One Butternut, One Shot, One Beer


lydia_icon.gif kristen_icon.gif nick_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title One Butternut, One Shot, One Beer
Synopsis They haven't seen their babies since the night before last… well most of them, Kristen's just there for the creme de banane.
Date October 10, 2010

The Crooked Rooster

Drinking on a Sunday outside the comfort of one's own home is still, for all his years in the city, something that Wes Smedley is getting used to. Still, he owes it to Edgar to make sure Lydia is okay, and so he's out soothing her the best way he knows how.

With whiskey.

The Crooked Rooster is one of the seedier bars between Battery Park City and the Financial District, but it suits Smedley's needs just fine. He can be here in his jeans, boots, and long coat. Clips of football games flash across the various screens, and for the most part, Sunday night seems to be a slow one for the Rooster, business-wise. The bar doesn't really have a theme, or any cohesive design concept other than booze. But there a jukebox. And right now it's actually belting out a country ballad, much to Smedley's amusement.

"Frank," he calls out from the booth they've settled in to the man on the other side of the bar. "Send Sammie around again - goin' a little dry here." He lifts his empty low-ball glass. It'll only be his second.

Entering the bar is a young man, familiar to at least a couple of the patrons, though he doesn't notice them. He looks like he's seen better days, one hand wrapped in tape and a long raised red welt on his jaw. He approaches the bar, not seeing those at the booth, sliding into a stool and eyeing the decorative tap toppers — everything's fucking domestic of course.

"Black and tan?" he asks the bartender, pulling out a bill to pay for the drink, then turning to look for the source of the horrible music bleeding from speakers. His blue eyes glare at the jukebox for the ballad it spews. But it's the only bar on this block, and he doesn't wanna walk another one just to get a drink.

Maybe he should have bought a six pack and just headed home.

Lydia isn't a woman who can hold her liquor, yet here she is, at a bar. Her generally tanned complexion has paled with worry and lack of sleep. Those dark lines fall underneath her equally dark eyes, and the stress is pasted across her face and body in a tighter than usual stiffness, only making it more difficult to sleep. She'd managed a polite smile before the first round, a tightness only surpassed by the tightness of her emotions on everything. But as an alcoholic lightweight, even after one drink that tightness is fading. One round has done its magic, eating that smile, or somehow losing it in the bottom of the shot glass.

She sniffs as the glasses are refilled, an action that wrinkles her nose and furrows her eyebrows. Everything still has her confused, more than she'd ever admit, but her faith has to keep her grounded, it's the only thing that keeps that smile, but liquor loosens it. "Wes… what was he even doing? I don't… I don't understand," the words are chopped up, staccato'd, not their generally smooth delivery that she works so hard to maintain.

Yet at her own comment, she's driven to distraction, desperate not to think on her arrested lover and how it all came to be. When her gaze flits away, it falls on Nick, drawing a raise of her eyebrow, it's curious, but she does nothing to get his attention, instead leaning forward, "I think I know him…"

It's Sunday night, football and drinking usually go hand in hand. Those hands are generally not occupied by much else, let alone what Kristen is dressed for. In a pair of black cowboy boots, a pair of tight-ish wranglers, and a snazzy fringed top, she saunters into the bar and looks around. "What…"

The poster on the wall clearly says that Country Line Dancing For Fun is being held on Tuesdays. "Well crap…" she mutters and clip clops to the bar. Good thing no one knows her here, she'd never live this down. "I'll have a Monkey's Lunch, a little heavy on the khalua." She says to the bartender as she props herself up on a stool near Nick.

"Miz Lydia, I was gonna ask you the same thing," Wes says with a slow sigh and a shake of his head before she points out the man she thinks she recognizes. He turns and squints at Nick, nodding a little. "I've seen him around," he murmurs, keeping his voice low enough that it sticks to the booth. But 'around' in a place like New York City, said by a man like Smedley, has boundaries. "Don't know 'im though."

And that's when Kristen walks by. Wes's eyes follow her, zeroing in on the Ws embroidered on the back pockets of her jeans. And it's clear enough by her voice where she comes from. Wes can't help but grin a bit - a grin that could easily be mistaken for a leer.

Arching a brow at the clomp of boots and then the strange drink, Nick turns to look at his barmate, giving a polite nod as he reaches for his Black and Tan, taking a healthy swallow of the thick brew before setting it down again. His left hand idly scratches at the tape on his right, before the fingers on the right give a little wiggle as if to stretch the abused digits.

He turns in the bar stool to look up at the game being played on the plasma television to the side, eyes narrowing as he gives another rueful shake of his head. American football — he doesn't get it. He heaves a dejected sigh and takes another swallow of beer. At least the beer's good.

With her inhibitions aside, Lydia actually frowns at what she interprets as a leer. Her fingers snap in front of him as she shakes her head, "That's not what we call devotion to your beloved." The chide is quiet enough as she downs another shot of the amber fluid, cringing as it burns her tongue and throat. But maybe, maybe if she drinks enough fast enough, she can forget all of her troubles, that is why people get drunk, isn't it?

There's a short pause, however, as her eyebrows furrow, "Unless… is that her?" Slowly, she begins to slide from the booth. "I should meet her." Pause. "And shake her hand." There's a slight flicker of a smile, basking in her distraction.

Kristen is patiently waiting for a drink that's actually taking the bartender a little too long to make. When she actually gets it, it's a 'black and tab', same as Nick's. With a furrow of her brow, she looks down at it, then at Nick's drink, then at the bartender and then clears her throat primly.

"Excuse me, suh… I don't believe this is anythin' like I ordered. Do you even know how to do your job?" Pushing the drink back toward the bartender, her lips twist into an unpleasant grimace. "You can pour that swill down the sink, or whatever you feed to the hogs." Her southern drawl isn't hidden in this place. It makes her a little more 'at home' with the country folk.

Wes's laugh carries easily from the booth to the bar, and he waves off Lydia's snap just as easily as her eagerness. "Hell no," he says with a shake of his head, not caring how loud he is. "Pey's a New Yorker through 'n through, though if I could get her to fill out a pair'uh Wranglers like that… mm." He shakes his head again, but this time it's in appreciation and nostalgia for the view before Kristen sat down.

"It ain't no crime to look, Miz Lydia," he adds, narrowing his eyes at the woman across the table from him. "But if you wanna grill the man you think you know over there, I don't mind keepin'yuh comp'ny."

"Now, now," Nick intervenes, "there's no reason to throw away perfectly good stout, man. You already have to cross it off your inventory, but you really don't have to flush it down the drain, do you? I'll take it off your hands." He offers the bartender a charming half smile as he reaches for the pint of beer. He can't stand to see Guinness and Bass poured down the sink, after all.

He turns to glance at Kristen, arching a brow at her calling it swill. "You're ordering somethin' called a Monkey's Ass and you're calling this swill? Have you no taste, woman?"

He misheard the name of the drink she ordered — the godawful music and the godawful football game blaring from the speakers above and behind him are to blame.

"Pey?" there's another furrowing of Lydia's eyebrows, but the question is lost amid her clambering to her feet. "Yes. I need to ask him something." Tactfully. Hopefully her tact is intact. Her normally even-paced steps take her to the bar, on the other side of Nick. She perches on the stool and glances at Kristen, Nick, and then Smedley. Clearing her throat she attempts to get the bartender's attention. "Another shot of — " she points back to the booth where her and Smedley had been sitting, "— Whatever that was."

Her gaze shifts to Nick again, "Hello. Good to see you're still in find form. I trust all is well."

The bartender, who would likely be right on that order is being scolded by the Tennessee twang of a brunette that doesn't look like she's a Southern Belle. In fact, if you popped her in a Sari, she might be more at home. "It's called a Monkey's Lunch… Put some khalua… more… No more… Are you Scottish or something? I said don't go.. Just… Just let me pour it!" And the willowy woman is off her stool and sashaying behind the bar, much to his chagrin.

"One side, Coyote Ugly," she orders as she grabs the bottle out of his hand. Then she gives herself a very liberal pour of khalua, then some creme de banane, and to top it all off… milk. "THIS is how you make a Monkey's Lunch. Where are your umbrellas?"

Frank looks beside himself as Kristen pushes her way behind the bar, but all Smedley does as he moves to occupy the stool she's warmed up is laugh. He nods to the bartender - a sage sort of it's okay - and lifts his hand. "S'on me, Frank," he says, shaking his head at the woman.

He glances at Nick and Lydia to make sure the latter of the pair is alright before he nods in Kristen's general direction. "How the hell does a Butternut learn a fancy bit'uh booze like that, let 'lone fall so far out'uh the Smokies?" It's funny that he's been thinking about going there for the last week or so, and here's one of their own right in front of him.

"Monkey's lunch, monkey's ass, same difference, monkey's'll eat anything and they're rather adventurous cheeky thi- oh hey, Lydia," Nick says, turning to look at the blonde woman with slightly wide eyes. Fucking small world. He's never been to this bar, or even this end of town, and yet here's someone — two people — he knows. He shakes his head, reaching up to rub that welt on his jaw as he brings his pint to his lips to swallow. His nose wrinkles just a touch to suggest the thick stout, even tempered with the Bass, is not his usual draught.

"I'm all right, you?" he mutters, moving to put down the glass. He glances at Smedley and offers a nod of acknowledgments — a man's way of saying he's not trying to pick up the other's woman. Even if she came to sit by him.

Smedley is given a shrug, she's okay. Okay-ish. "Hi Nick," Lydia states as the shot is put in front of her. "I'm fine." The word is said a little too emphatically, stressed extra for convincing. "Perfectly fine," she does manage a serene smile, eerily distant.

She settles on the stool with a small twist before raising the shot glass to her lips, downing it in one cringe-swallow and slamming it on the counter. The more she drinks, the louder the slam seems to get. This particular drink, however, leaves her coughing and searching for air, having swallowed it perhaps too fast and too hard.

Leaning up against the bar, Kristen narrows her eyes at Smedley for a moment before taking a sip through her straw. Mmm banana chocolate milk with the added buzz bonus. After taking a few long swallows, she gives the cowboy a crooked smile and shrugs one shoulder. "After gettin' outta high school I ran far n' fast." She clears her throat once and then glances over to the other two patrons in the bar before sliding a finger to her throat to untie the little scarf that's wrapped around it. Put a cowboy hat on her and she could star in a country music video. A far cry from the studio wiz on the upper west side.

"And yourself? How did you get here?" Her accent is muted in favor of the generic television American accent that is her signature on programs.

Okay? Smedley looks to Lydia quickly, then draws a hand across his throat and shakes his head at Frank. No more for her, thank you very much. But then his attention goes back to Kristen. He leans back a little, taking in her outfit with the same grin from before. Well, not quite the same - it's a little subdued.

"In a truck," he says flatly, the western twang as clear as day in his voice, even without words that are snipped by an alcohol-encouraged accent and anything close to an iconic outfit. "Out where your mountains look more like hills."

Nick looks at Lydia, tilting his head as she slams back the shot, and reaches to pat her hand. "You look like you're doing just about as 'fine' as I usually am, and that's not saying a whole lot," he says softly, before giving a skeptical glance at the chocolate milk in Kristen's drink. "Why the hell would you think a self respecting bartender would know how to make that?" he mutters, before bringing his weary blue gaze back to Lydia a bit worriedly.

"By the way — the ghost I asked you about? She ain't dead after all. Thanks for your help on that, anyway. So there's some good news, yeah?" He glances up at the proxy bartender, since Frank's sitting on the wrong end of the bar. "Can I get two glasses of water, with lemon, miss?" h asks Kristen politely, as if he hadn't just insulted her. He nods to Lydia. "You need some water with your drinking or you'll have a headache tomorrow."

Finally getting a grasp on her cough, Lydia sighs softly, and the pat on her hand earns a weary, bittersweet smile. She swallows hard as she sighs again, lowering her head to the bar, cheek resting against it. "I don't drink. Often. More lately." She tilts her head such that she can still watch him. There's a reflective twitch to her lips, her nose, and her eyes, like she's contemplating one of life's great complexities. Her great impart, is far less complex than anything she'd say sober, "Why is it some people like get rid of anything good in their life?"

Her lips twitch again at the notion of the ghost. "Can she walk through walls? I always thought people that walk through walls could be ghosts in disguise — people pretending to be alive. There was this one carnie that could walk through walls. I can't. Walk through walls." There's a small pause, "Can you?"

Sniffing with self importance, Kristen turns her head toward Nick and gives him a roll of her eyes before they land on Lydia. "Fine.. fine…" She plays the role of a bartender like she was born to it, at least where pouring water is concerned.

Plucking a couple of glasses from behind the counter, she sprays some of the gun water into it before dipping her fingers into a little tupperware container of lemons and popping them into the glasses. They're wilted, rather pale, and a little on the gamey side, but Kristen doesn't seem to care, she's not the one drinking it. Then again, this is a country bar in the middle of Battery Park City… who would expect a fresh lemon here?

Smedley gives Nick a thankful nod, glancing toward Lydia to complete the nonverbal sentence. He'll end up pouring the woman into a cab and sending her back to Roosevelt - which isn't what he should do given who she is, but he doesn't have time to go with her. Or, at least, he doesn't want to risk not being home when Peyton comes back from whatever business she's attending to.

"You let me know when you're ready to take off, Miz Lydia," he says with a smirk in the woman's general direction before he polishes off his own glass of whiskey. That's her problem - taking shots rather than taking the time to enjoy the drink.

Returning his attention to the pseudo bartender, Smedley shakes his head. "Hows abouts you come back over her t'this side and enjoy the rest'uh your jungle juice, Butternut? Y'can explain to me why you traded the Smokies for a less forgivin' sort'uh mist."

"Nope. I can't walk through walls. If I could go incorporeal, I'd probably be a helluva lot less bruised up every time you see me," Nick says, nodding toward Wes at the nod of thanks. "Here, drink this water — it's not gonna make you any less drunk, so don't wrinkle your nose at me. But it might make you feel less steam rolled when you wake up in the morning, all right?" He flashes a smile at Kristen and then pushes the glass in front of Lydia, taking her hand to wrap around it.

Nick glances at the real bartender and draws his finger across his neck. Cut this one off.

"Sometimes I just want to run away and start over," Lydia says honestly as she sits up, letting her cheek lift from the bar. The glass of water is eyed warily as she nods a little. With little drinking experience, the water seems like a good idea; trust those with more experience, right. She sips at the water, finishing about half the glass before pushing it away and staring at the bartender, silently willing him to pour more of the whiskey that continues to numb her. There is no compliance, however, as he's been told twice not to serve her. The liquor denial draws a pout over her lips. It's an easy action, strange for a woman who rarely uses such things to get her way.

"I'm… I think I should go home…" or anywhere but here. A few places seem like good ideas at this moment. Alcohol does that, sometimes. "Maybe I should choose a happier drink…"

"Why suh," Kristen's Southern drawl returns as she winds around the bar with her drink in one hand while trailing her fingers across the top of the counter with the other. "Whatever would Miss Whitney think if she caught a glimpse of the two of us sittin' in a bar together?" There's a sly grin on her features as she narrows her eyes a little bit at Smedley before taking a seat somewhere between he and Nick.

Hunched over her drink, she twirls the straw around, mixing the flavor of chocolate and banana into the milk. "Besides, I prefer a more cosmopolitan type of gentleman.. which is exactly why I traded the Smokies for an Apple."

Smedley actually chokes a little at the words that slide out of Kristen's mouth like enough honey to make you sick. But he manages a smile even as he pulls his wallet from his jeans and lays enough dough on the bar to cover himself, Lydia, and the jungle juice with a decent tip for Frank, given the momentary usurping of his bar.

"You're gettin' the wrong idea, Butternut," he says with only a glimmer of that previous grin, hitched into one side of his mouth and kept penned there. "Ain't every day I get t'see someone hailin' from so far deep in the sticks." He reaches a hand over to rub at Lydia's back, looking to the woman who has professed her desire to go home. "Let's go find you a cab, Miz Lydia," he says as he stands and helps her to her feet, letting her lean against him if she needs to. Balance is important when you're that far gone.

Smedley nods once more to Nick, glad in some small way Lydia was able to talk to a man she knows that doesn't remind her of the one rotting in a pair of cuffs. "Thanks," he says simply before he turns to head toward the door, one arm chastely around Lydia's waist while the other holds her hand across his shoulders.

"Travel safe, Lydia," Nick says quietly, before glancing with another dirty look as some cowboy puts a quarter in the jukebox to lure some Billy Ray Cyrus from the machine. "Fuck, I'm outta here, too," he says, shaking his head. "Crooked Rooster… what the hell was I thinking?" he adds, then looks a little apologetically toward the bartender for maligning the establishment. It's not his fault that Nick has no love for cowboys or songs about lost pickup trucks and ruined crops.

He throws a couple of bills down for a tip and strides for the door — once outside, he'll hail a cab for Lydia and Smedley, then head to the subway station to head for what passes for home.

Watching the other patrons leave the bar, Kristen takes another long sip of her drink. "So… Coyote Ugly…" she says slowly as she pulls a few medium sized bills from her pocket and begins laying them out on the counter. "You know the name of that cowboy? He seemed pretty familiar with you…"

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