Just a Little Interlude


ace3_icon.gif godfrey_icon.gif odessa3_icon.gif

Scene Title Just a Little Interlude
Synopsis A certain kind of luminary surprises with a performance that lights up center stage.
Date June 18, 2021


Rossignol hasn’t been open all that long, but as always it is a full house right from the start. People dressed to impress, painted up to lure a potential partner for the night.

The break between the sets for the current band seems a bit longer than normal, one might start to wonder what is going on over by the stage. Luckily, it doesn’t last long as piano notes start to fill the club, a sad, yearning melody that seems to tug at the listener's emotions.

But also, very much not on the set list that the owner had been given for the night.

Been numb so long, I just wanna feel something

I used to be so strong, how did I forget?

It’s a vaguely familiar voice that starts to accompany the haunting tune. It’s one that Ourania hasn’t heard since her time at Rikers, when she and a fellow inmate forged a small friendship over a rinky dink, badly tuned piano. She rushes to the floor from the back-of-house, hairpins held in her mouth, pushing aside the heavy velvet curtain before the bouncer can draw it aside for her.

Has the world gone cold, have I lost my soul? Feel just like forever

Oh, now there is nothing

I just wanna feel something

A look confirms her suspicions as Godfrey Wells sits at the beautiful glass and ebony piano. A glass of scotch perched on it. His black jacket neatly draped on the bench next to him, allowing him more freedom to play each note with feeling. As always he’s sans a tie, and the top button of his gray shirt undone. The songstress’ hustle stops so abruptly that she nearly tumbles forward with the suddenly arrested momentum of it.

So break into my heart

Let me feel the blood rush in

Break into my heart

Eyes closed, it’s obvious that Godfrey is deep into the notes and feeling each note in his soul. His world at the moment was the music, so he’s oblivious to the people moving to settle into the seats around the piano or the fact that the murmur of conversation has quieted some as his voice rings out and echoes through the club.

I need to feel the pain again

Tear it up and bruise it

Wreck it and abuse it

One such person fallen silent would be Ace Callahan, formerly locked in conversation with a patron of the club. It's not unusual for songbirds to take the stage. But there are a refined set permitted for this venue.

And while Godfrey Wells sings so well, he is not one of them.

He casts a look out over the room, listening and waiting now. He shares a look with another member of the staff and only shakes his head subtly, fingers of one hand lifting in a gesture to hold. Then his green-greys return to the stage, slightly narrowed in pensiveness.

Let it cut beneath the skin

Break into my heart

And make me feel again

The song isn’t one that the club’s nightingale is familiar with, but her heart knows it intimately and it takes her a couple moments for the breath caught in her chest to be released again. While she’s transfixed, she’s not so far gone that she can’t remember to tend to her unfinished coiffure. She continues to wrap each curl around the small bun she’d made until it looks fuller. Messy, yet elegant. She leaves a few strands to frame her face. That hadn’t been her original plan and she uses the extra pins to needlessly secure the bun at her crown further.

What the blonde does not do is look for her partner. If Godfrey hasn’t been removed from her piano yet, then he isn’t going to be. It means Ace is aware already, and watching how this all plays out.

There is a grace to the way that Godfrey’s fingers move over those ivory keys. When dark eyes open, only the closest can see the flash of light behind them, like the mirrored reflection of a cat's eyes.

I spent most my life always chasing something

I wonder what it's like to have no regrets

There is a wink given to those around the piano, one especially getting a flirty once over. Godfrey clearly loves the attention being given to his performance. In fact, the air around him seems to softly start to glow, as if a spotlight has been settled on him.

Has the world gone blind, have I lost my mind, Lord, I can't remember

Oh, I just wanna feel something

When he belts out words of the chorus again, this time with even more passion pushed into each syllable, the air around him erupts into a colorful display of light as miniature auroras dance around and play over his form as if moved by the music. The display is rewarded by gasps and sounds of awe… Possibly a few worried sounds mixed in there, like he had just done some elaborate magic trick.

Godfrey was ever the showman.

So break into my heart

Let me feel the blood rush in

Break into my heart

It's the explosion of light and color that shifts Ace’s expression from studious to something else. The corner of his mouth hooks back in the beginnings of a smile. He lifts his hands with a look toward the person he'd been talking to, beginning to clap in a way that indicates they should too. Before Godfrey knows it, light applause smatters through the house for his sake.

Hands falling back to his side, Ace turns his head to find Ourania, but stays where he otherwise is. One eyebrow arcs just slightly above the other in a silent ask for her take on these developments. After all, it's her stage being overtaken by this sparkling showman.

I need to feel the pain again

Tear it up and bruise it

Wreck it and abuse it

For her part, Ourania’s overtaken by shock and confusion at the display of what must be an ability. While she wasn’t negated at Rikers, Godfrey was, and it leaves her realizing that she has no idea what he’s capable of. She feels the appreciation of the crowd inside of her and knows she feels some of her own as well, if not in the same way. With her hands free of pins, she claps along with the audience, unknowingly following Ace’s direction.

And he can see the face she wears when she doubts herself and feels inferior to someone else’s talent. When she thinks no one’s watching.

Let it cut beneath the skin

Break into my heart

And make me feel again

There is a tip of his head to the clapping, Godfrey knows how to appreciate what he is offered in response to his display. Eyes flash with the mirror of light, not unlike a cat, when his gaze tracks over to the perfectly coiffed woman in the wings. Having never met up with Odessa after they got out of jail, he doesn’t know who she is.

Godfrey’s brow tips up in interest, even as he continues to sing. Oh… who is this? He notes the self doubt. Entertainment that he might have unwittingly upstaged then? Pity.

The primadonna’s expression shifts quickly, displaying a curiosity.

Here I am bleeding, living and breathing

Looking for meaning, something to believe in

As he starts to wind the song down, Godfrey follows her gaze to where Ace is standing. Brows lift even higher. Interesting, he thinks watching faces. Still a small satisfied smile pulls up on one side, wickedly.

So tear it up and bruise it

Wreck it and abuse it

Let it cut beneath the skin

Break into my heart

And make me feel again

Letting the last word linger as a long even note as the light fades into the soft glow of the club. When it’s done, Godfrey feels that small twinge of sorrow and mourning that the moment was now gone.

Standing, Godfrey sweeps up his jacket and shrugs it on much like a magician dons his cape… dramatically. He doesn’t bow, but does offer a radiant smile to the audience, especially Ace, as he straightens the cuffs of his jacket.

Ace has wandered in the direction of the stage by then, hands slipped into his pockets. He doesn't offer a hand to help Godfrey down from the raised stage— there's no need for chivalry when it's patently fine he can manage on his own, after all. His chin lifts slightly before he half-jokes, "If this is you telling me you've changed your mind about my offer, you make a very compelling argument."

There's a lightness there. A teasing, but with fondness. "The room seemed to enjoy you. I don't know if there's many used to a display like that as a part of their shows…" His head turns to the woman who the stage usually belongs to. "Wouldn't you say, Ourania?"

His lips lift, flashing fang with the small smile he puts on. With a tip of his head, he indicates the three of them toward the bar. "Let's talk for a moment."

By the time Odessa has made her way to the short set of steps that lead from floor to stage, she’s wearing a smile. “No, I don’t think we’ve seen its like here before.” If she had a glass in her hand, she thinks she might break it. She’s likely soon to find out, given the bartender is already shaking up a lemon drop, having spotted her approach. She has them so well trained.

Beyond her roiling jealousy, there’s also a spike of anxiety. What could Ace have planned? It’s Godfrey she worries for, however, not herself. Even if she’s upset about being upstaged — possibly for the rest of her career — he was still her ally. He watched her back in exchange for watching his. As far as she’s concerned, she’s still bound by that. He kept her from getting jumped by someone with an improvised knife, so their ledgers don’t balance.

“Were you auditioning?” the songstress asks casually.

“Of course they enjoyed me, what isn’t there to enjoy,” Godfrey states rather matter of factly, buttoning his coat while allowing little auroras to dance over his shoulders for a brief moment, something easily missed unless you were looking at him. When it comes to offers and all, he doesn’t answer Ace, so much as addresses Ouriana, not even knowing who is standing there before him.

“Auditioning? Heavens no.” Godfrey reaches to take a hand and bows rather gentlemanly over it, with an intrigued smile. “I wouldn’t dream of displacing someone so divinely beautiful and talented. No.” Straightening, he turns enough to look back at the piano almost wistfully, “I simply couldn’t resist such an artistically made piano.”

A side-eyes glance and a smug smile is directed towards Ace as Godfrey freely admits, “It’s amazing what a few well placed Benjamins will do in the right hands. Though I do apologize for interrupting the… What do they like to call it… the vibe of the place.” Not a lick of sincerity in it. “Jazz clubs have never quite been my calling. I’m more of a Wonderland type.”

Turning his attention to Ouriana he cheekily adds, “Though… You never said you had such talent under your roof. I could possibly be convinced to be a fan after all.”

"My wife," Ace interjects and introduces in the same breath. He smiles between them both and comes to rest a hand at the small of her back. "Ourania Stoltz. She's by and far the apple of everyone's eye, but we have discussed recently giving her enough space to pursue certain… passion projects."

There's a level tenor floating silently in the air with that explanation. An expectation he presses silently into Ourania's palm without looking at her is that she follow along with how he's phrased her additional work with Raytech. Flint; calm and dazzling.

With a tilt of his head back in the direction of the piano-bedecked stage, he remarks, "So while it's far from what we originally discussed, if you enjoy the stage, the stage might enjoy to have you again other nights, Mr. Wells." Ace's smile warms as he proposes, "Even a temporary arrangement might be enough to let you tickle those ivories until you're satisfied, and you would be doing my muse such a favor."

It's then that he looks to Ourania, waiting to see if she'll help him in pushing for a close on this or play to her own interests in a different way.

Odessa turns her head slightly toward Ace, warming inside to be introduced as his spouse, rather than simply his partner. Her smile comes easier, bolstered by a bit more genuine enjoyment of the moment. It takes a second for her to settle into the track that’s been laid out before her, but she makes that transition smoothly. “I’m generally a tough act to follow — Mr. Wells, was it?”

Leaning in a little closer to Ace, she examines a nail while frowning at it. The black lacquer is chipped at one edge. The imperfection is dismissed with a quiet sigh as she lifts her gaze again. “But, you look like you could certainly hold your own.” Her smile renews, showing a flash of white teeth. “Perhaps I won’t even be missed!”

With a quick glance around and a conspiratorial lean in, the singer confides, “Harry doesn’t let just anyone take that stage. I hope you’ll recognize the compliment.”

The mention of wife… that’s a surprise. Both brows pop up in surprise. “Really?” He looks them over as they stand there close. He almost seems to lean away from them as if he’s afraid to catch whatever disease made them do such a thing. “A pity.” Godfrey says with sympathy for both. “Tying yourselves down as such. Congratulations on the nuptials are in order then.”

A corner of his mouth tugs up wickedly, “Besides, I never let a pesky ring stop me before.” He holds up his hands to forestall any rebuttal, “But not to worry,” Godfrey says reassuring both? of them, “I wouldn’t dare dream of it here.” He looks rather proud of himself and his restraint, but then Ace dangled quite the reward for it.

Twisting a look over his shoulder at the piano, Godfrey considers the proposal. “I wouldn’t mind having a regular turn on that work of art, though I do have a day job I like.” Focusing on the club owners, Godfrey seems almost expectant. “If we can work around that, well, then I see no reason not to take you up on such a generous offer.”

Ace's smile only knifes a hair wider at Godfrey's visible assessment of their situation. Married wasn't a place he envisioned himself ever being either, Godfrey. "When you find a certain gem of a being you decide you wouldn't want waking up next to anyone other than you, you'll understand. Not until precisely that moment, though," he cautions. There's a glimmer of amusement in his eyes, arm still around Ourania's side.

Despite that, he seems utterly comfortable with Godfrey's teasing that if he wanted either of them, he'd not let their union stop him. Maybe it's his confidence Godfrey wouldn't cross that line. Maybe it's the fact he considers them both equal temptation.

"We are an evening establishment, Rossignol. Those hours would be no problem. There'd be the matter of getting you and the band better acquainted, but with your charming disposition, I imagine it'll be a quick alignment." He seems thoughtful for just a moment, head turning to the woman at his side slightly as he adds, "And Ourania of course would be there to support the building of your set list. A chance for you two to get better acquainted, as well."

Odessa nods demurely to the congratulations, her smile staying small and modest in the wake of Ace’s logic in choosing to make vows to her in the first place. “I married him for his money,” she quips cheerily, in that way no one who means what they’re saying would, and snuggles into Ace’s side more while laughing breathily.

Blue eyes shift focus when she’s addressed and she nods along. “Absolutely.” Her attention moves back to Godfrey. “Come accompany and sing with me for a little while and soon you’ll know where you fit with the band and you’ll be ready for the ensemble without my lead to follow.” Odessa lifts her brows, a look of faux innocence put on for him to see right through to the hints of mischief beneath. “Interested?” Her nose wrinkles along with the mirthful narrowing of her eyes when she adds: “It’ll be fun.

The words coming out of Ace’s mouth about gems and such gets an amused and skeptical look. It was like he was speaking in tongues… or he simply could not believe those words were coming from that man. His eyes glaze over just a bit. What snaps him out of it, is Ouriana’s answer, which he reacts with a point of Godfrey’s finger and a wink. “Now that’s an answer I can get behind.”

He’s joking, of course… Maybe.

There is still the offer to consider, which Godfrey does while fingers fiddle with a cufflink. It is ultimately Ouriana that gets him to give a sigh as if he can no longer resist. “When you put it that way, how can I resist?” Dark eyes shift from one to the others. “I guess the question to ask now.” Godfrey spreads his arms as if ready to receive their answer.

“When do I start?”

Godfrey's disbelief about Ace's answer would mirror his own were he to have met himself even a year prior. His own smile tightens for it, practiced instead of prose. Things are the way that they are, after all. Best not to reflect further on it.

Though the laughter at the distraction Ourania provides by teasing isn't one he joins in.

He's much better prepared to answer Godfrey's question, lifting his chin in a graceful gesture of acknowledgement. "Tonight is certainly too soon to ask," Ace proposes amicably. "Enjoy the evening here. Listen for a while, feel the air. See the shape of things and how you can add to it without breaking them. I'll be interested in seeing your artists' touch on the matter." Then he tilts his head toward the songstress again. "I'll ask you to sync this-coming week with Ourania. Thursday, maybe Friday afternoon? Decide what best works for you both."

His arm begins to slip from her side and he offers her a slim smile. "But for now…"

“I have a stage to take,” Odessa finishes that sentence for Ace. They have to make this all look planned, after all. If it looks like just anyone can hijack the stage, well…

Mrs. Stoltz leans up and drops a feather-soft kiss on her husband’s cheek, careful not to leave her lipstick on his skin. Godfrey receives a little wave of her fingers before she heads to that stage.

And when she does arrive there, the lighting in the venue shifts. The house lights dim just enough to be noticeable and a spot lights up the stage, a brighter focus on the piano when the blonde comes to sit at the bench. She starts with a warm-up that sounds oddly hollow, but certainly seems to serve the purpose of calling attention. Its true purpose is to signal to the band backstage her desire for accompaniment. Her playing swells, as if in applause, for each member that joins her on stage, demuring again when their instrument joins hers to create a fuller melody. Soon, they have a complete line-up and the ambling piece comes to its conclusion with a smattering of hands put together from the club’s patrons.

At her left and toward the back of the stage, another blonde woman leafs through an armful of paper. She either received the memo or missed it, given that both she and the diva are wearing yellow dresses; although hers is long with an understated elegance where Odessa’s is flowy, barely brushes her knees, with an energy that seems to run counter to the rest of the attire on stage. While she certainly is put together and lovely, those in the know are aware that this is the dress she arrived at the club in and not what she meant to be wearing while performing.

The somewhat confused woman leaves a few pages with the piano, then repeats the process across the stage until each player has their sheet music, before scurrying back to Odessa. She adjusts the vintage-styled microphone’s place over the piano, moving it a bit more toward center, then sits down on the far side of the bench.

Ourania bobs her head nearly imperceptibly, her eyes cast down and fixed on the ivory. After a moment of stillness from the stage, her blue eyes snap up and find the guitarist’s. So softly, she whispers, and he follows the movement of her lips:

“Two, three, four.”

In unison, they begin. The piano begins with a simple walking pace of chords and the guitar fills in the spaces between without competing. She smiles and a quiet breath of a chuckle carries over the microphone a good measure and a half before she begins to sing.

Why do you let me stay here all by myself?

Why don’t you come and play here?

I’m just sitting on the shelf

“Too soon, indeed,” Godfrey agrees once Odessa has excused herself to the stage, watching her leave with much appreciation and curiosity. “But, I admit I had been curious about the place and thought a change of hunting grounds was in order.” It was a simple statement of fact, as his focus shifts to the woman handing out music sheets with open interest.

“And I do not regret the decision,” Godfrey states, eyeing a well dressed pair that passes, though it is hard to know who he is admiring. Maybe both, as he shows a strong desire to follow them. Though in the end, he sighs and forces his attention to the stage.

As he listens and watches, Godfrey’s expression shifts and his head tilts ever so slightly. It was like he was grasping for some understanding.

Ace leans an elbow against the bar as Odessa Ourania aways from him, reaching for the drink that was prepared likely not for him, but for her when they first came over her here. His head tilts slightly in thought as he watches the way she graces the stage, eyes distant and drifting away when she's joined. "There's plenty to be said for the whimsy and play of Wonderland, but Rossignol has a class it can't match," he remarks idly to Godfrey before taking a drink.

"It certainly captivated me in a way I wasn't expecting," Ace admits, only to glance back at Godfrey at that exact moment to find he, too, to be taken by something unexpected. He doesn't press, only holding him in the corner of his eye before looking back to the stage like he just might could see through Godfrey's eyes himself and understand just what he's thinking.

The upright bass joins in the lineup and the singer smiles bright, nodding her head to the tempo of the music. The other blonde makes her purpose known as she turns to the next page of music. The piano seems to diminish for the next stanza until it becomes clear that she’s exchanged her steady backdrop for a counter melody high up in the treble. She shifts right on the bench, telegraphing that she intends to stay in that register for a time.

Why don’t you sit right down and make me smile?

We like the same things and I like your style

It’s not a secret, why do you keep it?

I’m just sitting on the shelf

On the last roll of her wrists, it’s as if she uses that momentum to bounce to her feet and make a dance out of the quick jaunt to the microphone at center stage. The helpful blonde replaces her on the keys, and joins the drummer in providing backing vocals, furthering this conspiracy they shared.

Ace rarely sees his wife look so free as he does when she’s able to both sing and dance. While her heart still belongs to the piano, it can’t help but to soar in this exercise of the freedom she’s found with the return of her mobility. He can feel it inside of him just to watch her, a stark contrast from her earlier shades of emerald envy.

I’ve gotta get your presence

Let’s make it known

I think you’re just so pleasant

I would like you for my own

What he doesn’t know is that Godfrey has witnessed this expression of freedom for himself before. Never did the woman Godfrey struck up a truce with look like she might possibly be happy other than those times when she either played the piano or danced while he did. Music was something they had in common. In many ways, it was her only escape from Rikers.

On that stage, Ourania Stoltz dances with the verve and joy of Odessa Price. Although her frame is taller, legs longer and arms almost willowy, she still moves like her. The timbre of her voice is off, but not the cadence. The curves are different, but the twist of those hips when she dances her way to the mic is not.

Godfrey keeps an eye on the stage while he motions for the bartender and orders a scotch. The heliokinetic is certainly captivated by what’s happening on the stage. Each flick of a wrist and twist of hips, he finds himself unable to look away.

It was so very familiar. Then it hits.

A hazy flash of memory from a less pleasant place.

While he tries to be subtle about it, Godfrey has a flash of recognition. It was obvious that Odessa didn’t wish to be found, clearly. He pulls his attention back to Ace, just in time for his drink to arrive. Picking it up, he gives the man a wicked smile of a man that knows things. “It does have a way of holding your attention with its delightfully unexpected mysteries.”

Ace returns a knowing smile of his own, drink lifted in cheers of his own. "May you find many other pleasant nights like this one ahead of you…" he wishes of Godfrey, then turns his eyes back to the show.

He supposes in silence that there's only so many mysteries that remain mysteries for long. Especially with the way Odessa carries herself in private, to people she knew in her past life.

As he watches her perform, he's forced to make his peace with yet one more expansion of the bubble of persons who know her for what and who she is. Another shade of danger. An untold ring of people who might know, for this aperture. For all that Godfrey Wells is interesting, he too has his mysteries around him– who he still speaks with from his past lives chief among them in Ace's mind.

"I look forward to bringing you into our little circle," Ace remarks against the side of his glass before he drinks.

On stage, Ourania has no such notion of the danger she’s in by being recognized. She beams a wide grin as she breaks into the last verse. Her eyes find someone in the crowd so she can hit them with an enticing look while she shimmies in front of the microphone. Although it could just as easily be a fixed point where no one sits, so her glances can’t be misinterpreted as intention.

Why don’t you sit right down and stay a while?

You make me feel like I am just a child

Why do you edit? Just give me credit!

I’m just sitting on the shelf

The singer drops into a curtsey on her last word, the music falling quiet for a full measure before it’s called back to life again by the drummer. All that remains now is outro, which gives the pretty little nightingale more chance to dance around the stage. Twirls and little flourishes of her wrists as her arms sway above her or at her sides. Her skirt billows out around her with each little spin.

“Oh, I have a very good feeling that I shall enjoy my tenure here,” Godfrey observes confidently, with his attention back on stage and the twirling mystery upon it. He loved a good puzzle… and a challenge after all. “As my duties with my employer will allow, of course.”

Playing at the Rossingol would not keep Godfrey at the level of luxury he was used to. Well, to be fair neither did Monica’s little not-so-secret Illuminati society, but it was better than nothing.

Far better than his last secret society.

With a grimace at the thought of his misfortune, Godfrey quickly downs what is left of his drink and sets the glass down on the counter. Time for a distraction. For him, of course. Something or someone catches his eye. Ah… perfect.

Straightening from his lean against the bar, Godfrey finally pulls his attention from the stage. “Now, as much as I have enjoyed our little… chat… and the view. If you’ll excuse me I see something” - someone he means - “rather interesting to pursue.”

Glancing back at the stage, unable to help himself, Godfrey says, “You’ll be sure to give my best and congratulations for a stunning performance to your lovely songbird. She and I shall have to chat about it and… collaborate soon.” For now though… he turns his attention to a point further in the club, like a predator sighting on something simply quite delicious.

Ace glances after Godfrey over the top of his drink and lets out a hm of acknowledgement before he heads off on his own way. And as he does, his own gaze lingers on Godfrey's retreating form in such a way.

Someone new yet to bring into the fold. It didn't hurt at all that it was someone pleasing to the eye, with a stunning ability besides.

"Enjoy," he murmurs though Godfrey's out of earshot. "Center stage will await."

He turns back to his own prize for this night and every night, finding Ourania on the stage and smiling toothily for her. "That's my girl," he likewise thrums in quiet pride for her, setting aside his glass and nodding to her once before tilting his chin in the direction of back of house.

This is only the start of the night, and they all still have much to do in it.

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