On Certain Evenings


logan_icon.gif tania2_icon.gif

Scene Title On Certain Evenings
Synopsis There is a comfort that can only be found at the bottom of a bottle.
Date March 23, 2018

The Vault

The Vault is a densely packed antique parlor, decorated with its own wares, full of recovered furniture, ornaments, candle sticks, tea sets, jewelry, collectors pieces, paintings, picture frames, and most strikingly, a canopy of mismatched chandeliers that hang from the ceiling. A certain level of appraisal in the items being made for sale and accepted for sale stops the Vault short of becoming a run of the mill junk store, but the occasional piece of kitsch occasionally washes up despite the owner's best efforts. It's probably best that you don't ask exactly where certain high end pieces came from.

On seemingly random evenings, the Vault opens its doors to a group of dedicated gamblers, space cleared out to host poker nights that can run until dawn if the going is good. Under hanging chandeliers and surrounded by the left over wealth of an old world, men and women drink gin in crystal tumblers and try to better their position in the world through a hand of cards.

There are some rumours and suspicions about the Vault's ties to other criminal activity, such as money laundering, theft, and general criminal economics, and adamant conviction from certain upstanding members of the community that it certainly has nothing to do with any of that.

The Vault is a building that is an aptly named building, with its brick and concrete painted iron black giving it a forbidding kind of exterior, double doors closed against the cool evening air. Most days, the interior glows golden, lit up with numerous chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and lamps lighting up the corners, light refracted through soft crystal and silken shades. After hours, and thanks to the ongoing hassle of brownouts sweeping through Bay Ridge, the shadows are more numerous, lighting diminished to a few points of illumination coming from the back of the cluttered store.

Behind Tania, as she reaches the doors, the occasional vehicle growls by. New York is a lot quieter since the war, the thick noise of its traffic fading into a past association of city ambiance that no longer really applies as it once did.

When she tries the doors, they don't give.

And a soft mew will snag her attention. A long limbed, grey-furred cat is likewise attempting to get in, starting to make S patterns around her ankles with flirtatious urgency. She's wearing a collar without a nametag, a slightly better class of cat than the strays that Logan so often complains about prowling around his building.

Odd as it is with the snow on the ground and it being after dark, Tania seems to enjoy the walk from her place to his. Perhaps because it isn't very far. But more likely, the weather reminds her of home. Long ago, far away, remembered better than it actually was. She comes with a bottle hanging between her fingers. Not a classy wine like she might normally bring. Something harder.

Finding the doors locked puts a bit of a damper on her plans, though.

So she knocks. Softly at first, but a little louder shortly after. The cat gets her attention when it brushes her legs and she crouches down to give it a scritch under the chin. "Did you scare him off for the night, hmm?" she asks the animal in the gentle tones one typically uses to endear a tiny creature to them.

The cat knocks its face into her hand in pursuit of greater affection, an attempt to endear in return — perhaps in the hopes that the door will magically open as a result. And in a round about fashion, it sort of works. The sound of someone approaching carries through wooden floorboards, Logan visible through the glass panes in the door, approaching now that he sees who it is. Still dressed from the day in neat lines, colours of wine-red and deep grey, and with a long, narrow cigarillo wedged between his fingers.

When he opens the door, the smell of smoke that attached itself to his clothing and the other scents of the store — a tinge of intense, the smell of lacquer and wax in its slow decomposition — rush out along with warmth.

The cat, immediately, breaks from Tania, and dashes inside, leaping between his nice shoes.

"Making friends, are we?" Logan opens the door wider to permit her, lingering so as to lock it again. Her surprise visit is not as surprising as some of the visitis he's had lately, so curiousity can wait when it's not at the doorstep.

When the door opens and the cat rushes off to the much warmer building, Tania tilts her head to look up at him. "It seems not," she comments, gesturing after it. She pushes back up to her feet to come inside before they lose all the warmth. She also doesn't seem to feel the need to explain her visit, but he can see that it isn't for business. She hasn't brought anything with her, at least.

She sets down the bottle— it's a vodka, let's not all be surprised— long enough to peel off her coat. Despite the fact that she is in the middle of making herself at home, as it were, she looks over at him to ask, "You busy?"

There's a table set out, dragged from some corner of the shop, lit with a free-standing lamp; a crystal ashtray, an idly set aside deck of cards, a fountain pen, and leather-bound ledgers indicate where Logan had been. He retrieves a chair for her — priced at $150 — and sets this down. From the street, they are mostly obscured, save for as glimmers of movement shadow through the thicket of antique wares.

The cat hops up on the table, and is promptly grabbed around the midsection and set on the ground with a negligent thump.

"Endlessly," Logan replies, glancing at the vodka, and wordlessly moving to retrieve a couple of heavy crystal glasses, checked for dust before they're set down on the rosewood surface of the table. "Soup kitchen lines round the block portend great things for the sales and acquisition of fancy furniture."

Hanging her coat on the back of the chair, Tania drops into it without much ceremony. A smirk appears when he tosses the cat aside, something about it striking her as funny. The smirk turns more indulgent at his answer. "Maybe when we run out of firewood they'll be more interested," she comments as she opens the bottle and pour a generous amount into each glass. "Well. I had a terrible day and I was planning on getting very drunk," she says, "I hear it's a bad thing if you do it alone, but it's a party if you have a friend with you."

"Your brother impart that one to you?"

More often, it's the bigger of the Kozlows sitting where she is sitting, holding a glass of vodka, come to complain about the day without any expectation that Logan have the answers. And doing so in a much thicker accent, granted. Logan spiders his hand over the offered glass, bringing it up to take a modest sip from, all burn without flavour or scent. "Because he's neglected, then, to tell you about the other caveat of drinking alone."

He leans over, then, towards where a small, old fashioned looking radio is idling, one red light indicating the life within it. He flicks it on, and a blast of static crackles from its speakers. A twist of the dial throws up all kinds of distortions until it lands on something palatable — classical piano, all the richness of chamber and string rendered tinny over the frequency, but it's something.

"There," Logan says. "It's a party so long as there's music."

"Not in so many words," Tania says, her tone dry. More likely, no words at all. It's advice she could have gleaned from years of living with him. She reaches for her glass, too, to take a drink. She still makes a face at it, but only at first. Well. Maybe after the first few drinks. "What's the other caveat?" she asks, head tilting as she looks over at him.

Her gaze follows him over to the radio, her smile only following when he lands on some actual music. And music she likes, which is a bonus. "I didn't realize there would be so many rules," she adds with a light chuckle.

"Rules are fun," is an unlikely thing you'd think for Logan to say, until he adds, "It's what makes a game of it," which makes more sense. With the taste of liquor searing the back of his throat and a gear shift in dealing with another human being as company rather than a customer, Logan settles into the scene, elbows on the table, glass dangling where it's caught in his claws.

Beneath the table, the cat leans its weight against one of Tania's ankles, bony and warm. "For instance, normally the kind of liquor indicates what sort of bad day it's been. But you Russians take all the mystery out of that part."

Tania lifts an eyebrow over the rim of her glass at those first words, but an ah soon follows. There it is. It makes her smile, though, so she must not disapprove. But where he leans forward, she leans back into the corner of her chair, one leg hooking over the arm so her foot can tap with the music.

It also leaves her in a good position to reach down and idly pet the cat.

"Vodka is good for any sort of bad day," she says. Like this should just be an understood fact of the world. "What is the secret code, then? Whiskey for a break up, gin for loneliness?"

"And different labels for kinds of break ups," Logan agrees, facetious but dry in affect. The low lamp light just shows up where old scars, fine and white, are driven across the backs of his fingers curled around his glass, reflective of the kinds of bad days he used to have. "For kinds of loneliness. But we aren't here for hypothetical bad days, now, are we?"

"That all sounds very complicated," Tania says before she raises her glass up a little, "and that's why we just pick this one." Which does, indeed, take the riddle out of it. She takes a sip— without the face this time— and looks over at him. A finger drifts lazily around the rim of her glass while her gaze follows the light across his hands. Her attention only lifts again at the question. "No, we're not," she notes, although the opening doesn't send her into any recounting or complaints. It looks for a moment like that might be her whole answer.

The rest follows, eventually, once she's pinpointed the core of the issue. "I think we can call it loneliness. And nostalgia." She smiles there, although it comes with an odd quality. There's not a lot to be nostalgic for, really, but the idea of used to hangs over her all the same.

"Then," Logan says, a casual prying that comes naturally to him, sifting around for information as course of habit, "are we drinking to forget? Or to remember."

He brings the crystal to his mouth, and slides back a good mouthful of the helping she dealed him. Slightly too much to do all at once, but it's not the sort of liquor he tends to linger over anyway. And if getting hammered's the object— well, part of him finds the very concept tiring, so it likely won't be, but still. He can join her for the time being.

"We are drinking," Tania says, emphasis coming along with her glass as she sets it on the table, "because I missed you. But we are drinking to forget. Or at least to dim." Her glass is still fairly full; she has yet to work her way up to her brother's tolerance level. At least it means her alcohol tends to last longer. "So both, after a fashion." She spreads her hands, as if she is helpless to control these clashing purposes.

There is a bright, crescent smile at this first part, eyes hooded, still interested in motivations only alluded to but not expressly stated, but, Logan tips his head as if to concede to her point.

Looks aside, thoughtful for a moment, as to the sorts of things he'd imagine Tania Kozlow would like to dim. The classical piano has switched to something lightly orchestral, fits of static steamrolling over flutters of flute and violin. "What's one thing," he asks, after a moment, "that you'd change?"

He hasn't the same amount of exposure as some when it comes to the intricate variations of the way futures diverge, but he's had some. Enough to be curious. Especially when these thoughts overlap with that of Tania Kozlow.

His smile doesn't get mirrored, but it's clearly appreciated all the same. Tania drops her foot back to the floor and shifts to lean on the table, arms folded, fingers falling against her glass. They drum against the crystal.

"It would be cruel to say I'd put my mother back in Russia, wouldn't it?" She sighs a bit dramatically, because this isn't a real answer. It's a dodge, or at least a delay. As far as things she would change, particularly when looking across this particular table in this particular company, it's a complicated question.

"I suppose," she says, eventually, "I have made myself… less like baggage." This is a real answer, although perhaps not the answer.

It gets a laugh out of him, dry and light. He likes Yustina, who might herself prefer to be in Russia, but only because she likes him, and this fact exists expressly to torment both of her children, probably. The real question, however, gets an eyebrow lift. Baggage is such an ugly word, after all — and he imagines it could be applied to Yustina herself, although Logan might hazard a guess about where burden truly lies, between the three Kozlows.

Not that he'd say it out loud. He takes another sip of vodka. "As in," he says, teasing, "forever going missing? In danger of being stolen. That's more luggage, I suppose."

"You only laugh because she calls you her kotyonok," Tania says, although the accusation comes with a smile tugging at a corner of her lips. She can't blame her mother for liking him, of course, even if it means he gets spared things that her children do not. Yustina and Tania are still working out how to be near each other again.

"I seem to remember that a danger of being stolen was a factor once or twice." And going missing. She speaks with her gaze on her drink, but when she looks back up again, there's no evidence of that fact being an upsetting one. Not on her face, anyway. Instead, it comes as she pushes herself up to her feet, bringing her drink with her as she walks. Fingers trail over antiques, as if she's not familiar enough with what he has for sale already. "What would you change?"

It might be that Logan is aware of having touched on a sensitive spot — having just sharply prodded it — but Tania is as inscrutable as she cares to be when it comes to nuance. He has an instinct for weakness, and hers aren't so easy to see. She stands up, and he leans back in his chair, an arm coming to sling over the back of it. As she glides her fingertips over wood and glass and velvet, no dust comes up from it. Maybe he has people for that.

Maybe he doesn't. There's a little silence as he gives that question thought, turning his glass in his hands. He has an answer. It's not one he is willing to share.

"I'd had this plan, prior to the war," he says, after a moment. "Where you and me and Sasha were to abscond out've this country. I don't know where we'd wind up — chances are, on the bottom of the Atlantic — but there're times where I wished that'd worked as intended. But here, you, and me, we're the ones who did well in all this. We changed plenty."

Tania listens, even as her eyes shift up toward higher shelves. It becomes clear when she looks over to the table when the plan is laid out. "I don't believe that. You always land on your feet. Whatever might have changed, that hasn't." That he has often chosen to keep her and her brother with him is a thought that gets a softer smile.

Her fingers give an old globe a gentle spin, as if she might entertain the idea of letting it decide where they might have ended up. But instead, she leaves it to slow to a stop on its own and comes back to lean a hip against the table. "We did. Came back to it better than we left it, certainly." People don't much get hung in the street in the Safe Zone. It's an improvement on the old neighborhood.

"Cat-like instincts," is muttered into his glass of vodka, somehow equal parts agreeing with her flattering assessment of his wily nature as well as self-deprecating about its existence. He cleans liquor off his teeth with his tongue, reaching towards the bottle to top up his glass. A dash of tonic would made the medicine go down smoother, but not enough that he gets to his feet.

Logan reaches to do the same to her glass, as if something to do other than notice her proximity, the angle of long limbs as she leans against the table. It takes some concentration. "I sort of miss what this place was, ten years ago," he says. "Wild in a way that's not as fucking dire as it is now, like on Staten Island, or the slog of the Safe Zone. I suppose it was never made to last. Part of its charm."

And that makes it Tania's turn to smile, full in a way she was never known for before as a timid girl inclined to disappearing. It isn't the first time she's compared him to a cat in her life. Probably not the last, either. It's a multi-faceted metaphor. She holds her glass out toward him for that refill, a bit of a tilt to her head as she listens to him, smile softer.

"I could do with less dire," she notes after a drink. "It'll work its way out. We're all still learning how to live here. See if the collapse was worth it." She looks over at his last words, considering them for a moment. Pulling herself up to sit on the table, her drink ends up next to her while her fingers pick up the deck of cards to shuffle idly. Her own method of keeping from distraction. "I can't say I remember it as charming," she says, knowing full well that a lot of it was kept from her, "but I can agree that there's not much here that is. With a couple exceptions." The addition comes with a smile his way, as if she wants to make sure he knows he's one of them.

"Eltingville was an unmitigated shit hole," Logan clarifies, very readily. Although he could attest to some of its charm, in a base, animal way, but there was a joylessness to it. The brothel of miserable women for miserable soldiers, and the infrequency of the liquor, and the uniforms.

And the hangings. He didn't love that. He leans back into his chair so that looking up at her is less of a task. "But before that, there was just New York. No raised fences saying this is the bit that's protected and good, and everywhere else is for everyone else to scrabble about in the mud. Before that— I mean, Staten Island was still considered the wilderness, but so was Brooklyn, on certain street corners," and there's a beat, before adding, a little sly, "on certain evenings."

"I think many would agree with you," Tania says, dryly. She isn't going to argue in its favor, at least. "But even before that. New York was a series of warnings. Don't go there, don't say this, guard up, head down." Her stay with the Ferrymen had been on Staten Island. The warnings were there for a reason. "For me. I missed the good parts."

Although, some might argue about what he's describing being the good parts.

"John, I get the impression that you brought the wilderness with you," she says to that sly addition. Her expression, amused. It turns more so when her fingers fumble the cards and she just barely keeps them from slipping her grasp. The chuckle that follows is half embarrassed, half tipsy, and she is quite careful as she sets the cards back down again. And picks up her glass again. As if that was her intention all along.

His mouth upticks in the corner, amusement in return, and he reaches out a paw to snag the cards she's set down. They're marked as the property of some casino that no longer exists, and Logan idly shuffles them. In spite of his other hobby of extracting money out of gambling addicts, he lacks in the department of smooth Vegas moves himself, but he flicks through them with idle practice beneath the sound of staticky orchestra, their mellow conversation.

"You might have something there," he concedes, like it's concession and not what constitutes to him as further flattery.

Tania breathes out a laugh at his concession, but it's followed by a nod. "The luggage," she says with a gesture behind her as if their conversation to this point might be rolled out there, "had very little to do but pay attention." And Sasha was never what we might call subtle.

"But that wasn't just observation," she says, a finger tapping the table top, "it was a suggestion. If you want this place to have some of that wildness, you might have to stir it up yourself."

Another smile, a display of fangs. No laugh, but it's sort of there — creased at his eyes, in the way his breath funnels into his glass of vodka where he pauses from taking a sip of it. Logan could meditate on her point, look inwards, consider the heart of his own slightly restless nature, but what would be the fun in that.

Instead: "Are you attempting to be a bad influence on me? I suppose that's only fair."

Looking inward is the less entertaining option, and Tania lifts her eyebrows when it's turned back on her. "Me?" she asks with all the innocence she can muster, considering that she's the one who supplied the liquor. "If I was, I don't think you'd have to ask," she says with a crooked smile. "Probably because I'd be doing it poorly." The last is added with gentle chuckle before she takes another drink. Just a little one. She may have come with the intention of getting as drunk as possible, but she seems to have changed her mind.

Not terribly innocent, which is something strange to consider of her, even subconsciously. Changes in people tend to be slow, as imperceptible as the spinning earth until you realise the time and the sun in the sky. There exist memories of Tania with her fingertips gliding over harp strings, fine music absorbed into uninsulated walls and water-stained ceiling. Her deference, how she seemed so much like a fawn next to Sasha's wolfish manners.

That's only one way of seeing, of course. Reductive, in the way luggage is reductive. But still. She seems different, here, with the banter they've learned to have, sitting on his table, raw vodka in her hand.

It isn't a change for the worst, in his opinion. His change being that he thinks so. "Why'd you come back?" A little sudden, maybe — Logan having realised that he'd allowed them to lapse into a comfortable, warm silence, and so prompts himself into speaking, asking the first thing that drifts to the forefront of his mind.

The silence doesn't seem to bother Tania; she's comfortable enough in it to let it linger without as much as a fidget. She barely even drinks, just looks out over the shop, leaning back on one arm. But when he speaks, she's just as happy to pick up the conversation again. "The tribunals," she says, as it is the obvious answer, "I had it in my head that the two of you might need some help." Testifying on her brother's behalf may be the literal answer to his literal question, but she seems to think there's another underneath it. "And I couldn't leave him," she says plainly, "Or my mother. They need me here." Which is true, and Tania could very well leave it there and the question would be satisfactorily answered. She considers it in the space of a quiet pause, finger circling the rim of her glass. There is another factor, of course. Loneliness and nostalgia brought her here, not to her family.

"And you're here."

Which is a sentiment that could be taken any number of ways. For a moment, she leaves him room to make whatever assumption he likes, guided only by a crooked smile tugging at her lips and her gaze lingering on him a little overlong. But then, in the next moment, she gives him a way to step around it. She slides off the table and back onto her feet. Leaving her drink behind, she crosses to the radio, as if she might want a try at clearing the static. "Is this why you drink vodka?" She looks over her shoulder with a crooked smile, then the rest of her follows to turn his way. "To become inquisitive?" she asks as if she's still trying to learn the secret code of liquors and labels.

Mention of the tribunals has Logan's attention sliding towards the vodka bottle standing tall on the table, slowly turning his glass on the table with idle fingers. The next answer makes a theoretical sort of sense to him, perhaps the expected sort of sense to him, and the offered third factor regains his attention in time to catch crooked smile and lingering focus. And then she moves, and he shifts his shoulders beneath his waistcoat, strange tension worked up along his spine.

"Translation," he says, twisting a look back to her as she tampers with the radio. It whines and buzzes beneath her fingers, sounds tuning in as if from another dimension. "To speak Russian, when Russians get lonely and nostalgic. Sometimes works."

This last part muttered into that vodka with his next sip. Vodka is unpleasant, but at least she's not brought him anything cheap. His senses are keyed into her location in the Vault, and following instinct, he lays his ability into her — just a pulse taking rather than manipulation, taking her measure, attempting to sift past the muddiedness that alcohol has given her biochemistry. "Loyalty," he says, as he does so. "I don't know I ever truly got the hang of it until the both of you. Although I suppose what you and your brother have is different. Love." And he can certainly see that difference — perhaps, that being why he never trusted loyalty.

His answer gets a broader smile, an amused one, as Tania gives up on getting a better signal out of the radio. It was only meant to give her something to do with her hands. Because, as he can tell, there's a nervous beat to her heart underneath the liquor and the calm exterior. It's the sort of feeling that comes ahead of impulsive decisions. She comes back over to the table, but not to sit, just to rest fingers on her glass and drag it over closer to him before she picks it up again. "Have many loney, nostalgic Russians coming to your door?" she asks, her tone teasing.

"Love is loyalty to a fault," she says, at his obversation. He's seen the lengths her brother has gone to— been dragged into them usually— that things mostly worked out has been due to luck more than sense. "And loyalty is a gift easily broken. It may see odd, I know it has to people before, but aside from my own blood, John Logan is the only person I trust. You looked after him. And me." The former might mean more to her, the addition of herself coming as an afterthought.

Logan hasn't moved from his seat as Tania makes sinuous patterns around his shop, away and back again, and he doesnt move now. He imagines he has worked out some of the signals and gestures of unconscious bodily response in the same way he's apparently decided the language of liquor, and gives nothing away save for his brand of pale-eyed interest, cattish focus.

And it's not disingenuous interest and focus. John Logan is the only person I trust.

Now he moves by tipping forwards slightly, still without getting to his feet. Where her hand sets down her glass, he slides his own hand over, palm to table, and scarred fingers lifting so as to brush the tips of them against her knuckles. Immediately, it's like the alcohol in her blood boils as the associated feelings of intoxication grow denser, stronger, a heady rush. His eyes have gone from moon pale to a brighter, true green, catching light that doesn't exist in the golden dimness of lamps.

The effect comes in flushed cheeks, in eyes blinking to try to clear her vision, in how her footing— steady until now— becomes unstable and the the hand on her glass ends up holding her up until her other hand can move to press against the table.

Tania takes a moment to adjust, trying to regain something of her former neutrality.

But it doesn't work. And when she moves again, she puts a hand on the back of his neck with a sense of familiarity that really shouldn't be there. Even without his insight, her intent is obvious, blatant. Probably not how she had intented, if she had entertained the notion on any conscious level. But she leans in to press her lips to his, even if a hand still has to hold onto the table to keep her from toppling.

His hands steady her. His mouth opens to her mouth, albeit more reserved than hungry, as if holding something back. He can feel the way that another moment of unbalance would have her settle in his lap, how he could pull her into that intimacy as easily as a marionette strung to his fingers. That much he doesn't do, but his hand does find the elegant slope of her neck to brush back and through her hair, releasing the scent caught up in it.

And then that heady feeling leaves her. Both its exaggeration, and then any hint of intoxication altogether. Wintry sobriety blows through her bones, senses sharpening — newly disorienting, at first, and a small bead of a headache begins to niggle at the centre of her brain, but soon it will be as if for a moment she is still standing outside of the Vault, in the early-spring cold.

At least inwardly. Outwardly, she still has her hand on Logan's neck, their mouths still meeting, although now he breaks it by a factor millimetres, eyes open by just a narrow slit.

What he thinks is: fuck. What he says is a less articulate: mnn.

More likely than not, Tania doesn't notice that he's holding back, not enough to pull away, anyway. But her own side is less hunger-fueled and frantic, more like savoring. He steadies her, and her hand moves from the table to the back of his chair.

So when the shock of sobriety hits her, the vanishing heachache, the clear mind, there's a hitch in that kiss. When he pulls back, she keeps her eyes closed for a moment before she looks at him again. The flush in her cheeks is still there, but for a different reason entirely. She doesn't pull away, her thumb brushes against his skin, instead.

"All that drinking, gone to waste," she says to him, as if picking up banter again were completely normal. Even though she hasn't disengaged much at all.

Logan chuckles, a low and quiet sound, seemingly within the present moment even if much of him is standing back from it all, observing the brush of his own thumb over her pulse, his own stirred blood at the sound of a feminine human voice so near, the prickle of nerve endings until light touch. He shifts in his seat, a little like he might kiss her, but his mouth bypasses hers, brushes nearer to her ear, and tells her, as if imparting a secret, though it's not a whisper: "I don't trust me."

And then as he leans back, there's greater distance than when they last left off. The hand at her throat now cupped at her shoulder, the sting of alcohol lingering after the impression of her kiss. His eyes, back to their usual shallow pale, are studious.

It'd be nice if he learned these tricks on himself. He could do with a vodka exorcism.

Tania shivers gently when he leans in closer again, but the words— the secret— are sobering in a different fashion. But its isn't anger that greets him when he leans back, or embarrassment, instead there's something sad in her gaze when she looks at him again.

"That's a shame," she says, and her words are a whisper. And genuine, like she believes there's more to him than he lets there be. Her fingers slide away from his neck, brushing against his skin before she pulls back to stand up. "You asked me what I would change? That's it."

She stands and he lets her go, listing back against his chair, and there is something in her words that catches like a hook beneath his ribs, strings taut, lingers that way. It's probably visible behind his expression, to anyone who knows him well enough — and Tania, and her brother, are two such people. Easily dismissed, though, Logan's smile half-cocked, and he reaches for the vodka, topping up his own glass, adding a renewed dash to hers.

"One more, then," he says. "To change."

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