Thursday, November 09, 2006

Next Tuckerization--Emerson, That Will be All

Yes, I couldn't resist the proper name Emerson when I found myself in need of a Gentleman's gentleman. Well, no not a valet but a parking garage attendant--and I'm not saying that as though it's a dirty word, though Lacey sure seems to be a snob about it.

I got a little worried last night when first drafting this 13th Snippet--it nearly looked as though Rainey might actually hit Lacey. I've never written a male character who hit women who wasn't also a clear Villian in the most despicable sense. I couldn't imagine what I'd do if Rainey had actually struck her. I think he and I would have had to part ways, I do.

So no mood music I have will suit this Tuckerization: Emerson Clark Mitchell, "the guy with three first names," and noted in the Tavern for his exuberant nature, has been woven into the Lacey & Rainey Story for posterity. It makes for a long excerpt, but WTF, why not? This is (probably) all of your stage time, Emerson, sorry.

I take it back, I have some mood music for this snippet. Sitting targets... anticipating... nothing :) Naturally, it's Depeche Mode again, this time, from the CD Music for the Masses, the clip titled "Nothing" but it's SOMETHING. Download and play it while you read to see if you agree.
When Rainey pulled into the garage under the Bristol, the sun was just turning the sky interesting shades of pink and orange with a bit of slate directly overhead. He swore to himself that he'd be asleep before the sun finished rising and pulled Lacey's Mercedes up to the edge of the carpeting. The attendant's face broke into a smile. Damn, the man knew him. Emerson something, three first names. Emerson...Mitchell... Emerson Clark Mitchell? Mitchell Clark? Emerson, it is.

Emerson reached a white-gloved hand out to open the door for Rainey with a courtly bow. "Mr. Rainford, always a pleasure to see you back, sir. Your McLaren is well. Shall I make a spot beside her for this car?"

Rainey left the engine purring away and got out. "Yes, thank you, Emerson. Don't block in the McLaren, but somewhere near--"

"Oh! We'd never block in your McLaren. We'll see that this..." He leaned over and looked past Rainey, at Lacey, still sitting in the passenger seat. "...goes right next to the McLaren, sir. Will you be taking the McLaren out for spin, perhaps?"

The man sounded more eager to see Rainey's new car hit the streets than Rainey was himself. "No, not likely. Will you be on duty all day, Emerson?"

"Yes, sir! If you'd like to take the McLaren out this evening, I can stay a little late to--"

"No, no, it's not that. I--there's some...extremely valuable luggage in the car." He grasped Emerson's hand between both of his own, pressing hundreds too many euros into the attendant's palm. "I'd like to entrust you, personally, to guard it with your life, see that nothing is touched outside of my presence. Not by anyone, not even the Bellman."

The man's face drew somber. "Of course, sir. We always guarantee the security of our regular customers here at The Bristol." He glanced down but to his credit, didn't hesitate or let his voice falter. "But I'll give this matter my personal attention, Mr. Rainford. I should be on until half three today, in case you change your mind about the McLaren."

Rainey walked around the front of the car, a little surprised and puzzled to see another attendant whom he didn't recognize still standing patiently at Lacey's open door. She was still inside, arms crossed. Pouting, he realized when he got close enough to lean on the top of the open door.

"Is there a problem, Lacey?" He asked as though he didn't know precisely what the problem was, but even if she held every gun in the car on him, it wouldn't keep him from going upstairs and going to sleep right now this minute.

"I'm not leaving these things here, Rainey. I thought I'd made that clear, nothing--but nothing--leaves my person. If it's staying in the car, then so am I. Have a nice nap."

"Lacey, Emerson isn't allowed to operate the vehicle with you in it. Something about liability insurance. In this case, I wholly support The Bristol. You have to get out now, darling." Rainey leaned forward and spoke to Emerson, sitting half in, half out of the driver's seat. "I'm sorry, Emerson, this will only take a moment." The attendant took the hint and got out of the car again. Rainey snapped in undertones to the seemingly grown woman in the passenger seat, "Get out, Lacey, now."

"No." She stared blankly through the windshield.

Rainey stood up and the second attendant stepped back, anticipating him. He came around and reached inside the car to unlock her seat belt. She caught his wrist, held it over her lap, and glared at him.

He glared back then narrowed his eyes. "Don't make me hurt you, luv. There's a big, soft bed up there just screaming our names. You're getting out of this car and you're doing it now."

Her eyes were icy cold and an odd calm washed over her. That was what signaled him to look down at her hands. Quietly, she told him, "I believe I have you at a disadvantage."

Lacey had her SIG in her lap, aimed up under their hands. At that angle, he calculated, it was aimed directly at his crotch. He was not amused.

Emerson cleared his throat and stood off a pace or two with his hands behind his back, pretending the entire disagreement was of no concern to him. Likewise, the second attendant stepped back another pace and watched hopefully for new arrivals at the garage entrance.

"I can't believe you're throwing a temper tantrum at a time like this. Can't you wait until we get upstairs? At least let me lie down for this."

"I can see that you're tired, Rainey. You're not making any sense. If you were thinking clearly, you'd understand that I'd rather shoot your balls off in front of ten witnesses than leave this gear in the hands of a--a--" she lowered her voice and hissed, "a parking garage attendant. Are you out of your bloody mind? Do you hear what you're suggesting?"

Rainey clutched the headrest but relaxed the rest of his stance and told her in calm, rational tones, "I do, and I know this man. He's been working here for years. He's taken very good care of me and my property whenever I've been in Paris. We'll stop at the Concierge Desk and ask them to arrange a special security detail to watch the car. Satisfied?"

"A special security detail? Of what? Armed parking attendants? Using my own--"

"Armed security personnel, trained to guard things such as spoiled little rich girls and their cars. The Bristol has excellent security here, I assure you. My McLaren has been just fine for the past month while I've been gone."

"Your McLaren's just a thing. There's not even anything valuable in it."

He ignored the affront to his honor--or his baby's--and upped the offer. "Lacey, their security personnel will suffice until Sean can get here. Sean and his team can stand guard over your things until we wake up, better?"

She wouldn't relent. He ground his teeth and told her, "I'm willing to pay an arm and a leg to have Sean--Sean Gartlan himself!--standing around doing absolutely nothing all the bleeding day, the least you can do is agree it will give you peace of mind to let me fu--finally go to sleep. I'll gladly pay the day charges for the whole bloody lot of them."

She rested the SIG against her leg, but he could see she wasn't quite resigned to it.

"I'm not even swearing at you about this, Lacey. I'm giving you the respect due something which I know is important to you. I'm not even making light of it, but I need to fucking go to sleep! I need you to give me that. Now stop behaving like a fucking child and get out of the car."

He wrenched his wrist out of her grasp and stood up, fuming. "If I have to physically drag you out of that car, you'll regret it. I assure you."

She glanced over at the second attendant, carefully two more paces away now and looking anywhere else but at her or the car. She slipped her SIG back into its holster under her coat.

When she swung her feet out, Rainey cleared his throat and called across the car roof to Emerson. The man stopped short of the car, didn't get in.

"Will that be all now, Mr. Rainford?"

"Yes, Emerson, thank you, sorry for the delay. I'll be having a couple of lads come by in a few hours to relieve you, but as you can see, these things are very near and dear to Mademoiselle Townsend's heart. Please do guard them with your life."

"Of course, sir." Emerson got in, fastened his seat belt, closed the driver's side door.

Lacey reluctantly stepped back far enough to allow the second attendant to close the door, and then watched with clear dissatisfaction as her little Mercedes disappeared into the depths of the parking garage.


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