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Realistic or Modern ❛ ᴀʟᴏɴɢ ᴇɴᴇᴍʏ ʟɪɴᴇs ❜ - ||closed||

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Action, Adventure, AU, Realistic, Romance

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


Markus raised an eyebrow. There was no reason not to trust him. He had a reputation behind him, plus there was nothing to be suspicious of him. Why did she jump on the mafia thing so readily? He beckoned Telly to come closer. "Simple: Modus Operandi." He pointed at the door. "Their Entry Point. I ruled out burglars because they didn't try to pick the lock or find an easy way in, they wanted quickness. They didn't want to rob anything, they wanted to find someone, like I said, they were looking for a woman - 'Find her' - and thought that this woman probably hid herself in this house." He then pointed at the dead men. "Their attire. They aren't wearing anything that could possibly be of a burglar, I mean, who goes to steal a house with a social shirt or a blazer?" He chuckled a little bit, then recomposed himself. "Their weaponry. They all have the same weapons: Glock .40, something that I've reviewed countless times on evidence reports on anything that regards the Point Creek Families." He made an exaggerated motion when saying the last part, mocking the existence of the term. "Their Orders. Like I said, they weren't here for me, they were looking for someone. I was just a collateral, and a damn good one at that." He grinned. "They didn't expect me when they arrived here, and didn't expect a fight." It was his turn to raise an eyebrow. "I mean, this is just observation. Are you implying something here, or do you have something to tell?" He said, then deflated, looking dowm. He didn't want to go on defensive, since he was on the losing end. "Hey, sorry. I'm just a bit uneasy about this whole thing. I'll trust you to the crime scene, just keep my house safe, will ya? I'm already tired as it is. I'll see you guys Monday?" He looked towards the city, the Saturday night making it shine.

He grabbed a backpack full of clothes and after exchanging pleasantries with the two officers, got a cab. 'i see a chance, i take it slow - 3904". It only took a quick search on google to find out his destination. Moonshine Street, 3904.
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
INTERLUDE !

--​
Williams carefully studied Telly's face as Grant went through a lengthy explanation of his reasoning and logic and found no trace of surprise, fear, or...any emotion, really. The woman's face was quite composed, a smooth expression not giving anything away about what she was thinking. "I see. Thank you for your time, Officer Grant." Telly said, and it was clear by her tone that there was still doubt. If anything, the defensive nature of his answer was evidence that there was possible foul play at hand here.

Williams quickly bent down next to the three bodies. Grant's story of events seemed rather believable and plausible, but he knew damn well that trusting Grant was not the reason Vincent DeLano threw a paycheck at him every month. He'd need to seriously study the evidence presented, trying to look for Stella DeLano. But Williams had faith that it wouldn't be too hard: a stray hair, a fingerprint--anything and everything should be used to cast suspicion.

"I don't think she's trying to say that you're hiding something, mate." Williams laughed easily, despite that being exactly what Telly had been getting at. "I think she's just trying to follow your train of thought. You know her, Telly always conveys her things in that sharp, brutal way of hers. It's why we love her." Williams joked, and nodded. "This has been a crazy night. You go and get some rest, man. Don't worry, we won't raid your fridge." The tall officer slid his hands in his pocket, the epitome of a casual attitude.

--

Stella DeLano

--
Stella, on the other hand, wasn't faring so well. She couldn't go to the hospital for her wound, and quite frankly, she was reluctant to approach any of the windows or open spaces in the apartment for fear that she might get shot at.

The drive to the apartment had been rather harrowing-- it was somewhat hard to drive with one hand when the other hand was pressing hard against her wound. Besides, the speedometer hadn't dipped below 70 the entire time--her speeding skills were rather legendary. (She's pretty sure that she ran three red lights in a row, but whatever).

If she was honest, Stella was anxious. Every second that passed could be an indication that Markus had gotten caught or even was ratting her out. She wasn't in control of the situation, and the presence of too many variables didn't make her comfortable.

The siren call of the bed had almost been too difficult to resist, but the woman was worried that if she fell asleep, she would never wake up. She decided to occupy her time by exploring her apartment. While the place was rather small in comparison to her other luxurious estates, she rather enjoyed it. The kitchen was a decent size, and she enjoyed the cold granite. The dark oak color of the cabinets was a nice choice as well. The living room was quaint and small, but she didn't spend her time there. She peeked into the bedroom and noticed the accompanying closet and en-suite before ducking out quickly, not wanting to linger. The other bathroom and laundry room was quickly inspected, and the balcony was avoided by all means.

After she explored her place, she felt a bit more at ease: she knew her surroundings fairly well. The young woman sank down onto one of the bar chairs flanking the kitchen island, and let her head rest on the multicolored slab of stone. The coolness against her face felt relaxing and soothing as she trained her eyes towards the front door. When she heard the knocks, she pushed herself off of the stool and ran to the door. "You came," She sighed in relief, tugging the officer in and closing and locking the door securely behind him.
 
Last edited:

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


The cab travel was swift and uneventful, stopping at a pharmacy to buy more supplies, Markus being sure that Stella was going to need it. Soon he was in front of the apartment building, and found his way to Stella's flat, and was promptly rushed in when she opened the door. "You thought I was going to bail on you?" He smiled, adjusting the backpack on his shoulder. He did a once over on the apartment, the decoration, layout, everything. "Nice place. I wonder how much money earned from drug deals was used to fund it." He sighed. "By the time I was coming here I was thinking long and hard about this whole situation. I mea-" He looked at the woman, the wound in relatively bad shape. "Oh fuck, are you okay?" He set the backpack on the ground and ushered her to a place to sit, examining the wound. "One or two stitches snapped, I'll have to redo them." He sighed. Ever since this whole thing began, he felt his youth being drained away with each sigh. "I'm confused, DeLano. On one hand, you might be the key piece to dismantle the whole operation set up by your father, but on the other, the mere step out of place that I'll do from now on will wreck my whole life. I probably broke 10 laws just by coming here, not mentioning talking to the officers that came to my home. Tell me this is going to be worth it." He said, slumping in the couch. His expression was awful, a mix of a grimace and frown. "What do you plan on doing here, DeLano?"
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

--
"Yes, actually." Stella answered honestly. "I genuinely have no reason to explain why you didn't turn me in. You work in odd ways, Grant." the woman mumbled, making sure that the door was shut securely. "As for the place, it's one of the only ones that I own that my father has no hold or knowledge about. Not quite sure which money I used to pay for it, but I'd rather just be grateful that we have a place to rendezvous." She grumbled as her hand was replaced by his against her wound. She allowed him to usher her to sit down, and she did so with a sigh of relief, her head tilting back as she gently lowered herself down. With Grant monologuing next to her, the task of sewing up her stitches was on her. She groaned quietly as she worked the shirt off of her shoulders, neatly folding it and placing it in the man's lap. She reached for his bag, yanking the first-aid kit he had gotten out, and with delicate fingers, fished out the thread and needle. Her hands were steady as she worked, neatly suturing the skin back together. Once the thin thread was tied off, Stella leaned back to answer his pondering thoughts.

"Listen, Grant. I want to replace my father. He's deviated from what we used to believe in. Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, the crime families have been doing more good in the slums than the police or any other city officials. We didn't dabble in drugs, we didn't dabble in prostitution. We did our trade exports, in and out, gave money to good people, did our best to protect our side of the city. You don't understand because you don' know, you don't know how much of an impact we've had. I'm tired of my father running the family into the ground, which means I want to expose his crimes, take him down from his position, and assume control." she said simply, leaning back.
 

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


"Don't mistake my intentions with kindness." He said, not noticing what Stella was doing. He was crashing from the adrenaline hard, and the realization of his actions set in. He put the folded shirt next to her and sat across from the woman, looking down. "Our 'alliance' is temporary, and I still intend to arrest you when this is all over. Until then we help each other, up until our interests differ. It's just weird how yo-" He was cut off of his rationalization by Stella, and that's when he finally noticed what she was doing. She was shirtless again, and casually resting against the couch. Markus looked at the shirt near her and finally noticed everything up until now. He blushed furiously, looking at the side and listening to her talk.

Markus was… uncomfortable to say the least. He studied the recent story of the city, especially regarding crime, and yes, crime rates on lower income neighborhoods steadily dropped ever since the Point Creek Families started to actively intervene, but at the same time, he wondered if that was because of actual goodwill or just coercion. And yes, the DeLanos dealt mostly with imports/exports and "protection" services, but nothing else. Drug trafficking and prostitution were recent, and if Stella was telling the truth, it was all because of Vincent DeLano's sudden shift in business. The conflict between pieces of information that were both true at the same time made him think.

He waited for Stella to finish talking and pondered for a while. "People are afraid of you and your family, Stella." He said, still avoiding her general direction. "And your family isn't 'protecting your side of the street' because you want to see the community better, you're doing it because bringing heat to your side is bad for business." He shifted his gaze to another point in the room. "And why haven't you gone to proper methods to make your community better? You may think that your actions aren't hurting anyone, but it's making people lose jobs, taxes that are supposed to go to areas that are really needed are never paid, not to mention the lives you endanger when rivals try to disrupt your operations." He shook his head. "Let's not think too much about this. I'm exhausted, and I have to go to work tomorrow. I don't suppose you have a spare room? I have no problem in sleeping on the couch." He said, slumping on the back, looking at the ceiling. How much was he not seeing?
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

--
Stella laughed. Not one of her trademark 'You silly dear, that comment will cost you your life,' type of laugh, but a real laugh, one soft and low and genuinely amused. "You mistake me asking for help for submissiveness." She shot back simply, quite relaxed. "Believe me when I say that I have no intention of letting you arrest me, or coming within 25 feet of a jail cell unless it is of my own volition, of course." She hummed, quite confident in her statement. "Weird what--?" She raised a brow, wondering why he didn't finish his train of thought, but her keen eyes quickly focused on the bright blush and the way he pointedly didn't look at her.

"Dear lord, men." Stella groaned, wriggling her shirt back on and securely yanking the hem down. "Are you satisfied now, Grant? I don't understand why you're so flustered, you had more than your fair share of an eyeful when I was dying out in your arms." She teased, crossing her arms once more as she relaxed.

But he didn't respond to her jibe, which wasn't fun. The easy atmosphere that she had carried had dissipated, and her face was back to being a mask, expressionless. She leaned forward, looking less like the casual girl she had been just moments before, and more of the heiress she actually was. "Listen, Grant." She said, her voice having a bit of an edge. "I'd suggest you stop making comments about things that you don't know. You may be the officer running point on what happens with the families, but I highly suggest you actually experience the things you are discussing before you open your mouth about it. You don't know my family. I suggest you stay out of it. You act as though our primary roles are to cause trouble, to create ruckus, but you really don't see it, do you? Dear lord, Grant. We aren't inherently terrible people. We're trying to do our best in a world that never let us be anything but scum. You talk so much, yet I don't think I've seen you positively impact the low-income areas ever. I don't think you know half the names of the people who died in that gas leak incident a month ago. I do. I met each one of the families, and right after, I met the landlord that killed them." She said, upset to the point that she pushed herself up to a standing position without even a groan of pain.

"Spare room's down the hall, to the left. Good night." She said stiffly, shuffling off to her own room, stifling a sigh of relief until after she had safely closed the door behind her. She locked it for good measure, and for the first time since yanking Grant into this mess, Stella felt distrust bubble up in her. She would not sleep well.
 

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


Markus thanked her and grabbed his backpack, closing the door behind him. He heard the lock on Stella's door and slumped his shoulders. The detective placed his backpack hear the bed and just threw himself on the bed. He stared at the ceiling, not sure what to feel. He was concerned about his position, angry at himself for being swept up on this situation, excited to finally making a breakthrough on this case. The typhoon of feelings crashed inside of him, and groaned in frustration. He took off his shoes and fell asleep almost immediately, the exhaustion of all the events hitting him as soon as he settled down.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Morning came and Markus got up with the first sun ray, that almost conveniently shined right on his face. He grunted, changing positions, then was jolted awake by the realization that he wasn't on his house. He sat upright quickly, but suddenly, his haze faded, and he remembered the events of the previous night. He sighed and looked down, feeling absolutely filthy.

After a well-deserved shower, he looked around, not seeing Stella. He was glad she was still asleep, the girl suffered from a lot of things on the previous night, and she needed a well deserved rest. He stopped in his tracks, taking in the absurdity of his thoughts: He was happy a known criminal was in good health. He shook his head, and chuckled to himself. "I'm really getting crazy." He went to the kitchen and surveyed the fridge and pantry, surprisingly well stocked, and gathered enough to make a decent breakfast. Scrambled eggs with bacon and grape juice, along with some toast. He prized himself in his cooking skills, and unconsciously wanted to show off. He happily continued his preparation, almost forgetting about everything outside.
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-​
Stella slept like she was dead. Well, she could have been, and she wasn't sure that anyone would have noticed. When she did wake up, her entire body was aflame, almost as though all her muscles and bones were protesting in unison. She laid there, sprawled on her sheets for a solid five minutes, before managing to push herself up off of the bed. She rubbed at her eyes, still exhausted even after her night of rest. As she pushed herself up to stand, her hand immediately came to cradle her abdomen, the wound sending jolting pains up and down the length of her body. She stumbled out of her room, managing to make it down the hallway to the bathroom.

It was only after her hot shower did the remnants of yesterday feel far away, as though they were washed away with the power of water. Feeling much better, Stella wrapped a towel around herself, making her way back to her room, ignoring the fact that she was aware that her "roommate" was also up. She made her way back into her room, closing the door behind her, and formulated her plans for the day. She'd have to get in contact with...well, contacts, which would mean exercising a certain amount of power. With that in mind, Stella wriggled on dark jeans and a dressy black top. Black was intentional: if she bled through the fabric, no one would see. She was also planning to wear a creme coat and planning to tie her dominance together with a string of diamonds adorning her neck. Her hair was put up in a neat twist, and sunglasses were tucked into a pocket of her coat. She stepped outside, her heels clicking.

"Morning." She mumbled, skirting around the man who was cooking, and making her way to the fridge. "I'll see you." She said, grabbing a set of keys from a cabinet.
 

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


Markus heard his "roommate", but decided to leave her alone. She had a tough time on the previous night, and the things he said, albeit true in his eyes, hurt her deeply. When she approached him and almost left, Markus stood in front of her. "Wait, where do you think you're going? I know you're eager to start... whatever you are going to do, but you're still hurt. At least eat something, you need to replenish the blood loss.." He built a plate of eggs and bacon and put on the counter next to the stove. He then noticed the shiny adornment on her neck, and raised an eyebrow. "Damn, this probably cost more than my yearly salary... Are you sure this won't call a lot of attention? I mean, you don't have the luxury of the bodyguards of your father anymore, and getting an Uber is downright risky... Plus I can't be seen with you on the streets, so I can't take you anywhere." He grabbed a fork and set it on the side of her plate. "What is your plan for today?"
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-
It wasn't long before Stella found herself running into a wall--only it was less of a wall, and more of Markus Grant. A sharp exhale of air left her as she ran into him, and she took a few steps back, rubbing her chest reproachfully. The sharp retort that had been brewing on her tongue dissipated as his words sunk in. "Wait--" she mumbled, blinking in surprise. "You cooked-? For me?" Stella was unable to keep the surprise out of her voice, and she had to admit that the plate he set on the counter looked delightful. The girl made her way to the small dining room after grabbing the plate he fixed for her, heavily sinking down onto her chair.

The first bite made a soft moan of pleasure slip out from her lips. "Wow--this is--really, really good. You didn't drug this, did you?" She mumbled, practically inhaling the food before her. She must have been hungrier than she had originally let on. A small smile quirked at her lips at the mention of his necklace. "They're fake. It's cubic zirconium cut to look like diamonds. And I'm going to swindle my father's contacts onto my side, so I still need to look as though I have dominance. If you find me dead in a ditch, you know that my swindle didn't work."
 

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


Markus puffed up his chest when she complimented him. Living alone didn't allow him to share his culinary prowess to anyone, and he was happy that someone else liked his food. God knows how long it was when he brought someone home. Well, not his home. He couldn't help but to laugh when Stella mentioned drugs. "Yes, of course, I saved you and risked my own neck just to spike your eggs and bacon. Cha cha, real smooth." He shook his head and grabbed his own plate, sitting in front of her. He nodded when she talked about the necklace, and grimaced when she talked about the ditch. "Hey now, try to be more optimist. It's not everyday that you have a second chance like yesterday. And besides, you're smart, otherwise you'd be in a jail cell a year ago, on the #199803." He shook his head. "Sorry, the warehouse incident on the Docks, September of last year. It's almost as if you had insider info, and I still didn't rule that out." He calmly ate his breakfast. "Be careful. Your father probably has eyes and ears everywhere, and even if it's fake, someone might recognize you because of it. Be inconspicuous while travelling." He sighed. He already gave up on asking questions to himself. It was happening, and there was nothing else he could do. "Talking about insider info... Would you like to lay on me some of your contacts on the precinct? I can't help but to feel like the officers last night were a little bit too convenient."
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-

A slight grin curved on the woman's face as she got up, presumably to get a glass of water. She returned with both hands full, and set one glass in front of him, while keeping the other for herself. She took a sip, thinking. "You're probably going to cry with the amount of corruption that goes on." She mumbled, and something of an apologetic look crossed her features. "Dark, Levine, oh, the Chief--what's his name? Oh right, Beverly, not to mention Telly and Williamson, Rutherford, Kant, Morales, Vienna...and I can't remember the rest, I'm sorry." She winced. "Is that enough? I'll look into it for you."
 

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


"Ah, thanks. Forgot to make coffee." Markus sipped on the glass while listening to Stella's list. He grew concerned when she started mentioning the more important people. Of course, he knew that some people were on the DeLano's paycheck, but the Chief? The allure of money was too much for some of them, and he had to be extra careful not to expose himself to people that might bein caho- "Wait, you said Telly and Williams? As in, Richard Williams and Marissa Telly?" His eyes shot up with realization. "I fucking knew it. It was too damn convenient to see only Telly and Williams arriving first, especially on a shootout claim on an officer's house." He gritted his teeth, then stared at Stella. "How did they know that you were going to my house, DeLano?" He raised his palms in her direction, apologetically. "I'm not accusing you. But first you knocked on my door, then, on the same day, the two officers on Vincent's paycheck knocked on my door to seemingly 'investigate the call'. I'm coming to terms with your honesty, but my concern is that your father is actually watching you. He wants to see what you will do." He grabbed the last piece of bacon on his plate and raised from the chair. "I'll have to go to work. Grab a burner phone and call me if you have any problems, and be careful who you'll meet. I need to gauge the precinct's activities."
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-
"Hey, don't go accusing--" Stella immediately protested, her eyes widening at the implied connotation of his words, but he was quick to placate her and explain his reasoning. She sank down from where she had been half-raised, sighing. "I don't know. I can only assume that my father wants to know our relationship, considering that you're not an ideal contact in my address book. I think he's...scared, actually." She hummed, nibbling on her bottom lip as she usually did when thinking. "I don't know. You need to act the same way as you usually do until I can get more information on what my father's doing. Which means that you vehemently hate me and the family--you can't show softness at all. In fact--be a little upset. The fact that your house isn't even upset should be disturbing to you." Stella mumbled, thinking quickly. She needed Markus to play his angle right so she could get her father off her back. As the man excused himself to leave for work, Stella lifted her head from where it had been ducked. "Grant? Just....be careful." She murmured.
 

Gabe

Deer Lord


Markus Grant


Markus nodded, trying to smile, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. That would explain so many things. The hindrances on previous cases, bureaucracy on top of bureaucracy. He grabbed his car keys and left the apartment, a million thoughts in his head. The day was just beginning, and Markus already wanted to stay at home. His own home, not the apartment.

Before going to work, however, he went to his house. The officers already packed up and left, but the sacred yellow tape remained. He pulled up on his driveway and approached the now closed front door, which was unlocked, and carefully crouched under the tape, entering the dark room. The first thing that Markus noticed is the smell. Chemicals were the first thing that came to mind, the crime scene investigators always liked to douse everything in chemicals, mostly because they could. He flipped the switch on and checked the living room. It was just like he left, sans corpses. The carpet had large patches of blood, along with numbered plaques - the standard stuff. He sighed, looking down the corridor, longing for his bed. He carefully traipsed the environment until he reached the kitchen door, opening the door to the back area of the house. A sigh of relief washed over him as he looked at the trash bags: Still intact and undisturbed. Good, the blankets were still in there.

He left the bag there - if anyone were to watch him, they wouldn't notice him taking anything out of a crime scene. He went back inside and to his bedroom. Throwing a briefcase on his bed, he grabbed a bunch of clothes and hygiene products, as if he was going on a vacation. With great difficulty he closed the case, holding it to make sure not to disturb the crime scene. The man made a mental note to request a liberation of a crime scene as soon as possible. He threw the bag on the trunk of the car and sped up to the precinct.

As soon as he arrived he was bombarded with questions from all sides. What happened, if he was okay, details and sympathy. He was a well liked officer in the place, but his stomach churned when he remembered the people Stella mentioned. He wondered who else was on DeLano's paycheck. He managed to transverse the social traps and sat on his desk, ready to start the workday. Markus looked at the place and thought that the day was going to be really long.
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-
If she was being honest, Stella was quite nervous about what was going to happen. She had brushed it off earlier, under the pretense of a joke, but in all honesty, she feared for her life. There was a good chance that her gamble would not be fruitful, and yield unwarranted consequences. Nevertheless, the young woman was quick to leave her safe haven of an apartment, push up shades to cover her eyes, and tug her scarf a bit higher. Any distinguishing features about the woman that marked her as a DeLano were covered. She walked the short five minute distance into the side-streets of the city, lifting her hand quickly to call a taxi. Even when she was in the relative warmth of the car, Stella didn't relax. She rattled off the address, a street before her destination (she didn't want to appear like she had taken a taxi--lord, the horror!).

She overpaid for the fare--but it was fine. Hopefully her warning to go back to the inner city would be heeded by the driver. (Based on the way he hightailed it after dropping her off, she would think so). Stella's boot-clad feet crunched against the leaves marking the pavement, the solid, steady cement under her feet giving way to wood: she was at the docks now. She heard the regular churl of water, the familiar sounds of her father's most trusted ally: Lionel Walker.

The guards turned suspiciously when she made her way down the dock, but she halted before they could get concerned and raised her hands up in a placating gesture. "It's me. Could you please tell uncle that Star is here?" She asked politely. One slipped away from the fray, the others still tensed up at the sight of her. Apparently her little request worked, as the guard returned, he beckoned for her to step forward.

Meeting with Walker was a loaded gun: her father's principal business associate was essentially being asked to betray Vincent--that was no light fare. She sank down across from the sandy-haired man, and watched his eyes fill with understanding as she tugged her shades off and pulled her scarf down. Not for the first time, she wished that she had taken Grant with her.

"Hello, Uncle." she hummed.

"Hi, my little star." He answered.


--

Interlude !

--

Johanna Evelyn was not the type of officer to take things at face value. She was naturally suspicious--and paranoid. Most of the time, her assumptions were on the mark. People had come to respect her judgement--they had also come to fear her. Something about the relaxed expression and the short, elegant bob of the woman was unsettling: or maybe it was the way that her smile never reached her eyes.

"Hey, there, Grant." Johanna murmured, her voice soft as silk. See, Evelyn wasn't an officer by the most traditional means--She was a secretary, responsible for delegating cases to other officers. She was quite pleased with her job, considering that the Chief looked to her for guidance. "I heard you got mixed up in a skirmish. You alright there, honey?" She murmured sympathetically.

"I hate to do this to you, but here's some work for you. You've been assigned a new case." She murmured, neatly setting down her paperwork.​
 

Gabe

Deer Lord
Interlude

Lionel Walker, just Walker for the intimate, stared down at his niece. Two other people were on the well lit office room, sitting on a sofa on her left side. The men were looking at the woman, incredulous, their hands restless. Walker chuckled, looking at the men. "It seems like you've seen a ghost! Aren't you going to pay your respects to Miss DeLano?" The men were jostled to their feet by each other, and asked for her hand to kiss, one by one.

Walker shook his head. "My little Star, it is great to see that you're well, despite the... circumstances. You're making waves in Point Creek, and not in the good sense." He said, the lapel pin of the family's crest shining against the sunlight that came out of the window. The walls were of an ugly yellow, but Walker didn't mind in leaving like that, preferring to be as inconspicuous as possible, always saying "No sense in wasting money on something that could be destroyed any day". After the men sat down again, Lionel started, avoiding Stella's gaze. "Vincent called me yesterday." He gave a pause, arranging some papers on his table. "He told me that he was looking for you, and what happened. And not only that, I'm afraid." He sighed, sitting on the simple chair behind him, the fancy blue suit contrasting with the blandness of the office.

"He told me he's been setting a fair amount of money on your head, two days from now on." The men looked at each other, and looked back at Stella. Lionel only stared at them, and the men scurried off the room, their motive to be there remaining a mystery to DeLano. "He wanted to give you a chance to do the 'right thing and come back to where she were meant to be'..." He said, making exaggerated air quotations. "Tell me, Star. What happened, and why are you here?"

-~-~-~-~-~-



Markus Grant


Markus gave a defeated not to Johanna. She was a nice person, always taking care of the wellbeing of the people around her, and one of the few people that actually take her work seriously. The detective slumped back on the chair, while accepting Johanna's folder. "Hey, Evelyn. Yeah, it was rough." He looked at her, showing a bruise on the arm. "I was hoping that I would have time to take care of this, but it seems the Captain want me somewhere else, huh..." Markus looked at the precinct, busy as ever. He scanned each person, assigning the name on the person, remembering Stella's list from earlier. "Rutherford, Morales, Kant..." He checked them off the list, each one working as usual. "Fucking hell... I can't let them know that I know where DeLano is..." He looked back at Johanna, wondering if she was on Vincent's payroll as well, but those thoughts seemed silly. Evelyn wasn't the type to double cross anyone. "So, what's the deal, with this?" He said, opening the folder and checking the summary.
 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-
She lifted her hand gingerly, allowing the lips to press against the back of her hand. Once, she had held her hand out haughtily, carrying a certain amount of sass and attitude--now, she played herself in a meek manner, shrinking ever-so-slightly with the contact. By the time the last man had paid his respects, she pulled her hand away, rubbing her thumb over the back of her hand.

In all honesty, she wasn't comfortable with the way Walker wasn't meeting her eyes--it was a neutral move. He wasn't allowing her to read his deeper insights, which meant that there was a possibility that he was feeling a bit guilty about what her father had decreed. Guilt was a dangerous thing: Walker could feel so guilty that he wouldn't hurt her, or feel only a little bit of the emotion as he stood over her dead body.

It was time for her to put on the act of her life-quite literally, as her life was the very thing that was on the line.

Stella took a slow breath, one that came out in a ragged exhale. "Uncle-" She began, then swallowed heavily, closing her eyes. She counted to three seconds before opening her eyes, which were now filled with tears. "Dad has been deviating from his normal policies and trades--and you know why." The reference to her mother's death hung between them, not put into exact words, but clearly expressed nevertheless. "He took me--one night. He said that it was a business meeting, that we needed to look nice for the investors--and once we got there, I realized that a business wasn't the case at all. He--he gave me to them, Uncle--didn't even blink when I called out for him and they were dragging me away. He--he sold me, Uncle." She whispered, the tears rolling steadily down her face by the time she was done with her tale.

She gave herself a few moments to collect herself, wondering if the man sitting across from her had bought it.

"I'm tired, Uncle. I've waited so long, so patiently, but he doesn't seem to be atoning for what he's done wrong. I can't live like this. I can't be an object, meant to be used for pleasure and nothing else. I want Dad to retire, to life out the rest of his days without dabbling in anything else. I've come to you to ask you to help, to help me restore us. Everyone else laughs, mocks us, and it's high time we restored our family name to the regular prestige--the old ways. Dad isn't helping us, he's hindering us, and I'm so, so scared." She whispered.

Buy it, she pleaded. Buy my act.


--

Interlude !

--

"A house party got a bit too rowdy and one of the kids broke a window. Nothing much, the neighbors also found a vase missing and are trying to pin it on the kid." Johanna murmured, and came to stand behind him, her eyes quickly sweeping across the extent of his desk. No files. There was no mention of him looking into the DeLanos or Stella for that matter.

"Wow, honey. Look at these shoulders. So tense. Is this because your body hurts from your fight or because you're worried about something else?" Johanna asked sweetly, her hands falling down on his shoulders and massaging in neat, fluid movements. "Y'know, I heard that you got mixed up in the DeLanos business, that's why your house got hit. Some even say that you're involved with Stella DeLano--I heard a few of the girls gossiping about it at the coffee machine. Is that it, hon? You in a secret love affair with Miss Mafia Lady?" She teased, eyes unusually sharp as she looked for any visual cues from the man.​
 

Gabe

Deer Lord
Interlude

Walter was unmoving, staring deep at Stella as she described the worst day of her life. He knew very well what Stella meant by 'you know why'. Flora's death was a toll in Vincent, and Lionel cared about his brother. It hurt him to see Vincent that way, and although the business was profiting more than ever, it was doing so by trading he cores of the family that Vincent and Lionel fought to uphold - sometimes literally. His mind was racing, the sheer outrageousness that was in her words only compensated by the weight of her voice. Besides, rumors travel fast, and it didn't take long before his employees were talking about that night. Stella was telling the truth. And now...

"And now you want my help in, what, overtaking your father in the business?" He rubbed the bridge of his nose as he continued talking. "I'm not sure if you've thought this through, but there are several factors that are working against you. Do you think he'll go out easily, that he'll accept that he's not in his prime state of mind and make way for you?" He shook his head. "He won't. You said it yourself: He's aggressive, possessive. He's mourning the death of your mother through an extreme, but I can't just force him to step down from his position. It's something that he - that we created through our sweat, blood and tears." He looked to the window, the sea oblivious to the conundrum that was on Lionel.

He knew that Stella was talking the truth. Lionel wasn't the leader type, so when the DeLano family started to thrive, he stepped out to let Vincent take the helm. He worked on the sidelines, taking care of the logistics and the brunt of the work, ships and containers, storage and distribution. And in the long time that he was working with this, he never had to deal with live shipments. Until last month. It left him with a bitter taste in his mouth, and the bitterness wouldn't go away. He took a deep breath, staring again at his niece. "Surely you didn't come here expecting me to agree with you and do everything while you wait. Starting a Claim of Leadership is a serious business, Stella, and you know that. It has a high chance of killing one of you, or both." He leaned out on his chair, his expression betraying his serious consideration for Stella's offer.

"What is your plan?"
-~-~-~-~-~-



Markus Grant


The detective rolled his eyes, taking a quick read on the file. It was just like Johanna said, a trivial matter for a detective. "This is patrol car stuff, why was it escalated? Let me guess, HOA doesn't want a cruiser cop to look into their 'really important community'?" He laughed as he threw the folder on the table, the document sliding slightly and stopping when it hit the small document shelf on the side.

Markus closed his eyes when Johanna's hands worked on his shoulders. It hurt a bit, but the pain was soon substituted by a relaxing sensation. Markus groaned slightly, then chuckled. "Thanks Ev. You only know that you are stiff when people like you come and take the stiffness away." He let the deft hands of the secretary work on the knots on his back, but a mention of an affair with Stella made him turn to Johanna, his best facsimile of confusion painted on his face. "What? Stella DeLano? Well, if you can call a pursuit of several prison orders against her - rebuffed by the judges, by the way - an affair, then call me Don Juan." He shook his head, trying his best to play it cool, but his mind was throttling. Stella's list of names rang again on his head, and if the ones on Vincent's payroll knew anything about the agreement he made with Stella, it would be his end. "Now seriously, this is ridiculous. I mean, I've been working against the DeLanos ever since I arrived in Point Creek. They definitely hate my guts." He reached on the document shelf and pulled a copy of his dossier against Vincent and Stella, showing it to Johanna. "I'm trying every avenue to put them behind bars, and they think I'm in cahoots with them? I'm kinda offended, to be honest." He put the open folder on the table, ready for Johanna to see.

"Why did this rumor start, Ev? I'm pretty sure that I'm the last person someone like Stella DeLano would come for help." Well, he wasn't lying.

 

intenseandinsane

a passing housewife!
--

Stella DeLano

-
She had his attention. That's all she needed. From here, it was nothing more than a simple business pitch. She needed to structure it neatly: she had already introduced the problem, the context, and her motive. Now for means and opportunity. The planning and careful analyzation made Stella smile internally: in another life, she would have made a great lawyer. An odd juxtaposition, sure, considering that lawyers were for the good, and she was...most definitely not good.

"A war of attrition." Stella said, straightening in her chair. "I intend to cut my father off from his contacts and see how he lasts. In the time that my mother was murdered, my father has gotten lax about maintaining relations with his people. He has treated them with a increasing decrease of respect, and that has made many, many people unhappy. I intend to capitalize and cut off the heads that my father, the hydra, sports." Stella said simply, as though she wasn't referencing the crime of patricide.

"I'm not naive--well, not anymore, uncle. I know that father isn't going to step aside peacefully. He doesn't recognize me as his own daughter anymore, and you and I know both know that Vincent is no longer the man that we know. He's spoiling our family name and I'm tired of it. We used to be feared, yes, but we were respected. We enacted justice in our own way when the city whores were unable to do anything. But now, we're no better than any of them. We're weaker, actually, and I can't stand by and watch this happen.

"So, will you help me?" Stella found herself a bit breathless after her long winded rant.


--

Interlude !

--

"Aw, honey, you're taking this the wrong way. You know how the precinct is. They want anything to spice up their lives. You know when Edwards got that shipment case, everyone was so ready to get in on the action. So now that things are starting to slow down around here and the most important thing is a foolhardy HOA case, the officers are going back to their speculating ways." Johanna shrugged, flicking her platinum blonde hair behind a shoulder.

It seemed as though that the name "DeLano" had gotten Grant keyed up. Now, that wasn't an exact confirmation of his involvement with Stella, but Johanna would be sure to tell Vincent when she swung by tonight.

"Don't take it too seriously, honey. Just give it a few days, things will die down. Take care of yourself, would you? I'd hate to not see your cute mug in the office anymore." Johanna pulled away from him, shooting a small wink as she turned and sashayed back to her spot, the tight cling of her pencil skirt attracting quite a few stares.​
 

Gabe

Deer Lord
Interlude

Walter listened to Stella patiently. Her plan was commendable, the ingenuity could even work. However, she relied heavily on him to kickstart this endeavor, and he wasn't comfortable with that. If her plan failed - and it had a great chance of doing so - he would be the first to go down. He needed something to protect himself.

For the first time in a while, he actually expressed some sort of emotion. When Stella mentioned that Vincent was spoiling the family name, he blinked slowly, and rose from his chair, overlooking the docks from his window once again. All of that was true. In the time between the death of Vincent's beloved and the present, Vincent degraded heavily. His operations became more aggressive, his contraband more and more risky. Light weaponry became heavy weaponry, then became heavy drugs, then became people. He couldn't forget the tired faces squinting from the sudden light, staring back at him from the inside of that container. He deflated significantly when she finally popped the question, any modicum of resistance against her idea gone.

"My Star... You were always the smart one in the family. Promise me that you won't get killed, or kill me or my employees in the process. If you can promise me that, you have my support."

--

Markus Grant


Markus chuckled when Johanna joked with him. He liked her, she was a huge help when he came - not to mention her beauty - but the seed of doubt thrived in the back of his mind. His first thought was in Stella, although the thing that she mentioned came after. He was genuinely worried about her, especially since he discovered that everything that he fought with tooth and nail had been rotten at the core from the start. He took a read on the case the secretary left him, and pushing everything else to the side, he grabbed his jacket again and headed out the door. He had to get away from that place. The place that felt so comfortable, before he realized that he was just being played around as a puppet.
 

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