A Formidible Duet


len_icon.gif tamsine_icon.gif

Scene Title A Formidible Duet
Synopsis Tamsine asks Len out. Singing and dancing ensue.
Date October 17, 2009

Howling Moon Karaoke Lounge

Tamsine has never called a man for a date in her life, but somehow she managed. She told him the address where to meet her, but didn't give any further details other than time, date, dress is casual but stylish. So it is that at 7 p.m. Tamsine can be found sitting at the bar of a new club in SoHo called Howling Moon Karaoke Lounge. The petite redhead is dressed in one of those satin billowy blouses in jade green atop skinny black jeans and a pair of five-inch stilettos that still won't bring her anywhere near Len's towering height.

Her foot taps upon the rung of her barstool in time to the music; currently a couple is warbling out "I've Got You Babe." The man's a bit pitchy, and the woman is consistently sharp, but they look like they're having fun and the crowd cheers them on despite their inability to match key.

The call caught Len just a little by surprise. His first thought was he must have come across very pathetic last week at her place and she feels sorry for him so she invited him out. Of course, his demeanor shifted for the better when she invited him to karaoke as he told her he would be there. So, 1900 on the dot, Len strides into the Karaoke place and almost immediately spots her at the bar.

She literally takes his breath away for just a moment.

Tucking his thumbs into his jeans pockets he feels the floor underneath his heavy cowboy boots as he moves towards her and slips into stool next to her and orders a bar, as he turns to her. "What do you drink, since I know it isn't wine." he grins at her as he winces just a little bit at the singing. "Wow." He turns to the bartender, "I think I'm going to need a second beer right off the bat, thanks."

Len's words bring a rare merry laugh from the woman and she wrinkles her nose a bit at the thought of what to drink. She works in a bar — it shouldn't be that hard to find something she likes, right? "A screwdriver, no pulp?" she says with a smile to the bartender, then adds a polite "Thanks" on the end, then turns to Len. "I'm buying, but I didn't want to start 'til you were here, since I don't really drink much anyway," she explains. "How are you doing?" The last word is said with more emphasis, the way people say such it when they know the other person is struggling with something — loss, illness, depression.

Len arches his brow as she insists on paying. He knows when to pick his battles with members of the opposite sex, so he doesn't object as he reaches for the first of two beers as he sets the keys to his Jeep on the counter. Just in case. He takes a pull from the beer and then turns to answer her. "I'm cleaned up and doing better. The tattoo removal wasn't as painful as I expected it to be. I've gotten most of the mess cleaned up, and I'm sleeping so things seem to be going well. I appreciate you snapping me out of it last weekend. I needed it. I needed the nap, the wine, the brownies and the lunch."

Then he adds, "And the company."

"We all need to be taken care of sometimes. I've gone to my parents' house quite a few times for some R and R, because it gets tiring to be strong sometimes," Tamsine says quietly. "Tattoo removal? This I didn't hear about…" she says with a raised eyebrow. She smiles at the bartender who drops off their drinks. Picking up the screwdriver, she takes a sip, wrinkling her nose a touch at the strong flavor of alcohol that the orange juice fails to obscure. "Can you believe I run a bar?" she quips. "I'd be happy serving everyone in their milk and cookies."

"If you need something a little less strong, we can send that back." Len notes as he watches her make that cute face. "If you're going to spend time with me, you should at least enjoy it."

Taking another drink from his beer, he leans back against the bar as the next person comes up to sing "Hotel California." "As for the tattoo, I had an encounter with someone who can possess others. She possessed me for a few days and made life a little difficult for me. We've come to an understanding since then." he adds to the end. "It's a little complicated, unfortunately."

Tamsine frowns, her brows furrowing as he discusses being possessed. "Wow. That's… insane. And she got you a tattoo while she was in… you?" That sounds so wrong. "You… all the times we've met, it was really you, wasn't it?" she says, worried a little.

Len pauses for a moment, then laughs, nodding. "It was. I don't normally keep personal contacts on my person just in case something happens to me. I don't recommend letting too many individuals know that you know me. Not that I think you hang out with many criminals, but it doesn't hurt to be careful."

Taking another drink from his beer, he shrugs. "She could be dangerous, but I get the impression that she is mostly looking for fun and games, which I'm not willing to provide her. I know someone who's good with tattoos, so it was fairly easy to get it removed."

Her eyes are a little wide at the mention of criminals, and a little wider at the mention of the possessor being 'dangerous.'

"Maybe we should have a … password or something. A way to know we're really each other," she suggests, then shakes her head, fiery hair swinging around her cheeks. "How insane — Just a few years ago, that would have sounded impossible, right? But now we live in a different world." She nods to the stage. "You going to sing something tonight?"

"I figured you were going to, so that's why I came." He glances up as the song finishes and someone else gets up on stage. "It is definitely a different world out there." If he notes her eyes widening, he doesn't say anything. Yet. "I'd be willing to duet with you, if you think you can keep up." Len teases with a grin.

Tamsine raises a brow, and takes a more courageous swallow of her Screwdriver. "Okay. What's your poison? I get power of veto, though," she tells him, lifting her chin to smirk a bit. "Nothing by Dolly Parton or Billy Ray Cyrus…"

There's a sudden laughter that comes from Len as he shakes his head. "I'm afraid that's my entire repetoire right there. How about you pick something and if I don't know it, I'll fake it." Len slides from the bench and offers his hand. "If I haven't told you, you're very lovely tonight." He waits to lead her up on stage.

Tamsine puts her small hand in Len's paw, and the two climb the steps onto the stage to the applause of the rest of the bar. She grins a little shyly, her cheeks coloring with embarrassment, before turning to murmur to the technician-slash-emcee. The two confer and he points out a song. She glances up to Len, then nods back.

"Everyone give a hand for this lovely couple who are going to sing 'I've Had the Time of My Life.' Remember, nobody puts baby in the corner!" He hands the two their mics and hits play for the background music. Tamsine looks expectantly at Len as the first verse comes up.

Len knows this one, so as his verse begins, his baritone voice goes out over the loudsystem as he sings his part and waits for her to sing her part. He watches her as she sings, enjoying the blush that comes to her cheek. This is one of those places that Len comes to once in a great while, but he's by no means a regular. When the duet part hits, he takes on the harmony with decent skill and only missed a few notes, though he manages to correct it on the fly. It seems that this is exactly what Len needs tonight and he's enjoying himself to the fullest. He hopes that she's having as good a time as he is.

It's been years since she has performed in front of an audience — she has a sweet, clear, resonant voice that complements his deep voice. She fumbles over the words once or twice, but musically speaking, it's a rather good performance. The crowd applauds at the end, and Tamsine turns her flushed face to Len, grinning up at him, and offering a hug before handing her microphone back to the emcee. She manages to descend the four steps without falling, despite the stilettos, and gets back to the bar to climb up on a barstool.

When the performance is over, Len warmly accepts the hug and then waves his hat in the air for the crowd then follows Tamsine back towards the bar — mostly because the view from this side is as good as the other side. Hey, he's a guy, what can you do? He takes the seat next to her and shakes his head. "You've been holding out on me. I didn't know you had pipes like that." He gives a low whistle. "Order what you like, this one is on me, and this time I have to insist." He takes his second beer and screws off the cap before taking a swallow. "We might have to do an encore before the night is over." he winks at her and leans back as he watches the next girl move up and try to attempt to somewhat sing kind of like Celine Dion.

"Pipes? Me?" Tamsine says with an incredulous laugh. She puts down money for the drinks they've already had, before he can try to pay for those too. "Can I just have an Arnold Palmer?" she says a little sheepishly, not wanting any more alcohol. She turns to shake her head at Len. "I can sing on key — that's about it. Chorus girl at best," she says with a wink. Yes, at some point in her past, she'd thought about a music career. Before Tony. Before pregnancy. Before child. "You sing well, too. Next time you can pick." She clinks her new glass against his beer.

It seems that one day the two will have to sit down and share their past with each other, but tonight. Tonight is not that night. Tonight is the night for fun and relaxing. As his bottle clinks with glass he smiles at her. "I like you, Ms. Whitaker." Len's way of saying 'thank you' for dragging him out tonight. His way of letting her know that he does indeed enjoying spending time with her. He lets his arm rest on the bar as he turns his gaze towards her and lets his hand gently rest against her back.

"Why, I think I like you too, Mr. Denton," she says back, her cheeks pinking a bit with the admission, but her dark eyes sparkling all the more in the dim light of the bar. "Would you believe this is the first time I've ever asked a guy out?" she whispers, taking a sip of her non-alcoholic drink, and sighing a little with contentment and the sweet, refreshing flavor, sans vodka.

Watching her, Len gives her a curious stare. "Is that so? Is my head swelling yet?" he teases her just a little, admiring her pink blush. He takes another swallow from his bottle, thinking that perhaps it'll be his last for tonight. He watches as the singer changes over to a new one with a new song, the singing quality doesn't improve. "I'm glad you did call. I was planning on just doing some paperwork tonight. But it was nothing that couldn't wait until tomorrow." Or Monday.

"Tell me about your job?" she asks, not thinking it will be a difficult question. "What exactly do you do, besides rescue damsels in distress at hospitals and jails and the like?" She grins a little at that.

"Eh." Len considers for a moment. "I'm mostly middle management. I occasionally go out and try to do my part, but for the most part I sit in an office and field Homeland Security agents here and there to try and get a handle on some of this stuff that's going on. You know, besides being possessed and having to get tattoos removed. Just a hazard of my work." Len turns to look at her. "What about you? You said you ran a bar? Which one?" She may have told him at some point, but with everything that's been going on with him, he can't seem to recall for certain.

She reaches into her purse, and pulls out a matchbook. "Biddy Flannigan's," she says, with a shrug. "It's more of a favor to someone than a vocational calling. I used to be a social worker, but … I felt like I couldn't really do that anymore, after Liliana…" her voice trails off. "So I was sort of looking for work." She shrugs. It's an awkward situation that she doesn't want to go into. She hands him the green matchbook — the name in gold Gaelic letters on top of a silver claddagh ring.

One can be sure that Len will check out this place when he gets a free moment. He takes the matchbook and glances at it before tucking it into his shirt pocket. Not that he has any reason for matches, just the information printed on it. She did give him an odd look when he teased her about hanging out with criminals, and if that's true, he should probably know up front. Before he..

"Surely there's something more suited for someone like you. Have you considered alternative lines of work? You don't strike me as the 'running bar is my dream' type."

She wraps her hands around her icy drink and shrugs, looking a little forlorn. "When I was young — I thought I might do something with music or something, before I had Lily. But that's not practical, not when you need to take care of a kid, right?" she says, frowning a little as she glances up. "I worked really hard to get through school, while taking care of her, and to get us out of my parents' house. Social work was … probably the only 'practical' thing I was interested in, because of some of the kids I saw come through my parents' house when I was a kid." She glances down again. "But it's too hard right now." So much for the fun and light hearted night out. "The bar isn't bad… I've had to learn how to do that, and it's been quite an education." She smiles at that.

Len listens as she speaks. What he hears is someone with a very good heart. She's been through hell and fought her way back and still, she possesses a good person's heart. He finds himself watching her until she's finished talking and turns away. "Sounds like it may still be something you want to do. The music. Or there's something else. Perhaps now's the time to figure out what it really is you want and do whatever it takes to make it happen. I never knew Lily, but I have to think that she would want you to be happy. It's kind of sappy, I know, but I believe it to be true."

"She would," Tamsine says and smiles. Somehow there are no tears. "I don't even know how to start doing anything else. The bar thing, it fell in my lap. It's not a bad job, and it pays well. I can't imagine what I could do in music, to be honest. I'm just self-taught on guitar and untrained unless you count a year or two of choir as a singer. Really, not enough to win any gigs, I'm sure of it. It's just not practical." And if Tamsine has been anything the past 15 years, she's been practical.

"No one ever said you had to be famous. Maybe teaching music, or something more along that lines. I think you have a heart as big as this city and you need to share that." Len lets his finger brush against her back. "Whatever it is you decide to do, I know you'll do your best. Practical or not, she's nothing holding her back from doing something she loves, except herself. "Trust me, I know. This is all I've ever done and it's cost me a lot. My marriage has recently ended in divorce. I never had time to try and raise a family, so I've no kids. I've done nothing but this job for a decade or more. I've got nothing but a few commendations to show for it." He finishes off his beer and sets the bottle aside.

"You help people," Tamsine counters. "My job — no one will ever give me an award for what I did for the kids I helped, but I tried to make their worlds safer, better. Some of them even hate me for taking them away from their families, because little kids don't know that their parents aren't supposed to hurt them, they think everyone's life is a mess because they don't know better." Her dark eyes fill with tears as she considers such horrible parents. "I'm sorry about your divorce. People probably say it's better that there are no kids, right? Like that's supposed to be a consolation in a time like that? But … it's not necessarily true, is it?" Her hand touches his, to show she understands what he means.

Len's hand envelopes Tamsine's hand and he gives it a squeeze. "Don't think you never helped anyone. I suppose we could sit here all night and chat back and forth about who's led the the most horrible life ever.." He says this with a grin as he holds her hand. "Or, we can go out there and join them folks out there for a couple of dances." He slips off his stool and stands in front of her as he keeps a hold of her hand.

Dances? She hasn't danced with a man … well, ever. She danced with little boys at junior high and high school dances. But what the hell. She hops off her barstool and lets him lead her out to the dancefloor.

Lucky for Len, whoever is attempting to sing, is singing something slow, so he places his arm around her back and steps up close to her. He can feel her warmth against him as he begins to lead her in a dance. It's not the kind of dance that really takes alot of finesse, which is lucky for her and lucky for him. He's careful not to step on her toes while they dance, and though he's quite a bit taller than her, he leans down and places a soft kiss atop her head.

It's nice to be held, and there is something warm and protective that Tamsine has lacked for a long time in that embrace. She hums softly to the music, the sound reverberating against his chest where she lays her cheek.

They dance a few dances, and then have one more duet before Len leads her from the place. He follows her home to ensure that she makes it okay before heading back towards the city. Anyone seeing him enter the building, might consider that he's seems to be in quite the good spirits tonight.

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