2007-10-17: A Beer And An Empathic Ear

Starring:

Oliver_icon.gif Claudine_icon.gif

Summary: An underage drinker with a passable fake ID meets a troubled bartender and gets to see first hand what a social phobia can cause.

Date It Happened: October 16th, 2007

A Beer and an Empathic Ear


Fly By Night Cocktail Bar

The young Filipina is definitely not 21, but she's reasonably attractive and has a fake ID. So, after a long day going through the newspapers to try to find more leads on the escaped Company inmates, she's decided to try to sneak into the Fly By Night cocktail bar. Perhaps one of the inmates will be in here, perhaps not. Either way, she heads in, dressed in her Company attire consisting of a pinstripe gray blouse with a conservative white blouse. Her hair is tied up in a bun and she's wearing a pair of glasses, giving her a bit of sexy librarian chic. She beelines straight for the bar and hrmms for a few moments, not sure what to order.

A quite blonde man in his late twenties stands behind the bar drying one of the glasses with a worn out towel, his baby blue eyes glance around the establishment making sure that all of it's patrons have been taken care of. His lips form a smile as a young woman pushes through the front door. Of course when she approaches the bar his friendly demeanor turns deadpan as she approaches him. He scans her face then gestures for identification before even bothering to greet her.

And there's the fake ID. It's actually quite good and she just hands it to him. Young Asian women always look really young anyway, and there she is, grinning wryly the entire time. Claudine smiles warmly, looking quite confident as she hops up onto one of the barstools while crossing her legs to get a tad bit more comfortable. She looks like she belongs here, no, she feels like she belongs here. "Midori sour please."

The bartender eyes the card and forces a smile, "Coming right up," he says with a solemn nod before turning around to mix up the young lady's drink. The ID looked legit, but there is still a nagging feeling in the back of his head telling him that something is wrong. He manages to keep one eye on the girl and one on the drink as he pours it, then sets a cocktail napkin down in front of her and places her drink on top of that. A bar-back tries to make his way behind the bar but is stopped by the muscular arm of the bartender who informs him that behind the bar is off limits. The bartender goes back to drying off some glasses and smirks over at the young lady, "How is it?" he asks, referring to the drink.

With the green sweet drink finished, she picks it up with her slender fingers and takes a sip. She hrmms for a few moments, enjoying the sweet taste of the midori with a bit of the sour mix. "Pretty good!" she says with a bright smile while stirring it for a few moments. She takes a deep breath, sighing a little as she's tired from a long day, and seems a little blasé, sort of emotionally drained, but that could be because she's physically exhausted.

Unbeknownst to the young woman in front of him, Oliver has a unique talented that has plagued him his entire life. Not only can he read people he can read their emotions like a book. The feelings of being drained with a slight twist of lust emanate off of her like the heat from a flame. He blushes slightly, but does his best to hide his own emotions so not to get them confused with the others around him. "Pretty good?" he starts to say, then begins to shake his head, "I can do better than that." He turns back and mixes up a potent shot of apple and watermelon flavored vodka and red bull, "Here's a pick-me-up on the house," he says with a sly grin. "The names Oliver, but everybody calls me Ollie," he announces, finally introducing himself, "I don't think I have ever seen you in here."

"Claudine, but most people just call me Dine, and thanks for the free drink.." she replies with a smile as she polishes off her drink in one swig. It's a sweet concoction, and midori sour is a known girlie drink. And she's a college student, so of course there's lots of underage drinking going on. She cants her head a little and raises her brows as she notices the blush and chuckles softly as she takes a sip of the drink. This one is definitely a lot stronger and she seems just slightly surprised by it. "You all right? And yeah, I usually don’t go bar hopping, but it's a Friday, and I really needed it, I think."

Oliver nods as he runs his fingers through the short blonde hair on his head, "Yeah I'm fine, and it has just been a long night already." He holds up a finger and grabs another patron their beer and gets into another argument with the bar-back about staying out of behind his bar. He turns back to Claudine and briefly smiles, "And what's worse is that it hasn't even begun to pick up." He can't help but notice that even in an upscale bar the young lady who goes by Dine is slightly overdressed, "Did you just leave the office or something?" he asks as he opens up a bottle of water and takes a sip.

"Hence why I'm still dressed like this. Yeah, I just got out of the office.." Claudine admits ruefully, taking another sip of her drink. This time, she's taking it slowly as she just watches the bartender before taking a quick look around, flipping her hair every now and then. "I'm sure it'll pick up, just give it time. So, how long is your shift?" she asks curiously.

Oliver grimaces at the question and looks up at the clock, "I'm here until we close, but I'm just covering for someone, I don't usually work when it's this busy," he says. He walks away for a moment collecting empties and the stray bills that were left as tips. The sounds of glass bottles falling on top of each other can be heard as he drops them into the trashcan next to the tip jar where he deposits the money. "It must be a good job to require you to dress like that," he quips as he pulls his bottle of water back up to his lips.

"It's decent enough, but I could have better hours, you know..reasonable hours.." she says with an impish giggle escaping from her lips. She takes an occasional sip of her drink as he walks away to throw things away. She doesn’t look in his direction and instead just looks up towards the various top shelf alcohols and various patrons around her. "But a job is a job, so I'm thankful."

The bartender looks up as a large group of business-types enter the bar and find a high-top table to sit at, he gestures over to an angry looking cocktail waitress and instructs her to take their order. The scowl on her face looks like a woman who is about to explode in a fit of rage, but once the bartender makes eye contact with her it vanishes and she begins to chuckle as she walks away to take the order. He turns his attention back to Claudine, "Yeah, well you're still young, no sense in settling on the first job that you come across." He examines her glass then looks back up at her, trying his best not to make direct eye contact, "What kind of work are you in, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Public relations.." Claudine admits ruefully as she smiles warmly and wrinkles her nose a bit at another sip of her drink. The angry cocktail waitress catches her attention as she looks over towards the business types. None of them are Primatech people, right? Right. She takes a deep breath and peers back towards the bartender with a warm smile. "I deal with people for my company.." Well, that's certainly a way to put it.

Oliver can't help but notice the nervousness that washes over the young lady as the group of people walk in, but he just shrugs it off as his own paranoia. When the waitress brings him the order he begins to mix cocktails and open beers, judging by the graceful movement he portrays behind the bar it is obvious that he has been at this for a while. With all of the drinks sat on the tray he returns to his role of the sympathetic bartender and smiles at Claudine. "So let's see, you work in public relations, which I imagine is pretty draining, but I see you came here unescorted, so you are either single or your partner didn't want to come out or he doesn't even know you are out," he states, jumping to the conclusion that the young woman is a member of the heterosexual persuasion, mostly because she hasn't given him any other impression.

Phew. It's none of her bosses, so she relaxes considerably and looks back over Oliver and nods in agreement. "It's quite draining actually.." especially since it's not all she does. She takes a deep breath and her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red at the question as she looks over towards him and hrmms for a few moments. "And yes, I did come alone. Why do you ask?" she asks rather curiously, now somewhat intrigued.

Oliver without even asking, Oliver freshens up Claudine's drink before answering, "Just part of the job, after working behind a bar for a while you start to pick up on things about people," he lied. The truth is it has been suggested by his shrink to become more interactive with other people to help him get over his phobia. "It's really just intuition," he smirks then turns his head to the violently drunk man pounding on the bar next to him. He takes a deep breath and informs the patron that he has been cut off and the only thing he is going to get from the bar staff is a cab ride home. Of course this doesn't sit well with the large man and he grabs Ollie by the front of his shirt and cocks his arm back as if he were going to hit him. But instead of hitting him the man begins to sob like the mother of a child lost to violence. Ollie instructs the bouncer to do his job and bounce the blubbering man out onto the streets. He shakes his head, "Drunks, one minute they are happy, then violent, then they bawl like babies." It seems that Oliver use his talents a lot publicly, unaware that there might be people that might recognize what is actually going on.

"And they say women are usually more empathic.." Claudine says matter of factly, waggling her brows a bit as she lets out an impish giggle from under her breath. That is, until the drunken man gets up and looks like there's going to be a bit of fisticuffs. She eases on up as if it intervene, but then the man starts crying. That's odd, but then again, the man is drunk. "Wow..emotional drunk much?" she says, not thinking it's that unusual, especially considering how emotional some people can get when they're drunk. She's one of them. She takes another sip of her drink as she turns her attention back to the bartender. "Well, it makes sense, I mean you talk with enough people and you'll know how to read them."
Oliver laughs, "Well I guess I get it from my grandmother, she was always pretty new age," he says as the bouncer leads the man outside. He rolls his eyes slightly, "Yeah, once they have gotten a little alcohol in their systems the little demon that lives inside them comes out to play," he states as he takes another sip of his water, "That's one of the reasons I don't drink, that and I have seen my share of sloppy drunks." The rest of the patrons at the bar seem to be happy, even the staff seems to be in a better mood including the scowling waitress and the pushy bar-back. Oliver takes a seat on the stool behind his bar and nods back to Claudine, "But you skirted around the original question, why did you come here alone?"

"You also skirted around my question in response. Why do you ask?" Claudine asks with raised brows as she looks back over to the other patrons. Nasty drunks can always be a downer, so even she feels the lightened atmosphere when the belligerent drunk is gone. She crosses her legs the other way while running her fingers through her hair and looks towards him, waiting for a response.

The bartender tries his best to come up with a good answer for that, he felt her initial attraction when she first sat down at the bar and knows better than to lead someone on but he also doesn't like to wear his personal life on his sleeve so the best response he can give is, "Well it's not why you think." He leans back against the wall, for some reason the bar patrons are immersed in their own worlds and seem to happy to bother him for drinks, "I'm just a curious guy, like I said after awhile you start to pick up things, such as if a young lady enters a bar without a date or any friends, she is either a) looking for a date, b) recently became heartbroken, or c) just up to no good." His lips curl up into a smile, "Or are you going to throw me through a loop and answer d) none of the above?"

And she just stares at him for a while. It's part of her mystique after all, and a girl's got to keep her mystique as she runs her fingers through her hair. She leans forward and looks into his eyes as she waggles her brows as her own lips curl into a coy little grin. "I actually have to choose answer d. If I was up to no good, I would be going to do something else. If I just got out of a relationship, I would be eating ice-cream right now instead of going out after work."

Oliver averts his eyes slightly as not to make direct eye contact with her and smirks, "Fair enough, I didn't mean to pry." He hops off of his stool and swaps out peoples empty beer bottles for full ones and turns back to Claudine, "You want anything else before I announce the dreaded last call?" he asks as he wipes his forehead with a damp towel. Although it isn't particularly warm in the bar, the excess body heat and perhaps just the presence of all the people around him seems to cause him to sweat slightly, making his tee shirt cling to his chest.

"No thank you, I'm good.." Claudine quips, smiling warmly as she starts going through her purse to pull out her credit card, sliding it over towards him. She raises her brows a bit as she notices the t-shirt cling to his body and she hrmms for a few moments, as she leans forward. "Why so hot? You all right? I hope you aren’t getting a fever or anything.." she says as her skin just glistens, not really profusely sweating. It's warm, but not too warm.

Oliver shakes his head, "No, nothing that simple," he states before cupping his hands around his mouth and bellowing out, "LAST CALL!!!" The crowd almost seems to groan in unison as he flips on the dread overhead lights to let them know that he wasn't kidding. He dabs his head again and begins to quickly prepare final cocktails and opening up the last of the beers before sitting back to enjoy the next few uninterrupted minutes of his shift. He looks back at Claudine as he takes slow relaxing breaths, "This is why I don't usually do the weekend shifts, there are just to many people," he says in a hushed tone while controlling his breathing.

"Are you all right? You seem..nervous, at least uncomfortable.." she says softly, looking a bit concerned as she hrmms for a few moments and looks curiously towards the bartender. She chews on her bottom lip, now a bit worried and she says completely deadpan, "You aren’t going to faint or something, right?"

Oliver reaches into his apron and pulls out a bottle of prescription pills and pops two of them in his mouth, washing them down with water, "I'll be fine, it's nothing I haven't learnt to cope with." His eyes wander around the room, inadvertently making contact with several of the patrons. Alcohol induced feelings continue to bounce off of his skull as the few patrons he makes eye contact with start to have panic attacks. It doesn't seem out of the ordinary, or at least it can be explained by the late hour and over-consumption of liquor. A young man, not to far from the bar gets the accidentally gets the full effect of Oliver's eye contact and falls to the floor. "That's why people need to learn their limits," he says gesturing to the young man hyperventilating on tiled floor. Once the door opens and flocks of patrons leave the bar, the cool autumn air brushes over his skin and his demeanor starts to shift back to normal.

"…"

She notices that there's someone spasm and hyperventilating on the floor. Claudine hops off her stool and rushes on over. She's not a doctor, but she knows rudimentary first aid and mutters something softly towards the man, quite concerned. Now, this is kind of weird, but then again, she's too tired to put two and two together. All of this can still be a coincidence. It is hot, and alcohol dehydrates people. She makes the man cup his hands over his nose and mouth and tells him to breath slowly.
"Do you have a paper bag?" she asks, looking over to Oliver.

Oliver rifles behind the bar to see what he has, luckily their is one, of course it still smells of the ham sandwich that had been originally stored in it. He hands it across the bar along with a glass of ice water, making sure not to leave is safe spot until the bar has emptied out a little more. It becomes a little more obvious that the bartender does not do well with crowds or being a part of them, but he tries his best to be helpful without ending up in the same position as the man on the floor.

Claudine grabs the bag, definitely taking charge as she gives it to the man hyperventilating. Now she's worried about the bartender himself, and she calls out to the others. "Okay..bar's temporarily closed. No one skip out on your bills, kay, and just give it to the waitresses.." She takes Oliver's hand, entwining her fingers with his before leading him outside. It looks like she isn’t taking no for an answer.

A very audible gulp can be heard coming from the bartender's throat, not only does he have issues with crowds, he also has issues with being touched. Stunned by Claudine's forwardness he follows her out, wide-eyed with a few knots forming inside of his stomach. The change of scenery would be a welcomed change to most people, but if anything it seems to make Oliver a little more nervous, especially since his anti-anxiety pills have started to kick, which cause a fuzzy state of mind for him.

And once outside the door, she lets go of his hand. It doesn’t take a telepath to see his discomfort, and she's a pretty empathic person herself, even if her evolved abilities didn’t manifest that way. "Look, calm down. You've had a long day, just try to relax.." she says with a warm smile, trying to reassure him.
"I'm fine," he says trying to either reassure her or himself as he leans up against the wall running his fingers through his sweat dampened hair. "I've never been good in crowds, that's why I only bartend during the daytime when there is less traffic." His eyelashes flutter as he starts to refocus and collect his thoughts, he starts to take a deep breath and exhales, trying to keep the feelings of the exiting patrons out of his head so that he can focus on his own. He starts to chant something, it almost sounds like a mantra that would be heard in a yoga class as he lowers himself into a squatting position against the wall “Thank for you concern, though."

"You looked like you were going to faint back there.." Claudine admits ruefully as kneels in front of him to make sure he's okay. She brushes some hair from her face and beams brightly hopefully to try to make him feel at ease. He is an empath after all. "And yeah, do what you need to relax yourself.." she says calmly.

Oliver slowly stands back up and shakes the bad feelings off of himself, "I'm fine, trust me this is a lot better than it used to be," he notes pulling back out his bottle of pills and grimacing at the two lonely capsules at rattling around at the bottom as he shakes the bottle. "Crap, I still have three weeks before I can get a refill," he says with a sullen tone, "Without these pills I won't make it out in public for more than a couple of hours." His eyes wander around, trying to focus on anything, however the side affects of the pills make that a difficult task.

And she looks down towards the pills as she hrmms for a few moments. "Maybe you shouldn’t take that. You only have two until you can get a refill, and perhaps you should save those for when you really need it. I think you're fine right now.." Claudine says reassuringly as she pats him gently on the shoulders.

Oliver nods, "It doesn't seem to matter, the more I take the less they work," he grimaces, "But every doctor I have seen said I could beat this by taking these pills and forcing myself to go out into the public." He sighs slightly, "I should've listened to my grandma and tried all of those hippy-witchy holistic cures she came up with," he says as the color returns to his face. He chuckles some, "But it's kinda hard to take someone serious when they talk about…" he pauses, remembering that even though this girl is nice she isn't really privy to family secrets, "..never mind, I just should have paid more attention to what she was saying."

"Look, I'm no doctor, but even I know you shouldn’t take more pills that you're suppose to. That leads to your body building up a resistance to it. So follow your doctor's directions next time, kay?" Claudine replies, letting out a soft chuckle under her breath as she pats him gently on the shoulder once more. She eases on up and dusts her self off before running her fingers through her hair. "So chipper up!"

Oliver nods, not that he is going to take her advice, he can't his mind would snap under the weight of the feelings around him if it weren't for his daily overdose. With another deep breath he looks back at the door and the few staff members staring at him through the windows, "I should probably head back in and do the books so they can go home," he says, giving Claudine a friendly nod. He wants to be like everyone else and be able to extend his hand and touch someone without having the feeling of thousand insects crawling all over him. Just before he turns to head back in he shoots her a smile, "By the way, you definitely don't look 21, but emotionally you are more mature than most people your age, I'll risk the ticket anytime you want to come in for a drink."

"I'm Filipina, we don’t look our age till we hit 80. And by then, time would've caught up with us so we'll look 90. It's an Asian secret.." she says with an impish giggle as she heads back in, chuckling softly while running her fingers through my hair. "Oh, and earlier, I'm not looking for a date. I have a serious boyfriend. I'm only here cause he's working late too.." she admits ruefully before going in to pay for her drinks. And then she's off to go get some quality cuddle time with the beau. Yay!

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