1963-08-31 - Hey, Purple
Summary: Two men, a model, and a dustup.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
paladin roberto elizabeth 

Paladin has arrived.


The sort of place where pretty people go to be seen, Schrafft's represents the crisp elegance old money adores. Here they congregate to eat at white-linen tables on the second floor, and peer down at the lesser ladies who lunch and those without a spot in the Fortune 100. It personifies American manners at their finest.

American manners put on their heads by a pair of gentlemen slipping out of their suit coats and loosening their collars. Ties worth a hundred greenbacks are thrown to a chair, a booth. One of the mesmerized dates utters the squeak of a terrified rabbit.

"Talk about my girlfriend that way, you wetback, will ya?" snaps the first, rolling his cuffs up over his forearms.

"You don't know nothing about anything, George. Sit down and maybe we can all go back to dinner…" The second is edgy, but prepared to roll up his cuffs too. With his sallow skin, he's the apparent wetback.

George grins a lurid smile full of malice and bravado. "Know your daddy ain't making any real money no more with the embargo, do you?"

The only woman not cowering in a five foot radius is the one seated stock still in a chair, her shoulders hard under her filmy pelisse. Discarded plates still filled by entrees are shoved back against a wallet, pepper shaker, uncorked wine on another table.It's an extraordinary sight: three ingenues quivering together, the offended woman sobbing into a handkerchief, an older man with steely hair and his iron dowager wife scowling over the affair.

Servers trying to get a word and act in edgewise are frozen by the space opened between chairs for common fistfights. Abominable!

One of those unfortunate servers by the bar slaps down a tray of clanking and clinking glassware mutters under his breath, "…filthy Jews." He throws a burning scowl at the fighters.

Elizabeth, in the middle of this, narrows her frosty eyes. A puddle of whisky is leaking over the tabletop towards her. She opens and shuts her hands, and they rest in her lap for critical seconds.


"No, it's got orange juice and vodka, and a spritz of…" The words falter as the man in the blue suit loses interest. "Nevermind." He waves the waiter off.

Amongst the people above, who embrace the heights of Olympus looking down upon the lesser stock, the man known as Paul Denning leans against the railing with his arms folded with hands curled around his elbows. A cigarette in the corner of his mouth wends a trail of smoke upwards as he had at first been looking upon some of the young women congregating around the soda bar. He turns his head, smoke wisping a bit as he glances across the way towards the scene.

Ah, the upper class are feuding. Lovely, it's enough to make his smile grow into a thing bordering on sincerity. Then he pushes off from his place there, circumventing the fracas though keeping close enough to get a good view, of course.

"Hello, purple." He murmurs to himself as he makes his way over yonder.


"Oye, cuchino!" Roberto snaps, as someone brushes into him. He shoves away with a violent push of his hands, disgust on his features. "Mierde, take it outside, jefe," the tall, dapper man snaps with the authority of social superiority. "You wanna brawl, go glove up and do it like men instead of scaring the senoritas."

He grumbles and reaches for his mimosa and stalks away, irritation writ on his features.

His course takes him towards Betsy and he grins to himself, recognizing the girl— but then he draws near to Paladin and that puts both of them on the same track, and Roberto gives the fellow a quizzical glance and then a broad, even grin. "Looks like we had the same idea, eh hombre?" he says, nudging Paladin with his elbow. "Can't let a beautiful flower sit all alone at a table, it's just not done."


Insulted girlfriend weeps into her handkerchief all the louder after seeing her beau, George, turn his attention a little too long on the Maybe-Not-Wasp, whom shall be called Jack. Her honey beehive swishes as she summons up her womanly wiles to sniffle.

George's shoulders harden and he gets a barbed look in his eye. Mission achieved. His tie is loose, his forearms bared, and he has the look of Ivy League rower ready to step up for some competitive dueling of the bare-knuckle variety. It might be his cocky attitude and the muscle jumping in his jaw that puts the odds at the bar casually in his favour. "Three to two," says the bartender, smooth as that. He rubs a glass down and gives the flintiest of looks upon the server making derogatory comments.

Circling within the chairs, Jack the businessman takes a slow assessment and an initial jab. They're the sort of feints used in the ring, not exactly among well-born gents like himself. Two ladies clutching one another in a booth shake and shudder, their pillbox hats ridiculous, and they even cry out again.

Someone else at the periphery of the room is trying to sneak away towards the stairs. No other way out of it. The diners below are largely ignorant of their betters solving matters Napoleon style.

Most will see Elizabeth sitting rigid and mildly unenthusiastic, true to her English breeding. "Appalling," she announces in her OxCam accent, an indictment of the highest water upon unruly colonials. Condescension from the Iron Duke and Duchess at another table doesn't even remotely match her piqued smile.


A curl of his lip is given as Paul falls into step right there with Roberto. Just a few quick words and suddenly it's like a shark bumping noses with another, teeth hidden for the moment. "You can have the place-setting, I'll take the gal." That much is offered with that wry grin as he slips around one of the gals who weeps for her so endangered fella. Though, in a gentlemanly way, he then pauses as he lightly nudges a chair out of Roberto's way so the two can continue their advance.

"Though, you know her?" He asks casually as he glances sidelong and should he get the affirmative he'll add. "Lucky fella." A few more steps as he approaches. "Though, if you haven't already…"

He turns around to finish the last few strides walking backwards as he looks to Roberto and says simply, "Dibs." Ah, he has invoked the dreaded declaration.


"We've had a few drinks and I've shown her the sensual step of the Argentine tango, amigo," Roberto says with a bold confidence. "We've embraced under the moonlight— I would venture I know her as well as any many knows a woman at this point," he says with a sly grin.

"Perdon senor, no se Englese," Berto says, shrugging apologetically at the 'dibs' comment— he takes advantage of Paladin's backstep and darts nimbly between two chairs, leaving it a close match to see who gets to sit next to Glory, first!


Jack and George exchange a few punches, still feeling one another out. The satisfying clap of flesh on clothed flesh likely makes the bestial male animal happy, though the ladies are watching the way they have for generations untold. They watch by the edge of the firelight. No one among them stands to intervene. One of the servers, a fellow into his thirties, makes a half-hearted attempt.

"Sirs, this is a place of— a /formal/ restaurant. Not a boxing ring."

His entreaties fall on deaf ears. Jack gets a solid right hook in, striking George's face. The girlfriend squeals in dismay. Blood falls from a split lip, and there's one shirt not going to the Chinese laundry over on 71st.

"They're ever so good at listening," answers Lady Braddock, face of a respectable number of magazine covers. The server hastens away and downstairs, the maitre d' is alerted with an alarmed air.

Her napkin lies across her lap. Even keener sight might notice the leather billfold formerly hidden near a small cistern of hollandaise sauce no longer does. Furtive movements extricate or insert something with suitable delicacy. Her nostrils flare a fraction as George swings at Jack, and glances off the sallow fellow's shoulder, earning a roar of approval from a few mates over by another table.

The table is a mass of dishes and some haphazard sport coat thrown towards a chair. One of the fighters, not a companion. The two men coming forth through the barricade of an active fight does cause her to raise her eyebrows. She slips the wallet back into place under the pretense of leaning forward, reaching for her wineglass. Whisky still drips from the floor, just out of reach. "Quite the surprise. Have you come to put wagers on the winner, or take the next round?"


"Oh, the Argentine Tango, you mean the Jerry Lewis of Tangos." Paladin clucks his tongue, but his smile might rob any sting from the words. He seems amused, however, even as he continues to saunter along and to be fair he lets Roberto make the last dash to get to that seat down beside Elizabeth. So his is the face that'll most likely next come to her attention. Though Paul is seen just afterwards as he grabs a neighboring chair and brackets the ninja gal by taking a seat beside her and opposite Roberto.

That smile is a roguish thing as he looks between the two of them. "Who me? I'm a lover, not a fighter."

"Sides, I don't punch down." He lifts his cigarette in ever so polite salute before he offers, "Paul Denning. Man of Action." He offers oh so subtly.


"I don't bet on chicken fights," Roberto tells Betsy, shaking his head. "And I don't fight in upscale restaurants— I /like/ coming here. Getting blackballed would be muy inconvenient," he says, chippering in his fluid Brazilian accent.

No sore feelings— he offers Paul a handshake. "Bueno, ola senor— Roberto de Costa," he says, introducing himself in turn to Paul. "I see we share similar perceptions about loving and dancing— if we find ourselves agreeing on a drink of choice, I think I'll forgive your rather uneducated comments about the tango," he says, a grin tugging at his lips.

He tugs a waiter's sleeve, getting the young man's attention. "Oyey, chico— bring me a bottle of the Lagavulin 18," he requests. "And tres glasses," he adds, holding up the first three fingers of his right hand.


Rogue, cad, meet the woman in black. Ladies in white are all the Papist countries go one about, but they never warned the world about the devastating impact of polished black leather pants.

Sid Vicious, eat your heart out. Chances are Glory did that first, too. She doesn't have the vampish lipstick, but doesn't need it.

"Too bad, it might have been interesting for a moment. Not to be a damp squib about the little tizzy they're having." She swirls the liquid, legs running down the sides of the glass. "Not to make light of a very serious altercation. Terrible for lovers, surely." A deep Bordeaux stains the line of her mouth, tipped far enough the wine-dark sea blushes her palate. Restraint and retreat are quartered out in the tactical silence she deploys. Somewhere offended girlfriend of fisticuffs loser is steaming mad, and Amora the Enchantress might feel her soul resonate on the same bitter frequency of Broken Hearts and Thwarted Deeds radio. That's 95.3 on the FM band.

She lowers the glass, but doesn't release it to either man's care. "Denning. De Costa. Oh, lovely alliteration. It's Braddock for me, the Elizabeth vintage." Doubtful the other years, Brian or Jamie, are known to either of them. But you never know. "Perhaps we ought to call for pistols. Does New York still have a law against that? Must we run off to New Jersey, like Alexander Hamilton and his nemesis? Burr?"


"Lagavulin 18, my favorite." Paul offers animatedly, though really he's not exactly a man who is… discriminatory in his tastes. And with that the hand is taken and ok there's a bit of machismo-laced pressing of strength back and forth, though it ends before it becomes awkward and Paladin's attention slips back towards Elizabeth, "So Denning, De Costa, does fate and karma and all that have enough of a grasp on us to make you a…" He scrunches up an eye and gambles, "Daphne? Danielle?"


Roberto sees someone flagging him down, and rolls his eyes. "Mierde," he mutters. "Perdoname, I must handle this—" he grumbles something sour and rises, moving to meet the attendant and stepping into the side area.


Roberto slipping away before he's caught by the security doing bad things is a point of fact noted by the Englishwoman. She gives Paul a faint little smile. No, she did not orchestrate that at all.


"Islay man, are you?" Glory asks. A good sniff reveals the dryness of alcohol saturating into the white tablecloth, if the amber stain weren't enough to go by. Clearly someone knocked over their snifter. She tips her gaze towards the combatants, blood staining one of them and the bruised pride beyond words. "Peat smoke and tar aren't quite to my palate, though plenty worth drinking comes out of a storied distillery in an island shrouded in mist and time for a few hundred years. Camas an Staca," she manages Gaelic of the Scots variety without losing a syllable, "is the nearest grace there is to God's own heaven, I'm told."

He's given a broad pause. "What, no Delilah? I am losing my edge."


"One thing I'll say about him," Paul offers as he looks after DeCosta's departure. "It's a rare fella that'll facilitate an intro, buy the booze himself, and then head off to leave two such staggeringly attractive people alone together. Guy's a real hero."

Looking back, Paul gives her that lop-sided grin that looks like it'd have been the downfall of inhibitions almost everywhere. Though we won't talk about that time in the bath in Turkey. "Delilah? Maybe. If my hair was longer. Though I don't think you'd have it in you to steal my strength."

He rubs a fingertip along the line of his jaw, that really needs a shave. "I'd consider Diana, if only because your eyes seem to be on the hunt."

Paladin then ashes his cigarette and offers, "But between us, I think it's really Destiny." His eyes widen slightly in that way guys have when they say something and embrace the duality of its sincerity and yet dishonesty.


Glory tastes the wine on her palate. "Demand satisfaction then. If he refuses, then we're back at pistols and declaring a second for the reckoning." She negotiates a spot upon the chair a little further from the table, not trusting the whisky to stay a stain instead of a puddle for her oily, unctuously dark designer clothing.

"At least we treat one another with civility. Ah, a doctor will be necessary for the end of this, too." She flicks a gaze towards the embers of the battle resolved over someone's faulty honour, and George is glaring daggers. The maitre d' has finally rounded up enough servers to make implicit the need for the offenders to leave now, without a pause. Paul and an Englishwoman are of course spared anything; they have deniability through conversation and disdain.

The wine is forgotten then, and she looks the man in the eye. "I don't believe your strength is anything I need right now. The purpose of stealing is taking something wanted, isn't it?" The cut and thrust is amusing enough, but she pinches off that idea of destiny with a dull stroke of a smile and crossing her leg over the knee. "You wound me to the core. It's Damask, as it happens."


Paladin says, "Interesting, I think my bathroom has that as wallpaper." Paul looks upwards, rubbing a finger on his nose thoughtfully. And in her mind's eye she might actually see him conjure that image to mind. But then his grin grows as he reaches for one of the glasses, then for the bottle of ordered drink and tilts it on its side to fill one for himself.

"Now see, you impugn my virility. I have to response with some example of strength to assure you of the truth in my presumptive words." Paul has this way of talking to him, it's clear he sort of doesn't take himself very seriously. Then again it's also fairly clear he doesn't take anyone else seriously either. "I shall settle on the tried and true manner of men everywhere. I shall boast, and then back it up."

He clears his throat as he takes a sip, "I am so strong. That I often find the constraints of society too restrictive." And as he sets his glass down, he reaches for the bottle again, reclaims Roberto's glass… and proceeds to pour a second glass… for himself?!?

Taking up both glasses now <gasp> he drinks from one, then the other. And then sets them both down with eyes widened as if he were a ring master in the center of a great tent and had just performed such a wild trick for the ages."


"Your bathroom is completely tasteless, but I'm skittish around interior designers. Their books are full of patterns we reserved for interrogation rooms during the War," says a woman doubtfully old enough to remember much of said conflict, unless somehow she refers to Korea. In which case she might have been marginally older. Back to that plucky smirk, just short of a smile, as she watches the retreating combatants return to their houses to lick their wounds.

Reputations proceed people, as long as they have renown to speak of. Boasts might indicate a head full of delusional fantasies, or a third of the way to the truth. She lightens the load by gesturing with her hand, a lazy swirl.

The demonstration is so illustrative, in fact, she lets Paul hold the element of surprise. "Why not sip right from the bottle?" Elizabeth wonders this great, weighty matter that must stifle her mind under its suffocating weight. "Do not stop there, of course. You'll have me hold the door for myself and cross a puddle on my own, won't you?"


"Only fair in our world of equality," Paul gives her a calm nod, but then dismisses the notion of drinking straight from the bottle. "Now now, there must still be boundaries between us and the creatures of the wild." It may be a touch curious how his manner and his choice of words have changed a bit to fall into place closer to her approach to language as opposed to his own. Or rather… perhaps what he thinks is her approach.

He settles back into his chair and looks then, apparently for the first time at the combatants, and asks of her. "So why did you begin the conflict between them?" Perhaps he sees more than he lets on, and then he adds. "And what did you gain?"


"Boundaries." The fact the man even knows the word without describing crayons and a colouring book is a miracle of nature. Or science. Can they coexist? Her foot swings plainly under the table. "The beasts drink ale. We drink this very nice grape stuff." Elizabeth plucks her glass up, tilting the bordeaux at him with purpose. Deliciously terrible, to point with a glass.

His question doesn't cause her to falter. The model's face hardly changes, but for the slow sweep upwards of his eyes. "How did I start it?" She laughs. "It was not me. The lady with the hanky, more like." A shoulder teases upwards. "The gent with bloody knuckles wasn't putting up any longer with the lout with the split lip. That prat failed to tell when to shove a cork in it. Tale as old as time. I got entertained. Didn't you?"


One eyeball gets all scrunched up as Glory is exposed to his 'I am doubtful' look. It's a thing of art reaally, all eyebrow and eyeball and contracted skin mixed with a curve of his lip that lends it some gravitas. But he lets it go for now, since well… he doesn't seem to really care one way or the other. He takes a sip from his drink on the left, "Isn't it a tragedy what they do to make champagne?" He asks, non-sequitir for some reason. Even as he turns his attention now on the aftermath of the conflict.

"It is a bit curious, though. Isn't it? Two fellows who seem so not comfortable with fighting being so eager to do so."


"Champagne is a barbaric drink. Why are grapes tortured to make a dry, pungent excuse for sack?" Ooh, let's see if the bad man knows about anything about Spanish wine or jokes in the sack. British humour is a breed apart from American. Glory rests her elbow against the back of the chair, and considers Denning for a long, fraught moment of total calm. She's a model. This is what she does.

"They are brawling over the name of a woman. No different than what knights did back at tourneys, or what they'll do with rockets and pistols a century from now," she adds with a laugh.


A smile, then Paul lifts his right glass towards her. "To the future then."


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