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 things that die before their time, tag: ethan mariano
Nicole Lombardi
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 05:30 PM
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QUOTE

Location: The Baths, Virgin Gorda.
Architect: Nika.
Dreamer: Nika.
Subject: Jason Whitaker.
Synopsis: Ethan interrupts something very important.


Jason Whitaker: not the brightest bulb, poor fellow. But that had worked in her favor to get down this far. With a mind about as sharp as a marble, Whitaker's subconscious defenses were about as steadfast as a wet noodle. There were a few bumps along the way, but this wasn't the first time Nika had tried something like this before--of course the subject she'd been trying to impress her love upon had been older and delirious. This was much harder, and the longer she was down here, the less her chances to success seemed to be.

It didn't keep her from smiling up at the pale, tall man besides her. She knew to a certainty that she was still lying in that hotel room, still that well-dressed hooker that the young heir to the Whitaker estate had taken in for some fun; she was just a damned good actor in pretending otherwise. She was Nicole, the beautiful accountant he'd met at the hotel. Her role had changed slightly through each stages of the dream, but he was none the wiser for it, as it was pretty much the same: she was the woman of his dreams. The kind who walked with him hand-in-hand through the warm Caribbean waters, laughing at all of his jokes even though none of them had yet to be funny.

It was in the midst of one of these funny stories that Nika noticed a dark-haired man standing on the beach, near one of the granite stones that littered the beach, the size of a Volkswagen turned on end. He distracted her because he was looking at her, whereas the other projections of the dream weren't paying her any mind at all. None, in fact, but he was looking at her. Her throat tightened and her eyes narrowed momentarily, until the concerned voice of her lanky, pallid lover of the past few weeks broke her from her skepticism.

"Are you okay?"

"Oh, yes," she assured him, and he relaxed, immediately. "I was just thinking: I left the sunscreen in the room. But with this heat, I feel sleepy..."

He picked up on it without skipping a beat, grinning at the woman who'd wrapped her arms around his neck. Too pretty for a guy like him. He was so easy to distract with a smile and a bikini. "I'll go get it, you go sit down." Eagerly, Jason bounded off, and Nika sighed and sulked to the beach.

Gathering up the floral sarong she'd left with their things--tossing the bottle of sunscreen she'd brought onto someone else's beach towel--Nika tied the sheer fabric around her waist so as to not feel so exposed and stalked to the intruder. The scowl twisting up her features made it abundantly clear she was not happy if the bite of her bark at him didn't do the trick.

"What's the big idea, asshole?!"
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Ethan Mariano
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 07:37 PM
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Ah, the British Virgin Islands. Ethan had been there once with a friend's family. It wasn't difficult for him to realize where he was . . . at least where his mind was. The pendant he kept fussing with in the pocket of his delightfully beach-appropriate shorts reminded him that he wasn't actually there, unfortunately. Instead he was stuck in D.C. working. Though if dreaming about Virgin Gorda and an admittedly gorgeous woman was what happened when he got stuck working, perhaps his job wasn't really much work at all . . .

Recognizing that the woman he had come into this dream to speak with was with her darling friend, Ethan spent some time just walking about on the beach before he got bored. See, he wasn't one to waste time on a job. He could generally force himself to lie low and wait for a time when it was absolutely necessary, but other than that he was very 'go, go, go' about his work. So, eventually he set out to get the woman's attention, assuming she wouldn't want to start any trouble and get torn out of the dream, and that- as a result- she would approach him.

His assumption was soon proven to be correct. Pulling the Oakley shades he had sitting up in his boyishly curly hair down over his eyes, he smiled, shamelessly taking in the figure disappearing behind some additional fabric as the woman approached him. She was beautiful- gorgeous, even- and he wasn't afraid to admit that to himself. It meant nothing, after all, beyond the fact that he had two functioning eyes, and she appeared to have won the genetic lottery. No wonder she was in with the wrong crowd . . .

Once she got close, Ethan crossed his arms, toned down the smile a bit, and kept his eyes above shoulder level even though he knew she couldn't see where he was looking. Her words didn't seem to phase him at all. He scratched casually at his shoulder through the sleeve of his blue T-shirt as he said, "No need t' get hostile. I just need to talk to you- that's all."

His tone was pleasant. His expression was pleasant. He had no intention of seeming or being hostile, but here he was invading peoples' dreams. Clearly the woman had a reason to be upset.

"You might wanna keep your voice down so your friend doesn't get freaked out," he quickly pointed out before explaining further, "I need you to tell me about Jason."

. . . and although he sounded quite casual now, he wasn't going to accept anything but her cooperation.
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Nicole Lombardi
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 08:14 PM
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He wanted to talk about Jason? She wasn't surprise. Indeed she'd been sure that it would be the case. Although he was still a young man, scarcely into his thirties, Jason's lifestyle meant that he wasn't liable to live very long. It was the very reason why he'd been chosen: she could handle living with the lifestyle for a few years, up until his father died of old age, and finally Jason himself from causes natural to his line of work. She could retire right and happy, except this guy was ruining everything.

"I will not lower my voice," she hissed. Jason would need some time to get back to the hotel room, look for the sunscreen that was now lying somewhere along the beach, go downstairs to the lobby to buy a new bottle and come back. There was plenty of time for them to have this little conversation, and for him to butt the fuck out of her business.

She still lowered her voice contrary to her statement; she didn't want to start drawing attention to herself in this fragile dream state.

Pulling her fingers into the fabric of Ethan's shirt, she gave him a good shake. Which, coming from a girl of her stature, probably did not mean a lot physically speaking. It was the thought that counted. "And there's nothing to talk about. Kindly shoot yourself in the heart and get the fuck out."
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Ethan Mariano
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 08:37 PM
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Ethan would have found a reason to be troubled by the woman's stubbornness, but she did quiet down a little. Although she continued to be rather unpleasant, he could take that. He was just glad that she wasn't exceptionally eager to mess with the state of the dream. At this point, he wasn't so sure she wasn't all talk and no action. There was no need to panic prematurely just because she seemed a little perturbed.

As he looked down at her hands and where they curled into his shirt, Ethan lowered one of his own hands to his side. The other moved to remove his sunglasses smoothly before putting them in the pocket opposite the one in which his totem rested.

Clearly in no obvious rush, he continued to look at the woman's hands as he said casually, despite her continued expressions of irritation, "My name's Ethan. Yours, if I'm not mistaken, is Nika on some days. So . . . Introduction made. My rudeness- done for now." His eyes narrowed a little. "Kinda."

His green eyes lifted to her blue ones. They were damn near stunning, he thought, now that he had bothered to notice. They might have been pretty if she didn't look so angry, but Ethan was more intrigued by the look in them at this specific moment. A lot of girls had pretty eyes, but having eyes that made him feel like he actually had to think twice before doing anything was actually something worth noting. . . maybe because that kind of intensity in a gaze gave Ethan another reason to feel like he wanted to stare and get the hell out of there all at the same time.

"We're in a little too deep to be talking about anybody actually getting shot up, so let's just have a little chat. . . You know why I might wanna know more about Jason. Just tell me what you know, even if it doesn't seem all that important." He paused, sighing lightly as his posture relaxed and he rolled his shoulders back. He looked away and added, as if going through a repetitive motion, "I'm not looking t' be a pain in your ass- I'm kinda the chivalrous type, actually. I just need some information."

Simple as that. . . plus the fact that he was conducting an investigation that he wasn't about to allow to be compromised. He sounded nonchalant- bored, even- but in truth he was very set on getting what he came for. He was set on getting what he wanted out of her before this dream was over.
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Nicole Lombardi
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 10:44 PM
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Right, chivalrous. Chivalrous because he didn't have it in mind to do anything that might pain her ass--and yet she'd noted the way he stared behind his sunglasses. She was good at noticing that kind of thing, when men were interested in her. His nonchalant demeanor about all of this wasn't doing her any good in calming down, but she lowered her hands anyway. There wasn't any point in hanging onto him; she couldn't hold him still if he really wanted to go.

"Sounds like you already know plenty, Ethan," she drawled back, snappish. Those retreating hands of hers guided her arms in folding across her chest, covering herself up further, wishing that the scenery wasn't so inappropriate for more clothing. Being under-dressed always made her feel compromised. "Why don't you just ask Jason if it's all so damn innocent?"
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Ethan Mariano
Posted: Jan 31 2011, 11:26 PM
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Ethan looked at her flatly.

"I never said it was innocent. It's definitely not innocent, but either way, it's easier to talk to you- even if you wanna be difficult- than it would be to talk to him. Plus, he'll lie to me-- no doubt about it," he explained after a pause, shifting as he crossed his arms again. Looking away, he tilted his head to the side and looked vaguely interested by a distant rock. "Then there's the whole issue of him being the subject here, and everybody being so damn deep into this . . ." His hands moved to his pockets where one hand found his totem again. He could feel the way the portrait's nose had changed . . . and her eyes, her hair- it was all different. It was better. "You're not in any trouble," he added looking toward Nika again. "Jason might be, though, and you could save him or screw him over, depending on your preference. I'm not here looking t' punish anybody. I'm just grabbing information, and having a little fun in the sun, since you choose such great places to dream in."

The thought of the enjoyable environment brought a little smirk to his face, but his mind was more focused on the fact that Nika had an opportunity to get Jason royally screwed or completely saved based on whatever she might tell the trusty P.I. She had to give Ethan something. He wouldn't leave without something, but what he would get was very much undetermined. He was admittedly a bit excited to find out what he was in for, and what Jason would eventually be in for.

It was like living and dreaming in a mystery novel. Ethan was just as clueless about how the story would end as everyone else was at this point, though he was starting to think that Jason wasn't going to like the outcome.
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Nicole Lombardi
Posted: Feb 3 2011, 12:53 AM
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He was stubborn, the idealist sort, she determined. And he sounded a lot like a cop to her, pretending to be her best friend. Just looking for information, not looking to hurt her with it at all, oh no. She already had called bullshit on that, as he had no reason to want to protect her. He was just acting nice to get what he wanted, and because she was half-naked. Two could play that game.

"You like the dream, do you?" She laughed back, taking a look around. The sun heated her skin, the water warm but refreshing all the same. It was a paradise, even with the few other people milling around, they were just part of the landscape. The fantasy was so much more enticing than the cold, window reality outside of that rank, cheap hotel room. There were few reasons to go back to it, really.

Continuing to look around, Nika's eyes fell on the secluded "Baths" that made the beach so famous: giant, granite stones, making a secretive little cove. She took his hand to pull him toward it, not in earnest, just a gentle pull on his arm to try to get him to follow. "Well I'd rather not be standing out here when he comes back, if we're going to be having this conversation," she explained, all careless shrugs and soft sighs.
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Ethan Mariano
Posted: Feb 5 2011, 10:27 PM
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Ethan knew better than to trust the feelings that her touch sparked. He knew better than to let himself be overly pleased by the pull. At the most, he allowed himself to be intrigued by the games being played. He could appreciate this woman for what she was and how she was operating, despite his lack of interest in being fooled by her. He considered that generous of himself, considering that most men and plenty of women would have spent all of their time appreciating the curves of her body and ignoring her mind.

That's not to say he wasn't interesting in considering her body, too. . .

Not wanting to delay his business much longer than was absolutely necessary, Ethan willingly began to make his way toward the more secluded area in which Nika seemed to want to have this conversation that he was pushing for.

"I'm not looking to take up much of your time. The sooner we get this chat over with, the better. I'll leave you alone once I get what I need-- I promise you that," he said plainly.

He meant it.
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Nicole Lombardi
Posted: Feb 6 2011, 08:53 PM
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i will find a center in you, i will chew it up and leave
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She had to scoff at the mention of promises. She had been made promises before, by men and women alike. No one ever held up the bargain. No one ever said the words "I promise" if they actually meant them. The phrase was persuasive in nature, made to entice her, to sweeten the pot and earn her cooperation with promises. She knew it, because she used it the same way. Takes one to know one, and all.

Nika had other methods of persuasion as well, like dragging annoying investigators off into secluded coves, and settling down into the warm waters once they were out of sight. Every movement was languid and natural, the motions of a woman who knew exactly what she looked like, and yet still feigned ignorance.

"What kind of investigation are you doing?" she questioned, starting off this little interrogation herself, even if the roles were reversed. "Should I be... worried?" She cocked her head to the side, suddenly seeming concerned, as if it never occurred to her before that Jason could be dangerous company.
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Ethan Mariano
Posted: Feb 12 2011, 12:22 AM
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What sort of investigation? "The sort that's very private."

Yes, he did think he was quite clever for saying that.

"You shouldn't be worried unless you think Jason's wellbeing is worth worrying about," he explained further, not really doing much to bring about any clarity. "And even then- I can't say if he's in any trouble just yet, but I wouldn't hang around him if I was you."

Mostly because hanging around him meant being in Ethan's way, and being in Ethan's way had the potential to be dangerous or perhaps simply uncomfortable to some highly notable degree. Plus, the person paying for this investigation seemed like the type to make life unpleasant for anyone in the general vicinity of Jason depending on what Ethan could dig up.

The way Ethan followed along with the woman that had his attention, his state as seemingly relaxed as could be, suggested that he was speaking the truth. He didn't seem to be feeling the gravity of the situation. One could reasonably have argued that that meant that there was little to be concerned about at this point. One could reasonably have believed that Ethan was harmless. He wasn't even staring at her, despite the fact that he would have loved to have been able to without risking the success of this job.

"So. . . how did you meet Jason?"

He had to start somewhere.
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Nicole Lombardi
Posted: Feb 12 2011, 01:13 AM
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i will find a center in you, i will chew it up and leave
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Her tight-lipped look of inquiring skepticism went to show how entirely unimpressed she was with his little joke. She seemed more depressed that he was serious about it too, but aside from the brief glance, made no mention to it. He was talking about things that were important to her, and immediately she knew that she was in trouble. Either she stuck with Jason and ended up in whatever mess this detective seemed about to put him in, or she betrayed him, and found trouble coming from Jason himself. He was the vengeful type, and the connected type, and that was a terrifying cocktail to her.

She was anxious, and it definitely showed. She wrung her hands, and scoffed at his question, completely overreacting to it. He had to know. He must have seen her coming into the hotel room, next to her sedated "boyfriend", her face lathered in too much makeup and her body in the poorest excuses for "clothing". It was almost indecent, and completely insulting that he asked.

She wouldn't say the words. Rather, she spoke up what was really on her mind, stepping back away from him and finding the warm granite of the baths at her back. "It's not that easy," she lectured, gnawing her lip and looking down at the water. "I can't just leave. You don't know Jason--he won't like that."
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