2010-09-15: All Through the Night



Date: September 15, 2010


A broken heart is mended at last.

"All Through the Night"


15 Minutes Karaoke Bar

Sometimes, all it takes is a few choice words in the right place. Without any alcohol involved, either. Randall doesn't answer Evette directly, but he does lean over and whisper something to Portia, just as the singer on stage gears up for her last number.

"I do want something."

"Aw, don't be so sure. Just try and compromise or something. I'm sure he doesn't hate you." Portia insists, helpfully. "Yeah, assertiveness can be hard in situations with emotion." Then there's a slight whisper in her ear, and the young woman is blushing. Clearly the whisper had an effect. "A-Ah, yes. Assertiveness. I'm okay when it comes to something that doesn't involve my feelings… so I get what you're saying. I just can't jump right out and take what I want when it's something I care about. Especially if it's complicated." Her eyes flicker to Randall, then her voice lowers and she leans in to whisper something into his ear.

"So what are you going to do about it?"

Kirby Plaza

The high from the successful karaoke gig is still flowing— but Evette was right, signs pointed to an upcoming change of mood. The question is, what sort? Times Square could keep the excitement going, as could the club… but Randall suggested a quieter place instead.

A bit of wandering later, and oh yes, this place looks like it will fit the bill. Wasn't that sculpture featured in Ninth Wonders! once? Squinting, he walks up a set of stone steps nearby, taking a seat near the top.

Getting out for air would be nice, really. Portia's cheeks are still flushed, mostly from the heat and excitement, though perhaps from whispers as well. She moves after Randall, climbing to the top of the steps and sitting down next to him. "It's nice out here," she says.

"It is," Randall murmurs. "Whatever that thing is, it makes for an interesting windbreak." For a moment, he stares out at the faint glow of nearby streetlights reflecting off of it, but then turns to face Portia more fully. "So. I, I've had some time to think things over lately…"

The young woman glances towards the statue for a moment before glancing back towards Randall. "What have you been thinking about?" She questions. "And what conclusions have you drawn?"

That gets a quirked brow. "First of all, I just had a flashback to pretty much every English textbook I've ever seen, so you've clearly been paying attention in class. Second…" The quip makes it a little easier for him to go on - but only a little. "I think… I think we've waited long enough. In fact, in the larger sense, I think we've waited entirely too long."

"I'm a good student," Portia states, peering at him curiously. Her teeth tug on her bottom lip a little as he continues. "You just got out of a relationship, Randall. You're lonely. You just want someone. It's okay."

"I don't just want someone," Randall protests, a little too sharply before he lowers his voice again. "We've known each other, what, almost three years now? I know we only figured this out after Carrie came along, but… honestly? It's been in the back of my mind since last year."

He falls quiet, thinking back— not to the couch incident, he remembers that all too well already, but to the months after it. Admittedly, his attention was elsewhere for most of that time… but none of that ended up going anywhere. And this is going somewhere. At least he hopes so.

Her lower lip is still toyed with between her teeth, a slightly worried look on her features. "I just…" Portia looks back over at him, releasing her lip from between her teeth as she lets out a sigh. "I don't want you to break my heart again like you did every time I saw you with someone else."

"I wouldn't have— Portia, I didn't know." Randall reaches his hands out toward hers, trying to meet her gaze. "I've gotten used to being able to just see how people are feeling, but you… I always had trouble, for some reason. Maybe it's a side effect of what you can do, you know?" Maybe it's already too late for them— his gaze lowers at the thought. "Can you forgive me?"

"I'm pretty good at being invisible," Portia agrees, but she moves, taking his hands as she looks back over at him. "I guess I'm a confusing girl, then." She shrugs a little, then looks down for a second. "I'll forgive you if you promise not to do it again."

In general, it's a straightforward enough request: stop doing that bad thing you were doing. But it's all about context. Stopping this particular thing would imply either becoming a monk, or… Randall's eyes are wide. "If I— are you saying what I think you are? Because if you—"

"Don't screw it up," Portia states, her eyes flickering away. "I've seen you with enough women who loved you and left you and I'm not going to let myself take seeing that again." She murmurs.

Randall rolls his eyes. "Mostly just left, really. But… yeah. The next time?" He rises to his feet again, pulling her up with him, and a half-step closer for good measure. "That'll be the one I'm sure about."

All through the night
I'll be awake and I'll be with you

Portia's pulled to her feet, and she glances back at him carefully. "One chance." She murmurs. "Because I trust you. I'm invisible to the rest of the world, most of the time, regardless of my ability and I'm giving you the chance to see me. So don't blow it. I don't wanna get hurt."

"Thank you," he says quietly, now that he's worked out better how their voices carry through the area. "And just because I have trouble seeing you clearly doesn't mean I have trouble seeing you at all. You could never be invisible to me again, not that way. I wouldn't want you to."

"Thanks," Portia murmurs, smiling genuinely at that as she looks towards him. "And… I'll try and be more transparent, in terms of feelings and stuff. I'm just… got used to being pretty guarded. I'll be better about it. I think that's a fair deal."

All through the night
This precious time when time is new

Randall nods, reaching up with one hand as if to brush away her hair, only it just passes through empty space instead. He must be seeing something there, whatever it is, heedless of the growing dark. "So— where do you want to go from here?"

Maybe he saw something. In any case, Portia's own hand moves to find his, lacing her fingers with his. "I don't know." She murmurs. "Wherever." She pauses. "Do you mean metaphorically or physically?"

"Yes." Oh, c'mon, she had to see that one coming. "Both. I mean, we could stay here if you want, but— you know what I mean." Randall instinctively tries to gesture with the hand that she's hanging onto, breaking into a hint of a renewed smile as he realizes what he's doing.

"Lets go somewhere," Portia says, her fingers squeezing his hand. She smiles a little, looking back at him. "In both cases. Besides, it's dark and I'd like to see you better." She wrinkles her nose. "Too much symbolic language and double meanings. I feel like a romance novel."

Oh, all through the night today
Knowing that we feel the same without saying

Randall takes another half-step closer. "I will not stand here and watch you put yourself down like that. C'mon, I have an idea—" There's another quick tug of fingers as he turns and heads off toward the bright lights in the distance. It'll probably be loud too, but that's okay, he has an idea how to work around it.

Portia smiles, letting him tug her before she moves, hurrying along with him as he leads her in the direction of the club.

Club DnA's

The lights in the club are plenty bright enough, at least in most of the places where they have lights. Other areas are thrown into shadow by comparison, but they're easy enough to avoid.

The club holds some strong memories for Randall: one in particular, where some drugs got quietly spread around without warning. Which is why he brought Portia here in the first place - it's about damn time he pushed them aside to make room for some new ones.

We have no past, we won't reach back
Keep with me forward all through the night

It's brighter, certainly. Her fingers stay laced in with his, and Portia glances about the club a little. She lets her gaze settle on him, watching him quietly for the moment, now that it's a lot easier to see.

The first thing Randall does, once his eyes adjust to the change in lighting, is gesture with his free hand to something a good distance away. "VIP room's up there," he murmurs. "Be nice if we could get in there on our own some time— I got dragged in once, some people playing head games with each other." Hallis and Mitsy, though he carefully avoids naming names. "But I've got a better idea for tonight—"

Portia nods, squinting as she glances up towards where the VIP room is. Yeah, someday that's where they'll party. When they're famous. She looks back towards Randall with a raised eyebrow. "What better idea?"

Well, the bar is right out. And the artwork is nice and all, but the really big obvious target is right there in the middle. "Well, so far," says Randall, leading her toward the edge of the dance floor, "this has been the night where everyone sees you. I don't see why that should change now, do you?"

"Dancing, huh?" Portia grins a little bit. "Think you can keep up with me, then?" She does seem excited about this idea, peering about the dance floor to see exactly what the atmosphere is like at the moment.

"Not really," he replies. "But I'm going to have a hell of a fun time trying!" That's the other lesson of the evening, is that following Portia ends up taking you to good places.

And once we start, the meter clicks
And it goes running all through the night

As usual for the middle of the week, the club is lively without being near-choked with writhing bodies. There's a couple of girls dancing under spotlights near the DJ booth, and a couple more off in a corner talking to a low-budget film crew.

Girls gone wild? Who knows. Portia's just happy to be around. She squeezes Randall's hand before she works her way into the crowd a bit, finding a less congested section of floor before she begins to dance. It only takes her a moment or two of nervous self-conciousness before she really begins to get into it.

While the performance high has faded, it's still far from completely disappearing for the night, and it doesn't take more than a minute on Randall's end to fan those flames either. Losing himself in the pulsating rhythm and flashing lights - the lights, especially - he's only dragged back down to earth when he notices the cameraman walking toward them through the crowd. What.

Lights are distracting. And when you're dancing and you're into it, you don't always notice all that much else going on. Portia's unaware of the crew in their direction, mostly because she's dancing and really enjoying herself.

Until it ends, there is no end

The conversation, such as it is, remains non-verbal - it would take an awful lot of effort to shout over the noise. And an awful lot of gall, too. « I don't like the way you look, pal. » « Fine, you two enjoy being nobodies, I got plenty of other girls to chase up. » And he does, beelining for a bewildered-looking ginger in a miniskirt just as she gets past the bouncer.

Really, Portia only noticed there was something going on by Randall's expression, her gaze flickering over to notice… well, the back of a camera man. She glances back to Randall, offering him a small smile as she continues her dancing. She's not too bad either. Which, of course, will come in handy if she ever becomes mega-famous and does concerts where she's not playing an instrument.

Just so long as she isn't doing a pole dance on her way to the stage. That sort of thing would break the mood in a hurry.

Eventually, after a good long second round of showing off with his favorite person in the world, Randall takes the opportunity of a breather in the music to take a step back. "I could use a drink," he says, "want to see what they can round up?"

"Yeah," Portia replies, breathlessly. "Can take a lot out of you. Gotta keep hydrated…" She murmurs, then repeats it a bit louder once she realizes he won't be able to hear her well. She takes his hand so as not to get lost in the crowd.

It's noisy over by the bar, too - it's not that far from the edge of the dance floor, and there's a pair of speakers right nearby— turned the other way, but still sending a good solid thumping through everything nearby. Randall falls back on non-verbal cues again, pointing to a tall blue bottle sitting on a shelf on the wall— and in no time at all, there's two glasses of the stuff sitting in front of them. Oh, great, this again.

But as the glasses are set down… Portia doesn't hesitate. She picks up her glass, taking a long swallow of the substance. She grimaces slightly at the flavor, but looks in Randall's reaction for a response.

Well, he can't really argue with the situation now, can he? A wad of bills is dropped onto the bar top, enough to cover both rounds, and Randall looks around for a table— well, no, the tables are full. The girls who were hanging out with the camera crew earlier are loudly jabbering away near the other end of the bar, so that's a no go, too.

Along the wall opposite the entrance, just past the stairs leading up to the VIP area, is a row of long couches. Really nice ones, done up in dark red velvet, and turned to offer easy crowd-watching.

Portia keeps close, mostly because she knows how easily you can get separated in a place like that. Or she might just be keeping close for the sake of it. Either way, she scans the crowd for a moment, her gaze fixating on the couches as well. She gives a nod at him, then a nod in the direction of the couches.

And as soon as they sit down together, it's like the rest of the club might as well be walled off behind soundproof glass; actually setting the drinks down on the table only serves to heighten the effect. Now it's Randall who can't see anything but Portia. He's thought about being with her, asked to be with her - and now, finally, he is - but that just leaves the question, what next? "Portia, I—" he begins, and trails off, realizing that he really has no idea.

It's a lot easier to hear over here anyways, and Portia herself is so much more aware of them being there together now than she was just dancing out there. She notes his reaction, the way he trails off, and she leans towards the table, taking a sip of her drink. "You don't have to say anything. Don't worry about it…"

Randall inclines his head. Slowly - but if he weren't feeling so confident already, he might not even manage that much - he reaches his arms around her waist, drawing closer until his cheek is pressed against hers. And his eyes go wide. "The gold," he whispers in her ear. "It's back— and it changed, just now, it looks like gold but it feels like rose petals all around the edges." A short pause, then he continues. "What you're doing now, opening up or whatever… don't stop. Don't ever stop."

Portia breathes deeply, her eyes drifting shut as she presses her cheek against his. "I don't know what I'm doing." She shuts her eyes for the moment, taking in the simple feeling. "I'll keep trying… I promise I'll keep trying."

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