Gentleman Caller: Part 1

March 27, 2016:

Ford gets a call from Claire and comes to a worrying realization…

Ford's Apartment, Metropolis

Bakerline is a primarily a middle-class housing community consisting of three districts known as Lafayette, Oaktown, and Hamstead.

Spread across these three districts are homes that show what Metropolis was before it became the large bustling and shining city. Small businesses do not exceed more then three to four stories in height, most ground levels turned into 'mom and pop' storefronts while they lease the areas above out to tenants or reside there themselves. Like any older neighborhoods the middle class can vary to that of lower, the old housing nearly appearing derelict if not abandoned completely, but despite that appearance there is still the bustling of life as block parties are hosted by the communities within communities, residing closely and not just by the separation of walls - most of these people have grown up together for generations and enjoyed the peace they have from the bustling borough of New Troy.

Small parks mottle the areas as well as Bakerline Zoo, centralized between the districs of Lafayette and Hamstead, making areas for these families to enjoy without having to venture too far from home.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Daredevil, Lara Croft

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Ford finished drying off most of the water from his hair as he headed to the window, opening it up to let the steam of the room out. For a rich playboy, Ford's place was… not very elegant. In fact, it was a common corner apartment. Granted, it was in the same building his parents lived, but a few floors down and… not a penthouse. He liked the view his parents had though, so he opted for a similar locale. It suited him just fine. He wasn't home all that much, and when he was, he just needed a place to relax.

Made him feel a bit… normal.

"Nice night… might should hit the town or something." Ford mused, before looking down at the towel he wore around his waist. "…on second thought, I think I'll stick to the PJs. Wonder what's on?" His mind briefly wandered back to a couple nights ago. He spent the evening waiting the entire evening for Ms. Temple to show up… and she never arrived. Ford understood, after all, she mentioned she was an ER nurse. His ego could absorb the blow… it just would've been polite to give a call or something that she could make it…

And finally, well, that phone rings. It's a New York number, her's, if he actually managed to find it. Claire's still not exactly settled back into real life, but the attacks have stopped and she didn't care to lose her hospital that dramatic amount of money he offered. And, honestly? She hated being rude. Even if he was a womanizer in his own way, she wasn't that kind of person. So, from the little motel room where she's staying now, she makes the phone call, pacing the floor in her borrowed clothes, restlessness behind her voice as she finally hears hi pick up. "Mr. Benett? It…it's Claire Temple. From the gala. I… I owe you an apology…" She just blurts it right out.

Ford blinked as he finally picked the phone up. Being in the shower, he hadn't heard it ring until just now. But he did at last, and boy was he surprised. "…Ms. Temple?" He asked, before smirking a bit and stepping around to sit on the sofa by the phone. "I'm surprised to hear you again. After Tuesday night, I wasn't entirely sure."

"… It's… complicated. I don't think you'd believe me if I told you." Claire admits with a husky brush of a laugh over the other end of the phone. But it's tired too. Exhausted. She sounds like a woman who hasn't slept well in days, and that's saying a lot for an ER nurse who rarely has a regular sleep schedule. "But…I didn't mean to stand you up, and I am sorry. It was…unavoidable. Safer for you, I promise…"

Ford chuckled a bit before replying. "Ms. Temple, I've spoken personally with a man with eats sun like a palm tree and his friend who can conjure objects with little more than a thought. Try me." Ford did frown a bit as Claire spoke. He couldn't see, but she sounded exhausted… and she was an ER nurse. What in blazes happened to make her lose sleep like that? "If you didn't want to go out, you could've just said no, you know. I'd have still been willing to donate the quarter million even if you declined. I'm not totally heartless."

"…I've had at least two dozen ninjas attempting to kill me since Monday night. Hell, it's probably around thirty now. I've lost count." There is no teasing behind her voice, no weird joke, just the sense that this is epicly exhausting and a great shock, all things considered. If anything, Claire's voice holds the emotionlessness of someone who has been in shock since that very first night coming off shift.

Ford goes silent on the other end for a moment, making it hard to tell if he's even still there. But after a brief moment, he apparently regains his composure and replies. "…welp, that's a new one. I've heard of strange ways to get out of a date, but 'Suddenly, Ninjas' takes the cake on that." He chuckles a bit, but it suddenly cuts off and goes silent. "…Claire… these ninjas… if you managed to get a good look at them, tell me… were they wearing red? Used katanas, had throwing stars like… oh, how to describe them…" Despite all odds, Ford's description of the stars should fit almost perfectly what Claire may have seen them use.

As if he's seen these ninjas too…

The pause from her over the phone is long enough that the ninjas have either done their job, or he's actually shocked her enough that Claire has found herself speechless. A good handful of heartbeats later, she murmurs, "Yes… exactly. The stars all had pointed, but slightly curved edges.." She goes on to explain them quite precisely. It's not just some flimsy excuse. She's most certainly seen these things before. And they've tried to kill her, apparently. "So, you know I'm not shitting you. How have you heard of them?"

Ford started gathering his clothes as he tried to dress, hoping to keep Claire on the phone. If he had her talking, she was alive. "I was attending a fundraiser at Fordham University. Those same ninjas attacked from out of nowhere, killed a couple of guys. Daredevil was there - not sure why - but he mentioned the victims had criminal connections, I think…" Ford wrestled a pair of pants on as he held the phone up to his ear with his shoulder. "Claire, where are you now? Gimme a couple minutes and I'll be there soon as possible. Do you have anyone with you? Are you safe? Do you have somewhere you can go?"

"I…I'm fine. Daredevil… he's the one who found me. Stopped the first wave. He was keeping me safe. I think it's over now, but he and this woman… this aristocrat, I think, I've seen her in the papers, they… They kept me safe. She gave me some money for a hotel. They said it's not really safe to go back home yet, and fuck… work. I mean… I have years of vacation days saved, I'm not going to lose my job… but they need me there…" And he might just catch it on the edge of her voice that Claire is this close to completely freaking out and she NEVER freaks out, but everything has been a bit too much. "I…I'm at the Ramada… in the Bronx…"

"Claire, breathe with me." Ford spoke with a calm collective tone, taking in breaths as he helped guide her through. "Don't worry about the hospital. They'll be fine without you." His smirk could almost be heard as he spoke. "I was hoping to get your attention and pay early. I upped the ante… I sent a check for half a million to Metro General on Wednesday night. Thought that might catch your attention. Clearly, you had more important things to worry about. Like ninjas." Ford pulls the phone away as he slips a shirt on over himself, before continuing. "Claire, you need sleep. I can hear it in your voice. Can you relocate somewhere?"

"…I… I mean, I can, I have legs… and I can catch a cab. But…I'm in a hotel. It should be fine, right? It's all over now. This is just a precaution." The woman is convincing herself of that as much as she is him. Claire is trying really hard to sound calm and sane, but the insanity of the last few days is just starting to catch up to her. No one is perfect. "…and you… you didn't have to send that check. Though, it was… sweet of you. The hospital certainly needs it. Thank you." There. Work always makes things better, especially talking about work.

"Call it a precautionary precaution. I'd like to have you some place comfortable… can't think of a more comfortable spot than my bed." Was that an innuendo or a sincere offer? It's hard to tell. "Besides, a playboy's corner apartment is probably the last place I'd look for anything… and I live here! …at the very least I'd like to come over and check on you. Perhaps you'd sleep better with an extra set of eyes watching your back. Call it a make out— make up session for the missed date." He paused for a moment at that before adding. "Sorry, force of habit."

Once more, Claire is actually thinking this over a little bit too long. His innuendo and offers don't even get an impatient breath. She just listens, pacing the floor of the hotel room where she knows she's not going to sleep alone. She shouldn't have tried to be noble, should have stuck it out with her protectors, even if she hated being a burden. "…While I wouldn't mind another pair of eyes around… No funny business. This isn't going home after the first date. You're either offering me a place because you're worried, or because your a sleeze. Sleezeballs don't generally give half a million to a hospital…"

"Perhaps if you weren't such a vision, I'd have an easier time keeping my eyes off you." Ford chuckled as he slipped his shoes on. "I like to think the mystery adds to the excitement. Can't really tell if I'm concerned or crafty. Still counting this as bringing you home, though." All pretense in his voice halts as he adds. "I'll be pulling up in an emerald green mustang. I'll got a necklace that looks like an ostrich I'll be wearing." Ford slips the neck piece on as he mentions the object. Truthfully, it looks more like a big letter F, but Ford tried to make it look like the bird. He wasn't much of a whittler. "Don't open the door for anyone, but me, alright?"

Ford waits for Claire's confirmation, before immediately grabbing a large coat, scarf and his balaclava. He hoped he wouldn't need it… but just in case. He didn't have ninja training… but he had speed. That might even the playing field.

"Alright." The fact that Claire is taking him up on this at all just puts the cherry on top of what a STRANGE week it's been. But she tried being alone and she didn't like it. So, she agrees, and he waits. "Room 114." Since he mentioned not opening the door, that meant he was coming in to get her, right? Then she hangs up the phone and plays the waiting game, pacing the floor, holding her breath here and there, listening for any signs of something out of place. When he does finally arrive, in that strange get up, she has to unsecure every lock on the door before opening it slowly. She's in a pair of jeans that fit, though are a bit short in the leg, and a top that only *barely* fits. Borrowed clothes. She looks like she hasn't slept since Monday, and she probably hasn't.

Ford's arrival is quick - he may have broken a law or two to get her quicker - but he was more interested in getting Claire to a safe spot. On opening the door, Ford has to fight to keep his eyes off the tight pants… a battle he is clearly losing. "You didn't have to dress to impress me… don't have to dress at all to impress me~." Ford quickly shook his head, scolding himself before handing her the jacket and scarf. "Thought you might like to travel a bit incognito. When you're ready." Giving her time to get prepped, Ford waits before helping her to the car. "You can nap a bit on the way back. We can buy anything else you need later, alright?"

It's a rare night that Claire Temple lets herself be taken care of. Normally, she was the care taker. But tonight, she simply needed someone else. She was on the edge of shutting down and she didn't know if it was safe yet so, the strange flirt from the gala gets to be a white knight for the time being. She still smirks at him as she takes that jacket and scarf. The scarf goes on first, wrapping smoothly across her head and then tucking around her neck. She shoulders on the jacket over top of it and zips up, as incognito as she was going to get. "This is all about what I had on hand and NOT impressing you, Mr. Benett. I promise. But… thank you." She adds after a moment, the snark not actually felt in her heart. She was too grateful he was here. So, picking up the little bag she does have, she follows him out to the car again.

"You could always take them off if they aren't suiting you~" Ford replied, before frowning a bit. "Sorry… force of habit." Yeah, perhaps "white knight" was a bit of a stretch in Ford's case. He'd prefer the term "gentleman" anyways. Helping her to the car, Ford closes the door before quickly moving around to the other side, hopping in and starting it up. "Haven't got much to eat… some spaghetti left over, I think. I can always conjure something up later. I think the most crucial thing for you is sleep… just rest for now…"

As Ford drove, he remained quiet. His mind was concerned with too many things at the moment. Claire needed sleep, but why? Why was a ninja group targetting her? What did she do to earn their ire? Were they still following? What did Daredevil know that the two of them didn't? Too many puzzles, not enough pieces…

The woman doesn't go as far as hugging him, not yet at least, but there is gratitude in her eyes. He's getting away with more than he normally would, but he also seems to have toned it back. The comment about the clothes just gets a smirk, then a genuine hint of surprise as he actually apologizes. "…you aren't half the sleeze you seem." Claire states, almost accusing him. She then slips out of the hotel room and to his car, waving off the comment of food, "Don't even think I could eat. But… sleep sounds nice." The woman confesses. Soon, she's nestled down into his car and they are driving safely back to his place. She is quiet within moments and, sure enough, her breath has evened out and she's fallen into a desperately needed sleep in his passenger seat. It's a remarkable show of trust after the week she's had, but they could both probably use someone to trust.

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