Fish 'n Grits

The Food Rally 
It had been just under forty-eight hours since she had eaten the fisherman and welcomed a baby-were into her life. Two days, and she was exhausted and hungry and desperate for even a few moments of peace and quiet. With that in mind she left her new charge in capable hands and promised to be back within the hour, fleeing at top speed for Crestview and the promise of food. The Rally was always a top choice, far enough from Cordova proper that she didn't need to worry about running into colleagues and patients and with an assortment that could fulfill most any craving.

And then she saw it near the mouth of the park, and she was pleased to see she would not need to travel too far in this evening. A food truck specializing in breakfast items called Sunny Side - how quaint.

By the time she had skimmed the menu, waited in the relatively short line, and sat down on a bench with her waffles - she was officially done. Done with people, done with socializing, done with playing nice for the sake of persona's. Using her teeth to rip open the flimsy plastic bag that held her disposable fork and napkin. Glancing around to the scattered and crowded surrounding benches as she stabbed at her breakfast dinner with enough force that she felt the resistance of the styrofoam when she pulled back.

Tired looking for the first time in a while, devoid of makeup for a change after what had been a trying couple of days. Explaining things to Cordelia, then explaining them to Isolde when she came back to the apartment. Scrubbing blood from the hardwood and repainting the walls with enough coats to cover the splatter of red. Bleaching everything from the walls to the entertainment stand to the baseboards, and then, once the bleach dried, spraying another coat. The scent of human slowly devoured following the full moon to the point where Yana was pleased to return home to an apartment that no longer smelt like the weaker species.

Even on what had been meant to be a fleeting reprieve from the shit storm at hand, she found herself running through her daunting to do list. She needed to make sure no one would be looking for Nolan, needed to see how to go about securing his money for that matter. That had, after all, been the most appealing component of keeping him near and dear. That fishing business, as brutish as it was, was a cash cow.

Then there was the issue of Cordelia, of course. Yana wanted (and needed, for that matter) to work. As such, she couldn't babysit her sister every waking moment. Someone would need to ke- She hesitated a beat as she realized someone was speaking to her, yanked sharp from her own thoughts as she turned round to look at the source of the voice.

"Pardon me, I missed that - what again?"

"You look like hell," He repeated himself with a smirk, taking a seat on the opposite side of the bench to Yana. Having fancied a grilled cheese for breakfast, Marshal hadn't expected to find his newest companion there—she didn't strike him as the sort of person to dine on the offerings of food trucks. More importantly, however, the woman indeed looked worse for wear than when they had crossed paths last. Why that was intrigued him, for Yana Novik didn't seem one to leave the house looking as rough as she was.

Steeped in contemplation, the man let his observation hang in the air as he enjoyed another bite of cheesy bliss. "Long night at the office?" This is what normal people talk about, right? If nothing else, taking wild guesses about the cause for his companion's state of being amused Marshal. "Can't say it's like you, looking like that."

It was still early in the day. The man only had one espresso so far and no alcohol to speak of, so his sense of honesty had approached brutal magnitudes.

 "Mr. Tucker, ..." She sighed heavily as she caught sight of him and tried to make sense of his unusually blunt approach. Well, there were worse things to deal with - she had after all spent several years listening to Nolan, she could handle Marshal Tucker taking soft jabs for the sake of building a dialogue with one another. And while she always weighed her words with an almost clinical precision, it felt that she could get away with dropping that attention ever so slightly in present company.

 Sitting up a bit straight when he sat down across from her, suddenly mindful of her posture as she looked from the grilled cheese and back up to him. Stabbing into another forkful of waffle and raising a brow at the mention of her evening - enough to make her grin in a way that suggested she was indeed withholding some tidbit of information. "I suppose it was indeed a rough evening - rather busy." Leaving it at that and chewing thoughtfully, swallowing before she dared to speak again.

 "It doesn't happen frequently." Embracing her state of disarray now that he had seen to call her out for it so directly. "How goes the business?"

"Miss Novik," He replied out of courtesy, finding the slightest bit of amusement from social graces. As blunt as he might have been, Marshal was of the mutual opinion that they could let their guard down in the presence of kin, if only somewhat. In his case, that meant cutting down to the bones of what he had to say, at least this early in the morning.

While the man quickly caught onto the fact that Yana wasn't giving him the whole story, he let it be for the sake of mystery. "The luxury of small business—being one's own boss." Marshal hummed, taking the pause in their conversation to finish off his grilled cheese.

"I imagine not," Marshal replied, giving her a look in the corner of his eye, "It's going. Could be better, worse. And yours?" If he had ever inquired on Yana's line of work, he had unfortunately forgotten it. Getting old was a bitch.

 She laughed at the mention of small business and stabbed and cut away another bite. Hesitating for a moment longer as she saw it - a clear window of opportunity in the form of the direction in which he was (presumably) unknowingly steering their conversation.

 "The practice is the practice." Knowing better than to discuss the intimate details where patients were concerned. Resting her head in one hand and watching him now as she tried to decide how best to proceed. Marshal Tucker, at the end of the day, was a seemingly peaceful puzzle that she had yet to fully solve.

 She cleared her throat then, looking down at her container of food and pushing around the remainder of her waffle in the collected syrup. "About business ... I actually was hoping to revisit a conversation that we had some time ago ..."

Marshal arched a brow at Yana's soft laughter, but he said nothing of it—it was hardly an unpleasant sound, and one rarely heard, he presumed. "Grand," He said in regards to the practice, dunking the crumpled foil wrapper that remained of his breakfast into a nearby trashcan, ringing it with no small degree of pride. Score.

Drawn back to their discussion when the woman beside him cleared her throat, half-expecting something of imminent importance to sail from her lips. What he got instead was rather obscure. "And which conversation might that have been?"

Marshal needed to get out more. Eat healthier, exercise. Maybe it was living out of a hotel room and his office at Iron's, but he could have sworn he used to be able to remember shit.

Then again, it was forsaken o'clock in the morning, and he wasn't exactly the best example of a morning person.

While she acknowledged her own substantial set of flaws, a faulty memory was not among them. One thing at least in which she could pride herself, an apologetic smile as she acknowledge wordlessly that it was an attention to detail that perhaps not all possessed. "When we first met we discussed the distinct lack of kindred spirits in Cordova." She pushed the syrup around now, creating trenches with her fork and watching as they slowly filled.

"Since then I've found three others besides you and I that share our interests." Startled herself by that particular influx after so long of nothing.

With that, she set her plastic fork down and shut the container once and for all, resting her hands atop it as she took the time to truly try to look the other in the eye. "From what I've found, you and I are no doubt the oldest and presumably the most experienced. And so I'm going for it, Mr. Tucker - I am going to make us a home here." Keeping her words shrouded and vague in case of wondering ears.

"And I suppose I would like to know if that is something that you might be interested in being a part of."

"Right." That conversation. The only real conversation that warranted serious looks and hushed voices among their kind.

All the same, Marshal listened intently to Yana's words, offering the occasional nod as she spoke, and he didn't take them lightly. Promises of a home were no small thing for people like them, after all. "I've crossed one or two, myself," He added, figuring that his own discoveries were worth mentioning as well, however few they were compared to hers.

At the mention of his presumed veterancy, the man squinted in recollection. "I have just about a decade's worth of "experience," for future reference." Her choice of words amused him.

It all begged the question—were they doing this? After a long moment of consideration, Marshal saw no reason not to. "Interested, I am. Consider me in and willing to help out however I can. It's about time I settled down." Yet, one concern lingered amid his thoughts.

"How experienced are you at leading? Not everyone is cut out for it." Marshal hardly doubted Yana's abilities or willpower, but he believed someone needed to ask the sorts of questions most wouldn't.

She made note of his vague remark of similar Were's in the area, reminding herself to pursue his discoveries later once they were settled and hopefully on the same side of this whole coalition business. Finding however that the problem with subtlety was that at times meaning could be mangled - a decade's worth of? Being Were, perhaps? Time spent within a coalition? It was the sort of clarification that she could not risk asking for in current circumstances. "I've just under ten of being uh, in the business. About eight behind the scenes." It felt like an interview, and while the boastful part of her wanted to take offense to the questioning, she tried to recognize it as good business. The sort of thing one would like to hear from someone that they kept close, that was for certain.

A genuine flash of a smile when he doubted her, drumming her fingers on the lid of the container and taking in a deep breath. "I ran an operation in San Francisco in my own way for the better part of those seven years. Although, admittedly I never wore the title officially. I know this requires a great deal of trust, and I know our knowledge of one another is limited, Marshal ..." Settling into first name basis officially as she shifted on the wooden bench to make herself a bit more comfortable. "But I ask that you trust I do not take these matters lightly."

Marshal quickly rediscovered how much of a nuisance it was having these sorts of veiled conversations in public—to was too early in the morning for such subtleties and underlying meanings. All the same, he listened to each and every word that flew from Yana's lips, intrigued by the history she was willing to share with him. Once the dark woman was finished, her companion simply offered a sage nod in return.

It took him a moment to formulate an adequate response. "Good. I have faith in what you're doing, Yana." Marshal figured they had officially entered first name territory, despite it still feeling a bit premature. With a some semblance of a smile, he admitted, "I don't trust easily, but I trust you."

On that note, he stretched in an effort to make himself more comfortable. "So..." Marshal trailed off, yawning as he watched the people hustling about their morning.

"If that's all, I don't mean to keep you."

"I appreciate that trust, and return it in kind." For the most part truth, though admittedly even those she extended her trust to had their limitations. There were always some cards she kept close, some things that would be taken to the grave. But in the grand scheme of things, Marshal Tucker appeared to be a safe bet for the future - a good person to have on board in the promise of potentially troubling times ahead.

With all that could be said and done handled, she glanced to her empty container and then back to him - a curt nod as she turned round and stood up once more. Collecting her garbage and offering a rare and genuine smile as she took a couple of backwards steps. "Of course. I'm sure we'll speak again soon - stay well." That was good at least, someone else to break up the influx of young.

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