Taking a Risk


grace_icon.gif kain_icon.gif

Scene Title Taking a Risk
Synopsis Kain gambles with Grace. The outcome isn't quite what he expected.
Date September 22nd, 2008

Rapture, Harlem

The pulsing beat of bass throbs through the walls of Rapture, a high-class nightclub in the heart of Harlem. Rows of expensive cars line up out front of the exclusive club and a crowd of would-be patrons wait outside, cherry-picked by the bouncers to have only the cream of the crop on the interior, while leaving just enough eye-candy outside to entice other patrons. The club serves as a respite for the trendy and the influential from the grind of daily life.

On the inside, Rapture is as much a spectacle as it is a structure. Multiple dance floors in tiered balconies overlooking an enormous central dance floor ringed by plush leather-upholstered booths. Pale blue light shines on the wrap-around bar that curved around the back of the establishment, and the entire building is filled floor-to-floor and shoulder-to-shoulder with the pulsing, flowing sea of people dancing to the rythmic beats of electronic dance music piped through the expansive sound-system.

Rapture isn't at all Grace's usual hangout, though she's been here before. Dressed up for the occasion in a red blouse and a seemingly simple knee-length black skirt, the woman has also added the camouflage of jewelry — a twisted gold chain around her throat and two gold-filigree clips high on her ears. Unlike many of the girls who find their way into the club, she isn't wearing high heels — but the more comfortable shoes are still tasteful enough. Rather than dancing, she sits at one of the booths, toying with the straw in her drink.

Amidst the pulsing beat of the music that reverberates thorugh the club, many off of work professions find their way here during the evening hours. Among the new arrivals are a trio of men, each dressed in expensive suits, but none of the three looking like typical businessmen. The tall and sandy-blonde haired man at the middle of the group walks with the confidence and poise of a man who knows his way around the club, having emerged through the front door without so much as a word spared to the doorman. The pair of men flanking him are remarkable in their ogre-like poise, one a fair-skinned and bald-headed gentleman with circular sunglasses, looking much like a gorilla stuffed into a fine suit. The other is quite his counterpart in frame and physique, thick and broad-shouldered, though his dark complexion makes him seem almost the yin to the other's yang.

This auspicious arrival comes to manage their way through the crowd, with the pair of thugs serving to clear the way for the more demure looking of the trio. They pass by the booth Grace is situated at, and it's perhaps the lingering attention the blonde man gives to her that makes him stand out again from the three — the two muscular gentlemen paying her not a second notice. "You boys go an' enjoy yourselves, I ain't gonna be needin' you knuckle-draggers tonight." His voice cuts over the music, standing at the booth just behind Grace's, "Go on and club some broad over the head or whatever it is you two do." For all his sharp words to the pair, they seem to shrug it off as if used to the verbal abuse; the fairer of the two even seems to laugh at it slightly.

"Whatever you say, Mister Zarek. You have yourself a good evenin'." As they nod and part ways, Grace can spot the earbuds they're both wearing, clearly security of some kind, perhaps bodyguards. The bulge in their jackets under their left arms indicate they've brought their work into the club with them, whatever it is — but so has the blonde man, from the looks of it.

"Now, with them neanderthals out of the way," He talks to the air, as if in soliloquy, "Ah do find m'self askin' what a lady like you is doin' alone in a busy ol' place like this." Except he's not speaking to the air, he's speaking to Grace. With both hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, Kain takes a few meandering steps past his booth and rounds back towards the one Grace is seated in, head cocked to the side and a broad smile spread across his lips. "You waitin' for your Prince Charmin', Cinderella?" His eyes motion to the vacant seat, "Think Ah saw him outside, stuck in line."

The trio, and the attention the central figure pays her, can't exactly pass unnoticed. Neither do the signs that shout at least 'armed', if not necessarily dangerous — Scott would have her scalp if that ever happened. But Grace pretends not to pay him any attention until he insists on disrupting her (relative) peace and quiet. So much for 'ignore him and he'll go away' approach.

So the woman picks up her drink, sipping at the straw and regarding Kain across the top of the glass. One dark brow arches as he goes on talking, studying that so-smug smile. Ultimately, Grace sets it back down. The gleam in her eyes and the subtle curve of her lips have nothing to do with his obvious interest — but will he guess that? Maybe later. "First of all," she replies, in that rasping, gravelly voice entirely at odds with her appearance, "I'm not Cinderella. And second— " She picks the drink back up, swirling the ice cubes. "— What makes you think I'm waiting for a prince?"

"Well would ya lookie there," Kain says immediately, leaning back in amused surprise as he hears Grace's voice and perhaps to a lesser degree the words she says. He moves a few steps around from where she sits, standing next to the table, one hand sliding out of his pocket to rest on the tabletop, fingers tapping the glass surface. "Maybe I was wrong." One brow raises, his smile remaining something between a smirk and a confident grin. "If that's the case, that might make you the wicked witch with her big ole' poison apple." His fingers thrum on the tabletop, "Maybe this here fella can interest you in a drink? Unless you've got princesses' to poison, that is?" Kain flashes a bit larger of a smile, and seems to be remarkably persistant at getting his foot in the proverbial door, working his way towards that open seat on the suspicion of approaching invitation.

Very persistent. So noted. Pale blue eyes follow his every move, without the least attempt to hide it. Rather like a cat might watch something it hasn't quite classified yet. Another sip is taken from the drink in hand. "Sorry to disappoint," Grace replies, "but I buy my own drinks." That subtle little smile reappears as she studies Kain. Silent. At least for a time. "Maybe I do," she replies. "Might want to watch your step — wouldn't be unheard of for a 'prince' to sneak onto the list." Serious? Teasing? That voice, all edges and rough surfaces, doesn't give much clue.

Kain grins, quirking his head to the side as he listens to Grace's retort. "Well now that's just playin' dirty." His remark comes with a tap of his fingers on the tabletop again, the hollow thunk of glass matching with a specific beat of the song playing. "But that don't bother me none, Ah ain't never been called a prince, sure ain't gonna start tonight for that matter." Kain motions to one of the waitresses, catching her attention before pointing down to Grace's table he lingers at. "So I guess Ah ain't got too much t'worry about, then." His eyes wander Grace for a moment, either oblivious or uncaring to her assessment of him, "Seems it's just the good folk that gotta worry 'round us." He eyes the empty seat again, one last play up his sleeve, "How's about two nefarious folk like us share a drink then, you buy yours, Ah buy mine," He rolls one shoulder, "That way we're right on who's not poisonin' whom?" One brow slowly raises again, inquisitively.

Grace takes less offense at being called 'nefarious' than 'Cinderella', apparently. At any rate, she lets it pass. Her lips quirk into a crooked smile. "It's your money; seems only fair you should be able to buy yourself a drink with it." The smile doesn't quite reach her eyes — your money definitely doesn't get to buy mine. Just so we're clear. After a moment, the woman's gaze follows his to that stubbornly empty seat, and the smile broadens, just a little. "Sure you want to trust your life to this table? I've been here quite a while." With her nasty poisons too, no doubt.

"Nothin' ventured, nothin' gained." Kain says promptly, sliding down into the seat opposite of Grace, hands folding in front of him on the table. He sends a side-long glance in the direction of the bar, then back again, "Life just ain't fun without a little risk involved." After a moment of consideration, one hand threading some of his hair behind one ear as he thinks, Kain casually fires off a personal question veiled a s a joke, "So what's a gal like you do for work," A testing smile, "Lemmie guess, opera singer?" It's a risky venture, shooting for a personal joke, but Kain's smile seems to indicate that he presumes it would go over well. A gambler to the end.

A poke from her straw causes an ice cube to bob up and down in the half-finished drink. The question is met with a gravelly chuckle. "You think I can carry a tune?" Grace bounces back his way. "Even in a five-gallon bucket? Never mind opera." The woman folds her hands around the base of the glass, pulling it a little closer. Watching Kain over the rim, as ever. What does he probably not do? "Probably about as well as you could fly a jet," she concludes, before taking another sip. All jest, no answer. Except a clear 'Wrong guess!'

Kain laughs off the failed attempt, but there's something he seems to be enjoying about this, the thrill of the chase seems to only spur him on a bit more. He has to think here; She isn't just falling in his lap, as it were, and that to Kain is a bit of a challenge. "Got yourself a point there," Kain motions with one hand towards Grace, "An Ah ain't much of a flyer m'self. Usually Ah leave the flyin' to somebody else, comes with the territory." Leaning back on the bench, the leather behind Kain creaks softly.

Saved from having to come up with a transitional topic, one of the many waitresses comes over, delivering a dark drink with a lime slice to Kain, small bubbles inside. "Thanks darlin'," Kain nods towards the waitress, "An' jus' keep em comin, the lady too, if she so finds herself inclined to have another." Kain picks up his drink as the waitress leaves, lifting up his glass to sake a sip from it, the straw pushed to the side, lips on the glass instead. He reserves himself for a time, watching Grace over the top of his glass, waiting for her to make the next move instead.

The waitress is studied for a moment, and waved off with a slight headshake before she can offer Grace a replacement drink. She's in no great hurry to finish this one. The silence stretches, not in an awkward way, but a thoughtful one, as the dark-haired woman looks right back across the table. "I'd think that'd be right up your alley," she muses. "Or is that too much risk for you?" Grace asks, raising a brow. "No race cars, either?"

"I just ain't ever had the opportunity." Kain is quick to answer, "Ain't gonna fly without learnin', right? Fast cars, though, now there's something Ah can get behind. Just like mah daddy'd say, a fast car an' a fast woman's all you need to make it through life." His eyes downturn to the table, brows raised, "That probably says more than Ah'd like it to 'bout m'daddy." Quickly recovering from that, Kain's eyes drft back up to Grace, and he leans forward, resting his elbow on the tabletop, chin in hand. "Ain't never had much formal drivin' training, on the racin' end anyway. Maybe when Ah'm less busy, but life don't usually let me take breaks like that." He sighs, staring at his drink before taking another sip. "Guess you could say m'real passion lies in the cards," He looks back up, smile thinning, "Playin' cards, a'course."

"And here I was thinking you meant tarot," Grace replies, tone as dry as windblown sand. "But I can't say I'm surprised," she continues. The straw is given a spin around the glass to stir the drink before another sip is taken, blue eyes idly scanning a section of the club. "Guess you'd need a fast car for that." She looks back to Kain, blinking once. "The better to get away with your… fairly earned winnings." Except that's not what she meant at all, at all, as the hint of a crooked smile implies.

"Ain't you a sharp knife?" Kain settles his drink down on a napkin, leaning back again, one arm slung over the back of the bench seat. "Got the gambler's blood from m'good ole' Pa," He says with a shake of his head, "One too many tables in Vegas and here I am." He hesitates, laughing to himself as he flits a suspicious stare back up at Grace. "You remind me of somebody I work with, you know that?" One brow raises slowly, "So what about you, ever hit the tables before? Y'seem like you'd have quite the poker face," His hand idly swirls the straw around in his glass, chasing the ice back and forth. From the smirk on his face, he was going somewhere with this, a certain expectance Grace could feel in the way Kain was navigating the conversation.

"That sounds like a… less than ideal comparison," Grace observes, amused. She lets go of the glass and folds her hands on the tabletop, fingers laced. "Me?" she echoes, raising a brow in inadvertent echo of Kain's expression. "Hmm. Oh, I've played a game or three," the woman allows, after a moment's pause. She could continue, but chooses to close her lips on the words, letting Kain continue directing the discussion.

"How's about we put a little gamble on somethin' then, seeing as how we're both the betting type?" Kain raises one brow in a testing manner as he looks from Grace, down to his glass. "We'll call it a coin toss," He reaches down inside of his jacket pocket, removing a quarter that he slides over to the middle of the table between the two. "Heads says you give me a bit of a chance, and the two of us go out for drinks together on a night that Ah' don't have t'get up at the ass-crack a'dawn for work." He pushes the quarter the rest of the way with one finger, sliding it to clink up against the base of her drink. "An, t'make it interestin', Ah let you set the terms for tails." Kain folds his arms across his chest, watching Grace carefully, "One flip, winner take all. Ah'll even be a gentleman and let you give it the toss." His stare is somewhat inspecting, eyes as blue as Grace's watching the way the dark-haired woman reacts to the proposition, "You game?"

"A coin toss." The contemplative words are followed by a flicker of a smile. "You have something against sunrises?" After the quarter is left on her side of the table, Grace picks up her drink, but only so she can idly chase the melting ice around the inside of the glass with the straw. Her gaze never wavers from Kain. "I should think, if it's to be a risk," the woman replies, setting the glass back down and picking up the coin, the action a tacit agreement to play the game, "then you have to lose on tails." The coin is turned over in her hand, metal glinting in the light. It even has two proper sides. Good to know. "So tell me, what would losing mean for you?"

Kain grins, "Ain't never seen a sunrise Ah like. Guess Ah'm more've a night person." After that joking comment, Kain breathes in deeply, then exhales a slow and lazy breath, taking that into consideration. "Therein lies the rub, darlin'," Kain leans forward again, folding his hands and resting his mouth on them, thumbs just beneath his chin. "There ain't much Ah count as a loss," He tilts his head to the side, "Though Ah guess in this venture, not bein' able to go out for those drinks — that'd be a loss for me." He motions with one hand towards the quarter, "But that's unimaginative," His hand comes back to thread fingers with the other. "You strike me as an imaginative gal, you're jus' gonna have t'surprise me."

"Well, now — where's the risk, gambler, if you just can't lose?" Grace asks. She balances the coin against her fingers and flips it into the air; it comes down with a clatter on the table, the noise all but buried beneath the hubbub of the club. Most decidedly tails. Imagine that. "Surprise it is," Grace replies, a flick of her finger sliding the coin across the table to Kain. In its absence, she procures a piece of paper — a napkin, really — and a pen. The paper soon follows the quarter. On it? Nothing more than a location, a date, and a time. Which just happens to be a hair pre-dawn. "See you there," Grace concludes with a slight, almost sly grin, sliding out of the booth.

Watching the coin fall to the table, Kain's eyes grow wide and surprised when it lands tails up. His brow knits together, and he looks down, watching the coin slid back towards him. A hopeless look crosses his face as he peers back up at Grace, "But — " Apparently he was expecting something entirely different. His eyes fall down to the time on the napkin as it's written, and all Kain can think is how much that doesn't look like her name and phone number. "H-Hey wait a minute!" The time, how early that time is. "See me there?" He eyes the napkin again, then turns back up to see Grace halfway through the crowd of people. One hand comes up to press against his forehead, fingers raking through his bangs. "Ah' didn't even get yer name." He mumbles scornfully, slouching back against the bench seat. If it weren't for bad luck, Kain Zarek wouldn't have any luck at all.

September 22nd: Deconstruction
September 22nd: Kindred Spirits Need Two
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