some apartments would want something fancy. No, not really. The man liked his simple food. As they ate, Neil spoke up in response to her earlier... ranting of information. "I have no intentions of taking control of your body, and I especially have no intentions of letting anyone else do that."

    "Maria, you are nothing like what you once were. I think you might misunderstand me. I have no intention of being an oppressor to you like Gabriel Vonnera was. What we have, my dear, is a business arrangement. You handle certain things I ask, you get paid. I let you live here by doing certain chores around the manor, but if you ever felt like leaving the house to find a place of your own, I would not stop you."

    Neil bit into a link of sausage before continuing. "But, and this is a big one, I am not saying it would be so simple as to just stop answering me altogether. What I offer to my employees is... simple, beyond the standard pay. I offer protection. I make sure the things that go bump in the night and bang in the day don't come out to get my people. Because I do not have a single employee I do not like on some level."

    "Johnny, my bodyguard you hit with a tranquilizer dart, he is a good chessman. I play against him from time to time, although I swear he goes easy on me. Grigori, the man in the carriage from when we first met, helps care for the dogs. He has a knack for the fleabags I do not. Frankie has a sense of humor that, in moderation, can brighten a cloudy day. And you, Maria Vonnera... Actually." He stopped, his train of thought going in another direction.

    Neil stared at her for a moment. "Would you like a new name?" He asked point-blank. It was a hard question to answer, and an equally-strange one to ask. "I know that 'Vonnera' is probably an adopted name. It wasn't really your name before you came to them. If you would like, you could go back to what it was before that time. Or you could even come up with a new one. Be Maria Kalamazoo—it would sound ridiculous, but that was just an example."


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    Serenity
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Sun Apr 26, 2015 2:59 am



    Wait, what? She spoke badly toward him, didn't she? Why wasn't he yelling at her? Why wasn't he beating her? Why was she not being dragged out of the room and down toward the basement to be punished? Maria was completely taken by surprise. She almost couldn't handle it. Instead of being angry, he was just taken by surprise? Why? She didn't get it! She didn't understand! What was happening? Maria's face distorted slightly, but she closed her eyes and just stayed still for a bit.

    The next thing Maria knew, she was sitting with breakfast in front of her. She didn't even remember ordering or anything like that. In fact, she couldn't remember anything of the past few minutes. What happened? When Neil spoke up, her attention was brought back to him. Wasn't she just glaring at him and warning him to not try to control her? Why were they having breakfast? When she realized he was still talking about controlling her, Maria tuned in a bit more to understand him.

    "My name...?" Maria looked around, her eyes darting from left to right trying to search the depths of her mind for what her actually name was, "I don't... have one. I don't have one. I... don't... have my own name." She almost seemed to be freaking out about this, "Am I allowed to choose my own name or are you going to name me? They told me Vonnera." "Choose it yourself." He thinks for a moment. "Although if you go for something ridiculous like Kalamazoo, I will ask for you to reconsider."

    "O'Cary..." she said bluntly and stared directly at him, "I'm not going to choose Frankie or that stupid maid who keeps trying to dress me. If anyone is going to claim me, I want it to be you. At least then I won't get hit and will be paid for the stuff I do..." Maria looked away with a sad expression, but then spoke up, again, "You said I would get paid, right? What do I get paid with?" she said as she sort of went off on a tangent. She didn't ever handle money; she wouldn't know what to do with it.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Sun Apr 26, 2015 3:12 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Dammit. Just what he didn't want. Neil would have to let her down the easy way. But before that, she asked what she'd get paid with. ...Neil was going to have to have a talk with Susan in Accounting. Neil dug around in his pocket, and tossed a gold coin at her. It landed beside her plate. "Gold. Or silver, if you prefer smaller change. But I will not pay someone in copper. Not again." Neil had a flashback to the first wiseguy that took advantage of him. He mumbled something to himself, and then sighed.

    "As for your name... I would prefer it if you did not have my surname. It could cause problems for the both of us if they think we are related. How should I put this... Maria, none of my employees have my surname. I am not going around, gobbling up servants like the Vonnera did. Johnny's surname is Jackson. Grigori's is Paladia. Inez, your made, has the surname of her husband, Tristain. Adn Frankie has his surname too."

    Neil took a sip of orange juice—since he preferred that over coffee with biscuits. "Maria, what I am saying is... is that you are a free woman. So long as you stay with me, I will make sure no one—not even me—will be able to claim you as 'theirs.' The only person that should be able to claim you is you. Claiming another person as their own as the Vonnera did... I do not like that practice. It is archaic and I am glad to see they are gone, and your former co-workers are free. So, I bid you to choose another name. Or if you still wish to go by Vonnera standards, might I suggest the surname 'Drago' instead?" Neil leaned in, lowering his voice into a fake whisper. "It would be our... little secret."


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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:25 am



    "What am I supposed to do with that stuff?" Maria raised an eyebrow at him. She didn't know how to handle money; she never had to before. She knew what it was, little round pieces of colored metal, but not how to exchange it, or what to exchange it for. She also knew people liked it and assumed it was because they were shiny, but had no understanding of the value. Beyond that, any time she had any in her hand, someone would snatch it away from her and tell her that it no longer belonged to her.

    Maria's head lowered in disappointment. She didn't understand what would be wrong with her having his name too. "But... I'm supposed to do what you tell me to do, right? That means I'm yours and... Aren't I supposed to have your name to show people that?" Maria said in reply to his first explanation. She obviously needed that cleared up. When he started up with the second explanation, the idea of being a 'free woman' went over her head completely. She tried to even imagine what that meant.

    "Our secret? So... Maria Drago?"  she spoke up, swallowing and then taking a deep breath. She wasn't understanding any of this, but Neil wouldn't lie to her, at least that's what she thought. He may not like her, but- Wait a minute... "That's what they call you!" she said with a sudden burst of excitement. Her eyes practically shined as  she came to realize this. Without even thinking, Maria sort of lunged forward at him, arms spread wide. She was going in for a nice big tackle hug to say, "Thank you!"

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:34 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    What do you do with money? That's a hard one to answer. "In Grandview, you can exchange it for goods—such as food, clothing, or even houses if you have enough—or services, such as someone cooking for you, someone fitting your clothes, or someone cleaning your house. I may have to give you a more visual demonstration of it for you." Neil was going to have a lot to teach this lass.

    Neil's explanation went over her head at first, but it did eventually sink in... sort-of. The idea of a free woman seemed to confuse her, but he was trying his best to explain what being free is without making her brain explode. He wasn't a philosopher, nor was he an economist. No, Neil O'Cary was a deal broker and a businessman.

    As he finished his explanation, she tried to hug him. That... wasn't going to happen. Neil's leg kicked away from the table, avoiding her like an oncoming train. He looked over as she fell... It was a bit sad, really. Neil did extend a hand to help her up, though. "Please, no hugs. They are not of my tastes."


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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Tue Apr 28, 2015 3:57 am



    She hit the floor. Why did she hit the floor? Why did he just let her fall?! Why didn't he just let her hug him!? Maria laid there for a moment and then pushed herself up to sit on her knees, her hands clenching her skirt. He offered a hand, but she didn't even glance toward it. He asked her for no hugs, but why? What did that even mean? She didn't understand how someone couldn't like a hug. She slowly turned her gaze up toward him, hesitating every moment as if she was scared to look at him.

    "You don't like me... do you?" she said, still not fully looking up at him, "That's how people show that they like and care about each other... They gives hugs and pats on the head..." Maria raised her own hand and pat the top of her own head. This was obviously what she had been used to with the Vonnera. They told her that she was a "good girl" every time they did one of these. She got a pat on the head when she was off to do a mission and a hug when she had come back successfully.

    Maria then looked away from him completely. "And if you didn't want a hug, you could have just caught me... or pushed me away..." Maria said, pouting a little bit, "You didn't have to just step aside and let me fall. I don't have a disease, you know. I'm not dirty because they let me take lots more baths here, so I don't smell bad either... You didn't have to just let me fall. That was mean." Maria stood up on her own dusting herself off. The poor girl didn't know what to think about him at this point.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:04 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    She could not be further from wrong. "Maria, Maria, Maria." Neil shook his head. "I like you—you have an interesting... mind and personality that catches me off guard from time to time." Neil stood up, and leaned over her. And then, he patted her head. Four times. "I apologize for my reactions."

    Neil sat back down, with a smile ever-so-small. "When most people lunge at me, it is because they wish to kill me. I sometimes respond like that, even if I do not mean to." But what Neil wasn't saying was that this is what he did this time. "I do care about you, although I will show my care in a very different way than the Vonnera have shown you."

    "Hugging is a way of showing you care, but hugs themselves are not something I care to do. Funerals and weddings are the only time I accept such a thing, and even then, it is more obligation than wanting a hug. But you can show you care in other ways. A nice meal, a gift of fine clothing or jewelry, or even protecting them from harm—all are ways of showing you care for someone. In fact, this breakfast," Neil's left hand gestured to the meal half-eaten, "is a sign I care about you. I do not share breakfast with just anyone, Maria. You have a special place with me, and I will be sure to make sure that you recognize your worth."

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:16 am



    So he did like her? Maybe? Then how come no hugs!? Feeling his hand tap the top of her head, Maria had a smile return to her face. She  must have done something good! She didn't know what, but- No. That wasn't it. He was showing her that he cared without hugs, right? Yes. That was right. As Neil sat back down, Maria sort of scooted across the floor to sit about five feet away from him while they talked. As he explained, Maria's eyes widened and she gave a strong shake of the head.

    "No, no, no, no, no! I don't want to kill you, so my lunges are not the same!" Maria crossed her arms along her chest and narrowed her eyes, but not exactly at him. She was upset, though mistakenly, that he felt the need to protect himself from something that she felt happy about. As he went on, Maria found herself staring at the half-eaten meal for a few moments. She looked from it and back to him a couple times before sighing and lowering her head. She raised her hands and stared at them too.

    "That's not fair though..." Maria said in a disappointed tone, "I don't have gifts to give... I can't cook... You're stronger than me by lots, so I can't really protect you from harm either... The only thing I could do will mess up your nice hair..." Maria stretched her legs out in front of her and glared at them in actual anger. A moment later, the little lady flailed her arms and semi-shouted in irritation at, "And I'm too short for it too! I can't pat your head to show you that I care because you're so tall!"

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:27 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    Neil's smile widened as she explained that she didn't want to kill him. "Good, I am glad the feeling is mutual. I will try to restrain myself from now on." She was an interesting little thing, and Neil would have so much fun picking her brain. He could confuse her so easily too, so if she ever did annoy him, he'd just give her a logic puzzle. It'll be fun to see how she responds.

    Neil heartily chuckled a bit at her flailing. "Oh, Maria..." He shook his head. "If you want, you could pat my hand instead. They are only two letters away from one another." Neil chuckled just slightly at his own joke. "But if you really wish to show you care, then do two things for me. One, do your jobs well. Two, smile some. You've had a..." Neil did an exaggerated mimicry of her blank expression from earlier, "kind of face for part of today. A pretty young lady like you should not have that face unless she is drugged. Smile some, and I will take that as a sign you care."

    "By the way... Was the breakfast to your liking? I know it may not be much—or maybe a lot, depending on how you were fed at the Vonnera—but I hope you did enjoy it."
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:36 am



    The gods were dull facing at Neil right now. Whether he was ignorant of the situation or not was not even the issue. He knew how to easily confuse her, but this one took a whole different level. Maria brought her left hand up and stared. She brought her right hand up and stared. She then put them both on her head and pat her own head. For a few moments, she was thinking very, very, very, very, very hard and nothing seemed to be clicking. Looking to Neil, Maria suddenly got this embarrassed expression on her face and she turned away from him again, whining a little.

    "Mmm... Breakfast was nice, yes. I liked the jello stuff." she said, her tone slightly saddened. She glanced back over her shoulder at Neil, but then looked away from him. She repeated this process a few times, obviously embarrassed about something. "Neil..." she said and turned back toward him, keeping her gaze on the ground, "Please don't laugh at me this time... but... I... Mmm... I don't... know... how to... read... or write. I don't know how hand and head are two letters off of each other." Maria held up her left hand toward him and then pat her head with her right as she explained this.

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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Tue Apr 28, 2015 4:46 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    ...She what? Neil didn't laugh. In fact, he sighed. "I knew there was something off about you..." He shook his head, in disappointment. Not in her, but in himself. He should have noticed it. "Maria, let this be a lesson to you about the Vonnera. They were archaic pigs who had no backbone to speak of. They were cowards who were afraid of everyone. You included. That is why they did not teach you how to read or write."

    Neil actually sounded irritated as he spoke. "Maria, I will not laugh at you. And, besides Frankie who I do not believe knows how to not laugh, I will cut out the tongue of anyone who does. Personally." That was a promise. The Vonnera were a stain on Grandview, and having them out was a good thing. Grandview may be a criminal's paradise, but it wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for assholes like the Vonnera. "I will arrange for you to fully learn how to read and write. I may not be able to do it myself, but I will give you a short lesson right here."

    Neil walked over to his desk and grabbed an inkpen and a notepad. He sat down and spelled out "H A N D" on the first line, and then "H E A D" in the next. "This," Neil pointed to the first line, "is the letter 'H.' The next is 'A.' Then 'N.' And last, 'D.' This spells 'hand.' Understand?" Neil then moved to the next line. "This is 'H' again, this is the letter 'E,' and then 'A' again, and the last letter is 'D.' That spells 'head.' If you remove the 'E' or 'N' from either word, they become the same. That is what I was joking about earlier."




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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Serenity on Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:12 am



    "Something off?" Maria repeated sadly. She didn't want to be 'off' or any variant of. She just wanted to be Maria Von-... Maria Drago! Yeah. She remembered. That was her new name, wasn't it? As he explained, Maria did listen to the best of her ability, but she felt really, really bad. What had her entire life been up until now? She felt lied to, betrayed, confused, disgusted, insecure, and stupid all at once. Each of these feelings were driving her insane. She wasn't used to this. She was used to the way things were with the Vonnera and that was it. What was going to happen now?

    "You won't?" she replied with a slightly cheery voice, but she seemed almost drained. It was as if her mind had been completely worn out over the conversation and she was feeling weak. She did push up a nice smile for him; that was what he said he wanted her to do to show she cared. If she needed to smile, she would smile, but she had learned before that smiling wasn't always easy. And right now, it wasn't easy. At least it wasn't easy until he said he'd give her a reading lesson! Her eyes widened in surprise and glee at this. She even clapped her hands excitedly as it started.

    Maria just stared at the paper for a moment after the lesson was given. "Am I stupid? I don't... I don't get it." Maria was obviously highly upset at this, but she kept forcing up the smile. She even repeated everything he said word for word, but just because she could memorize something, didn't mean she understood the meaning behind it. "I wish you liked hugs..." she spoke up, running her finger along the H and A letters on the paper, "They're nice, you know? And they're warm... They only mean one thing, at least when nice one's are given... No secrets. No lies. Just love."

    "At least, that's what I thought, but I probably don't know that either. I don't know if anything I know is true... or real. If the Vonnera were that bad..." Maria choked up at that moment. A few drops of water stained the paper she was now holding. She stared intensely at the two words there, wondering why she couldn't understand them. Why was everything she thought she knew wrong? "They never cared about me... did they? Even though they gave me my name... they didn't love me..." Maria buckled over, holding the paper to her chest, "And now I don't think anyone ever has."
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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

    Post by Tsubine on Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:22 am



    ___________________________________
    Neil O'Cary
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    "You're not stupid. It is... above your reading level. You will get it eventually." Neil at the pen down and then listened to her. It was... hard to hear that. Neil actually knew what that was like—to have one's world come completely crashing down on someone. He had lost his parents when he was young, lost his brother not long after, and fell in love with a woman who ended up cheating on him. Yeah, he knew what it was like to have the world as you saw it break.

    But he smiled to her and didn't pat her head more than once. He patted it once, and his hand stayed there. And then with a smile, he tussled her hair up. "It gets better. Maria, you're right about hugs. That's what they're supposed to symbolize. Let me tell you something, little lady. For the past however many years you were with them, no, they probably didn't care about you." Neil was matter-of-fact when he said that, but his hand never left her head.

    "But Maria, that time is over. You've got a new 'family' so-to-speak. It's not a blood family, but few in this town are related by blood. You're part of the Scarlettelli family, and you know what that means? You've got people that do care about you. Even though you don't like him, Frankie cares for you. Grigori does, and Johnny does too. You're one of us, and dammit, we look after our own. You're cared for in this family, Maria Drago. And don't you forget it."


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    Re: Meaningful Expression [CLOSED]

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