Sashay, Not Stomp


kelly_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Sashay, Not Stomp
Synopsis Kelly invites Logan out for drinks and to get some questions answered. At one point, he chooses to sashay out, not stomp.
Date August 13, 2010

Orchid Lounge

It's been some time since Logan approached Kelly about the job in Russia, and this time it was she who called him. It was a short call, just asking him to meet her at the Orchid Lounge. No business, at least none that she'd admit, just a need to talk to him. How odd.

Unlike the last time, she arrived first, and is sitting at the same table they occupied last time, her back to the wall, her gaze roaming around the room, frequently returning to the door. She's leaning back, her pose relaxed, and though she's not wearing a dress, she is wearing nice clothes. Black slacks, white blouse, and a thin black jacket buttoned over it. Very stylish, in a businesswoman sort of way.

She's already ordered a drink, and it sits empty on the table before her. For now she's enjoying a cigarette that hasn't been lit long, the blue-gray smoke coiling up before it dissipates moments later.

When he gets there early, fractionally, it's probably clear that his intention is to be there first, despite being the invited rather than the inviter. Appearing at the front of the lounge, Logan takes his time to peeling off purple-tinted sunglasses, despite the later hour, folding them up as he casts a speculative scan of the place, his expression distracted but alert. Black is common but by no definition is it that of a wallflower, his long figure sharp against the dimly lit backdrop of the establishment, the glass windows picking out at the dwindling evening when the crush of curfew squeezes, chokes life from the streets.

Bad business for a strip club manager, but that's the cost of living in this city. Beneath his black suit, a shirt of similar tone save for a little bit of sheen in its make, of the mandarin style with the button pinned conservatively tight at his throat at the high collar, winking gold to match his cufflinks. His shoes are a splash of colour, deep violet patent leather.

The arm of his sunglasses catch between pearly teeth, just as his attention lands on the woman, smile quirking up in greeting before glasses are folded, and he's walking over. His right hand touches the edge of the table as he lowers himself to sit, white scars on long fingers catching the light like gossamer threads. "Evening."

Eyes spot him not long before he reaches the table, but she doesn't return the smile. Kelly really needs to learn how to smile. It's good for the health. She does, however, give him a nod. "Evening, Logan. Don't you look spiffy tonight?" she says, glancing over his clothing for a moment, before eyes lift to his face again. "Tell me though that you're not wearing purple shoes. I don't know if I can respect a man who wears purple shoes." Did she just…make a joke?!

The cigarette is puffed, the ice lazily spun in her glass, and her head tilts. "Thanks for agreeing to meet me. I know we're all busy people," she says, obviously referring to those in Linderman's employ. "Especially with the godawful curfew in place," she adds with a mild grimace and shake of her head.

"But certainly," Logan says, opening up his jacket enough to take his cigarette case out from the inner, satin-lined pocket, "you can respect Berluti. Or you fucking should." Cursing reads like punctuation, in his accent and in his tone, snagging the muted orange filter tip between his teeth as he puts the case away, a lighter in hand next without conjuring the flame just yet, toying with it, polished silver as if to match. "They used to have a store here in New York, though I wouldn't know. They switched to San Francisco when it got blown to pieces. Got these flown in from Europe instead."

Now, tiny fireflame to cigarette end, a sharp breath in flaring the embers orange. It shifts with the movement of talking as he says, "De nada," in an atrociously English accent as opposed to Spanish cadence. "What can I do for you, my love?"

That gets a shrug and the faintest of apologetic looks from Kelly. "Can't say I know what Berluti is. Name a gunmaker and I'm your girl, but clothing and shoes?" She shakes her head. "I'm all for practicality, not style," she says, tugging slightly at her jacket, as though it's mere presence makes her uncomfortable.

The endearment, however casually said it may have been, has Kelly's brows lifting. "I don't know that you can. But do you call all women you're on speaking terms with your love? You must have quite a few then, I'd expect." There's that faintest curve of her lips that signifies a smile, before she's putting out her cigarette and a shoulder jerks in a shrug. "There's just something…odd…about you. I'm hoping to figure out what it is." Meaning, she doesn't like the reaction she's had everytime she's spoken with him, and is hoping to figure it out. Pesky evos.

He believes her, when she says she's practical, so that's why her next words may be a surprise — removed from pragmatic purposes of this meeting, or it would seem, and suspicion glimmers briefly in his pale eyes as he pauses to regard her. Cigarette caught between the pinch of two fingers, Logan moves it from his mouth to release a stream of smoke, angled away from her out of instinctive politeness. There's a vaguely uncomfortable beat, before he says, "I'm not queer, if that's what you mean. Don't listen to Kain, boy's just confused."

Probably— probably— he can work out that that's not why she's calling a meeting, words as deflection much like his smile is deflection, ironic commas of dimples. His gaze swims away from her, searches out a waitress.

There's a slow blink, then another of those hints of smiles. Kelly shakes her head. "No, that's not what I meant. And I've never met anyone named Kain, so I couldn't listen to him even if I wanted to. I just meant that guys who call a lot of women love, are usually the love 'em and leave 'em sort. Hence, quite a few loves," she explains. "Don't get me wrong, not saying it's a bad thing, necessarily. Monogamy works for some people, but not everyone. Most are just too fucking stupid to realize it."

Sadly, it doesn't occur to her that her reaction is the result of his ability, so she doesn't go the simple and direct route and simply ask if he's evolved or what his ability is. Rather, she takes a minute to study him while he's searching for a waitress, debating her next words. "So which school of thought are you from?"

"I meant about the odd part," Logan dismisses, with a wave of his cigarette-wielding hand. "And I was joking. I'm just very affectionate." His fingers waggle a little when he finally gets the help's attention, his smile cutting colder in condescending irritation that he wasn't immediately waited on, a glance sliced towards Kelly at her question just as the demure employee drifts her way over, apology in her step. He orders a martini for want of anything more creative, the dirty kind that clouds the gin and vermouth with olive juice.

Once she's gone, he taps dead ash into the black ceramic tray designed for this use. "I didn't do well in school. Which do you mean?" He snips off 'dear', 'darling', or whatever might have come next on the end of that query.

A few words have the waitress going off to get two martinis instead of one, and Kelly is shrugging, picking up her cigarettes to light another. "The sort who believes in monogamy, or the sort who believes in sleeping with whoever you want, whenever want, wherever you want," she clarifies.

"And how in the hell can someone in our line of work be that affectionate? It's not as though we're a bunch of loving hippies who sit around campfires singing Kumbuya or some shit like that," she says, brow furrowing lightly.

"Christ," is muttered, Logan stilling and glancing up at her, as if debating on the things he wants to say. Some decision is made, and so he does. "Okay. I'm a businessman. I ran a brothel for about two years and then when it went up in flames, I switched to a strip club. Affection is a commodity, and a really fucking valuable one at that — love and happiness and sex are generally seen as the collective pot at the end of the rainbow. Money and power are merely stepping stones. That's for the majority of people, anyway. We might not be a bunch of loving hippies, but we're human. We work the same way. The same biological makeup."

He rolls the cigarette between his fingertips, glancing at it thoughtfully. "I don't believe in monogamy because it's a lie, because love is. It's a girl wrapped around a silver pole, smiling at you as you hand over twenty quid — the same brand of it, the same chemical response. The people in our line of work may recognise it for what it is, decide we don't need it, which is why I fuck most things that walk." He pauses, mostly because there's a martini being set down at his elbow, the waitress looking a little alarmed at the conversation she walked in on, and is sent off with a smile cut her way.

Logan trades cigarette for drink. "And for the record, my Ruger Vaquero 6-shot revolver goes absolutely smashing with my summer collection Miu Miu suit. Why you feel you have to be so mercenary every single second of your life is beyond me. How in the hell can someone in our line of work be that simple?"

There's an actual and genuine laugh. "A brothel? I can't say I would've guessed, but I can see you doing just that," she admits. "And you're right. They are lies. But I didn't know you understood that." But the last bit of his comments has her stilling, that hint of amusement fading.

"I'll answer your question, Logan, if you'll answer me one first," she offers, picking up her drink and sipping. "How did you get into this line of work? The real answer, please, not some brush off."

"Like I said, I didn't do well in school," is— mostly a brush off, but he recognises it before it's out of his mouth, and shrugs in indication that he won't leave it there, just takes a moment to sip. "The real answer is that I fell into it. Started young. I was twenty-one when I got hit by a car, which fucked over my back and my legs so much that I didn't have much of a shot at being a football player — that was the initial life plan."

Logan plucks out the olive from his drink, twirls it on its pick. "Did the accounts for my mother's strip club. Managed it. Got in trouble with the police and went to Mexico. Worked with gun runners until I thought New York had some better opportunities for me, after the bomb turned it into— well. Mexico. Staten Island was a mess, and I got in early when the crime ring was organising itself, bought up some property. Fought for it for a while, and that's how the Happy Dagger came to be.

"I got lucky, in that regard, but when it all went to shit, the Linderman Group picked me up, dusted me off, and lo. Here we are. I guess I'm just cut out for it."

Kelly nods as she listens, seeming to listen and in serious mode now. "I got into it when I was twelve," she says flatly. "My father was beating my mother, and no one would stop it. So I grabbed his gun and killed him. After that, it didn't seem like I could do anything else. I had it on my record that I intentionally murdered my father. In defense, yes, but no one trusts the girl who can kill so young," she answers, before swallowing down her martini. It's no secret, her story. It was in the papers, it's in her record. Sealed, but it's there.

"So tell me, Logan. How am I supposed to be anything else when I've been doing this since I was twelve? That's twenty years of this life. No softness. No friends. Just quick one night stands." There's a pause, then she adds, "And Bob."

Ah, trauma, the excuse he lacks, and Logan's eyes study the table between them as opposed to her — but he's listening too, tasting the salt of his drink at the back of his tongue, the oily quality of it sliming the backs of his teeth. An eyebrow goes up at her afterthought addition, and he spiders his hand over the wide-brimmed martini glass. "Well," he starts, hesitantly, "maybe you simply need to find the right thing to stimulate you. A sex life, or a lovely pair of heels.

"Or maybe you don't want stimulation. Because you remember what it was like to care for much of anything, and how bad it can get. What happens when you let yourself get soft. I think that's cheap armor, though, forms cracks." He tips his drink a little in concession for her answer. "But I get it."

There's another soft laugh, and Kelly shakes her head. "No, I can't remember what it was like to care for something. Perhaps that's my problem." She just needs Sociopaths Anonymous. "Perhaps I was simply born this way, and it came out when I killed my father. I don't know," she says, shrugging. "And while heels aren't my thing — I don't even own a dress or skirt — do you understand how hard it is for a woman like me to find men who aren't intimidated." Her nose wrinkles in distaste. "Or just want someone to punish them. Weak willed pussies," she mutters, as though there were nothing lower.

"You though…It's odd. Everytime I talk to you, I leave feeling unusual. Not in a bad way, but I don't normally find myself this attracted to men," she says as she studies him thoughtfully.

"Maybe it's because I don't get intimidated. By women." The smile that accompanies that charming phrase is almost as charming, Logan picking up cigarette again to ease in smoke on an inhale, filter to the corner of his mouth. Pushed out a few seconds later at a steady release of curling smoke from both nostrils. There is, however, cautious and chilled study in his eyes at this news, darting down to study his drink instead.

That's considered for a moment, then rejected with a shake of Kelly's head. "I don't think so. You didn't act intimidated, no, but not all guys do until sex is on the table." She cants her head, tapping the toothpick, still with the olive on it, on the rim of her glass. "Perhaps I just sensed a kindred spirit. A like mind. I really don't know. But it's been bothering me."

Canine tooth pierces booze-soaked fruit, yanks it off the pick, which is discarded into ashtray. "Sorry to hear that," Logan says, around the bite-size amount of sharp-tasting food, before it's swallowed once crushed in molars, ground out for its poison flavours. He doesn't really have anything in his Evo-arsenal that quells suspicion — power use only breeds more of it, when he's concerned, and so his eyes remain their frost-water green-grey, icy in their neutrality. "I'm a negotiator. It's what I do. I have a way with people, what can I tell you?"

"I don't know that there's really anything to tell," Kelly says. "I told you when you got here that you probably wouldn't be able to help me," she reminds him with a shrug. "I guess I was hoping that another conversation, one that wasn't about business, would either prove to me that it was a fluke, or that I've case of hard core lust. Sorry, but so far it's looking like a fluke. You're cute and all, and practical, which I like, but…" She trails off, giving one more shrug.

He pushes his bottom lip out a little in mock-pout, though it's gone by the time Logan is taking a long sip of his drink, until a jewel-sized helping is left at the inverted point, which he swills around. "Strangely enough, when I'm chatting up a woman, even a woman such as yourself," Logan starts, with a wry twist to his smile, "I don't tend to get into my sordid past, and I don't imagine talking about the barren wasteland of your life is going to do much for you and your hardcore lust, even in dim lighting.

"In my defense," he qualifies, before finishing those last salty dregs of his drink. "Besides, you seem to be a woman committed to her work. Maybe that's your turn on."

Kelly's head tilts. "Was I supposed to be something for me and my hardcore lust that doesn't seem to exist? Can't say I knew that. Should I try? I think I could give it one good try. An experiment, you might say." The olive is tugged off the toothpick, the latter discarded. She leans back, brows lifting, awaiting his answer.

This has him arching an eyebrow, and if there's something he's supposed to answer— well, Logan doesn't. Dry tones have him assuming her words are very rhetorical. It's offended him, that much is obvious. "I'm not your lab rat in the maze of sexual suppression and fucked up emotional problems. You felt something for me, and tonight you don't, probably because you're looking too closely — not my fault, and not my problem." Picking up his cigarette, he goes to stand up. "If you're accusing me of something, Reynolds, say it."

There's a tinge of surprise on Kelly's face. "What would I be accusing you of?" she asks with genuine curiosity. "I don't recall saying that I wanted you to be my lab rat either. You suggested that I should be doing something for my, I asked if you wanted me to try. A simple no would've worked just as well, you know." She shrugs and absently toys with her cigarette pack, watching him. "Though I do wonder what exactly I said that pissed you off. You're the one that's been ragging on me, after all. Barren wasteland of a life, fucked up emotional problems and all that."

"That's sort of just how I talk," is probably startling in it's plain honesty in response to that last part; not quite apologetic. Logan doesn't sit back down, and what did piss him isn't— something he can explain, in the same way he can't say what she would be accusing him of. "Perhaps it's offensive to hear about an attraction that now doesn't exist," he finally settles on, with a prideful tip of his head. "According to rules you certainly didn't lay out for me." He extends an arm to reach, crush out his cigarette, and glance at her in a sly fashion that belies his prior spark of indignation. "You didn't even buy my martini."

"I didn't know this was a date. But if you want me to pay for it…" Kelly shifts to dig out her wallet, pulling out some bills and tossing them on the table. Too much for a martini, but it's there. "And I never said the attraction didn't exist, Logan. You're putting words in my mouth, which is going to piss me off." Though she doesn't sound upset yet. "I said the hard core lust wasn't there, not the attraction. The attraction is there. Though you preparing to stomp off is certainly putting a damper on any thoughts I had about inviting you to my room for a nightcap."

But he likes storming out, the elegant righteousness of it, the invitingly damp summer night — he wants to say he wasn't going to stomp, though. Glide. Sashay.

Logan sits back down.

Plays his fingertips along the edge of his emptied glass contemplatively, before he's going for his second cigarette, a bit of a chain smoker — one can tell that about him when one gets up close, the continual scent of smoke beneath the layers of cologne or aftershave, or the mysterious clinging incense that permeats his clothing, smoky in its own way. There are a few things one can tell about anyone, when they get up close.

By the time the lit thing is back between his teeth and he's pocketing his lighter, he's looking back at her in study, as if trying to read and understand the critical difference between lust and attraction. Or hardcore lust, as it were. "Damper," he repeats, gives her a half-smile. "What could I do to relieve it?"

"Honestly? Sitting back down and trying to smile did a lot for that," Kelly admits with a faint smile of her own. A cigarette is pulled from her pack and lit, then she leans forward, elbows resting on the table, arms folded. The hand holding the cigarette resting on top, of course. "When you're not being pissy or focusing on business, you are a charming man. Or should I stick with attractive? Both are true enough."

She takes her turn to study him before continuing. "There really wasn't any insult meant about the hardcore lust thing, by the way. Attraction is normal. Even a healthy dose of lust, but that usually doesn't come with talk of a trip to ice fucking cold Russia and a job. Yet, it did. Who knows. Maybe it just means I'm a closet sociopath and I like the fact that you gave me a job that might result in violence," she says, shrugging.

He might have been told that before. About the conditions under which Logan might be charming. So that doesn't spark up any new wash of offense, the comment evoking a broader smile and a chuckle through his long nose, head tipping in a shrugging gesture as he returns his attention to the embery tip of cigarette, the fall of sparks when he taps it against the tray. "I suppose," he agrees. "Next weekend, by the way, if you can make it. To avoid talking business and also because I don't have them on me, I'll have the details in your hands at a later date, but so you don't go and make any plans.

"Dunno if 'closet's the right word, love," he says, the endearment more of a slip than deliberation, nose wrinkling with the teasing comment. "But to return the favour, you've got a charm to you too. Something about a pistol-shaped hole where a sense of humour's supposed to be — I do like being the witty one."

"Next weekend works for me. I'll clear my schedule," Kelly says with a bit bigger smile than before. This time she doesn't comment on the endearment, just gives a little laugh and shrugs. "Okay, maybe it's not the right word. Maybe I should've said maybe it means I'm a bigger sociopath than I realized." Though it almost seems to be said as a joke.

"And you can be the witty one. I like being the dangerous one," she says, though there's a gleam of amusement. It's obvious she doesn't think he's safe, either. "Maybe I'll invite you back to my place after all. Just no slicing up Bob to make a pair of snakeskin boots, hmm? No matter how fashionable they may be."

His eyes narrow at the idea of a snake for a pet, and not for boots, a snake named Bob. In the long scheme of things, this detail is minor in comparison to keywords like sociopath. "I won't touch Bob if he stays away from me," Logan finally asserts, glancing at the money for the martini and— decides to allow for it, his paid for drink, without inviting another. There is the temptation to reassert himself a little, to allow her to bleed serotonin in synapse, but her smile has already grown.

And good negotiators know when not to push. "My car's outside," is prompt, a quirk of a more youthful smile.

"Oh, he'll leave you alone," Kelly promises, very nearly grinning, unaware of how close she's come to experiencing that 'odd feeling' from their last two meetings. Then again, who knows how'd she react to it now. Her cigarette is put out, her pack picked up, slipped into a pocket, then she nods. "Your car it is. And no doubt you can find the Corinthian with no trouble," she says with another little smile.

Logan keeps his cigarette, clenching it between teeth as he, for the second time tonight, eases up on his feet, handmade shoes squeaking with the moment, glimmering patent purple that dances around the edge of his bench. Glide.

Sashay. "None whatsoever," he agrees, dismissing the non-problem of navigation with a smile over his shoulder and a wave of his hand that trails cigarette smoke, cufflink catching light and from here, she can see the further detail of silver thread patterning Arabric whorls in the fabric of his jacket, all finery and designer angles that define the way he moves. By the time he's at the door, he opens it for her, and might even do the same for the passenger side of the deep green Alpha Romeo should she deign to be the lady one as well as the dangerous one.

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