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She had fallen into a bit of a trance, staring at the clock, her hand running over Henry's back in the same slow, fluid motion. Her wall clock had grown loud, ticking away monotonously, much like her life. It was endless and gray and easily the most common activity in which Miss Sweetley would partake... Waiting. Patiently, alone in cold silence, always. Usually for nothing or until she was due into work or class, but this time? This time, Gemma's eyes were slightly less dull, a bit more perplexed than usual as the time continued to pass idly by. Where was this guardsman fellow, was he lost, perhaps? Getting lost in Drelburne was like being tied to a dumpster in Detroit, she wouldn't dare go out alone at night in this city, not again. She leaned against her wall, staring down at her cat and her clothes both. Henry's beautiful snowy fur was clinging to her black T-shirt and black slacks, and she rose to remove them. Instead, she found a nightgown, not a lacy or attractive thing so much as it was CLEARLY straight out of someone's aging Nana's closet. It was clearly much too large for the doll in question and flayed out at the bottom, not unlike a dress, just above her ankles. She sat on the floor in a tiny pretzel, braiding her hair to pass the time. Not that she could sleep... But it was nice to be comfortable while writing and reading, and she wasn't sure when to expect this 'surprise' to show up.
The approach of feet outside drew Henry's attention, and his tail swished high above his backside as he sniffed the door. He seemed puzzled, meowing his noisy concerns up at her soon afterward. Was this him-?
[b "Miss Sweetley, are you home? I'm here about the availability you posted online."]
She blinked twice. Her dark, lovely eyes fell upon the calendar on the wall beside her. Preposterous! There was no post on Sundays here, and she hadn't been near any lines, certainly not to order a maid! She pulled the calendar down and stared at it hard, trying to ascertain the date, as though second guessing herself.
She opened the door and peeked out, genuinely overwhelmed. [i "...I don't understand, sir, I'm sorry. I didn't order any maids, do you have the wrong unit? There's no post on Sunday, either."] she informed him, reaching down go pick Henry up with her free hand. She studied the black-haired man at the door, of average height as far as most men went, and an exasperated looking face. Had she said something wrong, or was that just his face? She worried, of course, that she had said something aggravating and held the door open. Maybe he would know where the guard was?
[i "Please, come in! I'm sorry if you're lost, do you need directions? I've been waiting for someone myself, I hope they aren't lost, too."]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/xTx8Jnt.jpg?1]]
Different night, but the same story. How long had it been since things had been truly unpredictable in his life? How long had it been since his life had any form of real spontaneity? Certainly his life with the Civil Protection Agency wasn't as mundane as he felt it was. He could die at any point in his profession, but that didn't seem to phase him all that much. To him, every day was the same: wake up, make breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, work, go to the bar, come home, set up, repeat. While work did come with the much needed disclaimer of "GET SHOT AT", it wasn't like that hadn't become the norm.
Today had proven to be much the same as his previous days. He was playing the role of the babysitter for a diplomat from Spain. For some reason he had decided to stay in Atlanta. Something about "enjoying the local fruits", which was code for "how many women could I fuck in a week before someone wanted me gone?" Considering how many of the women he had already displaced his seed upon, happened to have been married the time was coming up quickly. Not quick enough for Dorian's liking, but it surely coming, much like his charge.
The day had droned on from the moment he heard the Spaniard's annoying, nasal-y, lisp-heavy Spanish. He knew that Espana Spanish was the proper version, but it only felt like a more uppity version of Mexican Spanish. Every few moments the diplomat would make it a point to reach out to a woman and literally grab for their attention. Dorian had taken a number of slaps in his stead as to avoid an international incident. "Seems like my charms keep getting you hit, my friend." A chortle came from the elderly Spaniard every time he said that.
"Think nothing of it. This is par for the course." The deadpan, monotone response came out like a machine spitting out a receipt. 'For every finger that touches this face that isn't one I get to break is another thousand out of your account, you foolish old flirt, so keep at it.' It wasn't like Dorian particularly hated the man, but he didn't see much need to protect him either. Honestly, he saw some value in letting this fool learn proper manners by turning a blind eye the next time someone threatened to beat him. Unfortunately that wasn't his job. Teaching people meant you had to be in the position to be heard and that was certainly not one he was in. Although watching the old man fumble was good entertainment by itself.
Once the moon had risen to the sky, he was relieved of his duties and sent off to his office. This spelled out more work for him, as it was odd to not be allowed his smoke right after a job. As he arrived in his office, his least favorite co-worker happened to greet him. "Dorian, sweetie! How was your day!?" Her sultry and abhorrently seductive tone left a grating feeling inside the Raven haired male's skull.
"Get out of my chair, Shauna. I don't have time to burn it and I'd much rather not have to buy another." He put his coat on the rack and made a move for the coffee he had set to to pour if he entered the office after his typical hours.
"Aww Dory, baby--don't be like tha- AGH!" She slammed shoulder first into the floor as Dorian had hiked the chair up slightly, with his right leg.
"You should learn to do as your told. It'll warrant you less pain in the future." He put the chair back down and tapped the screen on his desk. His new portfolio had been sent in with a seal of the C.P.A on it. He was used to this, but something had him on edge. As he placed a hand on the glass a scanner read his palm and opened the files.
"So, is that our new assignment?" Shauna inquired from the floor.
"It would seem so." He read through the entirety of the documents in a matter of moments, before stopping on the date and time. "Well this is problematic."
"What?" Shauna had finally risen to be by his side.
"Look here." He said, pointing to the dates.
"There's a mission acceptance date, but no end date." Shauna took point and scrolled throughout the documents. "You are to see to it that Doll model S-10, Gemma L. Sweetly is protected until the public no longer sees her as a liability or until she proves herself to be one.... at which point you are to terminate her and retrieve her memory core." Shauna looked to Dorian who had yet to remove his eyes from the screen.
"This isn't a protection detail, this is an insurance claim. You're not seriously considering this mission, are you? If you do this then we'll be stuck with her until things go perfectly south. It'll be never ending." It was obvious that the Brunette was less than pleased with their status.
"Too late, I'm afraid. The moment we read that file was the moment it was accepted. If you look at the start date, it reads today with an elapsed time of exactly two-minutes and fifteen seconds. That's how long we've been sitting here for." Before Shauna could voice her distaste, he pushed his coffee to her and rose to his feet. "This mission wasn't a request, it was an order. We don't get a choice in the matter, so get to your terminal and get ready to do a basic sweep once I'm in. After that, you can go home and rest." Dorian grabbed his jacket, briefcase, and a duffel from the safe in the floor before leaving. "Oh and get out of my office, Shauna. Just because I'm not there doesn't mean you can occupy it."
He made it a point to leave as soon as possible. He didn't need to check in with anyone save for the weapons depot and the security team. He was going to need to keep tabs on his new home for duration he stayed there.
It took him little time to make it to the city of Drelburne, by shuttle. It was the only other city comparable in size to Atlanta, during this time, and it was just as shitty in some ways. One of them being the smog and the other being the crime. 'One shit-hole to another. Wonderful.' Off the shuttle and into the streets, his feet took him to the nearest train-side terminal and into the underground metro-station. Soon he would arrive at an apartment in downtown. Well it wasn't as bad as he thought it would be. The place had inside access with security at the forefront of any and all interaction.
He made his way in and flashed his badge before asking for the card to the room he had been booked for. It wasn't long before he was knocking on her door. "Ms. Sweetly, are you home? I'm here about the availability you posted online."
[center [pic https://s17.postimg.org/oa5inguof/2017-11-28-12-17-40-823.jpg]]
[i "...hello, I'm Gemma, I'll be your server tonight. What can I get to start you off? Drinks?"]
Her face was perpetually riddled with sleep and soft things, exhaustion and sorrow painting unnaturally lovely features in a permanent display of her usual lies. Even her smile was slow and gradual, patient as she waited for the mesmerized family of five to orient themselves. She didn't blame them, she understood, even if they did not. Few people had seen a living doll in the last fifteen years, most were subject to old photos instead. Her neck was coated in cosmetics, hiding her label from view. To anyone looking on, she wouldn't appear to be much more than a young girl of unimpressive stature and of striking features, not a dead girl in a husk.
Her fingers abbreviated quickly as their choices were made, a symphony of, [b "Water, please!"], [b "Coke for me."], [b "Apple juice!], [b " Do you have Mountain Dew?"], and [b "Unsweet iced tea, thanks."].
She tucked her pen into her apron and stepped away, sure to keep her smile as she made off toward the kitchen window. She stood on her toes, barely managing to clip the order slip to the railing as she flicked the bell with her fingers to get Tony's attention. Unlike with the other waitresses employed by Miss Gretchen's Diner, there would be no shouting on Gemma's end. No 'Order up!', no 'I need more breadsticks!'.
Only notes, written neatly, clipped to the railing. She turned her attention toward emptied, dirtied tables, stacking plates and trays and glasses and taking them behind the counter to put in a giant sink of suds. She made several such trips, quite a sight to behold, not more than a stack of dishes with legs as she scurried back and forth.
An arm shot up. She set a stack down and beelined for a table where three men sat, clicking her pen.
She hid her anxiety well, the same quiet, wool-soft smile overtaking her face. [i "Yes, sir?"]
He was scrutinizing her. She felt her feet draw a bit closer to one another, suddenly very aware of herself. [b "...yeah, well. To start with, we don't know what to order, so. What do you reccommend?"] he began, resting his chin on his folded knuckles. All three were in suits, their hair neat. Deskwork, perhaps?
She tipped her head, a thick tail of murky brown hair slinging further along her other shoulder. [i "...the pies and cakes are my favorite, but if I were to choose a meal... I'd go with the hoagies. Less chance of your suits getting a stain, and they really are good."]
She hadn't tasted a hoagie in 33 years, she didn't know how they tasted here.
She got out in half an hour, though.
Then she could go home, to her Henry.
[b "Thanks, we'll talk it out. We were ALSO wondering... How old you might be? Aren't you a little young to be working here? What grade are you in?"]
She blinked. The suits.
From the lawschool across the street, most likely.
[i "... college, sir. I'm 25."]
He seemed unconvinced.
[b "If you say so, kiddo. Too cute for a diner, though, if you are 25."]
She hated those crooked smirks. They were scary, they were starved. Gemma smiled back, though, and excused herself.
The lies continued until 11 pm hit, and she pulled on her jacket and left without a word to any of her coworkers. They had long since given up trying to ask her about herself or trying to include her in things, trying to ask her on dates, trying to talk to her. They wouldn't understand her anyway, all things considered. Dolls never were known for their joyous outlooks on life. Everything good had been taken from them, and Gemma was still quite wounded by it all.
Really, it wasn't that Gemma was snotty like her coworkers thought, rather that she was too... far away. Emptied. She just wanted to go home, to her Henry. And so she did, her pace brisk. She had been snatched a number of times already, leisurely strolls were not an option. She didn't understand the bus, she didn't have a phone.
Gemma hurried, and was left alone because of it.
Once home, she turned on every light she had, checking every room for-
She wasn't sure what. Henry?
The lights stayed on.
She found Henry sprawled out over her writing desk, and she fell into her chair, watching him sleep for a moment before she leaned her face into his fur. So lucky, to taste. To sleep. She pushed her fingers through his fur, comforted. So warm.
Something chirped, tweedling like an odd cricket. Over and over and over-
The telephone? She crept into the kitchen and looked at the ugly, white chorded phone hanging on the wall. Yes, she had asked for this phone. She didn't know how to use anything else, after all. She gathered it up in both her hands and held it to her ear, hesitant. [i "...hello?"]
Only the agency ought to have this number.
It was Agent Gregory, though, of course. [b "Hello, Miss Sweetley. Sorry to call so late, I'm sorry if I... Uh."]
She sighed. [i "I do not sleep, agent. Ever."]
[b "... Right. Yes. Well! I just wanted to let you know that we've decided it might be best if we assigned you a little muscle, just to keep the bees off the honey. So he'll be there tonight sometime, expect him. Any complaints, just call. Okay?"]
She would, of course, never call. She rarely did. She hated phones.
[i "... yes, agent. Thank you."]
Click. She sat on the carpet in front of her writing desk, wondering things. About cats. Books. Food.
Her new roommate, whether she was bothered with the idea of a guard or not. Her eyes traveled to the bed they had prepared her in her writing room when she'd first moved in, stripped to the sheets. She frowned and opened her hall closet, pulling out the comforter and setting it neatly, folded, on the bed, along with the matching pillows. She sat on the floor to wait, then, with Henry jumping down to join her, his massive blue eyes hoping and desperate for pets, maybe a rub or two. Henry was soft, and he loved attention; She liked to pet him. Dark eyes gazed upon the feline for an indefinite length of time, perhaps a moment, perhaps an eternity.
Henry. Sweet, baby Henry.
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