(2018-12-13) The Handler Arrives
Cassidy's handler from the US Marshals arrives to check on her.
Players:
cassidy..mike..

Cassidy Carr works hard. She works long hours every day, but she loves her new job. She'd love it more if it was her old job and she was still Dixie Randall, because she misses her family and friends from back home. This is home now though, and the petite blonde personal assistant uses her late evening hours to feel a little bit like her old self. Gone are the pristine fashionable outfits, perfect makeup, and high heels. She's in pajama pants and a tank top, her hair back in a tail, her face scrubbed clean, and fuzzy slippers in the likeness of a game character she used to be a champion on, covering her feet.

Cass sits on her sofa in front of the television, playing Red Dead Redemption II. Because she can't play online multiplayer things, so she's stuck with single player adventure games. It's familiar, if still lonely. There's a cup of cocoa on the painted oil-barrel-cum-end-table beside her.

*

Mike stood outside the door to the address and apartment that had been listed on Dixie's request for relocation and transfer paperwork. He knew that, because he'd looked at that particular paper a week ago and his mind didn't forget details like that. The lithe frame of a man in a long-sleeved hiking shirt and kaki pants was far from out of the ordinary in this neck of the woods, and he fit in just like he belonged. Just like he was supposed to. He took a moment, his eyes taking note of the other doors located on this floor.

Mike raised his left hand and rapped his knuckles against the center of the doorframe, just an inch below the peephole, and he stood directly in its line of site to adjust his glasses.

*

It's become second nature for Cassidy, hiding her past in quicktime. The slippers go under the couch, the door on the PS4 is closed with the controller tucked away in a drawer, the tv flipped back to the news. She paces over to the door, and picks up a baseball bat she keeps beside it just in case. "Who is it?" she calls, before glancing quickly through the peephole and sliding back out of sight of it. All trained to keep her alive.

*

"Use the peephole, Cass, that's what it's there for. It's Mike." is what came immediately from Mike's mouth in an accent that sounded like it could come from middle America in any vast number of places, though bore the slightest inflection of a Southern upbringing and delivered in a tone that suggested the man delivering it wanted to roll his eyes. It was a tone persons who knew Mike quickly grew accustom to. "Please open the door" he added shortly thereafter, dipping one hand slightly into the pocket of his khaki's

*

Cassidy grunts and punches in the security code for the alarm system before undoing the chain, deadbolt, and regular lock for him. "You were the one that told me someone could shoot me through the eye if I looked through the peephole too long, remember?" she quips. The door opens and she gestures with the hand not holding the bat. "I got a letter that you were coming to Calaveras."

*

"Yes, and I stand by that statement, but too long isn't glancing to see who's at your door" Mike replied easily and smply, like it should have been an obvious fact, but a fact none the less. He often spoke in absolutes. "How professional of them" he quipped as he stepped inside, eyes darting around the apartment, "Nice digs. I see you're doing well for yourself, I wasn't aware relocation was so profitable these days" he mentinoed with the faintest air of dissaproval though finally turned to look toward the host, and his reason for coming. "How's Calaveras?"

*

"The Federal Government can't withhold my earnings from before this whole mess happened. They had to transfer it to my account here. Or part of it. Can't do it all at once, of course, it'd be a traceable amount. But I also make top dollar in my current job. I'm the personal assistant to a patisserie. Chef Vydal, opening a shop here in Calaveras." Cassidy restores all the locks and rearms the security system before heading in after him. "Want something to drink?" she offers heading into the kitchen area of the open floorplan, though she still looks cranky at his presence. He's the symbol of the destruction of her life. He just also happens to be the symbol of why she's still breathing. It's very conflicting.

*

"The person assistant to someone renown enough to have the title of 'Patisserie'…" Mike said dryly, levelling his eyes toward Cassidy with a tight lipped twitch at the edges, "Quaint." he added and shook his head. "No thank you on the beverage…" he wandered about the apartment, over toward the entertainment area and her couch, where he leaned his weight against one of the armrests near to the oil barrel turned coffee table, "Good to hear you're integrating into your new location well, I assume you've been avoiding cameras this time" he quirked a slight brown eyebrow, "I hear that Alaska is wonderful" he commented, as if to insinuate that would be her next relocation if she managed to fuck this one up.

*

Cassidy snorts and shakes her head as she gets a cookie off a plate of them on the kitchen island. Clearly working for the chef has benefits in the pastries department. "We have a formal contract in which it is stated my likeness is not to be used for any purposes whatsoever. And I avoid cameras as best I can. It's pretty impossible in the cellphone and red light camera and ATM cameras age though, Mike." She smirks and moves to set her cookie on barrel beside her cocoa. "Thus the hair change and the eye color change and the manner of dressing and the losing my accent thing."

*

"Ah. Yes. You mean the whole re-imaging thing in order to make you an entirely new person and save your life. Riiiiggghhttt. That." he droned with that same less-than-amused smile as he did so. "Anyhow, social pleasantries aside…" he withdrew the hand from his pocket and waved a dismissive gesture through the air, "I'm glad you're settling in. Anything out of the ordinary or unusual I should be made aware of? Any new social contacts, large purchases or anything else I need to be aware of? I'll me linking up with the local federal agency reps sometime this week and would like to have anything I need before that meeting"

*

"Nothing major, no. Just the new job. I have no real friends. I don't date. I basically go to work and go home. That's what you want me to do right?" Cassidy asks with a frown. It's been years for the young woman. It's got to be hard to be so solitary when she was a very social creature before the attempts on her life.

*

"I don't recall that being in the pamphlet…" Mike remarked, in what was a poor, dry attempt at his own brand of humor. There was of course no pamphlet for Witness Protection. "You're free to socialize and date, you can even get married…" he pulled those tight lips of his to a purse and with the faintest squint to his eyes behind those black framed glasses he hummed low, "With some paper, but it's doable." he added at the mention of marriage. "You're not a prisoner, Cass. That would quite defeat the purpose of the program." he looked over Cassidy with an appraising eye, though with little to no movement of his head. "You look well. You're OCD seems to be…controlled." he shrugged, "It's my job to keep you safe, not be your jailkeep" he added, in what was about as far as emotionally endearing as Mike really got.

*

"But anyone I bring into my life, I either have to lie to, or risk outing myself to the bad guys. It's just not worth it." She slumps onto her couch and claims her cup of cocoa with a pout. Of note, there are no Christmas decorations up in her place. No tree, no lights, not even a wreath. "And if I out myself, I end up putting the rest of my family at risk. As long as I'm disappeared and they have no idea where, they're safe."

*

Mike says, "There's no lie, Cassidy. You are legally and officialy Cassidy Carr" Mike informed her as if she didn't already know, and while her pout caused no direct emotional or physical response from Mike's facial features, it went noticed all the same, "The sooner you accept that, the sooner you can began to live a normal life." he added, as if the internal struggle of being forced to be an entirely new person wasn't already enough. Though he wasn't quite done, "I find it highly unlikely that should you keep your wits about you, the…" and he broke into a fluent pronunciation of Mandarin in order to say the name of an organization, "…will just show up in Calaveras.""

*

"Yeah it's not exactly that kind of place. Or it wasn't. There's been a lot of weird crime lately. I added the deadbolt after a few news reports." Cassidy jumps at shadows. Or at least at gunshots. She went to the floor at a charity event when a loud bang went off outside. "So it's live as someone new, or die as myself. Not much of a choice eh?" She sighs. "I miss my family."

*

"It's the only choice" Mike stated matter-of-factly and arched a brow at Cassidy in brief, "I'll bring that up when I meet the local L.E's office…" he noted and his eyes wandered around the loft nonchalantly noting the presence of the large number of windows, as well as the news on the TV. "I'm sure you're family misses you too." he responded clinically, as if it was an engrained response that he'd delivered thousands of times. "You realize you have a combination security and alarm system…" he looked toward her, "Another deadbolt is redundant, though whatever keeps your mind at bay"

*

"Those go off real loud, but the deadbolt makes it hard to get in in the first place, so I have time to hide or get a weapon or make a call," Cassidy says. OCD, she plans everything to the nth degree. There are blinds that go down over the windows and drapes as well. By night, when lights are on, no one can see in. She's also on the top floor, so she can see the building entrance and around it to check for anyone suspcious before leaving her home. He taught her well at least. She ships her cocoa and eyes him. "Must be hard being away from your family for the holidays."

*

"Nah" he replied simply with a shrug of a single shoulder, "It'd be easier to count the times I actually was home for the holidays than the times I wasn't" he actually managed to upturn his lips into an actual, if not faint smile at that. "It works better that way" he added and attuned himself to the news station playing on the television, "So you just sit here…and watch the news huh?" he spoke with an air of skepticism.

*

"That was almost a smile, Mike. Are you going soft on me?" Cassidy snarks at him. Snark was always her go to defense when she was feeling vulnerable or sad. She glances at the news. "Just when someone knocks on my door. I was playing Playstation." She looks at him. "Don't panic. Not a MOBA, just a single player game." She clicks the tv back to PS4 input and RDR2 is paused on the screen. "I've only been kicked in the head by my horse three times today."

*

"As soft as your heart is icy, Cass" was Mike's immediate reply to her sarcastic wit, and he was not without his own, albeit his delivery left something to be desired. As she spoke of 'Playstation' and 'MOBA' and 'RDR2' he gave her the sort of look that waitresses gave you when you start rambling about your day and they had mentally turned off just what the fuck you were talking about. "Yeeeaaaahhh…" he drulled, "I was never much for Nintendo. Though I can speak from experience in saying three times to the head from a horse is three times too many"

*

"They aren't half as dangerous as the damn deer in this game. It's a western. You'd probably like it. You play an outlaw with a heart of gold. Arthur Morgan. You hunt, skin things, cook things, craft thing, rob things, tame wild horses, gamble, drink, you know, all those fun cowboy things," Cass points out with a glimmer in her eyes. She does quite like knowing more about something than her handler.

*

"This is Colorado. I can do all of those things less than a days drive from here" Mike replied with a terse purse of his lips, "Mayve not rob things, as I'm sure that violates some sort of my federal pension" he remarked afterward and he lazily interconnected his fingertips in his lap while looking at the television, the sort of man who probably would watch the news in the evening hours of his own private apartment. "Tell me about this boss of yours, the chef"

*

Cassidy hands over the cookie she brought from the kitchen. "That will tell you more than anything. But otherwise he's wealthy, I think very gay, dresses impeccably, is a genius with pastry and chocolate, and thinks I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread. I keep him organized and act as the firewall between him and various vendors and such." She sips more cocoa. "I am the best personal assistant for real though."

*

Mike looked at the pastry with a bit of an appraising stare for a moment before extending a hand to take it and slip it into his mouth with a hearty munch of the baked good. His palette was far from honed, though his opinion was appraising and found it delicious and quite enjoyable which brought a bit of a nod and a low hum of 'mmm' from his lips. "Pretty good then, huh?" he commented and looked at Cassidy as she spoke of her boss, "I'll need more information so I can run him through some screening processes on our end, but I'm sure it'll come up fine. Gay, Immaculately dressed, Pastry chef doesn't exactly scream Chinese…" he noted and took another bite of his cookie, "Your OCD no doubt adapts well to the organization and deliberation for most secretarial and assistant duties"

*

"British, Vyvyan Vydal, all Y's, no I's. I can send you over my contract which has all the info on him you'll need to run checks." Cassidy waves a hand as if that is no big deal. "And yes, I am the world's greatest planner and organizer thanks to that. I have his shop build back on schedule, it was a month off when I started."

*

"I'm sure he is thrilled" Mike regarded the readjustment of building schedule with less than any actual enthusiasm, "That'd be great though, the contracts" he added and took a breath, rotating his left wrist to view the digital readout of the time he cleared his throat and stood up from the couch, "Alright. I got to get on my back to where I'm staying and make some calls to HQ about my arrival, fill out my travel paperwork, etcetra. Anything you need off the top of your head from me?" he asked as he dipped the fingertips of his left hand into his pants pocket.

*

Cassidy ponder a long moment. "Just if you could get word to my family that I love and miss them? That would be nice." It'd have to go through a lot of people so as not to be traced of course.

*

Mike made his strides toward the door to leave, though maintained his waiting posture in wait for her reply. When she did, he flicked that trademark presence of a 'not-quite-a-smile' smile toward her and nodded once in a slight downward motion, "I'll see what I can do, D.C." he remarked, a rare display of personability in relation to Cassidy's former life, and well within the quality which Mike had in creating Acronym's for most everything. "I'll see you around…" he raised his right hand to the temple of his glasses, tapping the edge slightly, "Always"

*

Cassidy disarms the system to let him out. "Of course, hopefully not while I'm in the shower."

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