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Airs and Heiresses
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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jul-6-2015 11:19

New York, 1938
St. Regis Hotel
Rooftop Nightclub

"So there I was, staring down a barrel INCHES from death...and I told the man, 'darling REALLY, if you simply must shoot me do allow me to remove my earrings. They are Cartier, you know." Molly Maltese paused to take a sip of her Red Snapper, popping the olive neatly between her cherub lips before gnashing it to a pulp. "And the man was quite flummoxed, he said- I say, is that Riza Hawkeye?"

She rose, the group of rapt men in tuxedos and women in glittering dresses and furs murmuring their protests as she wended through their knees. But the apparition she was quite sure had been Riza Hawkeye had vanished in the crowd of New York socialites populating the exclusive terrace.

"Well, this place is a bit ritzy for Riza." she murmured, fairly certain her old acquaintance didn't make a habit of populating social-climbing fetes. And she reasoned, any time Riza had appeared before it was hardly ever for a pleasant cause. Well, maybe that was unfair. It just seemed she was more the swirl-of-furs-and-stiletto-daggers type than a frothy socializer like Molly herself.

Peering around, Molly saw nothing but the shadowed faces of revelers partially cloaked in the smoky haze. She had just been about to give up and go back to her companions when the most shocking hubbub began. Over on the north part of the terrace, she could distinctly hear the shouts of men and panicked screeching of females. Moving forward, she could just make out..

"Did you see... The Ambassador... who could have... murder! Someone has pushed the Ambassador off the building!" Molly picked up speed, expertly weaving through the crowd of panicked voices. Sirens already began to sound twenty stories below. Just as she grasped the ledge and looked over, an all too familiar voice sounded in her left ear.

"Oh hello there, old friend. Lovely breeze out today."

Before her stood Riza Hawkeye herself, looking utterly unruffled as several ladies fainted behind her.

Replies

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Aug-26-2015 11:38

Lindel eyed Joseph carefully for any sign of acknowledgement, which Joseph naturally concealed. Joseph kept his sight on his shot of Vodka he hardly touched, his eyes unreadable. Lindel had no choice but to bluntly lay it out, “Mr. Zeo, we know that you used to work for the FBI. For reasons we will not going into right now, you have ended up in Shanghai for the past three years, and your experience with both the Bureau and our city is invaluable…” Lindel trailed off, but Joseph still said nothing. The SMC representative finally experienced Zeo’s infamous poker face. “These agents will need guidance from a true Shanghailanders in order to maneuver around the city…”

“It’s okay Mr. Lindel, you can say it. You need a glorified tour guide to babysit your visitors from America, I can understand that.” Joseph stated nonchalantly. “Just let me know how much you are willing to pay for the services.”

Zeo’s reply stunted Lindel. From what the SMC had gathered, Joseph Zeo had a strong sense of justice and unbending call to duty. This turned out to be much easier than he expected. Lindel beamed, “Of course, the Council shall pay you handsomely for your assistance, and my deputy here will help you escort our visitors as well…”


M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Aug-26-2015 19:34

Marc sat alone in his little room on the train, gulping what was left of the cheap whiskey he found, ignoring the knocks that came on his door. "Go away!" he would yell. He would pick up the bottle and gulp some more. Why am I feeling like this, he would ask himself. That bastard Hassan was the reason Vulkie had been knocked off the train. So why did Marc feel responsible. "Trust no one," a voice echoed in his mind. Did he let go of Vulkie's hand intentionally, when he was tackled?

He shook his head. "Stop thinking about this," he said to himself. "Vulkie's fine, she'll know what to do." Or was she? These thoughts raced through his mind, and for the first time since Sal's death, Marc felt alone in what was left of this empty shell he called a life.

When he finally drank himself to sleep, he slept through his hangover the next day, and by late that afternoon, it was announced that they were arriving in Shanghai. Altogether, the journey on the train was only a few days, but a few days seemed like months.

The train station in Shanghai was crowded with people from all over the world, coming and leaving. Marc held his back over his shoulder as he stepped off of the train following Riza, who had her own bags, and carrying what was left of Vulkie's belongings.

"I know a place we can stay," Marc said when they left the station, and away from the large crowds of people. "It's not a safe house, but it can be used as a base of operations."

"Any place will do," Riza said, " just get us there.

Marc nodded and hailed for a taxi. He gave the driver the address. It wasn't too far into town where his small apartment had been.

"It's got 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms," Marc said opening the door and taking a step inside. He flipped on a light switch and the room lit up. Unlike his apartment in New York, this place had not been kept clean, and was in the same mess he left it when he last visited Shanghai.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Aug-26-2015 19:36

"Sorry about the mess," he grumbled as Molly and Riza looked at each other. The dust had collected over the years, and had piled up on just about everything that stood. The grandfather clock in the living room next to his small radio had finally quit working, and the radio had collected enough dust, it too, did not work.

"I say we get some rest," Marc said. " Tomorrow's going to be a very busy day."

"I agree," Riza said. "I think it's safe to say we all have contacts in this city, so-"

Marc interrupted, "we split up, talk to our contacts, follow what leads we can get, and then meet back here."

Riza and Molly agreed. They grabbed their bags and decided on their rooms as Marc went into his. He opened up the closet, revealing the shirts he had forgotten to take home with him, now faded and full of holes by the moths that ate through them. He reached up on the shelf, pulling out another bottle of whiskey he placed 5here before he left. He undressed himself and put on something comfortable to sleep in, and then, lying on his bed, he drank himself into sleep one more time.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 20:01

Molly woke early the next morning and began to dress, her mind rolling through her options as she sat delicately on the edge of the bed and rolled stockings up her bare legs. Expertly adjusting the black seams so they ran smoothly up the back of her calves, she clipped her black satin garters to the top and stood. Not one to abide even the idea of a roll of flesh showing, she laced on her favorite black satin girdle, ran her hands over her miniscule hourglass shape and snapped on a demure black bullet bra. Humming a mindless tune, she slipped on a silk chemise over all the hardware and proceeded to wiggle into the tight black walking dress she had selected for the occasion.

The ambassadors were the place to start, she thought to herself as she toed on the smartest white pumps she owned. If she could find the ambassadors that might be targets next, surely she might be able to glean clues on Sphinx’ motives.

Deftly brushing her auburn waves of hair and arranging it in a series of rolls away from her face, she clipped on a circular white hat with a froth of black tulle bows coming off the top and a petite white birdcage veil. A simple white handbag and a dazzling Cartier cuff completed her ensemble. Almost- she paused before she walked out of the room and swiped on her favorite red lipstick.

No one was awake, it seemed. Thunderous snores emanated from Marcs room, and Molly wondered how the very pictures didn’t come off the walls. Wincing in distaste at the boorish humanity of it all, she moved down to the main room and jotted a quick note on a white sheet of paper from her personal pad, scented with roses.

“Darlings, I’ve popped out to rustle up some ambassadors. Marc, you really should visit a doctor for that snoring- you must have some kind of large mammal caught in your nasal passages. Anyway, meet me for lunch at exactly 1:00p.” She wrote the name of a popular and discreet restaurant designed for the upper echelon of Westerners in Shanghai. "Yours, MM".

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 20:34

Molly had a destination in mind as she waved down a taxi. As she lowered herself into the cab, she smiled kindly at the expectant driver and said, “French Town please.”

She happened to know that Ambassador Johnson dined faithfully every Tuesday morning at Le Train Jete, a tiny but delicious French café and patisserie run by French immigrants. He liked to dine with his newspaper and coffee before scurrying to 11:00 meetings with his secretary to debrief on all uninteresting things consulate related. She happened to know this because he had once spent an exceedingly dull hour at a dinner table with Jack and Molly telling her all about his provincial life in Shanghai and pawing her leg.

The taxi deposited her on Avenue Joffre and she glanced at a large clocktower in a nearby square. 9:30. She should be right on time. Adjusting her hat and putting on her most engaging smile, she trotted up the steps of the tiny restaurant and let her eyes adjust as she stepped through the door.

Country French décor, she thought mournfully. She’d look horribly overdone in such a peasant setting. Oh well, one did make sacrifices when they were in Cartier. She let the room adjust to the vision of her, sweeping with her eyes until"bingo.

“Amelia, is that you?!” came a rolling laugh, from a table by the window, and widening her eyes in mock surprise, Molly turned to regard the handsome Ambassador Kent Johnson.
“Kent?!” she heaved her bosoms dramatically for emphasis and allowed herself to be swept up in his arms. “Why it’s been forever, I completely FORGOT you were here in Shanghai… what a chance meeting!”

“I agree, what are you doing here?” Kent pulled out a chair for her and motioned a waiter. “You’ve just got to eat with me, it’s been forever since I’ve seen a friendly face and I just know that beautiful one you’ve got will cheer me up wonderfully with everything that’s been going on.”


Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:01

“Darling, what’s been going on?” Molly looked concerned and reached out her hand, placing it on Johnson’s cheek. This was overkill she thought, but apparently by the sappy gleam in his eye he was loving it. She suddenly recoiled in horror, placing a hand once more to her artfully heaving bosom. “It couldn’t be… a connection to those horrific murders?”
Johnson blanched, shifting his eyes slightly. Molly pressed forward, running her hand up his forearm. “You can tell me… are you… are you in danger? Tell me what’s happening…maybe I can help you. I have friends, connections. Are they after you?” she lowered her voice to a whisper. “Sphinx?”
“How do you know who they are?” Johnson asked, his eyes shadowed with fear. Molly allowed a kind smile to play on her lips. “We’ve been looking into matters- one of the ambassadors, well he was a friend of a friend.” She thought quickly. “We know about an organization called Sphinx but that’s where it ends, Kent. We have no idea who or why or where… the only people who know are the targets. Please tell me if you have information that could help. You have to trust me, before its all too late.”
Kent looked down at his cup of coffee, mulling over in his head. “It’s… I’m embarrassed. I did a terrible thing… I guess in some form we all did. Absolute power and all that. I just… it… I don’t even know if I could tell you.”
Molly gazed at him expectantly, but something shuttered over his eyes- shame. “I just can’t bear to tell you, Amelia. You’d never think of me the same. Just know that I tried to pull information on a higher-up and someone got very very angry. They have a tendency to hit a man where it hurts.”
She cocked her head. “What do you mean by that?”
He laughed wryly. “The wallet…and the groin.” Molly wrinkled her nose at the joke, but the wheels began to turn at the peculiar turn of phrase. She’d heard something described that way… something that hit a man in both his wallet and his groin.


Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:02

"A woman." She breathed. "A woman masterminded this."

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:12

Kent was of no more use to her after his little revelation, but now Molly had an idea. If he wouldn't tell her himself, then she would have to find out what he had been mucking around in that brought him into contact with a woman, particularly one who might be around influential people. A mistress? An affair? Or worse, a paid professional? To know, she would have to have a look at his little black book, or identify his secretary and get her talking.

He made his excuses shortly thereafter and left her at the table, heading off to his meeting. Molly mulled for a moment, sipping her own cup of tea as she gazed out the window, admiring how the sun hit her auburn hair attractively in her reflection. Then suddenly she started, for she noticed there was a man staring at her from the back of the restaurant. She turned to look curiously, locking eyes with a green-eyed man. A cursory glance told him he was probably American- green eyes, dark hair, Caucasian and well-built to boot. He had that tough sort of look that told her he was in the criminal justice field in some way, and his suit, though practical, was not expensive.

"Can I help you?" she asked directly, raising her eyebrows. He blinked, once, twice, cleared his throat and then pasted the oddest smile on his face and walked towards her.

"You look familiar." he said, then seemed to rethink this tack. "You're very pretty."

Molly's eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch higher. "Thank you."

He scratched his jaw, gazing out the window for a second before returning his piercing green eyes to her. "You know the ambassador?" Molly could practically hear the overlay of his thoughts as he spoke... what's your interest in the ambassador? I know you from somewhere...

"Are you a cop?" she asked kindly. He started, and then set his jaw.

"FBI. Who are you?" He wanted to know, but Molly tilted her head, eyeing him. "You already know, don't you? You must be tailing the ambassador."

A muscle in his jaw twitched.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:16

"I'm protecting the ambassador...while we work on this investigation." He leaned forward, dark brows furrowing together as he stared at Molly. Bored with this tack, she let her eyes trace the full and broad curve of his shoulders. Heeellloooo...

"I'm Molly Maltese." she offered her hand and a 100-watt smile, fluttering her lashes for effect. "And you are?"

He took her hand, hard callouses pressing into her soft white fingers. "Ed Carlyle." He didn't let go of her hand, rather tightened his grip slightly. "And I know you took a piece of evidence from the crime scene in New York, Ms. Maltese. I would appreciate you giving it back to me...NOW."

Molly's smile disappeared and her own eyebrows drew together in consternation. "Well, how unpleasant of you. You obviously never learned any table manners, Carlyle. I don't have the evidence you speak of, and even if I did, why would I give it to you?" She taunted him with a slight smile, daring him.

Ed Carlyle
Ed Carlyle

Aug-27-2015 11:19

Edward sat down and leaned back in the chair, staring blankly in Molly's face. "I'll be more than happy to have my friend here, Stanley," Edward waved,"perform a search on you." Stanley walked up behind Molly.

"How incredibly rude of you Mr. Carlyle," Molly snapped. "I think we're done here." She stood up to walk away, but Stanley placed his hand on her shoulder forcing her back into her chair.

"We're not done, yet," Ed snapped at her. "I will also be more than happy to charge you with holding evidence from a crime scene, contaminating a crime scene, two of them, actually. Stanley, what was that creepy guy's name? The older guy who owned the brothel back home?"

"Leo? Leo...something, I don't know..Morelli? Mironi? "

"Wait, hold on now-" Molly started, but Ed cut her off.

"Molly," he said calmly, "Your finger prints, and Marc's finger prints, and another set of finger prints, which I can only assume belongs to another friend of yours, were all over the place. When we dusted it, it lit up like a Christmas tree."

"That makes you guilty by association as well," Edward said. "Do I need to continue?"

Molly remained silent.

"I'll make you a deal, Molly," Edward said. "We help each other on this case, and I'll clear your name and your friend's names of any charges that would be brought against them. Ambassador Johnson is in danger, if he's not already dead, from some political faction called Sphinx. And I know that you know, it's no new news that we need to stop this.


He poured a glass of scotch and took a drink, as Molly continued to drink her tea.

"The choice is yours, Molly. What'll it be?"


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