~*~

Twilight Stars and Strangers

The sun was setting, turning the sky a deep plum. Capturing the tall cement buildings of New York City in shadows. Ivory slowed her pace. She was only three blocks from the apartment where she lived. If she took long enough she reasoned, she would get to see a few stars before she resigned herself to the inside of the building.

No doubt she'd be called upon to baby-sit the twins across the hall. Frowning she slowed her pace more. A few stars now speckled the navy sky. Nights like these always reminded her of home, the wide-open space and clear nights of the west. She missed home, sighing she stuck her key into the building's door.

Out of the corner of her eye she caught a glowing ember, the butt of a spent cigarette, being flicked to the ground and stomped on. A figure emerged from the shadow of the alley next to her apartment building.

"Hi," he said timidly unsure of himself. A hand flicked up to his hat, tipping it slightly with the small bow of his head.

"My name's Jimmy," the figure stated, taking another step closer to the stunned girl. "I'm a friend of yer uncle Jack's."

"Oh," Ivory exhaled, that wasn't what she had been expecting.

A firm all-business attitude set across her doll like features. "If you're from tha theater he told ya'll he'd be getting' yah that new script tha moment he finished it. And if I may say so, ya'll are bein' awfully pushy and down right bold showin' up at his door like this."

Jimmy cocked an eyebrow, "I'm not that type of friend."

"Oh," Ivory tilted her head slightly, thoroughly confused.

She assessed the sandy-blonde. His bright blue eyes seemed to twitter about her in the same studious fashion. His clothes were plain and seemed worn, beaten actually, from too many days of wear. His black boots were dull and scuffed and his cap lay haphazardly atop his wayward locks. He had a good frame to him though he couldn't be a day over twenty. His eyes seemed much older, tortured by memories, but they had a lively spark to them as well.

"May I come in?" Jimmy asked.

Ivory averted her eyes, realizing she'd been staring she slammed the key back into the lock and opened the door with haste, "Yea, sorry, of course."

He took the door, holding it open; Ivory smiled in spite of her self. She noticed he had a faint salty tang smell about him, like the ocean.

They took the stairs, three flights to the apartment she, uncle Jack and Ann shared. On the rare occasion visitors came over the lift was usually used. But she'd judged this Jimmy character wouldn't mind taking the stairs. Ivory usually took the stairs, truth be told, she didn't have much faith in mechanical contraptions.

She had never even seen a lift until moving in with uncle Jack three months ago. Ivory had been cautiously okay with it until one day it had gotten stuck for four hours with her and the creepy actor from next door trapped inside. Grimacing at the memory she rounded the corner, sticking another key into another lock.

"This is a nice building." Jimmy commented, looking around where they stood.

This time it was Ivory's turn to cock an eyebrow, though her attempt wasn't as successful as Jimmy's had been. She never could seem to separate one from the other so she had to settle with just raising both. It worked well enough for the occasion.

The walls of the building were covered in a nice red and gold paper, though it was peeling in some of the corners. The trim was painted a pearly white, except some of the paint was cracked and chipping. The deep red rug covered the middle of the stairs and hallways, but was definitely worn thin. The building it self was shaped like a hotel, it probably had been years ago. The lobby was open and welcoming, though a bit dingy, and the staircase circled up all five floors, with the lift placed awkwardly in the center. The steps and hallway were marble, and the lobby's too, but there was no intricate patterns. The building was just old. Most of the light bulbs worked most of the time too. But it definitely wasn't some palace off of Park Avenue that was for sure. The ceiling leaked and more then once Ivory had seen a rat or two scamper across the lobby's floor. It made her wonder where Jimmy was used to living if he thought this place was nice. It was decent, she'd give it decent, but she wouldn't concede to it being nice.