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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.


Arielle Zeo
Arielle Zeo

Sep-13-2015 21:20

Arielle had heard bits and pieces about Ms. Molly Maltese, her mother hadn't known this woman all that well, but Arielle always knew that Anais respected this woman whith the penchant for fine food and luxurious clothing. The day, thus far had been a whirlwind. She had never had makeup put on, or worn such a stunning garment before. She surreptitiously slid her hand slowly down the smooth silk sheath. What had happened to her? Who was this pretty, pampered girl?

Molly was lookiing at her expectantly. So was Philippe. She shook off her thoughts.

"Elle, are you ok?" Philippe asked, concerned.

"I'm sorry, what was the question," Arielle asked Molly, while giving Philippe a half smile.

"I simply want to know what is going on, popsy!" Molly flashed her brillant smile. Philippe looked like he might start panting.

"Motther has gotten herself... tied up. In a manner of speaking," Arielle said haltingly.

Philippe snapped to attention at the quiver in Arielle's voice. "Maybe we shouldn't discuss this here, Elle," he said, vocie low, with a glance at Molly.

Molly sat back, studying the two young people in front of her. She gave a quick nod and, with a tinkling laugh that caused heads to trun in stare in awe, said "Yes, you are quite right, darlings. What news do you have, Philippe, wubsy, of the coming autumn fashions?"

Philippe blushed as red as a radish and hemmed and hawed his way through descriptions of the coming changes to the wool industry. Soon the meal was over.

The light still shone on the street, though it was starting to darken. Arielle nudged Philippe when she saw a man sharpening kitchen knives in front of a small alleyway. Philippe looked in the direction, and nodded.

"Oh! Looksie! There is a perfectly lovely hat shop! Let's go!" Molly cried, grabbing Arielle's hand, and headed to the shop right next to the blade sharpener.

Arielle Zeo
Arielle Zeo

Sep-13-2015 21:21

Philippe went to talk to the man as Molly set about looking for new hats, and to find Arielle a perfect hat as well. Arielle watched Philippe out of the corner of her eye as he held up small metal discs that glinted in the dying light. She nodded at the blue ripple in the steel. Arielle turned back to the hats as Philippe pulled a few coins off his belt.

It was dark when they left the milliner's, Philippe's arms piled so high that he couldn't see over the boxes. Arielle had managed to keep the number of hats Molly had bought her to two, one a bright green cloche, and the other a black silk pillbox with a spray of white fabric flowers and a white feather sticking out.

Molly stumbled, almost knocking Philippe and the hats over.

"Whoopsie-daisy!" Molly giggled, managing to catch herself. "So sorry, wubsy. It's this hat!" she pointed to the immense black feathered concoction that swept over her eyes.

Philippe sighed. "Ms. Maltese, did you really have to drink all the sake that they offered you? For that matter, did you really need to buy fourteen hats?"

Arielle giggled and tripped, catching herself and her hats.

Philippe scowled as he walked sideways, the only way to see with all of the boxes he was carrying. "We are going back to the house," he grumbled. "Right now!"

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-14-2015 07:36

The French Concession had the best doctors and Zeo knew it. Kerr was bleeding out fast and there was no time to waste.

“Marc can you still drive?” Zeo asked. The detective dusted his coat and nodded. Zeo started his Buick with Ed in the backseat holding onto Kerr, while Marc followed with Riza and Jasper in his Ford.

It was disappointing they could not interrogate Jack for more information, but at least he most probably died in the explosion and they were in possession of the Amulet. The mere thought of the blue stone sent headaches and images to Zeo’s peripheral, so he focused on the driving. Why did the British embassy suddenly blow up? More incomprehensible images.... Joseph kept his eyes on the dark road.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-14-2015 07:39

Marc kept his eyes on Joseph’s car. As much as he learned about this city, he could not beat a Shanghailander’s knowledge of its streets. Anger continued to simmer at Ed, and Marc would’ve smashed into the backseat of the car in front of him if Joseph and Kerr weren’t in it as well.

As they drew near to the hospital, Marc spotted a very pretty girl in red dancing in the street with her two friends and lots of boxes. Just as Marc was about to whistle, Joseph suddenly stopped his car, so Marc stopped as well. Joseph strode up to the girl and started to talk very loudly, yanking the girl into his car. He banged the door shut and continued with pulling the other lady towards Marc’s car.

“.... a big mistake to ask you to watch my daughter!...” Marc then realized it was Molly, drunk as a fish, giggling as Joseph shoved her in the backseat next to Riza.

“What about the boxes of hats?” The young man who was with Arielle inquired.

“I DON’T GIVE A SHOE ABOUT THOSE HATS!!” Joseph bellowed back as he banged his own car door close, hit on the gas pedal unnecessarily hard and sped ahead.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-14-2015 08:19

Insufferable woman! Was it too much to ask for, to keep his daughter safe in the SAFE HOUSE for just one day? Instead, she paraded his little girl around town in clothes fit for a showgirl…. and with makeup!!!

Joseph looked around for a hot towel, and found some hospital linen. He went to the bathroom and soaked it in hot water, came out and proceeded with wiping Arielle’s face clean. The young lady struggled fruitlessly in her state of unsteadiness, but the ‘cleaning’ only made her eyes look darker, and runny black lines began to seep everywhere on her face.

Calm as he was earlier in the day under Sphinx soldiers’ relentless attack, Joseph now began to panic about makeup. Would his daughter’s face be permanently scarred? He began to curse under his breath.

Riza signed. She took some face cream from Molly’s handbag and walked over to the father and daughter. “Let me.”

Joseph looked at his watch. Now that Kerr is safe at the hospital and they have the Amulet, his duty to SMC and Ed was done. They can head for Karachi tomorrow. There was just one more thing he needed to do. He owe her at least that much.

Joseph made Riza promised that she would keep an eye on Arielle and not leave her sight and no alcohol, cigarettes, or clingy clothes, before he put his own jacket on Arielle and ran off into the night.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa

Sep-15-2015 08:31

Marc's anger, at times, could get the best of him. Edward put everyone's lives at risk. Never mind him not realizing the British Royal Guards being Sphinx in disguise, but using Ann Kerr as live bait, was as dangerous as it sounded.

Archibald Kerr had been wounded, but thankfully he wasn't near as bad as Ambassador Johnson. Vulkie was gone. Either picked up by someone and taken to the hospital or kidnapped. Vulkie was tough enough and didn't seem to be a stranger to sticky situations, and would be able to get out if that was the case.

Marc surveyed the room. Those that he called friends were now piled in the hospital waiting room. And then there was Ed and Jasper. Jasper seemed like a decent guy but Ed's drinking was out of control. Something needed to be said.

"Ed," Marc called out as he approached,"a quick word?"

He motioned for Ed to follow outside and walked out. When Edward appeared Marc walked up behind him and grabbed him, dragging him out of view from anyone inside the building. He slammed Edward hard against the brick wall. He shoved his arm into Ed's throat, pinning him against the wall, applying just enough pressure that Ed could not scream.

"When I let go, I want you to take a look around that waiting room. Those are people in there that I call friends." Marc snarled.

Edward stared back, his face now turning red with anger.

"They are the closest people to a family that I have left," Marc continued. "If you ever put their lives at risk again, I will kill you myself."

Marc let go and backed away.

"Assaulting a federal agent," Edward said. "I can have you arrested for that."

"You wanna try?"

"I should have you arrested and charged with murder. Your friend Silas and Leo would like to see justice served, I'm sure."

Marc smiled. "You've got nothing." He turned around and walked back into the building.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-15-2015 08:40

The Great World was filled to the rim with anticipation. The integrated entertainment complex, topped by an eclectic four-storey spire, featured amusement arcades, parlour games, traditional Chinese theatre and a great music hall. Tonight, this piece of Shanghai landmark was pleased to present a rising star at the pinnacle of her soaring career.

Zhou Zuan had the most coquettish qibao on tonight for her big concert. High collared but sleeveless, contoured to show off her feminine form, the qibao was slit all the way up to reveal her hips. It would've made the bevy of girls for sale on the third floor blush, but Zhou Zuan didn't care. She was in a foul mood, and this qibao matched her disposition tonight.

So he had children. More than one, by different women!!! "I'll make babies alright," thought the songstress, "but not with you Joseph Zeo!" Zhou Zuan powdered on more foundation to cover those rare dark circles around her eyes. With hands of a proficient Chinese calligrapher, she redefined her brows into uplifting arches with a fine brush.

"Ms. Zhou Zuan," A knock at the dressing room door, "it's Yan Hua. May I come in?" With the Stars permission, the songwriter entered. "Here's the music to the opening song."

"Thank you Yan Hua, you really didn't have to come yourself." Zhou Zuan thanked the talented musician, who wrote many of her hits. The two conversed in fluent Shanghaiese. "I have memorized the new song already, but it'd be good to review it one last time before the performance." Just then, she spotted a shadow by the doorway. Joseph.

"Why don't you hold onto the music for now." Zhou Zuan signaled to the songwriter and he closed the door behind them after Joseph entered the dressing room. Zhou Zuan returned to putting on her makeup, as if Joseph wasn't in the room.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-15-2015 08:40

"I am boarding the train tomorrow."

"…. To Karachi?" Zhou Zuan questioned accusingly.

"Um, no. Um, to Delhi." The man stuttered in his denial. He wanted to limit the damage on the girl, "It's for work," but that was not exactly the truth. Silence hung uncomfortable in the air. "I'm sor--"


Her heart was dead, and heavy as lead. Zhou Zuan picked up her lipsticks and walked out of her dressing room. Joseph followed.

Walking towards the stage Zhou Zuan passed Yan Hua. He proceeded to passing Zhou Zuan the lyrics for review one last time. Zhou Zuan grabbed his head and kissed him passionately on the lips. Sheets of music flew in the air. Joseph studied the electric cables on the floor with new found interest.

After she was done, Zhou Zuan reapplied her lipstick by the mirror next to the entrance to the stage. Red and luscious. Putting her tube of lipstick down she turned around and slapped Joseph hard on the cheek. The loud smack was then drowned out by the thunderous applause by her fan as she strode into the limelight.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Sep-15-2015 09:27

"What an insufferable prick." Molly snapped as the door snapped shut behind Joseph. Blearily she looked at Arielle's newly scrubbed face. "All my handiwork ruined."

Clucking, she ran her fingers over the high necked silk collar of the dress, now stained with water and traces of dark makeup. "I will take the cost of this beautiful silk straight out of his hide. You just wait until that -hic- disgusting little -hic- womanizer comes back. I'm sure you weren't as provocatively dressed as half of his-hic- conquests...sorry Riza."

"Well, she is only 14." Riza said calmly, hiding a small smile at Molly's drunken state. The woman had whisked off her hat in a fury, leaving her curls somewhat disheveled. Her eyes glowed with rage between racoon-like circles of smudged mascara and eyeliner.

"Only 14... PAH. What a selfish man. Look at that poor girl, she's -hic- distressed and wound up and taken on much too much responsibility and fighting and anger- hic- and warring for her age. Look at her, she seems older than 14, with half of what she's seen and had to do. Without a father no less, hiding in -hic- Shanghai with a songbird whore somewhere as per usual- hic- sorry Riza."

She ran her hands through her hair slowly. "Would it kill him to let her feel young and pretty and rare like a girl should tonight? No, look at it, he's ruined it, drenched her with water and shamed her when he should be ashamed. Look at what he's taken away from her with his stupidity. MEN, I swear." Molly gestured angrily.

Suddenly her fingers stopped as they slid through her auburn curls, feeling the shorn hair. Suddenly Molly's eyes welled up with tears as she fingered the blunt ends of the too-short strands.

"I'ts RUINED. And he left my HATBOXES. WHY DOES JOSEPH ZEO DESTROY EVERY FEMALE HE TOUCHES?" Molly wailed at the top of her lungs, tears sliding down her face. "hic- S-s-s-sorry Riza!"

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Sep-19-2015 08:14

The sting was gone by now but the shame remained, and Joseph knew he deserved both. The torrent of regrets and anguish swirled at the pit of his stomach, for he dared not to wonder if he had just ruined a noble soul - a young lady who in the midst of a deprived life fought to stay untainted…. until now. As he returned to his car Joseph spotted the shirt he changed out of, the one stained with Sphinx blood during the failed ambush earlier in the day. The pigment has eaten into the fabric for too long now. He knew the shirt would never be white again no matter how much dye he uses. He tried not to think about Zhou Zuan.

Joseph returned to the hospital quickly, and noticed no one was in the hallway. He heard a person talking from inside a ward with the door opened. Everyone seemed to be there. Joseph approached Marc, who was standing closest to the entrance.

“What’s this all about?” Joseph lowered his voice.

“You wouldn’t believe this.” Marc replied quietly.

Joseph looked inside and saw a cloaked figure seated on a hope chest, who seemed to be mesmerized by his own story. To his surprise the patient lying in bed behind the speaker was Vulkie, but no one seemed to approach her as the figure spoke. Just as Joseph was able to go check on Vulkie, the man reached up and lowered his hood, revealing the face underneath. Tears streamed down his face as he choked out, “I have missed you all terribly.” It was Heimlich VonVictor.

The detectives were glad an old friend returned, but Joseph was more concerned with the one lying in bed. How could no one be checking on her by now? Apparently Heimlich rescued Vulkie at the embassy and took her to the hospital. Vulkie seemed to be out of danger for now but she needed her rest. It was getting late and the nurse shooed everyone out of the ward. It was time for the detectives to return to the safe house. Marc volunteered to stay at the hospital in case Vulkie wake up disoriented.

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