Come Into My Parlor

All along Santa Monica revelers use the current holiday as an excuse to imbibe massive quantities of green beer while dressed like crazed leprechauns, and of course where there are stars behaving badly while looking like morons there are paparazzi. Dressed herself in green fishnets, black knee-high boots, and a skirt that seems to be made from strips of cloth all dyed different shades of green that hangs just above her knees. Currently, her top is a green jacquard bodice with a lighter green maribou trim and, completing the rather odd costume, is a pair of iridescent dragonfly wings. Noticing the door cracked open, even though the sign posted says The Burning Fortune in closed, the rather brave paparazzo creeps up and nudges the door further open. She pokes her head in, peering from side to side as if searching for burglars. "Helloooooo? Anyone in here?" she asks against her better judgement.

Arturo seems to be pacing in the store slightly, looking distracted as all hell. With a start, he clutches his chest almost in pain. "OH for fuck sakes…" He moves to the door and lets Ella in, holding the door. "I'm sorry miss Priest, you startled me. I thought it was locked, but you are welcome here." He looks out of the door as if addressing the area to find some unseen attacker. "If you don't mind too, I was going to lock it if you come in or not." he admits, an uncomfortable twitching and awkward grin coming to his face.

Grey eyes rake over Arturo's frame in a brazen manner from beneath green glittered eyeshadow as Ella slowly begins to frown. She doesn't say anything at all until she's fully in the shop, looking all the world like some sort of maniacal viridian fairy. "What's going on? Where you mugged or robbed? Did they take anything?" she starts asking in rapidfire sequence, her gaze pausing at her companion's shirt where once there had been buttons. This only serves to deepen her worry as she drags her eyes up to meet his, "I can totally call the cops if you want. Was it that Carl guy? Did he come back?"

Arturo stares off blankly, waving his hand dismissively as he ensures the door is secure. "Hardly Carl, and I'm fine now that ah, I'm here." he states in a disappointed tone. "If you hadn't gotten the idea the other evening, I do not call the police unless my shop blows up…and even then, I just wait for someone else to." He seems to change the subject suddenly, brightening up slightly as he notices Ella's concern. "I had no idea you would care, miss Priest. And…sorry again." He puts up both of his hands open palm and defensively as he apologizes to the woman.

Ella furrows her brow as she puts one fist on her hip, the universal pose adopted by the severely obstinate. "But if someone is like threatening you and getting physically abusive, it's kinda protocol to call the boys in blue and hope you don't get one of the dirty cops. And if you don't want to call them, -I- can and I dunno what you're apologizing for…" she prattles on, until her voice inexplicably fades into nothing. Blinking up at Arturo with mild confusion, she then adds, "And why wouldn't I care if you got hurt? I don't have any reason at all to want you to get smacked around like some back-alley ho. You've always been nothing but nice and cordial to me."

Arturo smiles warmly, and nods. "If someone is threatening me, I take notes. Calling the police gives motive if I throttle them later." He grins slightly, and some of his distracted behavior begins to fade as he warms up to Ella. A defensive posture comes to him again, and he half-ducks as if Ella were about to strike him, all in a joking manner. "Not that you don't care, you seem indifferent, and ah.." He lowers his hands, lifting but one to scratch his head as he continues with, "By unwilling association, I might have gotten you injured." His features darken slightly, but a smile remains as he begins to elaborate. "I figured you would never be seen near me again, and I'd have to take down the nice photos for fear of looking strange." He finally chuckles, looking to relax a bit more still.

At the mention of the photographs, Ella turns to peer at each one in turn without straying from her current spot. "That would be a shame since you paid for them and all. Might as well get your money's worth," she replies at length before settling her heavy gaze back on the usually chic proprietor. "Oh believe me I can find my own trouble, I'm used to it. It'll take more than a weirdo biker bully and his thugs to keep me away. I think he was following me once… I dunno, but he winks at me and is just generally creepy. Of course that just makes me want to follow -him- just so he knows what it's like. I'm good at following people, obviously," this last is said in a rather haughty tone, though the crooked smile on her lips makes it evident she's not really that arrogant about her abilities. "But really, what has you so messed up tonight?" She takes a step closer as her stare turns critical, "Are you hopped up on goofballs?"

Arturo listens intently at first, and then turns to a smirk. He doesn't flinch a bit as Ella steps closer to him, but he moves even closer still strangely, coming close to touching Ella with his form. "Clean body, clean soul." he intones deliberately. With a broad smile, he meets Ella's gaze firmly and introduces an odd question, "If you had been following me like usual, you would know, wouldn't you?" A soft chuckle escapes his lips, though the distance between he and Ella has not changed by his volition as he finishes speaking, and his hands slide into his pockets, continuing to ignore the state of disrepair his shirt is in.

"I can't follow everyone all the time, you know!" responds the diminutive sprite of a girl, her voice on the verge of laughter. "I'll take that evasion as a yes, that you went out and took some bad street drugs. Though the people of your stature and taste usually seem to hover around the nose candy," she continues before finally taking a step back, one hand reaching for the nearby rack of shiny Zippo lighters. "I actually was being a very bad paparazzo tonight. I wasn't following anyone in particular, just enjoying Patty's Day a bit." A guarded expression enters her slate eyes as she peers at Arturo, "Are you saying you get into enough trouble that I should be following you?"

Arturo throws up both of his hands, waving them slightly at Ella. "No…are you crazy?" he asks rhetorically. "I'm beginning to think that I should return to being a shut-in these days." He sighs, and lowers his arms. "You want to know what I did tonight to get this?" He makes a gesture, tugging on the ripped and messy light yellow dress shirt. "What unspeakable acts I performed?" He now seems to take on a slightly joking tone; it is hard to tell whether or not he is being serious. He looks to Ella for a response.

Gnawing on her lower lip for one thoughtful moment as her fingers glide over the cool metal of the lights beside her, Ella finally bobs her head in a quick nod. "How could I say no to that sort of thing? Gossip is my bread and butter, and it pays my bills more often than not," she finally relents, a wide grin flashing across her face. "Unspeakable acts are always the best kind to speak about, I've learned in my experience. Being a shut-in is boring and dull and shouldn't be undertaken lightly in any case."

Arturo seems to nod grimly, as he prepares to unleash the beast. With a sigh, and then another deep breath, he begins to explain. "Well, you know your friend Blair? I've seen her a couple of times, once at the club the other night. So we went gallivanting, just having a good time you know? Like I've tried to do with you, just whatever seems good to do at the time. So we have a ball, she seems less upset today, and actually…get this…calls me." A distracted chuckle ensues, and he continues. "We meet, and decide we should go shopping. Now, there are a ton of weird ass details, but the whole time, I offered for her to be sent home, because she looked nervous. Eventually…she calls home. We arrive to get drinks, and out of nowhere…"

Arturo says, 'That jackass street performer grabs me, and slams me against a wall, and says something to the tune of 'if she says she wants to go home, let her go'. Clearly, I am confused, as I offered that, let her call him, and…she called me. So, I said that she had called me, and told her to lose my number. This guy threatened me something fierce…'

Arturo after a pause, he seems to shudder. "I don't even want to talk about it anymore I don't think."

Ella widens her eyes throughout the telling of the tale, her posture going rigid at the mention of a street performer. Recognition washes across her rather pale face as her dark eyebrows shoot upwards. Not once does her gaze shift away from Arturo, burning a hole as it were into his face with the strength of it. No words are offered to interrupt the tale, though her lips do press into a thin, pensive line nearing the end of it. "Was he kinda tall?" she asks while lifting a hand above her head to indicate someone taller than her, "And have longish hair? If so, then it was probably Johnny.. he's the only street performer I know that isn't Criss Angel or David Blaine, though he does sorta look like lisping Criss." She shakes her head, forcing herself for once not to stray from the subject at hand. "He's a bit.. peculiar. I'm still not sure if he means well in general, or if he likes to pretend he means well when really all he wants to do is hurt things."

Arturo shrugs slightly, nodding in a noncommittal fashion. "It's the same guy when we first met. Guy who could -really- play the flute. He's apparently…fairly scary." He puts his hands up again, a halting gesture. "Don't get me wrong, I have my moments. I think he caught me by surprise." he says in a still not-so-serious tone, explaining himself. "I don't know about most of that for sure… I tell you what, Blair is likely in grave danger, and, I am not going to get involved." He pauses, frowning slightly. "And I'd like to. I think you could help, miss Priest…" He sort of trails off, looking disappointed and dejected, looking down bashfully at his feet.

A burst of sudden laughter escapes Ella's mouth, causing the wings attached to her back to twitch with her shaking shoulders. "Me?" she asks incredulously. "What could I possibly do that someone bigger than me can't? I really don't know her that well, but she seemed like a sweet girl." All trace of amusement fades in less than an instant as she narrows her eyes, "Though yeah now that I think about it, she did have some bruises on her when I saw her last," she adds, her usually bright voice turning colder by degrees. "I'll see what I can do, though you better as hell help, too. Especially if you like her," she adds in the last while her eyes sweep critically over Arturo.

Arturo smirks slightly as he is inspected by the woman. "Right, and I didn't even ASK about the damned bruises." He puts a hand up dismissively, turning his head. "Sorry." he apologizes again…damned? As he continues, a frown has formed on his face and he shakes his head. "I was told…roughly…that if he smelled my scent on her that he'd kill me." He pauses, looking to meet Ella's gaze with a frustrated look. "And I believe that both he can smell my scent…" He boggles at the concept, shaking his head, but then returns the frustrated glance to meet Ella's "And will probably kill me." His jaw quirks to the side as he chews on the invisible anguish placed near his cheek, and suddenly looks drained. "Pity too, I did like her before that. She said not a word to me, just called in the cavalry for some odd reason." He shrugs again, and continues to look generally defeated.

Ella crosses her arms as she begins to pace back and forth with her head bowed, her black and green-streaked hair tumbling forward to conceal the sides of her face. "So let's see.. she's being segregated away from people by one person, a male. She shows up with bruises that totally do not go with gardening, as she claimed. Erratic behavior? Check, since she called you out of the blue and you're a veritable stranger. I wonder…" she pauses, finally lifting her head to peer at Arturo, "… if Johnny might be some sort of cult leader? He's got the charisma in spades. All he has to do is play some music and people follow him like rats. He threatened me once, saying some crap about me being some salvation for this city, I dunno, he's a freak, but he said that if I ever hurt his friends he'd come after me. As if I could hurt a fucking fly, right? But every other time I've seen him, he's been really laid back. It's like that one time some switch was thrown in his head."

Arturo shrugs noncommittally to the whole thing Ella has stated in a rant. "I just simply, -do not know-. I am keeping my distance, because I am not romantically involved as he is, and… not verifiably insane." He gives a knowing nod at this, and then looks over Ella in an appraising manner. "I shouldn't undersell it, I really showed her a good time the other night, but it was just fun, and to distract her from being depressed. I -had- a great time…" He sort of trails off, looking to one of the pictures on the wall with an absent minded and sudden feigned interest in it. After a few moments of silence he looks back to the woman. "Speaking of underselling… I do not believe that you could not hurt a fly." He seems to speak as if he's known the woman for years, and makes no bones about hinting at some obscure strength she has. "Far from it."

Ella taps a finger against her temple as she lets a tired smile touch her lips, "In the immortal words of Poe, 'you can't talk to a psycho like a normal human being.' And she's totally right. Walk on eggshells around them, watch them closely, see what sets them off and then don't do that thing. Easy-peasy right?" She lets her hand fall to her side as she follows the line of his gaze to one of the pictures, "Nah, he's right. I'm pretty much harmless unless you're worried about your reputation. Then, if I really put my mind to it, I could probably sully that."

Arturo smirks slightly, and seems to drop the subject with a disappointed "Right." He continues to appraise Ella with his eyes, it is hard to tell if he is admiring or undressing in his gaze. "I must say, I do like you Ella. Nothing like the morons I usually encounter… you don't spurt out things that should not be said." With that, he turns slightly and makes a gesture to the back room. "Care to hide out with me back here some more, or were you just here for the gossip and fashion show?" he says with a broad smile.

Ella brushes her palms over the tulle material of her skirt, her nose wrinkling a bit at the feel. Her grey sights drop to the floor, ostensibly to peer down at the toes of her boots, and not at all that she's completely avoiding the searching gaze raking over her meager form. "Then you haven't been around me lots. I say stuff all the time that probably isn't appropriate and don't realize it until much later, if ever at all." She peeks up past Arturo, towards the shuttered back room. "Sure, I wouldn't mind sitting down. I'm still not used to wearing heels. You can't run as fast in heels."

Arturo nods noncommittally again, and moves to hold the door for Ella as they pass through to the smoke room. Once she is seated, he moves to a seat as well, and relaxes, the shirt finally giving out entirely as he puts his arms behind his head. The half bare-chested man yawns stupidly, and then lets his eyes fall to look upon the woman again. "I'd spend more time around you I think, if you weren't as apprehensive about me." he states in a rather forward-as-usual manner. He remains reclining, and continues. "Or maybe my spending habits." He laughs slightly and raises an eyebrow to Ella as he prepares for her reaction.

Sliding herself onto the edge of one of the L-shaped couches, close enough to Arturo to have a conversation without yelling across the table, Ella grins coyly at his observation. "Well, you have to admit it's a little strange to have someone you barely know offer to buy you designer clothes and not expect anything in return," she mentions with a vague shrug, all while trying to get into a comfortable sitting position while wearing her current ensemble. "I'm always leery of men wanting to buy me crap out of nowhere…" she pauses before an utterly evil smile touches her cool grey eyes, "At least until after the background checks have gone through." Those same eyes wander down along Arturo's torso as she lifts a hand to her chest, wriggling her fingers as she adds, "I think maybe you might have to go shopping again."

Arturo chuckles softly and asks, "Why, am I that horrible to behold?" He grins slightly, a spark in his eyes as he does. "Oh…" he says suddenly, a furrow forming on his brow. "I meant to ask you…how do you know Devon?" His face reflects a genuine curiosity, though the wisp of a grin still tugs at the edge of his flattened lips.

With a bit of coaxing from her nimble fingers, Ella manages to contort her wings in such a way that she can easily lean back in her seat. "Devon? Oh! I'd seen him around a time or two, once when I snuck into Crank to see what celebs were getting down, but it wasn't until I realized we had a friend in common that we started talking more." She pauses as she settles her gaze squarely on Arturo's chiseled face, "By more I mean, once in a blue moon, but still.. and it's kind of odd," she adds in a thoughtful tone, "He asked me the same thing about you."

Arturo nods slowly, and grins "And the same thing about you, miss Priest. I've met them twice, and was not introduced until the second time." With a look of reflection, he taps his cheek thoughtfully. "Answered my question exactly, though. A nosy one, he is…" After a pause, he looks to Ella. "Elijah maybe?" he lets his hands fall to cross in front of his chest, and continues. "The waiter guy…he was at Hades that night a few weeks back too…the gunfight."

Ella points avidly at Arturo as she bobs her head in a nod, "Yeah! Elijah! I used to talk to him a lot, but he's sorta turned into a hermit since he's been trying to get away from the scene. Can't blame him, though. Fighting an addiction is a hard thing to do and being around the temptation every night does not help." She lets her hands fall into her lap, her fingers pinching at the itchy material there. "Lots of people are nosy, Arturo. Just some of us are more straight-forward about it."

Arturo smiles widely as Ella speaks, seeming to enjoy himself. "Art, if you please miss Priest." He stretches in his chair, sinking into it deeply and looks very relaxed. "Well, I'm glad you were nosy tonight. I had to share that complete insanity earlier with someone. I might just sleep better." A nervous chuckle escapes his lips, and he sort of shakes his head at the ceiling in dismay. "And your subtlety just thrills me." he states happily with a smile on his face. He lowers his head and meets Ella's gaze, his disarming smile ever present. "So, thank you again, for a good evening without costing me a dime."

Ella offers the tall man a broad smile and a wink on the side, "Well, isn't that how most good evenings are supposed to go? You shouldn't have to pay all the time to keep company with someone. Don't get me wrong, getting things is nice, especially really shiny things and colorful things, but I digress," she prattles on while inclining her chin, forcing herself not to break eye contact. "Do you have an alarm system back at wherever you live? That would go a long way in keeping peace of mind.. that and a big gun."

Arturo shakes his head. "I do not use guns." He produces a wickedly sharp straight dirk from beneath the table and sets it down before him. "Nor violence for the sake of violence. No one trespasses on my home, no one." His tone is suddenly grim, and his gaze dark and piercing, but his hands have luckily moved away from the knife. "I wouldn't worry about me at home, it's whenever I leave that the ah.. you know, hits the fan." he finally says with a soft chuckle, breaking the darkness of his demeanor. "Maybe you can be my bodyguard, and to pay you I'll acquire shinies and baubles and such." He smirks playfully now, gazing almost lustfully at Ella.

"Bodyguard??" she repeats in a shocked voice before letting loose with a peel of laughter. "Holy crap, I doubt I could guard my own body, let alone someone else’s. I take yoga, not kung-fu," she mentions off-hand with a slight roll of her eyes. "Though I have been tempted to take like a beginning karate class, even though I don't relish the idea of being beat down by eight year olds." Tugging nervously on a lock of her hair near her face, she adds thoughtfully, "Though I bet there are eight year olds bigger than me."

Arturo laughs uproariously, and in a contagious manner. After a few moments of this, he sighs deeply and looks across the table at Ella. "Please?" he insists, a playful smile again dancing on his lips. His eyes seem to glimmer with a spark of light as he meets the small woman's gaze and pleads, he looks to be somewhat entranced by her presence. The dark eyes seem to scour the surface of her, appraisingly, and what they find seems to be of value by his continued display of a bit of awe.

Ella widens her eyes at the expression displayed before her, as if only just now realizing precisely what it means. A pinkish blush crawls up Ella's neck as a cloud of embarrassment engulfs her, turning her head to flicker her gaze around the room, anywhere except where Arturo sits. Her arms cross and uncross in front of her as she visibly tenses, "Ah yeah I don't think I could be a bodyguard, even if the offer of shiny gems and metals stands. I'm already a full-time photographer and stalker."

Arturo shakes his head as if to dismiss everything Ella has said. "Oh come on, I said PLEASE" he says, laughing out loud afterwards. He reflects on the woman he looks over now, and says "I don't think with the ever adorable miss Priest by my side, that anyone could think to send harm my way." He nods assuringly, and grins at the slender figure seated near him. Sitting in silence now, and enjoying the view, he continues to merely observe in wonder.

Ella manages to push a smile onto her lips as she slowly turns her head to peer back at Arturo, though the blush hasn't fully receded just yet. "I'd make them cower in fear of hearing my voice for an eternity," she quips with a chuckle as she shakes her head. "Besides, like I said, I still need the results of that background check before accepting any positions in your employ. It's just the safe thing to do in today's world, right?"

Arturo smirks slightly, and shakes his head. "I suppose…but I was kidding." With a bemused smirk and the quirk of an eyebrow, he asks "You can't be serious, though." He seems to look at Ella as if she has three heads before she answers, the concept apparently making his mind go blank. "How boring of a research that would be." he adds, dismissing the idea as folly outright rather than entertaining the answer right away. He looks to Ella again for some sort of response, still looking blank, as well as on the verge of laughter.

Ella flutters her eyelashes at Arturo as if trying to prove her innocence, her tight-lipped smile hiding more than just her teeth this time around. "Maybe, maybe not. It's common procedure nowadays at any rate. You're lucky I'm not asking for a drug test, too, mister!" she exclaims, able to hold onto her serious face until the very end where she breaks down into a fit of giggling. "I guess you'll know soon enough if I'm serious or not, though." She still can't seem to stall her nervous twitching, what with her ankles crossing and uncrossing as her fingers curl around pieces of her tulle skirt.

Arturo smirks, and puts his hands flat on the table over the knife, sliding it under the table. "I have a miserable past miss Priest. If you do, there are parts you may want to look away from." he says with a grim tone. His face is suddenly solemn, and he seems to focus on something distant in his mind, bringing a twinge of pain to his facial features. After a moment, he relaxes, putting his hands again on the table. "I'd prefer being asked I think, and having the pleasure of avoiding certain less comforting stories." He looks to Ella with a slight smile, but disappointment rings true in his eyes.

This seems to pique Ella's interest as she sits up straighter, her body otherwise stilling all of its other movements. She leans forward a bit over the table, her head tilting to one side as she lowers her voice, "You're right about that, but people lie. Documents hardly ever do. I've seen starlets flash their cooters for the camera. After that, there is hardly anything in this world I think I couldn't stomach." Her eyes flicker to the tabletop for a moment, or perhaps more than likely to what it conceals. "It has to be something serious to have you hoarding away weapons."

Arturo shakes his head dismissively. "I fence." he states flatly. "Most people these days keep guns, one blade is hardly an arsenal." He looks at the table rigidly, and goes on. "And between you and I, documents lie more than I do." Sitting back in his seat, he meets Ella's gaze suddenly, and adds "Think about that one too much though, well…maybe just don't." He chuckles softly, breaking up his mood with a bit of laughter.

Ella keeps her attention wholly fastened to Arturo, even holding onto a bit of silence well after he's finished speaking. Even through his laughter, stares hard at the striking figure near her, only grudgingly allowing a small smile to taint her lips. "And now you see how my mouth gets me into trouble more than most peoples' do," she responds softly as she presses her palms against the tabletop, rising out of her seat. "I guess I should be going before you get all frazzled again. You probably need rest after your ordeal tonight."

Arturo waves a hand dismissively at the whole of Ella's statements. "I didn't mean to sound like I had some sort of criminal past, miss Priest, far from it. Tragedy has befallen me many many times in my life, only slightly improved in the end by a bit of fleeting good luck." After a languid shift of his body in his chair, he looks to Ella from his seat. "I'll let you get off the hook, because you probably want to go…" he pauses, furrowing his brow curiously, and continues. "But, I'd keep you for as long as you'd stay, just for the record." A warm smile crosses his face as he finishes his sentence, gazing over Ella again lazily for several moments of silence. "I'll show you out, then?" he asks, a child like curiosity in his deep smooth voice.

Ella closes her eyes for only a moment as she shakes her head, trying to clear her mind while gesturing with one hand to keep him in his seat. "No, no, that's okay. I can find my way out, I think. Just… take it easy," she ends awkwardly as she watches him intently. She straightens out her outfit before walking towards the door, peeking over her shoulder to add, "I'll see you around, alright?"

Arturo stands abruptly, tucking in his shirt slightly and closing it. "I insist." He proudly strides over, unphased suddenly by the events of the evening to show the woman to the door safely. "I had hoped you would say that, though. You're welcome any time, miss Priest, any time at all." He smiles widely and gestures for the front door as he moves to meet Ella. "I -hope- to see you most days that I do not." he adds finally, his smile even wider, showing off his pearly white teeth.

A bit of amused laughter escapes Ella's parted lips as she opens the door to the shop, "It's hard to say whether you're being sarcastic or not, what with that silver tongue of yours," she replies with a grin. "Watch out for crazy musicians!" she calls back cheerfully before slipping into the writhing crowds along Santa Monica, allowing them to swallow her whole once again.

Arturo smiles broadly, "So I've heard…Good evening, miss Priest." he says. After a moment, he peers down both ways peeking his head out of the door, and then shuts it once Ella has left his sight.

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