Unreasonable Expectations


evan_icon.gif nadira_icon.gif chase_icon.gif

Scene Title Unreasonable Expectations
Synopsis Whether they belong to an individual or a crowd, they can mess up your day in a hurry.
Date August 6, 2010

Biddy Flannigan's Irish Pub

Ambient lighting blankets the establishment in a soft luminescence, glowing in tones of appealing orange from the front face of the bar and low hanging light fixtures overhead. Old style brick walls given the pub an appealing depth, reflecting the tone of lights in a more amber hue down upon the lengths of the polished, wooden floors. The bar counter of lacquered dark wood stretches along the northern wall, the forefront for shelves of numerous liquors and the substantially sized LCD televisions spaced liberally behind it. The screens flicker with the latest games and news as the labeled spirit bottles wink from lighted shelves with a beckon of their own. Barstools and high tables welcome tipsy patrons to their support, scattered with throughout the barroom with a few wedge into the darker, quieter, and more secretive recesses. Over the bar are a few banners of sports teams, most notably one of English football club Manchester United.

The thick wooden door to the west is fitted with a single neon sign sponsored by one of the brews on tap, glowing in the door's center window to shed its light onto the sidewalk outside and summoning in new customers when the bar is open for business.

It's a typical Friday night at the pub: dozens of conversations hazing into a sea of noise, the scent of beer soaked into the wood with a slight overtone of vomit from the alley outside. Wait, no, it's actually coming from a guy sitting underneath one of the tables with a plastic bucket in front of him. "Finish up already, we're doing shots!" says a man sitting nearby, which only turns the sick man's face that much greener. Meanwhile, further toward the back, Evan chalks up his pool cue as he waits for his turn to come around again.

Nadira's not a bad shot at pool, but as she leans over, using the pool cue to hit the ball, she nearly misses. There's a slight frown at the corner of her features before she focuses again, hitting the ball. "Sorry… got a lot on my mind."

The down side of picking such a busy hangout is that it takes some time and volume to hold more of a conversation than 'hi, want to play?'. Evan leans forward, sinking one ball into the corner pocket but missing the followup. "Anything you feel like venting about?" he asks afterward, taking a step back again.

"My brother's in town. From Egypt. I don't know how he did it, but he found me." Nadira frowns heavily, this being something that seems to bother her deeply. She moves to take her shot, a slight bit better than her last one as she gets the ball Evan missed.

With the ice finally broken, Evan motions to the bartender to bring a couple drinks over. They have to pay their keep, after all. Once that's settled, he turns back to Nadira: "So is he in with that rough crowd you mentioned, or are you just worried they might follow him to you?"

"No, I think he's in a different crowd altogether, which worries me. I have no idea what he's up to. But it's more him I'm worried about. His presence here really complicates things. He's… a bit more traditional. I'm close to him, he'd do his all to protect me, but…" Nadira shakes her head, peering back towards him.

Evan doesn't answer right away, merely resting the pool stick in the corner and thinking it over. "But I take it that 'a bit more traditional' may translate to something like 'you'll be safe if you just go stay in the kitchen'?" Of course, she was in his kitchen not too long ago, but there were no overtones of being stuck anywhere.

"More like 'I have money and can take care of you so you don't have to work in a bar which is sinful, oh, and come live with me'." That's got Nadira scowling. She eyes the pool table with distain as if it had something to do with the situation, and instead shifts around to take another shot. "He's traditional, like I said."

A half-spent cigarette arcs onto the sidewalk like a weak comet, ashes dashed upon tarmac, as a man courteously discards his cancer-stick before entering the pub. A momentary survey of the room, before he snags himself a seat closest to the door. Half-hearted rummaging within suit pockets follows, seeking a wallet, perhaps.

And that is the problem with trying to guess what flavor of annoying the world is throwing at you - sometimes you wind up underestimating. "Oh, I can't wait to find out what he thinks about me. Have you told him yet?" He takes passing note as the door opens again, but only that, as there are a lot of other people in between.

Nadira follows Evan's gaze back towards the door, but she quickly looks back at Evan himself. "What, tell him about us? That would be very… unwise. We're talking about a man who told me not to trust anyone in this town. And then he gave me a key to a safe deposit box in case 'anything went wrong'."

There is a momentary consideration, and then the latest newcomer withdraws a small pile of cash from within a coat pocket. He places this upon the bar, homage to the idiosyncrasies of New York bars, a bankroll for drinks and buy-backs. This late, Crane's sunglasses are, thankfully, off his face, one arm hooked into a shirt pocket. He awaits service, certainly, but waits patiently at the fringe of the bar, sparing staff from expectant glares.

The bartender is occupied elsewhere, and doesn't notice Crane's arrival right away. But the guy sitting next to him does, reaching over and trying to grab part of the stash. "Hey, the new guy's buying a round!" he calls out, whereupon a cheer arises from several others nearby, already too soused to consider the possibility of a misunderstanding.

Over at the pool tables, Evan makes a sour face. "More and more charming by the minute. Sounds like the question is— can you convince him to go away before he stumbles onto it on his own?"

Nadira looks up at the cheer, though she's still a bit focused on her conversation. "Convincing him to go away is like trying to convince a hobo that he really doesn't want that delicious ham sandwich you're about to bite into. Family, as he says, comes first. He pretty much blackmailed me into calling my father."

"For the love of Christ," Crane utters, watching this display of uncouth patronage beneath a disdainful, furrowed brow. It's an English accent, not Irish, certainly, but it rasps with a certain urban authenticity. He smiles, but it's a flat, unpleasant line. With stale enthusiasm, he rejoins: "Yes, yes, a round on me. Sky's the limit, brothers, don't waste it on shite." The cash-wad, by all appearances, can endure a bit of this generosity.

And another round of ragged cheers goes up. Some of them do waste it on the worst brands the pub can manage to hold its nose and serve. A few others do so on purpose, just to grate on Crane's nerves a bit further, but the rest at least take a minute to think about what they actually want.

"Well, that's at least the start of an answer," Evan replies, rubbing his chin. "Unless he's adding hypocrisy to his list of virtues, he can hardly complain if you do the same back to him. Which simply leaves the question— what's he hold dear in life, besides yourself?" Someone's read The Art of War.

"Allah. God is important in his life. So's family. Unfortunately that means he's not only critical of my lifestyle but my choices as well. He also wants to take me back to Egypt in a few months. Or, really, Syria or Libya. He's… irrational. I'm trying to make him understand, but he's pretty disapproving of my job, the way I dress…" She glances over at the bar, a slight smile tugging at her lips. "Looks like someone's feeling generous."

What did it cost the newcomer for a glass himself? Hard to guess, though he appears rather unconcerned. A better brand of pure-pot-still Irish whiskey has been dispensed for him, and judging by the volume, his momentary generosity has been rewarded, at least, by a tall measure. He gestures, wanly, to his beneficiaries, a sort of toast. His own drink, pretty, dark, amber, goes untouched for the moment.

At least no one decides to pick a fight with the Englishman over any of a hundred potential excuses. Yet. If he sticks around for another hour or so…

Evan glances over, offering a non-committal nod. "It'll run out quick, though, he's already got the vultures on him. Well, turning it around, then— does he know what drove you away in the first place? Or is that just another thing he thinks he can keep you safe from?"

"I told him that it wasn't safe for me. I didn't give him all the details but explained just enough… and he's still certain that I should have just told him in the first place and never left Egypt." Nadira scowls at the idea. "This complicates everything far more than I need."

Generous, perhaps, but not a patsy. Having gauged the vibe of the venue, the bankroll has dematerialized. Fair enough: what's a free drink amongst strangers? Crane sips briefly before rising from a briefly-occupied stool, cupping a highball of amber liquid. He meanders alongside the bar, adding distance between himself and any freeloaders.

Resuming the near-forgotten pool game at last, Evan leans across the table, seeming to stare off into the distance as he takes the next shot. "I do hate unsolvable problems— sounds like you may have one there. I suppose you could get a restraining order, worst case." Or maybe the brother will turn out to have a point of leverage after all, but damned if he can think of any likely ones.

"He's already tried to blackmail me simply to call my father. You really think a restraining order would help?" Nadira shakes her head a bit, glancing back at the pool game. She moves to take her shot before she notes the most generous of men looking more like a loner. "What do you think's up with him?" She questions, mildly distracted from her worries.

"No idea," replies Evan, after another brief look. "Maybe he's on a business trip and he's stuck on his own for the weekend? —And no, I don't think he'd obey the order on his own, not if he's willing to go to those lengths. But it's the sort of thing that could be enforced." In theory, and he doesn't offer a lot of energy in arguing that practice follows suit.

"Could be." Nadira points out, but she looks back. "Yes, I suppose you're right… it's just that he is my brother. We've been close in the past, it's just that… my life is very different from his and he cannot accept that."

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