You're taking me where? (Atten: Xeph)
It was slightly perplexing and Nikhila really had no idea what to make of the situation. On the one hand she was quite happy to be spending non-Academy, non-Pack time with Xeph. There was only so far a relationship could go when students and the mystery lab project were the principle topics of conversation, but on the other hand he was taking her where?
Granted neither of them had been terribly specific about when and where they wanted to go out but apparently, she was going to have ideas next time. Because once the idea had come up some one, who would remain nameless, wouldn't let it go.
"You know they'll make you wear shoes. They have to cover themselves in case you drop something heavy on your foot."Â?
To make a suggestive joke about dropping balls was not Nikhila's style and that was as close as she would get.
She hesitated a bit outside looking up and the extremely large building, this was very much not her style. However, she made up her mind to enjoy herself and simply followed Xeph upstairs. At least the bowling alley area wasn't crowded, that was encouraging.
She half giggled at the racks of shoes behind the attendant. Certainly she wasn't keen on wearing rented shoes but...
"I'm not certain I've ever been bowling. You'd think I'd remember something like that."Â?
There were memories of course, faint, fuzzy, and she honestly couldn't say if they were hers or someone who came before. Either way they weren't that distinct so Nikhila suspected that bowling was not central to anything important.
She teased, although she was also certain the promise would be delivered upon, at least she had been. Xeph seemed distracted.
Nikhila was not a warrior and she knew it. She was also not naturally suspicious but she also wasn't un-observant. Small subtle clues from Xeph and to a lesser extent Reign and Aishe, who were missing their dates, along with the glaringly obvious fact that Bastian and Kem hadn't come back yet made her wonder. She was aware of Xeph's suspicions regarding Reign's boyfriend and was starting to think perhaps Bastian had suspicions of his own. If she had any additional information to offer she would, as things stood now she'd just be more alert. That was all she could do.
If it hadn't been for her recent attack she would have simply assumed the two men were involved in an innocent conversation. She was mildly irritated with herself for letting that once incident make her so wary.
Smiling at Xeph's spare she, however, refrained from saying anything suspecting he was considering the situation as well. Probably from a far different view point than she was and Nikhila didn't want to interfere with that.
She grinned at her neighbor, but the expression was somewhat strained. Kem's emotions right now were turbulent, and he was uncomfortable in addition to still being frustrated. She was feeling it so clearly that it was difficult to keep from feeling the same way.
Waving her hand she said, "Hey, looks like they've finally managed to find some more drinks."
As Kem approached with a serious expression on his face, she sent to him, [What is it, 'Isu-mery? How'd Bastian manage to get you in this mood?]
She tilted her head as he approached, looking incredibly distracted and faintly unhappy, and reached out to take his hand. "Thanks for the drink run. I decided to help you out by not bowling your turn for you." Trying to get a smile out of him, she offered him one of her own. She was rewarded with a distracted half-smile as Kem looked up, noted that it was, indeed, his turn, then walked out and bowled a perfect strike without batting an eyelash.
[Your neighbor has an interesting boyfriend. I think we should leave when it's convenient to do so.]
He wasn't sure which was more disturbing. The fact that Bastian was (pretty obviously) a werewolf; the fact that Aidan Xephier, eligible bachelor and rich guy, was also a werewolf and from what Kem had researched thus far somewhere high up in whatever werewolf rank there was; or the much simpler fact that his and Aishe's neighbor was able to hold a completely normal conversation in fluent Italian regarding accidental murders and covering up bodies.
Kem had experienced some strange things in his time, but he was going to go with door number three there. Oddly enough, the werewolf thing didn't bother him as much as one might expect.
Realizing he'd just bowled himself a damn decent strike, and that he'd better snap out of this if he wanted to at least look halfway normal, he straightened, made a motion as if wiping off his hands, and said to Bastian, "Good advice, coach."
It was the best he could do under the circumstances.
Turning to Bastian he smiled and said, "Whatever you said worked. Can you fix my bowling, too?"
Everyone seemed fairly tense now, and Xeph was doing his best to keep this situation from getting unfriendly. he nudged Nikhila gently and pointed to the screen. "Your turn again." Leaning close to her, he lightly touched his forefinger to the tip of her nose then leaned down to give her a quick kiss.
With enough of it, she could finish off this game and they could bust out of here without a problem.
Not trusting his voice to not betray his emotions, when casually questioned by Aidan about bowling tips, Bastian merely grinned, and shrugged. From there he returned to take his turn, also bowling a strike, and couldn't get back to his seat fast enough after.
All he wanted to do now was grab Reign, make their goodbyes, and leave for home. Unfortunately it was her turn again, so about all he could do was pull her into a casual hug.
"Knock em dead, Cara."
It wasn't a very appropriate cheer, but it seemed to be the only thing he could come up with at the moment.
His eyes were glued to Reign now, not wanting to see ridicule, disgust, or disbelief in Kem, or anything at all in Aidan. If he was going to retain any semblance of normalcy while they were forced to remain there, he knew he'd need to keep his focus off anything werewolf related. There would be more time for that later anyway.
And she did wind up with Athena as a middle name but hey, you could go your whole life without people knowing your middle name.
Aishe seemed to grow more serious, Kem’s strike was a clear indication he was distracted. The doc seemed to be trying to keep the mood though.
OK that was hard to miss. Reign didn’t like the less than enthusiastic/chatty response to her vet. Sure they weren’t the closest of friends but she did like and respect the man and had no idea why Bastian was being so out of sorts. Shrugging an apology to the doc, sighed mentally and did her best to stay upbeat and playful.
She laughed at the cheer.
“They are inanimate objects Lupo I don’t think I can kill them again…”
Her tongue sticking out from between her lips she concentrated and succeeded in throwing a smashing gutter ball.
“Go me! I totally avoided pin-acide!”
She did pick up five or six pins on the next go round and cheerfully flopped next to Bastian sprawling on the not so comfortable plastic seats. Keeping her voice low, she spoke only to him.
“Relax. We’re fine. It’s a big public place I can’t see anything terribly drastic happening tonight. Deep breath and let it go. We’ll talk later.”
There was no way to know what he and Kem had been talking about but what ever it was he was worse than when they went to go have their chat. Why did she think this was going to be a problem later?
Xeph was at least making an attempted, but Bastian’s avoiding that effort gave her a sense of foreboding. She was quite suddenly pulled out of herself as Xeph kissed her. It was quick and more or less chaste but welcome. She smiled at him.
“I think I’ll need it.”
Suddenly that simple phrase took on more than one meaning.
Slightly distracted, and not in the good way she had been earlier, she missed a spare by one pin only knocking nine down. Turning to her mate, she shook her head.
“Missed it by that much.”
That was the truth. Kem, while often the more sensitive of the two of them, was also (obviously) much older and quite frequently more controlled and measured in his responses to others. While his outward discomfort was obvious to the entire group, it wasn't tremendously overt and certainly not really disturbing to anyone else, Aishe figured. To her, however, linked as she was to Kem, he was very upset and it showed in every move he made.
Aishe, determined to try and keep the spirit of the evening going, turned to Reign and laughed. "Pin-acide? It sounds like you're about to kill a walrus."
She found her purple bowling ball amongst the various others on the conveyer belt and took her turn, again scoring a modest 7 pins. The second round netted her just one more, and Aishe considered that a decent followup to her one strike of the night.
"Well," she said with mock disappointment, "I don't suppose I could have expected the greatness to last all evening. Back to mediocrity I go." She followed the statement with a smile though; she wasn't really concerned with her score. Just playing the game was fun.
[Of course we can finish it out,] he sent to Aishe. [I'm sorry though, this isn't exactly what either of us had planned for our one night together this week.]
The night was still young though; it was barely ten o'clock. There was plenty of time left to enjoy, and make up for this awkwardness. Kem kept half an eye on Aidan and half an eye on Bastian, not entirely sure where that put the other two halves. He did manage to dig up a smile from somewhere at Aishe and Reign's banter.
"I think you mean pinniped-acide," he pointed out before approaching the lane himself. Waiting on Nikhila to bowl, he took his own turn and then went back to where Aishe sat, oblivious to the sound of yet another strike behind him.
"You could never be mediocre," he protested upon hearing her words. Standing behind her, he reversed the positions they'd been in to start, wrapping his arms around her and laying his cheek on the top of her head, giving her a brief hug.
Watching Kem bowl yet another ridiculous strike, he muttered, "That is just unreal. I think I'm jealous."
His own final frame netted him a spare and then eight additional pins, and he was able to sit back, relax, and take off these stupid shoes in exchange for his worn comfortable loafers.
"I believe that'll be it for us tonight," he said as Nikhila took her final turn. Lookig at reign he added, "It was nice bumping into you. And good to meet you all."
Yes, it was definitely good to meet Bastian. And Xeph had a little extra reconnaissance to do now, to figure out what all these people were about.
He nodded at her words, wanting to do nothing more than spill his own, but refused to create an even bigger stir than he already had, so remained mute. For the appearance of agreement he did take a deep breath.
Finishing his turn, he added nine pins, then his first and only gutter ball of the night. Fortunately, if he had been concerned, everyone else appeared to be wrapping things up, and didn't seem to notice how his last ball was thrown so badly that it almost jumped into the next lane. For a split second he wondered how well he might have done if he had paid any attention to the game at all.
Still driven by his upbringing, Bastian walked between the two groups, and extended his hand to Aidan again.
"Good to meet you as well Aidan, Nikhila. I apologize for my somewhat absent behavior tonight...I've some pressing issues on my mind, and find I haven't been very successful in keeping them at bay."
The movtive behind his apology might not have been truthful, but the apology itself was sincere. He had learned a long time ago that if he wanted to succeed at business, or anything else important, there would be times when he would need to eat his words, and do things he really didn't agree with. He didn't consider that act affected his integrity, but was just a tool of the trade, to be used for survival, as long as he didn't have to totally lie.
Plus, taking into consideration the horrid way his conversation with Kem had turned out, Bastian didn't think a little reparation now would hurt. Better late than never...or safe than sorry?
Moving to sit on the bench and change his shoes, Bastian's eyes met Reign's whith what he hoped was a silent apology to her as well.
Reign called to Kem and Aishe. She might be one of two people, maybe three, still trying to keep the mood light, but she was trying. Undoubtedly she was going to get her share of tension later. Leaning up against Bas as he sat there it wasn't hard to feel that he hadn't let things go, but he was at least trying to keep up appearances. If she could just keep him calm when they got home they might be able to talk things out. Some times he could be so... high strung? Difficult? Hot headed? All of the above and she -really- didn't want to yell.
Her mind wandered around until it made sense of the Latin roots and she rolled her eyes at the mushy educated couple.
"I'm making up words on the spur of the moment work with me."Â?
Sorry to see the Doc go, but intrigued by the part he apparently played in tonight's events she decided Sirius might just 'come down' with something soon. That and she was calling her mother to get more info on Nikhila. Something was -so- going on her and damned if she wasn't going to find out what.
In the meantime she took some consolation in the fact that Bas was civilly taking his leave of the other couple.
"We'll see ya Doc and you'll have to give Ma some grief for me next time you see her Nikhila."Â?
She took her last turn and managed to look sucky. Oh well at least Hans wouldn't yell at her for straining her arm. That was a happy thought.
She grinned softly at Bas as he changed his shoes and she kicked off hers too. Yeah there was an apology there but other than his moodiness she didn't know for what so she couldn't -quite- accept yet.
Kem's strike and the reaction it brought made her laugh.
"I think I approve of your score."Â?
She said to Kem. While they couldn't be called fast friends she did like Kem and was rather concerned that he was... concerned and felt it appropriate to jibe both men in hopes of keeping things as light as they could.
Shaking her head at Reign she declined as well as impulsively offering her hand to Bastian.
"She is a lovely woman I'm not sure I could. It was nice to meet you. I hope you all have a pleasant evening."Â?
Replacing her rented shoes with her own Nikhila was more than happy to agree to Xeph's wanting to leave. They could either talk or maul, maybe both. Yes both might be appropriate.
[Why should you apologise?] she sent to Kem as they wrapped it up and put their shoes back on. [Tell me what happened, and we'll work it out.]
They made their goodbyes, thanked Reign and Bastian for the invite, shook hands and made pleasantries for a minute or two with Aidan and Nikhila, and then headed out from the arcade, walking back home hand in hand.
Kem was on edge the entire time, and by the time they made it through their front door, Aishe understood why.
((ooc: Kem and Aishe out))
Wrapping an arm around Nikhila's waist, he bid Kem and Aishe a good night as they headed to the counter and turned in their shoes.
As the group dissipated and went their own separate ways, Xeph pulled Nikhila close.
"Kind of an interesting night, wouldn't you say?"
They made their way out to the street and to where Xeph had parked his car. "Maybe we'll take the seminar next time."
Bastian made him wonder. He didn't think he was quite finished with that one, but where the acquaintance might lead was up in the air. That was Reign's protector? He liked Reign... he wanted her safe. Hopefully Bas would find the means and the skills to keep her that way.
For now though, he put the matter out of his mind. Nikhila was next to him, and there was something to be taken care of.
"I believe you ordered a mauling?"
He turned to her, grinned, and turned the engine on. "I think I can accommodate you."
((ooc: Xeph and Nilkhila out!))
Trailing only slightly behind and to Reign's side, he let his hand caress the space of her back between her shoulder blades.
He knew he owed her an explanation, and had no desire to run from doing just that, but right now all he could think of was a large brandy, some good music, and an hour in his easy chair.
"We going back to the ranch, or staying in town tonight?"
Sliding his arm to her shoulder, Bastian pulled Reign close enough to kiss the side of her head. She had been so patient with him tonight that it really tore at his heart to foresee where the rest of the night might lead, but he had no choice. All he could offer, in his defense, was the love he had for her, and the need to do whatever was in his power to make sure she was happy, and safe. Nearly certain that his definition of happy and safe would probably differ from her's was where the anxiety lay.
Oh for the days like they'd had back in college, when life was so uncomplicated, and visions of the future seemed to offer nothing but promise. He wondered if the two of them would ever find something akin to that again. Given the options, he tried to be optimistic, but nights like tonight seemed to imply the challenges might just be...
No, he refused to think they wouldn't work things out, somehow. He hadn't gone through everything he had gone through to give up now. He hoped she felt the same way, and he kissed her temple a second time as they stepped into the night and the soft swish of the doors could be heard behind them.
(Bastian and Reign out)