Closed RP It's Accrual World

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David Hartwood

New member

Normally, David didn’t do restaurants. It wasn’t that he didn’t know how to process them properly, it was more so that he didn’t like that atmosphere, and his boss was rather generous. However both Stella and Henry were out sick that week, and that meant they needed someone to go to Crazy As Crab and do their audit. Unfortunately, David was the best person for the job. Apparently, word had spread that their documentation was questionable at best. And David was good with questionable.

Right away, the place looked like it would be named Crazy As Crab. There was a space following As in the sign that made it look like a second S should have been present. Crass, at best. He was sure the inside was going to be just as bad as the outside, which looked a bit run down and had wood detailing. There were lights all the way around the building hanging from the eaves. Lanterns, by the look of them. He sighed as he got out of his Volkswagen Arteon, locking the doors. He adjusted his heavy jacket over his sweater- which was worn over two thermal long sleeves and an undershirt– and patted down his pockets. Everything was in place as he slung his work bag up onto his shoulder and started toward the building.

He’d left his long blonde hair tied back, the top of it fluffing out in pieces from the layered cut he had just gotten. It suited him, he thought, as he caught sight of himself in the glass door to the building. With another deep sigh, he stepped inside the building.

As expected, there was a violent collision in the decor. Strings of fairy lights hung everywhere, while Louisiana-themed decor lined the walls. Hanging over the entrance was a large alligator head. He couldn’t tell from the distance whether it was taxidermied or fake, but the scales didn’t shine like plastic. He bristled slightly at the sight of it and blinked his eyes as he looked down at the wood floor.

He shook off the ill feeling of seeing something that he felt resembled his own skin so much and continued to approach the hostess's podium. Standing behind it was a pretty black woman, with long brown dreadlocks and a round face with rounded features. Her eyes were almost darker than her hair, which he found fascinating at first glance. He gave her a polite smile, tilting his head to the side. “Hello, I’m here to speak with Dale Lark. My name is David Hartwood, I’m here from the IRS. I’ve been told you’ve been given notice of my visit.”
 

Alissa looked up from her phone as a gentleman, dressed far to fancy to be eating here, stepped inside, the bell above the door signaling his entrance. She raised a brow until he introduced himself. IRS.

She could have strangled her brother. He wasn't great with paperwork, and she'd only been around for a few weeks. Mostly she wasn't about to go back to prison for tax fraud, when she had far more serious, and important crimes under her belt. Alissa straightened up, and as she did a part of her bare midrift revealed itself between her shirt and jeans. Her voice was soft, lilting southern. "Sorry about that sir. My brother is out right now, but I can help if you need to go over things- I basically do all the accounting now anyways, Mr. Hartwood."

She extended a graceful hand, her hip cocked slightly, "Im afraid your notice must have gotten lost. We would have prepared if we'd known you were coming. Why don't you take a seat on the booth and I'll grab the paperwork."

Alissa was thinking fast. A lot of the paperwork wasn't in order, and any close inspection would reveal the inaccuracies and blunders of Dales accounting. Still, she knew how to smile. And how to play nice- a skill honed through years of experience. How to agree through gritted teeth.

"Anything to drink?"
 
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The waitress– Ms. Lark– was quick on her feet. He looked around the restaurant and noticed that it was fairly busy. He scratched his neck under his sweater and smiled back at her, taking her proffered hand and shaking it. “Ms. Lark. A drink sounds lovely. Anything you have that’s hot will be appreciated. I’d prefer to work out of your back office, if possible. That way I’m not stealing a booth. I’m aware that the lunch rush is presently happening.”

Her voice was pleasant, smooth, and musical. He appreciated the sound of it, whereas his own was a bit hoarse, a bit croaky. He’d been told enough times that his voice had a quality that couldn’t quite be placed. He’d never been told it was bad, however, just unique. There was a bit of warmth in it, more so than you would expect from such a professional man. It reached his eyes as they flicked over Ms. Lark once.

His smile turned a little flirty as he continued. “Of course, if you want to sit with me, that’s a different story. Then I wouldn’t be opposed to a booth.”

Hopefully, she would catch on, but even if she did, there was no guarantee she would flirt back. He was here for a job, and he would do that job. But that didn’t mean he couldn’t flirt with the pretty waitress while he was at it. He tilted his head a little further, inclining it to look down at her. She really was pretty, with her button nose and full lips and round eyes. Unfortunately, she was just his type. That would either make this difficult or easy.
 
"Well, Mr. Hartwood," Her accent drew out the lasy syllable of his name. "Let me grab those drinks and files and we'll see if I can't help you with some of the questions you might have."

Alissa showed him to the booth and left him with a menu, if only out of habit, and left him with coy smile before heading to the back office.

The office was small, cramped, and an ungodly mess of filing cabinets, wires and coffee mugs. Alissa rifled for a few moments for the tax documents before bringing them out, leaving a few choice documents in the paper shredder. You could really only be arrested for fraud if the auditor had proof. Right?

She comforted herself knowing that if the meeting went poorly she could just kill him.

Alissa tucked the folders into her apron, and mixed two Sezeracs- whiskey, absinthe and bitters. A Louisiana classic. She joined David- Mr Hartwood- and slid into the booth across from him, handing over the documents. "Here is everything we filed the past two years- and a drink as requested."
 
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When Ms. Lark returned with the files he needed, she also returned with drinks– but not the hot drinks he had requested. It looked room temperature, but it most definitely smelled like alcohol. The acidic scent burned his sensitive nose as she set it down in front of him. As the waitress moved back into his orbit, he was able to take a deep breath of her scent. Cajun spices– the mixed smell of a handful of peppers and garlic and onion– and the strange, tangy scent of metal. The scent was strangely comforting to him.

He smiled wryly as he accepted the drink. He kept it well away from his face as he set it down on the table. The smell was more than enough for him to tell what was in the drink. And it wasn’t something he could drink while on the job. Instead, he flicked his eyes up to look at her, his pupils just slightly too narrow. Thankfully, most people didn't pay enough attention to notice something like that.

“Is the alcohol an attempt to get me distracted, Ms. Lark? It’s a good one if it is.” He flipped open the first file of documents and began to flip through it, checking dates. That was always his first step. You checked the dates before you began the calculations. It would do you no good if you were missing documents. So he always checked that first.

Everything looked in order, which meant he could start his calculations. He pulled out his notebook, documents, and his calculator. As he started setting up, he flashed her a smile again, this one a little more charming. “So how does a lovely lady like you end up somewhere like Pittsburgh? Judging by your accent, you’re from somewhere down south?”
 
"Not at all, Mr. Hartwood," Alissa said coyly, "I can take it back if you won't drink it. It's just what we would consider a warm drink in the bayou."

She kept a keen eye on him, and what he was doing. He went over all the documents with a similarly wary eye. It struck something inside her, being watched, judged, appraised with criticism. Alissa knew it was his job, but it still irritated her, when people went purposefully looking for something wrong. Still, she kept smiling.

"Yes, I'm from New Orleans," Alissa said. She neglected to mention her murder conviction, and instead added."My brother moved up here a couple years back and needed help with the place, and I didn't have many prospects in Louisiana."

She couldn't help but notice his disarming smile. Two could play that game. She leaned forward slightly, taking advantage of her V neck.
 
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“I see, well, I’ll be more than happy to drink it after I…” He chose that moment to look back up from his documents and found his eyes dragging over her body before he found her face. With great intent, he looked at her eyes and nowhere else. If he was someone who blushed, he was sure he would have just a touch. After all, she really was attractive.

“... After I finish these documents. I appreciate the effort you put into it, Ms. Lark, but I simply cannot drink while on the job.” He flashed a smile, tilting his head slightly to the side, but still kept his eyes up high. While he wanted to look at her, there was only so much he could get away with before it could be reported as sexual harassment. He’d have to wait until after his job was done before he did or said anything further.

He swallowed and quickly looked back down to his paperwork, flipping the folder back open to the first set of documents she had provided him with. His eyes took on a sharp look as he started writing down numbers and doing calculations. Two years of documents wasn’t a lot compared to how many he had done in the past. But it would still take at least an hour or two to thoroughly sort through.
 
Alissa smiled, seeing David quickly move his eyes eyes to her face, flushing the faintest shade of red. It was almost too easy. She almost felt bad about it. She reached over and grabbed the drink she had given, taking it for herself, especially since he wasn't gonna drink it anyway. She downed it in two gulps.

"My apologies. Wouldn't want you to get in trouble."

She watched him work for a short while, vaguely interested in the number crunching and calculations. She didn't know a whole lot about tax law and auditing, and was always fascinated when people had skills she hadn't. Maybe given time she'd be able to figure out how to save more money and squeeze more money from the government and the restaurant.

"Been in Pittsburg long yourself? You dont seem to be from around here either, Mr. Hartwood."
 
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David’s lips quirked when Ms. Lark threw back the drink she had made for him in two gulps. He suppressed the full smile he wanted to give her and turned his eyes back to the paperwork without a word. She didn’t need to know that he really liked a girl who could hold her liquor. At least, not yet. She could find that out later.

They sat in silence for a while as he started to crunch the numbers. It was tedious and quiet work, but David was good at tedious and quiet. He was good at this. When she asked him where he was from, he had already finished half of the first year’s taxes and payroll. Everything was looking good, although there were some discrepancies between tips reported and tips distributed. That would require closer attention to see if it was a pattern.

“I’m from New York. Manhattan. I’ve been in Pittsburgh for about three years now. Ever since I joined the IRS. You can call me David, Ms. Lark. You don’t need to be so formal.”

He looked up from the papers and his notepad and smiled at her, a full smile with teeth that looked just a little too sharp around the canines. It was brief but genuine, and then he hummed softly and returned to the papers, though his eyes flickered up to her a few times. After another moment, he looked back up and said, “Do you miss New Orleans?”
 
Alissa crossed her legs, and sipped on the second drink, watching him work, noticing the shadow of a smile on his face. He was cute when he was trying to be professional. She listened as he answered her question. A New Yorker? Interesting.

"I've never made it over that way. Always wanted to see the city though," She said casually, trying to keep the conversation light. When he requested she not be so formal, she laughed airly,"Then you don't need to be either, David."

"Please, call me Alissa."


Alissa smiled back when he finally showed her his teeth in a sharp grin- the way a gator or snake might smile. She slid aside the empty glasses and pondered his question. Her expression softened slightly, "I miss parts of it...the warmth. The food and music- I love Jazz." She reminisced. The French Quarter had always been her favorite place, other than the open bayou. She craved the intensity and crowd, or the complete silence. The inbetween Pittsburg provided was monotonous. "Have you ever been down that way? Louisiana?"
 
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“Alissa.” He drew her name out as he said it, a hint of something in his lazy smile. He looked up at her and held her eyes for a moment before looking back down, his smile returning to the light and easy one he’d had before. His eyes lingered on her hand, wrapped around the second drink before returning to his paperwork. As he started to punch new numbers into the calculator, he replied to her question.

“Louisiana. I went to Baton Rouge a few years ago on business. I stayed at the Cook Hotel, if I recall correctly. I didn’t get to do much in the way of sightseeing. But it was a beautiful city, what I did see of it.”

He paused as he reached the end of the first year. The tips reported and dispersed were definitely incorrect. But that was to be expected at most restaurants, so he wasn’t too worried about the discrepancy. His eyes flashed back up to hers and he grinned, white teeth flashing. “More beautiful than this city, at the very least. Do you like it here?”
 
"Baton Rogue is nice, but I've only been a few times. To be honest I preferred New Orleans, but maybe that's just cause it was home." Alissa shrugged, tossing her hair back behind her shoulder. She did miss it, but she wasn't going to tell him that. You don't tell a stranger your secrets, your desires. Nothing really. Alissa had learned the hard way what happened when you gave folks bits of yourself. They just feel entitled to more.

Alissa took another sip of her sezerac, taking a moment to direct one of the waitresses to handle a customer at the till. As much as she loved this resteraunt, there were more important things to deal with, namely David. It wasn't often she was intrigued, or amused. But she could tell he was trying to stay professional despite everything. It was almost too easy.

"I don't mind it here. I hate the cold, and the culture isn't the same- no one here speaks French or Creole for one. But, my brother is here and...I have a job, a purpose. Might as well enjoy what I got."

"What about you, you enjoying yourself here?"
 
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