caspian_icon.gif devon_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif keira_icon.giflucille3_icon.gif lynette3_icon.gifmateo_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title Mistrust
Synopsis A night out for drinks brings out more than a buzz.
Date July 18, 2018

Red Hook

While going out for coffee or drinks in postwar New York isn’t quite what it used to be, it’s an American tradition that many refuse to give up — even if it means having very little choice in what to drink. Even if it means the only coffee available at this little bistro is decaf. Still, this little bistro — no longer serving much in the way of food for the time being — is still open as a winebar-slash-coffee-shop, and the ambiance makes it a popular spot.

Somehow relatively unscathed during the war, Pourhouse is especially popular due to its layout. Dark woods and dark leathers are dimly lit by edison lamps hanging above from the industrial-style pipework above head. The booths are laid out in a way that gives each small table space and privacy for those seeking quiet conversations, though a bar allows for the social minglers to do so if they like.

Tonight, it’s fairly busy — there aren’t a lot of choices these days for people who want to get out of the house, and many establishments seem to roll up their sidewalks and lock their doors by evening, due to the shortage of food and the economy that’s struggling to get back on its feet. The bar has quite a few people sitting there, and several booths are taken by young and old alike.

There may not be a lot of choices on the menu, but being able to get drinks out in a place that isn’t the Benchmark definitely has its advantages. Mateo sits with his cup of warm decaf already in hand, not once wrinkling his nose at it. Though he imagines his wife might have differing opinions on the quality of the cafe, he’s not going to complain.

He’s just glad to be out of the building again. That campus had been his home since he’d been shot and in some ways it had been both a hideout of sorts, or as he had joked a few times, his prison. It had started a joke, at least. But he had been the kind who had difficulty staying still and letting his wound heal as well as he should have.

“The enviroment’s nice. I almost want to bring a book next time.” Read in a dimly lit corner, his mom would be sad. “Or headphones and some music.” Cause it really does have a nice feel to it.

Decaf is really not the ideal drink, not for Lynette, anyway. But she has her cup and she hasn't said anything about how pointless decaf coffee is, she only thinks it. Mostly because she's trying to be positive about this trip out. The Benchmark is a comfort to her, and she much prefers closing herself behind doors— even on a good day. But. She's easing out of that comfort zone. For Mateo's sake.

"I could see that," Lynette says with a glance around the café, "it has that set up for public introversion." She didn't mean that in a bad way, it's pretty clear she's for it. "Back before the war," she adds with a crooked smile, "this was the kind of place where you'd set up an write the next great American novel." A beat passes. "Next great Argentinian-American novel." She reaches a hand over to take his, giving it a warm squeeze.

Sometimes there’s nothing better than to get away from the structure and rigors of work and training and indulge in a cup of coffee. Not that there’s anything wrong with the coffee in Rochester, sometimes it’s just good to get out of the city and… go to the other city for a change of scenery. So Devon did just that. A flight over to catch the sights, maybe catch up with some friends, haunt some old neighborhoods. But right now, at this moment, it’s all about the coffee.

“This… isn’t terrible.” A dubious look is passed into his mug, which is turns one way and then the other on the table. “It …could be mildly better than the sludge we had in the field?” It’s a bit of a stretch there, even for Dev’s tendency to make a jest of most things. “Maybe more sugar would liven it up.” He’s already put in about twenty little packets in hopes of livening it up.

While off the clock Lucille would like a drink, or four. Moderation..? The woman sitting opposite of her ‘kid brother’ nurses a glass of white wine. Her clothes a mix of maroons and blacks, her hands were gloveless and her a pale hand trails through her mid length auburn locks. “I told you to go for the booze,” Luce wasn't really a coffee kind of gal anyway.

“I'm not sure if sugar could do it,” a snort and pale blue eyes scan the place before returning to Devon. A break was nice, Lu welcomed the time to come see her family or friends in the Safe Zone, she makes a note to say hey to Dad before heading back to Rochester. He might want to kill her. Hehe.

“Thanks for asking me to come with, you should come to the Crucible with me.” Is said with a grin although her tone lowers at mentioning it.

In one corner of the bistro, Robyn Quinn leans back in a booth lazilly. It had been her idea to come here tonight - wanting to get out of the house more than a little bit. Dressed in a long, ruffled black skirt and a matching button up top, she looks across the table at the woman she's invited out for the night.

"To be honest," she offers as she picks up her cup, "I thought this was a bar," she replies in a somewhat flat voice.

Dressed much the opposite in color with a baby blue colored skirt and simple white blouse, Elaine sits across the table from Robyn and cracks a bit of a smile. "Well, it sort of is. Coffee shop and bar, though not entirely much of either." She pauses. "But—there's enough for one thing." She sips from her cup. "Irish coffee."

"A bar bar," Robyn reiterates, though with a bit of a laugh. "Could have sworn it was one once." Before the war. She eyes Elaine's cup of coffee, and looks down at hers - surprisingly unspiked so far.

"I'll swap with you if you really want it," Elaine says with that slight grin still there. "And yeah, I think it used to be, but things change, unfortunately."

Looking back up at Elaine, Robyn gives her an appreciative smile. "I'll get my own next round," she remarks. "But thanks. At least it's nice out. Nice to have a relaxing night."

Elaine nods. "Good, cause I'm enjoying this one." She laughs lightly, then gives her a nod. "Yeah, it's good to be out. I really should be cleaning my apartment today but I think this is a better use of my time."

Quirking an eyebrow, Robyn's lips curl into a somewhat uncharacteristically wolfish grin. "The robots don't do it for you?" she remarks blithely.

"The robots make things more efficient, but they don't do everything for me," Elaine laughs. "But there's certainly the perk of self-cleaning appliances and little robot vacuums."

It’s been a while since Keira and Caspian started seeing each other; she’s been bunking down with him while her crew restores the precinct building, but they haven’t really had a proper date. Which is why Keira has insisted on bringing her companion out tonight, reasoning that they should try to do actual couple stuff, just to see how it works or something.

She’s dressed up pretty nice tonight, too, sporting a nice, tight black dress that hugs her shape quite nicely, and she went all out on her makeup — it’s easy when you don’t have to match up your eyes. She even has a jewel-encrusted eye patch over her left eye today, just to fancy things up.

The two sit at a booth. There’s a partially drained glass of red wine in front of her, and she is apparently in a very jovial mood. “Thanks again for coming out with me,” she murmurs, running a fingertip over the rim of the wine glass. “This is nice. You are nice. Why do you like a crazy bitch like me?”

She has not noticed her cousin inhabiting the same space, yet.

A date wasn't something Caspian was expecting when he got home from work that evening. After a day of pulling cable through mud-filled conduit, the man wanted nothing more than to burn the clothes he was wearing after scraping the inch of encrusted mud off, leap into a shower and blast the grime away before finding food and a bed to curl up in, Preferably with an old movie on in the background.

Keira, and her idea for a date, changed all of that, for the better.

So now, skin practically glowing from the vigorous scrubbing it got, Caspian sits in his more dressy look - nicely-pressed khakis, a light cotton shirt with a pinstripe pattern, and a vest over the top of it all with some comfortable brown dress shoes. The man can clean up nice when he wants to. The question of where one acquires a jeweled eyepatch is pondered, but with a girl like Keira, sometimes it's best not to know. “You're welcome.” Caspian replies to Keira with a grin, lifting his whisky on the rocks in a small toast to the dressed up woman. “The last thing I wanted to do is come out but, I have to admit, this is a nice way to end the day. As far as why I like you? Dunno. Just do, I guess. The crazy keeps me on my toes, and with the world being what it is now, having crazy where you can keep an eye on it is better than ignoring it. Besides, you fill out a dress pretty good, laugh at my shitty jokes, and have a few brains in your head. Always a good thing in my book.”

Everyone served for the time being at the tables, the few employees chat among themselves between their side work — one young man, wearing a black baseball cap and a t-shirt with the name of the bar on it, collects the trash from behind the bar, bagging it and making his way to the front door to set it out for the collectors, and then returns. The twenty-something, hipster-bearded barkeep-slash-barista refills a cup of coffee for someone at the counter, while a waitress with pink hair leans against the counter chatting with him and slicing lemons for the water and watching the tables for signs of someone needing a refill or a check.

It happens slowly — for a few of the patrons. It’s a gradual thing, a niggling feeling that something isn’t quite right with the person they’re so cozily seated with. Words ring untrue, glances seem suspicious. It feels like a hunch — there’s nothing concrete to point to but somehow it adds up — something isn’t right. It’s a sinking feeling in the pit of one’s stomach. A cold prickle on the back of the neck: the feeling of trust being betrayed.

While his hand gets gripped, Mateo can’t stop this sinking feeling that digs deep into him, pulling on something he’d thought he’d stopped worrying about. But apparently he hadn’t, cause there that feeling was again, nagging in the corner of his mind with that soft roar that always came with his ability. The sound of a thunderstorm in the distance, now, the rumbling of traffic too close to a window. His hand twitches slightly and he can’t stop from pulling away, even if he doesn’t know exactly what could have triggered it.

What had made him feel like that. And why those feelings bring up things he’d thought hadn’t actually bothered him. Had they?

With a shake of his head, he tries to remember what they were talking about. “I don’t think I’ll be writing any great novels. What would I write about,” he mutters, that tension shining through, just a little.

Lynette glances over at him when his hand pulls away, her brow furrows, and she reaches to fill her hand with her mug of coffee instead. She also looks away quickly enough, tossing her hair over her shoulder and lifting her chin as she looks back out at the café.

"Oh, I don't know," she says on a sigh. Because now she has stupid hurt feelings and is covering them up with flippancy. "Just not about waking up one morning as a cockroach, that one's been taken already." Of course, she hadn't meant for him to take it seriously in the first place. Just to poke at the world's lost habits. That tension has her lapsing into silence, attention apparently taken up by the sudden need to add cream to her coffee and to be very precise about how much and how well mixed it gets. It's very important work.

“Wine’s not really my thing.” Dev’s dubious look goes from the mug in front of him, to the glass in front of Lucille. It’s not really a secret that he typically doesn’t do alcohol at all. He’ll partake in the rare beer, or do a round of shots with his teammates. But usually he stays away. “Sugar it is.” With that decision, he helps himself to a bunch more packets to poor into his mug.

The sugar packets are toyed with, and the young man’s forehead furrows a little. His eyes shift toward the open side of the booth, though his gaze lever lifts fully. He takes a breath and gives his head a small shake. The thanks is met with a shrug instead the usual grin and brush off it should have received as he leans back.

Devon’s brows knit slightly, pinching together, and forearms rest on the edge of the table to either side of his mug. With a twitch near his eye, he sets the unopened sugars down so he can grip the mug with both hands. Finally, his gaze lifts from the rich brown liquid when she invites him to the Crucible, weighing the woman across from him. “…Why?” His tone, though it isn’t loud, matches the vague uneasiness in his expression.

“Um because it's fun to kick some assholes ass?” Sometimes Lucille was the asshole kicking her ass kicked but that was just the way these things go in life nothing to be sore over, well unless you are in fact sore. Rolling her neck with an eyebrow raising Lucille takes a breath, “What's up?”

They’re close enough that Lucille leaves the pretense at the door, his mood is noted and she's not sure if, “Did you run into a girl and something happen?” She's probing gently, a concerned look on her face, unaware of anything else being amiss. She almost goes ‘I'm here for you’ but that feels patronizing. Swirling the wine left in her glass she finishes it and goes for another full glass sitting next to it with long fingers. Mentally shrugging off Devon’s deflated demeanor.

Maybe it's just the room.

Keira laughs softly, shaking her head. “You flatter me too much, sir,” she replies, lifting her glass to him in an informal toast to him being him, before lifting her wine glass and draining the contents. She knows she’s going home with him anyhow, so what’s the harm in getting a little bit schnockered? “To be fair, you clean up really nice, yourself, so I can’t complain.”

She would wink, but winking is kind of impossible when you only have one eye. So instead, she just flashes her most charming smile at the man, before pushing the now empty wine glass to the edge of the table, glancing over at the waitress with the pink hair with raised eyebrows, a silent request for another glass.

Then, her blue eye is back on Caspian, reaching a tattooed hand across the table to take his. “Seriously, though…you’re good for me. You make me want to be a little bit less shitty, you know?” Her face softens. “Ever since you came back into my life, it’s like I have a conscience or something.”

She laughs, but it’s true — if it weren’t for Caspian, she probably would be a serial killer by now.

The fact that he’s going to get her home safely has a good ring to it, too. The ability to create nearly impenetrable forcefields in any shape or configuration - within reason - that you want is a good way to keep blows, bullets, and bombs from causing too much harm, and besides, with the war, those things are a lot more common than you might think otherwise. Caspian gives a small shrug, taking a sip of his whisky, the ice clinking as he lifts the glass. “Nah. I’m not being insincere with my praise. Besides, you know me - I’m not the kind to blow smoke up anyone’s backside. It’s not good for business if people can’t trust what you’re saying is true. And besides, I’m not the sort to do that to people I like.”

The glass is switched from right to left, Caspian sliding his hand across the table to take Keira’s in his, giving it a squeeze. “Be careful. In your line of work, if you wanted to continue, a conscience could be considered a liability. I’m just here to give you another option, or two, or three, if you ever decided you wanted to try something different for a while. A hand up, as it were.”

He nods slightly. “You’re not a bad person, Keira. If I can make you want to be better, I’m doing okay. If I can help you be better…even better.” A frown appears though after a second, the man sliding his hand back and switching the glass back to his dominant hand, his brow wrinkling a little before he takes another sip, using his glass to gesture toward his date. “I just hope I can help. Are you planning to listen to your conscience any time, or is it just relegated to hanging out with the angel that rides on your shoulder?”

It’s a strangely combative thing for the normally amiable Caspian to say. Detached. Even a little mean without the teasing tone that normally would come with something like that.

"Mm." Robyn gives a slow nod as she looks across the table at Elaine, and then back down to her coffee. She takes a long sip of it - still warm and probably not the smartest choice for a still warm summer day. "I wouldn't know," Robyn offers after a moment. "I'm not allowed there anymore."

"I wish I could do something about that, some way we could sign you in with security, but I've not got that kind of sway," Elaine admits, frowning a bit. "Would be nice if you could visit."

Robyn studies Elaine for a moment. Her cup settles back down on to the table in front of her, hands folded into her lap. "Would it?" It's an odd question, punctuated with a flat expression as Robyn trains her eye on her companion. "You're right. Does seem like it should be something you could do something about."

Elaine raises an eyebrow. "Not really. Maybe if I worked for the corporate side of things. Only real strings I can pull involve getting into the museum at times where most people aren't there. But if you want me to, I can try asking security. Doesn't hurt to ask, right?"

"I would think not." The corners of Robyn's lips dip down just the slight bit, barely enough for a thin frown to be noticeable. Slowly, her gaze levels down from Elaine to her cup of coffee, fingers drumming impatiently in her lap as doubt creeps up in the back of her mind. "So," she starts again, her voice carrying the sound of some sort of subtle hurt, "why haven't you?"

A man at the bar gets up suddenly, throwing down a few bills onto the counter. “Stop lying to me, you asshole. I saw you with him. I know what I saw,” he growls at his date, who blinks back at him with confusion. A moment before, the two men were having a good time — laughing, holding hands. As the taller of the two strides for the exit, the abandoned man slumps onto the bar, burying his face in his hands.

“Tough break,” the bartender says, quick to pour another couple of ounces into the man’s emptied glass. The girl with the pink hair grimaces, before heading to the coffee maker to take the pot and make her rounds, refilling or warming up mugs, slowly sliding by each table for an indication her services are needed. The younger employee in the ball cap reaches for the empty glass of the man who’d just left, adding it to the bin full of dirty dishes beneath the counter, then taking the bin with him back into the kitchen, the push door swinging back and forth, creaking, a few times until it finally stops.

Mateo knows he shouldn’t have taken this line of conversation as more than an aside joke. On any other day he might have just continued the lighthearted joking, but something’s nagging at him. Old doubts, old feelings of distrust. Everything had seemed so pleasant a moment ago, however… “I’m not as good at writing as he was.” It’s stated almost simply.

He’s not talking about Kafka, or Borges, or any of the famous literary figures who wrote great novels in the past. But someone whose scribbled work they’ve both read over and over and over.

The yelling at the bar tugs at his senses, but he’s not really paying attention to what’s happening around him right now, as that nagging thought pulls even more on the constant noise whispering doubt in his head.

With Lynette's attention turned outward, she watches the incident at the bar unfold with a crease of her brow. She watches how the bartender is ready with a refill, which might just mean they have amazing customer service, but with the confusion on the date's face— well, it makes her wonder.

Of course, anything she might have done or any further observation is cut off with what Mateo says. His words pull her back around, widen her eyes, tug her lips into a frown. She knows who he means. And really, she feels that simple statement like an accusation, even if he isn't yelling like the man at the bar. It's mixed with her own bewilderment, as well, as this is not where she saw this conversation going.

"That isn't what I meant to imply," she says, carefully, as if she's not sure if she's about to trip into making this worse. It has been her tendency, lately.

“I’m fine.”

It’s a line Devon hasn’t used in years, and it’s a brush off. Little has changed about those two words being used, except, perhaps, the bitterness in them. His brows draw down a little bit more, something reminiscent of accusation in that look though there’s no reason for it. Maybe it has something to do with the invitation to the Crucible. But rather than continue to stare at Lucille, he looks aside.

The commotion at the counter draws a slanted look, and Dev makes a derisive sound at the sudden departure of one half of the party there. “Yeah, right,” he answers Luce. His tone even sounds a little accusatory now, so maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with going to the fights. He lets out a measured breath, hands tightening momentarily around his mug. “It’s nothing. I’m fine.” More decisive, and a terse effort to end the questioning.

“Aw come the fuck on Dev, I can read it all on your face,” softly said to her friend and comrade Luce takes a moment to stare at Devon closely before leaning back again to sip from her wine, eyes going to the counter as the lovers quarrel unfolds before the patrons of the place, licking her lips she tilts her head at that. No other real fight noticeable thanks to the booths but Lucille’s shoulders rise.

“Mercury must be in retrograde,” it's not that much of a tease. It's meant to elicit a smile from her younger Hound and her pale blue eyes twinkle in the light she all but wants to lean over and tickle him. Maybe a change of subject,

“So, what should our next prank be?” Another attempt to lighten his mood.

A warm smile is cast across the table to Caspian as he squeezes her hand, and Keira leans her head down to rest her ear against her shoulder. “I’ve got a good balance going, I think,” she replies of his mention of the dangers of having a conscience while being part of the organized crime business.

She’s smiling down at her hand and tracing her thumb over his knuckles when his demeanor suddenly changes and he pulls away. His words unexpectedly bite, and the result is a look passing over Keira’s face that is quite a bit like a puppy who has just been struck by its human.

She’s quiet for a moment, pulling her hands in to unconsciously hug herself, almost as if to protect herself. “I mean, I…” She struggles for what to say for a moment, before squinting at Caspian, the sad look still etched into her features. “Do you really think that poorly of me?”

She does her best to remain calm and measured, though she does glance a bit more frantically toward the waitress, waving a hand to call attention to her empty wine glass at the edge of the table.

“I don't think poorly of you.” Caspian says before angrily, draining his glass and lowering it to the table with a bang. “But that's just like you, isn't it? Putting on the puppy dog eyes when you're confronted with what you are….”. There's acid in his words, Caspian wiping his mouth, pushing back from the table before he realizes what he said.

He opens his mouth to say something else, but he closes it quickly, gritting his teeth, whatever was about to come out choked back. Probably the thought that she and Tibby were in on some great joke at his expense. “Okay..okay…” that willpower of his starts to come into play, hands going out to rest on the table, slowly, palms down, nails scraping against the varnished top as he takes two or three calming breaths.

“There's something going on and I don't know what.” Caspian finally says. “Not with us. With here.” He takes another breath. “You know I'm honest to a fault, Keira, so here it is, all out on the table. Right now I just feel….angry. Paranoid. Like you're just using me, or waiting to stick a knife in my back whenever it suits you best. Like you're betraying me. It's a feeling in my gut, Keira.” He bangs the table for emphasis. “But I know you're not doing that. You've never done anything like that to me and you don't have a reason to do anything like that. It makes no sense that I should be having these feelings. I mean, I know you. We’ve been friends for years, and now we're out on this date and….”. A hand goes up to cover his eyes. “Jesus, Keira, you're not going to betray me, are you?”

Irrationality seems to be spreading through the bar, and Caspian seems to be cycling between logic and paranoia regularly.

"Well, I mean, I did. I checked with security originally and they was like 'no one gets through no exceptions'. But I could always try more aggressively and argue with a manager or something and explain your circumstances and therefore you should be allowed in." Elaine rubs the back of her neck. "I just had no idea it meant that much to you or I would have tried harder a lot sooner. I kinda thought you weren't fond of Yamagato."

Elaine gets about halfway through her response before Robyn rolls her eyes. "Yes, I dislike the people making it possible to live in this hellhole." The response comes with barely a space for Elaine to take a breath after she finishes speaking. "You know that's not my problem." Does she? Robyn seems to think they've talked about this before. Elaine knows how she feels. Why wouldn't being able to visit be important to her?

With a shake of her head, Robyn returns her attention to her coffee. Hands wring her lap, and as her sudden, strange distrusting attitude continues, Elaine can begin to visibly see anxiety forming in increasingly less subtle ways, from Robyn's expressions to the way she avoids looking Elaine in the eye.

The abandoned man shakes his head. When he speaks, his voice is strained, holding back the emotion with effort. “I didn’t do anything.” He tosses back the freshly-poured alcohol, then slams down the glass and gets up to leave, chasing after his date.

“Sucks to be him,” says the pink-haired waitress almost cheerfully, topping off one of the patron’s coffees, and returning back to behind the bar as the bus boy returns from the kitchen.

“What’d I miss?” the younger man asks the bartender, who shakes his head, reaching for the glass to add it to the bin beneath the bar.

“The usual drama. Never grows old.”

None of them seem too concerned with the conflicts and tensions growing between the couples or groups in the establishment.

That nagging sensation continues to run rampant inside him as Mateo realizes a little more about where they are that he’d been ignoring in favor of the nice atmosphere. He never should have taken someone just recently in rehab to this kind of a place. With people drinking wine and other things all around. Once it hadn’t even been a concern, really, cause he knew she would just order a coffee, but now. Running a hand through his hair, he shakes his head. “Of course you didn’t.” Mean that by what she said.

Only how he said it seemed to be too moody, like he’s not really believing that, even if she didn’t mean to imply that he wasn’t quite as good as the other him, that it was true nonetheless.

“We never should have come in here,” he mutters, eyeing someone on the side drinking from a glass of wine.

"Mateo," Lynette says with an exasperated sigh at this sudden moodiness. At the implication in his tone. She rubs her forehead, eyes squeezed closed for a moment. She has to wonder if there has ever been anyone else who had to handle a partner being jealous of himself. There are a lot of things she could say to reassure him, but Lynette finds it difficult to put words to them at the moment while she pushes down some hurt over the notion that he thinks she has been comparing the two of them.

But there's no pushing down the hurt at his next words, because that hits— in her mind— below the belt. She follows his line of sight to the next table over, then back to him again a moment later. The sting of it is clear in her eyes, even though she chooses to put annoyance first. Possibly so she doesn't have to worry about unseemly emotions in public. "Yes, right. Heaven knows I might vault over the table and take the glass right out of their hands. I can't believe this," she says as she tilts her head to look up at the ceiling. Hands grip onto her coffee in an effort to ground herself in something.

Normally it would be him. But not here, not now.

“I’m fine.” Devon slides his mug aside, and the packets of sugars are brushed away as well. “Just leave it alone.” In tones that imply she’s good at that anyway. He couldn’t explain, anyway, or doesn’t want to explain, the sudden shift in mood. Perhaps a thought struck him, seeded by something his friend had said. Or possibly it was something from days or weeks ago that had been needling him since. But by the look he’s giving …not Luce but the space beside her, she may as well have told him Santa wasn’t real while claiming she ate the Easter Bunny.

“I don’t know.” He’s not in the mood to plan pranks, at least not with her. Devon casts a look toward the counter again, where the lover’s quarrel had gained some attention. “Maybe we shouldn’t.”

“Why you so cagey all of a sudden?” Lucille saying that while her retort is a quick turn out of nowhere. Eyes shifting to the space to the side of him and then her glass of wine before reaching for it and drinking more of it all the while she eyes Devon with a hard stare. Why is he being like this? What is he hiding? Maybe he's jealous. Of what she couldn't tell you but Lu felt an unease around Devon that she felt was just. “Hiding something?”

“You know what,” spreading her hands and working her jaw in a movement of anxiety, anxiety she hasn't felt for a very long time. Lu didn't know what was into Devon but she knew she wasn't the problem. It had to be him. The mistrust brewing in her. “I don't fucking need this.”

The sad puppy face doesn’t disappear — in fact, it only gets worse with Caspian’s next set of words. “I know what I am.” After a moment, the abused puppy look goes away — replaced by a narrowed eye. “I know exactly what I am, and I have never hidden that — not from myself, and not from you.” Her frown only grows larger as he continues to talk.

“Where is this coming from, Casp?” Concern shines in her remaining eye, though she’s also kind of angry about the direction of this conversation — she just wanted to have a nice date with Caspian, and maybe enjoy their shared bed space at the end of the night. Now this is happening.

“I would never — you mean too much to me to do that.” There’s a war going on in Keira’s head between emotions, and it shows on her face — but finally, a victor rears its ugly head, a niggling feeling in the back of her mind that he’s probably asking this of her because he is thinking of betraying her or something.

Suddenly, her expression changes, and she’s looking at him like he’s a spider crawling on the wall a bit too close to her face. “You…are you planning on betraying me somehow? Every time someone accuses me of this shit, they’re doing it in full force. I mean…you’re the one with all the fucking power here. I’m the career criminal, and you have more than enough evidence to…”

The color drains from her face. “You’re not some kinda undercover cop, are you?”

That’s the thing? Caspian doesn’t know where this is coming from. He doesn’t know why he feels like Keira is about to stab him in the back, but it’s there and he can’t deny that it’s a feeling he has. It’s just a feeling that makes absolutely no sense to have. Before sitting down, he and Keira were having a nice time, with none of these hangups. Even with Tibby, something like this never came up at all, because he never thought it could. The accusation, though, gets a stony expression. “If I were an undercover cop, that’d be a hell of a long game, wouldn’t it? You knew me in Mexico, like..what was it? Seven years ago? At least? Before New York, before the war, before everything?”

Caspian pushes the chair back from the table, hanging his head, shaking it in the negative. “I’m no undercover cop, Keira. I just wish I knew /why/ I was thinking this stuff when there’s no reason to think it.”

“Last call,” is called out from the bartender, and the pink-haired server returns to the bar to pull out the black check presenters to slip in the hand written bills into. She glances at the man who’s been left at the bar, her face twisted into an exaggerated pout of feigned sympathy.

A couple of those sitting at the counter take up the offer for a last chance at alcohol, while others pull out their wallets to take care of their tabs. The distraught man’s drinks were already paid for by his (now ex?) partner, so he gets up to stumble toward the door.

“This is why I don’t date,” the pink-haired waitress tells her two coworkers; the younger of the two laughs and the older rolls his eyes, sliding a last whiskey or beer to those who ask.

The server returns to the tables to drop off the bills, glancing a little curiously at each pair as she catches bits of their conversation.

While he hadn’t considered that she might jump over a table and tear the drink out of someone’s hand, Mateo can not deny that it’s the root of one of his sudden concerns. That she might get tempted to order a drink— that she chose this place in order to test him, or herself, or something. Or cause it was a place she stopped and got a drink before she’d gone back into rehab. But really, neither of them needed tests right now. Especially not right now.

With a shake of his head, he looks toward the bartender and takes his ‘last call’ as a cue to get ready to leave, leaving the drink half full. “Let’s get out of here.” Before they both need a drink. Cause he’s starting to think that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea right now.

With the feelings nagging at the back of his head along with that soft roar that’s constantly present.

For a moment, it seems like Lynette might refuse, preferring instead to be alone. She looks over at him and her anger gives way to a sullen expression and a slump in her shoulders. Just for a moment, just until she can straighten up again. “Yeah,” she says, fingers peeling off her cup as she pushes to her feet. “I don’t want to be here.”

And she doesn’t. Not just because it’s last call, but because it’s out and she very much prefers being hidden away.

On the way to the door, she makes a point not to get too far ahead of her husband, but at the same time, she makes no move for his hand or even to stay too close to his side.

What?” The hard stare is met with an incredulous look. He’s hiding something? Devon could easily ask the same of her, but he hasn’t figured out how to put words to his sudden uneasiness about his teammate. “How can anyone hide anything…” he begins quietly, but the thought is cut off with a shake of his head. “Never mind,” the young man says instead with a note of finality in his tone.

A look is angled aside, and as his gaze shifts so does his expression. The server is given a dark look when she approaches his table, not unlike anything Luce had seen years ago when they first met. However, he pulls some cash out to help pay the bill. “Go… do whatever,” he tells her as he slides out of the booth, an undertone of don’t follow me as he says it.

“Just…” he doesn’t finish the thought, but gives her that look again, that vaguely uneasy, unsure look. Devon turns away and heads for the door, hands jamming into his pockets. He pauses only once, and briefly, to let one couple vacate their booth also. Even though he follows them out, he’s quick to go a different direction.

The dubious look that Lucille throws Devon’s way at the question of how anyone could hide something, she almost leans in to growl ‘Really?’ But instead she drinks the last of her wine and then Devon is sliding money across on the table and leaving and Lucille rolls her eyes. She throws down a few bills of her own and drains the glass before standing.

Watching Devon’s back while shaking her head the older woman runs a hand through her hair expression tight, heel tapping on the floor, “Be that way.” Said quietly as the woman decides to walk or too but she goes in another direction. Time to find another bar. Luce can't imagine they’ll be going back to Rochester together. Dingy bar it is.

“Seven years, yeah.” Keira looks distressed, reaching a hand up to idly rub at the back of her arm, frowning down at the table. “Don’t know why I’m thinking like this, either. I mean…I trust you. I always have.” She turns her blue eye up to Caspian, frowning. “I just feel like…there’s something I’m missing, or whatever. Something you’re not telling me. Is this…is this relationship built on a lie? Are we gonna work?”

She sighs, reaching up one hand and adjusting her patch quietly, her remaining eye closing for a moment. It opens again when the last call comes, and she sighs, scooting out of the bench. “I feel like we should get the fuck out of here. I don’t like this bar.”

The dregs of Caspian’s drink are swirled, the melted water and remnants of whisky tossed back, the glass left on the table with a crumpled $10 bill left beneath one of the glasses as a tip. “I know. I’ve always trusted you too. Like I said, there’s no reason we should even be thinking this sort of thing. But we are, and that’s….yeah…messed up.”

Caspian nods his head, pushing himself to his feet and walking around to offer Keira a hand out as she stands- ever the gentleman - and nods towards the door. “I agree. Let’s get out of here. There’s a rumor that there’s a place in Yamagato Park selling Ice Cream. What do you say? Bandage bruised feelings with chocolate?”

After closing out tabs or pouring drinks for the takers of the last call, at last the doors close behind the final guests.

The pink-haired server shakes her head as she moves to the tables to collect her tips. “That crowd sucked,” she says wryly over her shoulder to the young man with the ball cap as he trails table by table behind her to collect mugs and glasses and put them in his plastic bin for cleaning. “Last night’s crowd was in a great mood. Today it’s like someone kicked everyone’s puppy while they were getting a root canal at the same time.”

The bartender locks the door, then flips the sign to closed.

“Not good for tips,” he mutters as he moves behind the bar to pull out three shot glasses and pour some tequila for the trio to close out the night. “As least they were nice to look at,” he adds, picking up his glass and downing it.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License