Logs:Two People in the Woods - Day 33

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Two People in the Woods - Day 33
Dramatis Personae

Jorge, Everleigh

7 May, 2021


Two Ferals bound by a duty and an obligation.
Something is starting to happen.

Location

Sprawling Farm - Hanging Hills


She was warned he was high-risk and had issues about public appearances, social engagements, and even the threats he lived under were not enough to keep him off of various social media platforms, though never on the side which has their image taken. Rather, he would retweet from a seemingly-endless supply of burner phones, even after repeated searches and frisks.

Through this, he smiles, because he doesn't stop smiling. Then the posting to the back of beyond, Maine, where he would live in what he repeatedly referred to as a "glorified log cabin in a swampy forest" and make do with the fact that the internet connection was wired, not wireless, and cellphones have limited reception. It turned his burner phones into bricks and his morale into a stew of resentment and recriminations.

However, he's a remarkably good housemate: studious about the duties and responsibilities of a cohabitant; attentive to concerns and fast to respond to them; leaves the seat down in the bathroom and has yet to complain after a full month about the switch from fast food and delivery to home-cooked meals. If anything, he's demonstrated a certain prowess with cooking and stays busy in the kitchen.

At hearing her rouse from her midday nap, he turns, wearing an apron with the gaudiest collection of peppers stitched into the design, tied in with a t-shirt one size too large and sweatpants just about the right range, he exhales. "Food," he announces, and finishes the final stages of baked potatoes stuffed with cheese, chives, sliced peppers, and a healthy sauce he describes as "authentic" with no further details. Anything he describes with that one word can be expected spicy to a degree usually understood by competitive breeders of the species.


She keeps odd hours, which means there are days when she's awake the whole night and then sleeps partway through the day. And then others where she'll sleep all night and be up for the duration of the day. There doesn't seem to be any set schedule to it, really. It all depends on her mood. Being stuck in Maine wasn't her first choice, either, although she's been careful not to complain. The house is decent, it's been recently renovated, there's a heated pool in the backyard and dark forests to run around in when the urge strike. Overall, it's not horrible. Still, when you're coming from a bigger city with more of a nightlife and, well, life in general, Fallcoast is something of a change.

When she emerges from her room, it's with a yawn and arms stretched above her head as she walks. Silk pajama bottoms and a tank top make up her outfit, with her hair pulled back into a braid and her feet bare. Last night was another night spent awake, so it's been a day of catching up on sleep. The smell of something cooking is what ultimately drew her out of her room.

"It smells good," she moves forward on silent feet, heading toward the fridge so that she can take out a bottle of water. "I didn't mean to ditch you earlier, but I needed to sleep for a few hours."


"That water will be warm," Jorge says, then gestures toward a small ice chest with the lid askew. "Cold ones are in there, with what is left of the dry ice." For some reason, he goes through nearly thirty pounds of dry ice in a weekend, and finding out where he's using it and how is a standing mystery for the previous four agents who have had his case; none have the slightest idea, nor why he wants it in the first place.

He pads away, permanently adorable, and chews on a chunk of string cheese, nibbling on it as he tilts his head to the side, his incisors gnawing into oblivion before it is swallowed in a grand lump. "We're running out of cheese again. When we go into town, I need to buy some things." He has yet to receive any form of clearance permitting him to enter town proper, as he is on a restricted access, mostly due to somehow befriending members of a Japanese car club at his last posting in Pittsburgh; the handler at the time, a twenty-year veteran, entered early retirement before handing him off for good to Everleigh Kahill's custody.


"We can go shopping. I have some stuff I want to pick up, anyhow. I'm running out of drawing paper and I'd like to pick up another canvas, or two." When she's not out roaming the woods, sleeping or somewhere close by, just to keep an eye on Jorge, she's usually drawing or painting in one of the spare bedrooms. Since it wasn't being used, she turns it into a make-shift studio and it's now littered with art supplies.

The bottle of water is replaced before she goes to take a cold one out of the ice chest. "Thank you. You eat entirely too much cheese, you know. You'll end up with kidney stones, or something." As if their kind needs to worry about something like that.


Patting his slightly-rounded abdomen, he shrugs. "I am not likely going to develop the kidney stones," he says, then scoots forward enough to open up a cabinet, removing one of the twenty-six cans of peanuts. His hunger for them is unmatched, really. A full can in a day isn't even close to unusual. Two or three, only if he's in a bad mood. Today, it seems to be a one-can day. "Wait." He pauses, scrunching his nose, looking at Everleigh with confusion. "You just said 'we can go shopping'. Is this the royal 'we', or am I allowed outside and able to mingle with the straights?" His go-to term for non-criminals. Despite his appearance, he is a prolific burglar and frequent identity thief. During his custody, and per his agreement, he's yet to breach the agreement of remaining an honest, outwardly-civilized civilian.


"Are you going to make friends with the first criminal that we come across?" Everleigh settles back against the edge of the counter as she twists the cap off of her water bottle, one brow lifting as she watches him. She never comments about food habits, given the fact that there's a rather large freezer in the utility room that's full of frozen meat, which she seems to thaw out and consume with every meal, even breakfast.

After taking a drink of water, she replaces the cap back onto the bottle. "And I've never used the royal we before, Jorge. We've been here a month now, so I figure it's okay for us both to go into town. Besides, you must be getting stir crazy being out here all the time. You can only hike around the grounds so many times before that gets boring."


"When you talk to your family on the phone, you use the royal 'we'," Jorge says politely, continuing to consume peanuts by the handful. "You are louder than you think." He gives a bashful smile, then scrambles onto the counter, a process which involves all four limbs at once, and somehow, he's on it, planting himself down once again, feet dangling. None of his exertions are graceful; rather, they look like he was shown a diagram of how to do something, and has been trying to recapture that experience every time he does something.

He shakes the can, now empty, over his open mouth, dislodging fragments of peanuts and salty debris, then shrugs, licking his lips. "I was stir crazy for the first few days. After that, I just started to make friends with the trees and weird furry animals. Which, y'know, you continually scare away, just by being you." He says it without assigning blame, just his usual backhanded observations. "You left a bra in the bathroom, by the towel bucket." He can somehow find a way to make her into the bad guy if he's feeling upset. Something must be troubling him; that, or she did leave a bra next to where they have mutually agreed on where towels belong until laundry day on Sunday.


"Did I?" Her brow furrows, as if she's trying to remember if she actually left one in there, or not. After a moment or two, she simply shakes her head. "Sorry about that. I guess I'm still not used to sharing space with someone else. After I left my parents place, I had an apartment of my own and stayed that way until just before we met and came here. It's a bit of a learning curve." She turns a bit to set the water onto the counter before looking back to him again.

"You okay? I should have thought about us going into town sooner, but I wanted to look around some before that happened. It's not a bad city, to be honest. Lots of things to look at. Some decent clubs and bars, lots of boutique type shops. It's nice being close to the water."


Politely cleaning his fingers, Jorge says, "Unusually high murder and kidnapping rate," between fingers, looking at Everleigh. "Next to no street crime reported on a state-wide level. Two street gangs, six biker clubs, and one major cartel, though it's European-based, with a branch in America that went professional." He monitors gang activity as a matter of survival. It's why he's alive after four-and-a-half years of hiding, most of it spent moving from safe-house to safe-house. Some genius tried to post him in Miami, where he was originally arrested, and he escaped custody and resurfaced with a group of rich-kid thrill-robbers in San Diego four weeks later.

He has a survival instinct like few people can support. "I.. I don't know what it is. I've had five agents, and you're not like them. It's not that I didn't like Sam, Colin, John, or Ray, it's that you aren't them, and they aren't you." He shrugs, looking away. "First time with a woman alone, though. Sam's girlfriend-slash-fellow-agent, Janine, didn't last more than a week." An early loss to the program. She's been missing for four years solid.


"None of them were bad, really." She comments, then gives a small shrug. "I mean, they were good at their jobs, they kept you alive and mostly out of trouble." Her lips quirk in a faint smile at the word 'mostly'. "I was coming off something else for work and was considering getting out of the business completely. But they asked if I would do this."

She casts a look over the kitchen, then the rest of the house. "I really don't mind it here and you've been good company. You're not a jackass like some of the others I've had to keep an eye on. Had one guy get too handsy after I told him not to. After I broke his hand, they found him another agent." And, no, she doesn't sound apologetic for that.


"I have kept my hands to myself," Jorge says, though without pride; if anything, there's a tinge of fear to his tone and he scurries away to sit on a different counter. The production value of climbing onto it shows the absolute lack of grace he can present, and it ends with him looking flustered and sweaty. As he wipes his hands over his face, he tilts his head, looking to Everleigh. "We don't have cable TV and I have run out books to read twice. I even read the manual which came with your pistol." He also makes no bones about wanting to know where every gun in the house is; if it comes down to it, it's his life on the line as much as hers, though he's respectfully kept his hands free of both her anatomy as well as her hardware.


"Aren't there some streaming services we could get? I haven't really watched much TV in ages. Usually just a movie every once in awhile." Everleigh pushes away from the counter, her steps taking her toward where her phone is charging. "I don't mind getting stuff like that. Or we could buy a bunch of movies, if you want." She falls silent for a moment, then sighs. "I know that it's boring for you here. It can't be fun not being able to live your life how you'd like to. So long as you don't mind my tagging along, you can head into town to do stuff."


Waving his finger at Everleigh, Jorge says, "The last guy said, 'no internet', and he was super-ultra mad about it." Then he shrugs, because he has few expressions he uses with her. Smiles, shrugs, scowls, and the odd look of panicked fear. Consistency is not a common element to his emotional well-being. "He said it was part of my 'permanent record'." He snorts at this, then picks up the empty peanut can, examines it, then sets it down again, looking puzzled by it failing to have refilled with peanuts in the last minute. "All I ever wanted to do is.. well, kind of close to this. Growing up in the city, the jungle felt good. This, well, it's not a jungle, though it is close." He shrugs, because of course he does.


"Ray was a dick. And he was pissed off that he didn't have the 'net to look up porn. I think there was a particular girl that he liked getting in touch with on weekends and it made him pretty bitter to be stuck without an internet connection, meaning he couldn't talk to her." She gives a small shrug, "If you're careful about things and don't give away where you're staying, or who you are, I'm fine with having it set up. I don't expect you to stay here and have nothing to do at all. That's no way to live." She picks up the emtpy can, taking a moment to toss it into the recycle bin before getting a fresh one from the cupboard and tossing it over to him.


"That'd be 'Sweet Iris', who worked at the Kubla Khan diner," Jorge says, then snags the can from the air, opening it without a hiss; one of his few party tricks is being able to press the lid down enough to open it silently. "He somehow managed to make living in New Brunswick into even more of a boring experience." Another shrug. "We had Netflix and I could still use Tinder. Up here, there's like, six last names, and a bunch of clones or something." He pauses. "I mean, according to the mailman, at least. We talked a little last Thursday." He has a solid streak of making friends with delivery people, any civil servants who wander nearby, as well as a string of neighbors, inclusive of two different hate groups from his tour through Idaho and Montana. Somehow, he just comes off as that much of a fun guy.


Everleigh snorts, "No wonder his wife left him." She moves back to where she was leaning against the counter a few moments ago and settles back into the spot. After toying around on her phone, she gives a nod and looks up. "Okay, they'll be here in two days to get it all set up. Then we can get some streaming services. I'll let you decide which ones you want. I'm good with anything, really. For now, we can go into town and pick up some movies, maybe some more books if you want them? There was a bookstore right down the block from the art supply shop that I went to last week. Oh, and this bakery that smelled /amazing/ when I was walking by. We should stop there."


At the threat of baked goods, Jorge springs to his feet, already moving to the door. "No time to waste," he says, looking for his always-lost shoes. He can't be stopped from wearing sandals, though he eschews socks with them, and goes through a pair every season. A chunk of each of them is retained, kept in his ever-present shoe-box of worldly goods. Others have a go-bag or even more bulky luggage; he's streamlined his existence into a single shoe-box, filled with strange artifacts of his previous existences. He's on his tenth name in almost five years. How he can remember the details, it's another survival trait.

"Go, go. Car has gas, we have needs. If we are without carbs for too long, our bodies break down, and we don't want that." Then he turns, slipping into his Nikes, looking oppressively adorable at Everleigh, his lower lip pushed out, hands outstretched as if in a silent plea, then he speaks. "Go, go, strong, independent woman. Grab your gigantic pistol and we go, go. Bread awaits no man nor fierce, hardcore gun-toting woman. This is natural law." Then he shrugs.


Everleigh laughs as she watches him head for the door, "I need to get dressed first. I'm not going into town wearing pajamas. Give me a few minutes to find something to wear and actually run a brush through my hair." Once again, she pushes away from the counter and starts toward her room. "I won't be too long." Considering most of her outfit choices tend to be jeans and a shirt, it's not overly complicated. He's yet to see her dressed up in anything other than that. Then again, there hasn't been much need to dress up in the month they've been at the farm.


"If you find my corpse," Jorge says, his tone dramatic and rich in humor, "I have starved to death, lost to this waking world with only the memory of bread on my mind." Then he faints, comically-so, falling into the couch, sighing with an exasperated noise. A moment passes and he perks his head up, looking to her with half-lidded eyes, still licking peanut debris from his upper lip. "Why don't you wear sundresses and stuff? I knew plenty of hard-cases back in Columbia who could wear, like, those strappy little numbers that show off shoulders forever, and still kick ass. It doesn't make sense." Then he shrugs, returning to flop into the couch cushions, kicking his feet randomly, making strange noises.


"I wear dresses. Just not that often anymore. But I can kick ass in a pair heels, if I need to." Her voice is raised, floating out of her room so that her words are still easily heard. "I think I just got into the habit of wearing jeans all the time, depending on what I was doing. Dresses weren't always the most professional thing to wear, you know? Especially in my line of work." It doesn't take long for her to walk back out again, hands lifting as she catches hold of her hair to pull it back and into a ponytail, drawing the strands away from her face. Jeans and a tank top, with a pair of heeled boots. The outfit is simple enough and not likely to draw much attention.


When she emerges, he is smiling at her. "Isn't the whole point of what is happening to look absolutely /not/ like you are a secret special mega-ass-kicking agent?" he asks, then shrugs. "Someone in a sundress is the polar opposite of that expectation. If you want to really bury the lede, you can dress as a party clown or ride a unicycle. Or!" And he raises a finger, as if to signal for attention further. "Party clown on a unicycle!" To him, this is high comedy, and he laughs, because his laugh is so very natural. Despite this, there's a dark edge to his tone, like the laugh is hiding a thing beneath it. Eyes surfacing in a still pond. A knife in the darkness. And his eyes gleam so bright when he stands, looking so happy to see her.

Despite this, he is a career criminal who sold out a larger, meaner criminal organization, regardless of his reasoning; he had knowledge few could as an outsider. Then again, he finds a way to learn about a lot of people, often quickly.


Everleigh looks thoughtful as she considers his words, then nods. "You're right, you know. I guess I sort of dress the part. I haven't done the WitSec thing all that often and when I did, it wasn't for very long. I'm not complaining, though. You've actually been really good company. You're respectful and you don't annoy me, which are both good things." She slants a look toward him before she grins, "You're not bad to look at, so that works in your favor, as well." Picking up her purse, she digs through it for her car keys and drops her phone down into its depths. How she can find anything in it is anyone's guess.


"You're out of gum," Jorge says, pointing to her purse, slowly climbing to his feet. The act seems almost clownish, the motions slow and ponderous. When he is standing to his full height, he shrugs, then picks up his phone, tucking it into his front pocket of his sweatpants, then pauses. He looks down at his outfit, and casually walks down the hallway to the closet. From the closet he extracts a pair of khakis, not bothering to switch rooms further as he changes into them. He wears cheetah-print boxers, because of course he does. Once he's zipped up, he bounces on the balls of his feet, then slips his Nikes back on again, sans socks. "Ready."


"Have you been going through my purse?" Not that there's anything of real importance in it. She sounds more curious, than anything else. "I'll pick some up at the store when we stop there. I want that pink stuff I used to chew as a kid. You could blow huge bubbles with them. Used to annoy my dad when I'd snap them, though." Everleigh simply watches as he changes pants, a faintly amused look to her features when she catches sight of the boxers. "Want to drive?" The keys are held out toward him.


Shaking his head, Jorge retreats from the offer of the car keys. "Nope, I'd drive us into one of the billion trees between here and the mailbox." Despite his impressive streak of escapes and the details of his prior custodial arrangements, no record exists of him being behind the wheel of any powered vehicle, save for a Jet-ski he stole while in Salt Lake City, unsuccessfully masquerading as a Mormon. His cover was broken when he met some and five minutes passed. "And, yeah, I go through it, like.. twice a week. You don't bring home exciting stuff, so I'm stuck reading your impressive receipt collection." And he shrugs. Because it is one of his most infuriating gestures.


"I pretty much keep the essentials in it, that's all. Most of the time, if it can't fit in a pocket, it doesn't go with me. I mean, I can't lug a purse around while chasing someone, can I?" The door is pull closed and locked behind them before she leads the way toward the car. Pausing before getting into the drivers side, she looks over the top of the car to Jorge. "You know if there's anything that you want or need, I can get it for you, right? This whole setup isn't meant as a punishment and while I know it sucks, I want to try to make it somewhat enjoyable. The other guys.." She shakes her head, "I know they didn't really care. You were just part of the job and they were counting the days until they went home. I don't feel that way."


"Yeah, well," Jorge says, shrugging once more. "They didn't like that I was a criminal and basically living out a 'happy life' on taxpayer funding." He gestures around the room. "No job needed, except maybe, like, for a few months, tops. My bills don't even exist, and if they did, someone else pays them in their own name. Anything I want, I can ask for it, may even get it." Then he smirks. "Except cash. Can't keep cash. Even if I get a full-time job, my finances would be your problem, not mine. No paycheck exists for me, just.. a place where I work and know people." Then he picks up the empty container of peanuts, rattling, once more baffled it didn't refill magically, and he sets it down.. then picks it up again. "I can't pretend that I'm a normal person, Everleigh. It's not a thing I can, or would, want to do, either. Living in a suburban nowhere place, surrounded by cloned houses, watching everyone screw around and cheat on their taxes and wives.. why would I want that?"

He leans against a table, then it squeaks, moving abruptly, and he rights himself, looking at the table as if it had just let him down personally. Though, again, he leans against it, this time more carefully. "Those guys would chase people like me, and they hated living with me, seeing me rot my brain on YouTube or whatever, instead of worrying myself sick." Then he taps his forehead at his temple. "I do worry, though. It's good to be afraid. Afraid people are alive.. until they're not afraid, or not alive. Afraid is what I have instead of comfortable. I knew this going into the deal. They kept thinking that I didn't." And he shrugs.


She listens quietly, her gaze remaining on his face while he talks. After awhile, she gives a small nod. "I can't promise that it's not going to be boring around here, though. And I wouldn't want to live in a suburban nowhere place, either. Cookie cutter houses make me twitch. I don't want to live in a place where I could reach out my window and hand my neighbor a cup of milk. I need space." She glances in the direction of the back of the house, where Crow Hollow forest is beyond it. "The forest is good. Not quite the jungle some of my relatives have lived in, but it'll do. Someday, I'll visit somewhere like that. I'd like to see it, at least once."

She gestures him to follow to the car. "So, art supply store, the book store, bakery and a place that sells movies. Anywhere else that you want to go? We could pick up something for dinner on the way home. There's bound to be some place that makes a decent pizza."


He is a good listener, as it is a survival trait. When Jorge speaks, he has a low, respectful tone. "Thank you for really listening. It's been a while since someone treated me like a real person and not part of the job. That felt really cool." He smiles, then he shrugs, because that's how he rolls. "Yes, we need to swing by a porn shop. Since we're being super candid and open about everything, we are buying pornography. Together. So it'll be so excruciatingly awkward you never, ever ask me to go into a porn shop with me ever, ever again. So I can buy my own porn, and I plan to make my own money to do so." Then he pauses. "I'll buy other stuff, as well, though porn is definitely a 'thing'." And a shrug follows this.


Everleigh grins, "You assume that I'll find it awkward. You don't know me very well yet, Jorge." The thought just seems to amuse her as she heads for the car, the keys rattling in her hand as she walks. "You are a real person and not just part of the job. Some of the guys that were with you before, they were pretty jaded. And they didn't care too much about anyone else. They were doing a job and that was it. The sooner they could go home, the better. Don't get me wrong, they were great agents and they'd do absolutely everything in their power to keep you alive and safe, because it's what they do. I guess for me..." Her voice trails off as she looks back toward him. "I don't know. You're different."


He'll follow, because Jorge is easily intrigued. During the drive to town, he's quiet, looking out of the windows as the world rushes by, examining every road and trail, his eyes in full-on mapping mode. Like he's charting his way through a gigantic house for the first time, ready to live in it and explore every room he can open or space that he can discover. When they pass a dairy farm, he points and declares, "Cows." As is the tradition of all city-folk upon seeing bovines in the wild.

When forests turn to city roads, he relaxes, less observant, though he is looking out of the window briefly every few minutes. Cities are cities. Pavements have one flavor and it is universal.

Gesturing to a group of people gathered at a street corner, he says, "Addicts," in the same way he described and named the cows spotted earlier. A familiar format of wildlife for him. Despite growing up in a culture enriched with drugs, he barely even smoke cigarettes, and has not had any issues with controlled substances harder than a beer on his birthday.

"I think you're pretty cool, Agent Kahill," he says quietly as she parks the car and he dismounts. "If you were a criminal, I think I could like you a lot more." And then he shrugs, walking into the first store he's in front of, already smiling at the man behind the counter serving a customer. A smile is his reward, as well as his shield, sword, and armor. Laughter follows, because that's what he brings.