Fancy Meeting You Here (Attn: Alex)

It wasn't the ideal place for a meeting, that s to say it was a terrible idea, but for what he was willing to spend, Eiryk was willing to deal with it. The contract would be for a hotel, an adorable little place on the outskirts of downtown, one of those boutique hotels. And it was in a historic building, he already quite a few ideas. So, he was dealing with the meeting venue.

He took the edge off with a drink, or three, during the meeting. Things had just wrapped up and he'd actually gotten the hotel owner to sign the contract and had celebrated, with another drink. Vampire or not the drinks were starting to catch up with him, that didn't bother Eiryk at all.

Really he should get going, he had some phone calls to return. Eiryk stood to leave but, well he hadn't finished his drink and sat back down to do so. It was so easy to get lost, mesmerized by the writhing bodies and really, the band wasn't bad. He could rationalize staying here a little longer.

Alex Aristos 13 years ago
Alex was completely out of place here, but he didn't let it show. It wasn't the first time he'd offered to walk one of his clients to work after class, but this was the first time he'd been to Babylon. The woman he'd come with, Jackie, was a waitress here. She'd come to two classes of his so far and he had suspected she was walking to work alone when she'd emerged from the dressing room in the studio both times in a skimpy mini-skirt, sinful heels, and an almost nonexistent top. That just didn't seem safe to him.

So once the last of his students had gone he accompanied Jackie down the stairs and out the few blocks to Babylon. Stepping inside from a back door he immediately took in the interior and realized this wasn't a place he'd probably ever inhabit.

He'd never gotten addicted to drugs or alcohol but it had been a close brush and he tried to distance himself from them. Babylon had them in abundance. He could see it in the expressions on peoples' faces, the way they walked, the slurring speech of those amateur drinkers who didn't realize how bad off they were; the too-careful speech of the experienced drunks who knew exactly how hammered they were.

Still it was quite a sight, and Alex figured he'd leave out the front rather than the back door in the alley he and Jackie had come in. He took his time weaving through; it really was an impressive building. He didn't want to know how much they raked in every night.
Eiryk 13 years ago
He'd gotten far too comfortable, had a few more drinks and was feeling rather good. Lounging there alone, Eiryk had attracted a little attention from both men and woman. Nothing serious and he hadn't been interested in any of them but hadn't been above a little flirting. Of course, that could have been the drinks talking. Probably not though, Eiryk wasn't known for his shy and retiring demeanor.

Feeling lazy and languid, he'd lost track of the drinks he'd had, Eiryk really did intend to get home. He knew better than to go back to work in this condition, thank god he was the boss. The other advantage of home was he had some mead there, it would be better than what ever it was the cocktail waitress had been bringing him.

Deciding that he had time for one more, but it would be better if he got it himself, Eiryk slowly made his way to the bar. Not being terribly coordinated to begin with combined with the drinks he was having to work at walking in a straight line. He failed. And stumbled into some one.

Looking up to apologize he saw dark brown eyes and dark skin and smiled slyly. This might not have been the best looking guy he'd run into so far tonight but... well the smile grew.

"I'm so sorry. I didn't see you there."Â?

But he wished he had. He would have walked more directly into the young man. Eiryk was pleased he didn't -sound- too drunk, but not sober.
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
Alex Had made it through the back section into the front of the club and was passing near the bar when someone suddenly fell into him from the side. He reached out and braced a hand on the person's shoulder. It felt solid beneath him, so as he turned he assumed it was a male. He was right. He steadied the man who had obviously fallen into him and whose voice, while obviously not unimpaired by the effects of alcohol, didn't sound like he was inebriated enough to have collapsed.

Bright blue eyes twinkled out of a face framed by yellow-gold hair and displaying a toothpaste-commercial smile. He didn't look so sorry, Alex thought.
"No worries," he said. "You all right?"
Eiryk 13 years ago
"Would it be too cliché to say I am now?"�

He had warm hands Eiryk noted. The expression on his face was interesting too, far to reserved, quiet, maybe even cautious. It didn't belong in Babylon. Everyone else wore looks of lust, envy or at least showed signs of enjoying themselves. What had brought this one in?

Not that Eiryk really cared why he was there. He didn't care about a lot just then.

"Here let me buy you a drink to make it up to you."Â?

It was said with natural good cheer that couldn't be created by drink. He smiled again at the young man unabashedly using one of his best 'come hither smiles'.

"I'm Eiryk by the by, and you are..."Â?
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
"A little, yes," Alexander replied with a chuckle, a little surprised. This Eiryk was a good-looking guy. Didn't seem like he'd have any trouble picking up a companion if he wanted one, so it seemed odd to be hitting on a complete stranger.

Not that Alex really minded being hit on. It had been sort of a while.

But hooking up with strangers in bars wasn't really Alexander's thing. So he shook his head with a little bit of regret and said,
"It's Alexander. And thanks but I'll pass. For now."

His eyes lingered though, on that open face and what appeared to be natural friendliness. Alex shrugged to himself though. Some people were mean drunks; some were somber drunks, and some just got friendlier.

"Maybe I'll see you around."

Alex could be persuaded into walking Jackie to work a little more often. No was just a bad time for relationships. He had too much going on to try and add another form of stress to the load. His face clearly demonstrated his regret; maybe in a month or two they'd bump into each other again.. and if the attraction was still there, Alexander wouldn't be opposed.
Eiryk 13 years ago
Eiryk's first reaction was to sulk; he did hate being turned down. But he needed to be older, wiser, more mature, and most important cool. His smile did dim a bit - after all he was disappointed, but he didn't make a fuss.

"That is a shame. But the offer stands if you change your mind."Â?

With a last lingering look he started to back away,

"I certainly hope so."Â?

The odds were he wouldn't though. This wasn't one of his normal hang outs. Oh he might stop in a few times here and there just to see if he got lucky (hahaha), er ran into Alexander again.

Trying very hard to play it cool he turned to find the bar and missed. By a lot. Eiryk turned and within half a step, probably because he was still looking at Alexander, walked smack into a cocktail waitress and knocked them both into a table with a couple seated at it. It was a spectacular crash, and even in Babylon loud enough to draw some serious stares and curious looks.

This was not what he called cool. Maybe he needed to practice this rejection thing more often so he could make a more graceful exit. Eiryk sat on the floor for a moment, surveying the damage and trying to decide how best to stand up without further complicating matters. Falling again was not suave. He was going to have to apologize, probably a lot, especially as a few people were yelling, which was not nice. After all this sort of thing had to happen a lot in a place like this.
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
Alexander watched Eiryk's smile dim a little and had the notion that he might actually have been serious. His expression sure seemed genuine. And those eyes were handsome, even if Alexander was getting shivers from the way they were glued to him.

Too glued. As Eiryk turned away chaos ensued. Alexander had a great view of it all but not so much the superhuman reflexes that would have been needed to avoid the situation Eiryk was suddenly in. Alex winced once as he turned directly into the cocktail waitress, then grimaced as their feet tangled. That turned into a cringe as they toppled onto the nearest table in a clatter of shattering glass and cries of outrage.

He shut his eyes for a moment and waited for the noise to settle before opening one of them back up. Eiryk was now in the midst of a circle of broken glass and spilled drinks. Helpful hands reached down to gather up the hapless waitress and several people seemed annoyed that the commotion had happened near them despite, from what Alex could see, the fact that the club was pretty lively as it was.

He took a step forward, not really knowing why he did.

"Shit. I'm sorry. I didn't see you there. I should have watched where I was going."

Alex made a pretense of apologizing to the people nearby as well as the waitress who stood nearby brushing glass from her skirt with chagrin. The couple at the table seemed fine, if a little wet, so he extended his hand to Eiryk to help him up.
Eiryk 13 years ago
He really didn't understand the yelling, it wasn't necessary. Well it was a bit, the place was loud and you did have to raise your voice to be heard but still! It was rude.

Eiryk was just about ready to open his mouth to apologize when the rather attractive man he'd hit on, and failed with, jumped in to help. That was just sweet. He should try this helpless and clumsy act, not that the clumsy was an act, more often. Right now it was yielding positive results in that Alexander hadn't wandered away and wasn't laughing at him.

A slow and subtle smile crossed his face as he accepted the offered hand to help him up. Alexander's hands weren't soft, this wasn't a man who spent his life indoors doing nothing. That combined with his helpfulness and what seemed to be genuine kindness, Eiryk -really- hoped the young man would change his mind about that drink or at least accept an alternative offer.

A bit wobbly yet but now standing on his own two feet he also worked on brushing the whole mess under the rug.

"My fault entirely. I appreciate the help."Â?

The couple at the table had helped the waitress up and no one was bleeding. That was a very good thing.

"I really am so sorry. Every one is OK though? No permanent damage?"Â?

Getting affirmative answers, with varying degrees of irritation, he would normally have excused himself. But if Alexander hadn't disappeared into the crowd just yet, Eiryk wasn't going to vanish either. Maybe he still had a chance here.
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
Alexander dropped Eiryk's hand as soon as he was back on his feet. He looked a little unsteady but Alexander figured if he was more or less stable then he could work on keeping himself that way. He wasn't going to deny he was attracted, and that was the last thing he wanted or needed right now, so there was no need to encourage the handsome blonde.

"Are you always so much trouble?" he bent his head to mutter into the slightly shorter man's ear, his voice a little sharper than he would have liked. He had meant to tease, but teasing wasn't really Alex's forte and more often than not he ended up sounding acid.

He fished into his nearly empty wallet and placed a bill on the unknown couple's table.
"Next one's on me. Sorry again," he said.

To Eiryk he murmured, just loud enough to be heard,
"I was about to cut out, but maybe we can get you back to your party without another catastrophe."

The words were gentler this time as he tempered his sarcasm. He wasn't trying to condescend. He wished he could manage the same expression of amusement and humor Eiryk currently wore, but it wasn't a natural one for him.
Eiryk 13 years ago
"Usually, but I'm worth it."Â?

Eiryk returned completely unabashedly, but quietly for his ears only. His slight, perhaps moderate, intoxication made him overlook the other man's slightly sharp words. They were still speaking, Alexander hadn't bolted, so he was willing to not notice a minor grumble. Especially as he'd caused all the trouble.

Oh generous too. This was getting better and better and he didn't even have a last name. Eiryk was trying not to get his hopes up but it wasn't easy.

"You didn't have to do that, it was my fault."Â?

OK he wasn't running away but Alexander was trying to wash his hands of him Eiryk was certain. Maybe he could go for sympathy, how did someone look pathetic? Damn, he was just no good at this. He turned his blues up to the brown ones and started to slide, carefully -very- carefully, away from the disaster hoping Alexander would follow, it was only a step or two after all. He just didn't want to be in the line of fire any more.

"I was with people. But they've gone. I was thinking about maybe going home."Â?
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
Alex raised his eyebrows and let out a short laugh at Eiryk's lack of modesty. He lifted a shoulder at the fact that he'd bought the next round for the upset couple; it didn't cost much to mend fences sometimes. "it's nothing," he said. "You obviously didn't do it on purpose."

He watched as Eiryk wisely, and somewhat unsteadily, stepped away from the tables. He was one of those whom Alex has observed before... a drunk who knew it, was used to it, and was used to dealing with it. He'd seen it plenty of times during his party days. Hell he'd been there himself. One didn't need to be an alcoholic by any means to achieve the skills necessary to recognize you had had a little more than you intended and conduct yourself as if you were still sober.

"Can you get there all right?"

Aexander had a feeling he was holding the tiger by the tail, as it were. He once more repeated to himself that he didn't need to complicate his life with some kind of fling. But he didn't want to send someone on their way without a guarantee they'd reach home safely, no matter how new the acquaintance. He'd done that once before and look how it had turned out.
Eiryk 13 years ago
Oh, he got a laugh. Not a long one but it was something and only encouraged Eiryk.

Dare he hope that was some sort of interest? Maybe a spark of concern?

Eiryk was starting to feel a bit like a shark. A slightly unstable shark but still... Here fishy, fishy, fishy; nice fishy. He wasn't always good at subtle but right now he was willing to make the effort.

With a slightly sheepish smile and shrugged somewhat carelessly.

"Probably. I've managed before."Â?

Although not usually from Babylon, sometimes from Club E though, so the route wasn't that different. He backed off just a little, he didn't want to be -too- forward, he just hoped that Alex would offer to walk him home. Of course if Alex didn't ask, he would.
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
"All right then," Alex said. "If you're sure."

He turned, himself, to head for the door out. This had been plenty exciting for one night. He halted though and looked back again, to see Eiryk standing there, weaving slightly, watching him. Damn it.

"You know," he said, shrugging, "I was about to cut out myself. Do you want some company?"

It felt awkward coming out. Alex wasn't good at being the forward one. But he wasn't being forward. He was being concerned. Eiryk seemed friendly enough, and Alexander wasn't going anywhere tonight. It didn't cost him anything to make sure he reached his place safely.

He stood there with his hands in his pockets, head tilted toward the door, waiting to see if Eiryk took him up on it. He suspected it was a foregone conclusion but he never assumed. Truth be told, he was a little intimidated. Eiryk was well-dressed, polished, friendly, and confident... all the things Alex was not.
Eiryk 13 years ago
Damned it. Just damned it. He was losing his touch. Was twelve hundred too old? Was he not sexy any more? Had he totally fucked up and hit on a straight guy? Looking a bit like sad puppy, he watched Alexander excuses himself.

It took a lot of will power but Eiryk managed not to jump up and down when the other man changed his mind. He was not too old, he was still attractive and his radar wasn't broken. Excellent.

He made it to Alexander's side with only one stumble and was feeling very good about that.

"I would -love- some company if you don't mind a walk."Â?

Eiryk hadn't driven tonight. It was a short walk and he'd half suspected this was how the evening would end. Not the picking up a hot guy, just the not quite able to walk a straight line defiantly shouldn't be driving way.

"It is a gorgeous night out."Â?
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
"Never," Alexander said. They made their way out of the club and Alexander followed Eiryk as he turned down the sidewalk.

The conversation immediately turned to the safest topic possible.
"Yeah, it's a good time of year." Alex was fine with that. He wasn't exactly sure what to do when the topic inevitably turned to more personal things. Maybe it wouldn't.

"So.. go there often?"

Well... that was lame. But his skills were lacking. Eiryk didn't seem judgmental, which could only be in Alex's favor. As they walked, he made certain to keep his not-so-sober companion on the inside of the sidewalk. It was a habit he'd developed years ago after the accident that had jolted him out of his wild days.
Eiryk 13 years ago
They were going to have to get away from the weather conversation damned fast.

Eiryk looked up at Alexander, he was even better looking out of the odd club lighting. 'Natural' was the first word that came to mind. Alexander didn't seem to be making an overt effort to impress any one. Which he found ridiculously appealing. And this little awkward shyness was just icing on the cake.

"No, not really. It isn't my style but a client wanted to meet there. What drew you in?"Â?

He'd already guessed that Alexander wasn't there to ogle or enjoy himself.

As much as he wanted to 'accidentally' brush into the other man because Alexander had very considerately, and protectively taken the side next to the street Eiryk didn't risk it. Besides, he'd be lucky if he didn't fall flat on his face at least once before the towers.
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
"Similar situation," Alex said with a neutral shrug, keeping a polite and careful distance. "A client of mine works there. I walked her over. I didn't want her getting harassed on her way."

He didn't miss the irony; he was, apparently, everyone's escort for tonight. Although he had to admit Eiryk's company was far more appealing, and tempting. Alex might be rusty but he knew when he was being sized up, flirted with, speculated upon. What Eiryk thought he saw, Alex didn't know.

"So what do you do, if you don't mind my asking?"

What kind of business meeting took one to Babylon? Alex couldn't imagine. Just the cover fee was enough to pay his water bill for a month. The place was beyond swank.
Eiryk 13 years ago
"That was nice of you. Not a lot of guys would be that considerate any more."Â?

He caught 'she' and 'worked there'. Now Eiryk didn't give a damned if the woman was the manager or a cocktail waitress of their star stripper, what he cared about was exactly what the relationship was. Damned it Alexander was making him doubt himself again!

Irritated and not quite playing attention he stumbled again. Not a full on face plant, and he caught himself pretty quick but there was no good way to explain he wasn't hammered, just clumsy.

"What kind of client?"Â?

There was certainly no point in manning up his profession. If anything, he'd make it even more flamboyant just to get some kind of a reaction from Alexander.

"Interior design. That meeting finalized a nice little deal to do one of those cute little boutique hotels just a bit out side of down town."Â?
Alex Aristos 13 years ago
Alex tilted his head and smiled, a little of his more comfortable warmth spilling into it. "Doesn't cost anything to help someone out," he said. "She takes yoga from me. I teach, evenings and nights. Daytimes I own a shop down on the Strip."

He hadn't missed the sharpness to Eiryk's tone; not sharp like Alex's unintentional acid tones, but as if he was paying very close attention to the answer. Alex was surprised at that, but when he thought about their brief conversation so far he realized that his accompanying Jackie to work might have given the wrong impression. That, he didn't want. Not really. Blending in was all well and good but if he did it too successfully he'd never have a date in his life again.

With that in mind he stopped trying to put a bubble between himself and Eiryk, who was obviously interested in getting to know him and hadn't, thus far, done or said anything that should have put Alex on edge. Except be a little intimidating. And enthusiastic.

"Interior design?" Alex raised his eyebrows. "The entire hotel? That's got to be a job. Do you do everything, top to bottom, or just sort of conceptualize... color, and style, and all of that?"

Alex didn't know much about the profession but he did know some designers stuck to picking out colors and such, while others liked to do everything themselves from carpets to curtains to furniture.
Eiryk 13 years ago
"I have never tried yoga. You say you teach classes?"Â?

And if he owned the shop, he'd have a hard time turning Eiryk down and he knew it. OK so that was a low trick, he just hoped it worked.

"You own the shop? That's ambitious. I mean you seem young to be running your own business. That's impressive."Â?

Alexander seemed to be warming up. Just a little. It certainly wasn't a house on fire, buy some where in deepest darkest Africa some one lit a match. It was exciting. It was killing him to be this well behaved, but at the same time, it was very rewarding just now when Alexander unbent a little.

"It depends on the job really. Something big like this and I'll deal with a lot of contractors. Something little and I am not above laying carpet and painting. Besides sometimes that's the most cost effective thing to do."Â?