(July 22, 2013,06:30am: The Escher house)
Julia and Darren sat at the kitchen table as they sipped at their first cup of morning coffee before they headed out to the lab. Their attention was drawn to the hall as they saw the otter unintentionally slid to the bottom of the stairs. He looked up at the couple with a weak smile as he staggered slightly to grab onto the door frame.
From the living room Alex walked past him to the stairs as she said, “It’s ‘bout time ya got up. I needs ta get ready fer lookin’ as da ‘ouse.” She looked him over for a moment, “Dat whacha gonna wear?”
Hank looked down at himself, he wear the same overalls with no shit and bear paws as she steadied himself with the door frame. “What’s wrong with this?”
She shook her head as she started to assend the strairs. “Neva min’ yar ‘opeless, I’ma go get a suit on.”
Both Julia and Darren swallowed hard on their coffee as Hank told her, “Be quiet, Susan’s in there asleep.”
Alex rockted back down to him and nearly shouted, “Jou… an’ ‘er? Areaaly?” The smile on her face was broad enough to see it even with the stiff beak.
“Fuck, Alex, it’s not like that. She forgot that you were taking the couch and came in looking for her meds,’ Hank returned defensively, “It’s not like she snuck inther to fool around, she’s hurt pretty bad.”
“Bu’ she Stayed whicha?” Alex made lillt giddy school girl sounds as she pranced back to the stairs. “Fluffy Muffins and Mr. Wiggles are gettin’ back tageda.”
Hank looked over at the couple at the table they looked back at him a little surprise on their faces. “Ya, Sue and I were a thing a few years back, before I got stupid. For the past three weeks Alex has been trying to get us back together.” He staggered across the kitchen to the coffee pot. “I’m sorry but my brain does not start it’s tour of duty for another two hours. So if you brainiacs are looking for intelligent conversation, I’m not it. You’re better off waiting for Alex.”
Darren and Julia looked at each other and shrugged as Darren said, “I’m Susy’s brother-in-law, not her dad.”
Hank sat at the table with a cup of black coffee in one paw and the coffee pot in the other. He tossed the cup back and poured the steaming liquid into his muzzle as if it was a cold beverage. His body quivered as the hot, bitter fluid ran over his tongue and now his throat. After he filled the cup again he sat the pot on the lazy susan and began to mix in sweeteners and cream. After several minutes of silent drinking, as Darren read the newspaper and Julia the Annals of Botany, Alex descended the stairs in a black pinstriped, talented suit the hud her curves and body so tightly it looked as if it would burst at the scene with her slightest move.
Darren looked wide eyed at the eagle's transformation for the from the movie version of the sluty girl next door to thesexy professional bussiness woman that stood and adjusted her bow in the doorway. Julia jabbed him in the ribs and said, “Close your mouth, flies will get in.”
Without acknowledging the chinchilla's stair of the squirrel’s comment, Alex looked over at Hank and saud, “Fluffy’s asleep still, we chould go befer she wakes up. An’ it’s a niney minute drive ta Marblecliff from ‘ere. YA should grab a shirt and shoes swamp rat we ain’t goin’ ta da bayou.” She dropped two business cards on the table as Hank left to get what she suggested, “Dat’s my numba if anytin ‘appens. Pin one ta da fridge fer Mini muffins incase Fluffy is not able ta talk. We’ll try an’ make dis quick so we can ge’ back.”
“Don’t worry, take your time. Elise is a capable young lady and we’re not that far away,” Darren said as he took the cards, “One of us will swing by at lunch to check on them.”
Hank came down the stairs, desert combat boots tossed over his shoulder and a plas work shirt tucked into the side of his overalls. “She’s still out. We should get moving before she wakes up.” He leaned into the kitchen and said, “Thank you for the coffee and good night sleep sir.” then rushed out the front door, followed closely by Alex.
Julia looked over at Darren for a moment and said, “She has some odd friends.”
Darren grabbed the coffee pot and walked over to the counter to fill his travel mug. “We all have odd friends, they just don’t seem odd to us.” As he walked back to the table and sat his paw on the red squirrel’s shoulder he said, “I’ll grab our stuff and you write a note for Elise.”
(July 22, 2013,09:30am: Marblecliff, NH)
Alex when they pulled up to the European style whitestone mansion. It had sat for years with the housing market downturn, and was neglected and overgrown. The tall grass laid over under its own weight, weeds grew thick and tall from the cracks in the drive. The massive house stood out even in the highly affluent neighborhood, its unmanicured landscape mocking all the surrounding properties, with the groundskeepers and vinyl siding. The yellow Corvette pulled to a stop at the side of the road in front of the hulking building, reminiscent of the old Scooby Doo cartoon haunted mansions. It sat in the middle of an oversized lot surrounded by a three foot matching white stone wall.Even from the distance they could see several broken windows and shingles missing from the roof.
Alex killed the car engine as she looked over at the sleeping otter. “Ya gonna get up an’ pu’ dem cloths on er wha’?”
Hank pushed the door open as he looked at the visibly neglected house. “This the place?” he asked as tossed the boots over his shoulder he looked around at the other houses within view as he asked, “How long has it been sitting like that?”
“A few yeas,” She said, “Ya gonna ge’ dressed er wha’?”
the otter walked bear paw up to the stone wall and hopped over it. “Is the realtor here yet?”
“She ain’t sposta be ‘here for a bit.”
“Then I’ll wait.” She started to walk through the thick grass, quickly ALex pulled her heels off and followed him up to the house. He checked the door and found it unlocked. He sighed as she said, “This is not going to be good, even in a high class. You ready to start taking notes, Boomer?”
The door echoed into the cavernous entry. As they entered they could hear a voice in the distance, it seems panicked as it chattered a one sided conversation. Hankl looked around the sun lit foyer, the walls were covered in random unartistic gafete and several of the large Marble tiles looked as if they had intentionally been smashed with a heavy object. He looked over at Alex, who stifled a squeak, and said, “I didn’t know they decorated in early ghetto in places like this.”
Alex pulled out her camera as she started snapping pictures of the damage. “It didn’ look like dis on da ad. Dis mus’ all be recent.”
The female voice from deep within the house shouted, the echo cascaded through the emptiness, “Hello? Is someone there?” The duo watched as a well dressed hedgehog counded one of the corners in the the large space. She stopped and gasped at the sight of the backwoods, hillbilly otter accompanied by the professional eagle. She swiftly walked toward them as she said, “Oh you must be Miss. Hawkins,” She extended her paw, “I’m Beth, We set up the meeting by e-mail. I was so excited to hear about someone being interested in this place, But when I got here The place was a mess. This is normally an excellent neighborhood, to find this is just shooking. I have already called the owner and they are going to file reports and have the place repaired as soon as possible. I’m Sorry, but it is in no condition to be shown right now. I have several other places you may be interested in.”
Alex took a deep breath and sighed. She cleared her throat and intentionally enunciated each word, to hide her Chicago accent, as she spoke, “There will be no need for that, Miss. Sutton, We will look at it as is, Nothing else on you list suited our needs. This is my associate, Hank Heartken, he will be inspecting the property for my client.” She looked over at Hank for a moment, “Mr. Heartken Please feel free to look around and make an assessment of the damage and possible repair costs.”
Beth nodded at the otter as he continued to walk into the house, shirt still not worn and boots over his shoulder, before she looked back at Alex. “Ma’am the house is in no condition to be sold. It will need to be pulled off the market while repairs are made. All this damage had been does sometime in the past week, I was here just the other day and the house was fine.” The hedgehog turned a she hears the sounds of broken glass dee with in the house and shouted, “Please Sir, Don’t touch anything, The police should be here anytime now.”
Hank replied from the distance, “They won’t find anything worth a damn in this mess,” He walked back into the entryway as he continued, “All the plumbing that I could see needed work, there are enough hold in the walls to see, The wiring looks OK at first glance, but I am sure it will need work in some places. The pool out back has been used as a skate pare, cracks and blood stained on the lining. The floors in most of the house will need repaired as random places have been smashed, as well as the walls in several rooms. The entire place will need repainted and the support structure may need checked. I see evidence of a roof leak on the second floor.”
Alex looked at him and asked, “Cost estimate?”
Hank Shrugged as he said, “With the extent of repairs needed and the materials used, I would say near two hundred. It would take me about six to eight months to work it all out. It would be more cost effective for the owners to just demolish it and start over, They will lose a lot if they try to repair then sell it.”
Alex looked at the hedgehog, now clearly panicked, “How much was the asking price?”
“One point five million.”
“Call your owners and tell them we will take it as is for eight hundred thousand,” Alex pulled out her phone and began to text, “We want to close as soon as the paperwork as be ready, is a cash down of fifty percent of our offer be enough of a down for it?”
Beth stammered as the sudden nearly sight unseen offer, “I-I don’t know. Let me call them.”
Alex walked out into the front yard and looked over the neighborhood. She thought about the changes that had come into her life after she had met her best friends and and become part of a team that want now more of a family than she had ever imagined. She looked back on her troubled youth in the projects of Chicago. This house, even in the disheveled, abused condition it was, was a sign of just how far her life had come from the day’s of her youth. She closed her eyes as she listened to the peaceful sounds of the secluded neighborhood. She spread her wings and let herself fall into the thick over grown grass.
A young feminine voice called out as she heard paw steps running through the tall grass, “Ma’am Are you okay?”
Alex opened her eyes and lifted her wing to block the rays of the early morning sun. Above her stood a red Squirrel with a concerned look on her face. Alex took another deep breath in an attempt to maintain her composure, “Yes ma’am, I am fine. Just enjoyin’ da… the summa day.”
The squirrel sat down by her, “It is a nice day isn’t it?” She looked over at the eagle sprawled out in the grass, “Hi, I’m Laura Summers,are you the new realtor taking over the property?”
Alex sat up and said, “Do I really look like a Realtor?”
Laura tilted her head a bit as she said, “well no one has really looked at the house in almost five years. Realtors come and go on the property. There’s a petition going around to have it demolished because it’s bringing down property values in the shape it’s in.”
“Well me and my group are gonna buy it,” Alex said as she sat up on propped her weight back on her wings.
Laura looked at her again as she asked, “Group? So you with someone who is going to just tear it down and subdivide the triple lot?”
“We’re not that kind of group. We’re going to live in it and fix it up.”
‘Oh, you’re one of those ‘flip this house’ groups? Buy it cheap and sell it high? I watch those on TV sometimes, They seem like more trouble than it’s worth to me,” Laura paused for a moment before she backtracked on her comment, “Not that it’s not a good life. I hear you can make a lot of money doing that.”
Alex shook her head, “Wrong again , Miss Summers, We have some long term plans for the house and property. Thankfully we might get it really cheap. Someone vandalized it over the weekend and I think we can talk the current owners into dropping the price by almost half.”
“Vandalized?” The squirrel woman asked, “I bet it was Vivy and her bunch. A small group of trouble makers, really not common for the neighborhood. I hope that doesn't change your mind. This place used to be so beautiful. I’d love to see it fixed up again.”
“Na dat won’ chan nutin’, I chould tank ‘er actualy,” Alex let her accent slip as she spoke, “‘ank ‘ill wanna pull it all ou’ anyway and star’ over. We gots ta make a lota changes anyway.”
Laura smiled as the eagle, “Miss, I think you dropped your accent.” Laura giggled the look in the eagle’s eye as she realized what she just did. “It’s ok, I’m not going to judge anyone by how they talk. Besides, if we’re going to be neighbors I might as well meet the real you.”
As the two women lounged a bit in the warm sun Hank walked out to the yard, “Boomer, Beth said the the the owners nearly jumped through the phone with the paperwork, They really want to get rid of it.” He stopped when he noticed the squirrel woman.
Alex stood up, “Dat’s great, Now wha’ was da name a dat finacial officer dat Fluffy got from Reds?”
Hank looked at her for a moment, “Miss Hawkins?” as he tilted his head to the squirrel.
“Oh, Dat’s one a our neighbas, Laura Summas. Miss Summas, dis is ‘ank.”
Hank held out his paw as she started to say, “Pleased to meet you miss….” He stopped for a moment as the name tran through his mind. “Laura Summers? Any relation to the Julia Summers that married Darren Escher?”
“Why yes, that’s my daughter. Do you work with her or something?” She asked a bit surprised to hear the almost random connection.
“No ma’am, out connection is a little more convoluted than that,” Hank said as he tried to figure out how to connect the dots, “One of our… members is Susan Shelby, the Aunt of…”
“Elise?” Laura blurted out, as she interrupted the otter, “Julia said Elise’s aunt Susy was moving to Marblecliff, Is she doing okay? I heard she was in the hospital.”
Alex’s eye opened wide, “wai’ yur red’s mom?” she asked, “Why didn’ I see it, ya looks jus’ like ‘er.”
“She’s doing fine, Miss. Summers.,” Hank said, “She just needs some read to let things heal right. Well it was a pleasure to meet you, but we really need to get moving if we are going to close on this by Friday. Come on Boomer you got that name yet?”
“Friday? Are you serious? That’s less than a week.” Laura said in disbelief.
Hank looked over at Alex and said, “Jillian Prescott, that’s who you need to call.” He looked back at Laura and said, “Again nice to meet you, I’m sure we’ll do it again,” with a big smile on his muzzle.
Laura watched slightly dumbfounded by their swift movements away from the house. She heard the half dressed otter say, “I’ll face the mortgage forms you hit up City Hall for the other paperwork.” The couple hopped into the flashy yellow corvette and drove off.
“Why do I have a feeling life in the neighborhood just got a little more interesting?” Laura asked herself out loud as she looked across the street at the two cobs playing in the yard.
(July 22, 2013,11:30am: City Hall, Marblecliff, NH)
Alex rushed into the large whitestone building and through the metal detector only to be stopped by the security guard when it went off. “Ma’am you’ll need to remove all your metal and go back through, Please”
“Wha’ da ‘ell?” ya machin is broken er sumtin’.”she said as she went back thoguh and started to pull things out of their pockets and remove her belt.She stoped as the felt the object that hshe often forgot she carried, “Chit!, she looked over at the guard as she unhooked the sheth and K-bar knife from her side, “I fergot I ‘ad dis, cen ya ‘old it fermy, I’m kin’a in a rush.”
The guard lookd at her and replied, I’m sorry ma’am you’ll have to take that back to your car.”
She looks around as she and spotted a kestrel on his way out of the building. She turned swiftly and slapped the knife against his chest, “‘ere ya go feder’ead, ya cen ‘ave dis.” Then swiftly walked through the metal detector, oblivious to the security guard with his paw on his side arm.
The kestrel held out his wing to signal the security guard to stand down as the walked back in with the knife in hand. He followed her through the halls as she apparently randomly roamed reading the signs above the doors. He then followed her into the Business office as she huffed at the lingth of the line, “Wha’ da ‘ell? Ain’t dey got more den one person workIn’ ‘ere?”
The kestrel walked up in line behind her and said, “well it is lunch ma’am, people do have to take breaks.” She turned to see him as he held up her knife, “You forgot this at the door.”
“‘ow’d ya get dis pass’ da guad?” she asked, “neva mine’ ya probly work ‘ere er sumtin’”
“You could say that,” He replied, “They kind of let me go where I want to.”
“Is dat so?” she asked, “Cen ya get me ta da frun’ of da line?”
“Put that thing away and we’ll see,” she said with a smile on his beak, “You know not many people call me a feather head around here.” He hooked his wing around hers and he stepped her out of line and walked to an open space at the counter.
“Ya got a ‘ead an’ it’s covaed wit’ feder,” She said as he led her around, “Wha’ do dey call ya?”
A young husky jumped up from its place at a table and nearly ran to the counter as she said, “How can I help you, Mr. Mayer?”
“Yes, Jacky, right?” he said the the suddenly blushing dog girl, “I have a lunch appointment with this lovely lady, but she needed to get some paper work done. Can you help her out?”
“Sure thing, Mr. Mayor,” The husky said as she turned to Alex, “How can I help you?” Alex stood dumbstruck for a moment, her beak hung open as she realized she was wing in wing with one of the most powerful men in Marblecliff. The husky asked again, “Ma’am? How can I help you?”
Alex shook her head as she snapped her beak shut. She pulled an envelope out of the inside breast pocket of her jacket, “I need ta file des non profi’ registration papas. ‘ow long does it take ta get da state tax exep’ ID back?”
“It usually takes two to four days, we’ll notify you by mail to the address on the form,” the husky replied.
“Is dere a way ta expidi’e it? I kina need it ta day if possible.” Alex said still in shock from the thought of who she randomly handed her k-bar to.
“I’m sure miss. Jacky here can have that by the end of lunch,” the kestrel said as he gave the husky a wink. “But she still needs time to work on it, so how about that lunch, Miss?”
“‘awkins, Alex ‘awkins?” She said as she suddenly felt like crawling back to her Corvette and hiding.
“Miss. Hawking,” He said with a smile as she started to walk her out of the office, “Is there a Mr.Hawkins?” he asked as he suddenly turned the tables on the on the usually over talkative social butterfly.
“No sir,” She said as she tried to regain her bearings while he led her out of the city hall.
“Why don’t you tell me more about this non-profit you’re registering in our city, this is the first I’ve heard of any new projects,” He said as the walked out the front door, “especially projects run by a knife wielding fem fatale.”
As he started leading her into the parking lot she stopped and said, “Oh no ya don’. I ain’t gentin’ in anyone’s cah bu’ my own. Eder ya ridin’ wit’ me er dere ain’t gonna be no lunch, Mista Maya.”
“Okay then,” the bird man said with a smile, “how about you follow me to the place?”
“‘ow ‘bout ya tell me wheae ya goin’, and if I feel like it, I’ll mee’ ya dere?” She retorted once again feeling like she had control of her situation.
“Fine,” He said, “I can live with that. I’m going to take my lunch at Caille. I’ll see you there, Miss Hawkins.” He strode confidently over to his reserved space and climbed into his Cadillac CTS-V Wagon, then pulled away.
Alex nearly ran to her Corvette and jumped into the driver’s seat. She sat for a moment thinking over what she should do. She pulled out her phone and dialed a number as it connected to the in-dash bluetooth. She heard a groan as the call was answered [What is it Boomer? The place not what you expected?]
“It aint dat, da place is ‘zactly wha’ I tought it was gonna be, even got it fer less ‘cause someone vandalized it firs” Alex said into the air.
[Okay, then what are you calling me for?]
“Da maya was jus’ fir’n wit’ me,” Alex said.
After a short silence, [The Mayor was flirting with you? Are you sure it wasn’t the other way around?]
Alex shot back, “I didn’ even know it wa’ da maya. da securty gaud stop’ me fer my knife…”
[Fuckin’ A, Boomer, Didn't you just give me a long speech about that?]
“I fer got I ‘ad it, so I jus’ gave it to a bird dat was leavin’. ‘ee turn’ aroun’ and followed me in ta da bidness office. an’ ‘anded me my knife back.”
[So you’re trying to tell me that you just happened to randomly hand your knife to the Mayor of Marblecliff while he just happened to be leaving City Hall, then he decided to bring it back to you there in the building?]
“Dat’s really wha’ ‘appened,” Alex said defensively.
[And how do you know this guy was the mayor? Let me guess, he tolds you he was.]
Alex retorted, “no ‘ee didn’. ‘ee lead me ta da frun’ of da line and called an office girl ta ‘elp me. She called ‘im Mista Maya.”
[You’re shitting me? you meet the Mayor?]
“‘ee wanted ta take me ta lunch,” Alex said in response.
[And you’re calling me because?]
“Wha’ do I do?”
[Wait, Alexis Hawkins is asking ME what to do about a guy asking her to lunch? Let me write this down on the calendar.]
“HA ha, Fluffy, I suiryus ‘ere,” Alex said for once really not knowing what to do about the situation, “‘ee got da girl ta fas’track our papa work, Wha’ will ‘appen if I stan’ ‘im up?”
[Wait? Boomer is thinking about standing up a guy she just meet that offered to buy her dinner? Is he ugly and old?]
‘No ‘ee’s actually ‘ot,” the eagle admitted.
[Okay, let me get this all straight, so that when I tell Lilly about this she has no questions. You ran into the Mayor of Marble cliff, He’s hot, and he asked you to go to lunch with him after fast tracking our paperwork at City Hall. And you called me to tell you what you should do. Are you feeling okay, Boomer, this doesn’t sound like you at all.]
“Come on, I ain’t up on all dis political chit, wha’ if I screw it up?” Alex asked, the worry stapled in her voice.
[Okay, heres how it should work, Boomer, he fast tracked the stuff to get you a little off balance. That seemed to work, quite well in fact. The paper work will end up on his desk most likely, so you’ll have to see him again eventually anyway. Going to lunch can’t hurt anything on your end, because you can always scream sexual herasment or rap. You should know that part well from some of you court cases. I say go to lunch, get the paperwork and be done with it. It’s a cut and dry situation here. the worst that will happen is the paperwork gets processed through the normal channels.]
“So I chould go ta da luch wit’ ‘im?’ Alex asked
[Get your game face on girl, the lunch and guys are your forte. Just be Alex and you should do fine, just don’t cut him or start a bar fight.]
Alex sighed as she said, “Okay, I tink I cen do dat.”
[Good, Now hang up and go to lunch, I’m learning how to kick your ass on Black Ops II.]
Alex sighed again as the phone click off, “Wha’ da ‘ell is wrong wit’ ya, Booma, She’s right, ya chould be all ova dis.”
(July 22, 2013, 12:15am: Caille, Marblecliff, NH)
Alex pulled the Corvette into the lot at the fancy french restaurant. Even though she knew that the Kestrel was the mayor she was surprised at his choice of lunch spots. She parked the Corvette and walked into the restaurant. She was greeted by a Spotted gray genet, “Bienvenue à caille. Do you have a reservation?”
She cleared her throat and spoke in a clear fluent french accent, “J'ai été invité à déjeuner avec le maire.”
The older genet said, “Par ici madame.”
She replied,”merci, monsieur.”
The host led Alex to the table where the kestrel sat and pulled the seat out for her. Once again in a clear french accent she thanked him a gan, “merci, monsieur.”
The kestrel stifled a snicker as Alex sat down and thanked the host in french. He looked across the table and said, “I’m happy to see you decided to have lunch Miss. Hawkins.”
Alex looked back across the table at the bird man, “ya know my name, Mista Maya, do I jus’ call ya dat from now on, er do ya ‘ave a real name?”
He tilted his head as she asked, “You’re not from around here are you?” he leaned forward on his elbows as he added, “My name is Steven Archer.”
“Well, no I’m no’ from aroun’ ‘ere, Mista Ahcha,” Alex said.
“Please call me Steven, I’m not on the clock right now.”
Alex smiled a little as she siad, “I t’ought da Naya was always on da clock.”
He smiled back as a tone came from his belt clip, “Well it looks like you have a point, Miss. Hawkins.” as he pulled out his phone and began to reply to a text.
Alex fluttered her eyes at the Kestrel as she said, “ya cen jus’ call me Alex, Steven.”
“Alex,” he tried put the name on his lips, “That is a lovely name for a beautiful woman.”
Alex sat back for a moment as the Mayor sat across the table obviously flirting with her. Panic set in as she thought about the pending scandal that would come. It was apparent he was not new to the aspect of affairs, But Alex didn’t want to get caught up in a political media circus.
To her relief a young marten walked up to the table. With a thick french accent he said, “Bonjour, My name is monsieur Delmon, and I will be your server today. Can i interest you in sample of the house wine.”
Alex looked up at the waiter and spoke with a clean french accent, “Non, merci. Je voudrais que le pôchouse avec raclette et un vin blanc.” then handed him the menu.
Steven smiled as he listened to her order in the language of the quizen he had chosen. It was not often that he saw a woman with her looks or well rounded enough to order in a foreign language. In a mild effor to impress her he ordered in french as well, “Je voudrais que le Poulet à la bretonne et thé”
The waiter thanked them for their orders and left. Alex looked across the table at the kestrelon the other side and said, “Donc, vous parlez français. C'est légèrement impressionnant. Il est alwasya bonne façon d'impressionner une jeune femme. de toute façon, je tiens à vous remercier pour votre aide avec notre paperasse.”
He leaned back in his chair now obviously impress with her language skills, “Okay, Alex, you caught me I only know some basic french. Any way, How about you tell me what brings you to Marblecliff and more obout this NPO you are registering.”
Alex breathed a sigh of relief as the conversation move away from the flirtatious to the mundane topic that she actually needed to think about for the next week. “I’m from Chicago, originaly, Bu’ I a’m movin’ ta MarbalCliff wit’ some a my Army Buddies ta star’ a ’ome to give troubled yout’s a place dey can go to fer ‘elp.”
His eyes brightened up a bit with the thought of something that might be a good thing for the community, “You mean something like the Calumet House over in Manchester? That would be great to get those kids closer to home and family, But I don’t think a lot of the community will be behind a youth halfway house in our city.”
As Alex watched his demeanor lighten up at the thought of their plan as yet another institution, She stood Slammed her talons down on the table and began to nearly yell at the Mayor of their soon to be new home. “Da Dark Ridas aren't jus’ anoder ‘alfway ‘ouse ta add ta da intitutions of da fuckedup yout’ corectional system. I done been in dose places an’ I’ll be damned if I’m gona be part a dat system. We’a buildin’ a yout’ sanctuary for dose dat nee’ a place ta go. A safe place where da cen jus’ come and get away from livin’ on da streets er away from abusive family even fer jus’ a few days. We ain’t gone be jus’ anoder rak’em and stack’em jail ‘house fer teens da chould be gettin’ real ‘elp. We’a gonna get dem that ‘elp. I don’ give a chit if I’m gone fuck dis up. lunch wit a chetin’ bastard ain’t wort’ a few less day waitin’ on some papas.”
The restaurant fell silent as they watched the eagle rant at their mayor about halfway houses and youths. She watched as she turned to his phone apparently ignoring her. He sat completely unfazed by her assault on his character or her near screaming at him creating a scene in public that she knew the media would eat up. She turned to leave with her final words, “We’a done ‘ere Mista Maya”
Without looking up from his phone Steven said, “Just one moment Alex. First I would like to apologize for the assumption I made about the type of… Service your group is planning to provide. I feel that a… sanctuary house for youths would be an even better service to the community that any new prison, and I would still like to hear more about it, if you don’t mind.” She could hear the phone slide across the table as her as he added, “As for the cheating bastard part, You’ve made a few assumptions of your own.”
She turned and looked back at the still un flustered kestrel, a simple grin on his face, before she looked down at the phone to see a publication article titled ‘Marblecliff’s most eligible bachelor’ followed by a large picture of him. She turned and slowly sat back down as her embarrassment burning into the white feathers of her cheeks. She sat in silence reading the article as the wine and salads were served.
After a few moments of the somewhat awkward silence Steven started to speak, “So, Miss Hawkin…”
“Booma,” Alex said softly as she look up from her the mayor’s phone.
“Boomer?” she asked with a strange look on his face.
“I mean Alex, jus’ call me Alex,” She corrected herself as she started to think straight again. Some some reason the most eligible bachelor in the city was sitting across from her smiling, and all she had done that day in his presence was make an ass of herself. Totally confused by the situation she thought throu the comment made about the bird being ‘selective’ about those he was interested in.
He smiled wider as she said, “Boomer, now that is an interesting nickname for such a beautiful women. I wonder you got it.”
“I don’ get it,” she said as he looked downad started picking through the salad with her fork.
“Don’t get what?” Steven followed suit and began to eat as well.
“I ‘and you da biges’ knife i ‘ace, and ya start followen be aroun’. Da gaurd musta not been tinkin’ I should ‘ave been on da floor befer ya even got ta da door,” she paused for a moment before she asked, “‘ow da hell did I end up at luch wit’cha?”
He nonchalantly picked through is leafy greens as if it was just another day at lunch. “Well lets see. A strange woman, in this town, slaps a knife in my chest and calls me a feather head,” he snickered at the thought as he continued, “I couldn’t just let that one go. As I followed you through the City Hall it was obvious you were new in town and not one to ask to many questions on your own, so I figured you really didn’t know who I was.” He stifled another small laugh as she added, “The look on you face when Jacky called me mr. Mayer, that was priceless.”
“Dat was mean,” Alex said as she slid the half eated salad away more interested in the coming fish plate, “Ya could ‘ave intraduced yurself er somtin firs’.”
He pushed the plate of greens away as he looked back up at her, still smiling, “I was going to, but she beat me to it. But as for why you’re sitting here at lunch with me,I am genuinely interested in this new NPO your group is bringing into the city. It is kind of my job to know about those sort of things. And hearing about one being registered did catch me off guard a bit. Besides, what guy in their right mind doesn’t want a beautiful woman with them at lunch?”
“Ya, can jus’ stop wit’ da bootiful chit already,” Alex said as she sipped at her wine.
“If I have to,” He responded with a wink, “So, Boomer, let me hear some more about your plans, How far into the planning phase are you, and why pick Marblecliff? We have a somewhat low crime rate and several affluent neighborhoods.”
“Don’ call me Booma,” she said as she let him finish, “An’ crime an’ welt’ ‘ave notin’ ta do wit’ troubled yout’s or abusive families. We ‘ave just setteled on a buyin’ price fer a nice sized ‘ouse da ‘as been on da market fer a few year now. Da place needs alota work, bu’ we ‘a in no ruch ta get started, we wanna do dis right no’ fas’.”
“Already have a property in minde, and a price negotiated, and you asked about fast tracking your local NPO registration?” he asked, “Looks like you’re moving fast to me. Is there something going on with the youth in our community that I am not aware of?”
“No it ain’t dat. One of us got a job at one a da schools ‘ere, an’ she starts nex’ mont’. A few of us came in early to set tin’s up for dem. Da fas’ trackin’ was more fer my benifit with da legal filin’ an' contracts.” Alex watched as the small smile never left Stene’s face.
“A youth sanctuary and a school worker. You guy seem to be getting your fingers into a lot with the kids of our community. So which of our lucky schools is getting this philanthropist from your group?”
“Chimera Preparatory Academy, part of the Mythic Schools group er sometin’,” She said as she looked nto her wine glass trying to to star at the man across from her.
“Chymera Prep?” he asked as he leaned forward a bit, “Just how much work did go into ‘choosing’ your locations and job went into this? Cecilia, the headmaster of CP is one of the bigest rights and equality advocates in our city.”
Alex nearly choaked on he mouth full of wine as she tried to talk, “We didn’t do no planin’, it kinda fell inta our laps. Lilly took ‘er new daughter on a cruise ta Hawaii and meet some peope da jus’ ‘appen ta need a teacher. An’ she jus’ appened to be wantin’ to switch jobs to teachin’.” She sat the wine galss down not wanting to spray any acroos the table at her companion if he suprised her again with thing she might now know about their luck. “Lilly sent us out ta fin’ a place as soon as she knew she ‘ad a job. Den I font da place dats been sitten fer like five yea’s er somtin. An’ it jus’ ‘appened to be vandalized when we looked at it taday. Got it fer a song an’ dance.”
“Where is this property? I’d like to come by and see our soon to be new teen sanctuary,” he said still leaned toward the eagle as intent on looking at her as what she was saying, “That way when it does hit the new I can at least answer some of the questions they will have.”
Alex scribbled the address down on the cloth napkin and slid it over to him. He sucked in air as he saw the location, “Well you’re luck either ran out or the gods just want to give me hell for the rest of my term.”
“Wha’ da ya mean?” she asked the worry evident in her question.
“Well A few of the people in that neighborhood, one in particular, will not be happy with the planes you have,” He tapped the address into his phone to double check his assumption, “And he just happens to live across the street from you.”
Alex smiled as she looked him in the eyes, “We cen deal wit’ people. we’a people people, social and all dat.”
“Even then, you’ll have problems with this one,” He said as he thought about the couple men, "He's also on City Council. I'll try and throw him a bone once in awhile to make him happy and try to keep him off your cases."
As he finished his phone let out a tone. As he check the message he stood up, “I’m sorry to cut this short, I really am, but they need me back at the office. The life of the mayor, always on the run.” he stopped at the host just as Alex was thought about the bill that was sure to come, and said, “send the bill to my office with my plate. and see that the young lady enjoys the rest of her visit here.”
Alex sat for a moment, still dumbfounded that the mayor of the city was single, hot, and apparently interested in her. As the plate of fish was sat before her she shook her head, and whispered to herself, “‘ee jus’ fritin’ ‘cause dats wha’ guy do. ‘ee ain’t really interested in me. ‘ee just wan’ed ta know about wha’ we’s doin’ ‘ere in Mahblecliff. ‘ell, even if ‘ee was interested, ‘ee didn’ get my numba er notin’.”
She slowly eat her meal as she pondered her little meeting with the mayor. she was startled by her oen phone as it rang. Shee looked down at it and answered swiftly, “Chit, “ank, I completly fergo’ abou’cha.”
[You forgot about me? Really Boomer?]
“I was ‘aven lunch wit’ da Maya.”
[And I was have lunch with the queenof england, just get over here an pick me up. I’m gettng strang lookes.]
“Ya wouldn’ get strange looks if ya didn’ dress like Tom Sowya. I’m no my way, jus’ gi’me a few ta get dere.” She stood an looked ofr her waiter, “‘Ay, I need da bill,” She said out load as she rummaged through her purse.
The host walked up, “It’s already been taken care of, madame.”
Slightly confused she said, “Tank ya,” and left at a near running pace.