Closed RP Eyespots

This RP is currently closed.

Slate

Member

As his client stood and walked out of the Diamond, Ethan loosened his tie and sighed. It was the only meeting for the day, and it had been fairly successful. Their contract had been renewed, and at the full fee that Ethan had updated his rates to. Stonewall was booming, and keeping up with it was growing harder. He was glad that he had instated Rhody and Sulphur as higher-up board members. Having a COO and a CFO made his life infinitely easier. It freed up the time he needed to deal with these kinds of situations.

He stood from his usual seat and moved to the bar, where Hemie was mixing drinks. It was well past the time when they served their breakfast options and was growing closer to the time when she would be showing up. Hazel, the pain in his ass. He had spent the last few weeks watching her when she was in the bar and trying to figure out what she was doing. Finally, something had clicked into place for him. A reason that she felt so suspicious to him.

Her energy signature was wrong.

He needed to see her close and in person again to confirm, but he was starting to suspect things. And of course, what kind of host would he be if he didn’t provide drinks for the intended discussion? He gave a nod to Hematite, who returned it with a smile. He set aside the shaker, tipping it upside down into a tall glass. He started mixing a different drink up in an equally tall glass- a very simple grenadine cream soda.

Ethan accepted the drink when Hemie passed it to him and took it over to the booth that Hazel usually sat in. He slid in opposite the side she normally sat on and placed the drink in the middle of the table. He sighed as he further loosened his tie and undid the first button of his shirt. He rustled his hair, pieces of the perfectly gelled hair falling loose and into his face. His other arm was bound in its sling, immobile. Fucking Selenite. They curled lightly, trying to free themselves from their gelled shells. He could feel the ends of his hair all the way around breaking free.

Now all he had to do was wait for the girl to show up.​
 
Hazel had never stopped visiting the Diamond.

She’d taken a little break, but that was also in part finals and an article due. And some investigative research into – non-Obsidian stuff. But last week she’d done a lot of actual studying here, and now that the semester was out, she’d made up her mind to do her actual work here, too. It wasn’t like Slate had any interest in her reviews of local small-time bands, or interviews with lead singers. There had been some costume design done at her table, too. Just not her Arcane costume. Different people at different shows needed things for the Christmastime rush.

Her own yellow sweater and dark blue jeans were all the preparation she really needed for the season. It didn’t get horribly cold during December, especially not in the afternoons when she stopped in. Her purple hair was pulled up in a messy twist held together by an alligator clip to keep it from pulling while also keeping it off her face. The simplicity of the outfit was a testament to the fact that really, she was here to get some work done –

Except James was at her table.

[Hair untidy. Tousled, deliberate, post meeting? Still gelled. Tie loose, shirt unbuttoned. Casual or mobility? Expression unclear on film.]

She paused outside the glass door as what she’d fondly started calling “her camera” (since it seemed so much less weird doing that) came into her range of view. James Ethan Fielding was at her table. He was waiting for her. If she focused she could see the grenadine soda there. That meant he wasn’t just waiting at her table – he was waiting for her.

She re-focused on the door, brushed some bangs off her face in her reflection, tilted her head as if checking for an acne spot, and then she pushed through. No point in leaving. That’d be even more suspicious, given the doors were glass. Might as well play on expectations.

She smiled at Raphael as she stepped toward the counter, and turned as if going about her usual routine to drop her bag off before placing her order. She hoped that channeling “anxiety” and “a little fear” into a pretense at being surprised worked, because that was what she had to do to try to make it convincing.

“Mr. Fielding?” she asked, when she couldn’t decide between James or Ethan. Obsidian was off the table, obviously. She really needed to settle one one of the two common names for her notes.

Focus, Hazel, focus…

With the soda, there was no pretending that she wasn’t supposed to sit at the table. But she couldn’t just sit down across from an anarchist gunrunner mob boss without invitation, either, which left her standing awkwardly in the middle of the floor, letting her eyes wander across his clothes like she hadn’t already fully profiled him.

She couldn’t decide on what else to say. Really, there wasn’t anything else to say. He was at her table, and she couldn’t sit down, and she couldn’t address the knot in her stomach screaming for her to run before he gave her that invitation because she might not stand back up, so all she could do was look pretty, confused, and a little nervous while waiting for an explanation, one hand wrapped around her messenger bag.

The only thing holding her together was the fact that the cameras were on. Since they were on, she couldn’t be in that much trouble. He wouldn’t just kill her on camera.

Right?
 

Ethan tried hard to control the flashing in his eyes as he looked up at Hazel. He was still higher than a kite from the night before, from Jade and Chrys, but now wasn’t the time for all that energy. He smiled at her, nonetheless, and gestured for her to sit down across from him at the booth. His eyes glittered with some kind of dark light, some kind of strange mania that he couldn’t quite hide.

“Hazel,” his voice was rough as he spoke, like he was swallowing back emotions he didn’t have names for. And he was. He was still trying to figure out what to do about Cain, but that was neither here nor there. “Please, sit with me. I want to speak with you.”

He closed his eyes and tried to take a centering breath. He thought of the different techniques that Rhody had tried to teach him. He had to get himself under control. He had practiced dozens of different exercises and different practices for this exact reason. If he wasn’t careful, he’d do something he didn’t mean to. And that was unacceptable. Ethan made an example for all of his people. His self-control was a shining demonstration to the rest of Slate, and to the rest of Stonewall.

Unfortunately without an outlet, the energy would continue to vibrate through his body and reverb through him. He was stuck like this, having taken too much in, and spinning because of it. Or maybe this was residual spinning from the previous night with–

Focus. Hazel. Focus.

He looked up at her again and took note of her energy. Just like he remembered, she had an energy signature that spread out away from her. That wasn't necessarily the strange part. The strange part was how boxy it was. It was almost pixilated at the edges, like a corrupted code. It was unlike anything he had ever seen, now that he was paying attention to it. That confirmed one suspicion.

Hazel was a meta.​
 
Something in his eyes made her want to stay far away from the seat across from him. Hazel couldn’t put her finger on it, exactly. He was dangerous. But she already knew that. No, it was – something else. Mania, maybe. She remembered the way he’d taken Cain’s life with his bare hands –

[Left arm in a sling. No way to see the fracture, the sling is hiding it.]

Obsidian had been hurt? Hazel tried not to stare, bringing her attention back to his face while strategically not making eye contact. But it was one less arm to – nope, not thinking about that. She smiled at him, and slid into the booth.

“Sure,” she said, with a calm she didn’t actually feel.

He didn’t give her any insight into the James-Ethan problem, but that was okay. There were a lot of other things to focus on right now, like the fact she couldn’t use her go-to ‘did I do something wrong’ tactic. They’d already been over that. But she didn’t have any idea what he could want with her right now.

She couldn’t be the one proposing ideas, though. She slid her bag off her shoulder and pushed it up against the wall beside her. The strap was within reach, but it wasn’t like she could run anywhere. Then she wrapped her arms around themselves, pretzel-like again, to give the appearance of being relaxed as she leaned her elbows on the table.

“What’s up?”
 

Ethan was smiling when Hazel sat down, that glimmer still in his eyes. He noticed two things, right off the bat. Her energy spiked, most likely a sign of her anxiety. The second thing was her headphones. He stared at them for a moment, then tapped the side of his own head, feeling the cleanly trimmed edges of his undercut. His earpiece was silent, right then, and the mic was turned off under his suit’s lapel. There was no need for it today.

“I’d appreciate it if you would take those off. I’m aware they might have an ambient noise setting, but I’d prefer that you hear me directly. After all, I’d like to have a conversation with you.”

He leaned back in the seat, stubbornly refusing to wince when his arm screamed at him for the movement. The cracks in his radius and ulna were severe, and would take him time to heal. The medic he’d had check him out and scan his arm had indicated at least four major fractures, and predicted it would be at least two months until he could use his left arm again.

Fucking Selenite.

He managed to retain his smile despite the pain. He would show no weakness to anyone, even with such an obvious injury. But those who knew what happened knew that this didn’t make him any less dangerous. Touch of any kind was enough for Ethan to drain someone, regardless of what part of him touched them. His hands were just the easiest and most natural way for him to do it. He flexed his right hand on the table, looking down at the gloved hand briefly.

“I wanted to ask how you are. After all, you did witness something rather horrific. It would be so… rude of me, to not check in on you after that.”
 
She looked at Obsidian blankly for a second when he tapped the side of his head. Her hand went up to her own ear, momentarily showing the outline of an eye against her wrist. Her hand found her headphone just as he spoke, and only hesitated for a second when he mentioned ambient noise.

[Camera on. Lapel microphone off, but left earbud on; residual feedback. Personal cell phone – phones – on.]

He didn’t know. If he’d known, he would’ve turned more off. The phones and the camera for sure.

“Right! Sorry.”

The hesitation passed, and she slipped the headphones off. Her hand lingered long enough to power them off, and it pushed the hair away from her neck long enough to show the eye tattoo under her ear. Then, she moved her hand back to cross with the other, and both eyes were out of sight.

She started to smile again, and then she caught the way he glanced at his hand. At his glove. The fingers flexed at the same time he mentioned the incident. She felt her heart start to pound, but to her credit, she got it under control with a slow breath. No need to dissociate, this time.

“I’m alright,” she said, and she was being mostly honest. She felt just a little high strung, which was… way better than she would’ve been if he asked two weeks ago. She felt her soft yellow sweater under her fingers, and let them help ground her. “I mean, it’s not like… anybody died or anything. Could’ve been way worse – could’ve stuck, with all that blood.”

She almost believed all of that herself. It was one of the ways she was coping, without being able to tell anybody. But the question was starting to put her at ease, to relax. Of course Obsidian wanted to talk to her now that the semester was over, now that it looked like she had time to do that. She had a hard time believing that he was doing this just out of the goodness of his heart – but if this was just an intimidation tactic, she at least knew what was going on. She wasn’t going to just passively let him scare her.
 

There was a brief pause when Hazel stopped talking, where Ethan looked at her with a neutral expression, his smile temporarily forgotten. He tapped the fingers of his useful hand on the table. His seemed unclear, as though he were thinking and had forgotten he had company. Then he suddenly snapped back into attention, and his smile was much too wide and showed far too many teeth. That gleam in his eyes spread to the smile, lending it an even sharper quality.

“Hazel…” He drew her name out in an almost sing-song way, extending the vowels as he tilted his head to the side, ever so slowly. “Now, I asked how you are. You don’t have to lie. And I certainly didn’t specify that I was only asking after how you were after the incident. I asked how you are.”

He enuciated every word with a strange clarity, as though he was forcing himself to speak in a way that was slow and clear. It was clear from the drumming of his fingers and the sudden vibration of a tapping foot, that he was pent up with some kind of energy. He was breathing in slow and deep breaths like he was actively forcing himself to do so. Everything about him was conveying the mania that shone in his eyes.

The sharp and wide smile twitched at the corners before falling back in on itself as a smirk. “Tell me how you are, Hazel Simone Beauvais?”
 
To her credit, Hazel’s smile didn’t falter when Obsidian started to get…weird. The sharp smile, the almost teasing tone he took. Was this part of the scare tactic? Was anybody else seeing this? She really wanted to zone out, to look around. But she also didn’t want to take her eyes off of him. Whatever restraint he was showing made her just want to gather her things and leave.

Not an option, right now, but it would’ve been a grounding thought if he hadn’t said her name.

“Tell me how you are, Hazel Simone Beauvais?”

And of course, her body reacted. Her chest constricted, her head rushed, and the fear would flash in her eyes for just a second as she lost control. He knew her name, her full name, he’d been looking into her and he had to have guessed –

Her eyes unfocused as she zoned out. Her focus shifted directly above them, to the camera within her reach; and back to the other camera nearby, to check the rest of the bar. Was she alone with him, or were other people just not paying attention? Whatever the case, she shifted back again to her camera, and looked down at herself. At her suddenly tense posture, at her slight brow furrow she could feel, even if she couldn’t see it.

Relax, Hazel.

He’d obviously been looking into her. Though, her full name was on her driver’s license – but he was trying to intimidate her, so obviously he’d done some digging. If he’d found Panopticon she had a feeling the cameras wouldn’t be on at all. So – Echo Chamber, probably, or else one of her student-author articles for the college or magazines.

Focus came back into her eyes as the tension melted away, the face cleared. She blinked once, and her face eased into a smile.

“I’m better now that finals are over with,” she said, honestly. Honesty was important when you were going to lie. “Everything’s done and turned in, now it’s just waiting for grades. I’m not worried about that, though. And I plan to spend the break working on some of my personal projects in the music sector. Might be able to make a little spending money by the start of spring semester, if I’m careful.”

If I don’t get murdered today. Not a useful thought. Maybe she was talking too much. Was she? No, no, she was redirecting. Technically, she was answering his question without acknowledging the chronic overstimulation. Which he was just compounding on. Probably without realizing. Probably. Hopefully.
 
Back
Top