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Death and Taxes



 
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Ophelia Fraye

Ophelia had said it once, and she would say it a thousand times. She hated New York winters. Normally it wouldn’t be an issue, living in the Georgian South as she did, however duty would inevitably call.

She had worked hard to land her job, and she loved it with all her heart. Her masters in environmental science enabled her to be the warden of a local wildlife preserve near her hometown, something she took very seriously. However, once every quarter she was expected to attend a meeting for the US Fish and Wildlife Service to provide them with updates on her recorded samples and specimens, as well as keeping abreast of new technology and practices that could impact the wellbeing of her local ecosystem.

Unfortunately for her, that meeting always took place in New York. It was convenient for most of the big wigs that would attend the meeting, and therefore it was convenient for everyone else. Ophelia didn’t own enough warm clothes to touch the chill that inevitably set into her bones, and since it wasn’t feasible to walk around with an electric blanket, she resigned herself to intense suffering.

Alright, so maybe she was a little bit of a baby. She was born and raised in the southern sun, sue her.

She’d shacked up for most of the day in her hotel room, which was unusual for her on any normal day. Ophelia enjoyed walking around and sightseeing, but it was just too doggone cold. Her meeting was set for four in the afternoon, and she intended to spend every moment beforehand snuggled up in all the blankets she could find.

The meetings were scheduled by region and tended to go on for a good few days. This evening was the first one of a series, and the focus would be funding. Everyone’s favorite subject. Ha.

The location for the meeting was in Manhattan’s financial district on what was probably the thirty second floor, or something else equally terrifying. Ophelia was, as always, on time and dressed appropriately. She wore a professional looking white button up blouse tucked into black leg hugging trousers, topping it off with an emerald green blazer that set off her eyes. Her other, longer, warmer jacket was safely tucked into her bag.

The meeting had started late, however, much to Ophelia’s dismay. These already tended to run a bit over, and she had an appointment with a hot bath and a bottle of wine. The cause was, ironically, the holder of the meeting. His name was Simon Lachlan, and he was the regional financial coordinator for her area. They had locked horns many times on budget issues, and she was convinced that they would never see eye to eye. She was already braced to dig her heels in over the course of the meeting, but was quite surprised when he showed up ten minutes late.

And very sweaty.

Sixteen sets of eyes looked up from their phones and/or quiet conversations when the door opened and he quickly walked in, muttering his apologies. He hastily took his seat at the head of the long table and began setting up his laptop with the digital projector.

Ophelia raised a brow at him from her position just a few seats down on his right. Were his hands shaking?

January 13, 2017 10:02 pm

Gray Taylor

It's just another day in the life of Gray Taylor as he stands before the mirror, taking that one last look at himself as he buttons the cuffs of his shirt with meticulous care. Some would describe him as a total preener, and he does take himself quite seriously, but he is certainly not that self-absorbed.

He'd woken up, had breakfast, traveled to New York to check up on his home office. Normally, he'd have sold a contract before lunch. Given the travels, he planned ahead and completed two the day before. That left only the reaping of a soul left in his day, and he would never disappoint.

Today, the lucky winner is one Simon Lachlan.

Simon had received the call shortly after the lunch hour, and his reaction had been calm. Too calm, really. His sin is greed, and it brings no surprise to Gray when he can hear that telltale sign of trouble in the man's response.

'Right. You'll see me on the five o'clock news, then.'

Yea, right.

So, as Gray Taylor walked into the meeting, late, the apologetic smile he tosses in Simon's nervous direction leaves quite a bit left to be desired. A quick glance around the room tells him he knows two others here, another client, and Ophelia.

What a treat.

The cheeky smirk that touches the corners of his mouth is only made more stark in comparison to Simon's current state as he takes a seat across from the woman. In his defense, it is the only open seat at the table, so.... While Simon begins to stutter on, Gray leans forward upon the table, grey eyes locked onto the woman.

She left a lot to be desired, too.

'It is getting late. P-p-p-p-perhaps we m-might continue another time?'

Gray winks at the exotic woman, smirk turning into a full blown smile as he turns his attention to Simon. "But Mr. Lachlan, you've only just started discussing the plans for next quarter. Allow me to cater in dinner for us all. It is the least I could do at this hour. Besides, I owe someone here a meal."

Translation: As-hole, it is 6 PM and you promised to be on the five o'clock news.
January 16, 2017 03:28 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Simon had only just gotten the projector to show the first slide when the door to the meeting room swung open once more with a soft click. Once again, all eyes swiveled to the door, including Ophelia’s.

She stiffened visibly in her chair as recognition swept across her expression.

Gray Taylor strode into the room, looking for all the world as though he belonged in the meeting. Ophelia had a strong suspicion that this was most certainly not the case. His eyes met hers, and as recognition touched his own expression, he greeted her surprise with a cheeky smirk.

He took the empty chair across from her, and Ophelia shifted in her seat as she became the subject of his attention, gazing at her intently from across the table. There was a subtle challenge in his eyes, and it unnerved her. She wasn’t used to being caught by surprise like this. The only time it ever seemed to happen was with him.

Why are you here?

The last time she’d seen him, he was asking questions of her that she didn’t want to answer. And she hadn’t. In fact, she vividly remembered leaving him with hardly a word at a table in a hole in the wall beignet shop in New Orleans some months ago. She didn’t have a reason to think he was here for her, but his presence was a bit disconcerting nonetheless.

Hell, maybe he really was supposed to be here. Perhaps he had some kind of stake in government funding. Stranger things had happened.

Distracted, she realized she’d started to click the pen in her hands agitatedly, and she quickly set it down on her legal pad, folding her hands in her lap instead.

Simon spoke up, and Ophelia only tore her eyes from Gray’s when Simon decided to wrap up the meeting early. He hadn’t even started.

Before she could object, Gray interjected, questioning the abrupt ending and offering to cater the gathering. Frankly, she questioned it as well. Gray’s appearance be damned, her livelihood had a stake in this meeting. They were here to talk about the year’s funding, for f-cks sake. The others in the meeting rustled in objection as well.

“Mr. Lachlan, we can’t postpone the meeting. With all the other regional meetings left, we won’t have time to reconvene.” Ophelia’s smooth southern tone drifted down the table to Simon, though he hardly noticed her. He was too busy staring at Gray.

The sweaty man began to wring his hands. “Uh.. um, well..” He paused and swallowed compulsively, looking suddenly around the room. He seemed to lock eyes on the wall of the room that was made entirely of floor to ceiling windows, apparently mesmerised by the view of twilight approaching. For a long, increasingly awkward moment, he said nothing.

Someone in the room cleared their throat, and a woman in the back piped up, “Mr. Lachlan?”

With a sudden primal shout that made everyone in the room jump, he sprinted shoulder first into the nearest window with all his might, shattering the glass outward.

They could all hear his scream as he plummeted over thirty stories.

The shock in the room was expressed in many different ways. One woman screamed in horror, a few were too shocked to even move, and most ran to the unbroken windows to look down, punctuating the alarm in the room with exclamations of disbelief. A few people had their phones out, calling emergency services.

Ophelia, initially shocked beyond words at the turn this day had taken, had risen to her feet, though she didn’t remember doing so. Her bright green eyes were wide, and her lips were parted in disbelief. All she could do was turn, and stare directly at Gray.

January 16, 2017 04:56 pm

Gray Taylor

'Mr. Lachlan?'

Like a genuine barbarian, the sweaty little man launches himself at the window and through it like a humanoid torpedo and bona fide kamikaze. Impressive. While most are stunned by this course of action, complete unexpected when approaching what was supposed to be a dull evening of number crunching, Gray Taylor is sat back in his plush office chair. Fingers steepled, he presses the sides of his index fingers to his bottom lip as if in deep thought.

The air about him is utterly calm, as if this is an every day sort of thing. People just naturally want to kill themselves in his presence. No big deal.

And, true to today's culture, he could split the room between do-gooders and complete sh-theads based on the use of cellphones.

Do-gooders called 911.
Sh-theads attempted pictures from the unbroken windows.
Really, there are only two types of people. In Gray's world, it is black and white.

But then there is Ophelia, who is now staring at him as if he is holding the key to the world around them. A set of steely eyes pick up to catch brilliant emerald, and in that moment of connection he knows she knows. It is apparent. Otherwise, she'd probably be on the list of do-gooders.

Sirens fill the air around them, the window carrying their screeching up from the streets to join the urban jungle of screaming and crying below. Yes, yes. We get it. So tragic. A bug of a man, using the sidewalk as his own, personal, windshield.

Back to Ophelia.

The grin had been gone from his face once Simon took flight, despite having gotten his way. It is never a happy subject when someone dies. But with the beautiful, furtive Ophelia staring him down..

"...He was going to cut funding."

His hands drop, and once more he leans forward, keeping his attention purely on her despite the chaos in the room. The man only described as an agent of death gives her a rueful grin, smile touching the corners of his eyes, and he speaks quietly. "Not exactly what I had in mind for our first date.."
January 16, 2017 07:32 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Now, Ophelia Fraye was no stranger to death. It didn’t scare her. Her life was.. complicated, and her hands weren’t exactly clean. Still, that didn’t make the fact that a man had just willingly jumped to his death right in front of a room full of people any less jarring. Every single person in the room was shocked. Except for one.

Mr. Taylor.

Ophelia wasn’t an idiot. She could connect the dots easily enough, but that didn’t mean she understood exactly what had just transpired. Only that Gray had definitely played a part. She had to admit, whatever he had just done.. it was clever. It had happened in a room packed with people, and not a single one of them would single him out.

What’s your story, Gray Taylor?

“...He was going to cut funding.”

Ophelia blinked, coming back to herself. Was that.. had he just made a joke? Caught off guard by the blasé remark, she pressed her lips together to hide the incredulous smile that fought for room on her face. The sound of distant sirens from hundreds of feet below them filled the room, and a flurry of frigid air was beginning to seep the warmth right from her bones. It gave her a tiny shiver, which seemed to clear her mind a bit.

“Well. Then, that was probably for the best, wasn’t it.” She spoke loudly enough for only Gray to hear. Ophelia bent down to reach for her purse, but paused when Gray spoke again.

“Not exactly what I had in mind for our first date..”

She glanced up at him for a moment with guarded eyes before straightening, her purse in her hand.

“No..” She secured her bag over her shoulder and levelled an audacious gaze upon him. “Me either. I was expecting marginally less questioning from law enforcement. Not your best work.” She tsk’d and gave a short shake of her head before walking around the table toward the door, but passing close by his chair.

“May I have a word?” She murmured to him in passing. A moment later, she heard his chair scoot from the table and knew he would follow.

She didn’t go far, only outside the meeting room door, where there was less freezing wind and more comfortable seating. She knew police were probably only minutes from barging in to take statements, and who knew how long that would take.

She didn’t sit just yet, though she dropped her purse onto a plush three seater that was situated against the wall and waited a moment for him to catch up.

Once he rounded the corner, she fixed her bright gaze upon him. “Fancy seeing you here, Gray.” A half smile tilted her lips. “I see I’m not the only one who wants to jump out a window when you show up.”

Her tone was nothing but sass, but the gleam in her eyes said otherwise. She was curious.

January 16, 2017 10:26 pm

Gray Taylor

'Not your best work.'

Gray Taylor is had. The smirk upon his face has no rival as he watches her, glad to be in the presence of someone who can keep up. There is nothing he loves more than a woman who can keep up with his antics, or at least appreciate them enough to banter with him. So, when Ophelia asks for words, he is more than happy to oblige.

Even though she previously left him without answers. Just saying, he is a very generous man.

Once outside the room of doom, he is happy to face her. She waits, patiently, and looks every bit like she means business. Her eyes, however, defy her.

From the outside looking in, this conversation might be absolutely bizarre. A man just jumped out a window, nay. Through a window, to his death. Most people are screaming, crying, texting, calling, video taping, or generally having panic attacks. And here is Ophelia and Gray, calm, collected, and almost amused by each other.

"Ophelia, it is always a delight to see you," Gray utters, grin touching the tone of his voice. His eyebrows raise in response to her observation, followed by a quiet chuckle, and he inclines his head. "You always do leave something to be desired, don't you?"

Swiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing battah battah.

Standing up straight once more, he looks at the woman. Near eye level, to his constant surprise and perhaps dismay. It is not normal for Gray to be in the presence of a woman that nearly matches his height. This makes it easier to see the question in her gaze. She wants to know what this is all about. Well, dear Ophelia, there are things Gray Taylor desires to learn as well.

So, we have an impasse.

"Mr. Lachlan was having some financial troubles. Very common reaction, this."
January 20, 2017 05:03 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Gray laid out his own pleasantries with a charming smile, almost but not quite rising to her impudent bait. It seemed to Ophelia that Gray was a very measured man. It would probably take quite a bit to make him boil over. Not even a man throwing himself from a window thirty two stories up had had much of an effect on the unflappable man.

Then again, Ophelia was convinced he’d somehow had a hand in it. It would explain the distinct lack of surprise.

He could hear her unspoken question hanging in the air, and the answer he provided was merely a keyhole view into what she suspected was a grand hall of secrets and questions gone unanswered.

“Mr. Lachlan was having some financial troubles. Very common reaction, this.”

Ophelia’s half smile melded into a thoughtful purse of her lips, her clever mind working through the many dots that could be connected. With his answer, he’d admitted to some knowledge of Mr. Lachlan’s stressors, and also that he hadn’t been surprised at the outcome. Both of which she’d known or assumed.

“Mhmm. Well, his untimely demise is going to cause me some financial troubles, I can tell you that. He was the financial coordinator for my livelihood, Mr. Taylor.” Her southern accent dropped her Rs, making his last name sound smooth and easy on her lips.

It was apparent by the light, amused lilt of her voice that she was hardly torn up over Simon’s death, despite what she said. “Not that he didn’t cause me a fair share of troubles while he was still with us, that is.”

Her tone wasn’t accusatory. Not really.

In the short silence, Ophelia overheard someone in the meeting room talking loudly about police in the building. They would soon be accosted by the boys in blue for statements. Ophelia sighed lightly before meeting his eyes, not a difficult thing to do, and murmured with not just a small peppering of sass, “Well, New York’s finest will be here for us soon. Are you gonna confess?”

She held his gaze easily, a challenge within her own. Ophelia had always been the tall girl of the group, in almost every situation. She’d been teased about it when she was a kid, but now, as a grown woman? She enjoyed it thoroughly. There was something about a strong woman, both physically and mentally, that seemed to throw men off balance. The fact that she was nearly eye to eye with Gray Taylor’s tall stature was something she was sure he wasn’t accustomed to.

He couldn’t look down on her.

January 20, 2017 07:06 pm

Gray Taylor

"Better luck next coordinator," Gray practically coos back at the woman, lips pursed through his amused grin. Tonight, the Belle and the faux Yank square off in a battle of wit and stubbornness. Only one will prevail, but, Gray predicts himself to be the victor.

What amuses him even more than her reaction to him, is her reaction to Simon's suicide. She isn't upset. She is barely shocked. Ophelia is just as level headed as he is, and while he can tell that she is not much of a business-minded woman, she can certainly hold her own.

"Confess? To what? Being distracted by the beautiful woman that wanted nothing more than a word? Have Mercy, dear Ophelia."

His smile speaks of an easy man, while his stormy eyes tell tale of a confident dare. They both know that there is no way they could ever implicate Gray for Simon's Swan Song. Well played, Ophelia, but things are not exactly as they might appear. More than just that, but Gray has given the woman a sort of key into the inner workings of his business.

Just like that, the elevator dings and from it comes a wave of black and blue. In that moment, Gray's expression goes from cheeky to blank, his demeanor rigid and less willing to bend. He becomes something more of a victim of shock. And as a set of officers approach the two of them, Gray is put into easy motion very quickly.

A hand, seemingly compassionate, would move to touch to Ophelia's arm, just below her shoulder. A brush with caring, it would look like, before he takes a seat in the chair beside that which her purse resides in.

The rest of the officers were moving those left behind out of the meeting room quickly, and Gray was still not deterred.

'Name, and identification.'

"Gray Taylor,' he speaks, words quick and short. Prepared, he reaches into back pocket to produce his wallet. Within it, is identification... as well as foreign currency, credit cards, and his room key.

'Occupation.'

"Investor," he shoots a glance in Ophelia's direction. Cheeky flirt.

'And you, miss?'
February 01, 2017 10:47 pm

Ophelia Fraye

"Confess? To what? being distracted by the beautiful woman that wanted nothing more than a word? Have Mercy, dear Ophelia."

There it was again. That challenge in his eyes. Ophelia didn't know exactly what to make of it, but it made her want to rise to the occasion.

Really, there was nothing for him to confess to. He hadn't done a thing. Hadn't even lifted a finger. It was truly impressive. More than anything, Ophelia was a curious creature, and she could sense the fortress of secrets hidden behind the steel of his eyes. The hidden knowledge, the hows and whys of it all, drew her in. She was interested. No small feat.

She gave an amused smile in response to his words, though the light ding of the elevator reaching their floor quickly cut off their conversation. Ophelia watched as Gray's entire demeanor changed with the arrival of the NYPD. It was as though a mask had been pulled over his face; a mask of a shocked bystander, mirrored by the dozen or so other people still in the meeting room.

This guy. He was a pro.

Gray moved, brushing what would seem to be a compassionate, comforting hand across her arm, and took a seat on the rather corporate looking couch she'd set her purse upon. Ophelia followed him with her bright eyes, taking in the professional at work. He really was good. If she hadn't known any better, she would have thought he was just as disturbed and flustered as most of the others in the meeting room.

As the officers entered the meeting room for statements, a couple branched off to take theirs. Ophelia saw them coming, and lifted her purse from the couch so she could take her seat beside Gray. She was close enough to his side that she could tell he'd recently showered. She could smell the light scent of his shampoo.

Ophelia didn't lay it on as thick as Gray (she didn't trust her own acting skills), but she did her level best to banish the amusement of Gray being questioned by the police from her face. He gave short and direct answers to their questions, ever the good citizen.

Ophelia wanted to mess with him. Just a little.

"And you, miss?"

"Ophelia Fraye." She reached into her purse to extract her ID. "I work for the EPA."

The officer took down the information on their IDs before glancing up at Ophelia again. "Can you tell me what happened here?"

Really, her acting skills were sh*t. But her desire to fluster Gray motivated her to do her best. She swallowed hard and shook her head at the officer's question, looking for all the world as if she were completely unnerved.

"I.. I don't really know. We were just having a meeting, and then he just threw himself right out of the window." She paused, and feigned a look of mild realization. "Though.. he only did that after Gray had come into the room.." She turned her head to look at Gray, her expression the embodiment of innocent curiosity. "Gray, do you have any idea why that is?"

With her face turned from the officer, she couldn't hide the mischievous, amused gleam in her eyes from Mr. Taylor.

February 02, 2017 05:03 pm

Gray Taylor

Naughty little...

If Gray Taylor were not so adept to remember what it is like to live in fear and shock, the stressed expression upon his face would be overwhelmed by a toothy grin. She wants to play a game? Fine. They could play a game. The minute she poses the question to him, a crease forms between his brows and Gray looks into the eyes of a troublemaker.

"I know... it's hard, Ophelia. But we'll get through this."

The whales will be saved.

Without a second thought, as if this is just an every day sort of thing, Gray moves to drape a compassionate arm around her shoulders with every intention of drawing her near. Like a protector. Like a friend, someone that knows her, these people, and what this meeting is all about.

Reality check: While Gray believes in Global Warming (Read: Climate Change is real, mf)... he knows nothing of what this is all about outside of environmental issues.

"I was all the support he had, poor man..."

He looks at the officer, like the good citizen he is, and lowers his voice as if his words might take some sort of hold on her emotions.

"I helped Simon with his books. You know, when someone has so much on their plate... they need help to remain organized. But, he was so stressed out by a phone call he'd had with Ophelia earlier that day. Concerning, really." He shakes his head, moving so that he might look down upon her with a saintly gaze.

'Please answer the question.'

"What did you say to him, Ophelia? He was so upset. I know you didn't mean it."

Bring it on, Ms. Fraye.
February 02, 2017 08:54 pm

Ophelia Fraye

The man didn't miss a beat. He picked up right where she left off, taking her bait and running with it. Playing along with her little taunts as though it had been rehearsed.

Gray brought a gentle, comforting arm around her shoulders and drew her in compassionately, as though she were truly shaken. If this situation had actually shaken her foundations, she thought, the kind gesture probably would have helped. As it was, he was simply milking the situation, knowing his actions would taunt her as she was taunting him.

One thing was for sure. He gave as good as he got.

Ophelia allowed him to draw her in, her side flush with his. Tucked under his arm, she could only listen with well disguised admiration as he lied fluently to the officer. As he spoke, however, she realized he was turning the tables back upon her. Catching her in her own game.

"What did you say to him, Ophelia? He was so upset. I know you didn't mean it."

With a look of feigned, innocent surprise, she blinked her bright eyes at Gray, glanced quickly to the officer, and then back to Gray. "Y-you know about that?" She murmured to him quietly.

The officer glanced up from his notepad and raised a brow before sharing a brief look with his colleague. "What phone call are you referring to, miss?"

Ophelia looked up at the officers, then back at Gray. "Well.." She looked at the floor, worried that she might break and begin to laugh. "I spoke to him earlier in the day over the phone, and.. well, he told me that he'd found out about you and Mrs. Lachlan. He had a nannycam set up in the living room.. he said he saw everything." She got quieter toward the end, trying to disguise the quiver of a laugh threatening to break out as simply being upset.

“He told me he confronted you about it.. and he said you got angry. Very angry.” Ophelia peeked sideways at Gray, the barest hint of a grin touching her lips.

They were definitely going to get in trouble. They were already too deep into their silly game. The trouble was, neither of them backed down from the other’s challenge. Ophelia figured that she just might be even later for her date with that bottle of wine and her bath if this went much further.

February 02, 2017 10:13 pm

Gray Taylor

Y-you know about that?

Gray nods solemnly as he looks at the woman he holds to his side. Funny how she fits there, despite being equal in stature. It's somewhat comical in how he feels they are a pair of children getting questioned by adults over a mess made or stolen cookies. It is, however, obvious to Gray just who the ace is in this situation. If they were about to go to time-out, it would up to Gray to save them.

Sweet Ophelia, Gray is a goddamn professional.

His eyebrows raise as she finishes her story, eyes narrowing at her for just a moment. She is so goddamn brilliant. Honestly. It's very attractive. Gray finds himself fancying woman more and more.

And to think, this is the first date.

"Ah... yes. Mrs. Lachlan was very upset, and I consoled her. It's true. She had no idea that you were behind those emails, Ophelia. If you'd just told her about your time with Simon, she might not have felt the need to track you both down on Ashley Madison..."

He tsk'd under his breath, and Gray turns his attention to the officers. "It's true, I got upset with Simon. Because he broke his wife's heart."

With a minute shake of his head, Gray's gaze casts downward as he lets out a dramatic sigh. "I'm so sorry, Ophelia.."

His words are a murmur, a voice reserved for only the darkest of parts he might play over the course of his day. The businessman. The comedian. The leader. The man. The human. And this woman is bringing out quite the display.

Gorgeous creature, she is.

As if to highlight his obvious care for her, Gray doesn't hesitate to press a comforting kiss to her cheek before whispering into her ear, "Best date ever."
February 03, 2017 12:19 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Ophelia truly thought she’d gotten him with her fictional twist. She really did. However, it quickly became obvious that she had greatly underestimated Gray’s ability to think quickly on his feet. As hard as Ophelia had tried to utilize her meager acting skills, it was apparent that she would be outmatched by Mr. Taylor in this situation.

Clever, clever man.

Ophelia listened as he spun his tale, expertly weaving through the details and peppering it with a fine display of ‘genuine’ concern for the situation at hand. And then..

Ashley Madison.

Oh no. She wasn’t gonna make it. He was too good, and the situation was fast becoming far too ridiculous. She pressed her lips together and looked at the floor, locking down on the bubble of incredulous laughter that was threatening to undo her. Her heavy, dark hair slid over her shoulder as she looked down, hiding her face from the officers.

He wraps up his version of the story with flair, and punctuates his monologue with a sweet kiss to her cheek.

Best date ever.’

She is undone.

The bubble of laughter that she had been wrangling got the best of her, and she broke with a peal of the most out of place, delighted laughter you could imagine. Her shoulders shook with it, and the two of them were completely had.

She’d tried her level best, but she had no choice except to concede to Gray, the absolute pro. Ophelia had the feeling that he did this sort of thing quite often. His prowess was something she hadn’t come across before, and it was exciting. He was exciting.

Ophelia was too caught up in the hilarity to have seen the look the officers gave one another, nor the short, clipped conversation that preceded one of the burly men taking her none too gently by the arm and hauling her to her feet. Her laughter quieted down once she was on her feet, but the absolutely delighted, mischievous smile that she threw Gray over her shoulder spoke volumes. There was no regret.

She barely managed to snap up her purse as she was hauled toward the elevator, and she caught the sight of Gray being similarly brought to his feet as well. She looked over her shoulder at the officer. “Are we being arrested?” The elevator dinged, and the both of them were led inside.

“Not if you come willingly. We’re taking you both in for further questioning.”

Ophelia rolled her eyes. Judging by the grip on her arm, ‘willingly’ was a subjective word. Their ride in the elevator was quiet, and their trip together in the back of the squad car was equally silent, save for the quiet, amused smile that Ophelia couldn’t seem to banish. This whole situation was completely ridiculous, and so unlike her. Apparently, Gray was the type of man that made her want to step from her comfort zone.

When they arrived at the police station, they were both brought into the back, to a large, communal cell for individuals that hadn’t been processed yet. There were three other men already in the cell in varying states of street clothing, two of which looked more like they needed to be in handcuffs as they paced through the large cell like caged animals, watching them.

Ophelia and Gray were led into the pen, and given a short explanation that all the questioning rooms were busy. Then, with an intimidatingly loud click, the door was closed and locked. Ophelia had never been arrested, nor taken in for questioning.. but this still didn’t feel like it was on the up and up. If they were here for questioning, shouldn’t they be in, say.. a waiting room or something?

She glanced over at the men on the other side of the cage, looked to Gray, then walked toward the opposite side and sat down on the uncomfortable metal bench. Her purse had been taken from her when they arrived, along with the jacket inside of it.

The two men watched Ophelia hungrily, and she suspected that they had probably been in here for a day or two. Judging by their hard eyes, she didn’t think they were simply here for questioning.

To Gray, she offered a slightly rueful smile. “You know, I get the feeling that those officers didn’t like us much.”

February 03, 2017 01:42 pm

Gray Taylor

Despite their antics, Gray Taylor is nothing short of a gentleman. He'd carried on the act, making excuses for her to the officers as they grabbed at her to pull her to her feet. She's just in shock, he'd said. Everyone reacts differently, he insisted. It's not that he is worried, because that is the farthest thing from the truth. He actually just doesn't want to lose valuable time.

So, it is a with an amused stare that he watches after her as he too is hauled to his feet.

In no time, the find themselves amongst the New York's finest. In a holding cell, at a precinct, with a bunch of questionable looking citizens. The officer that had decided to task himself with handling Gray had mutter to the man to prepare for a long night.

Really, this just seems like one of those 'bad mood' situations.

Who can blame them? They'd played games while their counterparts were investigating a 'suicide'.

Turning to face their fate, his steely glare passes over their new living arrangements and all that comes with it. Cheap metal, and three very angry looking individuals who apparently have never seen a woman before. That's about where Gray draws the line. Women are not toys, they are not meat. Don't look at them that way.

You know, I get the feeling that those officers didn't like us much.

His attention returns to her, and Gray makes it a point to cross the space and find a seat beside her. He doesn't rest. Forget relaxing. He's ready to spring up into action when either of these two idiots manage to work up some nerve.

"Well, if you would just stay off the internet..." he quips back, light in his voice despite their situation.

Turning his head to look at her, that amused upward tilt to the corner of his mouth returns. Pretty, brainy, and witty.

From the other side of the cell, a dark chuckle erupts, causing Gray's friendlier nature to disappear for a moment as he cast a blood curdling glare in the direction of the joker. Satisfied that his message is clear at the sight of his quieted opponent shifting in his seat, the attention is back on Ophelia.

"You know, I'm fairly certain this isn't normal."

This, being the holding cell despite them only being here for questioning. With a couple of demented looking criminals that seem more likely to eat them alive than find Jesus in prison.
February 03, 2017 06:04 pm

Ophelia Fraye

Gray crosses the span of unforgiving concrete between them and takes a seat beside her, though he was nowhere near the relaxed man he'd been back in the meeting. She could feel the tension emanating from him across the short distance between them. He was taut in the shoulders, and his gaze was restless.

Though mistaken, she felt sure that the reason was because of their current predicament. They would probably be stuck in this cage for the rest of the night, and he was undoubtedly annoyed. It had been a very silly and uncharacteristic thing for her to do, but it had just seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Despite the tension clear in his lean frame, he still lightly joked with her about the Ashley Madison incident, making her chuckle quietly.

He turned to look at her with an amused smile, and she wanted to say something about how clever he'd been back at the meeting, but a dark chuckle from the other side of the cage abruptly drew both of their attention.

She couldn't see Gray's face, but whatever he did, it shut the guy up. At least momentarily.

While Ophelia was sure she could handle any problems these men might give her, she was still glad she wasn't stuck in here by herself.

"You know, I'm fairly certain this isn't normal."

She nodded, leaning back against the cinderblock wall with a sigh. "You've got that right." She smiled a little, glancing sideways at him. "I probably should keep my bright ideas to myself next time, huh."

She clasped her hands loosely in her lap, idly rubbing circulation back into her palms with her fingers. It was chilly. "I'm sorry if you had places to be tonight. I didn't expect we'd end up caged like this."

February 03, 2017 09:54 pm
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