Hot Gos' - Pele and Francis

Started by Francis Church, June 12, 2020, 11:15:56 AM

Francis Church

June 12, 2020, 11:15:56 AM Last Edit: June 12, 2020, 11:16:45 AM by noseatbelts
Francis sat in his bunk. The Number Four was printed elegantly on the door. He hadn't really wanted that one. It was right next to the engine access, but Coop had told him it would keep him warm when it was cold. As sweat lingered in the places it usually did on a person, Francis had no doubt that that was the case. Usually not one to care much about where he slept, the one proviso that he always had, but very rarely demanded, was that it was cool. Despite his lithe frame, he ran hot like a man twice his weight. So Francis sat in his bunk, annoyed, and browsed the cortex for his one true vice.

Hot. Juicy. Celebrity. Gossip.

There was just something about seeing into the lives of the 'Verse's elite. Their palatial estates and endless vacations. Partying all night and brunching all day. And oh, the drama. Francis appreciated that they were just like regular people despite all the opulence around them. He had no such aspirations for himself - he could never be like them...the mere thought of it - but he just loved all of it. This current story he was reading was about Osiris Fashion Week, one of Francis' favorite annual events, and all notable faux pas, fashion or otherwise. Midnight Aurelle wore what dress? Not with those shoulders. George St. George said what to whom? Unbelievable! And Pele didn't even show up? In five years she had never missed a Fashion Week! What was the 'Verse coming to?

Francis stopped. He went back to the part about Pele, with a picture of her dress from last year. Still stunning. But that wasn't what caught Francis' eye. It was her face. A face that he knew.

Knockknock Knock on Miss Reyes' door. When she answered, Francis held up the picture from last year's Fashion Week. "Soooo..?"
Dialogue Color - MediumVioletRed

Pele Kesher

June 12, 2020, 12:22:58 PM #1 Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 02:06:31 AM by Pele Kesher
Pele was trying to take a well-deserved nap in her undeservedly crummy room, but so far no good. All the excitement with Johnny and fake identities and the possibility of having gotten involved in some kind of organized crime (again!) had left her drained, and yet something was preventing her body from falling asleep. She was lying face down on the bed, lethargic but mercilessly awake, when there was a knock at the door.

"Just a second..." Pele dragged herself up with a groan and took a moment to straighten the creases on her blouse before greeting the unwelcome guest. She opened the door to find herself face to face with the last person she expected to see... herself. Or a photograph of herself, rather. She instantly recognized where it was from; Osiris Fashion Week, 2518. How could she forget? The sight of that gown still made her cringe on the inside. What had her stylist been thinking? Magenta was not her color.


There was a brief flash of shock reminiscent of how she'd felt when the elevator doors had opened to reveal Johnny, but it was replaced with anger as soon as she tore her gaze off the magenta monstrosity and looked up at the man waving the picture in her face. The audacity of this scumbag, to come stick his nose in her business just when she thought she could have a moment's peace! Why couldn't the 'Verse let her catch one gorram break?

"I'm not sleeping with you in exchange for your silence, if that's what you're after." Her jaw clenched and she met Francis' gaze with haughty defiance, like she was completely and utterly over whatever was going to come out of his mouth next even before he'd had the chance to say it.

Francis Church

"What? No! I would never- I mean, not that you're not- but I have no- well I mean it's not like I haven't thought- but not like that-" Francis went silent, his brain frantically trying to extricate himself from a situation that had escalated far out of his control completely by his own doing. "I'm a fan!" He said at last, more of a spewing forth of words than the declaration of an admirer. "I mean, not in a creepy way-" Too late for that. "-I just..." He trailed off again. At this point, what did he have to lose?

A deep, cleansing breath. In and out. "Listen. I'm a simple guy. I don't need much in life. Place to sleep. Something to eat. I spend most of my life doing what I'm told and doing it happily, and that includes being here on this ship doing this cargo drop with you folks. And I enjoy tabloid journalism. I don't really appreciate some of their business practices and the whole cortex hacking scandal a few years ago was absolutely unacceptable, I mean I like seeing celebrities eating brunch in sweat pants as much as the next guy, but at the cost of their freedom of information? I don't think so. Where does it stop? Won't be too long until they're surveilling everyone. In fact, I read an article recently- well I saw the headline- that said something like in the next ten years or so the Alliance was going to be plugged into every-" Francis was rambling again. He stopped.

"I'm going to start again. Again." He held up the picture he had found of her. "My name is Francis and I'm sorry I didn't recognize you before. In fairness you've been out of the spotlight for a little while now. If I were to guess that would be part of why you are here and not at Osiris Fashion Week. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know."
Dialogue Color - MediumVioletRed

Pele Kesher

Pele crossed her arms and allowed Francis to dig himself into a hole without interjecting. She stared with increasingly narrowed eyes as he stumbled through trying to deny fantasizing about her and went on a bizarre tangent about privacy on the cortex before his word vomit took a turn towards... sincerity?

"...If there's anything I can do to help, let me know."

Well that was about the last place she'd expected him to end up in when he'd first opened his mouth. She looked at the picture again; it was a relic of a different time, so distant that it might as well have been taken in another lifetime. He'd said he was a fan. That's right. She had fans. It seemed like such a foreign concept now... but it did give her an idea.

"Come on in. Quick." Pele grabbed his sleeve and pulled him into her room. She peeked through the doorway and glanced around the hallway as if making sure nobody had seen them. Then she turned to Francis, closing the door behind her and leaning her back on it. She was happy she hadn't started unpacking her things yet; the one thing that would make her hate this more would be if her lingerie was scattered about the place.

"Look, Francis- may I call you Frank?" She didn't pause to wait for a response. "I'm flattered that you know who I am. And... kind of relieved, to be honest." The first part was a lie, but much to her surprise, Pele realized the second part had some truth to it; she was tired of having to constantly keep her identity under the wraps from the people around her. But that was a small comfort that didn't make the situation any less of a hot mess. Did Francis realize how valuable she could be to an opportunistic crook like Sebastian? Did he care?

"You said you're the kind of guy who does as he's told. Does that mean you'll do what I tell you to do? What I... ask you to do?" She took a step towards him. "Will you promise not to tell anybody what I'm about to share with you? Including your boss? I need somebody to confide in, but I have to know I can trust you."

She gently placed a hand on his arm and looked up at him -- not seductively (ew), but pleadingly. Just this one last time and then I swear I'm done with this gorram stupid damsel act I swear to God-

Francis Church

June 23, 2020, 08:46:14 AM #4 Last Edit: June 24, 2020, 09:29:29 AM by noseatbelts
Eyes wide, Francis entered Pele's room as quickly as he could and stood as near to the door as he could, so as not to give the idea that he was too comfortable in there. Because he was decidedly not. So much so he didn't even notice her calling him Frank. "I think I know what this is about." And he did, sorta. "Your friend back on Iscariot?" In between scraping Johnny off of the floor and taking Charity and her crew down to the ship, Francis had briefly sat in on his questioning. "The guy didn't say anything. Just things like 'Do you know who I am?' and 'Do you know who I work for?'" Francis laughed. "No! We don't, man. That's what we keep asking you! Ah, you won't say! It was kind of frustrating, honestly." Francis reminisced on it. Of course, he'd had other things to do, so he wasn't one-hundred percent positive that Sebastian didn't have the information. But Francis, were he in that same position, wouldn't give up info on Sebastian. That was the code.

"But I could tell he worked for someone bad. Takes one to know one." He shrugged. A quick mental tally of Pele's recently rumored love interests. Now, Francis knew that not everything the tabloids published was true. But there was usually a hint of authenticity to the gossip. But she hadn't been featured in a while as he recalled. It was only strange now that he thought of it, there was so much information flying about every day it was hard to keep track of everyone. "I can absolutely keep a secret." He was known for it, actually.

He didn't wait long for Pele to tell him. "Wait. Can I guess?" This was beginning to be fun. "No. You'll just tell me. Don't tell me." He bit his lip trying to stay quiet. "Was it Atticus Sexton?" A famous fashion photographer. "No. Isn't he gay? And he takes such nice photos, I'd had to think he could have something to do with all this nastiness." A small gasp. "Was it Crispin? Nooo!" Hands went in front of his mouth to keep himself quiet. If it was Crispin, a recording artist who had just crossed over into acting, Francis wasn't sure he could take it.
Dialogue Color - MediumVioletRed

Pele Kesher

"What? Crispin? No!" Pele had to stop herself from launching into a tirade about what a desperate has-been Crispin was (not to mention an atrocious thespian). Well, at least Francis seemed to be on board with her story. She hadn't expected it to be quite this easy. His fanboyism was definitely a stroke of luck in that regard... but that didn't stop it from being utterly grating.

"The truth is... I don't know who it is, exactly." Best not finger anybody directly. Might cause serious complications down the line, especially since her confidant seemed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the circles she used to frequent. "A few months ago I started receiving these anonymous messages. They were... let's just say they were inappropriate. I thought if I disappeared from the public eye for a while I could prevent it from escalating into anything more serious, throw them off the trail. Well, you saw how well that worked out."

She let out a bitter laugh, which came to her easily. The wistful expression that followed took some effort.

"I was hoping I could lay low on Odette for a while. It's like what you said before... sometimes I'd just like to eat brunch in sweatpants without millions of eyes watching and judging me, you know?"

Ugh, just kill me now.

Francis Church

July 02, 2020, 02:02:45 PM #6 Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 03:49:44 PM by noseatbelts
"Of course you can stay." He said, like it was a foregone conclusion. There might have been some sympathy there, though Francis wasn't entirely sure he was capable of that. He probably was. Most people were. "You're one of us." He added and felt immediately like one of the young priests who would visit the orphanage when he was a kid and tell them that loving Jesus was fun and cool. One terrifying flashback to an acoustic guitar later...

"And sweatpants sounds a-mazing. Sebastian always makes me wear these suits." He said, pulling at the cheap black uniform draped on him with discomfort. "I hate them, but he says they make me look like a-" Francis dropped into an overblown accent reminiscent of Lil Sebastian. "-Smarty pants. Gotta look professional, kid!" He rolled his eyes and stopped before he got too deep about never being able to be himself. Pele didn't want to hear about that. Hell, he didn't either. "Sooo..." The conversation drifted into the part where Francis should probably excuse himself and give Pele her space, but instead he kept standing there. He offered a tight smile. "You going to come with us? When we land, I mean."
Dialogue Color - MediumVioletRed

Pele Kesher

"Of course you can stay."

Pele studied Frank's face, trying to find some micro-expression that would betray his true intentions. As far as henchmen went, he seemed like one of the better ones... but that's what she'd thought about Johnny, and the rat bastard had dropped the nice guy act the moment he had to choose between bootlicking and doing the right thing.

"You're one of us."

How dare you.

"And sweatpants sounds a-mazing. Sebastian always makes me wear these suits. I hate them--

Cry me a river.

"--but he says they make me look like a smarty pants. Gotta look professional, kid!"

Alright, that's mildly amusing. Not nearly amusing enough to warrant a smile from her, but she flashed one anyway, and realized that she felt a little lighter. Johnny would never in a million years have imitated Cecil like that, let alone topped it off with an eye-roll. And this Francis guy seemed too dumb to come up with anything resembling an elaborate act. Maybe she could trust him, then... as much as she could trust anyone in her position.

"Sooo... You going to come with us? When we land, I mean."

Now that was a very good question. Captain Charity had requested she accompany them, although Pele wasn't quite sure why. It was probably a bad idea which she should turn down... but gorram it if she wasn't curious about the deal.

"Well, I wasn't so sure before, but I suppose... I suppose I'll be alright with you looking out for me." She took a step closer to the man. "You... will look out for me, right? I'm sorry to ask you for this, I know you didn't sign up for bodyguard duty..."

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