Blunt In Public


aric_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Blunt In Public
Synopsis When Aric comes by Graeme's work and meets Melissa, Graeme finds out that there are some things that really should not be discussed in public.
Date April 21, 2011


"Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

That is the sign that rests just above the double doors that lead from the small foyer into the club proper. Once through the doors the music is all-encompassing, the heavy bass beat filling the room and senses of the club-goers. The decor is all dark, the walls painted black, the bar a sleek dark wood. The lights all have a reddish tinge to them, with the bar and DJ booth being the only places in the club proper that have more normal white light.

There are high tables with equally tall chairs circling a large dance floor, and booths set along two of the walls. But while socializing is a big part of the club, the dancing is the priority. People, some Goths, some punks, and some just people who like to dance are all packed on the dance floor. Weaving through the sea of people are servers, men and women both, dressed in black pants or skirts, and tee-shirts that have "Taratarus" written across the chest in red lettering. Likewise there are security people at the door and mixed through the club, in similar outfits, only their shirts have "SECURITY" on the back.

As he walks into the bar, Aric is stopped by the bouncer. As he runs his hands through his hair, Aric looks him up and down and says, "Brah…I am 31 years old. Do not try and card me man." The man bends down and hands Aric a 20 dollar bill he dropped by accident. The man begins to clearly blush and says walking into the bar, "Keep it…it will keep ya honest."

As he stands on his toes, Aric can see Graeme and smiles making his way to the bar. Aric is clad in a simple polo shirt, and baggy shorts that travel to his knees. He would rather be barefoot yet is wearing a pair of Teva sandals. He leans against the bar and lets out a wolf whistle, "Bar keep who do I have to fuck to get a drink around here?"

Graeme glances over as Aric walks in. The exchange with the bouncer earns his boyfriend a raised eyebrow, at first, and then he walks over, with a firmly annoyed frown on his face as he leans on the counter next to Aric. "You know," he murmurs, loudly enough though that it's an audible conversation to anyone around, "we have to card people. It doesn't matter what, we card people. You should go back and show Josue your ID before he gets in trouble for it." Then there's a grin on his face, though from the fact that he is working, and on the job, he's being restrained. "And if you're going to be fucking anyone around here but me, I'm going to make a pouting face, and then my boss'll walk in or something." For all he knows, Melissa is somewhere on the floor as it is. "My arm's nearly all better, you know."

Melissa is indeed on the floor, in her usual spot at the end of the bar, observing. A good spot to watch for issues so she can jump in and handle them. And this? This is an issue. Eyes narrow and she sets down her drink, rising and striding towards the door in her black on black leather of corset and pants. Her businesswear, when Tartarus is the business.

Aric rolls his eyes at Graeme and says, "Gawd fine…" As he walks over back to the door, he makes his way to the man and pulls out his wallet, "My friend said you will get in trouble and I don't want that man." He hands him his id that reasons, "Aric Gibbs" with his picture. He waits for the man to give it back looking over at Graeme and gives him the, "Ok better?" look before he runs a hand through his hair and takes the id sliding it into his wallet walking slowly back to the bar.

Better or not, Graeme's spotted Melissa, as he perhaps suspected might happen, and the issue of 'better' will be left up to her to actually decide. There's a polite nod as the two pretty much converge on where he is, and there's a twinge at the back of his mind as he speaks. "Aric, this is Melissa Pierce, my boss," he says, the first introduction made. "Melissa, this is Aric Gibbs. My boyfriend."

Graeme and Aric are glanced at, and Melissa's step pauses for a moment, enough that the person behind her stumbles into her, causing a momentary traffic jam. It's brushed off, and she continues on, nodding slightly to Aric. "Pleased to meet you. But if you'll excuse me, I have to deal with something real quick. Then we can talk." She glances to Graeme, a brow arching, and she moves past them towards the bouncer.

Aric cocks his head to the side as if he knew her from somewhere. He blinks a few times and hmmmms looking back at Graeme and then can't help but smile as he leans across the bar and says, "I liked that…boyfriend has a nice ring to it." He looks over his shoulder back at Melissa as she walks away and says softly, "She is going to yell at him isn't she?"

"No," Graeme says, most hint of a smile gone from his face. "She's probably going to fire him." Graeme has, in the nearly a week he's been working at the club, heard from his fellow employees that Melissa runs a tight ship, overall, and he's got the sinking feeling that he's likely to see that in action. Graeme leans back on the bar again, turning so that he's facing the floor he's standing on, in order to better watch whatever happens.

Even though Melissa's walked off, and on a mission, she does glance back to Aric once more with a frown. She knows where she's seen him, and it doesn't set well with her. Not with all she's learned since that dream. When she reaches the bouncer she's motioning for another to come take his place, and drawing him aside once someone else is there to cover the door. There's a brief conversation where Melissa does most of the talking, looking up to the larger man. There's no doubt she's unhappy, and when the conversation is over, the man is heading out the door rather than back to stand at it. Seems Graeme was right. Or the man just quit.

"Son of a…" Aric frowns clearly as he begins to remember where he knows Melissa. His dream coming back to him as he sighs deeply, "That was very uncool of her…I can't open myself with all these people here to know what happened or I will have a headache from God but she didn't have to fire him. I showed him my id like you wanted." Aric is clearly annoyed.

There's a brief shrug. "We card everyone," Graeme repeats, "and that's the rule. Next time you come over, just don't argue with whoever's on the door?" It's murmured quietly, for Aric to hear only, with Graeme glancing over towards his boss every so often.

The man is watched until he's out the door, and his replacement is spoken to quietly for a moment before Melissa starts to make her way back towards the couple. "Sorry about that, didn't mean to be rude, but business comes before socialization."

As he leans against the bar, "I see that…Mrs Pierce." He keeps his mouth shut on what the woman did for Graeme's sake as he will scan Graeme's mind later to find that man and give him a job at his coffee house instead. "Interesting place ya have."

Graeme nods, unconsciously straightening a little bit more when Melissa comes back over, as if it'll otherwise hide the awkwardness of the situation. Or at least, the awkwardness that Graeme at the moment feels.

Melissa cocks her head, considering Aric for a moment. "I suppose it is. But you've been here before. If I recall correctly, you were auctioned off a few auctions back. I don't recall who bought your date offhand, though."

"I purchased Raquelle and Nadia purchased me. I hope the money went to a good cause." Aric looks over at bar tender working right now and says, "Bud lite handsome." As he turns his attention back to Melissa, "How is business going with the way the world is today?"

There's a bit of a grin as Graeme watches the exchange. He's actually looking forward to the date auction that's going to be happening in just over a week, though he's simply going to be working for the evening. And then there's a slightly pouting face, as the bartender gets the compliment instead, and Graeme leans gently against his boyfriend for the moment, giving Aric a quick hug that he hadn't done earlier, before simply leaning back on the counter again, looking between Aric and Melissa.

"I honestly don't recall if that night was for charity or not since I don't recall which auction it was, but most likely it was. I'm a big supporter of charities. The upcoming auction is going to be a charity event as well," Melissa says, shrugging. "And business is going well enough. The suckier the world gets the more people feel the need to get away from it. Socialize, dance. Drink." She shifts her focus to Graeme. "How are you settling in? Shoulder feeling alright?"

As he leans in and whispers to Graeme, "Your hotter then he is…" As he leans away from Graeme he turns his eyes to focus on Melissa. He opens his mind to her thoughts to gain any information on as he says with a smile, "His shoulder is getting better…I have been taking really good care of him." As he takes his bottle bartender and hands him a 10 he takes a sip and looks back at Melissa intently.

Graeme blushes, a faint shade of red, slipping his arm around Aric's waist for a moment, and then Aric's answering the question directed at him, and there's a rather petulant look. I'm fine, comes the rather directed thought, and I am capable of answering my own questions. Especially when they're directed at me! Whether or not Aric's listening to Graeme's thoughts at the moment as well, it's there.

"I'm doing well," he says, with a smile. "He's been overprotective, but then again, well, I expect that." Graeme leans against Aric a bit more.

Melissa's thought are far from the conversation, other than a genuine concern for Graeme's shoulder. Mostly she's thinking about Messiah and Russo, the latter with a great deal of hatred. There's a stray thought though, about whether she'll have to kill Aric to protect the future. And one which is quickly squashed about affection at work, along with some vague irritation that doesn't seem entirely related.

"That's nice, I was asking how it felt though," Mel says politely to Aric before nodding to Graeme. "Make sure you exercise it a bit or it'll stiffen up while it heals, and it'll take a while to get full use back if that happens."

As the thought of killing him crosses her mind, Aric takes a step back from the woman and says flatly, "With all due respect…kill me will not stop the future yet maybe alter it. I have learned that a long time ago. I know your talents can do it…yet it seems you have no love for this Russo and I have no idea who the man is…" He looks around the room and says, "Again maybe not the best time to bring that up." He finishes his beer and looks at Graeme, "This woman and I have a possible connection that would not be the right time to bring up. She knows it…I know it…we just have no idea how yet or why. I know it is crazy and hard to explain babe. I don't want to get you in any trouble." He places a hand on his face with real affection in his eyes, "I should go maybe…" He looks at Melissa, "If you want to talk where the walls don't have ears Graeme knows where I live…you're welcome to stop by Ms. Pierce."

This turn of conversation has Graeme stepping back several steps after Aric's hand drops, tense and not sure what to do with the conversation at the moment. "I'd gathered as much before you said anything," he says, quietly enough for both Aric and Melissa to hear, and then he falls silent for a bit again. The tension in his shoulder, though, causes a small spike in the pain level, not perhaps enough for him to notice beyond a momentary dismissal. "And I, uh …" he falls silent for a moment, before looking over at what he'd been sorting at the other side of the floor before Aric's arrival. Too awkward for words.

When Aric mentions something that she thought, Melissa's eyes narrow and all politeness disappears from her face. "Stay the fuck out of my head or I will shoot you, regardless of what it'll do for the future. I've had enough of people fucking around in my head and I will not tolerate it. From anyone," she says in a low voice that leaves little doubt that she means precisely what she says. And to make matters worse, it's such a hotbutton topic that everyone within a few feet of her starts to feel mild pain, anger messing with her control. Like a headache nagging at the back of their skull. Annoying, but not agonizing.

She looks to Graeme then, still angry. "Teach your boyfriend some manners, or next time I catch him in here I'll demonstrate my talents." Back to Aric. "We have nothing to talk about. Just stay the fuck away from Messiah. Got it?"

Aric growls softly as his headache begins, "For respect of my boyfriend…I don't take kindly to being threaten Melissa. A bullet in your own head will keep you from doing that to me or anyone else again." Whatever happened to the kind and hippy Aric from 6 months ago. His own body trembles in anger, "My talents don't just shut off. So fucking deal with it…if that wasn't a dream you and I have a very dirty future a head of us…so we have things to talk about." He looks over at Graeme and says bringing a hand to his head, "I'm sorry babe. I shouldn't have come…"

Aric begins to walk away towards the door, "When your ready Melissa…we need to talk…you…me…and Messiah have some things to consider." He begins to swear in Chinese about women and their fucking PMS.

Graeme winces and looks at Aric as he's walking away, before looking back to Melissa. "I am sorry about that," he says to her. A further apology will come later, most likely, and a further explanation. And out of everyone in the vicinity that's affected by Melissa's ability, it doesn't seem to actually bother Graeme, at all. "God damnit." Graeme looks down at the floor, and shakes his head.

When Aric switches languages, so does Melissa. Her accent is horrible, but her meaning is clear enough. "This woman doesn't need a pill, and if you can't control your ability, then stay the fuck away from people who don't like having their privacy invaded!" she spits at Aric.

Then she whirls around on Graeme and switches back to English. "You need to explain to your boyfriend that if he ever uses his ability on me again, I will shoot him. That isn't an idle threat. I spent several days having DHS poke around in my mind, until I got a migraine and bled from my nose and ears. I had someone fuck with my head trying to make me do horrible things. It happens again, I won't warn first. But you don't have anything to apologize for." And slowly she regains control of her ability, the pain fading, then disappearing altogether.

Aric stops and looks in her direction. He looks at Graeme and shakes his head and turns away and begins to walk out the door yet stops and looks at the new bouncer, "Make sure you card EVERYONE dude." He sighs and walks out into the night making his way back home unsure of what he is gonna tell Graeme or how he is gonna make it up to him.

Graeme nods, with another glance as Aric's left. "I didn't think it was an idle threat," he says, by way of clarification. It's followed by a distinct sigh. "Subtlety really isn't his strong point, though. And at this point, it really should be." The words are grumbled, and much of Graeme's usual good-naturedness and even-temperedness is currently lacking. Instead, there's still that tension across his shoulders and back, the response to a situation of a perceived threat. And it's still possibly not the best thing for his newly mostly healed shoulder, which is starting to be painfully sore, though whether Graeme would ever mention it is another story altogether.

There's a minute where Melissa is calming down and gathering her thoughts before she lifts a hand, motioning for him to follow. "Come on. I think we need to talk. Without someone digging around in my brain," she says, the last sentence nearly growled out. Then she's moving through the club, heading back towards her office.

Graeme does follow, though as he does so, he begins stretching out his arm and shoulder some. There's a grimace on his face, overall, as he plays through the conversation several times over again. "Alright." And even once they get to her office, Graeme's silent, leaning against the door frame and the neutral but displeased expression still firmly on his face. "Why the fuck did he have to bring up dreams and futures and god knows what, in the middle. of. the. room." It's not a question, it's not directed at Melissa, just murmured as Graeme enters the office. "Liz is going to throw a fit."

Melissa heads to her desk, perching on it and grabbing the pack of cigarettes there, lighting one up. "Who's Liz and what's she gotta do with it? And believe me, I have no idea. I wish I did. It was stupid. More, I didn't want to discuss it regardless. Not with him. My dreams of the future? The conversation I have with him leads to my death. So I'm sure you can see why I'm not particular eager to talk to him," she says flatly.

First thing first, comes the mental reminder, as Graeme leans against the door frame. "Dreams, futures though they may be," Graeme says, "are not definitive." He doesn't know much more about the dreams, but that's not a hard guess to make. "And yes. I can. I …" There's a pause, and Graeme rolls his shoulders in place. For the moment, though, Graeme doesn't clarify why in particular Liz would be throwing a fit, or which person he's referencing. He just sighs again, quietly. The prospect of the fact that his boss threatened his boyfriend, and vice versa, is not making him very happy.

Melissa shakes her head. "They're not just dreams, Graeme. I know that what we dreamed happened in a future. I've spoken to someone from that future, and no, I won't tell you who. I can't. It's…it's very important that I not. "But the point remains…in one of my dreams, your boyfriend was apparently leader of Messiah, and because I went to them, to try to…take care of a problem…I ended up dead, and someone I love very much was hurt."

There's a nod, before Graeme speaks again. "A future, yes." He's acknowledging that much, and then there's a very, very slight wince. Not, particularly, at the mention of Messiah, but at the statement that follows it. Then there's another grumble. "Time travel makes my head hurt. And that's just thinking about it. But knowing it means that there are two options," from what he's gathered. "Either it gives that future more … momentum, inertia or whatever, or it makes it less likely." Then there's another pause. "Harrison." There's the clarification that Melissa had asked for. "She's … one of the reasons I'm even with Aric. And she's just not going to be happy with the lack of subtlety."

"The leader of FRONTLINE who's on the run? Fun," Melissa says dryly before taking a deep drag off her cigarette. "Time travel's a pain in the ass, yeah. And we already know that some of it won't happen. Can't happen. But I'd like to avoid causing my own death inadvertantly. I've survived too much to just lay down and die."

"Yes," Graeme says. There's a long sigh, and he resumes carefully rolling his right shoulder in backwards circles. "Fun isn't really how I'd put it. But something like that. And well, I've simply been counting myself lucky that I haven't had any such dreams. My life is complicated enough as it is." There's a soft grumble. "I've never seen Aric behave quite like that, before. Usually, I mean, he's blunt, but he has at least some idea of what the time and the place is. And well, isn't."

"Well…Some of these dreams are…" Melissa hesitates as she struggles to figure out just how to put it. Then she changes tactics. "Do you see me as a crier, Graeme?"

Graeme pauses, considering it. It's clear from the expression on his face that really, the thought of Melissa crying makes him uncomfortable. Above and beyond that he doesn't particularly care for seeing people he cares for at all crying, because he simply can't truly picture her doing so, and so he shakes his head.

"Most people don't. Then it should mean something when I tell you that after two of these dreams I curled up and bawled like a baby. After the last one, I kept crying. They're horrible in how sad they are, and how fucked up they are," Melissa says flatly. "Some friends? They had dreams where evolved aren't allowed to have babies. It gets worse than how it is now, and it's bad enough now."

It does mean something, and Graeme winces slightly, the look at least somewhat understanding. "I know. And it's going to keep getting worse, as far as anyone knows. Even efforts to make it not keep getting worse…" he trails off, and shrugs. "Really, I can't wrap my mind around it more than rudimentarily. Liz explained … a fair amount to me, and there are some things I'll happily admit I'm not smart enough to get."

"I'm not sure anyone understands time travel, even though whose ability revolves around it," Melissa admits. "I know that the future has been changed, though there's no telling whether it's for better or for worse, not yet. I intend to do everything I can to make sure it's for the better. And maybe we're having these dreams so we know how bad it gets, so we will fight, I don't know."

"Yeah." There's a nod from Graeme, and then for a long moment, he falls silent, with a quiet shrug. "And … I will tell him that he needs to stop using his ability when he's out, and that he needs to give people the privacy they deserve. Telepaths." There's a small tone of frustration. "It must be something with them, in general … my landlady wasn't very good at the entire privacy thing either." He's learned to keep his surface thoughts quiet, since then, a habit he maintains even when not in the company of someone he knows to have the ability in question.

"I used to see it as just an invasion of privacy. Now I see it as an attack, even when part of me knows it's not meant as one," Melissa confesses with a shrug, stabbing her cigarette out in a small ashtray. "But yes, please do. I don't want to end up putting you in a position where you have to choose between work and your boyfriend. It's not fair to you, so let's avoid it."

"I just learned really quickly, with Remi, to keep her out of my surface thoughts. It's not something that would work against someone who was trying," Graeme says, "but it helps against surface thoughts. And then that amount of focus and such… it became habit. And yeah … I'd prefer to avoid it. Because well, I like you, and I like working here."

There's a pause. "Even if you're affiliated, now, in some way with Messiah." There's a smile, and he doesn't give her the time to react or deny the statement. "And before you overreact. There was a cue when you told Aric to 'stay the fuck away from Messiah', in your tone. And posture."

Melissa shakes her head. "Inaccurate. Remember, in my dream, I went to him because he was affiliated with Messiah. Keeping him away from Messiah is just one more way of ensuring that the tragedy that I dreamt about doesn't happen," she explains. "And I like you too, Graeme."

Graeme shoots a look over at her. It's mildly disbelieving, though he'll drop it most certainly if she continues not to mention anything. "Which would explain it partially, but really, not entirely. It doesn't make a particular difference, but my degree, and the most of my postgraduate studies were in sociology, Melissa." There's a pause. "And fieldwork, and learning to read people and see little things. The cue you gave suggested more, but." He shrugs, and offers a small smile.

There are no signs of nerves at being called out, and Melissa shakes her head. "I'm sorry if you misread, Graeme. I was pissed, I was trying to avoid a future I don't want to occur. In any case, I think it's time we both got back to work," she says, rising.

"It is, you're right," Graeme says. And he will drop it, at the very least for another time, but there's something about the denial as well that's getting him. But he'll also shrug it off, as far as it having been mis-read. "And I don't think … I truly don't think he wants it to occur, either." But even this position is unfair, and for the moment, Graeme doesn't actually give Melissa a chance to respond to his last statement, ducking a nod and heading back to work.

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