|Wayne Mumford | Jeremy Gilbert (death_in_life) wrote in doorslogs,|
@ 2012-07-03 15:00:00
|Entry tags:||irene adler, jeremy gilbert|
|Vivienne King was a distraction, nothing more. The debt she’d acquired from her brother could’ve been paid off in one fell swoop but it was so much more fun to prolong the experience. After ensuring that the Westerberg girl’s body was properly taken care of, a night out was exactly what he needed. He would have invited Ms King out to dinner but he’d already insisted that Andrew join him every evening and he didn’t quite feel like retracting that order just yet. The boy clearly needed a close eye kept on him and if he wasn’t careful, Wayne knew he’d lose his patience soon. The Mumford name needed to continue and he wasn’t sure if he could survive raising another boy. He certainly wasn’t holding his breath for another flesh and blood given his age and the fact that women were more than a little fickle. No, he’d much rather just whip Andrew into shape. After paying half of her brother’s debts, Wayne decided it was high time to at least meet Ms King face to face. He knew what she looked like of course, he knew a great deal about her, but she was in the dark about him.|
Dressed in a dark grey suit, Wayne looked just a touch more expensive than what was expected for the Gold Lounge but he preferred it that way. He arrived thirty minutes early, commandeering a secluded little booth at the very back corner of the lounge. Being able to see everything was his preferred way of sitting in a crowded room like this, though it wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the mob-controlled lounges in New York City. The chatter provided a comfortable white noise and the waitress brought him a scotch on the rocks just minutes after he’d taken his seat. Waiting for Vivienne to arrive was hardly a burden and by the time she did appear at the entrance way, Wayne was already on his second glass. He didn’t bother trying to verbally catch her attention, only lifted a hand to gesture her over.
Viv was late, she always was. This time nearly half an hour because she couldn't decide over the dresses in her closet, and she smoked half a pack of cigarettes while deciding what was expected of her -- and fuck that, she chose the tackiest one in the end because it was an option. She didn't know that the graffiti print thing with all its cling was the least expensive, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. She preferred cheap, she preferred color, she preferred making a splash.. and her tacky sandals didn't match a damn thing about the dress when she strutted through the door. All stripper heels and boxer intentions when the plastic-smile woman at the host stand asked her name while simultaneously eying her shotty root job and braless state of tits - the dress didn't allow for such things. She prayed this would be over with quickly when she noted the man waving her over to his table. She wasn't accustomed to eating anything more complicated than chicken fingers and this place assuredly was not going to let her smoke. Shit, she was already nervous. She didn't even bother with a smile when she sank into the chair across from him while kicking a bit away from the table. She didn't cross her legs but rather knobbed her knees together like some orphan Annie and can't the wolves just smell blood? A few of the nearest women glanced her way with sad and unamused little quirks in their smiles. Vivienne's hair hung long and in waves that were constructed by the wind from her car window, no electronic tool. She'd put mascara on her lashes but nothing else, and she looked tired, but lovely in the way that wild women could sometimes be. "Are you drunk?" She asked with a glance down to his empty glass. It wasn't a question of judgement, but rather an inquiry as to whether or not she should catch up.
He wasn’t the least bit surprised at the choice of dress, as much of an identifier as her blonde hair or the tacky sandals on her feet. Honestly. She’d at least put some effort into looking appropriate and that was more than he’d expected. He didn’t care that she wasn’t wearing the accessories he’d sent her. Someone was already at her hotel room, collecting what she hadn’t chosen and returning them. She might not like his comings and goings but she would just have to deal with it. Wayne did what he wanted, when he wanted, and those that defied him didn’t do so for long. The hostess stepped to the side once she saw who was beckoning the wild woman forward and Wayne watched all too appreciatively as she walked. He’d known enough women over the years to recognize that she wasn’t wearing a bra, that the waves of her hair were natural, and that she was so utterly out of place here. His lips quirked into something of a smile at that because he thoroughly enjoyed having the upper hand in any situation. There was no greeting from her and no real sense of manners for a place like this. He liked her even more already. “Not quite,” Wayne replied, gesturing once more for the bartender to deliver a drink. It came a moment later and the waiter stuck around, waiting for Ms King to give her order. “Have whatever you’d like, Ms King.” He was quite intrigued by the woman sitting across from him and leaned forward in his seat, just looking her over and taking in every last detail. If it made her uncomfortable, he neither cared nor noticed. “I must say, I’m surprised that you chose to wear one of the dresses I left for you. Trying not to stick out too much?”
If he thought he had the upperhand in this situation, he was about to be sorely fucking mistaken. Nobody got the upperhand on her deck of trick cards, not even the people she worked for. Because see, there this was this secret hatred in Viv that brewed like snake venom and it made her think that she was brave enough to kill the man across from her as soon as smile at him. Even if that was a lie brought on by harsh raisings and jail stints, she still chose to believe it. She was also going to be extremely pissed off when she returned to her little motel hovel and found the other dresses and all the accessories missing, she'd planned on pawning those bitches first thing in the morning. Just something more to pay Elias back, a little bit of green from beneath her secret counter. "Jack Daniels," she instructed the waiter with barely a tilt of her head and certainly not a turn of her eyes away from the snake of a man sitting across from her. "No ice." She didn't know the fancy terms like neat or up, but she knew what she liked.. and she was still trying decide where this man with all his money and his secrets rested on the radar. "It was the ugliest thing you'd sent, figured you could stand a little embarrassment." If she had any clue that this dress was worth nearly a grand, it certainly didn't show. "Jesus, can we smoke in here?" She asked.. probably of nobody in particular, because despite his facial hair, the man at her table was no messiah.
She was more than a little amusing and Wayne sat back comfortably. “Consider it a compromise,” he replied with a grin. “Which you clearly took a step further. If embarrassment was your intention, however, you’ll have to try a bit harder than that.” He wasn’t the least bit put off by her wanting to embarrass him, instead admiring that she truly didn’t seem to give a shit about what anyone thought of her. Including him. That took guts, considering what he was capable of and the hold he had over her brother. Her whiskey was handed to her just the way she asked and Wayne sent the boy off. There weren’t any patrons smoking at the moment but a quick glance around the room told him that no signs were posted saying otherwise. Tsk tsk. “Feel free. Or, if you’d prefer, we can take our drinks elsewhere.” While it was true that he’d wanted to enjoy a drink somewhere that catered to a wallet like his, the main goal of the evening was to end on reasonable terms with Vivienne. If that meant moving the meeting to his suite, so be it. She wasn’t a threat and he certainly had security enough to handle a woman of her stature. He sipped his scotch while waiting for her answer.
She made a half-cocked little sound when he told her to try harder to embarrass him. Oh, honey, she'd barely have to try if that was her intention. She'd already started off the night with her tacky espadrille sandals, she'd fucking moonwalk across the bar naked with only those laced up sandals to speak of if she felt like it. Which for anyone else who'd given any invitation like this, maybe she would, but Viv wasn't stupid. She might not have ever graduated high school or read the classics or divulged her interests into television programming any finer than Maury episodes, but she wasn't stupid. She knew the control this man held over her brother, and therefore over her own life. The only two things she was worried about, really. So when he told her to go ahead and smoke, she reached casually down the front of her dress and plucked loose a pack of Marlboro reds with the slim bic captured inside the papered coffin. She wedged a filter onto her mouth, giving him one more glance in question before lighting it. Hey, if he was never invited back here because of her bad behavior, don't blame her. She exhaled while reaching for her drink, taking a deep swig that burned and winced. She turned her head, a trespassing lock of bottled blond falling to curtain the damage the hard liquor took on her expression. "I don't know why you asked me here," she finally admitted while straightening to look him in the eye, swirls of smoke in between them. "You said you'd ask me to do something, what is it? You want me to take something somewhere?" No, no.. the amount of money he'd put up for her brother was too much, it had to be something worse, something bad. Her brown eyes went a little wide in betrayal as she considered the possibilities, then they hardened like the bronze age. "Speak." The silence and his amused little stare was killing her.
Silence was Wayne’s greatest ally. A person, when guilty of something, could rarely stand a silence accompanied by an unflinching gaze. Fortunately, the same also went for people he asked favors of and it seemed that Vivienne was no different. He watched as her fingers slipped beneath the fabric of her dress and removed the package of cigarettes hidden there. Curious, did women still put their cigarettes between their breasts? Cigars were more his thing, fine Cuban ones imported along with some of the best cocaine money could buy. Her questioning glance was met with a challenging one. He didn’t care if smoking was allowed or not and he was pleased with her choice. His eyes never left her as she drank, unbothered by the smoke swirling between them. Her demands were rather cute actually, if Wayne was the type to use such a word, and he simply arched an eyebrow when she ordered him to speak. She was met with silence for a moment just so he could prove a point.
“My, my, Ms King. You’re very impatient.” Not to mention rude, but Wayne didn’t intend to chastise her at the moment. She was still amusing. “I believe I invited you here for a drink, but if you insist on skipping right past the pleasantries I suppose we can get down to business.” That was accompanied with a heavy sigh, as if he were disappointed with her. In a way, he was. He had hoped she would prove a distraction from the growing failure that was his grandson. Another sip of scotch slipped down his throat as he contemplated what he needed her to do. “I could have you trail a few people but that would be far too easy given everything I’ve done for you already. There is that mechanic, but no. That wouldn’t be a job for you. Hmmm. Moving product is out of the question. You’ve been caught before.” All of this was said quite calmly. “What do you think half your brother’s debt gets me?”
From his moment of aching silence to the stone cold words that came after, Viv watched him. She said nothing and perhaps in her head she knew that her reactions were all wildcat mistakes. Things she couldn't control so she scratched at them like posts of straw, but her old bosses never brought her out for drinks, and she didn't like games. She didn't like breakfasts bought by Elias and she didn't like owing anybody anything. Even if her current situation made it so that she couldn't help it. She sensed his disappointment, perhaps in the way only a woman or a forgotten daughter would and it made her shrink back into her chair a little self-consciously. She even forgot about her cigarette for a long enough time that the ash extended into something expansive and fragile and so gray. She knew nothing of tailing people, and Irene was strangely silent on strategy for such things - the bitch. Viv didn't ask about the mechanic, but rather took another hard swig out of her glass that emptied the final ounce of whiskey down her throat. It gave her something to drop her cigarette into. The embers sizzled in such amber remnants even as the man across from her spoke so calmly. "Whatever you want, you know that.." And there was something hurt in her voice for a second, why the fuck was he making her say it? What the hell did he want? Mainly she worried that his strategy rested in her killing someone, which she did not believe she could do. Brother or no brother, the thought terrified her and it kept her momentarily silent as she waited out his answer.
Whatever he wanted. He wondered if she realized just how dangerous those three words could be when said to a man like him. Given her history, she probably did and that made him wonder just what she was expecting from him. They were still learning each other’s ways and he drank in every detail of her reactions. She wasn’t used to someone like him and that was just fine. Surprising people who didn’t like surprises was one of his favorite things to do. At least she didn’t ask questions and he knew he wouldn’t do to her what he’d done to Maren Westerberg. Vivienne King was useful, if only as a distraction. “Whatever I want,” Wayne repeated almost curiously. There were so many things that could mean and he thought surprising her once more would be the way to go. He patted the seat next to him on the couch, expecting her to move there. “For now, Vivienne, I want to get to know you. Words on a page aren’t nearly as informative as the woman in question.” He smiled behind his scotch glass and finished it off, before gesturing for another. “Did you want another?” he asked, though she was getting one whether she wanted it or not.
"I'm fine," she hesitated in replying. Meaning that both she didn't need another drink - although lord knows she did - and that she was fine where she was sitting. Distrust was evident, it weighed like a half ton of bricks and gold in her stardust eyes while she watched him from across the table, not sure what the fuck he meant by the way he repeated her words back at her.. like some fucking joke shared between them. Or what he meant by getting to know her. She wasn't some trick, and damn if she didn't regret the dress as much as she could have a knife in the fucking neck right now. "There's nothing to know," and the cold in her voice could have burned skin blue. Even if she did finally get up and move onto the couch, not quite sitting next to him, but leaving some space between because turning him down was as impossible as complying. She could see that now, no matter what she'd told herself in coming here. This was a man that could have her brother dead with a phone call, and probably herself with only a snap of his manicured fingers. Thoughtfully, she dropped her attention to his hand, glancing up in naive surprise when the waiter deposited a new drink before her, although she had certainly not ordered it. "Besides.. you probably know everything anyway.."
Wayne could be patient when he wanted to be and there was something about her that actually encouraged that instead of driving him wild with frustration. He didn’t say anything, simply waited for her to do as he requested. There was something to be said for threats against loved ones and he wondered just how different he was compared to her. If someone asked him to choose between Andrew’s life or complying to a man such as himself, Wayne would give up his grandson in a heartbeat. The frostiness of her voice was a nice touch, if defeated by the fact that she got up and took the seat he’d indicated. His arm draped along the back of the couch as he turned his body to face her. He wasn’t surprised that she kept space between them or that she tried to evade his questions. “Oh, but there is a great deal to know. The facts are dry, boring things. It’s the why I’m more interested in.” He took another swallow of his scotch - the new glass this time - and quickly reviewed what he knew of her. “Your police reports say enough about some of the shenanigans you and your brother got up to but it says nothing about what it was that brought the two of you so close together? Willing to do just about anything to keep him safe?”
Viv turned to look at him when he swigged his scotch and he voiced his questions. The confusion radiated in her eyes, a complete lack of understanding. How could anybody ask that? It was her brother and her blood.. then again, she recalled her conversation with Elias, and that man seemed to have no family to speak of so maybe it was the same way with this Wayne. Even so, there was a stern determination in her eyes when she kept contact with him and reached for her new drink, a new sip. It burned, and even that felt good when compared to the ache this conversation very nearly brought her. "We're family, I'm his sister, and he's my brother, that's what we do. We look out for one another, and we take care of one another.. and he'd be right here on this fucking couch if it was me sitting locked up in some cell." Not to mention all of the other stuff, all of the close calls and late night rescues from momma's weirdo boyfriend drunks. The time they crashed that car or robbed that liquor store, the time they split their palms on a knife beneath the branches of a willow tree and smiled while shaking, like all that blood made it more real than anything their momma had ever said. Bitch couldn't be trusted for half her weight anyway.
Love. Who would’ve thought? Not Wayne, certainly. The man didn’t know how to love. Andrew was the closest he came to caring for someone but it was because the boy was his heir. Usefulness determined just how far Wayne would go before killing someone, not love. Emotional attachment was useless in his line of work but it was always a novel experience when someone tried to explain it to him. The arm on the back of the couch moved, his hand lifting to cup her cheek as he tried to find some sign that she wasn’t serious. But no, the emotion was right there in her eyes and Wayne didn’t bother telling her that the situation would be vastly different if her brother was sitting on this couch. “Family, yes. You two went through quite a lot living with your mother and then in California,” he observed, as his thumb moved back and forth along her cheek bone. “Such a hard life and you’re still fighting. It’s admirable.” He withdrew his hand with a smile and put it almost affectionately on her knee. “You’ve never met a man like me, Vivienne,” her name rolling off his tongue, “and I daresay you’ll never meet another.” He held her gaze for a few long moments and then grinned, giving her knee a gentle squeeze. There wasn’t anything inherently sexual about his touch but his words were meant to affect her, to introduce more emotions and confuse her. “There’s hope for you yet.”
She didn't flinch from the brush of his hand as it got closer and closer to her cheek, even if she saw the contact in some kind of agonizing slow motion. She wouldn't have flinched if he'd pulled a Bowie knife on her, although that might have admittedly been a bit more comforting than whatever the hell was going on here. She instantly hated this place with all its glitter and gold, she didn't belong here any more than any of the gawking tourists that passed by the occasional front door, and the whole vicinity knew it. Even if only the women gave her cursory glances every now and then. When he mentioned her mother, those muddy eyes widened just a hair. It couldn't be helped and everything felt surreal, like the dress, like the way he knew about California, the way he said her name. Something almost elegant and ordained in the presentation of those syllables, "Just Viv," she whispered, somehow unsure of what to do with that other name. When his hand dropped to her knee, she wanted to reach for her drink but hesitated because she couldn't be entirely sure that her fingers wouldn't shake in travel. Fuck it, she scooped up the tumbler glass and took a gulp. God, fuck, she hoped this was laced with acid or something so that she'd have much bigger problems than dealing with the uncomfortableness of polite conversation. She'd take the hallucinations of a swamp full of alligator people any day over this. Viv watched his eyes from over her glass, and the shake was subtle and might have gone unnoticed entirely since there was no ice in the tumbler. "Hope for me?" She made it a real question because he hadn't yet defined what it was that he wanted her to do and this whole social environment get-to-know-you was more disquieting than even being arrested had been. Viv finally crossed her legs in something of a more ladylike fashion, if only to let his hand slip away from her knee.
He was impressed that she didn’t flinch as most women in her position usually did. Granted, those women were generally younger and instantly thought that sex was the only way to pay a debt. Oh how wrong they were, but it was always fun making them uncomfortable. Watching her in this environment made him sure he’d picked well. A soft chuckle escaped when she tried to correct the name he used. “Not tonight, Vivienne, and not with me.” Viv was a woman tied to debts and full of emotion but Vivienne...she was another story. There was so much potential there for her, save the pesky issue of love, but she continued to live, to struggle. To survive. He remembered what it was like when he was a young boy, living on the streets and unaware of what he would become. It seemed he was affecting her, which only made him smile, and he watched as she gulped down the amber liquid. “Yes. I doubt you know but your name, Vivienne, it means ‘alive’. You could be so much more than what you are now, only your brother’s debts hold you back. You’re bound to him and, because of that, to me.” He moved his hand when she crossed her legs but it likely didn’t have the affect she was hoping for, as he simply moved to brush some of her blonde hair out of her face. It was a movement he’d done countless times for Rebecca during their marriage and some affection slipped through. “Anything I want, isn’t that right? Well, Vivienne, tonight I want your company.” He was interested to see how she’d respond to that and the continued use of her first name.
She was really beginning to hate her name. She hadn't even known what it meant, only that her mama had read it in some throwaway romance novel once, and God help the woman if she was still alive and kicking in Mississippi - which surely she was, hard asses like that never died - because Viv was making it a priority to go beat the hell out of her for giving her this name. She didn't like the way he said it, or that he had taken such an interest in what she could be. Viv didn't know what that meant, and she didn't want to ask because she wasn't sure how to ask anything without showing the cracks in her careful veneer. The drink was calming her nerves, which wasn't so bad.. she'd at least moved on from praying that somebody in the kitchen start an accidental grease fire so she could just get out of here. Viv tilted her head back a bit when he brushed her hair, which was wind whipped waves and subtle tangles, distrust evident. The movement was something a feral cat might have done just before it ripped a face off, but she didn't stop him. Even if the barely retreating movement couldn't be helped, her dark eyes didn't betray that much, just a subtle wariness. Oh, her with her big mouth. Whatever you want. "And so you have it," she was out of practice with not punctuating every sentence with some vile curse word.. but she was trying here. She was trying. "Another drink?" She asked while dropping her eyes to his glass to see just how far along he was.
If Wayne was offended by her slight movement, he didn’t show it. He simply followed and did as he liked because that was the sort of man he was. He knew she was much more brash than this, cursing and speaking her mind and part of him had hoped that she wouldn’t conform too much to what would have been appropriate for the lounge. He was only half finished with his drink, forgotten in favor of her company. Whatever he wanted. Well, now he wanted her and it was just a matter of getting her there as well. Wayne didn’t force himself on women, one of the few lines he did have, but he wouldn’t correct her if she assumed that was what he wanted in repayment. “Another, but not here,” he agreed, depositing his glass with a clunk on the table and stood. He held his hand out to her, the picture of politeness as was expected of men like him in a place like this. “Come.” In case she had any ideas that it was optional for her to not follow.
"What?" The prospect of leaving was suddenly terrifying. Jesus, she was going to end up buried in the desert somewhere or shot in the head. What did she do? "Fuck, where are we going?" Unable to help herself, her fingers fumbled across the tablecloth at their booth to close around her tumbler, as if proving she wasn't done yet and not ready to leave. But the fucker was empty and she exhaled hard while glancing around the lounge, where she was clearly drawing attention to herself and him by not yet having taken his arm and by cursing so loosely. Loose lips sink ships, and if she ended up in the bottom of a fucking river, she -- did Las Vegas even have rivers? Strange thoughts crossed one's mind at points in time like this. She swallowed hard and hesitated on the edge of her seat before looking up at him, all wide gold eyes beneath a fringe of dandelion blond. Worried. "Where are we going?"
Ah, there she was. Wayne’s gaze never left her and amusement sparkled in his eyes. “You’ve nothing to be afraid of,” he assured her. He bent down, bringing his face level with hers for a brief moment before moving his lips to her ear. What he was about to said was not for the ears of those watching them. “If I wanted you dead, Vivienne, I wouldn’t have invited you to a place where you’d stick out like a sore thumb. Think, woman. I know you’re smart.” The words were whispered, soft and supple like a lover would whisper naughty fantasies. He saw no risk in taking her to the villa he was currently staying in as she posed no real threat and what people she chose to surround herself with likely wouldn’t care that he was taking such an interest in her. Wayne lingered at her ear for a moment longer before straightening up and offering his hand a second time. “To my villa, Vivienne, and away from wandering eyes.” Though his gaze never left hers, the woman who’d been giving looks to Viv knew the statement was directed at her and quickly turned back to her drink. If she actually thought, as he’d told her to do, she’d realize that the people in their immediate vicinity would note that she left with Wayne Mumford and they’d remember her because she looked so out of place. He’d said they were going to his villa and, should anything happen to Vivienne within the next few days, he would likely be the prime suspect. Wayne hadn’t gotten where he was today by leaving such an obvious trail.
Her frown was more of a sneer when he leaned in to whisper about how she needed to think. It was old wounds, and yes she was fucking smart, but she also knew that she could probably be shot in the middle of the goddamn fountain at the Bellagio and he'd never faced charges. She'd seen some of those mobster movies, she knew how this panned out.. and it probably wasn't going to be well. Despite whatever sweet nothings he was whispering in her ear. Eventually, after another few moments of hesitation, Viv had to accept that she was probably being paranoid. Which wasn't like her, and she didn't like it, the way anxiety crawled at her spine like early onset rabies, all inopportune adrenaline. She was breathing a little heavy by the time he pulled away, and what the hell was wrong with her? "Sure, just.. um.. just let me powder my nose?" What the hell, did women even say that anymore? Viv kind of winced at herself before collecting her purse, which was tacky orange vinyl but somehow went with the graffiti print of the dress despite her worst intentions. "I'll just.. be right back." Hustling in the direction of the bathrooms, which she somehow navigated with blinders on, Viv vanished into the ladies room with a long sigh. The attendant looked at her with a bit of alarm, and Viv eyed the strangely suited woman with equal distrust before she turned her molten eyes on the mirror. "Pull yourself together." Leaning down, she took a long sip of water out of the sink faucet, which the attendant balked at with a quirked brow. Then Viv pulled out her phone to send a quick message to literally the only person she knew that wasn't a criminal. It was a little sad if she stopped to think about it, but she didn't. She just sent the message to Elias and turned off her phone immediately after, dropping it back into her purse. The next exhale was a weight off of her shoulders, and when she emerged once more for Wayne's side, she was much steadier than before.
While that might certainly be true if it happened in New York, Vegas was a different matter entirely. Had Andrew done his fucking job and got his shit together it might’ve been true for this hot hellhole of a city, but he hadn’t, it wasn’t, and she had nothing to fear despite how much he enjoyed seeing her squirm. Her request to powder her nose was met with a surprised arch of his eyebrow followed by a slight nod as he tucked his arm back at his side. Curious. If she would feel better alerting someone to her whereabouts, Wayne hardly cared. She’d come out of this no worse for wear in his estimation and, as he’d thought before, he didn’t believe anyone would jump to her defense in the short time it took for her to ‘powder her nose’. Wayne finished his scotch while he waited and once she returned, he tucked her arm in his and led her out of the lounge. It was a short walk to the elevators that would lead them to his villa though the ride to the uppermost floor was a touch longer. All the while, Wayne didn’t say a word nor let go of her arm, tightening his grip if need be. He didn’t even need to release her to open the door as the two large men standing on either side of it recognized him and did so for him. “After you, Vivienne,” he said, dropping his arm to put his hand at the small of her back, compelling her forward and into the large living area in front of them. The door was shut behind him and they were alone once more.
Directly in front of them was a window that spanned the entire length of the room, overlooking the Strip in all it’s glory. There was no balcony, not here, and the furniture in the room was cozy while still being modern. If she’d thought the lounge downstairs was upscale, she no doubt felt even more out of place here. Wayne finally stepped away from her, shrugging off his suit jacket and folding it on the railing of the teak wood staircase just a few feet away. He poured her another measure of whiskey and one for himself before joining her again. “Here,” he offered, and this time she was more than allowed to refuse the drink. “Perhaps you’ll trust me more when you walk out of this room, alive and well,” Wayne observed, turning his gaze from her to the scenery below them. “Do you see all of those people, Vivienne? Crowded together like animals in a pen being herded from one place to the next, their wallets significantly lighter each time. Most of the people that owe people like me money are down there, scraping together anything they can find just so they can play another round at the tables. It’s pitiful. Those men, they don’t deserve to live. You could have so much more than you do now, even with your wild ways and loose lips. Tell me, Vivienne, have you ever aspired to be something other than what you are now?”
Even if her message to Elias had been anything but a cry for help, it made her feel better to know that if she fucked up tonight and ended up pushed out a balcony window, at least her brother would not have to deal with the news. She wondered if they notified people of that kind of thing in prison or just kept it easier and let them ride out their sentences without any more bad news. And maybe it was the whiskey, but she was beginning to think that killing her wasn't really his intention at all. It didn't make sense, not if he'd already invested all of this money into her brother. He wanted something from her, although it didn't seem like he really wanted her to work for him. Just her company? Didn't he realize she was the worst kind of company? Fear of stepping on toes kept her a little tame, because Wayne wasn't some cronie that she could bite and scratch at. He seemed to be big league and that left her on very, very unfamiliar ground over how to deal with this shit. In the elevator, she shifted for comfort and distance only to find his grip going tight and resilient on her arm. She didn't try again. Although there was an irritated sound when he put his hand at the small of her back and escorted her into the suite. It was nice, nicer than Elias' had been.. but Viv had never been one to be impressed by such things. They tended to make her only dislike the owners even more.
She took the drink but hesitated in sipping it because she would rather see him drink from his glass first. It felt like some kind of showdown, only she didn't know what winning or losing meant.. and when Wayne drew her attention down to the people that crowded the streets below them like ants, she frowned. "Why don't they deserve to live?" The words were a whisper, and that kind of thinking was something that she'd never understand, no matter in what way he tried to explain it to her. Why did he get to decide who deserved what? She looked up at him, sun freckled and confused. "I don't have loose lips, I never sold out anyone I worked for," which is what she naturally assumed him to be accusing her of. His final question had anger leaking into her eyes and the whiskey didn't help to bring it back to a simmer. "Yeah, I wanted to be a mother, and before that I wanted to be an astronaut, and when I was about four, I wanted to be a fucking T-Rex.. what's your point?"
Everything about her was amusing to him, from the way she didn’t try a second time to move away from him to the irritated sound she made when he touched her back. He didn’t even blink when she hesitated drinking, too busy taking a sip of his own with a pleased little ‘ah’ once the amber liquid slid down his throat. Wayne never did anything to impress, not intentionally anyway. He wanted obedience, loyalty, and fear from his subjects, to be treated as a king. What he wanted, he got. That was the end of that and anyone who thought otherwise was dealt with swiftly. That she didn’t understand why those poor excuses for men didn’t deserve to live was amusing and he just shook his head, a smile on his lips. “You wouldn’t understand, Vivienne. You’re not like me,” he replied, not bothering to tack on that she could be. “Ah, but you were, weren’t you? A beautiful little girl if I remember correctly. And you, working so hard to give her everything you never had...” Wayne turned to face her and there was a kind of pride in his voice because being a good mother was hard under the best of circumstances and at fifteen, too. His free hand came up again, this time in comfort, and the caress of her cheek lasted only a moment before his fingers ghosted down to her shoulder, then along her arm until it fell to his side. “But you moved on. You went through something most fifteen year olds never survive and you...” Admiration was there this time. “You robbed those stores to survive, to provide for your siblings. For your family. And now, here you are, offering me whatever I want and for what? To keep your brother safe.” He moved then, turning his back to her and walking to the couch as he sipped his whiskey. “My point, Vivienne, is that you limit yourself thanks to the debts of your brother. Now that it is no longer a burden for you, not in the monetary sense at least, what will you do? Who will you become?”
"Don't.." But the word was a ghost and maybe she didn't even say it at all when he started to talk about her daughter. Don't, that was one thing she couldn't bear to hear come out of his mouth. Nobody deserved to mention her, to mention what happened. It was Viv's burden, Viv's pain, and how dare anyone try to pretend that they understood what it felt like to still remember holding her. She barely heard the rest of what he was saying because the blood was pounding in her ears and there were unshed tears turning her gold eyes to glitter. The left eye still had just the fading memory of some black eye bruise, barely detectable at all in such delicate lighting. He probably shouldn't have turned his back on her, but when he did a single tear slid free at last. It wasn't release enough, though, and she turned on him swiftly, chucking her whiskey and it's glass at the back of his body. If it took to his head, even better. "Fuck you!" Anguish made the words a scream, "Who are you?! What do you want from me?!" Because she did not want to have these conversations.
Wayne gave no indication of hearing her if she had spoken and he certainly didn’t care that she didn’t want to hear what he had to say. He could understand why she didn’t want to hear it and he filed away the emotion that colored her face. A physical attack wasn’t something he expected from her, which was why he turned his back, but not a moment later, he felt the heavy glass collide with his back and liquid seep into his shirt. The tumbler fell to the floor and broke, causing the two men outside to storm in, guns drawn. Wayne simply waved them off and turned to Vivienne, a cool anger finally there in his eyes. She was certainly ballsy. “You broke my glass,” he said as he stalked forward, patiently undoing his cuffs and rolling up the sleeves of his shirt so that they were halfway up his forearm. There were scars there, from knives, cigarettes and, on his left forearm, a gash where he’d been grazed by a bullet. They were faint, all very old considering they’d happened when he’d first started taking over Manhattan, and he didn’t care that she saw them. “Why are you so angry, Vivienne? Is it because I know about Annalise? Or that I’m saying it to you? The loss of a child is a hard one, harder for you because you feel so deeply.” He spoke quite calmly despite the fact that he was advancing on her and he didn’t stop until he’d backed her up against the wall, his hands braced on either side of her, his body doing a wonderful job of keeping her in place. Personal space was nothing to Wayne and he got right in her face. They were nose to nose and he wouldn’t let up no matter how much she tried to resist. If necessary, he’d grab hold of her wrists and pin them up over her head. It had been a while since he’d manhandled a woman, but he never forgot how to do it. “Don’t think for a second, Vivienne, that throwing things at me will get you the answers you seek. You know who I am. I am Wayne Mumford, the man with power over you, over your brother. Do you want to see him paroled in three years? Sooner? You had best keep that in mind, Vivienne, because while you are amusing, there are some things I will not tolerate.”
The activity was a spiral of chaos in her mind, and Irene was all crisp displeasure. Well now you've bloody well done it, you-- Viv tuned her out as the men rushed into the suite with guns drawn, she just froze in wait. The graffiti print of her dress fabric heaving for air even as a calm settled over her that said if she got shot it was worth it, but Wayne waved the men off a moment later. It brought her eyes back to him, and they should have never left because he was the immediate threat, even Irene was trying to scream that at her as the man detached his elaborate cuff links and began to roll his priceless sleeves up his priceless fucking arms. She wasn't afraid of him, not in that moment of so much adrenaline. She'd claw his face off, she'd gotten into enough rough scraps with her brothers over the years to know which ribs hurt the worst. They'd never taken it easy on her for being the only girl, and she couldn't have been more thankful now. Viv didn't remember backing up, but she didn't want him to touch her, and why the hell was he still talking? "Shut up!" She snapped when he mentioned Annalise, "Shut the fuck up!" She didn't like how calm he was when she felt so crazy. Her back found the wall and when she took a swipe of knuckles for his face, she found her wrists tangled up in his fingers and wrenched high on the wall. She bucked against him, twisting, refusing to look at him even when he spoke with such rationale. Her teeth were set like granite and there was a sound in her throat like she wanted to speak but didn't trust herself not to scream more profanity.. because he was right. He had the control, and it had nothing to do with the strength of his hands, which easily outmatched her scrawny weight. She exhaled slowly, concentrating on the pattern of burns and scars that led strange breadcrumb trails along his arm, the one she chose to look at instead of at his eyes. Finally, after what felt like a lifetime, she trusted herself to speak. Her voice was hoarse, either from all that screaming or just emotion. "... I'll keep that in mind."
How touchy she was and so emotional. He likely would have been confused, given his own lack of positive emotions, had he not dedicated a great deal of time attempting to understand such an emotional attachment. He knew she would fight, expected it, so the attempted swipe was easily caught and he simply pressed more of his weight against her, slipping one leg between hers to give him even more control over her body. He liked the way she screamed and struggled and although her antics did nothing to change his approach, she certainly interested him in a way he couldn’t quite pinpoint. Maybe it was because she didn’t bother to pretend overly much to be something she wasn’t. Or maybe it was because she knew what love was like and still carried on even though it had slapped her in the face. “As you should, Vivienne,” he replied, reminding her with a simple cant of his hips that she was at his mercy. The fact that he was somewhat aroused by all of this was hardly thought of and if he felt any pleasure at the motion, it didn’t show on his face. “You’re passionate and you don’t like taking shit from anyone, do you?” A rhetorical question, he knew the answer already. “Apologize and maybe I’ll let you go.” His hands tightened around her wrists, which would no doubt be uncomfortable by now. He’d promised her that she would leave unharmed so the marks caused by his grips would fade after a few minutes. He was, despite everything else, a man of his word.
Viv was really beginning to lack appreciation for this situation and the wall at her back because it made the native in her feel trapped in the way expensive architecture always did. But this was worse, and when he wedged his thigh between hers to control any flails of leg - which was really just in time for him as she had a knee with his name on it - Viv hissed. She didn't care for that shift of his hips, and his arousal was obvious. That's what finally had her looking at him, no more sign of tears in those gold lion eyes, just cool detachment. No, she certainly didn't like taking shit or abuse from anyone, but she didn't think it was a question that she could answer without spitting in his face. There was a flicker of disbelief in her expression, something that said she couldn't fathom apologizing or maybe she couldn't fathom him really letting her go. Which is why she said nothing at first. The squeeze of his fingers and the subtle jerk that brought her arms even higher pulled a sound from her that was a little wounded. She pushed herself onto the toes of her wedge sandals, but even that brought no relief. Her heartbeat took on a slow wardrum kind of pace as the flutter of panic subsided into resolution. "I'm sorry," although Viv clearly didn't seem to mean it. Not with the burn in those eyes as she stared right back..
The fact that she didn’t believe him was par for the course really and he took great pleasure in lifting her further onto her tiptoes. She spoke the words, but they lacked conviction and that was enough to make him lift her up just a touch more. “Once more now, sweetheart, and with all that feeling you’ve got welled up inside,” Wayne replied, just the barest hint of a challenge in his words. He wouldn’t back down from this, not with her. He liked her for her fire, for her passion. That was what made her amusing. When she tried to play along without really playing along, she just served to annoy him. He waited less than patiently for her to apologize and the longer she waited, the more he raised her up. It wasn’t quite perfect, he’d get tired eventually and at a certain point, he wouldn’t be able to lift her up any more. Still, it was a power play and she needed to remember that he was the one with the power.
Viv hated him and her arms were burning like molten metal in their sockets when he jerked her higher. Just a nonbeliever on the rack, to be tugged on the straggling, desperate edges of her tip toes. Irene was all instruction now on the twenty ways to get herself out of this situation, but Irene did not care for Viv's brother, and Viv had to tune her out in favor of blood. The blood in her veins was cold, hate was a cold thing that didn't burn, but rather numbed. If he wanted her to say it with some conviction, he was barking up the wrong tree because she wasn't sorry for shit. He pulled another seething, pained sound from her when he hefted on her wrists again, the leverage of his knee between her thighs lifting her even as she closed her eyes. Because that wasn't true, she was sorry.. she was sorry for so many things that it chewed holes in her. More than him, she hated the sound she made then, something sad and realizing. Everything was her fault, and that's why she had such a hard time coping with her baby being gone, and why she couldn't let her brother rot away in prison.. because it was her responsibility, and her demands, and her fucking negligence that had gotten them all to this point. Be it grave, or cell, or against this man's wall. She sniffed, hating the action itself and the soft sound and everything about it, when she looked at him again with tear-rimmed eyes, there was still that hate even if now there was honesty. "I'm sorry." For the drink thrown at his back? No. For everything else? Yes.
He watched her as she got control of herself, as she made her decision. Hard truths was something he doled out on a regular basis and this was a bit harsher, certainly, but it seemed to be the way to get through to her. As soon as the words passed her lips, he loosened his grip. She was lowered back to her feet first, then his leg moved, his hands loosened their hold on her wrists, and finally he started to back away. He wouldn’t tolerate any further physical attack from her. “Thank you, Vivienne,” he replied, and it was only slightly patronizing along with a warm smile. Any anger he’d felt before had disappeared as soon as she’d spoken, replaced once more by interest and amusement. Despite backing up, he was still in her space, not quite willing to sacrifice being close to her. A weakness perhaps, but one that he didn’t allow to affect him for very long. Not a minute later there was space between them and he turned to half face the couch he’d been heading toward earlier. “Shall we?” He almost offered her an out, to be done for the night, but he wasn’t quite finished with her. “You’ll need to behave for the rest of the evening, Vivienne. My patience is wearing thin and I’d like to keep my promise if it’s all the same to you.” Now he was just teasing.
Her release was unexpected and yet blissful. When he stepped away from her, there was a fumbling and coltish stagger as she once more settled on the unsteady wedge of her heels. Her knees buckled momentarily while freshly freed hands caught the wall at her back for leverage and strength when Wayne began to back off. She eyed him, cagey and untrusting in the way he still lingered close enough to be irritating, like he might reach out and grab her all over again. Viv watched him move for the couch, peachy as a fucking prince and so pleased with himself, wasn't he? She straightened the rest of the way, using the wall at her back to find the strength in doing so. Her arms hurt, shoulder sockets ached, a brief glance at her wrists showed that they were red and mottled from the grip of his fingers but nothing that would bruise, she was tougher than that. It showed in the way that she didn't follow him, although she tested the shark infested waters with one lone step away from the wall. Tugging her dress back down from the rough handling that had forced its hem higher in the direction of her hips with all her twisting and snarling. "I'd rather leave, if it's all the same to you," and her eyes strayed to the door, composing herself once again to the stern vision that she'd been from the moment she stormed into Aria. Tacky and tasteless, but as regal as her surname.
To his credit, Wayne didn’t notice how high the hemline of her dress had gotten and not once did his eyes drift lower than her shoulders. He wanted to see just how strong she was because while he had no intention of actually breaking her, he wanted to push her to her limits. That was half the fun, wasn’t it? He hadn’t quite made it to the couch yet when she asked to leave, in her own way. Wayne didn’t bother hiding his disappointment and sighed heavily. He didn’t answer her at first, choosing instead to take the drink he’d discarded and swallow most of the amber liquid, more than practiced with handling the burn as it went down. Minutes of silence stretched between them as he took a seat on the couch, completely ignoring the broken glass and wasted whiskey on the floor. “If you must, Vivienne. I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.” A smile was barely concealed by the lip of the tumbler as he finished it off. He wouldn’t stop her if she left and neither would the guards outside, but he would watch her intently and hope - in his own way - that she’d stay.
Get the fuck out of here was the only logical course of option. Staying for drinks and couch cuddling had never been on the menu to begin with and it sure as hell wasn't an option after he'd started spitting out the venomous and most private details of her life. The silence was agonizing in its own way, and somehow staying near the wall of her own crucifixion was more comfortable than advancing any further after him. Still, she actually did wait for his permission which was an entirely new school of thought and one she tried not to think about very much until he murmured like the Devil behind the rim of his tumbler. She didn't understand men, never had.. and this pretty much cemented the fact that they were crazier than her, especially the rich. Who likes broken glass and throwing priceless oddities and screaming like a banshee in the night? Well, her, but.. without another word she collected her purse from the floor on her way out of the door. Half expecting the armed guards to stop her, but they didn't look at her once. Not her tacky heels or her overpriced dress, not the battle sneer she had ready. They were just dead eyes and guns behind their backs.. and Viv couldn't get down to the elevator in the name of escape fast enough.