An Impressive Con


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Scene Title An Impressive Con
Synopsis After meeting Logan, Tess manages to convince him to take a chance, and gets a favor out of him.
Date September 22, 2010


When the ice of the over-long winter finally melted away, Burlesque was amongst the last to pick up business again — if only because Logan was amongst the laziest to do so. Now, it shines like a beacon in this slightly rundown part of Brooklyn. At least, it is as night, but during the day, there is only the swing open of its black mouthed entryway, a plainclothes security guard scratching his ass while he stands guard. Miraculously, they do get business around four p.m., a trickle of patrons into the smokey interior. A few hours from now is when they try to put on a show.

For now, it's sedate, almost lazy, and edging towards the grittily, seedily low class for all that the bar gleams of black glass, the shelves behind it decorated in every array of liquor bottles, and the Broadway lights that circle of the round stage gleaming like dragon irises, lazily ambiant. Unknown to the patrons — all eight or so men scattered around the place, no one under thirty — there is an audition going, the woman on the stage's first dance, and she's not doing badly. Burlesque is likely not the first place she's worked, dressed mostly in sequins and a boa.

Seated at a polite distance from the stage, neither close nor isolated, Logan occupies a table alone. Leaning back on his chair enough for it to balance on only two legs, his ankles are crossed where he's kicked his feet up on the table in front of him, the pointed toes of designer boots capped in silver and gleaming the low, colourful lights. He's in a three-piece suit, with his jacket discarded, and shirt freet of a tie. Eyes are more or less hidden behind the purple tint of sunglasses, despite the gloom. To occupy his hands, a burning cigarette is wedged up near the knuckle, contributing to the smokey haze directly above him as the AC fights to ventilate the air.

Girls walking in through the front door, even twenty-year olds like Tess, are hardly going to be a rare sight in this place, with new girls coming in looking for jobs every now and then. Though Tess certainly doesn't look like anyone's idea of a table dancer, in her faded jeans and tee-shirt, with a ragged backpack slung over one shoulder. Nor does she have that air of nervousness that so many girls who have never stripped before do when in places such as this.

She pauses for a moment to watch the girl on stage, then asks the guard where she can find Logan. A few words and a finger pointing later and she's heading across the room towards Logan's table. Another glance to the dancer, and the first words out of her mouth are an opinion on the woman's performance. "She needs to either move more or less. Anything in the middle is just going to bore your customers. Besides, the feathers from the boa will get everywhere if she's not careful, and who wants to start sneezing in the middle of a lapdance?"

Actually looking at him now she grins. "Sorry. I'm Tess," she says, offering a hand. "Heard your name and it sounded like you could help me out with something. If you're agreeable to some conversation, anyway."

It's at the midpoint of that assessment that Logan tucks his chin in enough to let sunglasses slide a fraction down long nose, cutting a look over the top of them at her before spiriting the accessory off his face as she finally comes around to introducing herself. "Hello Tess," sounds polite, from Logan's mouth, as is the smile it slithers out from, but as always, smiles begin and end at the bottom of his face, eyes bright and chilly, although the washing out of periodic neon pink lighting as it makes its rounds does some to warm them in reflection.

Heels scrape against the table as he takes his feet down off it, legs of the chair landing with a thud as he settles upright. "Have a seat? How old are you," is abrupt curiosity, gesturing to her with the pointing arm of his glasses.

With him studying her, and her grinning, Logan might just recognize that smile, as it does look a lot like someone else he knows. Tess just nods and pulls a chair out, dropping her backpack on the floor and sitting down. "I'm twenty, but I'm not here lookin' for a job, if that's what you're thinking." A pause, her head cocking. "Well, maybe I am. I do need a job now that I'm here…" she muses.

Then the grin returns. "Okay, maybe I'm looking for a job. I'll let you know about that next week, because I promise you, that girl on stage won't be makin' you much money at all," she promises. She sure is a know-it-all about stripping for a twenty-year old.

"Goodness me," Logan notes, folding up glasses so as best to hang them in the V of his waistcoat collar, hooking an arm back over the back of his chair, a silver ring glinting in the low light. He's hitched his natural Saf Lundun laziness into a more middle class English pronunciation, each syllable sounding clipped. "I don't think I ordered a chatterbox today. I've been in the sex industry for most of my adult-life, I think I know what sells." Though he does tip a freshly appraising glance at the post-college student on stage, precarious and long-legged on glittery stiletto heels.

Pearly white teeth show a second in the curl of a sneer, before he shrugs. "She can always play filler if she wants to rent the stage before seven. What can I do for you, then? Besides a possible job." If there's recognition for the tilt of the grin, he doesn't see it — how much he sees of the average woman is always up for debate.

Chatterbox? Tess can't argue that, so laughs and shrugs. "Yeah, well, I practically grew up in a strip club, so I know what sells too. And I'm opinionated and not shy about sharing those opinions. I'd say sorry, but I'm really not." Another shrug and she leans back, legs stretching out.

"What you can do for me…Well, first you can answer a simple question. You know Kain Zarek, right? Surly Cajun? Jumps to conclusions and doesn't listen to facts no matter how hard you beat him with them? Apparently a womanizer who doesn't call women back? Fights polar bears in his spare time?"

Logan's mouth opens, closes, somewhere midway, but ultimately decides not to interrupt in interest to see where this is going— although really, judging by the raise of shaped eyebrows, she only had to say Kain Zarek. "Yes, yes," he says, over the top of those last few words, fluttering a few blinks and waving away the rest of the rapid dialogue going on before him. "There aren't that many Kain Zareks bumping around in New York, at least nowhere near me. I know the man, and I'm not putting in a message to him to get him to call you.

"There's that saying, I think by Confucius— 'bros before hos'."

More laughter, though this time it's a lot more amused. Tess shakes her head. "I guess that answers that. And why everyone I've spoken to about him thinks I'm one of this ladies." She gives Logan another grin and another shake of her head. "No, I don't want you to give him a message. He'll be getting in touch with me soon enough. Probably be embarrassed as hell too, and I don't intend to do the first thing to lessen that either."

Yes, that grin is definitely Kain's. But as if to prove it, she continues talking. "See, I tried telling him on Monday, but he doesn't want to believe it. When he gets the test results though, he will. I'm not his lover, Mister Logan. I'm his daughter." Mischief clear in her eyes, she lifts a finger to her lips. "But shh…He didn't want me telling anyone that since he doesn't believe me."

Grin not recognised for what it is, her assertion has Logan narrowing his eyes in some suspicion, her mischief reflected back in steely study for bullshit as opposed to recognisable physical traits. "Doesn't he," he repeats, though his glare softens some, retracting like a knife taken off the throat of another. He absently glances towards where the newbie stripper is finishing off her set. "Why doesn't he believe you, then? Apart from blustery denial, I mean. I don't suspect he's the type to keep very careful track of where he puts his cock.”

Tess shrugs a shoulder. "Apparently he's gotten other chicks showing up claiming the same thing to get stuff from him or something. I don't know. I offered to show him my birth certificate, which clearly has his name on the father line, but he thinks it's some big con, so he demanded a paternity test, which I agreed to. Hell, even given my blood sample to the next doctors with the sharp needle," she says, rubbing the inside of her left elbow and wrinkling her nose. Odd that a girl with two visible piercings would dislike having blood drawn.

"He's wrong though. I don't want money or anything like that from him. I only found out recently who my dad was. Mom never told me. I figured after twenty years I was entitled to get to know him." The grin returns. "And since he won't talk to me until he gets that positive result back, I figured I'd go to his friends. Or co-workers, whichever. Couldn't find that Nichols chick again, not today, so figured I'd come see what you could tell me."

"What I could tell you?" sounds almost surprised, a quirk of a smile alighting on his features, Logan leaning back in his seat and resting ankle against opposite knee in open-thighed leg fold. "What I can tell you is that the man's got every right to be suspicious, if you know anything about anything of his line of work, and I happen to be a business partner of his. What fucks him, fucks me, princess. But you've got Nichols onboard, then?"

"I have no idea what his line of work of, really," Tess admits with a shrug. "Don't know if I have Nichols on board either. She set up a meeting with him for me at a restaurant at the Corinthian, but I didn't tell her I was daughter, because I wanted to surprise him with that, rather than risking her telling him for me. I mean, I thought I should get that little pleasure."

She leans forward, elbows resting on the table, forearms resting against the table. "Look, I don't want anything bad for the guy. I don't think he abandoned me as a kid or anything like that, so it's no sob story. I know my mom never told him I existed. I just want to get to know my dad, and until he accepts me, I've gotta do that second hand."

Sucking up the remaining smoke his cigarette stub has to offer, Logan releases it after pending few seconds in draconic curls through his nostrils, stubbing out embered ash and filter into the ceramic tray at the centre of the table. "So you know full well he's a sperm donor with the misfortune of having a name attached," he summarises, not unkindly, especially, his voice gentled in its accent, if rough from his recent smoke. "What's his acceptance mean to you? What makes him your dad apart from biology?

"Look. You grew up in a strip club. My mum was the same story, I'm assuming — I learned how to tie up a corset before I learned how to do my own shoelaces, so I know how it is, and I don't even know my dad's name. Don't care to. All that aside, Kain isn't any kind of creature you want to welcome into your life, not in that capacity."

For the first time Tess is quiet for a long moment. Then she gives a long sigh. "Okay, now this part I want kept from him for now. The shock of a daughter is big enough that if he remembers my mom I want to space this out. The reason I came here looking for him, is because my mom died a couple months ago. It wasn't until her will was read that I even found out that Kain was my dad, or where to begin looking for him."

She leans back, shoulders lifting slowly, holding for a moment, then lowering. "I guess she felt the same way you do. He left before she found out she was knocked up, and she didn't bother tracking him down to tell her. Always said we didn't need him. And hell, I'm still alive, I'm healthy, so it wasn't like she was wrong. But strip club or not, I always wanted to know who my dad was. I nagged my mom from the time I was old enough to know what a dad was, but she never told me. I know now. And I think that I deserve the right to decide if he's the type of person I want to be my dad or not. Hell, I might even get an ice cream cone out of the deal." And there, the grin returns. She just can't keep herself down for long.

Oh. Death changes everything. Logan does listen, engaged enough that he ignores the meek departure of stripper off stage, switching out for the next, more experienced woman to grace the venue with her presence, the change of music heralding the change over. Hand curled and tucked beneath chin, he listens, before his head tips in some concession. Okay. Okay.

"If this is a con job, it's an impressive one."

One that would probably work whether Logan wanted it to or not, so, he shrugs, hand stretching fingers as if to lose tension from them. "Your dad's an alcoholic," he says, pale eyes fixing a stare on her. "And not the fun kind. He drinks alone. The kind that drinks because he has feelings instead of just liking to indulge like any normal person. It's a very unattractive quality."

Logan may ignore the departure, but Tess glances over, just long enough to see the new dancer begin. No criticism on this one, and she looks back to Logan, grinning. "I promise, it's not a con. I can show you birth certificates for me, a death certificate from my mom…And if it was a con, would I have donated blood to be tested against his?"

The bit of info on Kain has her thinking for a moment, then nodding slowly. "Why do you think he does that? Try to suppress his feelings? Or will that be something I gotta ask him once he realizes that I'm not here to get into his bank account? Which I'm perfectly fine with, by the way. I don't expect a whole biography of him or anything."

"You could always agree to a test, collect the information you need for a good bit of blackmail, and have it done before the confirmation comes back," Logan states, plainly, a shrug of one shoulder. "It's not rocket science, really, but I'll take a leap of faith, shall I?" There's the creep of his pale fingers along the edge of the table, as if itching for a drink to occupy himself with, but the bar is over there and he doesn't want the headache that two cigarettes in quick succession will bring.

Only now does she get a once over, looking for Kainy indications in her face, her build. "He's having some relationship troubles," he finally admits, no change to tone or demeanor whatsoever. "There's this man— Richard Cardinal. An associate of some kind. Never mix business with pleasure," is nothing Logan would ever advocate, but for the sake of the story, he will. "They're adorable, mind, I do hope they work it out."

"Richard? But I thought he was a ladies man," Tess says, looking puzzled. "And I guess I could, but still, serves no purpose for me." Then she brightens as her mind bounces back to the first subject. "If they do work it out, I could have two dads. I might like that, since I went so long with none. In fact, I think I'll try to help them out!"

"New York City has a tendency to open doors, I find. If it was Nicole that said about the women, she wasn't lying — he'll roll out of one bird's bed and into the next. Overcompensating, a little bit — I think it's a source of tension," Logan adds, voice lowering in some conspiracy, a rueful splay of his hand. "But I figure, it's only fair you know some of what you're getting into. I suppose I relate a little."

"Well, you gave the impression too. Plus he did have an affair with my mom at some point. I mean, mom was definitely a chick," Tess points out with yet another grin. She's just full of them, despite the topic. "Oh hell, what time is it? I've got a job interview this afternoon I don't wanna miss. Oh! And one more thing…I heard about this party thing at some d'Sar-something or other place. Was thinking about going, but since I don't know anyone, and since you've been all nice and can relate some and all, would you wanna be my escort? Not like a date date, but just show up with me and hang out? Maybe introduce me to a few people I could maybe make my friends?" she asks, giving him a hopeful look.

His eyes narrow a little at this request, before a half-smile plays across his features. "I suppose I could do a little of that. There does happen to be a lady I hope to catch the eye of," Logan states, now shifting back into the pose in which she found him — patent leather shoes on the table, a tilt to his chair. "So I won't have you clinging like a vine after the first half an hour, but far be it from me to leave a girl like yourself to the wolves. Come by here fifteen or so before." His gaze switches back to the stage, mild surprise to see there's a different woman up there— although they all start to blur together after a while— before he adds, "Friends aren't much my specialty. Fair warning."

Laughing, Tess shakes her head. "No, I won't cling, at any time. Clinging is so boring," she assures him. "And don't worry about it not being your specialty. You handle the introductions, and I'll make 'em my friends if they're interesting enough. I don't do boring people. Or stupid people." A pause. "Well, okay, so I do stupid people, if they're hot enough, but I don't make them my friends." So the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, it seems. "But I'll be here. Fifteen before. And thanks. For all of it."

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