Every Vow You Break (Attn:Mara)
Elanor Margaret Simmons had a problem. At first it was fairly minor but she had a personal stake in the matter and had understandable difficulties in dealing with it. Jin found it interesting that she had come to him with the situation.
Her Creator was something of a hard task master and a member of the tough love variety of vampire parent. Some of these types did not consider themselves parents at all but mentors in a method of surviving immortality. This man considered his progeny to be assets that he had taken considerable time, and put in a great deal of effort, cultivating. However, if they proved to be more liability than help he wouldn't blink twice at ending their immortal lives.
Why she had not gone to him was, therefore, fairly obvious. Elanor, now called Hazel, had taken a risk in assuming that the Elder of the Night would see things differently. Jin wondered exactly what information about him caused her to believe that.
Her situation began with her creation as a vampire. It was not long after that transformation that she was required to fake her own death, leaving behind her husband and young son. Now, more than fifty years later, her husband had seen her and recognized her.
She had thought herself safe to resume her more natural appearance. Her husband had moved away after her death to another state. For a while, Elanor had dyed her hair, changed her style of clothes and spoke in a different accent all to make certain that she would fool any person that might think she resembled her human identity.
It had been decades but it was precisely that length of time that had caused the problem. Her son had moved his aging father back to Nachton to an assisted living home nearby. He had returned earlier himself to go to college at the same college his father had graduated from and, while here, had met his future wife. Elanor had been happy that her son was close and she watched him and his new family as they grew together.
But her grandson was helping his grandfather when she was spotted coming out of a local store carrying some plants for her small garden. Clarence immediately recognized her, stopping in his tracks and pointing in her direction. Elanor had hurried to her car, nearly dropping the plants in her surprise but instead clutching them like shields against the man waving a cane and shouting her name repeatedly.
That would have been the end of it. Except that her quick thinking grandson snapped a picture of her bumper. He then went back inside and found the person in the botanical section and asked about her. Looking kind and helpful, he explained that she had dropped her cell phone and that he would like to get it back to her. He even left his name and number, just in case. The helpful lady supplied him with her current first name. How he found her after that, she wasn't entirely sure, but he did.
Elanor would have been proud but things turned ugly. She wasn't exactly sure why Daniel believed her husband's story in the first place. She suspected it was the feeling that he had seen her one too many times while growing up. Elanor couldn't help herself; he had been such an adorable baby and such a bright wonderful child. She talked to him more than once, briefly, as a kind stranger interested in a child's opinion. That might have been the problem.
((OOC: To be continued. This story was getting long and I was getting sleepy))
Once he thought he knew what she was, Daniel and his friends continued to follow her. They were there when she bought clothes, went for a walk, and especially when she went anywhere social. Elanor said that she had thought about simply leaving Nachton for a while but it occurred to her that the knowledge needed to be erased from Daniel and his friend's mind lest they find others who believed.
And then more than stalking started to happen. Elanor found her place broken into, her computer hacked and strangers were pushing away anyone she dared to talk to. There were new faces that weren't Daniel's friends and these new people were not content to simply watch her.
And that is what led them to one of Elanor's favorite little restaurant/bars,The Mariner's Daughter. Jin sat in a booth across from Elanor with his laptop. They drank and spoke of every day things (already rehearsed earlier so that they appeared to be old friends) Meanwhile a certain Nightswoman with a soft touch and a quick hand would soon enter the bar. Jin had already texted Mara with the seating and appearances of Elanor's stalkers so now getting them more information was up to her.
((OOC: Elanor's grandson managed to find some actual vampire hunters. A small group of very serious and dangerous individuals. I figure their tactics aren't the simple stake outs that Daniel was doing. ))
Normally Mara didn't like to stand out, but this was the kind of crowd she needed to stand out in. She wasn't dressed to stand out - she never was. She was clothed in deep sapphire blue, a sweater-dress with a cowl neck and a wide black belt that accentuated her tiny waist. She had over it a black leather bomber-style jacket which she removed and slung over one arm. As usual, she eschewed regular shoes or pumps for a pair of knee-high black leather boots. Her phoenix necklace hung around her neck, just above the luxurious folds of the cowl. There wasn't anything out of the ordinary about her look; she was dressed nicely, headed to a bar to meet friends or a date.
She reached up, however, and took out her contacts before heading inside, letting her brilliant silver eyes show as their usual color. She needed something to set her aside. She needed to be hit on.
If these men were professionals, then they weren't simply going to sit at a table by themselves and glower at their mark. They would be eager to blend in, to be normal, to look like average Joes. And that was how Mara would, hopefully, manage to get her slippery little paws all over each one of them, as much as she could. She knew even just getting information on one of them would be useful but she couldn't help it - she was a perfectionist.
She entered the bar and located the group of men without actually looking at them. They were exactly as Jin had texted her. Flipping her hair flirtatiously over her shoulder she glanced around as if looking for someone then headed to the bar, took a seat, and ordered a Sex Under the Sun with the tiniest of little smiles on her face, obliquely directed at the pale-haired man she most certainly wasn't looking at. Crossing her shapely legs she pursed her lips and pulled out her cell phone, tapping one foot in the air as she waited for her drink and, supposedly, for her friends to show up.
*Cute little place, this. You sure know how to show a girl a good time.*
Tapping the button she sent the text message to Jin with a tiny mischievous grin. The bartender slid her drink over to her and she thanked him with a smile and sipped it carefully. As she did she let her eyes drift up ever so briefly to the table with the three stalkers at it. One of them was looking directly at her; perfect. She held his eyes for a moment, and then turned away invitingly, tempting him with maidenly shyness. Or wanton openness. Whichever he'd like to assume, Mara would go along with.
Only Brian's eyes were on the same woman. Randy chuckled at John and finished his glass of whiskey. It would be worrisome except that he was pretty good at keeping the stuff down and they -did- need to keep up appearances. Three guys in a bar not ordering drinks would seem rather suspicious. He and Brian were putting theirs away at a more cautious pace.
They had been watching the vampire for a few days now. Her grandson had been doing some research and had found a website that John had placed up. The clues were subtle but every now and then they got someone who not only believed in vampires but had experience with them.
Daniel said he wanted answers. John had promised him answers; he forgot to mention that they wouldn't be coming from his grandmother. You know what they say; it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission. They left the boy and his friends at home this time, sending them on a long fact finding mission. Daniel seemed reluctant to leave their group alone tracking his undead relative but he seemed to also understand that there wasn't much he could do about it.
"I'm out of a drink. Would you look at that?â€ Randy tilted his glass back and forth as if surprised by its lack of contents. "I guess I will just have to go get another one.â€
Brian looked back at the pretty girl with the pale eyes and sighed. "You could just let the waitress bring you another...â€ He offered without much hope of the advice being taken.
"Nope, I think I will just go get it myself.â€ Randy got up and slapped Brian on the shoulder. "I'll get it faster that way. Cheer up, if you're good I'll bring you back another also.â€
John noted that Brian didn't look very cheered. He couldn't say that he was very thrilled about the situation either but he didn't stop his friend from heading to the bar. They needed to look like patrons and if that meant that they were occasionally not on full alert then it was a risk they would just have to take. He didn't think it would be a life threatening mistake in a crowded bar.
Their plan originally had been to try and seduce the vampire away, or let her think one of their own was being seduced away, and then ambush her when she tried to make a meal out of their bait. They sent their fourth man back to the car when they saw that she already had company. Perhaps the white haired man would leave and they could proceed as planned but for now there was no need to waste a face she didn't recognize.
His phone vibrated. Jin looked down at the text and smiled. Sliding his thumb across his screen, he responded quickly.
*It is a cute little place but I haven't gotten started with the good time yet*
Of course they were doing their job and they both enjoyed their job. He did not enjoy Elanor being a target but that was a situation they would soon remedy. First they would figure out who these people were and why they were involved. They would try to find as many involved as they possibly could. Then the Order of the Rose would take care of making sure that Daniel and the rest did not remember Elanor.
These new ones...He was not entirely certain they would survive the encounter.
One of the walked, or more accurately swaggered up to the bar. Perhaps he was being uncharitable, the man wasn't doing a John Wayne impression or anything. But, Jin noticed as the man moved past, he was wearing cowboy boots.
*Have fun with Wild Bill.*
"Nice shoes," she said, leaning back a little in her chair, inviting him to comment on her own apparel. I see you're wearing boots. I'm wearing boots, too. Want to grope me on the dance floor?
That would certainly make her life easier, wouldn't it. But more subtlety was required to get what she wanted, and she didn't want to give this man any excuse to be alone with her either. Mara didn't trust him for that; only a few men fell into that privileged category.
The man didn't respond to her with some cheesy line about his boots, which was nice. Instead he smiled at her, coolly place his order, and then turned to her while he waited for his drinks.
Mara didn't want to seem overly interested, so she pulled her phone out again and took another sip of her drink.
*I think I'll skip this particular rodeo. I have a couple much more appealing mounts of my own.*
She looked up at the man and gestured at her cell phone. "Friends," she sighed. "They say get here at 10, then they don't show up."
Looking over the man's shoulder Mara located the other man who'd been staring at her. "He's cute," she said. "You boys have dates coming, or are you just here for a little fun out?"
If she could create a little bit of competition, Mara wasn't opposed to that. What better way to get both men involved? So far she hadn't managed to provoke the third, but there were other methods. This one was simply the easiest in their current setting.
The bartender slid him the two drinks he ordered and the woman commented about Brian. Why did all the ladies have to find that man so damned good looking? It was the whole dark haired mysterious stranger thing most likely. Brian looking somber and thoughtful with hooded eyes that were a startling shade of bright blue when he looked your way. They were intense and startling, almost as much as this woman's pale eyes. And the manly chisled features just added to it.
At least, Randy thought sourly, he had height on the guy. John, their leader, was actually the shortest of them at 5'10. Brian was a respectable 6'0" but Randy was a nice lean 6'4"with broad shoulders and big bones. He wasn't lanky but he wasn't big either; he was in fit fighting shape not a muscled gym monkey.
Shrugging at the question, Randy said. "I've heard that about him but he's dumb as a post." He then smiled charmingly at her as if to say that he was much smarter but unwillingly to compliment himself. Of course Brian was quite intelligent and would be pissed for him saying otherwise but he was here and his friend was way over there. Hey, at least he'd bought him a drink.
"We're taking a few days off to enjoy the city before moving on. " Randy answered her other question. "Had a job here in town but its over so we thought we'd spend some of our free time here before being sent somewhere else. "
He already knew that her friends were supposed to be meeting her here from her previous statement. That and she kept checking her phone. Randy nodded toward their table. "Well, you're welcome to come sit with us until your friends get here. I hate to see a lady stuck at a bar all by herself." He smiled. "Not that you'd be by yourself for very long...unless you wanted to be." Picking up the two drinks, he finished his statement. "but we can keep you company and I can promise that we will all be gentlemen and behave ourselves." And that was true. If she was interested in any of them then that would be a different story but none of them would be forceful or crass and they would all get involved if a lady was being harassed in a bar.
They hunted vampires to keep people safe from monsters but none of them were naive; they all knew that there were plenty of human monsters as well and they protected people from those also.
Randy turned and headed back to the bar letting her follow or not as she saw fit. There was no sense in over selling the invitation and if she didn't want to come then standing there longer wouldn't help his case.
((OOC: Randy has medium brown hair and hazel eyes; more rugged looking than Brian. John is a redhead, sort of a medium auburn. Green eyes and more boyish looking. ))
A glance at Elanor told him that she was also listening to the other conversation and her lips did tip up in a small smile. It quickly disappeared behind her glass of wine.
Answering Mara's text, Jin kept a frown from over shadowing his features as the man suggested Mara come over to their table.
* Looks like the rodeo is more of a trail ride.*
It wasn't like she was going out of the building but he didn't like her sitting with three men who have been harassing another vampire. They didn't know about Mara but he was still protective, besides it was three men and the gender wasn't exactly Mara's favorite. With a few very important exceptions.
She was pleased to have been invited to sit with them. The big man didn't give off a sleazy vibe or anything; this wasn't really that kind of place. She did actually trust that he and his friends would be polite although a lot of that came from the secret knowledge that they weren't actually there looking for a good time.
Normally she'd have hated this situation, and to be honest she wasn't ecstatic about joining the three guys on a personal level, but Jin was right there. She didn't look at him; she hadn't done so since she'd walked in, save for a little glance as she looked over the whole room. She'd been in dicier situations; she just hoped Jin would and could restrain himself if things got a little iffy. Her handsome tiger wasn't going to sit by and let anything bad happen to her, and given what had happened to them with Cahyo in the alley on their first date, Mara suspected Jin would be slightly jumpier than normal about her being in this kind of position.
She slid from the bar stool and looked up at the man in the black boots, who had at least a foot on her. "I would like some company though. I hate looking like I've been stood up. My name is Cat."
Mara waited for the man to give his name, certain he would. Her first move was easy; he'd already paid for his drinks so assuming he wasn't going to be looking to get hammered, he wouldn't need his wallet for some time. When he accompanied her to his table it would be no trouble to brush up against him as they wove between other patrons and tables in the slightly tight spaces. She could use that to lift his wallet and, if she timed it right, might even be able to pass it directly to Jin without anyone seeing. If not, she would simply hold onto it.
In the meantime she wished she could respond to Jin's message; talking to him, being with him, was so very normal and comfortable. At least there was the hint of 'a good time' to come later. This was plenty fun - she liked her job and doing it with Jin made it even better - but since becoming his lover they had learned how to take fun to entirely new levels Mara had never thought herself capable of. It was all right when it was Jin or Amir. More than all right.
As they made their way toward the table with his friends, Randy introduced himself and his companions. "I'm Randy. The dumb one is Brian and the redhead is John.â€
Those weren't their real names but they had gotten used to them. It had been a long time since he had used his birth name and a long time since he had been home. Most of the time he traveled around with this lot and they did their dangerous work together. They had all given up a lot to lead a dangerous life but they each had their reasons. His family thought he was a soldier and that was true enough. He came home at random times and spent a week or so a couple of times a year with his family and then he was gone again. His mother said that he needed to settle down, retire from service, find a nice girl and build a life for himself while he still could. Randy kept telling her 'maybe next year'.
Setting Brian's drink down in front of him, he gestured to their guest. "We've got company. Her friends don't know how to tell time. So I said she should come sit with us and we'd do our best to be polite and amusing company.â€
Brian gave the lady an enthusiastic smile and reached out a hand. "Hello, I'm Brian, the far more charming one.â€ He gave Randy a hard look before giving their guest another big smile.
John smiled but it didn't quite reach his eyes. He held his hand out as well after Brian was done. "Name's John. Welcome.â€
If Randy, Brian, and John were really Randy, Brian and John, then Mara was Queen Victoria. Really, her only asset here was that these men didn't know who and what she was. There was no reason for them to suspect her; vampires didn't grow on trees after all.
"Its nice to meet you," Mara said with a smile, letting her eyes linger a little on Brian, who seemed like he might be the easiest to lure onto the dance floor.
She could see objectives and evidence all over the table. Randy's prints were all over two of the glasses, and she could get John's and Brian's that way too. She had already gotten Randy's wallet, which meant she could track him. If she could get information on Brian there was a second avenue. barring that, she always had the napkins to go after. John seemed like he might be tough. He was the least friendly of them, his eyes more serious.
But, if these three worked together as a team then two of the three would be an excellent start.
"I appreciate the company," she said with a friendly smile. "Randy mentioned you finished a job here in the city recently. Are you contractors? Where are you from, if you don't mind my asking?"
Mara didn't expect a straight answer. But then, that was why she was currently doing her best to rape them of anything that could leave a print, a tracking clue, or anything else. She was also curious about the story they'd tell. Hopefully it would be a good one.
It didn't take terribly long before a response arrived. In the meantime he did his best to not look around at the other booth that contained his girlfriend and three strange men who probably hunted vampires for a living. One teeny tiny sound from Mara and he would be across the bar faster than they could blink but meanwhile he had to sit on his hands.
The return email was enough to give him something to do. He opened and ran the decryption program. Apparently this Randy person did not actually exist. This was an alias that was squeaky clean. His address was worth noting and Jin had found several business cards for a security firm in his wallet that had Randy Hopkins written at the bottom. There was a photo of a dog and another of a woman hugging a teddy bear. Jin sent both of those two his clan mate as well.
It would take a little longer to use facial recognition software on these guys based on the photos in the ID's or any other photos they could manage to take. However that would only help them identify the guys if they had committed a crime or had some other reason to be in the federal database or Anantya's own person of interest database. Good hunters didn't end up in either very often and bad ones ended up dead more often than not.
Maybe if he just kept talking she'd believe him about Brian being the dumb one. His wit and charm might win out over Mr. Handsome sitting across from them.
"Well, we work for a security company.â€ He answered easily enough. They had the skills and it actually was how they made part of their money to fund their primary occupation. "Sometimes we install security systems, sometimes we work as bodyguards for important people...or people rich enough to think they are important....that kind of thing.â€
Brian smiled at Cat. "He's the thug, in case you couldn't tell.â€ Randy glowered at him and John rolled his eyes at the both of them. "I install and maintain the hardware.â€
"And John does the actual thinking job of making it all work.â€ Randy quickly supplied which earned him a scowl from Brian.
"So what do you do?â€ The self proclaimed 'charming' one asked her.
In the meantime she hoped Jin would give the wallet to the bartender when he was done doing whatever he had to do with it. It would certainly help if a good Samaritan were to thoughtfully return the wallet to the bartender after finding it on the floor or something. Otherwise she'd just hope Randy didn't notice it missing until after she'd left - or at least, after she'd had a chance to get at all three, if she could. John was still proving to be a little tougher.
Brian, though, was plenty chatty so she attended to him while she thought. She didn't fail to glance at Randy now and then; she wanted to keep him on the hook, so to speak. Between the two of them they gave her plenty to focus on.
"Security," she said in an impressed tone. "That sounds kind of interesting. Do you like to travel a lot?"
There were jobs you took because you had to have a job, and there were jobs you liked. She wondered which way they'd go. Smiling, she pointed at each of them in turn. "So... hardware... software," she smiled impishly at Randy. "Thugware?"
She was glad they couldn't read her thoughts. Personally, she found them all repulsive for varying reasons. If it wasn't because of their occupations it would have been because of their bait and tackle. But she just smiled away, cheerful and bubbly.
When they asked her what she did she barely had to lie; she'd been doing this as long as she could remember. "I'm an artist," she said. "I work in glass. Sculptures, jewelry, statues, those sorts of things."
Opening her little purse she fished out a card and gave it to Randy. It was a simple white business card with a small, shiny pink paw print on it that said 'Cat's Paw Designs' and had a website address at the bottom. The website had been specifically constructed for this purpose, and did actually have pictures of her work as well as contact information that would eventually reach her. None of it was direct, however, and all of it was carefully faked by Anantya's best. Any Nightsman or Nightswoman had a front such as this; Mara had several and many others probably did too.
"I have a little studio just outside Nachton. It's a little easier to work away from the city, but I do sell most of my things here."
That much was also true, although more of her work went for charity than profit these days.
Letting them have the card, she felt her foot tapping to the music. It was upbeat and slightly pop-rock in sound, something current and popular. Her carefully manicured fingernail tapped gently against the rim of her glass, which was almost empty. Good, she didn't want to risk anyone slipping anything into it if she stepped away, which she planned to do.
"I think I'd like to dance a little," she said, "while I wait on my friends." She pulled out her cell phone, checked it, rolled her eyes. "That could be a while. I don't suppose either of you would like to join me?"
She let her gaze drift over all three men. She'd dance with any of them, and the small crowd on the dance floor was currently casual enough that you could probably walk up to it, partner or not, and blend in just fine. Meanwhile she intended to behave just as she'd begun - a single woman out looking for a little fun. She didn't want them to think she wasn't going to enjoy herself just because she'd come over to sit with them... to keep up her front, she had to get out there and move around a little or they might grow suspicious.
"Oh sure it is! This is the same thugware that swills beer from the bottle, thinks cowboy boots are a fashion must and wants bar brawls to be an Olympic sport."
Randy considered kicking Mr.Handsome under the table but he knew a sharp jab to the shin with a fashion must was more than a little painful and might make it difficult for Brian to run if he needed to. That wouldn't make John too happy and if Brian lost his life because of it then Randy would never forgive himself. He ignored Brian and turned to Cat. "I said that it -could- be an Olympic sport, not should. Consider the possibilities. You have your individual melee with say five combatants from different nations, maybe have a set of standard tools randomly placed around the course: tables, chairs, barstools, bottles, mugs etc... Then you could have your team event with ten people, two for each team, which would focus on watching your buddy's back in the total chaos. It would be more entertaining and real life applicable than wrestling. Who rolls around on a mat with another man when they fight?"
John looked at him evenly and said. "I wrestled in college."
Randy ran a hand through his hair. "Uh, sorry, man."
John smiled in brief amusement before returning his gaze to the people milling around the bar.
Cat answered Brian's question about what she did for a living. They both listened with interest. "Well now that sounds pretty darn brave to me." Randy offered when she described what she did. "Playing with fire like that every day that is pretty dangerous. I think I will stick to taking down bad guys."
"I always liked to watch the glass blowers at the faires. It looks difficult." Brian added and glanced down at the card that Cat had handed him. Randy quickly put it in his chest pocket with a smug look at his friend.
Their new friend said she would like to dance a little and asked if anyone wanted to join her. They weren't playing his kind of music so he wouldn't look at all suave on the dance floor. Of course Romeo volunteered immediately.
"I would love to dance with you." He slid out of the booth and held a hand out for her.
((OOC: no Jin on this one. ))
She grinned at him and then laughed when he proposed an Olympic bar brawl. "I have a few friends who might enjoy that," she chuckled. "Myself, I'll just stay a spectator, thanks."
Her profession always sparked some interest. She enjoyed talking about it, too, and if it served to keep her marks interested in her then all the better. "It's not so scary when you get used to it," she pointed out. "Fire is a very controllable element as long as you have the tools for it and the knowledge to handle it."
She enjoyed the rush of heat, large or small. Her little torches were good for finer detailed work, and they were just as much fun to play with as the larger elements needed to make bigger vases and globes. One had to know how to treat fire, though, and definitely how to get rid of it if an accident happened.
Any woman would beam at being given props for bravery and difficulty, so she turned her brilliant smile on both Randy and Brian, noting how quiet John was. He would be difficult to get to, she thought once more. Clearly, he was the business-minded of the three of them. Perhaps if she pointed out his silence she might draw him out more, but first she had to take care of Brian.
He was willing to dance, as she'd thought he would be, and they fell into an easy, casual rhythm on the dance floor. She liked that he didn't push her. Even thought he was more than willing to flirt and be charming, it seemed like a game to him. She didn't get the impression he'd kick her out of bed if she suddenly had an urge to leave the bar with him,but she also didn't get the impression he was trying to get her there too actively.
Instead, he seemed like he just wanted to have fun, which was what Mara's current persona wanted to do. She kept him out on the floor for the rest of the song that was playing, and the next one too, which was much faster. She couldn't avoid being graceful and agile on the dance floor; nothing about Mara made her at all inclined to hide that particular talent tonight. She admitted to herself she was amping it up a little, but although it might have an effect on her current companion, she was mostly hoping a certain tiger was getting an eyeful whenever he could.
Retrieving Brian's ID was not difficult, any more than Randy's had been. A little jostle here and there, a clever misdirection. Mara had done such things so often in the past; she waited until the perfect moment. Half-hidden by the bar, Randy and John couldn't see much from where they were even if they were keeping an eye on them. Mara arranged it so that she was next to a very enthusiastic couple. The floor had filled up a little bit as the hours grew later, and she managed to get into a position to be bumped just a bit.
Brian steadied her, catching her before she could stumble too much from the hard rub. Mara glanced over her shoulder with irritation at the man who'd rammed her, for he didn't bother to excuse himself. In the meantime she had gotten a little billfold from Brian's pocket. It was much more slender than Randy's and very easy to tuck under the wide belt she was wearing.
Their path didn't take them immediately back past Jin, but Mara excused herself for the restroom when she and Brian finally headed back to their table. If Jin didn't meet her there, she could drop it to him on her way back out. She didn't think Brian would be looking for it just yet; his drink wasn't empty.
Meanwhile, she just had to get hold of John's information, if she could. If not, the world wouldn't end... but Mara like to be thorough. Even if the men noticed their personal effects missing, however, she probably wouldn't know immediately. They were professionals. They could easily arrange to escort her outside and confront her. She didn't think they'd do it in the bar.
She tried to plan for every possibility, gathering her thoughts while she remained in the womens' room.
When Mara headed toward the bathroom, Jin did the same. He walked into the men's room, blended and walked back out. There he waited until Mara reappeared and then quietly spoke her name. When she knew that he was there, he moved closer, brushing up against her. He wrapped a gentle arm around her waist and waited. "Have something for me?â€ Jin murmured softly into her ear.
Meanwhile Brian was enjoying himself quite a lot. Cat was an amazing dancer; the best he had ever seen. He wasn't bad himself, in fact he generally considered himself pretty good, but she was making him look a lot better than usual. Several other women were eyeing him with interest and he was loving the attention. He could happily dance all night. Brian wasn't the best at conversation and was a little shy but dancing was different; he invited the attention while he was out on the floor because he didn't have to come up with brilliant conversation.
He had said that he was the charming one but that wasn't entirely true. Randy was probably far more charming, or at least more eloquent and witty. If Cat liked conversation then his tall friend was more her speed. Brian didn't think of himself as stupid or anything; he just didn't know what to say to strangers. How did you find out if they liked Dr. Who or enjoyed board games? Things like that didn't come up in conversation very often and he wasn't very good at bringing it up. Small talk had never really been his thing.
Cat ended their dancing and headed off to the bathroom. He was sorry it was over and hoped he made a good impression; it was one of the few things he did well in a social setting. Now that they were headed back to the table he would lose his advantage and be back to probably trying too hard to look suave.
Slumping down in the seat, Brian looked at his empty glass and then looked up at Randy accusingly. His friend smirked at him and then looked around the room.
"Did you run her off already? Good job, Slick.â€
"As it happens, I do have something for you," she murmured softly. The entrance to the restrooms blocked anyone else from seeing them so after she handed Jin the small wallet, she lifted her hand and softly traced the contours of his face with her fingertips.
"Do you need me to get the third? It's going to be more difficult. He hasn't budged yet and he doesn't seem particularly tempted but I haven't applied myself to him directly yet," she said.
Mara didn't think so much of her charms that she expected he'd fall for her or anything. Her entire strategy was based on the fact that the men wanted to keep up a front while here and that front was 'normal guys out on the town.' Even then, he might not want to go anywhere with her.
Additionally, as far as she knew Randy had not gotten his wallet back yet and Brian's was now missing as well. If they had to use them for anything in the next few minutes, Mara would almost surely be caught. If they didn't guess it had been her right away, she would definitely be suspect.
She would certainly try to get John's information from him if Jin wished it, but it was also entirely possible that two out of three would suffice for a decent lead. It was Jin's decision.
"No need.â€ He murmured softly. "The id's are for aliases anyway. I think we might find more from their fingerprints at this point.â€ One of them could make their way into the kitchen to get the glasses before they were washed. "I will slide this one back onto his seat.â€ The other wallet would be returned to Randy as soon as the bartender had a free moment so it would be best if this one didn't also look to have been stolen. He suspected that it would still occur to the cynical one, if not all of them, that Mara might have picked their pockets but it would be a little more plausible than both disappearing entirely. Perhaps he could even manage to slip it back into the guy's pocket. It wasn't a skill that he was very practiced in, unlike Mara who was a professional, but he was agile and invisible so hopefully he could take advantage of the right opportunity when it presented itself.
"I can send you another text about them not coming, perhaps even one that suggests an emergency if you like. Perhaps your friends were in an accident on the way here, driving a little recklessly after running late. Now you need to go meet them at the hospital. Nothing terribly serious, of course, but it would end your night out.â€
Jin gave her a parting kiss, longing to make it another which would lead to another. He stepped back into the men's bathroom and used one of the stalls. Inside he pulled out his phone and took pictures of the contents of "Brian'sâ€ wallet. He needed to immediately return this one lest the man check for his wallet when Randy's was returned.
Following someone else out of the bathroom, Jin made his stealthy way over to the booth to do exactly that.
((OOC: I imagine that it won't be long after Mara sits back down that the bartender or waiter would deliver Randy's wallet back to him. Jin will do his best to use a moment of distraction or any other opportunity to reverse pick Brian's pocket. Given his ability to stand there patiently unseen and wait for an opening, I would imagine he had a high chance of success. ))
He agreed there was no point in trying to retrieve John's wallet, and while she felt a little wave of disappointment not to get that challenge, it was for the best. If she were discovered the three men would know they were being watched and right now their ignorance was all to Jin's benefit.
"That would be helpful," she said with a smile when Jin offered to give her the excuse she needed to get out of Dodge. "Once I leave I can wait for you out back."
She didn't plan on going anywhere without him, after all, and no one really ever noticed an alley cat. She'd have to get a little dusty to hide her spotted coat but that was easy to do. In the meantime, Jin distracted her with a kiss that made her consider just hauling him away then and there. She wondered how he'd take that?
Returning to the booth Mara held her hand out to Brian once more. "Another dance, maybe? I've got my second wind now." She looked at Randy and smiled. "And don't think I've forgotten you, either."
She raised her eyebrows at John, too, and twitched a smile at him as well. "Or you. Since you're all being chivalrous enough to keep me company."
Hopefully pulling Brian out to the dance floor again would give Jin the opportunity he needed to return the filched wallet before Randy's was brought back. It would also get her out on the dance floor when his text came in, so that she could respond appropriately and flee rather than feel a little trapped at the booth with the three of them.