Beverly Hills Rabbithole
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"If you come I'll let you in on Sloan's bonus prize: a round on me… I'll even drive to the house…"

610 N. Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills, CA

April 28th, 3:45 PM

"Facebook helps me make sure I have the right person. It's— I mean, it's really amazing— "

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"House" being the modest definition of what Detective Andrew and SWAT Officer Kev roll onto as they arrive at the charted destination given them over the phone. Back-up's a call away, but the high Roman columns and full-sized windows speak of money more than murder: though both are aware that these are not mutually exclusive; they are, in fact, rather common bedfellows. Pulling up to the address amongst other private Beverly Hills homes, all dwarfed by the rows of gigantic palm trees along the road, leads Andrew's vehicle to a thin but impenetrable gate. The cheery gold toppings on each of the black spikes don't make them any less immovable.

A silver four-door that doesn't quite match the caliber of the house sits in the driveway, with a California plate but the house seems still inside and the windows betray nothing of their owner.

Kev sits in the detective's car looking uncomfortable. Every variable up to this point has layered on another level of uncomfortable. The request to join Andrew, even though it was amiable on both accounts. The drive here, during which he realized he forgot his sunglasses and squinted into Beverly Hills. The general story on the case and some girl named Alice with a spooky website. His navy blue suit jacket, thrown on unprepared over a t-shirt and jeans and looking too big despite his muscled shoulders: 'the tank' not representing his nickname when his jacket rumples cavernously over his midsection, matching the wrinkles in his forehead. None of it amounts to the man being annoyed: just slightly distraught, and a little bit dazed, as though the poor guy isn't totally sure how he suddenly got from the bench-press back at work to this fancy-schmancy house with a guy wearing funny shoes.

Oh yeah; he was promised a free round. He's easy.

Kev stops biting his thumbnail and leans ahead to peek up at the gate through the windshield skeptically before unbuckling his seatbelt. "Does it have one'a them com things?"

Silently Andrew had celebrated, with some restrained delight, at having the opportunity to drive to where they're going— a fact he'll regale to Archie at a later date. But after initial pleasantries in the car, the normally chatty at-ease detective has been weirdly quiet. He'd asked a few pleasant, polite, easy questions early on, and sometimes while stopped at lights. Otherwise though, he's been silently reviewing his conversation with Alice in his head.

Behind his own sunglasses, his eyes squint as a sharp whistle emits from his lips, "I think we've reached Wonderland." Except in this version, Alice might reflect the Cheshire Cat and he's the one falling down the rabbithole… with Kev in tow. Andrew and Kev in Wonderland. The thought actually causes him to smirk for no apparent reason. His teeth toy at his bottom lip as he leans closer to the gate without getting out of the car. With a cluck of his tongue he observes, "Nope. No com thingy." Clearly one thing to do: get out of the car. He puts the car into park, undoes his seat belt, and steps out of the car to get a closer look at the gate, and ways to enter the fortress before them.

Quiet. A slight, forgiving, breeze on this side of Santa Monica in the unusual heat wave rustles the violet bushes next to Kev, fluttering their petals closer to the gate — as if to mock him for being on the opposite side of the thin metal.

Then, with an acknowledging metal clap, the gate latch rises mechanically and it begins to glide open to admit the wondering detectives into its land.

Kev eyes the gate like it might eat them with its shiny, spindly metal teeth, but gets over it fast, tucking his hands in his pockets. "Two things I don't trust," he comments, his voice ambling, eventually getting around to the points, "Big houses," so most of the neighbourhood then, "and," his eyes squint up as he glances at Andrew, more telling of his casual, innately good-natured smile than his mouth, "people who smirk at nothin'." He saw that. Freeing a hand, he waves at the elaborate house, a lazy gesture that falls before it rises all the way. "Lead detective first."

The lack of magic words suck some of the mystery from the house— if only Andrew had taken the opportunity to say open sesame— yet it does yield some sense of relief. The smirk turns to an all-out toothy grin at the comment. "That's because it's never nothing," Andrew's eyes reflect with amusement as his own hands tuck away into his jacket pockets and he begins hiking up the driveway.

The long walk up to the door actually produces a brighter grin. Evidently these shoes really were made for walking, something that pleases Andrew to no end. If he can manage to keep them scuff free, they really will remain the perfect pair of Adidas. Once the pair reach the door, his finger presses the bell.

It's only a short space of time before footsteps are heard behind the tall doors and the shadow of movement through the frosted glass of its windows confirm: someone's coming. When the door rustles open, after the sound of multiple locks, it swings to reveal a pleasantly round Hispanic face, pudgy cheeks like a chipmunk doing nothing to diminish the business-like squint of her eyes after they round momentarily at the sight of the men.

"Sir— " oh, and there's Kev. "ss?"

"Mary." The gentle little girl's voice from the phone rings out from a small com-box inside the door a few paces. "They're here to talk to me."

Which does little — in fact, negative — to lessen the suspicion on Mary's face as she eyeballs the men a second time, straightening up in her grey and white uniform, topped with an ornate purple shawl.

Kev digs his hands deeper in his pockets and gives Mary a friendly smile — which he overdoes quite a bit with a toothy flash, the unconvincing boyscout, likely doing even less for the woman's suspicion — and lets Andrew do the talking.

Andrew already has his badge handy, which he flashes towards Mary, holding it open for her to inspect. "I'm detective Andrew Webber and this is Swat Officer Kevin Parrish. We're here to speak to Alice— " he confirms what the girl lingering inside has already said. "We have a few questions about Alice's website." Pause. "Could we come in?"

"Detectives?" Mary swings backwards but holds her stance at the door, "Website—?" Barely, she resists a glance over her shoulder at the now silent box. Without meaning to, she's brought a hand up to the tiny golden crucifix hanging beneath her collarbone. A slight sniff and then she determinedly leans forward, squinting with dour efficiency at the offered badge then turning those eyes expectantly in Kev's direction.

"Oh. Uh— " A beat … or two… late, Kev digs his badge out from where it was buried beneath his shirt on a chain and presents it to Mary for proper inspection. He gives her a little nod. "Ma'am."

Andrew nods crisply at the questions. "Yes, our department has been investigating a website. We just have a few questions for Alice." He clears his throat, "Could we come in?" he repeats the question now that both of their badges have been shared.

Indecision seems to echo in the creaking of the door, even as Mary opens it. "Alright then…" A soft flounce in her step keeps her indignation alive and she murmurs a few words in another language under her breath before regarding them. One hand's digging out a mobile phone while she nods at them to where a line of shoes sits against the welcome mat; they're expected to add to them. Gifting them with time for this endeavor, the nanny shuffles over to a door to the right, pulling open what amounts to a closet the size of the squad room. A few seconds in there and she reappears, separating two nose and mouth masks and offering them to the individual detectives with a calculated look.

Calculated look, meet questioning look — but Kev doesn't say a thing. He just takes the mask like a good boy, peers at it, and pulls it over his head, awkwardly adjusting the elastic over his hair and righting in on his nose. The fretful lines in his forehead have made a decided reappearance.

It's a sad thing for Andrew to be separated from his shoes, but with a great deal of care, he carefully unlaces each, tugs on the loops of the laces to loosen the shoes, and carefully withdraws his feet from each of his precious shoes, taking particular care not to scuff, mark, or otherwise maim his shoes. It's a ritual in a way, an odd nearly-OCD quirk that may be more telling of the life he left behind than the easy-going one he tries to live.

The mask is accepted, with some puzzlement, and is drawn haphazardly over his head. The elastics are tugged on, and adjusted to right their lines against his skin, and he issues the nanny a nod.

Noting their different yet conjoining expressions, nanny Mary notes calmly, "It's multiple sclerosis with the little miss. She's in a weak state with the weather and it's best if you didn't bring any of your," your, specifically you, "contaminants with you into the room." Second wind of hesitation washes over her and she wavers in her spot but then, suckling on a lip, nods and briskly leads them down a corridor and up an elaborate spout of circular stairs. Ornamental keepsakes shine from every gracefully designed nook and cranny while classical art sits next to blaring movie posters covered in signatures: Beverly Hills living.

There's another comm-box here, at the top of the stairs, and the nanny ushers them towards a door down the hall to its right. As she lets them take the lead, her hand slips into her pocket and she fishes the mobile phone a second time, now going through with a quick saved number.

Confusion turns to understanding as Andrew issues the nanny a small nod. Not that he still won't insist on talking to the girl in question— she is expecting him, after all. Sure footed steps by a black sock and a green sock (of the same fabric, size, and style— only different in colour) lead the way. Once he reaches the door, intuition takes over. He raps gently against it. "Alice? It's Detective Webber."

He wonders if she had time to call her parents.

Kev's eyes soften on the explanation and keep following the nanny, watching her with her phone — maybe enough, even, to miss the fashion show going on with Andrew's feet, the least of his concerns. At the door, with another layer of faint discomfort added, the— currently— quiet tag-a-long fidgets in his pockets and waits. He stops fidgeting to double-check his face mask, suddenly paranoid that it's not on right and he's full of contaminants.

From through the soft mahogany-paneled door: "Come in, Detective Webber!" and then the stifling of a sneeze or cough for the upraised voice, muffled by the barrier between them.

One swept away as the door finally opens.

Behind them, the nanny's voice sinks away as she takes several steps aside, clinging to the phone, "Mister Everly— "

Wonderland's a distinctly more sterile place than someone might imagine a child's room — even one reaching an older cusp. Amidst tall white and indistinct walls, the bed appears like it might still be wrapped in plastic, like it were a doll-house toy and it's only recently arrived in the mail. Machinery adorns one wall instead of princess decorations. Rather than in front of a variety of stuffed animal, the girl Alice — murder suspect — awaits them, perched in a uniquely modeled ergonomic chair like a little doll, herself, in front of a set of wall-hanging monitors: one of them, a view of the outside gate.

Small in stature, her little limbs almost showing the bones, Alice's posture is stiff as she waits; a little crooked, a little off. She's pale but rosy-cheeked and stares with intelligent eyes that eagerly scan every detail of them as they enter, leaving nothing behind in her greedy gulping of an outside presence. When she speaks, "Hello!" it's the first time her voice is heard without the gravel of technology.

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Kev barely enters — he steps in with the polite, cautious gait of someone not wanting to breech a sanctum and hangs back just to the right of the door. His smile is easy, bearing zero indication that he thinks this girl is a person of interest — suspect, even — in a murder. She's just a girl and he smiles at her like she's just a girl: friendly and warm and a little bit goofy because he doesn't know what to say because she's basically a kid and why is he here and he starts to look out the window instead and—

Blinking, he remembers himself, bobbing his head once. "Hey," he greets in his friendly, faintly blurry-voiced way, muffled further by the mask.

Increasingly thankful that Archie didn't accompany him on this particular endeavor, Andrew treads slowly into the room. Like Kev, his air is one of caution. His sock-footed footfalls silently bring him to the girl's side. His lips, concealed behind the mask, curve upwards, just a tick in a nearly apologetic way. His eyes twinkle the same in kind.

"Hello Alice," the greeting the same causal tone conveyed over the telephone. He glances over his shoulder towards the nanny only to redirect his attention to Alice, "I'm guessing you didn't have the opportunity to call your parents." He takes one last step forward, and stands there, stationary. "So," he pauses, leaving space for the word itself to settle in this room of machines, "I'm guessing you already know that we didn't really think your website sent out viruses— "

The round cheeks puff as Alice observes them, impolitely struggling not to keep staring and to actually answer. "Do I— ?" It's a little playful with the tug of her lower lip, but as it rolls back in towards her teeth she shows off her slight fright alongside. There's two detectives looming in on her; she balks a second then her soft, wise eyes flick to Kev and she flashes him a secretive toothless smile that backs off as she straightens in an ungainly fashion, one or two nerves refusing to respond as she jerks. "All I know is that you intend to ask me about her." She swivels an arm behind her and pulls into her lap a computer print-out of Callie Higgins' Facebook profile photo: the same one recently added to the police file and being used to question suspects.

Kev's slightly awkward smile can be glimpsed again around his mask; it's shortlived, though his expression doesn't turn, either, to strict professionalism. He watches Andrew expectantly, like it's all new to him.

There's something comical about the situation that Andrew may or may not laugh about later— him coming to a child, a sick child at that,— to glean any wisdom she has about a murder that she may have or not have predicted. There's a shrug as his weight shifts from the black sock to the green one. "Right," his head tilts to the side. "I guess we should start at the beginning before scoping out the details, right?" His eyebrow arches, recalling their phone conversation, "So how does it work exactly?" It not being named. "You type your name in the website, like," he points at Callie's photo, "she did. And then you get a fortune… how? You aren't tracking computers. We figured that much out when Archie put my name in— "

"I see it," Alice admits readily, even eagerly, before rescinding that excitement in a shot of bashfulness, "I mean… kind of." A slight cough stutters her breathing, but she whips around ably enough to lug what is an antique in this day and age — a full, printed Yellow Pages — into her lap. Everything on the desks are within arms' reach of her chair. The print smacks productively against her legs and she lays Callie's picture atop. "I use this to do the reading. It helps to have something physical, but… well. Facebook helps me make sure I have the right person. It's— I mean, it's really amazing," her girlishness shines through well in those cheeks; eyes flick between the detectives then drop shyly, "what… what people put up on the internet now."

"So you can connect the person to their address," Andrew nods slightly. "That makes sense." It's logical, and an explanation even his partner could embrace. Know a name, and look it up. He sucks the inside of his cheek, "And where exactly do the fortunes themselves come from?" His chin drops to let his eyes level with Alice's, "Like, for example, Callie Higgins's?"

Alice's two little feet play intermittently together throughout, and as Andrew asks his question, they pick up fervor, rubbing against each other like newborn puppies discovering rough-housing. She stares at them briefly before lifting one squinting eye up to Andrew to evaluate as she answers quietly, "It's hard to… well. Intention. I think. I've never really… talked about it to anyone." A pause. Her eyes shift to the door and she shakes her head briskly — reassuring the nanny who's popped in to make sure the detectives aren't doing anything questionable.

Kev directs a (questionably) reassuring look to the door, nodding his head, only missing minus the tip-of-the-hat gesture. Back on Alice, his expression is one of painfully obvious puzzlement — although happy for Andrew to do most of the talking, he questions, "Intent?" like he doesn't want to get left behind. 

A nod is given to the nanny and then one to Kev, in turn. His lips part to ask another question, but he thinks better of it and allows his hands to retreat into his pockets instead. In a way, he becomes easier around the thought, and allows his expression to relax a little more. She's never explained it before, and so he adds, encouragingly, "Take your time."

She does and doesn't: taking half of a deep breath, Alice gushes forward before it's been fully realized, "Yes, like— the future, but not the future. More like what someone's inten— " a look of apology flashes to Kev that makes her look almost like a trapped deer, "— thinking," she corrects lamely, "of doing. I kind of," a hand flops and it looks unintentional by the twitching, "thought of it like karma. That's where the…" eyes drop, "website idea came from. To connect and… let people know what they were doing was gonna affect them." She doesn't need to say even a single breath of and I'm so lonely for it to ring utterly clearly out into the room. "If negative people could be convinced to act positively— I'm— I'm convinced," her hand squeeze, on purpose this time, "it could help." But instead of listening, instead of changing, people freaked out and now the police are investigating her.

It takes him awhile, but… "I get it," Kev replies: a softer layer over his voice that leans its meaning away from simple understanding of the concept (which, in truth, he hasn't totally grasped) into a little personal agreement— "Karma, yeah. You ask me, that's a pretty solid way to live." Except… one user of the website didn't live, and Kev finds himself roughly scratching the back of his head above the elastic of the mask and looking at the photo of Callie Higgins.

Andrew's cheeks pale some as his gaze turns from Alice to Kev and back again. It makes sense to him. His chin drops, just a stitch, in a sort of semi-nod of understanding. "That makes sense to me," he says quietly, his own fortune leaving him to wonder, just a little. Gaze softening, he considers the notion of karma, "Is it the individuals themselves or their intention in relation to those around them?" His eyes squint some. He's still trying to get how it works, exactly— or as best as he can understand it. He holds out a hand in apology, silently requesting a moment to explain, "I mean… for Callie Higgins, you told her to watch her back. Was she doing something that could prompt her to need to do so— " He clears his thraot and rolls his eyes at his own question, "Or was her intention towards someone else not good?"

"Ummm." In her rush to answer, Alice emits several quick, wordless noises, unable to properly form without a thought in her head except: must answer! After a couple of them, she ceases, clearing her throat sharply. "I'm sorry," is a near whimper, "I do— there's so many. If I said that, maybe I meant that someone was after her, but. I can't…" With a nibble of her lip, her eyes fall, casting them in the shadow of her blonde bangs as they loosen from their style pulled back from her forehead.

"S'alright," assures Kev, gentle as be can. Problem is, he doesn't look assured himself. It's not so alright — the team needs something to go on — but he feels for the girl. 

Andrew nods silently as his gaze ticks off towards the door. She can't remember. His eyes stare off at the door for a few moments as his hands press further into his pockets. His throat clears, and then, he manages, "How did you come to my fortune then?" Maybe that's one she can remember, and maybe, just maybe knowing his own psyche, intentions, and reflections it might give him enough to understand something about Callie Higgins…

Fingers twisting with each other, Alice's lips flop like a stranded fish with non-forming words. "I…" is as much as a full-blown admittance; she can't remember that either. But as she lifts to look at him, bounces off to look at Kev and absorbs the other man's gentility despite caution, she sucks in a deep breath and bubbles, "But," turning the Yellow Pages in her lap, "If I cast out for somebody near that woman then I might be able to… see or remember or something." Desperation to be useful sparkles clearly as she pins Andrew with a youthful look.

"Oh hey." Kev's hand falls — from where it had, again, started scratching at his mess of hair for lack of anything else to do — and he makes a snapping gesture at Andrew minus the noise itself, pointing at the detective. "Didn't she have like a, a roommate or something?" Clearly completely up on the case details, this guy. "And a cat? I remember hearin' somethin' about a cat." He pauses; squints; looks embarrassed. "Probably… doesn't work on cats, huh…"

Andrew nods his head slowly as his lips twist to the side. "She did have a roommate— Britney Pagan. Hated the cat from what everyone tells me. Also didn't care much for her roommate and seemed more concerned with the ickiness of the situation." His eyes turn towards Alice once more, "She was really skeptical about your website."

"Britney Pagan. B-R-I-T— ?" Shooting a questioning look over at Andrew as she starts to flip pages, her eyes start to drop back to the pages and skim his socks in the meantime; she saw them before but now she really sees them and her butt writhes against the chair, nearly spilling her frail form straight from it. "Your shoes! I remember you shoes." Now back down, after pointing insistently at him, she takes that fingertip and applies it to the Yellow Pages, zooming down on the list of P-As… Britney Pagan. It's amazing that, in this day and age where a girl reads the future and posts it on the internet that something like a Yellow Pages still gets printed, but there it is, and there's the name.

Settling further down into her chair, Alice straightens her stomach, sucking in a slow, zen breath and then releasing it again. Her fingernail digs into the page, creating a small arc beneath the name. Britney Pagan. Eyelids flutter as if she were suddenly very weary and her shoulders slump forward like she might escape the chair after all with the slightest breeze of breath.

Watching closely, his eyes becoming ever narrower, Kev takes a step further into the room. One, two, an extra shuffle of his sock-feet (a drab grey, no shower like Andrew) … he reaches out toward Alice even though she isn't, in fact, in reach. "Uh…" He expresses a lot of uncertainty and concern, in one mumbly syllable, but doesn't act any further. But if she does fall…

"I knew it was the shoes," Andrew's smirk can be heard behind the mask. "Score one for the Adidas. The ones with the wings, yeah?" Well, there's two pairs with wings, but he won't quibble on such details, not even in his own mind. The process, however, draws Webber into silence, it's mystery having its own effect as he mirrors Kev's body language, willing the girl not to fall out of her chair.

A twitch— two— but Alice manages to remain seated, barely so, until her eyes flutter to renewed life and she clambers her way back up to seated; the Yellow Page slip, though, and with both her hands half-useless she needs them to prop herself up and the book pays the price, falling to the floor with a splat and a wrinkle of those yellowed pages. "Oh…" she murmurs, grasping for it far too late with a grimace but then moving hurriedly on in excitement, "The cat. I saw the cat. I did."

Kev shuffles further still into the pristine room to collect the Yellow Pages dutifully. He freezes with the book in hand, half-risen from lifting it, blinking once at the girl. His mouth twitches and opens, quirking into a smile under his mustache and falling away when he squints searchingly. "Wait— really…?"

The cat-discovery draws a mischievous smile from Andrew, but he reigns it in. "W-where?" They haven't found it yet. And then he corrects himself, "Was this from Britney, or— " he still doesn't really get her ability, but he certainly appreciates Alice's help.

"I… well. I saw a cat," Alice lamely admits, twitching, then hurrying on. "But it had blood on it— except it… didn't." She slows, cautious that in bursting out her first impressions she's somehow annoying or misleading the detectives unintentionally. "Britney Pagan wouldn't let it back in the house. She's cleaning. She's getting a new roommate," her voice softens, gaining a musical rhythm as though she were chanting — not quite aware, "One not like Callie Higgins, one that's more like her. But they'll be too similar. They'll get in a fight. Britney dates her roommate's boyfriend in revenge." A crack in Alice's tone, "No one's happy…"

There's a moment of silence as Andrew turns to face Kev, arching a single questioning eyebrow. "Do things turn… violent?" he asks idly. Alice might not be able to tell them what happened to Callie Higgins, but maybe she can prevent something from happening in the future. And then he refocuses, "Okay. So we need to find the cat. If she's keeping the cat out of the house, maybe we can pick it up— " Evidence. Archibald will like that. "Do you know the new roommate's name?"

"No," from Alice, fairly assured, then, further lamenting her perceived uselessness, she deflates to answer, "No…" a second time. Toes turn in and press anxiously against each other; she bites her lower lip and it goes awry with a twitch, coming down too hard. "But," and her head lifts as she relays with a calmer confidence, "I didn't see the cat ever again."

Something happened to it. Was it Andrew?

"Well at least it sounds like the new roommate is safe." And then, Andrew manages an easy smile, "And you've done great," even if it hasn't been productive in the way they'd originally hoped, "for one, you've helped us understand your ability better." Which is something. Eyes squint at Alice as if to bring her into focus: his brain is working at this problem as hard as he can manage.

So there is a girl dead. Stabbed in the back. Not a lick of evidence. There was a chest that has now moved. And now there is a cat that may or may not be dead, but can no longer be seen. The fortune gives them a piece, but there's a bigger picture here…

His teeth toy at his lip, mirroring Alice's action for just a moment, but then he smiles again. "Did I, like Icarus, fly too close to the sun?" There's a twinkle in his eye as his smile turns just a stitch cheeky. "Step on the wrong butterfly?" He snaps his fingers, "The roommate hated the cat, and the pair didn't get along." He takes a step away as he begins murmuring to himself, "She was scared at the scene, but what if…" He hadn't discounted the roommate. He sucks on the inside of his cheek and looks back to Alice, stopping his one-sided conversation with himself. "Alice," he pauses, "can you give me anything else? You've been really helpful so far— "

"If you come back with more names," scurries Alice to say, her cheeks flushed by his compliment of helpfulness, "I'll see what I can— " do… "see." A grin tugs the sheepishness out of her face and she looks askance to Kev to mark his reaction to her little play. The wisdom of her mindfulness for the world ever warring with her young age, slowly being sucked out of her by disease, all. Even now, the somberness returns with a flash of memory, causing her eyes to drop then lift precisely to Andrew. "Your shoes are why I chose 'Icarus'," she relates coolly, slightly distant while persistent, "But not the warning." Her lower lip vanishes behind her teeth; it seems clear that's all she's willing to disclose right now. "You'll— come back later?" Promise? Maybe she'll tell him, then. Weak arms lift the much thicker Yellow Pages, hugging it to her chest, but looking like it's slowly crushing her.

A smile flashes from Kev to Alice at her directed play of words, up from a duck of his head — on a bit of a delay, got it! He tucks his hands into his pockets, the quieter tag-a-long, just trying to keep up with the exchanges, his gaze getting distracted here and there, gentler, particularly on glimpses of the little lady looking as weak as she is. “Maybe I will after I check my fortune, see what it means,” he sneaks on in — his tone light, joking, but with just enough real wonder. “Nothin’ good probably.” He glances to his colleague, lifting his brows, handing the real responsibility to answer Alice back into Andrew’s custody.

"Alice, you've been really helpful. Thank you for showing us what you can do." A gleam of intrigue reflects in Andrew's eyes as he nods, "I'll be back." There's no hesitation in the statement, probably because he intends to return whether or not he has more case-related questions for her. "But I'm guessing you probably sensed that," he shoots her a coy half smile as he takes a small step away from her. His gaze turns upwards towards Kev as his grin expands, "Probably something about being so built. Our friend," he glances down at Alice with another smile, "has a way with words."

A few steps take him to the door, but before he walks through it, he turns to face the girl once more, "I hope you at least liked the winged shoes." His lips hitch up on one side. "Can I bring you anything next time I come?" Next time. It's a confident assertion.

"Please don't make me do it in front of you!" Alice giggles, plaintively eying Kevin in a gaze that lingers before she tears it away to nod multiple loose times at Andrew, nearly seeming to break her neck. "Something you like! From…" her voice lowers more solemnly, "Outside. You know. Whatever that looks like." A joke that barely reaches her lips; she bites down on the lower again and it's more spasm than intent but she manages to pry her teeth off to smile when the detectives excuse themselves.

As Mary collects their masks and ushers them out, with only just enough time to preciously put on Andrew's shoes the way he needs, it's clear that the news traveled faster in certain channels than others; there's no parents, but there are a few over-curious press vehicles, including ones more familiar to ACRU than the rest.

The press cause the detective to frown, just a stitch. He doesn't exactly want Alice to lose her relatively quiet existence. Plus, the sick kid deserves an ounce of privacy preserved. If she wanted to be public, she'd offer a name. Andrew offers Kev a mischievous grin, "Nothing like company…" he whistles. Slowly he walks down the driveway back towards their car. "Hi folks," he chimes with a smile as he puts on his sunglasses.

Many of the somewhat junior reporters deflate over such a greeting — it's not juicy at all, and Andrew's lack of hurry seems to tell their less experienced professional minds that this is no big deal. Clearly, this is the back-up contingent — except one red-haired woman, sidling closer than the others, who shoves her audio-recorder at Andrew like it's a card with her number written in lipstick on the side. "Hey," is smooth, familiar, "I seem to remember me doing you a good turn on that website piece…" Tit for tat?

The red-haired woman earns an easy smile, complete with a single dimple in Andrew's right cheek. "You definitely did me a solid," he lingers outside the car for a moment, considering something in his own mind, and letting it roll over his thoughts. The dimple is met with a second one as he leans against his car and almost shyly casts his gaze downwards, "I could give you the scoop over dinner?" Is he blushing?

A coy tug of her mouth acknowledges Andrew's— whatever this is; her words are less forgiving. "Dinner's past my deadline," she announces, playing seriously on words. The rest, a purr: "Just tell me if there's an non-government-sanctioned psychic in there or not and maybe I'll be able to pay for dessert."

"You're breaking my heart~" dramatically he presses his hand against his chest. "It's like you only ever want me for your scoop~" the words are sing-song. He knows what their relationship is really about.

Don't fly too close to the sun, he reminds himself.

There's a small tug at Andrew's sunglasses as his smile remains, exposing his blue eyes to the rest of the world. The sunglasses are tucked into Andrew's jacket pocket carefully. A small twist prompts him to catch Kev's gaze, just for an instant, only to return back to the reporter. "Until we've concluded our investigation, I can neither confirm nor deny that," he sucks on the inside of his expectantly. Psychic isn't exactly the right word, anyways. Clairvoyant seems more accurate. At least, this is what Andrew has convinced himself.

He straightens expectantly before adjusting his jacket, smoothing each of the wrinkles out of it in turn. "I can, however, tell you that Callie Higgins received a fortune from the website we've advised the public to avoid that was incredibly accurate and after investigating this lead, we believe the website poses no harm tot he public." His hand strokes his chin, "The website has been found to be free of all viruses. And while some fortunes may incredibly accurate," he clears his throat, "like all fortunes, such things are up for interpretation. It would be no different than reading much into a fortune cookie. As my partner would say it's a Post Hoc Ergo Procter Hoc logical fallacy." Smiiiiile.

"Right." She's less convinced as vaguely put-out, but his smile mollifies her; as does the general dispersal of the other reporters, carelessly eavesdropping and now packing up their gear. "So," the tape-recorder drops against her collarbone with a thump. "Eight o'clock? Eight thirty? Cecconi's. If that's something a— " she makes a thin excuse to stare boldly at his chest, "detective can manage."

Did she seriously just stare at his chest? Andrew can feel his cheeks flush, this time a more genuine blush than before. He clears his throat, and then nods, "Eight thirty. Cecconi's. I can manage that." He manages another easy smile before allowing his hand to drop to the handle of his door.

To her integrity's credit, the reporter's grin flashes more stupidly when he shows further signs of discomfort and all the balled courage it took to pull off the stunt seems to burn off in the sunlight. As he gets in the car, however, she pulls a brave face, leaning over to thump a hand on the top of the door as if to say you're clear to go, boys.

Kev stares with blatant mistrust at the reporter as he gets in the car, and as he has been doing throughout the entire exchange. Secured in with Andrew, he leans an elbow upended the window and shakes his head dismissively at him. "Dude, you can't go on dates with reporters. They're freaky, not in the good way, okay man? She's gonna sneak everything outta you over dessert and then," his fingers pop up, poof! "Carmen Sandiego."

Once in the car, the sunglasses are returned to their perch on Andrew's nose, maybe to block the sun. Maybe for other reasons. His hands clutch the wheel and he puts the car into drive as his toothy grin resumes. Through his teeth he manages, "She called my bluff." It's a simple fact. "Hana is a smart woman. It was a ploy to buy time for Alice and her family time to figure things out— " he manages to keep smiling despite himself. "— and I'm about 90% certain she saw through it…" Evidently his tricks don't work the same here. "So. Dinner~ " and then, a little less enthusiastically then he'd like, he tacks on, "Yaaaay."

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