Q and A Time

Gerard invites Kathryn for a quick lunch meeting.


Joe's Diner. What a place to set a date. But then, Gerard Hunter has never been known to bend habits for anyone. It's no surprise, then, that his curt text to Kathryn read simply "Joe's, 12:30. Bai." Wherever the man picked up internet chat lingo, he apparently missed the lessons on etiquette, sending the text only twenty minutes before the appointed time.
Still, at least he's here - sitting in his standard corner booth, back against the wall, a knee propped against the chipped tabletop. He's drinking a tall glass of water, presumably to rehydrate after his epic dive into Jack Daniel's the night before. It's the only sign, however, to show that the seasoned partier has had any ill effects whatsoever from his evening on the couch. He is dressed in a snappy pink shirt and navy sports coat, over a pair of tight-fitting jeans. Stylish, for a man of his profession, as always.
One of the waitresses stops by his table. "Go ahead and get me two burgers, Gena. The works. Oh, and a bowl of chili on the side for me. House salad for my guest. Oh, and uh.. order her a coke, a tea, and a water. I dunno what she likes, really." Well, apart from fancy merlots, that is.

Well, if Gerard's habits are die-hard, so too are Kathryn's; she's punctual. If a little windswept and rosy of cheek. Swinging into the greasy spoon with her usual businesslike stride, she offers a smile in passing to the waitress, who - unbeknownst to the rdhead - is departing with an interesting order. The young woman is impeccably dressed, as ever. You'd never know, at a glance, that she'd spent the night drinking and woke up in a strange bed. No, sir.

Breezing across the diner, she drops without preamble into the seat opposite the detective, smoothing her skirt beneath herself with one hand while the other tosses her purse further onto the bench. And already those sparkling green eyes are level upon her companion, accompaned by a bright smile. No, the outside world gets no glimpse of what lurks beneath the woman's flawless porcelain mask.

"Afternoon!" she greets him, cheerfully, folding her arms promptly on the tabletop and leaning into them. "Found something already?" Not to impugne his investigative abilities, but he only dropped her off at work a few hours ago. Where's the fire?

"Yes and no. I've found a lot of people who don't want to talk to me, which isn't unusual." Gerard considers the woman for a moment, then slurps down on his water. "But it's the -way- they don't want to talk to me. I dunno. I think you're not the only one scared, is what I think." He sets the water aside for a refill, smiling at the ever-so-slightly disheveled redhead.
"You look absolutely gorgeous hungover," he remarks pleasantly. "Partying suits you. We should try it again sometime soon. Maybe even invest in some old Carey Grant movies. Now. You told me last night you had a letter from him. I'm going to need to read that." His tone fails to change from the same flirtatious manner in which he compliments her as he demands the privacy-invasion.
"I've been over to some antique dealers I know, and I'm pricing silver for your apartment, but I need to know what precautions you've already taken. Also, what size doors do you have? Oh, and do you have a tool-box? I'll need an electric drill."

There's a flicker of disappointment but no real surprise in the wake of Gerard's response. More than likely the reporter has found things equally troublesome, as far as investigations go. Now that her source is MIA, anyway. Sweeping her hair back with the fingertips of one hand, she continues to smile, unperturbed by his flattery. It always leads -somewhere-, just like hers does. Just not where it would lead for.. well, 'normal' people. "You should see me drunkenly asleep. It's a sight to behold."

Following the calm assurance and easy counter, she turns her eyes toward the discarded purse beside her. "Hmm." Obviously there's no real need to wonder. One hand strays into the receptacle and promptly withdraws a folded sheaf of parchment, which she tosses onto the table's surface between she and Gerard. "Help yourself. Not much to see."

The parchment is thick and creamy-colored. Not old, but certainly expensive. It is folded three times, and when stretched out, the center of the page contains just one sentence.

"No one of importance ever got anywhere by having their hand held."

It is not signed, though it does have a deceptively lovely scent that seems to emanate from the 'ink'.

"I showed it to my friend, too. He thinks it could mean several things. An enticement, obviously. Perhaps a way to subtly suggest having a 'patron' isn't desireable - presumably to whatever intentions the writer has. Or something else altogether. Personally? I just find it unsettling. It was on my desk at work."

"As for the home improvements… yes, I have tools. I'm not married, how do you -imagine- I fix things when they break, you bloody chauvinist." The jab is good-natured, distracted even. Making light of that damned letter. Quite unconvincing. "I don't have much in the way of protection, though… just some silver nitrate."

For once, the laser-like focus of Gerard is not focused on the redheaded reporter. He stares down at the parchment, unmoving, not even reaching to touch it. His eyes flicker across the text again and again, as though copying it into his memory. Then, very carefully, he leans forward and…sniffs. He remains there, bent bare inches over the parchment, for another minute or two before finally picking it up - at the corners only.
"Okay. Kathryn, I don't think this will amount to anything, but I want to run some analyses on this. Hang on, I have a.." He reaches inside his sports coat's pocket, producing a ziplock bag, and carefully begins sliding the letter inside. Without asking permission, of course.
Once the letter is carefully sealed, he drops it back down onto the table and seems to forget all about it, turning his attention to the woman across from him. "Good. If it's well-stocked, the toolbox, I can save myself some cash. Lent mine out to Annabelle - remember her? - and she threw it off her high-rise's roof. Bitch. Anyway.. Don't worry about protection. This is what I do, remember? We're going to replace every doorknob and window-latch in your apartment." He pauses to draw a breath, then adds "I'm also going to buy some UV lights. They'll be inconspicuous, but one for every few fluorescent bulbs will make a nasty surprise for any visitors."
Another pause as he considers. "Oh. And here's this." He tosses a disposable cell-phone on the table between them. "There's one number programmed in. It goes straight to the tech guy in my office. Use this phone if you honestly think you're about to die, and either myself or one of my teams -will- respond. It has a.. very strong signal. We can triangulate your location within seconds. You tracking all of this?"

If anything, Kathryn seems relieved to have the simple piece of vellum taken away. She certainly doesn't protest, she simply watches it being placed into the sterile bag and then, similarly, dismisses it from her mind. Or so it seems. Clasping her hands loosely, she listens with obvious attention to the man opposite, distracted only by the return of Gena, the waitress.

Looking up, startled from the partial reverie of watching Gerard speak, the redhead flashes a half-smile and moves her arms, making way for the plates and… several cups to be set down. An amused glance flits toward the detective as a selection of beverages are neatly placed before her. But she doesn't remark upon it, returning instead to their previous discussion.

"That all makes sense… I like it." Nodding to emphasise her approval, she tugs her burger closer with her fingertips. "Thank you." Without further ado, she lifts the top slab of the bun and dollops a healthy amount of ketchup over the contents. For someone so slender, she apparently has the appetite of a lumberjack. The offered cellphone is eyed, fleetingly, before her emerald gaze returns to Gerard. "Yes." Hesitating, she begins to say something. "Are you..?" It trails off and she shakes her head. "Never mind. Thank you. Again."

"This is Q-and-A time, Katie. Ask me anything, and so long as you swear it doesn't get printed, I'll answer. I mean that. You are now a material witness in a possible conspiracy to commit murder. Luckily for you, SAD doesn't write that sort of thing down." Gerard has the sense to wait until Gena is well out of earshot before saying that. "I hate to tell you, baby, but you're now one of my informants. Don't worry. Once you're safe, you can go back to hating my non-Constitutional agency with a passion." His smile is genuine as he lifts his burger and takes a huge bite, a bit of lettuce clinging to his upper lip.
Speaking with his mouth full, the man says "Ituhthedayoffawook." His words are barely decipherable before he finally swallows and continues, unabashed at his lack of manners. "We're going to get some Pabst and work all afternoon. Just like when I was in high school. Except you're prettier than Joey Salerne. Thank God."
He swills down some more water, watching the woman - despite his casual demeanor, those eyes remain unyieldingly alert. God, does he ever really relax?

Rolling her eyes - it's a habit, where Gerard and the word 'baby' are concerned - the young woman takes up her burger far more daintily in the fingertips of both hands, and takes a smaller, ladylike bite. But still pretty impressive. Setting it down again, she arches her brows at the detective's revelation of.. wait, she has to swallow.. "-You-.. took a day off? God. I really must be in danger." Reaching across the table, unthinkingly, she thumbs away the stray shred of lettuce from the man's upper lip. An oddly familiar gesture.

Ignoring the compliment - again - she tilts her head and regards Gerard in kind for a moment, contemplating as she pops a cherry tomato into her mouth and chews slowly. "Ask you anything, hm? That's a dangerous thing to say to me. You know that." Of course he knows it. Which makes the offer all the more curious. And delicious. "Alright.. umm… when's the -last- time you took a day off?"

"I take a day off every year. June eighteenth." The answer comes quickly from the man, and he takes a long sip of water, failing to offer an explanation as to why the date holds any significance. Her touch brings him to utter stillness for a moment before he explodes back into chow-mode, much like an animal deciding how to react to being petted.
He takes another bite of his burger, chewing and swallowing this time before he answers. "You're not in any danger at all, Kathryn. The truth is, I'm having fun. You know when the -last- time I had fun was?" He offers her a quick, sideways grin. "The last time we hung out. I've got plenty of paid leave accrued. One afternoon won't kill me."

Smirking, then relenting to a soft chuckle, the redhead reaches for her coke and takes a sip through the plastic straw the waitress thoughtfully provided. Heaven forbid that lipgloss get smudged. "..do you speak to -all- women this way? You do realise we -know- false flattery when we hear it, don't you?" Picking up her burger again, she bites off another mouthful - yes, the lipgloss remains intact, she's a pro - and watches Gerard with an amused expression in her green eyes.

"Well, if nothing else, I'm glad my situation is keeping you amused. And, if we're going to play the question game, it seems only fair to take turns. So, shoot. Ask me something -not- related to an ongoing investigation or linked to any conspiracy. And I -might- answer." A brief pause. "I'm a woman. There's different rules for us."

"I don't have fun with the other girls. I think that's probably why they leave me." Gerard shrugs a bit, then takes a sip of his water. "What do I want to ask? Alright. Here's a question for you, kiddo. We've known each other awhile, and I've never met a single solitary boyfriend. Why? Hiding them from me, or are you just not on the open market?" His eyes sparkle briefly as he talks, mischief evident in his tone.
"Listen, no bullshit, I've got no agenda. I don't know some deep dark secret that I'm hiding from you, alright? But I've got a gut instinct, and my gut tells me this whole thing is something I can handle." His tone is reassuring as he diverts back to serious business, then lightens as he flits off again, gaze never leaving the young woman's. "I got another question ready, after your turn."

"I am Kathryn's complete lack of surprise.." mutters the redhead from behind her burger. Setting it down, wiping off her fingers politely on the cheap paper napkin, she does at least seem to give the matter some thought, her gaze wandering the diner for a long moment. "I suppose I don't really have the time for a boyfriend. And I never go anywhere where I'd meet one, anyway. The whole thing just seems… troublesome. I don't want anyone throwing my tools off a high-rise." Leaning forward, she takes another sip of coke without using her hands, returning her green eyes to Gerard.

"I don't doubt this is your area of expertise, now. Not mine. Doesn't mean I can't watch and learn, though, does it." Clearing her throat, she flashes him a slight grin. "So. Next question. And since we're apparently onto the personal ones.. why do you always go for the same sort of woman, if you know it's not going to work?"

"Because I'm a man. Women who are attracted to men like me are -usually- smart, successful, and self-motivated. Which means they quickly find out that men like me are mistakes. Doesn't mean I don't like smart, successful, self-motivated women." He offers a quick smile to Katie and dips his head, as though offering a compliment.
"Now. My question for you. Take my gun and shoot me if it's too personal. You're a British ex-cop living in Las Vegas." He pauses, tilting his head and leaning back a bit. "So why are you here? You could be working for the Guardian or the Scotsman, with the articles you write. Why America? Why -Vegas-?"

"So.. you choose the gorgeous blonde bimbos and… they leave too? How's that an improvement? Oh, don't listen to me, what do I know. I don't even bother trying." Grinning a little, Kathryn picks a few choice pieces of her salad and pops them into her mouth.

She continues chewing as Gerard offers up his next question, not seeming at all offended. Maybe she's been asked before. Quirking one brow subtly, she shrugs before replying. "It seemed the most exciting place to be, in my mind. And I wouldn't say I'm an ex police officer. I'd say I was an ex trainee. I never really got very far. Enough to know how to fire a gun and take notes on handbag thefts." A wry smirk plays across her lips, her attention roaming out to the Strip, beyond the glass. Sunlight glints vibrantly from the passing cars, the asphalt, the storefronts, occasional flashes reflecting from the steady thrum of traffic and dancing across the young woman's features for as long as they're turned that way. "I think my parents seriously considered disowning me, when I left. But it just wasn't for me. I think… I can do more to help people, in this line of work, than I would have there. And Vegas.. well, it needs more help than most."

Propping her elbows either side of her plate, Kathryn gazes thoughtfully down at her half-demolished burger. "What about you? Why did you pick SAD? You seem to be just as interested in the 'standard' cases… like that little girl. Was it just better money, on this side of the tracks?"

"No. It was the cases. I thought.." For a rare moment, the imperturbable detective seems.. vulnerable. This question dives deep into something that is rarely seen in him. "Alice Jarvy, I couldn't help her. But I'm the best at what I do. I mean, Kathryn, I'm really good. At the shooting, at the investigating, at the interrogating. At all of it. God wanted me to be a cop." God? Is the man actually religious?
He pauses before continuing. "And I hate the sonovabitch for it. I accepted SAD because, well.. I was arrogant. I thought I could protect people better than anyone else. Maybe I have." He shrugs a bit, watching the woman closely, uncharacteristically nervous. "It sounds stupid, right? But what if little Alice was taken by a Shifter? It'd explain why I never had any witnesses come forward about a man grabbing her. Jenny Toomey was raped and killed by a vampire, and we just never understood before they 'came out'. Clara Parker was probably a preter death too. A lot of others. I thought I might be able to stop some of that. That's why." He drops his gaze to the burger and takes a big bite, chewing hungrily. "Her name is Gwen Rosemont. I'm gonna meet with her tonight. Late."

Listening quietly, resting her cheek in the cup of one palm, Kathryn watches the rare glimpses of emotion wandering across the detective's features. "I think you're good at protecting people, Gerard." It's rare she calls him by name. And her tone is gentle, for once lacking barbed wit or careful motive. "Look at how you're taking care of -me-, for example. And you don't even like me much. It's just in your nature."

Rousing herself, she takes another sip of coke, still watching the man keenly. Apparently the moment is past. Back to business. "Gwen Rosemont… the name's familiar, now that you mention it." She nods. "It goes without saying you should be careful, though. If she's really some sort of Lieutenant, she's more dangerous than she seems. And she seems dangerous to me already."

"Don't worry, kiddo. When an SAD officer goes to a meeting with a vampire, the last thing the vampire wants is for him to disappear. I'll be safe as houses." Gerard smiles faintly at this, reaching across the table for a moment to touch the back of the woman's hand with a fingertip. "I like you just fine. You scare me, but I like you. Liberal nutcase that you are."
Drawing his finger back, the man reaches for his burger, taking another bite, his nervousness slipping away now that the conversation is no longer about him. "Alright. So, your parents. You talk like a posh girl who went to a boarding school in the countryside of England. Am I right? Is Kathryn Emerson born to money? Is -that- the dark secret?"

"Who said anything about a dark secret..?" counters the redhead, with a faint smirk, not being baited. She doesn't seem to mind the momentary gesture from Gerard, watching him enjoy his burger with some amusement. "I suppose I'm fairly well-educated. As well as my parents could afford, anyway. Boarding school? Hardly." Helping herself to another cherry tomato, Kathryn sighs, looking toward the main counter, where the waitress is flirting, in her special middle-aged way, with a bearded man in a trucker cap. "What were -your- parents like?"

"My dad was a cards dealer. Never gambled himself. Never believed in playing the odds." Gerard smiles a bit, looking down at the table, uncharacteristically quiet for a moment. "He was a good man. Left Nawleans after Mom split, brought me up here. He just…didn't have very many other talents. He could smile, he could banter, and he could read people. And that was it.. And I guess he had his secrets." Gerard clears his throat, lifting his gaze to watch the woman.
"Here's this for your Profile of the Week. SAD Agent becomes cop over father's murder. Snappy headline." He uses the sarcasm as clear defense before continuing. "Dad was carrying something home from work. I dunno. Maybe counterfeit chips. Anyway, someone shot him and took the package. And Dad's boss paid for my college and my apartment. I let him."
Gerard finally finishes his humongous burger, wiping his mouth, and pulls out a twenty to lay down on the table. "Enough about me. I got other questions for you on the way to Home Depot, and then we need to go meet with this antique dealer I know. Come on, kiddo, busy, busy, day." He holds out his hand to the woman, as if actually expecting her to take it.

Kathryn's only a few bites behind, as far as the burger goes. But she leaves the remnants, wiping off her fingers and crumpling the paper napkin onto the dish alongside. The description of Gerard's father is strikingly similar, when you think about it. It's obvious where his own brand of 'charm' originates from. Tellingly, though, she leaves that unsaid. "I'm sorry. About your father." She doesn't bother with cliched placation, either but she seems to genuinely feel for the unflappable man.

As he moves to leave, she follows suit, thinking to snatch up both her purse and the small bag containing the folded parchment before she slides out of the booth. Slinging the former over her shoulder, she unthinkingly accepts Gerard's offered hand as she stands - it's a common courtesy, after all. But her fingertips linger in his a moment longer than necessary. Maybe it's comforting. For which of them, is difficult to tell.

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