In which all four factions find themselves on the same stretch of sidewalk. Awkward ensues.
A nondescript sidewalk near Electric Avenue and Hope Street.
Followed by ---
<Ardette> Reggie, you're killing me, EXPLAIN THE SQUARE THING
<Cross> pfff XD
<Cross> i bet banditos likes grabbing the fallout of all the other gangs/factions
<Cross> different skill sets
<Cross> some must, anyway
Reginald will take it to his grave.
Reginald Don't give me that look, I invented it.
Cross Hey, I happen to know a gravedigger?
Reginald pulls a flyer out of his pocket, rolls it up and taps Cross in the head with it, "No. Bad."
Cross just stands there. This was so harmless he has to work hard not to laugh. Annnnnd he fails.
Cross "So who invented vhat?"
Reginald chuckles to himself. "Never you mind."
Ardette claps her hands brightly. "Well! I'll let you two discuss that." Quick, exit stage left, gogogo.
Taye "Muffin!" she shouts before jumping on Cross' back.
Cross is staggered before he can bother Ardette or Reginald. "Hghk!"
Taye giggles >w<
Cross "You know ve're not... a couple-" hug of death
Reginald "Miss Bombaerts, hey, don't..." A little too slow. "..go." He turns back to the other two, recognizing the girl. "You're not convincing me of that."
Taye points to Reginald, "It's Mr. Santiago!
Cross squints a bit at Reggie, "Do I know zhat name?"
Ardette is very good at ignoring being shouted at from a sidewalk, so she just roooounds the corner and leaves Cross to his choking-hug fate, sorry Santiago.
Cross meanwhile, casually a mafioso with a UG chick on his back. He considers starting a dance fight just to shoo everyone away but that would be boring.
Reginald "Ah... yes it is... I didn't realize you two were familiar with each other." He squints back at Cross, not really confirming or denying his suspisions.
Cross squintfest right here
Cross is good with names but not so much with faces, and he'd know that one. Doesn't matter anyway
Cross Everyone has three and a half names minimum anyway, if they're smart.
Taye looks at Cross then Reginald. She just giggles, "Are you two going to have a dance off~?"
Reginald "What? Why?"
Cross okay now he's amused!
Taye shrugs, "Just pointing it out, since you two are staring very hard at one another, that's all."
Reginald "I don't like to stoop when I dance," he replies dismissively.
Cross "Zhat's bullshit."
Cross "I can't help being short, pff." XD
Cross manages a very quick jig of a tap number while still carrying Taye.
Taye is having fun with the free piggy back ride
Reginald "Very nice. Either way, I'm not interested."
Cross rolls his eyes a tad, all good-natured. "Ehh, fine. If your vibe's one of zhose 'become an unshtoppable deathlazer' ones, I'm not gonna force you to dance." He needs Taye to step down though, he's built for cardio more than lifting
Cross gives himself a little sad thinking about deathlaser vibes
Taye was having fun but climbs off of the old man anyway xP. she skates a bit before standing next to Cross.
Reginald likes the idea of unstoppable death lazers... he can certainly mimic the look of it, but he doesn't really want to waste vibe on showing off.
Reginald says to Cross, "Do I know you though? I mean, I know I keep running into you... but I don't remember you."
Cross "William Cross?" he flicks his head in a direction down the sidewalk "I know Bombaerts."
Reginald "Mn, can't say that's familiar, but at least now I know what to call you."
Cross holds an arm up. Hey, a tattoo of a dark green cross. That's easy as hell to remember.
Cross "I don't zhink I actually know you. I just know names. loooootta names."
Cross "Right, Taye?"
Reginald "Well, you're Mafia, so I'm not surprised that you've at least heard of me, but do us both a favour and don't worry yourself about it." Of course, by saying that, he knows that will just get him curious.
Cross "Dude if you know anyzhing about mafia you'd know zhat vas basically zhe biggest invite for snooping." Which, incidentally, makes him care less.
Reginald smiles knowingly at Cross.
Cross "I shtill find it so odd zhat you, you, me, her - and none of us haff broken out into a fight." he sucks at his cheek and decides he wants a cigarette. "Strange vorld. Nicer, not getting my ass kicked on a regular basis." But strange.
Taye rolls around the two, curious curious, but strolls on beside cross again before making a spin and heads out since she has nothing else better to do xD
Cross ...yknow as much fun as that chick can be, he still instinctively checks to make sure his wallet is still in his vest pocket.
Reginald glares at Taye, but it's mostly obscured by his sunglasses. "I suppose. It won't last."
Ardette rounds the corner and her steps falter when she sees the two men still standing there. She curses under her breath and shoves the Vendy ration packet deep into her pocket. Just walk right by and hope it's brief...
Reginald sees movement out the corner of his eye, "Miss Bombaerts, I'm going to get a little upset if you keep trying to ignore me." he teases.
Cross "She's so good at it zough!"
Cross caught a hint of Vendybar, but rather than comment on it he's just reminded of how damn hungry he is. Whoops.
Ardette gives them both a bright look, as though only just now noticing them standing there. "Oh! You're still here. I was expecting more of, euh..." she gestures to the ground, searching for the word, "...an impact crater."
Reginald puts on his most innocent, most hurt look, "Oh come now, Miss Bombaerts, would I do such a thing?"
Ardette gives him a flat smirk and chuckles in a low, don't-make-me-answer-that sort of way.
Reginald "Besides...uh, Mr. uh, Cross and I are just getting to know each other."
Ardette's smirk melts into a slight grimace when she looks at Cross. "Yes, that's what worries me. Hello, Cross."
Cross "If I could make craters, you'd know it." He just winks. The wink has absolutely no meaning whatsoever behind it, but it's there and that's just annoying enough. "Und ja! Reggi- Reginald here is a very interesting fellow."
Cross "Hallo Bombaerts."
Reginald is so very glad that Cross corrected himself, though it doesn't stop him from grumbling something under his breath.
Cross time tooooo continue not acknowledging the shit he's done. and yes, the correction, however accidental it looked, wasn't.
Ardette glances at 'Reggie' and hugs her coat tighter around her. "Ah, bon? Did he scare off your friend or did your impeccable charm do it for you?"
Reginald "I don't associate with UG, but that was one nuisance that took it upon herself to leave."
Ardette just tilts her head and glares at Cross, unimpressed and unsurprised. Another one?
Cross shrugs! "Hey, I haff no idea vhere she came from."
Ardette nods, "Oh, I believe it, mm."
Reginald approaches Ardette, looking for the excuse to escape from Cross. "Do you have work again tonight?"
Cross "Oh should I-" the word 'leave' is kind of implied. Then again, the way he's pointing his index from Ardette to Reggie is also leaving a lot implied.
Ardette leans away from Reginald, and shoots Cross a scandalized look. This is not a comfortable situation for her, being stuck between these two. "I'm always working. Weren't you two getting to know each other?"
Reginald "I think I know about as much as I need to, but I suspect that Mr. Cross has got some homework to do."
Cross mostly for the annoyance of Reggie, who gives off a whiff of social connections he doesn't want to dig up too much. Whoops. Ah well. "You live here, und you seem to drop by often enough. I like to know my neighbours."
Cross this much is actually plausible
Ardette wants to so badly ask Cross where Alan is right now, but something about Reginald being there stops her. "Yes, well," she sighs, exasperated, "that much is obvious."
Reginald clears his throat, "Anyways, Miss Bombaerts, I ask because I was wondering if you'd mind the company."
Cross is weighing his options: be annoying, or annoyingly civil.
Cross is deciding so far on the latter. He's run out of cigarette to be truly irritating with anyhow.
Ardette is feeling a bit backed into a corner right now, with Reginald's polite but expectant throat clear and Cross sticking out in her peripheral like a bruise. "What company," she says, deadpan, crossing her arms tight around her middle.
Reginald lowers his voice, trying to not very subtlely shoo Cross away. "Just mine."
Ardette is trying to keep tabs on Cross all the while, but she does a double take and stares up at Reginald, eyebrows raised. "...ah."
Cross finds it calmly amusing that, sure, she's giving him the eye like he's going to take things and run off (when outdoors? come on.) and there's a Bandito present.
Cross man he must really have fucked up for her to hold onto that old history.
Bella skates down a street with alan on her shoulders
Bella doppler effect ensues
Cross "And before I get more stinkeye, zhat is Bella and she is family." he says to Ardette. Reginald he hasn't decided whether he'd prefer to care or go suck a nut yet.
Ardette leans a bit to address Cross from over Reginald's shoulder, grateful for the distraction. "Words cannot describe my relief."
Reginald groans, he's very familiar with Bella, whether he wanted to be or not. "I will leave you to it, then, Mr. Cross."
Cross that's because he doubts it's sincere relief, and 'bullshit' strikes him as insufficient. "Good to know."
Taye watches from the side because she has nothing better to do
Ardette sighs and shrugs apologetically at Reginald. "You wouldn't find my dinner plans very interesting anyways. Trust me."
Cross most of the reason he's here too, really. Well, and being present for conversations and taking a break from working before parenting. this shit's exhausting. He takes a seat, checking if he's got change enough for dinner and spies the UG girl on wheels isn't too far off.
Cross "Hehe, it's a damn rainbow on zhis street."
Reginald "I doubt any better than mine, Miss Bombaerts." Under different circumstances he would have offered her his arm, but no, not while people are watching. She wouldn't be impressed anyways.
Ardette can relax a little with Cross a distance away, there, just take a deep breath and focus and it's like just another pedestrian... okaynotreally. She laughs hastily and looks away. "I'd ask you if you'd like to bet, but I'm not a betting woman."
Cross a grand distraction
Cross idly watches the distant speeding duo that is alan and bella, crossing one of the streets some blocks over. a flash of green and a very flat weeoooeeeoo.
Reginald smiles down at Ardette, "If you went around the corner to the Vendy that's on Electric Avenue and Hope Street, then I can guarantee that's a bet you'd lose."
Ardette just slowly turns her head to look at him. It's a challenging glare, but her cheeks are pink and that goddamned Vendybar feels heavy in her pocket, now. She sucks on the inside of her cheek and nods to herself. Alright, Santiago, If you want to be like that. She just turns on her heel and walks away.
Reginald probably shouldn't have said that, but he follows after her anyways. "I don't mean anything by it, Miss Bombaerts, I just know where all the Vendys are and made the assumption."
Ardette's shoes click harshly on the pavement; she finds the Vendybar in her coat pocket and digs her thumbnail into its tacky surface through the wrapper. She doesn't slow down for Reginald to catch up, she doesn't even grace him with the slightest turn of her head to address him, but does say probably what he isn't expecting, "So, you're buying, then?"
Cross doesn't seem amused. He absolutely is. Then again he's also been ditched.
Cross it reminds him again to ask who the hell's behind the name Electric Avenue.
Reginald "I..." Wait, what did she just say? The question is enough to slow his pursuit, but only for a moment, then he had to try and catch up with her. He had to be cool about this and not totally botch it like last time. "Of course, that is, if you wouldn't mind giving me the pleasure." He replies, grateful he was able to not get tongue-tied.
Cross looks at his watch. Guess he's not getting dinner down that block. Not right now he isn't. If he's going to have a chat with Ardette he should do it when Mr. Looks-like-a-rodent isn't around anyhow. There's some interesting social dynamics going on that he can't observe
Cross courtesy of his own smug face
Ardette doesn't break her stomping pace that tells all observers that she's late for something important. Ugh, he's turning on a poetry to his words that's distinctly Mafia and it makes her neck prickle under the collar of her coat. "Something discreet and unassuming. I can't have clients seeing me with you and making assumptions."
Reginald "Of course, of course, I understand." he replies, trying his best to mask any trace of excitement in his voice. "I know of a couple places, and don't worry, they're very reputable."
Well, THIS manages to stop her. Ardette comes to a halt and turns at the waist to give him an incredulous look. "Reputable to whom?" Because there are at least four different definitions of the word on this island and she couldn't guess which one Reginald subscribes to.
Reginald "Reputable to you. Come on, they're clean, there's zero tolerance for fighting. Do I really seem the type to hang out in seedy bars or the like?" He's not sure if he wants an honest answer to this, but then, he and Ardette really didn't know THAT much about each other.
Ardette really doesn't want to give an honest answer to the person who just offered to buy her dinner (but did he really?). She frowns and smooths down the back of her hair. "Maybe we should just do this at the studio," she mutters to herself, weighing her options.
Reginald "That's also fine." Perhaps he should take more offense to Ardette not wanting to be seen in public with him, but truthfully, he couldn't blame her. Not too many people generally do. "Do you have a preference?"
Ardette looks up at him from under her brows and wonders what planet this man came from, because the Santiago she's familiar with isn't at all this eager or accommodating. She feels like she's being courted, and it feels ridiculous. "Just..." She sighs and her eyes flutter shut impatiently. "I close up at 8. Meet me at the studio then."
Cross sees Taye across the road. "See? Look at zhat. Square woman, trail of confused men."
Cross "I'm goin' home." He's got a bandita to pay and a kid to NYRRRRRWWW home with.
Reginald "Alright. I'll be as discreet as I can." Thankfully with a vibe like his, it'll be easy enough to go inside undetected. So long as there's no robots around. "I will leave you to your business, and stop following you like a lost dog, then."
Ardette jerks her chin up in a nod, looking... perturbed by the analogy. "...I appreciate it." And then, with a shrug that's a little kinder. "You know how it is."
Reginald sighs tiredly, "You have no idea." Maybe he should try and dig up something a little more neutral looking...and see if he can find a Square he can impersonate for the evening.
Ardette sighs graciously. She senses this conversation has reached its end and this relieves her more than it should. "Well, Santiago, this has been... bizarre." She gives him a thin-lipped smile and nods. "See you." She turns and walks away, leaving him standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
Reginald "Of course.." He doesn't look at all relieved, he looks more like he's in the middle of a full on fight or flight panic. It was silly. The whole situation was ridiculous in his mind, but if he didn't completely screw this up, it would be a miracle. "What the hell am I doing?" he mutters to himself.