Welcoming Committee

The roar of an over-used engine can be heard spiking through the various sounds plaguing the senses on Santa Monica, announcing the arrival of an army-green jeep with massive wheels and new tires. A cheerful black fellow sits in the passenger seat, a brilliant, straight-toothed smile sitting under his thick, black spectacles. The man suddenly bangs on the dashboard, getting the driver's attention over the noise of the engine. The black man hastily points at the sidewalk, causing the driver to swiftly pull over with a screech of tires and a violent shake of the vehicle.

A large blacked out Range Rover Landrover Sport makes its way along the street. Slowly, it comes to a stop a little ways down from Joe's Pool Hall. The rear door opens, and one slender leg steps out, followed by another. A word in german is spoken, if one were close enough to hear it and understand it would be "I will walk for a little bit." After the legs touch the street, a tall slender man slides out of the Landrover, closing the door behind himself. He takes a glance over at the army-green jeep and the screeching noises and arches an eyebrow. However, his head turns back towards the buildings on the strip, and his eyes narrow slightly at the sign of "Joe's Pool Hall." His hands move towards each other, and his fingers interlace as he presses the thin black gloves onto his hands a little higher. Black gloved hands then travel along the lapel of the black suit jacket and tug on it slightly, bringing it forward and more on his shoulders.

As is typical for any various night on the Santa Monica Strip, groups of wannabe fashionistas and party animals swagger through the crowds hoping to touch greatness by being in contact with some celebrity-of-the-moment. Of course, where there are celebrities behaving badly, there are paparazzi to make sure every embarrassing, incriminating moment is captured for the public at large. Hanging around the fringes of the latter group would be a rather diminutive woman, both is stature and size, with glossy black hair cut into an asymmetrical bob. Grey eyes flit through the crowd at a dizzying pace as her fingers stay wrapped around her precious camera.

The passenger side door to the jeep is thrown open just as it slides up to the curb, and the aged black man leaps from his seat and onto the sidewalk, a smile on his face. He points up at the sign clearly saying 'Santa Monica' turning back to yell at the driver of his vehicle with a triumphant smile. "YOU SEE, PATRICK?! I /KNEW/ WE WERE IN LOS ANGELES! I /TOLD/ YOU." The driver gives a rather exasperated roll of his eyes, before letting his head fall into his hands. The large black man just happens to be standing next to Ella and her group, and he turns his head to look at the for a moment, raising a dark eyebrow curiously.

The green and brown eyes of the slender man slowly make their way around his surroundings. He folds his arms behind his back, his legs sliding out just slightly to a shoulder width apart from each other. His head tilts back slightly as his eyes continue to scan the crowd slowly, looking at groups of people and individuals. At the shouting his eyes slowly roll towards the large black man who exited his jeep. His eyes narrow slightly as he watches him and hmms softly, before they scan back to the sign. Slowly, the man turns slightly, at the torso to glance at the street signs, and surrounding shops. "Santa Monica," he murmurs to himself, "the Burning Fortune…Santa Monica and North Fairfax…" He seems to nod at this, rather content in himself but continues to stand for a moment before he decides to move over towards the edge of the street, to lean against a building for a moment.

Slender fingers, the nails painted a deep indigo, begin tapping against the camera in the young photographer's hand with a steady beat as a small smile begins to play over her rather large mouth. Her head jerks around at the booming voice almost right on top of her, her eyes widening and her concentration on the music piped into her ear irrevocably broken. "Holy jesus fucker, dude! Okay, um, hi and welcome to Los Angeles," she flashes the dark-skinned man a wide grin before going on. "But, like, try not to scream and stuff like that unless you see someone really awesome. We're talking Angelina Jolie or J-Lo okay? Not even if you're shot or stabbed do you scream like that because it'll just bring the policia and you're probably better off dead than dealing with those crooked bastards."

Ruark continues to stare at the Santa Monica sign, seeming wholly unconcerned with the equally loud girl for the moment. He's dressed in tan slacks, a warm, red sweater, and black shoes. He slowly turns his head, raising one hand to fix his glasses as he stares at the girl, his expression deadpan for a moment. "Young lady, you have a very profane mouth."

The man leaning against the building continues to keep his eyes on the black man. He however seems more content in watching he and what filters out of Joe's Pool Hall for the moment, as that's where his eyes continue to return. Pursuing his lips slightly, he pushes off of the wall a little bit and slides his hands along the front of his suit jacket, smoothing it out. His hands then rise up to pull on the collar of his dress shirt, predominately black with white and grey pin strips. The shirt cuffs peak past the cuffs of the suit jacket to reveal french cuffs, with modest silver cufflinks. While one gloved hand drops to slip into his black slacks, while the other gloved hand taps an index finger - with a noticeable ring like bulge beneath the fabric - against his chin.

Tipping her head back, the pale paparazzo flutters her eyelashes up at the much larger man at her side, grinning wide enough to display her neat set of white teeth. "I beg to differ. I brush at -least- three times a day, sometimes more. There's no profane lurking in these pearly whites, I promise!" Canting her head to one side, she continues to stare brazenly at the hulking figure. "Where are you from anyhow?" Sensing this could be rather interesting, she reaches up and tugs a thin white cord from her ear, a small earbud popping out into her palm. She slides the piece into the pocket of her faded olive green cargo pants while shifting her weight from one red tennis shoe to the other.

The tall man, in his approach stops. He slowly turns and makes his way down the street, opposite to the papparazzo and the black man. He begins to hum softly to himself, something rather romantic sounding and probably Wagner. Both of his hands slide slowly into his slack pockets as he makes his way down the street.

Ruark returns the smile, shifting his large, muscled weight to one foot, his salt and peppered goatee contorting as his mouth shifts into a grin. "He he he. You're alright, ma'am." He says, before frowning and glancing back at his driver. "Patrick!" He yells. The man already seems to be walking towards the group. "Where'd we come from again?" His driver sighs, before saying "Brooklyn." The black man turns to reiterate the message, but frowns again. "Whatever he said."

Ella lets out a long whistle as she shakes her head. "You're hell and gone from Brooklyn now, man. It's a pretty unique place from what I hear. How can you forget it? I guess there are like lots of neighborhoods and stuff," she rambles, rolling her shoulders in a vague shrug. "So what brings you all the way across the country? Are you celeb-hunting, too? Just bait your trap with nose candy and some Jack Daniels and BAM! you have a celeb-trap, right?"

Ruark stares blankly at the woman. "Who is Jack Daniels?" he first asks, shifting his weight again as his driver comes up beside him. "Brooklyn. Yes. That's it. I lived there for a little while. And now… I'm here. Well what the fire ball." The black man says, reaching up to scratch his goatee. "Well, anyways, no I'm not here to take pictures, young lady. I'm here to… what. I don't know, actually." "Retirement." His driver chimes in, glancing at Ella. "Yes! That's right. I was a boxer, you know." He flashes another charismatic grin at Ella, dropping his hand to his side again.

A swift series of blinks is reserved for Ruark as she listens, her brow furrowing somewhat. Those astute grey eyes sweep over his muscular frame with ease as she gnaws thoughtfully on her lower lip. "So did you ever bite anyone's ear off?" she asks, excitement brimming in her burgeoning smile. "Did you ever fight the lunatic? You know, Tyson. The guy people always name their pit bulls and rottweilers after! How about the guy with those big hands? Lennox? I think? I dunno, everything I know about boxing I absorbed from following people like Jack Nicholson to the matches."

Ruark returns the series of blinks, his own frown become more deep. "I don't know any of those people." Now he smiles again, as it seems the entire conversation is forgotten, literally. "Hey, young lady, might you direct me to a nice cafe? I'm itching for a cup of joe."

Ella visibly boggles at the large man near her, her jaw dropping and her eyes widening. It takes her a few tries to find the words, her hands waving in front of her from side to side, "Wait, wait, wait. Hold the fucking phone. Are you," she points at Ruark's chest without touching him, "trying to tell me," she turns that same finger back to her chest, "that you don't know Lennox and Tyson?!" Her head shakes once from side to side, "You're screwing with me, right? You're a boxer and you don't know them? They're everywhere!" Her eyes suddenly narrow as they sweep over him, "Wait, am I on Punk'd? Are you Ashton Kutcher in disguise?"

"Punk'd? Young woman speak english! I am tired of this nonsense you youngsters throw around like your virginity." The black man says, though the frown fades from his face as quickly as any of his other emotions, replaced by the smile usually displayed. "Hey, young lady. Is there a nice cafe I might get a cup of joe at? And then, perhaps a park we can visit? You can inform me of these famous boxers once we are all set. But I must have my coffee, you see. I must."

Ella glances over Ruark's rather enormous shoulder to flash the driver once of those pleading looks, almost as if she were silently asking if he was serious. Clearing her throat, she turns her full attention back to the man in question and considers him quietly for all of two seconds. "Yeah, there's a decent place down on Melrose with outside seating so you can enjoy the beautiful weather while sitting your cappuccino. But, I still don't get it. I wonder if the entirety of sports is like this? They just stop paying attention to others in their field?"

"Oh really? Well let's take a walk." He replies in his somewhat gravelly voice, looking back to his driver for a moment. "PATRICK." Ruark yells, smacking his palms together in a surprisingly loud clap. "Stay here. Man the jeep. Keep the germans off the paint job. ACHTUNG." He yells, before turning to follow along with Ella. Ruark's driver gives another exasperated sigh before heading into Joe's, clearly looking to get fucked up. "Right, then, miss. What's your name? Mine's Ruark. Ruark Donagh McTierney. Black lord of Brooklyn. I was raised by the irish."

Ella mouths the word 'germans' with a completely baffled look on her face. She ducks down as if evading something in the air, peering up at the sky with a whisper, "I don't see any planes. I think we're safe from the blitzkrieg, yeah?" Cautiously, she rises again, though a teasing half-smile curls one corner of her lips. "Black lord of Brooklyn? For serious?? I thought that was Shaft! Or Sho'nuff! Wait, no he was the Samurai of Brooklyn or something," she mutters, scratching at her head with her free hand. "I'll have to watch The Last Dragon again to find out and to perfect by ninja moves. Anyhow! Yes! Coffee!" she exclaims triumphantly. "Espresso, oh the sweet taste of jittery nerves and cigarette butts shall be mine." Extending a hand, the young woman responds cheerily, "I'm Ella Priest, paparazzo extraordinaire."

Ruark seems to have forgotten the german comment all together as he takes the woman's hand before shaking it forcefully, the muscles in his handing popping up slightly. "Ella Priest. Right. Got it, young lady. Yes, young lady. Raised by the irish, exalted by the african, and fought by the germans. Fought a donkey in the ring, too. And a shark. Or something. Sharks are interesting creatures, aren't they? You know they have many rows of teeth?" The man begins to walk alongside her, his large form no doubt dwarfing hers in the eyes of passersby. "What a nice city. Very jazzy. Glitzy, too." One hand raises, gesturing upward at the buildings while the other slips into a pocket of his tan slacks.

Leading the way easily through the clots of gawkers and revelers on the streets, Ella has to keep reminding herself to slow down so as not to lose the big guy. She mutters apologies from time to time if she actually does bump into someone, especially when stowing her camera back into the messenger bag at her hip. "So how long have you been in Los Angeles? Do you like it here so far? I'm surprised you're not in Vegas. There are lots of boxing matches there that are shown on TV all over the place," she chit-chats, glancing over her shoulder as she does so.

"We just drove in." The cheerful fellow says, brown eyes straying up to the sky, staring at a large advertisement about wine. "Boxing? What do I care about boxing. Oh. Boxing! Yes. Well, that's a thing of the past, young lady. Miss Ella. Now I am a connoisseur of fine wines." Ruark seems to read this right off of the billboard, before looking back down to Ella with a smile. He glances down at his maroon sweater, reaching up to brush something nonexistent away from its material. "Papparazzo? You in the mafia, young lady? You better tell me right now. I'll have to call the police."

Ella leads the way towards the cafe with confident strides which don't even break as she lets loose with a burst of joyous laughter. "Oh, you've definitely found me out. I'm totally the lost Gotti, the one they never talk about. Or maybe I'm just so sneaky they don't even know I -exist-." She grins widely as she saunters up to the barista, "It'll be just a minute. I'm not sure if I want the double or triple espresso yet." Casting a glance over her shoulder, she asks the hulking figure behind her. "Do you know what you want? I dunno if they serve wine here, but they have loads of coffee and coffee-like things."

"Gotti. I /remember/ that one. That's the cheese maker, right?" The man says, bringing a hand to his chin thoughtfully. He reaches up with both hands now, taking his glasses off as he stares at Ella. "Get me coffee. All black and strong and steamy. And sugar packets. Lotsa sugar packets. I may be old but I got a strong heart, and I plan on eatin' all the sugar I can get, dear."

Ella catches the young scenester barista's baffled look and answers it with a slow, knowing nod while leaning on the counter with one elbow. "Mmhmm, you heard the man. He wants a cup of sugar with a little coffee for flavor, STAT. And none of that Splenda shit! That's just weak. While I would like a triple espresso. The more caffeine, the merrier," she delivers the order with more than a bit of amusement ringing in her voice. Once finished, she turns around to fully face Ruark. "Yeah, that's the Gotti family alright. Full of cheese."

"That's right, the famous cheese farmers." He says, replacing the glasses to his features before blinking once and scratching his goatee'd chin. "Where are we again? This some kind of restaurant?" He asks, looking back at Ella, something truly lost about his deep brown eyes. "Ah, coffee. That's right. Lots of sugar in my coffee."

As the barista finishes her duty, Ella turns around to pay the pink-haired, pierced woman and take the two cups. "Already on it, man. Here's yours," she states with a careful smile, offering up the sweetened-within-an-inch-of-its-life cup of coffee to Ruark. "Now, can I ask you somewhat of a personal question? I know we've just met and all, but I can't help it. I -have- to ask," she leans forward a bit and whispers, "Did you get conked on the noggin a lot in the ring? I mean A LOT and HARD."

Ruark stares at Ella, blinking again as he begins to frown, taking his coffee in silence. Still, he simply stares at her, frowning the entire time as he holds the steaming cup. "Who are you again?" He asks, his features becoming entirely curious again. "This coffee smells deeeeelicious." He adds, raising the steaming cup to his lip before taking a sip. "Mighty sweet, though."

Ella turns her head to one side as she examines Ruark from the corner of her eyes. "Yeah, just like you like your women-folk. Sweet, dark, and smoking hot, right?" she asks before shaking her head with a giggle. "Come on, let's stop holding up the line and find someplace to sit. Been standing all night and I'm tired of standing," she goes on as she weaves around a few tables, finally picking one close to the fence that seperates the little cafe from the rest of the sidewalk. Knowing she's already asked it, she can't help but ask again, "What is it you're doing in Los Angeles? Why not Los Vegas with Celine Dion and Barry Manilow?"

The large man follows Ella to the chosen table, blinking confusedly at the joke about women. He takes his seat and continues to sip his coffee, brown eyes straying behind the glasses, watching the people within the shop. "I stopped in Vegas for a little while, miss Ella. But places can get boring, you see." He replies quickly, flashing his usual inexplicably cheerful smile. "Just as all the cities before lost their jazziness. Jazziness. Is that a slang word often used in these parts? I'm fond of it, but nobody else seems to like it. But it's just jazzy."

Not so much sipping as gulping down her rather petite drink, Ella never moves her curious gaze away from Ruark. Her brow knits together gently as she settles herself into a chair across from her new acquaintance. Bony elbows prop themselves up on the arms of the chair as she crosses her legs, her messenger bag settled comfortably across her lap. "I think it's a good word. A fun word! It should be used more often than it is, and that's to say I've never heard it before. So who have you fought in the ring?"

Ruark frowns as she asks this, his gaze turning away as he attempts to recount the memories of this particular area of his past. "People." He says, nodding with certainty as he takes a large gulp of his sweet coffee. "Big men like me." Within seconds the large man gulps down his coffee and stands, glancing at his watch. "Well, Missus Stevenson, its time for me to get back now. Need to get to the hotel room with Patrick and all. Thanks for the coffee." Without another word the black, muscled fellow starts towards the door, humming a jolly tune along the way.

With one dark eyebrow raised, Ella watches Ruark depart, her paper cup poised at her lips. She drains the bitter beverage in one large gulp, her body already shuddering with the effects of the caffeine. "Yeah, okay, see you around, big guy. Don't get hurt! Don't get lost and um get famous! So I can take pictures of you and rake in the dough. Don't forget! I'm Ella Gotti and I could make you sleep with the fishes!" she raises her voice the further he gets, making certain he, and everyone else around, can hear her.

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