Artsy Smartsy

Alberta Arts District 
#1
For Bennet. Aw. Outfit


What did one wear to an art gallery?

Kenna didn’t know, but she assumed fish net, torn black skinny jeans and a cropped shirt weren’t it. Whatever. It wasn’t like she was going to buy anything. She just wanted to look like she was going to buy something. This was one of the nicer outfits she owned and one of the only shirts she had that were neither a band or workout shirt. Her options were minimal so, this was what she was working with. At least she did a full face of makeup and prettied up her nails. One was bound to break within the next twenty-four hours but that was the life she lived.

The door bell played a soft chime as she entered, her clean black and white Chuck Taylors stealthy on the slick floor. Man... this was all too white, clean and sparkly for her. Kenna paused momentarily, quickly scanning her surroundings before turning to her left and scanning the paintings and sculptures that were there all while keeping one eye on the door. She were here because she got work that her bounty might hit this place up. The day before, the police reported more stollen art work a couple of towns away and she knew this person sold paintings. It was a long shot, but she hoped it would pay off. Literally. She could use the cash. Kenna hoped she could pull this off for an hour, her stomach was already growling causing her wolf to pace restlessly.
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#2
Bennet came out of his office, a file in his hand, a cup of expresso in the other. He paused briefly to adjust a statue's plinth minutely so the light hitted it at a better angle. He scanned the rooms to make sure everything was in place. Actually, it was hard to move things around. He had his own security measures, using his unique talents, to keep everything right where he wanted them. Until a sale, that is.

He wore a bespoke suit, minus a tie. He didn't dress 'arty' unless there was a need. And it worked for much of his clientele. In one of the front rooms, he opened the file. It was a list of inventory for some artwork that was going to be delivered later in the morning. On top was a printout of an email, requesting a meet in a few minutes.

There weren't many people in yet. Most of his business happened in the afternoons and evenings. That was why he was the only staff in at the moment. Cynthia, his assistant, would be in soon to handle any patrons that came in.

Speaking of patrons, he noted the woman at the large front display area. If he was mistaken, she looked a little puzzled. He took a quick look. She was nearly half a foot shorter than he was but she stood with confidence. Her clothes weren't quality, he could tell that, but she wore them well. Actually, she was rather attractive. And he knew that the clothes did not necessarily mean she couldn't afford anything or everything in the place.

And she was a werewolf.

He was new in town, so this was the first he'd met. Not bad for a first meeting.

His attention was drawn to the ringing at the back entrance, where the deliveries were made. He headed over, not liking this at all. True, some people were down on their luck and didn't want people to see them selling the family art or some such thing. But, this time of day made all that unlikely.

Still, he opened the door and stepped back to let his visitor in, a one, Colin Kemp, who was inches shorter but just that much wider. He held a wrapped frame in his hand. "Mr. Kemp, I presume. Why not set that over there and we can take a look."
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#3
Kenna could hear the muted sounds of foot steps and the smell of... well... a human, paint and Clorox. It actually wasn’t too bad in here. The few crowded places where she neither minded the smell or crowds were coffee shops, gyms and the boxing ring. At least the smell of blood made her feel at home. Funny how that was. The law of her kind was to not hurt those like you, and yet the pack she grew up in threw that wall out like a piece of gum out a car window.

A distant ring sounded, peaking her interest. Kenna causally turned and walked toward the paintings in the back of the room, surprised that a smattered, and smearing white painting on black paper actually caught her eye. It reminded her of the night sky she often escaped to look at when she was young and well into her adult years. It was the only piece she ever had. Her head tilted to the side, eyeing it curiously all while keeping both nosy ears open.

The shop working was talking to some dude name “Kemp.” It wasn’t a name she knew, but if it was her guy, he probably wasn’t using a legitimate name. At least if he was smart, he wouldn’t. Kenna read the little plate below the painting, wondering the backstory of this piece. She would have thought art would have been the last thing on her mind, but this piece called to her in more ways than one. Even the wolf stopped pacing to take note.
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#4
Bennet was able to get a better look at Kemp while he was preoccupied in unwrapping the painting. He had a sneaking suspicion that this was just a hired lackey at best. At worst...no, let's not go there just yet.

The man stepped back and Bennet's thoughts were interrupted at the sight beforehand. His eyes flickered back and forth between man and painting. Steel-toed boots did not resonate well with the pastel delicacy of a Georges Lemmen "View of the Thames". Again, he could be prejudicial on that...but his instincts were not often wrong. He stepped forward to examine the work more closely. "You don't regularly see a Stippling these days."

"So...it'll stand out." Kemp's voice was curt.

"True," he replied. But the doubts continued. Granted, there were people out there who spent millions on 'pretty pictures' without a clue of the style or history. Was this a guy who was willing to spend upwards of a quarter of a million dollars without even knowing the term Pointillism, which was the name of the stippling style.

He eased closer. He could tell that the appropriate levels of metals in the paint, especially in the titanium white was true to the period. He didn't have to stand closer but it helped sell his judgment of authenticity or forgery to any client. Plus, he liked getting closer. "You have the authenticity certificates?"

"Yeah, I'll get 'em. Wanted you to see it first."

"Hm. " Bennet straightened. "If it hold up, I can offer fifty thousand dollars."

And there it was; the gleam of greed. And Bennet was willing to bet his suit collection that this was either a very, very good fake or it was stolen. No one in their right mind who owned a painting like this would sell it for a fifth of the price. Even down-on-their-luck patrons could get a better deal anywhere else.

He raised his phone. "I'll just check my accounts so we can talk business." He kept talking as he went to a few sites online that he watched several times a day. "We'll get the details straightened and a check cut." He glanced up briefly with what looked like a genuine smile. "And once I get the papers." Ah, there it was, on the site in front of him. This was a stolen piece, taken days ago. Lemmen's work wasn't so sought-after that the theft made a big splash. But it was listed with online authorities. Bennet just hadn't had time to get to it today. Kemp was deeply stupid. You don't steal art unless you had a fence. If you did or didn't have a fence, if you can get rid of the art within 24 hours, you are golden. If not, you had to be prepared to sit on the art of months, perhaps years, until the chatter and the hunt died down.

"Why mess with it all? Why not a direct transfer?" Now the tone was impatient.

Seeing something in the man's eyes, Bennet extended his senses to the man, immediately picking up the metal around him. Hm...not good. If he wasn't mistaken, meaning he missed something more, Kemp had two guns. One in a shoulder holster, one at his ankle. Also a couple of knives. If Bennet could get the guy out onto the floor, it would be easy for Bennet to trip an alarm. But, it had been sloppy of him. Granted, few robbed galleries any more. High-end art almost always went through auction houses.

He raised a hand, gesturing for Kemp towards the gallery proper. "It protects us both, but perhaps I can make an allowance." But, instead of moving ahead, Kemp stepped back and around to get the painting. Now he was behind Bennet who had no choice but to walk in front. Now he had to trip the alarm another way...which wasn't so much of a problem as it would be very difficult to explain to the nice police.

As he walked, a little on the slow side, he heard the rustle of fabric behind him. Bennet had the awful feeling the man had drawn the gun...
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#5
Kenna heard the sounds of the two men talking. Nothing sounded terribly alarming.... then again, she knew absolutely nothing about art. The bounty on this one was just too much to pass up. Especially when it could pay for all of her bills in one month and still have enough left over for food and whatever else she wanted to buy. She really needed to learn how to save her cash.

She took her phone out of her back pocket, checking the time, the small rattle of the hand cuffs she always carried hidden on her person reminding her not to be too impatient. Especially when the voice of this Kemp guy grew irritated and rose with impatience. Interesting. Kenna put her phone back in her back pocket and followed the smell of the two humans.

Should she go in with her badge out or just assess the situation. Probably assess it in case it wasn’t her perp. She knew what he looked like, but it was hard when she literally was going in blind. Slowly, she made her way past the art gallery to the back of the shop. The voice were just around the corner causing her to pause and collect herself. She plastered on a confused look as she stumbled passed the corner. "Excuse me. Do you know where the bath-" her mouth snapped shut at the sight of the perp holding a gun up to the shop worker and just past him was where she stood.

New plan. Quickly.

She swallowed, hoping that she looked every part of the scared young woman that she hoped she did. "I-Is everything alright?" she asked stupidly. Of course it wasn’t! But she hoped that this stupid art thief couldn’t tell the difference. In all reality her wolf was ready for a bit of excitement, growling with hackles raised, ready to pounce. Kenna glanced between the worker and “Kemp,” eyes wide and seemingly frozen to the spot.
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#6
When the young woman he'd seen before slipped around the corner, Bennet raised an eyebrow. This was unexpected and he had to think quickly to use this to Kemp's disadvantage. He didn't worry about the girl getting caught. Shifters were tough and fast. She could get out of here far faster than he could. He nearly smiled as he saw that her beast was charged and ready to go. Bennet only had to figure out how not to get shot.

By her expression, Kemp did have his gun out. Bennet turned slightly as if to offer directions. It gave him a chance to see the pistol. He sighed. "You know we don't keep cash on hand. Well, except for the coffee fund."

"Shut up, asshole. You're going to transfer the money to a private account. You own the place, so you have the passcodes. Now, head for your office." The gun waved at the young woman. "You can come along, missy."

What to do, what to do...

Two against one, even if the woman wasn't a shifter, it gave them good odds. But the gun was a problem was the disturbing equalizer. And the woman wouldn't know what he was, or that he could help, at least a little. So, he'd have to be smart about it.

He didn't raise his hands at the sight of the gun. Arrogant? Perhaps. But Kemp needed Bennet, so there was some latitude. And Bennet just hated the idea of being robbed by an idiot. It was insulting, that's what it was. So, he stared at the gun. There was no time for finesse; there were plenty of places Kemp could shoot him that would allow him to keep Bennet alive.

Slowing the molecules was the only way to go. Modern guns, as this was, were made of high-tensile polymers. Meaning he'd have to work long and hard to alter the temperature or structure of the pistol. If he could do it at all.

Bullets were another story.

Generally lowering the heat in the small area, meaning that the casing was contracting so that, hopefully, the chemical reaction was thrown off. The longer he hand, the more successful he'd be. The downside to that was that the longer he acted on the gun, the more likely Kemp would notice his gun getting cold. He just needed a few more seconds. Eyes still on the 9 mm pistol, "Is this worth murder? There's a long, nasty jump from selling stolen art to homicide."

"Keep moving!" Kemp was getting angry. Even though all this had taken place in a minute or two, he was a man in a hurry and he had the nagging feeling he wasn't in control of the situation. He pointed the gun at the woman. On instinct, Bennet slid a little to the side to shield her. She might be able to handle getting shot, but he wasn't going to allow because he'd screwed up. He was playing Russian Roulette here and she shouldn't pay for it. By now, four things were possible. The gun will hang up, meaning the shot will only be delayed. Or, the differences in temperatures between the barrel and the bullet would put the bullet on an odd trajectory. The bullet could shatter inside the chamber and brake the gun. Lastly, the gun could simply not fire.

Worst-case scenario, he had a 50/50 chance. 75% if the shot went wild.

Kemp snarled, stepped to the side and fired.

Click. The shot failed.

And for a second, Kemp just looked stupidly at the gun in his hand.
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#7
Feel free to control the NPC on whether any of her attacks hit or not. :)


Kenna knew she was at a disadvantage and there was no other way out but the service door Kemp entered and the hall she just came from. So either he could pass her or he could go through the exit. The hall wasn’t too yarrow, but it wasn’t the best for any sort of encounter. The shifter had to think quickly as the smell of gun powder, sweat and something she couldn’t identify hung in the air.

It all excited her wolf. It bristled to go after the man, to fight, tear and claw her way to victory like she did any other time in her adult life. Still, Kenna refused to drop the facade, wanting Kemp to think she was nothing but a week girl. "W-where are we going?" she asked stupidly, letting her excitement cause her voice to raise as if she were frightened.

Kemp started to move toward her then, attempting to assure along the shop worker - er, owner or whatever he was - with him. Kenna was still frozen to the spot as she glanced between the two. Kemp’s finger was still firmly on the trigger, and for a moment she wondered if they were silver. They probably weren’t, but Kenna had been injured with silver once in her life and she preferred to steer clear of it as much as possible.

Kenna nearly rolled her eyes as the shop owner tried to talk to the man, her wolf bristling with impatience and letting out a growl, tilting her head toward the hall past Kenna as to if to say “get moving.” Moments passed when she heard the familiar sound of the click of a trigger, but no round fired. Instead, it was a muted click, as if the bullet was stuck in the chamber. Kemp looked at the gun giving her mere moments to decide what she wanted to do.

And Kenna went for it. She lunched forward, faster than any girl should have been as she jumped toward Kemp, arm out attempted to knock the gun from his hands and toward the wall, and tackle him to the ground simultaneously. It was risky if the round decided to release and fire, but Kenna was young and stupidly okay with that. Her first problem was to make sure the shop owner wasn’t hurt.
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#8
His relief that his trick worked was palpable. That last move gave Kemp a clear enough shot of the woman to be worrying. Apparently the man was ruthless enough to fire point-blank range at an innocent stranger to make a point. Even a were would have a moment at that range.

And in the time of a few heartbeats, the woman moved shifter-fast at Kemp. It all happened fast enough to register as little more than brief stills in between blinks. The gun went off as she batted it away. The retort was astonishingly loud in the narrow hall. Kemp was now on the ground. From his vantage point, Bennet could see the woman's handcuffs. It was not an accessory you see every day.

She was a little small to be a cop, but he realized he didn't know if the city enforced a height-weight requirement. It really didn't matter. His brain was on overload, something common to him in moments of stress. It allowed him to retain some semblance of calm, outwardly if nothing else. Experience taught him that only a second or so had passed. Time enough for Kemp to turn his wrist and begin to bring his arm around for another shot. He wasn't going to go down easily.

Human-slow, Bennet lurched forward, bringing his hands down on the man's arm
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#9
The gun went off and all Kenna could ear for the new few minutes was the ringing in her hears. He had been trying to shoot her. It made sense. Get the one that didn’t matter out of the way. It wasn’t like he had anything else to loose if he got away with it. But now... he would just get another sentence tacked on and more years added for attempted murder. Her wolf growled, pushing itself against the barrier that separated human and wolf. Her eyes lightened to a brilliant amber as she tackled him to the ground.

She scrambled up, sitting on his stomach just as his arm came around for another shot. The shop owner was there, reminding her that she had to behave herself, but how could she when the wolf desperately wanted to take a large chunk of meat of this man? The shop owner held the man’s hand down, and because he was struggling beneath her slight weight to buck her off, Kenna raised her fist and let it come down on his face, knocking him out cold. His body sagged beneath hers, his head falling to the side just as blood started to trickle out of his nose.

Calm yourself, she silently reminded herself. "Are you alright?" she asked as she took her hand cuffs out of the back of her jeans. She crouched over him, rolling him over and placing his hands behind his back to cuff him, sliding the gun away, barrel to the wall. "Careful, that thing seems faulty," she said, tilting her chin to it. She refused to look at the shop owner until she knew she was in control of her wolf. It took a few moments, but slowly, her eyes turned back to their normal mocha brown color.
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#10
Bennet eased back, noting that the woman, slight as she was, was handily securing the man. He was still feeling the adrenaline rush. "You're pretty handy with those things. Cuffs aren't a woman's usual accessory." He also took the time to nudge the gun further away with his foot. He was pretty sure that if Kemp was anything other than human, he'd have revealed something rather than letting himself be taken. Still, one couldn't be too careful.

"I'm fine." He debated for only a moment about how much to reveal, himself. And, for the record, the gun isn't faulty. The bullets, on the other hand..." He pointed to himself. "Witch." Then he paused, going over the last few seconds. "I'm sorry about this. I was figuring you'd either be faster enough to take him or run to safety." He looked at Kemp, "So, who is he?"
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