I Can't Stand It, I Know You Planned It
Ima Set It Straight, This Watergate
I Can't Stand Rockin' When I'm In Here
'Cause Your Crystal Ball Ain't So Crystal Clear
So, While You Sit Back And Wonder Why
I Got This Fucking Thorn In My Side
Oh My God, It's A Mirage
I'm Tellin' Y'all It's Sabotage
- Beastie Boys
Hammerthynn had asked him out to lunch. He even said he'd pay. Right then he knew something was wrong.
'First off - why are we eating here? If you have bad news to tell me, your 'butter up' skills are lacking.'
Brig grinned at his unresponsive cousin who just looked out the small diner's window. Looking over, Brig could see the heat waves rising up from the streets with patrons quickly running by, sweating in almost nothing clothing, sandals and sweat stained faces.
It was hot. Really, really hot.
Still, Brig sat comfortably in the air conditioned diner with his short sleeve polo shirt and khaki pants. He tapped his fingers on the table as he waited for his cousin to confess.
'I spoke to Xeph. He,' their waitress came by just then, interrupting him with their ice water. Hammer passed on anything other than something to drink, however his cousin took him up on his offer of a free lunch and ordered a large one.
Brig was the only man he felt comfortable enough with to smile around. Xeph shared Brig's sense of humor but Hammer still drew the line with his Alpha. A good friend yes, almost like a son (the kind of son he would have wanted) but still his Alpha. Brig on the other hand was the closest thing to a brother he'd ever have and with this thought he genuinely smiled at him, his eyes cast downward as he waited for him to finish his order.
The waitress left with nary a look at Hammer's face, but he was used to it. It was as if his gnarled missing eye showed them something in themselves they didn't want to see. A soul gaze almost. People reacted differently to savage scars and the look of disgust that crossed their face was always tempered with curiosity.
'The Alpha has ordered me to be a liaison to the vampire clan. Marthinus' family. To her.' Hammer clenched his jaw muscles and turned a bitter eye back out the window.
'Jesus Hammer. Are you trying to kill,' he tried clearing his throat and coughed loudly for a few more moments before regaining his voice. 'Are you trying to fucking kill me? A liaison to who? To Tacharan? What the hell for?'
The waitress came back by and asked if he was alright, but he waved her on.
'A routed* army, you mean!' Brig yelled, drawing attention to their table.
Hammer's arms were on the table and he lifted his right hand to calm Brig down. 'Not if we handle it correctly. I'm going to leave that up to you, though. You're their commander so I fully expect you to keep the rest of the Pipers in line.'
What was left of them, he thought. They had brought over almost a dozen to replace the Pipers that died by the vampires hands or indirectly. Granted Michaels was responsible for his own death but also for the deaths of four very good, very closely related Pipers. Michaels had effectively killed the spirit of the team, at least, that's what he kept telling himself. Hammer didn't want to admit it, but their blinding hate for the vampires, specifically Duban and her companion Huntington, had a profound effect on their ability to protect and serve the pact. The Pipers weren't at the Hammerthynn's inherited memory's blood thirsty call.
'The Pipers are for the pack. If you and I were ever created for anything, Brig, it was to protect the pack.'
And they had failed horribly at it.
((OOC - *A rout is commonly defined as a chaotic and disorderly retreat or withdrawal of troops from a battlefield, resulting in the victory of the opposing party, or following defeat, a collapse of discipline, or poor morale.
The waitress returned again with his lunch; a triple medium rare cheeseburger with a heaping of garlic fries. Nodding, but with a stern face, Brig picked up his burger and bit into it. He spent a few moments chewing it, mulling over what Hammer had said.
'So when do we go?'
'We? No, not us. It'll be Marthinus and I.' He looked at Brig's hamburger again. 'How is that?'
'Oh, you mean I don't have to go?' He smiled then, a huge shit eating grin (not literally) and took another bite of his burger. With his mouth full he laughed. 'Well then, I have zero problems with this. Enjoy!' Brig lifted his hamburger happily and toasted Hammer's ice water with it.
'And this is fucking delicious. Get your own.'
Hammerthynn snorted and leaned back in the booth trying to pop his back and stretch his long legs. He looked around the diner and noticed more people were coming in for a meal. Checking his watch he noted the time - 4:45pm.
'I'm glad we had this little talk, Brig,' he said more to himself since Brig was busy wolfing down his burger. No pun intended.
'Alright, I'm going to go find Marthinus and see if he's ready.' Hammer raised an eyebrow and gave Brig another rare smile. He pointed at Brig. 'See you later?'
Brig nodded with his mouth full and pointed back. With that Hammer slid out of the uncomfortable booth and made his way to the front door. The people standing around waiting for a table seemed to part like the red sea for him and he barely had to slow down to exit.
((OOC - Hammer out))
Carol waved a makeshift paper fan in her face trying to cool off. She had been spending more and more time above ground during the day and she realized she wasn't used to the warm summers like she used to be. Hell, she grew up on the east coast and this heat was killing her. On queue her stomach began to growl and she slowed her pace down the sidewalk of the Strip to find somewhere to eat.
Carol had been running errands, not for the clan, but for herself for a change. She was making use of her city apartment and it needed updating badly. The air conditioner, for one, had died at some point but since she had spent all her time in the Domicile, she never bothered to fix it. That and a laundry list of other maintenance things she had to have fixed. With a sigh she looked at the signs over the eateries and tried to make a reasonable decision.
'Happy Dragon. Noooo. Happy Pete's. No. Happy...what the fuck, why is everyone happy?' Carol muttered to herself as she slowed to a stand still, waving the fan in her face. She looked around and realized she had stopped in front of a diner and it seemed as good as any. The sign said 'O'toole'. At least it wasn't 'Happy O'toole', she thought to herself.
Pushing in the front entry way the cold air immediately hit her and she moaned loud enough for people to stop and stare.
'AWESOME SAUCE!!!' Carol purred and tucked her fan away into her large bag. Looking around she immediately became discouraged at the sight of a full establishment.
'Crap,' she took a couple steps into the diner and looked around for an empty table. No dice. Turning to leave her path was suddenly blocked by an eight hundred foot bear.
'Oh, excuse...me?' It took her a full ten seconds to make the trek from his waist to his head and she was pleasantly surprised to see a smiling face.
'Hey, you're not a bear,' Carol noted happily.
She was about five foot nothing, maybe one hundred pounds wet with long blond hair and legs from here to Kookamonga. Brig looked her up from head to luscious toe and put his burger down. The blond wandered into the diner, muttering to herself and passed his table. Looking around he saw that the rest of the diner had filled up and there was nary a table for the young lady. Wiping his hands with his napkin he slid out of the booth and turned to watch her.
Now, Brig was tall. Very tall. And the young lady was...well not. He threw his paper napkin back onto the table and smiled down at her. She then called him a bear.
'Wha?' Brig laughed and gave her an odd smile. 'No miss, but I had someone call me a wolf once.' Then Brig gave her his award winning, 'Hi next Mrs. Ex Jameson', brilliant smile.
'The diner is full, would you care to join me?'
'You know what, that would be very cool of you.'
Carol tossed her bag into the booth and slid in after it. She was wearing a mini denim skirt and a crisscross banded red top that made her look every bit the college student. It was a little funny sitting across from someone that could have been twenty years her senior. She gave him a good look as he sat back down at the booth.
His clothes were pressed and his khakis had a crease sharp enough to cut. His hair was a little like Simon's, only shorter. A flat top that combed forward but the front was pushed back in a cute arch. He was fair skinned that had a mixture of a nice light tan and freckles. He had freckles everywhere, in fact. Across his nose, cheeks and even on the edge of his lips. His eyes were ice blue and his hair red with a smattering of grey.
Then she realized she was staring.
The blush in her cheeks burned as she started to look around for a waitress who fortunately was on her way over.
'Hey, hi. Could I get...'
Five minutes later...
'But the fries not raw or anything, but golden. Golden brown. Only not brown. The tips are ok if they're brown.'
The waitress flipped closed her book and tucked it back into her waist band, leaving Carol to her table mate.
'So hey, hi. I'm sorry. I'm picky.' She bit down on her index fingernail, had there been one since she had been chewing them down to the quick since Simon had woke up. Carol gave him a sheepish grin and introduced herself as she reached across the table and offered her hand.
'My name is Carol. Thanks for the table!'
She had to be about twenty, maybe twenty three but certainly not any older than twenty five. Young, yes but Brig had no problems talking to younger women and he almost preferred them. They were more relaxed in social situations and very curious in bed. He considered bedding this one but he scratched his chin and decided he wouldn't be as arrogant as that and chose to enjoy her quirky company.
Of course if it came down to sex, he had no problem with that either.
The waitress approached the table again and the young lady began her long winded order. Brig bit down on his bottom lip as the order stretched on for at least five minutes. She was picky, very picky. Even down to the temperature of her burger and color of her fries. Brig gave the waitress a sad nod as she turned away quite annoyed.
As Carol introduced herself he reached up and easily shook her hand without moving. She, however, had to lean across the table to do it and again he was tickled by her smallness.
'I'm Brian. Nice to meet you, Carol.'
Brig decided to forgo using his nickname with Carol. He wasn't sure why but he thought his formal name would just be easier. The military term always seemed to be lost on some people. It had been a while since he had gone by Brian, anyway.
'Did you come in out of the heat?' Brig started as he openly looked her over as she had done him. Her hair was that waxen gold, shiny with almost a golden glow. That either cost a lot of money or her parents were exceptionally good looking, he thought. Her eyes were a bright yet deep blue, like the deep sea waters. Everything about her was young, her face, the softness of her skin and the smile that touched her eyes. It was an easy smile, one that came naturally and he immediately liked that about her. The rest of her he'd save for later, god willing.
'It's a nice heat, though. It's never this warm at home, that's for sure.'
Upon meeting new people Carol found it prudent to curtail her conversational cursing. Some people viewed it as something done between intimate friends, good enemies or when you're raging pissed off. She figured she'd be polite though and try to appear as if she was civilized.
'Not like...well Africa hot, but hot nonetheless.'
She tucked a leg underneath her, raising her up a couple inches to barely meet his height three quarters of the way. Leaning down on both her elbows, cleavage present and accounted for, she smiled prettily.
'Have you,' Brig cleared his throat,' have you been to Africa before?'
As a werewolf he had lived for quite a long time and by being able to live more than one lifetime, Brig had encountered many women - beautiful and not so beautiful. Out of ten he had to give Carol a solid seven but admittedly the view of her young bosom gave her a good +1 on the scale.
'You don't know hot until it's a wet heat. So to speak.' Brig smiled.
'No sir, I have not.' She resisted the urge to return the volley. 'Are you from there? The red hair says European not so much...uh...brown.'
Being honest was never a possibility, even with his ex-wives. Marriage was sacred as a werewolf, but in hindsight he knew he never took it seriously, thus never telling any of his wives. Divorce was almost easier than marriage - he just gave them what he wanted and poof, they were gone. Brig figured he wasn't as selective as he should be because the thrill of getting married was more fun than being married.
It was better than living a loveless life like Hammerthynn, although he'd never say that to his cousin's face.
In the corner of her eye she caught the waitress returning with her drink and appetizer and Brian's gaze followed hers allowing her to look at him again. He had to have been a good fifty pounds heavier than Simon and just a smidge taller. Brian definitely looked older but he had aged quite gracefully which gave her a hard time guessing his age. Late 40's maybe? A very handsome 50ish? With a sigh she looked at the small wrinkles in the corners of his eyes and his rigid chin. Brian turned and looked at her again, his smile filling his face and touching his blue eyes. Carol smiled back.
'Listen, I don't know how long you've been in town, but if you ever need a guide or...whatever...a friend, I guess. Or maybe you already know your way around the city. Then why don't you give me a call for the hell of it?'
An alarm went off in her head warning her to not get friendly with someone outside the clan. It was dangerous, more for him than for her, but the other half of her was tired of being in a club that considered her hired help and...well she was tired. That half of her was all for taking a risk and meeting someone new.
'I work most nights but I almost never sleep.' She dug into her large Fendi back and wondered why such an expensive bag had so little pockets. Their waitress returned with her meal and she reached up and took a pen from her apron.
'Thanks!' The waitress glared at her.
Writing her cell number on a piece of napkin, she added her apartment number just for shits and giggles. 'You can call me anytime, the cell phone is the best way to get a hold of me but I strip at night so just leave a message.'
Brian's eyebrows rose and she snorted. 'No I'm kidding, I don't strip, but just leave a message if its at night.' She pushed the napkin across the table into Brian's hands.
'Thanks for the offer, Carol but,' Brig brought his hands back up to the table and laced his fingers back together. 'I'm good on friends, a date though....' Brig sighed dramatically. 'I am low on those.'
Carol laughed easily with Brian and enjoyed their flirting. He seemed like a nice enough fellow; tall, dark and handsome. His sense of humor was infectious and his charm was well honed, as if he had a hundred years to perfect it, she wistfully decided. There was that initially pang of guilt but Brian's smile and blue eyes made it disappear along with the discomfort she was feeling within the clan. Since the last Domicile meeting with Ellis, Carol's position within the clan had become precarious, to say the least, and her relationship with Simon tenuous at best.
She was exploring her world outside of Tacharan and that made her feel just fine.
'So, what is it that you do that keeps you working nights?'
'Actually,' she said with a full mouth, 'I'm an executive secretary for a medical facility.' The plan was to keep it vague, although what were the odds that Brian actually knew what Duibne Industries was, other than a huge conglomerate? Still, she did her best to dodge the question.
'What about you? What are you doing while you're here in town?'