Tequila's Totally My Drink


melissa_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Tequila's Totally My Drink
Synopsis Melissa and Brad head to a bar, where both proceed to get thoroughly smashed. Also, the world as we know it ends.
Date September 19, 2010

A cab and Shooters

"Staten Island I can do," Brad replies with an easy smile and small shrug. The smile turns to a smirk at the name correction, "Good to meet you, Melissa." Pause. "Brad. I'm Brad." He shoots her another flash of teeth before he's shaking his head, "When I'm not at work… I have a hard time not using nicknames. Sorry if I keep calling you Missy." His eyebrows furrow slightly before quipping, "It gets worse when I drink more. Consider yourself warned…"

Laughing, Melissa shrugs. "I've heard worse. And most people call me Mel anyway, so I'm used to nicknames of a sort. Besides, when I get drunk I tend to fall back on my southern raising. Lots of darlin's and honeys and stuff like that," she says, peering at the beer in her hand, then shrugging and putting it back. She doesn't need it if they're going to a bar.

As she starts towards the door of the store she glances to Brad. "So you're on TV? Or so my 'friend' said? What sorta show? Tell me it's not a reality show or I may have to dump the first drink over your head."

"Reality television, the real opium of the masses… do I look like that much of a poser? I mean, I know the sunbleaching has that effect, but…" Brad teases with a chuckle of his own and another wink. It's all good-humour. He's never minded when people don't recognize him, although he's flattered when they do. "Nah. I host a political late show — The Advocate. We mostly talk politics and have guests who have opinions on issues. I'm more like a referee than a host — things often get heated."

"And what about you? If testosterone's poison, I can't imagine it has anything to do with men…" he shrugs before shaking his head slightly and shuffling towards the door. "Or wait… maybe it does?" he shoots her a grin and then shakes his head again.

"Oh god, you're into politics?" Melissa says, looking a little surprised. And not pleasantly so. "And I manage a club and work at the Suresh Center. So I deal with guys, but not exclusively. The thing about testosterone poisoning comes from the rest of the stuff I said. About guys wanting to protect me instead of date me. It gets annoying, you know? Very annoying."

Once outside she works at hailing a cab while studying him a bit. "That's why I sorta bit your head off. Which I am sorry for. I mean, I'm sure you do have some issues, but they're none of my business since I don't know you."

"I wouldn't say into politics, but I negotiate a political world. I just listen to opinions and referee them as best I can. That's all. I'm not running for office … honestly we're just about issues and understanding all sides." Not that the show has always been about understanding all sides, but Brad has, through it all, appeared neutral, even when his own thoughts weren't on the fence about anything.

"Ha! I'm a variable of mental health. No issues." His arms fold over his chest as she hails the cab, his smile failing just a little. "Nothing out of the ordinary anyways." Again he shrugs. "What kind of issues are you seeing with these guys who won't date you?"

"Oh, trust me, I'm not just seeing the issues, they're totally there," Melissa mutters as a cab pulls up and she climbs in, waiting until he's done the same and she's given the address to the cabbie before continuing. "Mostly it's the whole need to protect me from them. They all seem to think that I'm some dumb little girl who needs protecting. Or then you've got the assholes, or the guys who are already taken, or the guys who are just wholly undatable. So…because of that, I'm a twenty-six year old chick who's never been on a date."

His eyes narrow while he scooches next to her and considers this fact. Brad hmms, "I find that unlikely. You've seriously never been on a date? I'm pretty sure I had my first date when I was…" there's a pause while a flicker of a smile forms on his lips, "…I was fifteen… Elizabeth Moore. She had these legs that just wouldn't stop …. every guy in school knew it, which is probably why she dumped me a week after we started going on." Again he shrugs.

"Look. If you're attracted to losers, you'll get loser responses to whatever you have going on. And if these guys are altogether dangerous… put simply? You don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you. That's my experience." As the cab takes off, he lurches forward before catching his balance, there's no comment on the driver's skills, even if there ought to be, instead he focuses on the topic at hand. "Relationships don't have to be difficult. I… " his gaze turns towards the window now, his thought lost somewhere in the turning of his head, broken by his better judgment.

Melissa shrugs at his doubt. "Sorry, but nope, no dates. Lots of one night stands, but none of that whole dinner and a movie or any of that crap." She stares at her own window for a moment before trying to change the subject. "So how'd you get into doing political TV? I mean, you said you weren't into politics, but wouldn't you have to be to do a show like that? I know I couldn't do it. Politics bores me to tears or pisses me off, depending on the issue."

"Ah. Well, I think there's a distinction there. I'm interested in politics, but I've never been in politics. No desire to run for public office." Brad's eyebrows arch as he turns back to face her. "I have a degree in political science and communication. A good friend of mine and I — well, in grad school we decided to try mixing the two. Annnnd BAM. The Advocate was born. On radio back then… our audience grew and in 2006 we aired our first television episode."

He whistles, the memory of 2006 pushed to the side as best he can, focusing instead on his show in the present, "But we talk about issues too. Get opinions. The problem is the public is poorly informed on anything. It's easy to make an opinion when only half the information. Our goal is to provide both sides and let our viewers think through it. In a way, I think it's a service — it's a place they can get all the information they need to make informed decisions. Like… to register or not to register? What's going on economically with corporations? How can we understand these issues better? I love doing it. I really do." He grins.

"Registration? Man, you do go for some hot topics," Melissa says, arching a brow. "But hey, it's good to love what you do. So few people actually get the opportunity. Maybe I'll watch the show sometime. I normally stick to movies, but I make an exception every once in a while. Oddly, all for real stuff rather than sitcoms or anything like that. News mostly," she admits with a faint smile.

"Besides, if you've been on the air for four years, you've gotta be doing something right. And hey, if I'm gonna get drunk with a guy, the least I can do is watch an episode or two, right?"

"We got the network nod in mid 2007, so we do pretty well. And I have to admit I like the hot button issues best, sparks the most debate, receives the most criticism, and the critics normally enjoy it." Although recently they've said he's losing his edge. Russo sighs quietly as he leans back and closes his eyes.

"It just seemed important. Taking the biggest issues. It is important, something we need to be doing and moving forward with." He swallows audibly, while maintaining the faint glimmer of a smile across his face. It's practiced after years in front of a camera, and almost seems genuine. "And I think it's worth a watch, but then I guess I'm biased," the smile eases into something far more natural.

Cocking her head, Melissa studies him for a long moment after that sigh. "Seemed important? Losing your interest in the show or something? Or your producers or whatever giving you shit about it? Either way, a few drinks at the bar'll help that!" she says with a faint smile. "Thanks, by the way. I really am tired of drinking by myself, but I have so many reasons to enjoy drunkenness lately. My roommates just don't drink too much though. Well, one likes wine, but you can't get a good drunk off of wine, yanno?"

"Seemed when we started. More important then than now, but still important… I like my job, and I'm good at it," and modest about it, apparently. Brad shifts in the backseat. "Nah. Work is good, it's booming actually. Our viewership is strong, we talk about things that matter, just… so much changed since our first year. In the world, I mean." And his place in it. The smile falters for a moment.

"And you're right, wine doesn't exactly do the trick. Bring on the whiskey. Or the tequila. I mean, those are drinks for someone whose sole purpose is to be intoxicated from start to finish. If it doesn't burn going down, it's not worth it in the first place. He frowns slightly before quipping, "I think everyone has reasons to get drunk… some more valid than others."

Melissa brightens and shoots him a grin. "Tequila? A man after my heart! Tequila is totally my drink. If ever there isn't a bottle of tequila in my cabinets, something is seriously wrong." Then she cocks her head. "I don't know about everyone having reasons to get drunk. Plenty of people, yeah, but not all. Some people actually have good enough lives that they don't need to. Bastards."

She sobers a bit and nods. "But yeah, the world has changed in the last four years. I just wish I could say that any of it was for the better, but it's not. Registration. Secret agencies. I swear, since the world learned about the evolved it's like the holocaust all over again. Except this time not everyone is outraged over it."

"Everyone lost something," Brad's voice is gruff around the words, but he manages a remnant of a smile. "Some freedoms. Others people. It's all very… " there's a heaviness in the air as he contemplates the neutral word of the day, "…different." His own opinion, as always is pushed to the wayside in favour of listening to everyone else's.

"The holocaust was the same. When it went on, no one cared. In another twenty years this will be a blip in history, and everyone will shake their heads at us and call us fools for not seeing the signs. It's simple, really, what the average person doesn't know about doesn't count as their problem." Absently, he chews the inside of his cheek, a habit born out of his own fight for neutrality, simultaneously allowing his expression to neutralize.

His expression may be neutral, but while people may not be able to see the signs of their current holocaust, Melissa sees the signs of an unhappy person. Her weakness. "What'd you lose?" she asks softly. "Seems a bit too much to be a freedom, so I'm guessing someone? Family or a close friend, maybe?"

Evidently his pokerface has failed him today. His jaw tightens while he continues to chew on the inside of his cheek, staring ahead at the seat in front of him — not the window or the woman next to him. It's easy to think on these things while talking to a seat rather than a person or outside, the great unknown that thought to steal those someones from him.

Several moments of quiet contemplation pass while his eyebrows furrow and the good humour drains from his eyes; there's nothing funny about this loss, not even in theory. "I lost two someones," he says quietly. "The only someones that ever really mattered." Now he turns back to look at her, those grey-blue eyes catching the light and reflecting nothing more than sadness veiled by the good humour he insists on wearing. "My only family."

"My mother and my fiance were in the square when it happened." He forces a smile that contains nothing but sorrow, an irony across his face before turning to face the window. It's not new information. Most of his viewers know these simple facts. And that's all they are: facts. Discontent with that thought, his lips fall into a purse, secretly angry at himself to relegating the only women in his life that mattered to nothing more than facts.

Yep. He's got issues. Melissa just gives him a sympathetic look and nods. "I know sort of how you feel. The only family I've ever had, a brother, died just a few weeks ago. It…" She shakes her head. "To say it sucks is a massive understatement, but I don't think there are any words that actually capture what it is." Especially when she knows the man who was responsible for the bomb. And the man who was blamed for it.

"I'm sorry I asked though. If you're anything like me, you don't want to think about it, so I'll change the subject. How do you feel about masquerades? Or karaoke? Both are guaranteed to be fun and involve lots of drinking, which is good in my book," she says, glancing away as well, hoping that the cab gets to the bar soon.

The apology is met with a shake of his head, "It's been four years. More than one person has urged me to get over it. But, I think, there are some things in life people aren't meant to get over." He turns back to face her, "I'm sorry about your brother. I never had any siblings, my mom was a single parent, but loss… that's always hard."

As rehearsed as always, the easiness returns to his expression at the change of topic, "Masquerades? Like… masks and stuff…? Isn't it early for Halloween?" He's all too aware of the irony in the mask he wears almost constantly, but doesn't say as much, "Karaoke I do. I'm no good, but I own that badness, y'know? There's something about the comraderie of sucking when standing at a mic, drunk, and just managing to forget life…"

Rather than dwell anymore on Kendall, Melissa makes herself laugh. "Oh, I completely suck at singing. My friends all encourage me to leave it to them when I try. But the club I manage is doing karaoke in a few days, and a masquerade the beginning of October. They should be fun. You should show up. Club's easy enough to find. Tartarus in the lower east side. And that way I can have one more person to laugh at when they sing horribly," she teases.

The cab stops in front of the bar and Mel digs out enough cash to pay before she makes shooing motions at Russo, since he's on the side nearest the bar. "C'mon. Out! Tequila awaits us inside!"

The door is opened and the television personality slides out. The door is held for Melissa patiently, it's a force of habit — something his mother ingrained in him years before. "Yeah… I'll come for Karaoke, I'm sure I should be able to figure out where to go… we'll see about this masquerade thing though… not really one for dressing up and pretending to be something I'm not." Because he does that every day.

Once in the bar, he perches on a stool at the bar and orders them both a round of tequila and limes, an order which is promptly filled by the gal behind the bar. He licks the back of his hand before sprinkling salt on it. "Alright. SO. Order is. Salt. Lime. Shot." He glances at her and asks, "On three?"

Melissa looks surprised as the door is held for her, but she says nothing about it as she heads inside and slides onto a stool. "Well you've got some time to consider the masquerade," she says with a shrug, before her hand is licked and salt sprinkled. "But you've got the order wrong. It's salt, shot, lime," he's informed with a grin.

She looks at the bartender and grins. "May as well bring a bottle and leave it," she tells the girl before turning back to Russo and nodding. "On three," she agrees. "One, two, three." The salt is licked then, the shot downed like a pro, and the lime bitten.

"Riiiiight," Brad replies as he licks the salt, downs the shot, and bites the lime. The taste and feel of the alcohol on his tongue brings a smile to his lips and a calm to his expression. Hard liquor calms his nerves, his addict tendencies come into play as he pours them both another shot.

"As an aside, because drinking with strangers is all about unsolicited advice, make a guy take you on a date before the whole one night stand thing next time. You're twenty-six, you deserve the whole nine yards and should've gotten it by now." He downs the second shot and sighs contently.

Melissa gives a soft snort to his advice before she too downs a second shot. For someone as small as she is, if she keeps this up, she'll be drunk in no time at all. "You don't think I've tried to get a date? Hell, the club I manage? We hold date auctions every two months or so. For charity and fun. This last time I tossed myself up on the block, and ended up getting bought by a friend. A gay friend, no less. I think I'm destined to never go on a date. I'm getting used to it, sucky as it may be," she says, shrugging.

"Closest I've gotten was a couple of guys bringing me flowers. But one ran away shortly after, and the other…well, you saw my friend. He's gone over some chick named Lydia."

"Oy. That's quite the problem," he muses as he slams the glass on the counter, content continuing to rule the day. "Girls like flowers. That's almost like a date," Brad smirks before shaking his head, "Nah. That doesn't even count. I enjoy the picture of you and your gay friend on a date though." He presses his lips together while he drums his fingers on the counter, heavy with his thoughts. He hmmms quietly as he pours two more shots of the fluid.

"Alright. Well I'll make a bet with you then." He glances at the shots and then back to her. "I don't date. Well… I used to but since… " he holds his hands up, allowing Melissa to fill in the blanks for herself, "… anyways… I bet you, if you hold off for one" he holds up his pointer finger for emphasis "one month — so one month from today — without any one night stands, or troublesome suitors who are, as you asserted earlier, losers, then you'll have a date within that month." He nods emphatically at this.

"Wouldn't be much to see since he just wants to get his hands on my hair. He's a stylist," Melissa explains, picking up her third shot and tossing it back. "As for the bet. It's been…Jesus. Three months? Since I had any kind of one night stand. Not including a kiss from someone who was just trying to help me out a few days after my brother died. So you've already lost." She grins, the tequila starting to affect her. "So what do I win?"

Brad hmmms quietly, his fingers tapping against the counter again. "Three months. No break-ups in the midst of that? No relationship drama bringing you down during it?" His eyes narrow a little. "So no relationships at all — one night stand or otherwise, during it?" His eyebrows lift a little skeptically as he glances back to the shots.

Brad is the one flushing now. He plucks the next shot of tequila from the counter and downs it, except this time, along with the shot, his eyes squeeze shut tightly, discontent with the answer and not entirely clear in his own resolve. "If you would like… " he opens his eyes and attempts to find her gaze, "…I will take you on a date. Flowers, dinner, the whole sha-bang. Then you never have to say to anyone ever again that you've never been on one." And then, as an afterthought he adds, "It's been a long time, but I was once told I was a fun date." He shrugs. By now his cheeks are bright red. It's an unusual date-request, more of a coincidental 'friend-date' than an actual date, but it's there just the same, and he means it regardless.

Of all the things that Melissa may have expected him to say, the look on her face says clearly that that wasn't one of them. She blinks at him for a moment, then cocks her head, mulling it over. But she's downed quite a bit of tequila for someone her size, and thinking isn't exactly high on her body's list of things to allow her to do. So a moment later, she's grinning at him and nodding. "Sure. Though, you know, you don't have to. I mean, don't get me wrong. You are cute, and easy to talk to, but don't feel like you gotta save me from myself."

She frowns a little. "Though maybe I do need to be saved from myself. It would explain quite a few things. And a date would be nice. I do have one of the standard little black dresses that every woman have. But then, most of the stuff I own is black," she muses. Brightening a moment later she nods. "Yes, I'd like that."

"Alright. It's decided then. I will take you on a date," there's a firm nod following this statement and a slight uneasiness at what his Karolina would say, but then it's one date, and an effort to save a girl from herself, silently Brad decides she'd be fine with it, at least under these conditions.

"Next weekend then… although — dates require phone calls to schedule them. I'll… can I have your phone number?" as much as she has no practice with this, he's very out of practice, his last real date was nearly five years ago, and he's nearly forgotten this part. "Anyways… I'll pick you up, bring you flowers, and take you for dinner. After which I'll be a perfect gentleman and return you home." Like he ought to on a first date.

"Oh sure, I can do that. But as for…" Melissa pauses, her head tilting, brow furrowing lightly. Eh, what's one more person knowing where her house is. She brightens again and nods. "Yeah, that works." She digs in her pockets until she comes out with a business card. It only has a number on it, nothing else, not even a name, but it's offered out to him. "I'll warn you though. Standing me up could be hazardous to your health," she teases.

Brad's jaw drops in mock shock and insult. "I'll have you know I've never stood anyone up before. I once got physically stuck in a shark tank and didn't stand up — " Karolina. Inconsequential, really. He issues her a smile, "Point is? I've never stood anyone up, so there's no concern there." He takes the card and reaches into his pocket to extract his wallet and a card all his own, with his full name: Bradley Russo and the name of his show underneath: The Advocate. The other incidentals are on there as well. "I'll call you. But…." he slides his card towards her, "…if you need someone to drink with in the interim…" his cheeks flush. "Don't hesitate."

Laughing as she takes the card and slides it into her back pocket, Melissa nods. "I can do that. Though do drinking sprees count as, like, mini-dates or just a couple of potential friends hanging out and saving each other from getting too drunk?" Seems now that she's drunk she just can't resist teasing him. Maybe it's the blushing.

"Ha ha," while he feigns amusement, he's still smiling, and still crimson, his eyes sparkle with actual bemusement. "Just friends. Watch yourself, I don't date, remember?" He shoots her another grin before placing his credit card on the bar. "I got this."

"That whole 'I don't date' thing might work a little better if you hadn't just got done asking me on a date," Melissa points out with a grin. "But I was just teasing. And you don't have to do the whole date thing anyway. I mean, does it really count if it's a friend date?" Though she seems tipsy enough not to care either way right now, and only adds to that with one more shot down the hatch.

"Yeah… I realize that, but you can't go through life without…" Brad waves a hand flippantly, he can't finish a thought anymore thanks to the liquor. His brain is a little fuzzy, just enough. "It counts because it's does." Infallible logic. Way to go, Brad! "And.. " he holds up a finger before reaching into his pocket for his wallet only to spy it on the bar. He flips it open, a different picture of Karolina inside it, her natural hair colour, fiery red in a mass of curls — him also in the picture. It had been a holiday, the only one they'd taken together. He clears his throat, "Karolina says it's fine." His fingers graze the lines of Karolina's face before shrugging.

While he's making his arguments, Mel is crossing her arms on the bar and resting her cheek against them, grinning as she watches him, then studies the picture. "Wait, a picture says its fine? You have to ask a picture before you date?" she asks, sounding highly amused. "Wait, wait. Is that her? Your fiance? Ouch. Honey? Word of advice. Maybe you would be able to date more if you didn't carry that around. It's sweet, really, but it's competition for any chick who might take a shine to you."

His mouth opens to speak only to close again while he shakes his head, Karolina is staying right there: in his wallet, where she belongs and he never has to let go of her. Brad sighs quietly after replacing the photo in his wallet. "That's her. She's beautiful." He always talks about her like she's still alive, attached to her even beyond the grave. "I can't let her go. She's…" the words stick in his throat, but he presses them out, "…different than anyone I've ever met." He frowns a little as he returns the wallet to his pocket. He presses his lips together before pouring another shot and downing it in one fowl swoop.

His words have her frowning and Melissa lifts her head slightly. "Brad…I understand not wanting to let her go, I really, really do. But it's been four years. You need to let her go. She's just anchorin' you to a past that no longer exists. You can remember her, and always love her and everything, but staying so attached is just gonna make you miserable until you move on," she says, voice soft and gentle.

"I never went back into our home. Not once. In four years. I moved… started over, and haven't walked into that condo…" blue eyes flit to meet Melissa's. "Not my mother's either. I work on the yard; I always worked on the yard… the garden, that's mine. Mom couldn't garden to save her life. Neither could Lina." Brad shakes his head, "All due respect, I'll put it away when I'm ready." At this rate? He'll never be ready. As an afterthought he adds, "How do you know she's dead? What if… what if she's lost and confused and is scared somewhere? It could be happen. She could be fine. Wandering somewhere confused. She'll need everything normal for when she gets back." The alcohol lets him hold onto his delusions. When he's sober? The truth is too easy to believe.

Shaking her head slowly, Melissa gives him a sad look. "It's been four years, Brad. If she wasn't killed in the bomb, you'd have found her by now. I wish I could tell you otherwise. But hey, a date, even a fake one, is a good start. Means you're not totally devoted to her still."

She reaches for the bottle, pouring them both another shot. She nearly misses her mouth when she goes to drink hers, so she's most definitely drunk now, not just tipsy. "Here…have another. It'll make it better. Hell, it's nearly makin' me forget about all the bullshit in my life."

Brad downs the next shot in quick succession. "Right. Drinking makes ev-ev-things better." He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, vowing silently never to let Karolina go. His lips press together as he shifts in his seat. "That. Will be my last for tonight." He stares at the bottle which they've made good headway on. The bartender takes the credit card, and disappears to process payment.

He takes a slow breath, cleansing as he manages a lopsided smile, all signs of depression erased from his face, "A date is a date. Fake or not, it counts, just you mind that." When the bartender returns, Brad signs the receipt.

Melissa snickers softly and sits up as straight as she can now. "I'll keep that in mind. And for the record? I like lilies. They're pretty. And why's that one your last for the night? I've had as many as you'n I'm half your size," she says, grinning impishly. "'Course, I do think I'm drunk as a skunk, but that's the point, I don't think."

He turns to face her now, the teasing has done it's magic as he takes the bottle now and brings it to his lips. The credit card is pushed back towards the bartender along with the receipt, Brad is going to buy the bottle. Questioning a man's manhood is always met with nearly obsessive vigour. He chucks the bottle before clamping his eyes shut and setting the bottle on the counter with a slight cringe and a shudder. "Wooooooooow…" he smirks as he shudders again. "I'm not drunk as a skunk but wooooooow…" There's a distinct pause before he quirks a single eyebrow, "Hey! You callin' me fat?" the words are followed up by a distinct snicker.

Melissa can't help but laugh and shake her head as she reaches for the bottle. "Not at all! In fact I do think I said you were cute earlier. It's just that you are bigger'n me. I mean, you've got like half a foot of height on me, and got all the manly muscles goin' on. Me? I'm just like, fit. But if it'll make ya feel better I could leer a little pit? Try to pinch your ass next time you get up? I'd hate to kill a man's ego. They're such fragile things, yanno?" she says, carefully enunciating 'fragile', as though it's a difficult word. And in her current state, it may just be.

The bottle is lifted and she takes a hefty swallow before trying to set the bottle down. She misses the first time, and nearly drops it, but manages to catch herself just in time. "You did make a face with that last drink though. Don't tell me that lil' ol' me is gonna drink you under the table." Pause. "Even if we don't have a table. But drink you under the bar just doesn't sound right. Sounds naughty."

"It was a big swig! And leeeeering isn't necessary!" Brad states with a broad grin while he slides the bottle towards him. "Believe me… you probably can't drink me under the tab — bar… whatever." The grin catches his eyes as they sparkle back with the mischief he basks in. In fact, more than anything he'd like to pull a prank now, if anything the liquor just releases his inhibitions further. He takes another swig of the booze, letting the tequila settle back along his tongue, burning like mouthwash.

"Woah! You okay there, Missy? Careful on your feet!" His eyebrows raise as he nods too emphatically at this fact, he's getting rather intoxicated and will likely regret this in the morning.

"Aww, no leering? And I was just startin' to like the idea," Melissa says, pouting at him, even as her eyes show the same sort of mischief. His warning has her straightening one leg so she can look down at one boot-clad foot. "And I'm not on my feet. I'm sittin' on my ass." A grin and soft snicker. "Besides, if I tried standin' up right now, I'd probably just fall on my ass. And I don't think you're in any condition to keep me on my feet right now either! Yo-you're as drunk as I am!"

"Not possible! I drink like a pro — spent a lotta time doin' it!" Brad takes another swig of the booze downing another swallow of the clear fluid. His cheeks flush a bright red under the influence of the alcohol as he shakes his head at her, too emphatically, and in the process feels his equilibrium lost thanks to the motion and tequila together.

That prompts an actual giggle from the goth. "So've I. Mostly the past few months, but still! Though I still think I'm a lightweight. Oh well. Just means I'm cheaper to get drunk. And that's always a good thing, right? But I still think you wouldn't be any help keepin' me from fallin' on my ass."

"That… could be true," Brad grins broadly with a quiet chuckle and a yawn. "So! Now that you're all liquored up, tell me your secrets!" He laughs now, it's all a joke, everything is a joke thanks to the booze. His ears are red thanks to the booze and his sense of reason is completely absorbed by the tequila, replaced with fun-loving nonsense.

Music plays through the bar, a familiar song that has Russo tapping his foot to the beat, and joining Billy Joel in his song — slightly off key, but with all of the soul of a blues musician, "Come out Virginia, don't let me" he misses a word "You Catholic girls start much too late~ Aw But sooner or later it comes down to fate~ I might as well be the one~ Only the good die young~" the last bit is said prematurely as the lyric hasn't turned in that direction. Drinking win.

"You couldn't handle my secrets!" Melissa says with a crooked grin. "Hell, you prolly couldn't handle the stories behind all my scars!" And she does have quite a few. One across her forehead, another beneath her chin, the backs of her arms are covered in lots of little scars. Luckily the rest are covered by her shirt.

But then, he's singing, and she busts out laughing. "Oh man. Yes, you have to come to karaoke night. I'll even buy your first drink or two to ensure that you get up on stage to sing. You'll come, won't you? Pleeeeeeeeease?"

"I'll be there. I might scare away your customers, but…" Brad winks as he shifts on his stool and yawns. "And now, Missy? Now, I'm out. Work tomorrow blah blah blah — " he winks at her again, almost like he forgot he winked at her already. He salutes at her, satisfied as he essentially slides off the stool, staggers to gain his balance, and offers Melissa his hand. "First! First I need to get you a cab~ Miss Miss Missy~" Should she take his hand, he'll spin her once in a circle. He's at that intoxicated point where he's all around happy.

"And yesssss. I will be there to sing loudly and off-key!"

Melissa takes the hand, and she laughs as she's spun…even when she loses her balance and stumbles into him. "No more spinning! I can't stand, much less spin! But yes. Cab. Cabs are good. Walking home from here is never a good idea. There are mean guys who don't like me here. And don't forget to call, Mister Brad."

"I won't. I was a lot less drunk when we… when we… talked about that…" Brad staggers back as she spins into him. Carefully he guides her to the door and hails a cab for her, even in his drunken state, his childhood training stays at the forefront of his thoughts; his mother taught him to be a perfect gentleman. When the cab stops, he opens the door for her. "Be safe, Missy." She earns one last small smile.

Melissa grins the whole way out of the bar. "That was fun. We should do that again sometime. Oh, and Brad? You're not fat," she assures him a stage whisper, before giving his butt a little pat. Soon as that's done though, she's half falling into the cab and laughing even as she gives the cabbie her address.

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