2019-10-23 - Hunger and People-Watching


Celerity meets Priscilla from a delivery.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Oct 23 00:16:34 2019
Location: Lower East Side

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To be fair, Priscilla has never worked so hard on her psionics in her life. She never imagined working just her brain could drain her so fast. And she's so hungry. Pris can usually be patient enough to stumble through making something in the kitchen. But today, not so much. Today, she made a GrubHub order while still driving her bike back to the safehouse.

And instead of just a filling small Chinese meal and a vegetable, Pris went a little crazy. She was hungry, damnit, so she ordered three smalls - black pepper chicken, General Tso's pork, and kung pao shrimp - along with a large sezchuan green beans and a bubble tea. It's a lot of danged food.

The address Pris fed to the app turns out to be an old two-story corner garage with no signs of actively doing business. There's a person door beside the old-style garage door, and the security pad is very well disguised behind an old brick.

It's a safehouse, after all. But there is an old-style round buzzer.

Delivery 'driver' is a perfect job for a speedster, especially if you know how to be sneaky about it. Celerity calculates how long a delivery 'should' take someone in an actual car, and makes sure to spend time waiting out the timer. In the end, she arrives pleasantly but not impossibly early — if a route would usually take seven minutes, she does it in six minutes, not one. And she ducks into an alleyway to get quickly changed, back into her long, dark pants, her knee-length skirt, and full-sleeved button shirt.

She blinks around the corner garage, the long-lowered shutters. Not the kind of place she usually delivers, but it takes all kinds. One knuckle presses the buzzer. "Hello? Is this Pris?" She made sure to remember the name on the order.

There's no sign of the camera hidden to catch sight of those at the door, but soon enough - for a normal-speed person - the door's rather heavy-sounding lock ka-THUNKs, and the door opens to reveal a very tall mocha-skinned woman with very web black hair just barely bound up in a towel, wrapped in a knee-length purple robe. "Hi! C'mon up. Thanks for the delivery. I'm crazy hungry tonight." Pris seems to take it as a given that the driver won't mind doing her the favor of following up the stairs; this helps, since there is no way on earth she has a wallet in that robe …

Oh god the customer's just wearing a robe. Celerity's eyes pop, settling sternly no lower than Priscilla's chin. "Any time, happy to deliver. It's what I'm here for, you know? Whenever you need a delivery, I'm there." She may be babbling a bit. Though she keeps her gross movements steady, stepping in behind Priscilla at a comfortable distance, her mouth goes at motor speed. "U-Um, just up this way?" She turns her eyes to focus on her hand on the stair's rail, rather than watching Priscilla lead.

"Yep, just this way." Pris offers, as she sashays - frankly, she is incapable of not sashaying; when she runs she just does it incredibly quickly; up the narrow steep stairway from right inside the front door up to the second floor. One can look past the railing on one side to see a dark but well-kempt garage space, complete with a motorcycle on its kickstand.

Pris leads the way up towards the light - oh, joy, LIGHT! - and steps out into the warm, rather homey little apartment on the second floor. It's largely an open floorplan, with a curtained-off bedroom space on one side, a countered-off kitchenette space on the other, and a curtained off bathroom space in the far corner. The larger, central area has a long low sofa, two loveseats at either end, and a very large, low coffee table in the middle. There's a hutch in front of this, probably meant for an entertainment center and a big tv. Instead, there's just a laptop there.

Pris weaves around an obstacle or two and makes it to the kitchenette space, and then gestures to the counter so the delivery gal can put things down, while she opens up a fat leather wallet and starts peeling out bills. "How much do I owe you?" she asks.

Look over there! A railing with a hand on it! Or over there! A curtain! Though Celerity's doing her best to keep her eyes under control, she's not so good with moods, and her 'interest' is tangible enough to be psychically loud. Which, right now, might come off to Priscilla like a hungover person listening to someone playing the drums.

Ah! And there's a bench. Celerity crosses the room in a few long strides — again, impressively fast but not actually superhuman — and sets the bags down on the bench. She glances around. Huh, no other people around. "Wow, you really must be hungry. It's, uh, $41.20 all together." She fetches out her own wallet, ready to return change.

"OK." Pris scrunches up her nose cutely as she does math. forty-one point two times one point two … so that's forty-one point two plus four point one two plus four point one two … so forty-nine point four four. Pris pulls out and starts counting from a very large wad of very small bills. "Five, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen … twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven … forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine." Then out come five dimes, and the clingily-clad curvaceous dancer comes over to join the delivery girl. "Here you go. Yeah, I know it's a lot of food. But I'm super hungry. Thanks, you're really sweet to deliver like this."

Sure, Pris can feel that Celerity is repressed and avoiding her own responses. And Pris rather pushes those boundaries just by being present and breathing. But she's not openly trying to batter down those boundaries; she's more just trying to troll out bait and see if the other woman will pursue it. She doesn't want to hurt her, after all. That'd be cruel, and Pris is never cruel except to dire wraiths.

Celerity's eyebrows lift when she sees the wad. It's not a wad of large bills, so it's not like she's just come from some kind of weapon-trafficking deal, but all those small bills would add up. She whistles to herself. "I'm kinda curious what you do, to stack it up like that." She smiles at the nose-scrunching; she's probably calculated it all out already, but she's learned it's just better not to get ahead of the customer. She looks over the notes and coins, tallying them all up, and hands back a nickel and a penny from her own wallet. There: 120% exactly. "Thank you. And really, it's no trouble. The streets here are getting built up, so it's easier to navigate now." She may be repressing, but she's not backing away; and after a bit of time to get comfortable, she has her gaze relaxed on Priscilla's face. It's a nice, comfortable level, though she has to tip her head back a bit to deal with the height difference.

Pris smiles at Celerity, and twinkles form in deep purple eyes. "What? You can't guess by looking at me?" she teases gently. "I'm a dancer, hon. And these are my tips." Clearly the mocha-skinned beauty has no shame about it all. "In case you're ever interested, I'm headlining right now at the Obsidian Club." Not that far away from this place, in fact.

Celerity blinks, and then her eyes go wide and her face redder than her hair. "O-Oh. I mean, th-that's not the kind of thing you want to assume, right? What if I said, 'oh you must be a stripper' and you turned out not to be. It's like asking a stranger at the bus stop when the baby's due, y-you know? Not… not a question you ask. Um, you mean… interested in seeing you, you know?" She's babbling again, and her hands fidget, taking their time putting the currency away into the wallet.

Rather than be insulted or weirded out, Priscilla just steps forwarda and wraps her arms around Celerity. "It's OK. I get it. And you're right. Probably best not to assume. But yep, that's me. Stripper." She winks, gives the girl a little squeeze, and then releases her. She's not here to be creepy. "And yeah. If you were interested, you'd be more than welcome, hon. But I more meant if you wanted to know. The rest … the rest is up to you. When you're ready. If you're ever ready. No pressure. Thanks, again, for bringing the food so promptly."

Pris lets Celerity babble and bumble through that, then escorts her down to the door and wrenches open the heavy-duty lock on the door - a suspiciously damned solid door, at that - and sees her out. "Drive safe, and have a good night."

Celerity's mid-babble when the hug begins. Her first response is surprise… but very quickly, she sinks forward. She likes that hug, and for more reasons than the obvious. There's a sense about her like she doesn't get hugged very often. It could easily linger, but she steps back when Priscilla releases her, and lets out a sigh. "R-Right. Um. I guess I am curious about some things, like… i-is it true that a lot of strippers do, er, 'happy ending' stuff behind the scenes? Or there are drugs everywhere? Or you hate it, but you have to do it? Is anyone forcing you?" Well here's a girl who's been fed a lot of bad stereotypes. She's cramming the words into practically asking a question a second while she descends the stairs.

And soon they're back at the door. Huh. Where is her car?

The warm and curvaceous dancer smiles indulgently at the slightly younger woman's questions. "Happy Endings? I know that sort of thing happens at less reputable clubs. You won't find that happening at the Obsidian, however. And at less reputable, less clean clubs, yes, drugs are everywhere. Especially because the clubs are a cash business, they are very attractive to organized crime for money laundering, and they attract that sort of trouble like flies, with no respect for the dancers or staff." Pris will not lie. These things are a part of the reality in exotic dancing.

"As for 'have to'?" Pris answers, a sad look on her face. "That happens a lot more than it should, yes. As far as I know, it's a rare thing for the folks at the Obsidian. But it happens a lot, and I've seen it. Heck, I was it, once upon a time. But things are better for me, now. I have choices. I choose to keep doing this, because it's what I'm good at, and I actually enjoy it most of the time."

When they reach the bottom of the stairs, Pris unlatches that heavy lock - a turnstyle doubled bar, like the hatch on a warship - and pulls open the door for Celerity. "Any other questions?"

Celerity's lips purse. Sounds like her mother's tirades are sadly close to the money, at least for the 'less reputable' clubs. Her hands clench into fists at her sides, and she sighs under her breath. "That sucks. It really…" She shakes her head.

But there's a more hopeful note: at least in Priscilla's case, she's still doing it because she wants to. And there are more reputable clubs. Which actually feeds into her next question. She stands up a little straighter, something else coming into her stance. A sense of determination. "How do you tell if a club is one of the bad ones?"

Most people would read it like she's just making sure to keep herself safe, if she ever does visit something like that. Priscilla has certain advantages, though, and can feel the cold, sharp determination underneath: this is a girl with an intention to Do Something.

"Best way I know is to visit the club. Watch, pay attention. If you know the signs, you'll see it. Don't worry about how someone dresses. Watch and listen to what they say, what they do, and how they do it. How they treat others. If you pay attention, it's not hard to tell when a dancer is really into and enjoying her performance, and when she's just going through the motions." Priscilla answers.

Pris can tell, of course, that this young woman wants to 'do something', but she cannot tell that it's anything more than activism. "You ever not sure? Ask me. I can find out in a hurry. But be careful. At bad clubs, if they figure out what you're doing, they're going to get afraid. And once they're afraid, they'll try to put that fear on you and yours."

Celerity sighs, her shoulders sinking. "I don't know the signs, though. I wouldn't even know what to look for." She chews her lip. "But… yeah, I'll keep my eyes open. Thanks, Pris." She doesn't say anything about being careful. Of course: she's a teenager, and thus invincible. That's all it is, right? She steps away from the door, heading towards the alley. "Have a good night. Maybe I'll see you around?"

Pris reaches out, lightly touching the girl's cheek. "You'll learn the signs, if you pay attention. I can't teach you in one night. But if you ever want to learn, I do a lot of people-watching. People-reading. I can help you learn." And she's willing. "Hopefully we'll see each other again. Take care, and have a good night." Pris does notice the lack of a car nearby, but doesn't ask; is it any of her business?

Celerity goes bolt-upright with surprise at the touch to her cheek, which grows red and hot. "R-Right. I'll, um. I'd like that. Learning to read people. It's important, right? To figure out… what people need." And for her 'side job', figuring out which people are in real distress and need intervention. As she slips away, she just heads down into the alleyway. Maybe it's just a bike, and she parked it before coming up to the door, or something?

Or maybe Celerity's just waiting to be out of Priscilla's view, so she can swap back into costume and get back on the road in her own unique way. More Grubhub orders await.

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