Closed RP A Garden Chat

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Siren had been following the girl for the better part of the day. It wasn't her usual m.o. - she didn't look out for trouble, she just went to places where trouble was until it happened to find her - but since she'd spotted her that morning, something had stood out.

One was how on-edge she seemed. Every teen had stuff to worry about. At least, Siren thought every teen did. She wasn't exactly up to date on the regular teen experience. But if television had any truth in it, anxiety was one of the core pillars of the whole sorta coming of age experience. It wasn't usually a cause for concern. Bad grades, boy troubles, crossing your parents. But this -

Was different.

She wasn't the only one following her.

It was just a bad hunch, at first. Combat training kicking in. Danger recognition. Something unnatural about the way a man in the shadows was watching passersby, something worse about the way he honed in on the kid. Siren was used to acting on her gut, though, so she followed - it wasn't like she had anything better to do. She was jobless, and had already secured a motel room for the week, courtesy of some hotshot news reporter who thought she was showing off when she booked the room with a fistful of hundreds. Thought she was a prostitute, too - paid her at the end and asked for a number.

Siren'd given her the hotline to the local Chile's Too. Hope she liked bean bowls to-go.

Anyway, the hunch paid off. She spotted the same face one more time, and another guy too. Not as bad a feeling about the second one. Not as much - well - danger, there. Still, he was very obviously looking at the girl, and he even followed her for a few hours. By the time it was getting dark, the two faces seemed to be gone, and she and her unwitting charge had ended up at an aquarium. Only then, in front of a tank full of a bunch of (really cool) eels, did Siren approach.

"Hey, kid."

She squatted beside the girl.

"Neat eels."
Eli moved quickly through the crowd, an eye watching her surroundings and a hand clutching the shoulder strap of her book bag in a white knuckle squeeze. Eli stuck to public spaces as she walked, anywhere with a crowd, she thought that would be better. It had to be harder to approach in a crowded area, right? Still, it was also harder for her to keep track of faces, and she wasn’t certain if she had really seen some of them more than once. She attempted to make some unnecessary turns here or there to see if she could catch someone, but it didn’t help much.

It was getting dark by the time she slid into the aquarium, but that was fine. She knew some of the staff here, and they seemed to like her. The bench she liked the best was open, in front of a tank of eels wiggling in the water, so Eli took her seat and unzipped her bag. She retrieved her math textbook and rested it on her lap, and began writing in a somewhat cramped but neat script. She hadn’t been working long however before someone squatted down next to her, causing Eli to reflexively straighten and almost sending her book tumbling to the ground.

She held a hand over her heart as she looked over. It was just a lady. Eli released a breath and smiled, perhaps a little strained on the edges.

Yeah, they’re really cute aren’t they? Sort of uhm, relaxing to watch.
The girl seemed tense.

Fuck, she would be too, in her place - or maybe she was just weird about strangers, and didn't know what was going on. Moving from a kneel to a cross-legged sit, leaning against the side of the bench and watching the tank. They were neat eels. They stuck up out of the ground, waving back and forth in the water like glass. It was like some kind of eel garden.

Her eyes shifted down to the sign.

Garden Eels.

Yeah, that made sense. Stifling a yawn with the back of her hand, she glanced at the girl.

"So, you uh - alone, here? Got any parents? Friends? Guardians?"

Siren kicked herself the moment it slipped out. Not exactly the best thing to say to a scared kid. God, she was bad with scared kids. Bad with kids in general.

"I was just - um. A lil' concerned. Wanted to make sure you were okay."
Like blades of grass brushed by a gentle breeze, the eels waved in their tank in slow soothing motions. Eli thumbed through the pages of her textbook, though she wasn’t looking down at her book. The lady seemed a little odd, but some people liked striking up random conversations, right? Right. Eli looked from the eels down to the woman as she settled in. Should she ask if she wanted to also sit on the bench? Eli reached for her book bag to slide it down onto the ground before the woman’s words caused her to flinch. She did her best to hide the momentary hiccup as she grabbed her bag by looking back to the eels, hopeful the woman wouldn’t notice.

Parents? That’s, uh,” She fumbled for a moment, trying to figure out how to respond. “They’re just at work right now. I’m, uh, fine. Yeah.” She smiled to try to make it more convincing, which probably didn’t help.