2011 06 18: A Professional Job

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Mission Name: A Professional Job
Date of Mission: June 18 2011
Locale: Greenwich Village — Manhattan

Tamara hunts Ashley down at the scene of Lily's murder to ask him a few questions that he shouldn't answer.

Ashley Tamara

Lily's shop is still closed off due to the fact that there's still an ongoing investigation. The yellow tape that is not uncommon for New York is strewn around Lily's shop. Ashley can be found near the entrance with a pad in his hands. He looks tired as usual but is dressed impeccably in an expensive suit and polished shoes. He stands talking to a police officer who then begs off in the other direction as Ashley shakes his head. "What a waste." He writes something down on his notepad once more, sighing.

Tamara is maybe not the first person you'd expect to see at a crime scene, and yet, here she is. Making no effort whatsoever to blend in, she's dressed as impeccably as ever as she wanders up to the site, a coffee from the nearby Starbucks in hand. Could be she's just a lookee-loo, but she's looking awfully closely and with an expression of great concern. Spotting Ashley, her eyebrows lift slightly, and then she soldiers ahead, ducking the tape as necessary in order to make her way up to him. "Fancy meeting you here," she offers in greeting, flashing him a little smile.

"Hey," Ash says, his voice heavy with surprise — and sleepiness. "I… didn't expect to see you of all people here. I'm a little nervous if I should ask if you're just passing through…" He ducks out of the yellow tape in order to meet Tamara fully, looking back to the shop with furrowed brows. "I hope you weren't planning on doing any shopping in there. It's a mess. And the shop will be closed indefinitely." He doesn't say why, but 'dry as a bone' on clues might be one of them. "What does bring you downtown, anyway? Have you just started stalking crime scenes in hopes of catching up to me? I admit, it may be more effective than trying to reach my cell."

"That begs the question who you did expect to see, but we'll move right past that," Tamara replies smoothly, still offering him a friendly enough smile that isn't too bright, considering the situation. It does fade slightly more when he mentions the mess of the shop. "Did the murder happen here, then?" she asks, not bothering to hide that rather odd curiosity. When he asks what brings her here, she holds up the coffee cup and waggles it slightly, but her attention seems more on the shop. "Actually, I was… coming for a different reason. But I am glad to see you," she informs him genuinely.

Ash pauses before he answers her. Obviously he's not supposed to give out sensitive information, but the most grisly details have already been published in a good deal of the local papers. "Yes, inside." He doesn't elaborate upon anything else relating to the crime, nodding toward her coffee with a brief grin. "I should have known, a woman after my own heart — though at this rate I'm going to have to start chugging Red Bull and cappucinos at the same time to stay awake." He lets out a telling yawn at the perfect time and then reaches up to rub at his eyes, shaking his head a few times as if to shake away any inclination to shut his eyes. He colors a little when Tamara mentions being glad to see him. "I'm… glad to see you too. I hadn't expected a surprise in such a bleak place."

Tamara gives a small nod to this bit of news, her eyes moving back towards the building again, studying the structure and security in a quick, sweeping glance, before her attention is back on him. "Come on. How about I buy you a coffee, at least?" she offers, catching that yawn. "Seems like you're going to need it. We can track down a few Red Bulls too, if that'll help," she adds more lightly. "Surely they can spare you for a few minutes." Lifting her eyebrows invitingly, she inclines her head towards the nearby cafe.

"I think that would be really nice but quite honestly I'm afraid to sit down — I might pass out on the spot." And yet when Ash looks back toward the storefront, he seems only more inclined to go with Tamara. "I'm taking a break!" He calls out to one of the on-duty policemen who are standing guard over the shop. "They can spare me for more than a few minutes. They're just trying to wring every last detail out of me and honestly, I've done just about all I can. I'm not an inspector." He offers Tamara the crook of his arm like a gentleman.

Tamara should urge him to go home instead of for more caffeine, but that wouldn't serve her purpose as well so she just offers an enticing smile until he gives in, and which point it perks up a little more. "Splendid. Their loss is my gain," she says as she takes the offered arm, sparing one last look to the building before she turns her attention towards Starbucks. "I could have picked you one up if I'd realized… But this works better anyway. You look like you could use a break. And, well, I had sort of been hoping to talk with you," she admits carefully.

Ashley just nods, growing silent. Finally he raises a brow and glances over at Tamara. "Oh? Talk to me about what?" He asks, with equal caution. He moves her gently across the street to the coffee shop, glancing both ways for traffic. When they're safely moved across the street, he steps into the shop and leads her in, taking in a deep breath. Coffee beans are a much nicer smell than rotting corpses and old blood.

Tamara waits until they're across the street - and out of earshot of any other law enforcement. "I didn't happen by the shop on accident," she informs him, tucking some blonde hair behind her ear. "I knew the woman. The shop-owner. I, uh, bought things from her in the past," she says, pleased with that euphemism and how aptly it fits. She leaves it at that for the moment as she steers him up towards the counter, gesturing for him to go ahead and order. She already has hers.

The man doesn't seem to know what to do with the information that Tamara is giving him and simply moves up to the counter, using his time between ordering his usual drink and receiving it to clear his head. When he's got his coffee in hand, he turns back to Tamara and ushers her to a quiet table in the corner. "Were you two friendly?" Ash asks her. "I'm sorry, but I really can't offer up any details, Tamara. I could get in major trouble if anyone found out." He almost starts to open his mouth as if to say something else before stopping himself short, meaning to stick to his guns.

For her part, Tamara doesn't rush him, waiting patiently until he speaks again on the way to the table. "We went back a ways," she replies with a faint frown. Ethics are so annoying. But rather than share that thought, T just gives an understanding nod. "I don't mean to put you in a difficult position," she assures him as she settles in at the table, lowering her voice a little. "But I may actually be in some trouble." She says it so lightly, like she's worried about an overdue library book. "Anything you could tell me, it would help a lot."

Ashley gets his cup halfway to his lips before putting it down on the table and staring at the lid. He debates her qualm silently to himself for a long moment before sighing. "Did you know that your friend was dying? She was terminally ill. She had a heart condition." He keeps his voice quiet. "She technically died of a heart attack. Most of the stabbing occured after death. Tamara, this wasn't a random crime. There were signs of forced entry but nothing was taken. She was murdered, plain and simple. I don't know what connection you have to her, but I suggest washing your hands of it."

There's a slight twitch to Tamara's eyebrows to indicate surprise. "She never told me." Sitting back in her seat, Tamara takes a sip of her coffee and then sets it down on the table, idly straightening the lid and then turning the cup so the logo faces outward. While he speaks, she listens, desperate for any details she can get. It's only at his final statement that she offers a sardonic smirk. "Oh, if it were only that easy, Ashley." She waves a dismissive hand then before he can start worrying. "Oh, I'll be fine. After all, I don't have a heart condition." The stabbing, however, could prove more problematic.

"It is that easy. Just walk away." God knows Ashley walks away from plenty of things he doesn't like. He slowly reaches out to try to take one of Tamara's hands, his eyes searching hers. "I don't know you very well and it's probably really not my place to tell you your business, but if you value your life… please stop whatever this is. I've never had to scrape up the body of someone I care about and I don't intend to start now. That's saying something, considering how many people seem to die around me." It's unclear whether he's referring to his job or not.

Tamara allows him to take her hand, seeming a little surprised by the gesture, but certainly not in a bad way. She gives him a gentle smile and shakes her head faintly. "It's more complicated than that," she replies with a small shrug, still nowhere near as worried as she should be. "But really, Ashley, don't worry," she urges, leaning in to give him a sincere look. "I really can take care of myself. You won't be… scraping me up, I promise. I just need to know who and what it is I'm facing, that's all."

Ashley shakes his head and releases her hand. "I really don't know who did this. It was… clean. There's no evidence to speak of. We have a partial shoe print in the blood, but identifying it would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, and the woman kept no records of who visited her store. It's likely to remain a cold case…" Ashley seems disappointed by that revelation himself, curling his upper lip briefly. "It's unfair and unjust, but these things happen. I wish I could do better for you. If anything comes down the pike, I'll let you know — but my role in this has been played out."

"Clearly a professional job, then," Tamara surmises, mulling on that detail as she picks up her coffee and takes another sip. Setting her thoughts aside, she gives him another gentle smile, shaking her head just a little. "I'm not worried about it being fair or just. Murder rarely is, even if you catch the guy. But the information helps. Thank you for telling me. I know it could get you into trouble. I really didn't want to bring you into this," she insists, almost like she's chiding herself for that fact as well. "But I really couldn't think who else to ask."

Ash did just admit that he finds it easy to walk away. He stands up and leaves his coffee with Tamara without having really drank any of it. "I think I'm going to go try to get some shut-eye before I'm roused again. Thanks for the coffee date. Maybe the next time you want to see me, it'll be about something other than murder." Ash says, half-jokingly, half-bitingly to her. He puts a hand on her shoulder as he slips past her on his way out. "Keep your head down if you feel unsafe… and if you need somewhere to hide out, I have an apartment with a spare bedroom. It's not big or luxurious like you might be accustomed to, but it's better than nothing. I'll see you later, Tamara."

"Here's hoping," Tamara replies, not letting the biting half of the joke rile her. She's a little surprised by his abrupt departure, but doesn't try to get him to stay. "Sleep well then. Or sleep, period, if nothing else." She brings her own hand up to set atop his with a light pat, meant to be reassuring, perhaps. "Thank you. I'm sure it won't be necessary, but I'll keep that in mind. See you later. For something murder-unrelated."

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