All She Wants To Do Is Dance


alexander_icon.gif hana_icon.gif helena_icon.gif kain_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title All She Wants To Do Is Dance
Synopsis All Helena wants to do is dance, but Kain brings business to the table. Hana, Alex, and Teo keep an eye out.
Date November 3, 2008


The pulsing beat of bass throbs through the walls of Rapture, a high-class nightclub in the heart of Harlem. Rows of expensive cars line up out front of the exclusive club and a crowd of would-be patrons wait outside, cherry-picked by the bouncers to have only the cream of the crop on the interior, while leaving just enough eye-candy outside to entice other patrons. The club serves as a respite for the trendy and the influential from the grind of daily life.

On the inside, Rapture is as much a spectacle as it is a structure. Multiple dance floors in tiered balconies overlooking an enormous central dance floor ringed by plush leather-upholstered booths. Pale blue light shines on the wrap-around bar that curved around the back of the establishment, and the entire building is filled floor-to-floor and shoulder-to-shoulder with the pulsing, flowing sea of people dancing to the rythmic beats of electronic dance music piped through the expansive sound-system.

Monday night at a dance club should be dead. The work week, the daily grind, all of these things should have precidence over the pulsing beat of bass and the rythmic movements of a sea of bodies bathed in colored lights. But that simply isn't the case, the world isn't the same as it once was, and to many the release of body and mind both free and for sale here in the darkened booths and back rooms of Rapture is exactly what keeps people coming day after day.

Freedom in a pill.

Amidst this ever-shifting sea of dancing victims of the city's ever-increasing drug problem, there sits a shining example of how such a subversive corruption can take a strangle-hold on society. The hands wringing the necks of honest citizens belong to one Kain Zarek. Seated at a circular booth near the raised central dance-floor, Kain lounges back against the plush crimson leather at his back, arms sprawled out to either side. A single man stands watch over the booth, a mountain of a gentleman in a slick black suit with a bright red tie, tiny circular-lensed glasses hiding his eyes just below hairless brows and an equally hairless head.

Kain, one of the many tendrils of the Linderman Group in the city, sits like a king in a palace, watching his harem dance. In his mind, anyway, that's exactly the case. The reality of it is far less favorable to the blonde-haired cajun, but the cocksure smile that is painted across his scuffy face gives a perfect indication that his delusions of importance in the grand scheme of things are firmly set in place tonight.

Brown hair falls to just above Hana's shoulders in gentle waves, at least when unbound, framing an oval, light-skinned face. That face is defined by elegant cheekbones and a determined chin, by large, dark eyes and subtle lines that speak more to a stubborn and driven personality than a compassionate one. Just a bit under six feet tall, much of her height in her legs, Hana has the athletic build of a dancer — or perhaps a skilled martial artist.

That brown hair is presently pinned up against the back of Hana's skull in a vertical fan, leaving only two loose locks to frame either side of her face. She wears a strapless dress of dark violet that clings to her curves and stops at mid-thigh, its color echoed by the high-heeled shoes on her feet. Hana's earrings offset it perfectly, golden S-shapes with three projecting lines — the Symbol, to those who know. She also wears a chain around her neck, its gold-set amethyst pendent resting at the junction of her collarbones.

It's cold outside, but that doesn't prevent Helena from indulging. Every girl deserves a backless, silk shirt with gold links pinned across the back, nothing but skin next to material on one side and metal on the other. The pants aren't quite painted on but damn close, the boots can only be described as wicked, and her hair pinned up so the nape of her neck is bared. Her eyes are done up smokey, lips wine-dark, and she looks like nothing less than Trouble, and yes with that capital T.

She got past the door easily enough. What kind of self respecting rebel would she be without a false id? It's always easy for the beautiful ones. Almost immediately she takes a step onto the dance floor to get swept up in the crowd.

And Al, well, Al's….in his better-tailored suit, in a deep gray, white shirt, no tie. He must know a hell of a tailor, really. He's right behind Helena, as if playing bodyguard, chaperone, or jealous boyfriend. The pale face is very reserved, almost haughty. Nevermind that he usually works there.

The illusory freedom a pill might bring has no appeal for Hana, and she pays the darkened areas of the club exactly what they're do: no attention whatsoever. She's here to dance. And perhaps to drink, but for now, the technopath is dancing. What makeup she wears is subtle; the strapless violet dress isn't so much, except in that it conceals exactly what it also hints at revealing. Listening to the music, moving with the beat, it seems that even Hana lets down her guard once in a while. Or gives a convincing impression of it.

It doesn't take long for that appearance on the dance-floor to catch Kain's attention. His eyes follow Helena's movements across the dance floor, with that suit-wearing monkey at her back. Kain recognizes the bouncer, though he's never given a thought to figure out his name. With a tilt of his head to one side, Kain makes a snapping motion with his fingers as if to try and get the pale gorilla in the suit watching his booth's attention. Kain only frowns when the sound is drowned out by the music. Kain rolls his eyes, snorting out a breath before pushing himself up to his feet to shuffle around the circular table in a somewhat awkward manner, holding his tie inside of his suit jacket as he moves, bumping the table once and unsettling his drink.

"Manny you deaf son of a bitch." Kain strains out, slapping a hand on the goon's arm. Manny turns, slowly, one brow raised as he tilts his head to the side. "You recognize barbie over there?" He flicks two fingers in the direction of where Helena's dancing. Manny furrows his hairless brows, pulling down his crimson-lensed sunglasses for a moment to eye the young girl, then gives a shallow nod.

"She's Militia-Barbie, if she's the one I'm rememberin'." One finger slides the sunglasses back up the bridge of his round nose.

"Ah thought so." Blue eyes dart back to the dance floor, but this time peer beyond Helena and her thug, towards the dark-haired woman dancing behind her. His head tilts to the side, eyes widening as a crooked smile crosses his lips. Whether it's by fate or coincidence, Kain Zarek seems to have an uncanny taste for women who are far more dangerous than he knows. "Looks like tonight's gon' be a right fine one, Manny." He pats the enormous man on his gigantic bicep, "Watch m'seat for me."
Dance, dance, dance. That's what Helena came to do. Forget parents, forget PARIAH, forget Peter, forget Phoenix, forget everything. She pays absolutely no attention to her bodyguard - mainly because she didn't ask for one tonight. Well, she gives him a moment on a turn to shout in his ear, "If you're not gonna dance, I don't want you to be part of my revolution!" With that, she goes back to working the floor. She's confidant enough to dance by herself, and on occaision is partnered by a passing body. Man or woman, makes no difference.

And the bass plays it as it always does, regardless of anything in semblance of a melody: Unf, unf, unf.

Alexander is happy enough to dance. Though honestly, it's sort of the token version of the white boy shuffle, attention mostly on Helena, though his gaze wanders - reflexively taking in the other patrons, as if in search of a possible threat. HE's actually not on duty, for once, at least in the broader sense of bouncing for Andrew Ryan and crew.

By chance or by design, Helena's progression through partners eventually finds her paired against Hana, the older woman greeting the familiar face with a smile that her usual demeanor would never support. She, however, doesn't say anything — it's just about impossible out here. Alex's more dismal attempts at dancing earn him a sidelong look Helena will find more typical of Hana, if a gentler one than usual.

Stepping up onto the dance floor, Kain pushes his way past the crowds of people seeking escape from their daily lives, from the problems they have and the woes they want to forget. One elbow nudges a young man out of the way, "Watch it Hoss," Kain growls out, shouldering his way past another pair before finally coming up alongside Helena. He hesitates for a moment when the girl finds herself paired up alongside Hana, head tilting to one side with a brow raising as if waiting to see where that goes in a way only Kain would consider.

Then, after a moment, he rests one hand on her shoulder, then steps around her just enough to get into her field of view, raising one hand into a sarcastic wave as a grin spreads across his face. The grin almost spreads from ear to ear, head tilted to one side as his eyes draw up and down Helena, he tries to say something, words drowned out over the pulse and beat, then nods his head over towards the booth table through the sea of people, one where an enormous man very familiar to Helena stands with his hands folded behind his back. The grin turns to a smirk, as crooked as he is. It's either an invitation, or a demand. Kain doesn't make it clear.

Somewhere, there is a show called Heroes, and it has a spin-off, String Theory, and it has fans. When Helena and Hana temporarily find themselves to be dance partners, half the show demographic decided they'd be in their bunks. And if the last television metaphor escapes the audience, then really, they're living under rocks and there's no hope for them.

Moment over, folks. Her eyes meat up with Kain's, and there's a quick shift of expressions - dismay, determination, resignation. Everywhere she goes, the movement follows her. That's also a metaphor. She reaches behind her and gives Crackerjack McWhiteboy a gentle pat on the chest, and starts slinking her way through the press of the crowd toward the table.

When Helena is summoned away — and apparently opts to accede to that summons — Hana sets her own hand on the girl's shoulder, pausing her slinking retreat just long enough for the technopath to lean in and speak into her ear. She can read that body language perfectly well.

"If he gives you any… trouble… I'll be watching."

The woman's slow smile as she steps back is probably something Kain — being Kain — will probably construe as an invitation to the girl. But Helena knows, at least in part, Hana's other face — and she knows what was actually said.

Hana tips her head in the direction of the bar, then suits action to intimation, moving over that way to get herself a drink. To sit where she can watch the dance floor while she drinks. And, unobtrusively, keep a watchful eye on the boor Helena somehow managed to make the acquaintance of somewhere along the line.

With an uneven smile painted across his aface, Kain makes his way back across the dance floor, this time following behind Helena and her stooge to pave the way. Once they've moved back towards the boots, Kain cracks a smile and motions over to Manny, who takes a sidestep away from the circular booth. Far enough away from the raised dance floor, speech is something that is slightly more possible here, though the pounding music does serve as a constant reminder of just where this is. "Well would'ja imagine mah surprise when lil' ole Thelma comes on runnin' up inta'mah side of the city." Kain's swagger slows as he reaches the booth, motioning for her to join him. "Is lil' ole Loiuse with you too? That one was a spitfire."

Manny turns to look over at Alexander, just giving him a passable nod. The pair have a vague aquaintence with one another, with how often Manny spends his time in here babysitting Kain, and the hours which Alex sometimes works at the club. Kain, however, pays the man no heed, assuming he's just awkward muscle. "An', jus' let me be the first t'say, if'n there anything ya'll need while you're on mah side of the city, all you gotta do is ask, darlin'."

Helena eyes Kain a bit balefully. "I just came to dance." she says, not opting to sit down in the booth. "Without having to think about making deals or needing things or really bringing anything to do with business into it. She puts her hands on the booth's table, bending over just a little to look Kain in the eye. "You think I'll be able to manage that tonight?" Seriously. All she came to do is dance.

Alexander has reverted to pretending to be muscle. But since there's no signal for help from Helena, he drifts towards the bar and seats himself, to be immediately handed a jack and coke by the bartender. No need to ask, apparently, he's that much of a regular, perhaps?

As Alex wanders over her way, Hana lifts her glass to him. Perhaps it's an invitation to join her; maybe it's just an acknowledgment of his presence. Then the woman proceeds to down the rest of it and push the glass back for a refill. She looks at Alex, but she watches Kain and Helena, alert beneath the guise of your typical clubgoer.

"Maybe." Kain says quietly as he settles down in his seat a bit more comfortably. "See, the thing of the matter is, Ah actually wanted to slip you somethin' nice on the slide. Seein' as how your buddy Cam' was a good customer, and a friend of a friend in that sort." He reaches into his pocket, pulling out a slip of paper, flicking it back and forth between two fingers before tucking it back into the breast pocket of his jacket. "Ain't gotta accept it if'n you'd just rather shake your little thing all evenin', but Ah thought Ah'd be a gentleman an' make the offer before you got yourself…" He hesitates for a moment, head tilting to the side, "You look a lot more worse for wear than the last time Ah saw ya." Kain's eyes narrow slightly, in an assessing expression, "Ah might be able t'help y'with that if'n you want."

Helena's spine stiffens a little, and given the shirt she's wearing, it's an actual visible affect, the way the muscles surrounding her spine shift, even if it's so subtle it might be easily go unseen in the shifting club lights. Helena's raggedy edges are emotional and spiritual right now, not physical - so how can Kain see them? If he does, he's more savvy then she gives him credit for - or he's just a good liar, and in that case - he's more savvy than she gives him credit for. Her expression grows solemn, and with what dignity she can muster (thank you, Jane Austen), she sits down in the booth. Quietly, "I don't do drugs."

And Al is much the same. Hana gets a polite fraction of a smile and a friendly lift of his glass as he seats himself near her, but it's glaringly obvious that he's watching Helena like a hawk. One hand signal and he'll be all over Kain and his guys like ants on a gummi bear, presumably. Since he doesn't dare have a full-fledged Sith fit in the bar where he works.
ORDER: Hana has skipped their turn.

"Ah' don' use the D-word 'round here." Kain notes with a cordial motion of his head, then waves to one of the server girls, raising two fingers as he points down to his table. Turnins his focus back to Helena, Kain reaches into his suit jacket again and lays the paper down on the table, blank-side up, two fingers holding it down. "Round here we call 'em mood elevators. You take asprin when y'gots yourself a headache, y'take a drink to wash away your sorrows. It ain't much different, s'just the junkies who give it a bad name. People without self control, right?" One dark brow raises, "Y'seem like you're a woman with a lotta' control, darlin'."

Pushing the piece of paper forward with two fingers, Kain cracks a smile. "This here's a name of one of mah boss' suppliers. Guy does work just like Ah' do, an' a cut a'his profits go to the man Ah' work for. So it's kinda' like we're in business together, though he ain't never gonna' admit it." The two fingers move away from the paper, "T'can take it, and make yerself a shiny new friend, or y'can leave it, an' forget Ah' ever said anythin'." His lips purse into a smile, "Your call."

After a moment, Helena reaches out her hand, and a pair of slender fingers rest on top of the paper, not quite touching Kain's. There's nothing overt about it, and she holds it there a moment as she watches him. "Am I supposed to believe you get nothing off the top? And why would you want me to switch sales reps?" she asks. "I don't see how giving me a new face for the same supply is a favor for me, or a kindness from you." Her smile grows a small fraction wider and she lowers her lashes. "Educate me."

Teo doesn't know what it is with the PHOENIX women and upscale evening party venues. The cover charge here is, fortunately, a less devastating blow to Teodoro's wallet than the Orchid Lounge had been, and he looks less out-of-place here. Granted, he's in the right age range and a dark shirt and slacks are neutral enough to pass as camouflage anywhere that people can't and won't move their eyebrows around in skeptical fashion identifying your threads as something other than designer silk.

It's next to impossible to distinguish one blonde from the wriggling next in here, but he knows better than to think a cellphone ringtone would be heard even if Hel hadn't checked her stuff. He trawls the crowd with the grace and relative celerity of a young man accustomed to crowds of drunk people, smirking when he's smiled at, sneering almost imperceptibly when there are territorial male scowls.

With time and Herculean effort, he succeeds in popping out of the crowd not far from the blonde woman, squinting to try and identify the owner of the pale crop of hair conversing with the sinister-looking gentleman. It seems like something Helena would do when trying to have a festive night out; she's painfully predictable like that.

Teo doesn't go unnoticed. Al's at the bar, and the Sicilian gets a rather peremptory little wave for attention, though the redhead doesn't raise his voice. No point in trying to be heard over the music, really. He's in a suit himself, one of the nicer ones he generally uses when bouncing. His grin is welcoming, if a hair uncertain.

This time, when the drink is finished, Hana waves off a refill and just pays the attendant tab. With a polite smile to the boys, she sashays her way back out onto the dance floor. If Hana stakes out the side of the floor nearest Kain's booth while she dances, it's easily chalked up to happenstance — or maybe the fact that he's still monopolizing her erstwhile partner.

Kain tilts his head to the side with a crooked smile, "Educate you? Why darlin', you have such a fine choice in words." The server makes her way back to the table, leaning over to settle down two dirty martinis on the table, one with an extra olive. "He runs in different circles than Ah' do. You want military hardware and the hard-to-finds, you go to me. Ah' ain't gonna' waste mah time with small-fry orders. You want food or medicine or a couple of clips for a glock-nine, then this guy's the one you go to." He nods down to the paper on the table. "Ah' ain't gettin' a kickback from 'em, and he's a sour ol' son of a bitch, but he's got connections in the city, an' in the line of work that you gotta be in t'need as much firepower as Ah' gave you, any connections you can make are good ones, darlin'." He smiles, crookedly, "Like Ah' said, friend of a friend. Cam was a good kid, didn't deserve what he got. Consider that another ear to the ground, 'case you need somethin' or someone found."

Kain lets his eyes wander past Helena, following the glimmer of earrings and the pull of violet fabric to his eyes, and what it so very regretably covers. He leans to one side, resting his elbow on the table and his chin in his hand. "Now, why don' y'go on an' play with your lil' leggy friend there?" He makes a shooing motion with one hand, cracking a smile. "Ah'll just be a good boy an… keep an eye on ya."

Helena knows when she's been dismissed, and really, she doesn't mind too terribly much. The slip of paper goes in her pocket as she rises. "Have a nice night." she says in response to his suggestion, her tone somewhat wry. She turns and starts to make her way to the dance floor, and it's then she spots Teo, and hops up and down briefly to wave. He might not see it. That's alright. She begins to worm her way back into the dance floor throng. It's not hard to pick up where she left off. The bass goes unf unf unf.

Finally at a standstill for more than ten seconds, Teodoro has a look around. Catches Al's wave out of the corner of his eye and swivels to squint, sharpening the other man's already angular features into something unmistakably recognizable. He does a little bit of nothing for three subwoofer bass beats, and finally raises a hand, curled loosely into a fist, middle finger edging toward a rude gesture — before he tosses up a wave, a half a smile.

He spots Hel the next moment, drifting in the direction of the technopath he can barely identify outside of work gear. Catches the tail-end of her salutation and offers her an easy salute, before turning on a heel to shoulder his way back into the crowd, evading a toppling martini and a rambunctious redhead who practically has the pretty iconographs printed onto her E tabs glowing out of her corneas, before he materializes to Alexander's left. Gestures at Kain's moving figure and gives him an inquiring look; the guerrilla hand-motion version of small-talk.

Alexander leans in to murmur in Teo's ear. IT's a remarkable feat of balance in that he doesn't summarily dump himself right off his barstool. But inevitably, what the muttered message boils down to is, "I don't know, I see that guy in here a lot, he's obviously in the black market, more than that I'm not sure." He doesn't pry himself away from his comfortable seat or his drink to go ride herd on Helena. Not at the moment, anyhow.

Sinking back into his booth with a creak of leather muffled by the music, Kain watches Helena's retreat and her brunette friend's motions, one hand brushing fingers over his chin as his eyes narrow, the gears spinning behind the cajn's blue eyes, a plan spinning into motion. A smile slides across his mouth as his eyes move around the room, to the bodyguard she had come in with, back to the brunette that had been shadowing her, and then to the new face just slipping out of the crowd. For all his dumb southern charm, that cleverly painted attitude remains fast in place as he takes in all of this around him with an assessing stare. Content, for tonight, to watch from the dim light of his booth and make note of the maneuvering playing out, hidden in plain sight.

Teo reacts in the same way to the answer as he'd phrased his question: without words. His expression changes, watching Kain watch them for all of a moment, unease cloying his gut, visceral, the way it had when he'd been a football hooligan studying mafioso from across the street, keenly aware of the stratifications between his criminality and the next. "Fotterlo," he mutters, turning back to Alexander. He puts his elbow in the older man's ribs. "Let's go watch jailbait gyrate up close," he suggests. Neither man is as good-humored as they might have been forty-eight hours ago, but—

That only takes three hours of forgetting, tequila shots at the appropriate intervals, a fight that consists of one punch and a glob of spit deftly put in a man's eye, and enough bass-heavy RMB and French electronica to waste twenty percent of the remaining stereocilia in their ears. Half an hour before closing time, Teo snags PHOENIX's fearless leader and puts her on a table.

Twenty-five minutes before closing time, and half the patrons are no longer in contact with the floor, a massed smear of black-lit whites, reds, black, cyanotic blue and biological humidity. Treble screams. The DJ scratches 'til his fingernails bleed. Fortunate, that the furniture was built to take it.

At closing time, the Hana's out and the three PHOENIX operatives are congealing in the cold evening weather just outside Rapture's threshold. The sign switches off, plunging them into the yellow light of street lamps that seem to be craning over the pavement to focus great hairy eyeballs on them, skeptical of these sticky creatures and the desires they're slave to and limitations they're enamored with. "You heading home?" Teo asks Helena, wiping sweat off his nose. Bleary.

"I don't know…" Helena sounds like she's dreamily high as a kite, except for the fact that she didn't take any drugs, nor drink anything that wasn't purged through hours of sweat or bottled water capped tightly. "I think so. Maybe. Yaaaah." She leans on the two men, sweaty in the way that midget blondes are after such exertion, it's less like icky sweat and more like fuzzy glow, like someone put a soft focus lense on her. Her knees are jelly and for once it's absolutely wonderful, utterly blissful, to simply not care. About anything. Except wait. "I think I'm hungry."

"I'm thinking food, too," Al looks sated, content. He's actually got a cigarette dangling from the corner of his lip. Apparently fighting's the next best thing to sex. There's a companionable arm around Helena. "I'll drive," he adds. Hey, he really hasn't been drinking, so it'll be cool. HE tips his head back and blows a languid smoke ring up at the nearest streetlamp, watching it dissolve into wisps. For a moment, he pauses to extract himself from his suit jacket. "I'm about sweated through. Better take a shower tonight," he adds, pulling a disgusted face.

November 3rd: Consummate Bitch
November 3rd: Out of the Fire, Into the Doghouse
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