GAME> Saturday, Feb 05 17:53:01 2011 - Winter Night < Blizzard >
Yellow Bungalow: Living Room - Taylor Street: Little Italy
This likely used to be a small living room and a smaller dining room, but it has been opened up to a single space. The floors are old wood that, though recently stripped and waxed, show years of wear. Windows face the drive to the south and open west to the front porch. At the east side of the room, an arched opening in the south corner leads to the kitchen, and a hallway on the north side runs to the back of the house. The walls are painted off-white, almost cream, and show signs of having been patched.
A Mission-style hall tree with mirror, storage bench, and hooks for hanging coats stands next to the front door. Beyond it, a brown leather couch and matching oversized chair form a sitting area around a red and green Oriental-style rug, with a side table for the chair and a low green chest serving as a coffee table. These face the shelving unit that holds a television, audio equipment, a sparse rack of CDs, and a few, mostly practical books. A round table set with four ladder-backed chairs sits in front of the bay window at the west side of the room. One picture hangs over the couch, another over a shallow table holding a cordless phone that is set against the east wall.
Evening at the ranch. Well, at Robert's home, and he is settled in the livingroom, legs stretched out, the television on with a game he is not watching. To one side, there is a bottle of barely touched beer, sitting on the floor beside the couch. His hands are resting on his stomach, his eyes are not closed but open a slit, half aware of his surroundings.
Ashley raps to the door, lacing her hands behind her back. She has come alone and shifts her weight from one leg to the other, nearly poised to return to the cab. In truth, she has even asked the man to wait, impatient though it may seem.
"yes, I believe we met once before. Sadly, it was under rather unfortunate circumstances." Ashley remarks and nervously brushes her hair back from her face, looking back towards the cab. "I was a friend of Mr. Kramer."
Enlightenment dawns. Or at least, Robert steps back, indicating the living room with a gesture of his hand. "Welcome to my home. Come in and be welcome." His voice is a low rumble, coming from somewhere deep in his chest, the incline of his head a brief gesture.
Ashley steps into the house, giving a final look and wave to the cabbie. She smiles sheepishly at the light of dawn, letting her gaze trail away to the rset of the room. "Thank you for seeing me. I'm afraid that I've been rather scarce about the place. Surely you can understand."
"I can understand." Robert indicates the couch, moving his belongings to make a space for her. He shuts the door firmly, leaving it unlocked, a gesture for her, before he settles on his seat. "I appreciate the call." His comment is spoken softly, resting his elbows on his knees, his gaze resting on her face thoughtfully.
Ashley accept the spot on the couch, perching to the edge of the cushion primly. "Of course. I was beginning to wonder who would step forward, to be honest. I've been asking after those who may know what happened to Jake."
Robert nods slightly, his fingers meshing together as he considers her. "I spoke with someone today to gain some details. The investigation is ongoing." His voice is gentle, his face offering little in the way of guidance to his thoughts.
"Lt. Emerald?" She inquires with a sidelong glance. "She is my sister. Well, my half-sister. I was hoping to speak to Jake about her when… well, when all this happened. If you do take the Ulfric, will you need me to re-acquire meetings with the other shifters for you?"
"I am taking it." There is a certainty in his voice and Robert's gaze is steady, watching her. "I have met with several, with the Rat King, with the Rex of the Lions, and briefly with the Queen of the Foxes…" There is a flicker of the wry smile lurking in his face as he speaks. "I believe that we should form a council, a neutral place to speak of our concerns. Would you aid me with that, Ashley?"
Ashley cocks her head to the side, nearly mirroring the earlier wolfish quality. "Perhaps. There is still the independents. Jake and I met with them some time ago, but we may have to speak to them again. Yet if you do take it, I would ask what you intend to do with the family. I know that Ray mentioned the pain of what happened to your former pack."
Robert's wry smile lurks in the back of his eyes, and then he glances away as she mentions Raymond's comments, before returning his gaze to her. "I intend to make us safe, to make us a healthy place where everybody starts with a clean slate. Where everybody's abilities are valued. A wolf's strength is its pack, and the pack's strength is its wolves." He speaks slowly, steadily, his face serious. "I intend to draw us together as family. To teach others that we are a pack that can hold its head up and be proud."
"And those of us that have members outside of the Pack?" Ashley inquires with a curious look. Her smile remains absent, the woman inquisitive though there is a sadness never far from her eyes. "I have offered monetary gains and various aspects, but as of yet have only been of assistance to Mr. Kramer."
"My offer to all wolves in the city is that they can come into the pack under my protection, with a clean slate. Those who choose not to will not be penalized unless they take actions that bring risk to the pack." Robert is speaking softly, his eyes resting on her face. "I have set up a trust fund, open to all of those with a beast to aid them should they need it. My interest in helping people is not restricted to my pack but they must be the first point of my focus."
Ashley shakes her head, lifting a hand. "I was speaking more towards my personal family, Robert. They're very important to me and all I have at this point. The pack has known a great deal of strife. I have seen negligent Ulfrics, and a passionate one die the most senseless death. I ask because it is a hard choice for me to trust at this point."
Robert rests his fingers together, folding them neatly as he listens. "Who is your personal family, Ashley? I can offer you only the promise I gave the others. I will do my utmost not to die." The flicker of wryness slides through his eyes, those words repeated too often for a man to want to hear them. "I will promise to do my best for the pack every day I am Ulfric." His voice is soft, even.
"I have heard that before, but I'm concerned of what of the others. Have you come across any reticence or those who would stand against you?" Ashley asks in a moment of boldness. "My family will become apparent soon enough, I do not hide them from a sense of secrecy so much as a proper time."
"Those I have spoken with this day have offered their support and loyalty in exchange for my protection and leadership." The man speaks softly, evenly, avoiding false modesty or bragging. "Riley, Monty, MJ, and others. None of them have stood against me, and some have been strong in their support. I have no doubt that there are those who will, and that challenge will be faced when the pack needs to do so."
Ashley nods and tightens her hands together in her lap. "So you have spoken with Monty? It is good that they have come together in this. At present, I will not challenge you, Robert. Rather I would wish to see the Pack have time to heal."
Robert's head tilt is pure wolf, his gaze impassive on her face. "I have spoken with Monty and he offers me his support. He accepts me as his Ulfric. Your words, at present, concern me a little but you are welcome to my pack, should you choose to accept this."
"I'm torn, Robert. I came to Chicago looking for a family. I found the Pack and it was…" She considers her words and tucks a lock nervously behind her ear. "Broken," she finally breathes. "Jake worked hard and it seemed to cost him an early grave. I worry that the same may happen again. Still, I wonder at what I can offer the Pack."
"Each of us bring strengths to the pack, Ashley. It will take time for me to know you all well enough to find a place but there is a place, of that I am certain." Robert's voice is certain and he tilts his head. "Already, you have grasped the concepts of the council, the ideal behind my wishes, and that has value to me."
Ashley smiles easily and rises to her feet. "I will think on the matter, and there is someone that will also play a part in my answer. Once we have spoken, I shall send word to you but I see no reason to.. well, take another leap of faith."
Robert rises also and offers a hand to her, a gesture of good will. His energy is warm, controlled, calm, and his hand is hot to the touch this close to a Full Moon, but calloused. "I will either hear from you, or see you at the Lupanar."