Pretty Solid


chris_icon.gif rue_icon.gif

Scene Title Pretty Solid
Synopsis The party may not have worked out, but there's always the Cradle.
Date April 28, 2019

Cat's Cradle

So, Park Slope was a bust, but at least Rue got the remainder of her box-o-booze back and hauled it back to her Jeep. “Come on then,” she’d told Chris and drove them both to Cat’s Cradle where they’re seated at the bar with beers and empty shot glasses in front of them.

“I feel like I should report that or something,” Rue says without looking over to her drinking companion. “But at the same time, live and let live, you know? But they really could’ve hurt someone tonight.” Maybe a call to her friend Liza at SESA might be in order.

There was nothing better to do, the party was a bust and a ride to somewhere better was offered, so why not tag along with a woman he’d barely met to a bar he hadn’t heard of. Chris figures it’s safer than dealing with the triffid or whatever the fuck that was in the jungle-like neighborhood. What could possibly go wrong?

“Report what for why now?” It’s a solid question, given over the neck of a semi-new bottle of beer. As far as he can tell, there’s no reason to report anything. He gives Rue a look, like he’s trying to analyze something unexpected. “Few scuffs and scrapes never hurt no one.” And he can’t say the same wouldn’t have happened if they’d come across trespassers in Providence.

“Report Audrey Two for menacing a bunch of kids just lookin’ for a good time.” But she shrugs. She doesn’t necessarily disagree with him there. Rue’s taken more than a few herself, and she’s come out just fine. Of course, in her mind, she takes the scrapes so others don’t have to.

“You were pretty brave.” She shifts the subject instead. No point in a philosophical debate when there’s beer to be had. “I appreciate that you tried to look out for me.” Even if she didn’t need looking out for. He had no way to know that.

“Pump the brakes. You’d report some old hedgewitch for trying to chase a bunch of kids off her lawn?” Chris rests his beer on the table while he thinks about that presumption. He and his people would chase interlopers off their property, and anyone who came in response to being reported for doing so. One eye squints, the bottle is picked up, and he pulls another long swallow.

He follows up with an indeterminable sound. Neither agreeing nor disagreeing but something throaty once he lowers the bottle again. “Brave. Didn’t want to see anyone impaled. Weren’t expecting you to think the same thing.”

“The place looked abandoned, right? Maybe I just believe in a talking to before Bulbasaur comes out and vine whips a bunch of kids just looking for a good time.” Rue turns to look at Chris as she brings her beer to her lips for a swig. “But, you have a point. I’ll leave her be. She’ll be a fuckin’ legend in the Slope.”

A smirk forms on Rue’s lips, considering that matter settled and moving on to the next. “I’m tougher than I look.”

If his opinion were asked for, Chris would point out the dilapidation that’s prevalent throughout the whole of the Safe Zone. There is a plethora of buildings and spaces that look abandoned. But, assuming that Rue is a resident and well aware of the state of the community, he doesn’t offer anymore thoughts he might have.

He tips back another swallow, and his eyes slide over to look at Rue. He can see it, that she’s capable of taking care of herself. In hindsight, the excitement she’d shown for the ambush should have told him that before now. Like it was some game. It kind of was. “You handled things pretty solid.”

“Thanks.” Rue inclines her chin graciously. “Not so bad when there’s not killer robots involved.” Fuck that. She takes another drink to wash away the bad taste of badder memories.

“So, where’re you from? I’m from Chicago area originally. But I’ve lived here since before the war.”

Killer robots?

Appraisal turns to slight frown. “Fucking robots,” is a murmur into the mouth of the bottle. But instead of dwelling or push for information about any such robots, Chris sucks down the rest of his beer. Fucking robots.

“Out west,” he supplies as he sets the empty aside. “Oregon mostly. Until after the war, then I settled in Sedro-Woolley before migrating this way.”

Teardrop lips pull into a thoughtful frown. “Sassy! Can you get this man another fuckin’ beer?” she calls to the bartender. “Thanks, baby.” Shaking her head, she tsks quietly. “Oregon, huh? Must’ve been rough.” As if New York wasn’t a hellscape during the war. The midwest felt like a safe haven in comparison. It felt like hiding.

“You want another shot?” she asks, gesturing to their empty glasses with one elbow. She will likely be sleeping in the back of her Jeep in the parking lot tonight. That’s okay. She’s slept in worse places.

“Taking care of horses, putting up with fuck all.” You could say it was rough even without any specifics — putting up with fuck all does cover just about everything — but it was life. Chris turns an eye to the empty glasses that speckle the table. Does he want another? “I’d have another.” Should he have one? Probably not. It’s going to be a fun trip back across the river.

“Why’d you trade Chicago for New York?” It’s a logical progression, to ask questions in turn for providing answers. And probably aided by one too many drinks. He half squints, eyes and nose furrowed as though trying to see through a bright light. “That’s a bit like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

“Our glasses our broken,” Rue informs the bartender when the fresh beer is set in front of Chris. She grins when their shots are refilled. “Great. You’re the best.” Lifting her shot and waiting for Chris to do the same, she clinks glasses with him. “Down the hatch.” And then just like it says on the tin.

The shot glass hits the bar top with a dull thud. “I wanted to be a model and a dancer, if you can believe it. Ballet, not exotic.” Just in to head that off right at the pass there. “I was here on a scouting session when the bomb went off. It’s a miracle I survived. Had radiation poisoning and the whole bit.” The shot is chased with another swallow of beer. “Guess fate had other plans for me.”

“Once upon a time,” Chris begins after setting his glass down in front of himself. The liquid’s burn is a comfortable thing, and he lets it fill his torso before continuing. “There was a princess named Rumor who ran away to the city of glitz and glam.” He picks up his bottle and tips it toward her slightly.

“What happened next?” Because talking about the bomb is kind of depressing, and he really doesn't know how the story continues. “Where is fate taking you, Princess Rumor?”

Princess Rumor cracks a grin, eyes half-lidded for a moment as she looks down at the bar top almost demurely. Almost. “The princess got mixed up with the Ferrymen and found herself drawn to become a knight instead. She fought in the war and took up a career bringing in war criminals.”

In any other world, so far as Rue’s aware, fate’s plan for her was to die. Instead, she’s sitting in Cat’s Cradle with a handsome man and drowning whatever disappointment she might be feeling about the broken up party. Or about life. She won’t say which. “Stay tuned for what happens next, I s’pose.”

“Sounds like those radio shows.” The ones that are borderline farce, but supposedly based on the reality that a lot of people lived. Chris rolls his wrist, turning the bottle around at an angle. “Guess that answers why you might've been trying to push me out of the way.” He smirks slightly then takes a drink.

Rue smirks back. “Not that I didn’t think you could handle yourself, but it’s instinct.” She expects it’s the same with him. “And, yeah, my life’s a bit fuckin’ weird. But I’m still breathing, so I’ll take what I’ve got.” The last of her beer is drained and the bottle set on the edge of the bar away from her. It’s swiftly replaced with a fresh one and a key slid in front of her as well.

“Aw, Sassy, you know just what a girl likes.” Rue holds up the key a moment for Chris to see before sliding it into her top. “No sleeping in my car tonight. Got the spare room. Care to join me?” She did, after all, drive him here and is now leaving him without a route back home. “I can drive you back to wherever you need to be in the morning.”

“Can’t ask for too much more than to wake up another day and enjoy a deep breath of fresh air.” That’s Chris’ thoughts on it anyway. He regards Sassy when the key is added to the fresh beer. That consideration slides over to Rue at the offer. Well hell. That’d beat a night in whatever questionably clean room he found on Staten Island.

He drains a long swallow off his beer, weighing the offer against heading back on his own following one too many drinks. A clearer head would be preferable, even if it is throwing caution to the wind. Besides, Rue’s finer company. He makes a sound, thoughtful, throaty almost grunt.

Another swallow of beer follows the sound. “Alright.” Chris’ answer is punctuated by his setting the beer bottle down on the bar.

Rue’s beer is tipped back for a long swallow and brought back down on the bar like a prelude to a pronouncement. “Great.” This may not be the soundest decision making she’s ever engaged in, but it really doesn’t rank compared to some of the other shit she’s pulled.

“Let’s finish a round or two and head on up, yeah?” She grins slyly and takes another pull from the bottle. She’ll make short work of this one.

“Ten four.” Chris tilts a look to the bartender and waves his fingers to draw him closer. Not that Sassy is all that far away. “I'd have another,” he explains, pointing to the empty shot glass. He tips a look to the glasses in front of Rue, then focuses on Sassy again. “Make that four. Please and thank you.”

A throaty chuckle comes from Rue at the order. She points to her own glass to indicate that she’ll have another. Once they have their shots, she raises her glass.

“Over an’ out.”

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