Here's to First Dates. (Attn: Reign)
Will paced his apartment, rubbing his palms along his jeans. She had called the day before, she wanted to meet some where for coffee or something. It had been years, several decades, fine...more than a century, since he'd had a first date. He didn't date. Life did not need the complications of a woman, not to mention that beyond seduction he found himself shy and tongue tied. How in the nine hells was he going to pull off coffee or something?
Sighing, he moved to the little table that held his things and put them on his person in their proper places. He'd fed a few days ago so he was glad to not be distracted by hunger, well at least not that kind. He closed his eyes and pulled the spunky blonde into the foreground of his memory. She was lovely and had a way of speaking that left him wanting to know more and more about her.
Well, she wouldn't be the first human he'd fallen for, and she probably wouldn't be the last. A beat up dark brown leather coat completed his out fit of jeans, a grey and green striped Polo shirt that his shop assistant had given him for Christmas last year over a white t-shirt, dark brown hiking type boots, and a matching belt. He hoped he looked alright and not too out of sync with the rest of the world.
The sun had set just over an hour ago and the sky far off past the towers was still painted in brilliant pinks and golds. He made his way down to the street loosing sight of that glorious sky. He loved the sunset, it was a majestic end to the day and a perfect herald to the night. The coffee shop they were meeting at was not too far from the towers, but he left early enough so that he would either arrive early or allow for some fated mis-hap.
The brass bell tied to the door tinkled as he let himself in, mis-hap free. A quick scan of the room told him she had not yet arrived. He found a table that was both intimate and public. The lighting was low, and it was in the front corner near the window, apart from the other tables. The two chairs next to the low table were dark and plush, lending to people curling up and staying awhile, maybe ordering more than one drink, to while away the time. To him it seemed perfect, he hoped Reign agreed.
There was probably Bastian to consider now but Reign kept telling herself they were just old friends. A line from Pride and Prejudice kept running through her mind, ‘we can meet now was common and indifferent acquaintances’. And as much as she had disliked the book, she found herself agreeing with the sentiment.
A long sleeved blue turtleneck and a sky blue scarf (she did love scarves and wore them when the weather got the least bit chilly) along with jeans made a nice mix of casual but slightly dressy. It sure seemed like date cloths to her, at the very least it was comfortable. And while she was looking forward to seeing William again, it seemed like a good idea to be comfortable.
She couldn’t think of any witty lines, or good topics of conversation for the evening and attempting to do so made her just a little bit late. So, when she finally got there, William had beaten her. An easy smile ran across her face when she saw him and she crossed to the table he’d picked out, quickly curling up in one of the comfortable chairs.
“Hey. Sorry I’m late.”
"Hello, Reign. No need to apologize."
He made to sit down and then remembered they were here for coffee. "What would you like to drink? Are you hungry?"
'Nervous, me? Not on your life.' But he did not succeed in fooling himself. He had no idea how this thing worked. Well he had simply followed the tide on their last meeting and that had worked out well, he would try and do the same tonight as well.
“I would kill for coffee and a scone actually. I haven’t eaten all day. What about you?”
Her own stupid fault too, she’d just gotten wrapped up in the table. It had been a while since Reign had lost track of time that badly while playing.
The words “I’m sorry it took me so long to call” almost slipped out of her mouth, but he’d said no need to apologize and Reign wound up laughing at herself instead.
“You’re going to have stop being nice. I almost apologized again and that’s something of a record. I don’t generally apologize twice in one night.”
giving a small mischievous grin, something a bit foreign to him, he went to the counter and ordered a regular coffee and a scone for Reign and earl gray and a bagel for himself. It took them only a moment to put everything on a little black tray for him, including sweetener packets and those little tubs of half and half. The girl told him to let her know if they needed refills, winked and walked away. His ears pinked slightly at her blatant overture as he carried the tray back to their table.
"One coffee and scone for you and one tea and bagel for me." He turned the tray so that her things were closest to her, then settled into his chair.
"You look lovely tonight, Reign. How have you been?"
She shot back a mischievous grin as he left to order.
OK she was feeling a lot better right now. Nerves were terrible things, you got all worked up worrying about things and then once you were there it wasn’t bad at all. In this case, it was a very good thing.
His ears turned slightly pink and Reign found herself giggling. That was damned cute, very sweet; she liked it.
The scone was broken into quarters with absolutely no ceremony, or utensils, and she nibbled at one small piece of it while shaking her head at the compliment. She looked plain but that didn’t matter.
“Busy. All sorts of things popping up just when I think I’ve got some control.”
Keeping his eyes raking up and down the sides of the street as he drove, he pulled alongside the curb when he spotted the sign for the coffee shop. For all the parking available in the area, he figured he had come at a good time, and hopefully could get something to go quick.
Sauntering across the street he pulled out his PDA and began an email to his secretary. He had decided she was going to need to either move to Nachton, or take another position, and needed to discuss the matter with her. He would never do so over an email, but did need to get together with her soon either by phone, or in person, to find out her feelings on the matter of relocation. She was still single, and had no family of her own, which led Bastian to think she might like a change. But until he talked to her he really had no idea. His email to her offered a flight to Nachton to check out the city, and make a decision, if she was interested. He also promised to call her first thing tomorrow to explain why he wanted her to visit.
Walking into the small diner, Bastian went directly to the counter, and picked up a menu. Peripherally he could tell there was a waitress wiping down one of the tables, and a few other patrons that he paid no attention to, as he scanned the list of dinner items.
"Hmmm..." He spoke to himself.
"That seems to be a theme in most peoples lives. I find that I am finally finished with all of the projects on my list, only to have three more placed before me. Though I can say no to them, but then I would have nothing to do."
He gave her a grin as he began to spread cream cheese on the piece of bagel he had broken off. He couldn't stand to spread the entire bagel at once, it was such bad manners, not to mention messy.
"According to the card you gave me you work with a pool association, which I discovered meant billiards. So do you play billiards or simply work for the association?"
He had take the card and showed it to a clanmate, who explained what pool/billiards was ad gave Will a run down of the game. He could make conversation about it and not sound like a fool, but play would be beyond him.
((sorry it took so long!))
Reign cheerfully concurred. If she wasn’t busy she’d be bored, a little bit of nothing now and a gain was a good thing but she couldn’t handle it long term it got grating.
She winced faintly when he mentioned her card but quickly recovered and smiled brightly while nodding agreement. Generally, Reign down played her ‘career’ unless it was relevant but she’d been in a hurry and it had slipped her mind what information her card would have on it.
“I play professionally. Mostly nine ball but some eight, seven and straight. I’ve done a few trick shot tournaments but I’ve never liked them they aren’t terribly practical.”
She wanted to down play things a bit, but if he asked more specific, questions Reign wouldn’t be less than direct.
While paying what seemed to be a lot of attention to her coffee, she was also carefully watching William’s reaction. Some people had odd ideas about playing pool for a living, everything from being a low class grifter and near pariah to being some sort of Las Vegas high roller. And oddly enough his opinion mattered.
“Do you play at all?”
((OOC… no worries))
"It sounds like a fun job to have. You get to play a game for a living, I can't think of a better way to spend ones time. Unless, of course, it's playing with bits of wood and nails."
He cave a small chuckle, and took a sip of tea. It was incredibly good, this place used a very high quality tea. "I'm sad to say I've never played the game. I tend to stick to more...individual entertainments, reading, working, walking along the beach."
He grinned at her over his mug as he sipped his tea again. The more he spoke with Reign the more interesting she became, and he found himself hoping that they would have many such date. 'How odd.'
Accepting the coffee, Bastian took the cup, and also picked up a copy of the days paper that had been lying on the counter. With the two items in hand, he moved to an empty booth, and sat down. Sipping the coffee he was relieved to find it was quite good, and hope that reflected on the quality of the food as well.
When he raised the paper to look it over, his eyes strayed to the scene above it, and he noticed the people in the restaurant for the first time. Fortunately he had swallowed the coffee, otherwise he would have spit it out all over the newsprint.
Reign? Reign was there, and he hadn't noticed? And...she was with a...man? At least he was pretty sure it was a man. From the back of the person's head...full of lush blond curls he wasn't absolutely certain. No...it was a man, and Bastian felt heat move up the back of his neck as old jealousies kicked in.
It wasn't rational that he would feel as he did, but with Reign things often weren't. She had always been the one thing in his life that he considered really good, and loving, and even with the way things had gone later, he never stopped loving her, or wanting her in his life always. Marrying Vince had been one thing, since Bastian had removed himself from her life. He couldn't really expect her to pine away for him forever. But now he was back, and she didn't seem at all anxious to rekindle what they once had.
First he felt jealous of the attention she was giving the mystery man, and then he felt hurt. The hurt didn't last though, as his self preservation armor came up to shield him, and he then became both angry and curious. He held the paper up so that it appeared he was reading it, but continued to watch the couple above the top. His keen hearing was directed towards the table that wasn't far away, and he blatantly began to eavesdrop.
'...do you play at all?' What was she asking him about...pool? '...never played the game...stick to more...walking along the beach.' Bastian choked back a laugh and raised the newspaper to retain his cover as he shook his head at the silly romantic notions the man appeared to be laying on Reign. Surely she would see through such drivel and would turn the guy away. Reign always had been too smart to fall for such nonsense. Sure she had her romantic side, and memories of times together filled his mind. But he quickly stashed them away, not wanting to miss any further dialogue between the two.
She grinned a little at the thought. Very few people, even excellent players, could make the tour let alone hold a top ranking and since she still enjoyed it there was no better place for her, dissertation or not.
“How’d you get involved in carpentry, it sounds like you don’t just do that because you have to. After all you can’t force art.”
Well they had met on the beach so that made some sense didn’t it.
“Funny, I only seem to wind up at the beach when I’m bent out of shape, really tired or when the mutt feels a need to drag my arm off.”
She’d always gravitated towards water when troubled. It didn’t matter the size or location of the body of water just having it there and running made all the difference in the world.
"When I was a boy, my family had too many mouths and not enough food so I was taken in by a carpenter that needed an extra pair of hands to fetch and carry for him. I grew and became his apprentice. It became my passion, my life. Now I can't imagine doing anything else."
Will nodded and spread cream cheese on another piece of bagel.
"I find the water soothing when troubled or over taxed. I find that the ocean puts things into perspective for me. When I'm feeling too big, it cuts me down to size. When I am feeling small, it shows me that we're all part of something bigger and my place is important. It's one of those things you can always count on. Do you know what I mean?"
Will placed the pice of bagel in his mouth and chewed thoughtfully. The ocean and wood, were two things in this world that never changed, and that made them his two favorite things.
He couldn't help but grin as she went on to elaborate about her time at the beach. Bent out of shape? Bastian chuckled at the vision that phrase created in his mind. He had seen her 'bent out of shape' on a few occasions, and while it was often painful for him, he never tired of seeing that fire in her. Elbows to the ribs...heels to his instep...she was notorious for letting him know just how bent out of shape she could be, usually at his instigation.
But those memories were pre-bite...pre-wolf...pre-leaving her, and now so much time had elapsed that he feared she might have convinced herself she no longer felt anything for him. Maybe he would no longer be able to bend her 'out of shape'. He frowned.
Bastian found himself becoming less patient with the scene before him. It didn't help that the man she was with seemed...nice. The man also seemed a little 'wimpy', so Bastian was able to remain semi-calm. He figured for any man to stand half a chance with Reign, they would need to be at least as strong as she was, or she'd wind up just knocking them over as she moved through her life.
Bastian sat a bit straighter in the booth as he felt his confidence increase. She needed him...she wouldn't admit it, but she needed a man who was equal to her in strength, and ambition, and passion. And as far as Bastian was concerned, there was only one such man in the world.
The waitress brought his bagged order, and check as he sat at the table. Suddenly he wasn't near as hungry as he had been. He got a coffee refill after paying for the food, and remained seated, and listening.
Reign had the good grace to look slightly sheepish and shake her head.
“I’ve asked you that before haven’t I? I’m sorry I’m lousy at first dates, I’m never quite sure what to say or do and so I get to be a complete dork.”
This gave way to a memory of one of her very first dates ever, she’d deliberately stomped (not stepped, -stomped-) on the guys foot. That made her smile for a second, until she remembered the guy in question had also ditched her and was now lurking about Nachton.
Trying to get over being slightly uncomfortable about her blunder she shifted position curling in the squashy chair in a different manner.
“You think that would be something a person would be able to get over. I can handle being stared at by a crowd and performing under pressure but stick me on a date and I’m hopeless.”
"It think we are bungling along just fine. I don't have the pleasure to go on many first dates, as I tend to be a work horse, so you've not offended me in any way."
He smiled gently at her and removed his hand from her knee. "Would you like to go for a walk? We had success with that when last we met, perhaps we will again."
She was far from hopeless, and he would say the same for both of them. It would just take time.
From his vantage point, Bastian could see Reign's face, but only part of the man. He had no trouble seeing the man's hand as it caressed his woman's knee though, and the growl that escaped his lips was one he was sure would have been heard by everyone in the diner. Jealousy was an evil monster that Bastian had to keep a tight grip on, but after all this time of wanting her back, the monster wasn't going to let anyone else get in the way. So he fought with the demon while his eyes fixated on the hand until it was removed, and the monster calmed down. What anyone else thought of his verbal noise of disapproval didn't cross his mind, with the exception of one.
And it was that one he continued to watch, hoping she would come to her senses and tell the guy to take a walk...away...far, far away.
As he felt something warm in his lap, Bastian looked down. The end of the newspaper had gotten into his coffee, wicked the liquid up and onto the table, which then proceeded to drip over the edge and onto his slacks.
"Merde!" And again a sudden burst of noise came from his booth as he jumped up and away from the still dripping coffee.
Grabbing a fistful of napkins he began to try and swipe away as much liquid as he could but quickly could see it was futile. It was fortunate he wore dark pants, as the evidence of his inattention wasn't very noticeable, but it was also far from a pleasant feeling.
The waitress must have heard or seen what happened, because she miraculously appeared at his side with a clean rag to help him in his dilemma. However, once she began wiping him off, Bastian got the distinct impression she was attempting to do just a little more than was truly necessary. Her touches were not as chaste as they should have been if her only motive had been to help. Yet she had come to his rescue, and he didn't want to appear completely ungrateful.
"Thank you, but I think that's about as good as it will get." He grinned, but kept his voice firm. He didn't need or want anyone else's attentions now.
She grinned wickedly. Yeah she had a big mouth and wasn’t afraid to have an opinion but sooner or later it got her in trouble with just about everyone, at least for a little while.
A walk sounded like a great idea, roaming around the city a little might give them something else to talk about too and ease some of the awkwardness. She’d been about to agree when there was a bit of a commotion.
Oh holy shit. Reign’s jaw hit the ground and was stunned for a second or two while she tried to work this out. She was furious, embarrassed and yet she wanted to laugh. Anger was the easiest one to work with. If she had any sense she’d get up and punch him again, or at least tell him off. How dare he spy on her! The bastard was turning into a stalker.
Taking a deep breath she forced a smile and looked back to Wil.
“Yeah I think a walk is a good idea. It’s getting a little noisy in here.”
Just ignore him and he’d go away. She was going to try that.
Even pissed off though Reign worried she wasn’t being fare to the man in front of her. Did she still have feelings for Bastian? Should she work that out first?
No. Absolutely not. He’d cut her off and that’s how it would stay. Wouldn’t it?
"There is a shopping center not to far from here, or we could walk along the side walks."
That might be better, since he wouldn't have to either explain that he had a fear of elevators and persuade her to take the stairs or face the fear and sweat bullets for a few minutes, thus ruining her estimation of him either way. He hoped she chose the city sidewalks.
Standing, he offered her his hand. "Shall we?"
But he couldn't just let her walk off.
Convincing the waitress he was in need of no further 'patting down', Bastian managed to send her on her way. He knew it would be impossible for him to appear at all suave or worldly, standing there with coffee dampening his pants as well as his spirit, but at least he could manage to retain a small bit of dignity. Or he should be able to if he could hold back his temper and not make the still small situation into a bigger fiasco.
Picking up his bag of food, he put his free hand into his pocket, but made no attempt to move. Standing at the end of his table, facing Reign and the man, Bastian nodded and smiled. The diner seemed unholy quiet at the moment, as if something was just waiting to happen.
"Hello Reign, you're looking as beautiful as ever, and the scarf is a nice touch." He couldn't help but remember a similar scarf he'd gifted her with, lo so many years ago. He wondered if she still had it...or if she had kept the ring he'd given her...or if, like she'd done with the blue streaks in her hair, she had gotten rid of them as well.
He continued to watch her eyes, expecting fire, and more words of recrimination, and steeling himself against that.
“We’ll just have to see where our feet take us.”
Reign hated shopping.
A great deal of profanity in several languages ran through her head. Why, why, why did he have to walk up just then. Just when she was leaving.
Unable to justify her violent reaction of their first meeting Reign set about playing polite. All the while wondering what he wanted. Hadn’t she made herself clear, couldn’t he let the past go?
“Funny seeing you here.”
Read ‘If you are stalking me I’ll slap you with a restraining order faster than you can say eight ball in the side.’
“Will, this is Bastian he’s ... we knew each other when we were in school. He’s a recent arrival to the city. Bas, Will we were just on our way out.”
The last few words were very pointed. Reign had no desire for this to get confrontational.