2007-02-05: Dark Hair and Nice Smiles


Sydney_icon.gif Mara_icon.gif Eliana_icon.gif Job_icon.gif

Summary: Club-goers at DnA’s mix and mingle, not knowing that they’re all much more alike than they think.

Date It Happened: February 5th, 2007

Log Title: Dark Hair and Nice Smiles

Club DnA’s

Like rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time, it isn't always easy to smoke, drink and dance - but that's what many of the club-goers here at DnA's are trying to do. Undoubtedly, it helps that a lot of them are already drunk on overpriced cocktails and the weird combination shots that are so popular with New York's twenty-something crowd. Sydney, on the other hand, is content with her short glass of Cranberry Cordial on ice. She sits at the bar with her elbows on the counter, her drink in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other while she watches the crowd out on the dance floor with a lazy sort of disdain. The exhausted look on her face belongs to someone who isn't supposed to be here.

Another dateless night in New York City. The woman with the dark hair and the eccentric manner of dress doesn't join the dancers on the floor. She sits at the bar with a Tom Collins and a cherry cigarillo, sketching something on a cocktail napkin.

In the middle of a song, Eliana wanders out of the crowd on the dance floor to light at the bar a few stools down from Sydney. She chuckles to herself when she lands, setting a tall, thin glass on the bar's surface before she pulls a pack of cigarettes from the pocket of her fitted jacket. Underneath that jacket, Eliana wears a black, lacy tank top and something to make what's underneath that tanktop a bit more accentuated. She nods to the bartender when he comes to take her glass, subtly ordering another Long Island Iced Tea while she clicks away with her lighter, trying to generate a spark. It's soon clear she's out of fuel, and Eliana looks to Sydney with a slightly frustrated sigh and a gentle, genial smile. "Got a light?"

The crowd is a popular place to emerge from all around, but it's not the crowd on the dance floor that Job emerges from on his way to the bar. It's the small crowd that unexpectedly formed by the entrance, although whether it's formed of people arriving or leaving is a mystery, even to some of them. The first challenge overcome, Job faces his second of the evening: getting the bartender's attention. "Excuse me-" He doesn't finish before he finds himself following along the counter, stopping first by the dark-haired woman. "Excuse-" It's a busy night, and once again, Job finds himself on the move again, this time stopping next to Sydney when he catches up again. "Hey!" And finally, he gets the attention he wants. "Vodka tonic." The new mystery is whether or not his request will be fulfilled in a timely manner. Or at all. For now, everyone else has escaped his attention. He needs a drink first.

It takes Sydney a moment or two to realize that she's being talked to, but as soon as she does, she gives a short grunt and reaches into the back pocket of her jeans, using her fingers to feel around for the packet of matches she keeps there. At the same time, she takes a long drag of her own cigarette, then sets it down on the edge of the nearest ash tray where it balances like a seesaw. "Sec'." Job goes pointedly ignored; after all, she's not the one filling orders or taking tips. Not tonight, anyway.

Mara watches Job as he approaches her, and after. Once he finally stops, she picks up her drink, crumpling her napkin in her hand and shoving it in her pocket. Down the bar she moves until she comes to sit next to him. "Hey there. Don't do this often, do ya?" She smiles an easy, closed-lipped smile.

Pleased at the response she gets, due to it not being a straight up 'eff you', Eliana positions the clove cigarette between her glossed lips before she places her hands on the stool so that she can lean forward without any danger. After all, she's feeling a little off-balance at the moment, but the blood isn't running 'hot' enough through her veins to emit a large enough crowd to do anything to anyone, unless they happen to put their nose right against her bare skin.

Job redirects his attention away from the spaces behind the bar and to Mara when he hears her talking, although it takes him a moment to decide she was talking to him. "Do what?" he asks, "Chase the 'tender from one end to the other in the wild hope of getting a drink? No, not often. Only when I have to." The man's attention goes back to the spaces behind the bar for a moment, and once again back to Mara. "You do this often?"

Sydney slaps a paper package of matches - one edge worn away from what looks like excessive rubbing - onto the counter, and slides it across to Eliana. When she pulls her hand away, she wrinkles her nose and shifts her attention to the dirt under her fingernails. "You can have it," she mutters.

"Sit alone in bars surrounded by people who appear to be far more 'hip and with it' than I am?" Mara's lips part as she grins genuinely, revealing a gap in her teeth. The loud music makes her a little hard to hear, but her strange accent probably contributes. When she speaks, it's somewhere between a southern drawl and a British air. "More often than I'd like, I'm afraid." She watches the bartender ignore Job's order for only a few seconds longer before she leans forward and puts two fingers in her mouth to emit a shrill whistle. "'Ey! I need another Collins! And my friend 'ere wants a vodka tonic!" The bartender nods and she smiles back at him. "Thank you!" She sits back in her seat and raises her eyebrows to Job.

Eliana's eyebrows go up at the gift of matches. She wasn't expecting that, but she doesn't hesitate to take them, strike one, and light the clove. Shaking it out while she tucks the book into her pocket, Eliana breathes out her nostrils, sending the sweet-smelling smoke up into the air. "Thanks." Eliana doesn't do a lot of interview work, but it doesn't take an expert observer to note the other young woman's disturbance. "You okay?"

It's another moment before Job speaks again, while he observes the situation that just transpired. "So, is that what the secret to it is? Dark hair and nice smile? Is that how people get drinks here? Because if it is, I've been doing it wrong." What a revelation, and a false shock shows on the man's face. "Job," he concludes, extending his hand.

"M'fine," comes Sydney's immediate reply, which sounds everything but. She raises her glass to her lips, perhaps to spare herself further conversation, and takes a drink that's so long and deep it drains the glass and leaves only a faint hint of pink mixed in with the ice at the bottom. Hearing Job introduce himself to Mara beside her, she rolls her eyes skyward and lets out an exasperated snort through her nostrils. To Eliana, she asks, "You here with friends, or what?"

"Mara." The woman takes Job's hand and shakes firmly. "And I think it has something more to do with the loud whistle and the bellowing voice." She releases the man's hand and takes a drag off her cigarillo. "Plus, the accent's kind of 'ard to ignore, Ah think."

"Research," Eliana answers just as quickly, but when she notes Sydney's disapproval of Job and Mara's exchange, she smirks. "You know, if you don't meet someone in high school, college, or at work, your next best bet is a bar." Translation? Give them a break. And before Sydney has a chance to question, Eliana takes a long drag on her cigarette and clarifies her response. "I write for a magazine." The research she's doing here has nothing to do with that, but you never tell everything you know.

Job nods a few times. "That, very well may be." Finally, he elects to grab a seat before someone else decides to do the same. "So, why sit alone in a place like this, with no less than a hundred other people around? Should be easy enough to find a friend without having to wait for some clueless bystander like me to come wandering past, thirsty and impatient."

"Yeah? A Sluts in the City kinda deal?" Maybe it's a joke, maybe it isn't - Sydney's voice is too deadpan to know for sure. More telling is what she says next. "I kid." As if suddenly remembering her cigarette, she leans forward and retrieves it from the tray, using the tip of her finger to tap off the excess ash. "Seriously, though. Try me. Maybe I've heard of it."

Mara shrugs. "I didn' come 'ere to pick someone up. I just came 'ere to enjoy m'self. Ah like this place. It's a short walk from my place, so I never have to worry about a sober cab." She picks up the fresh drink just as soon as it's sat down in front of her, as well as Job's vodka tonic. "Cheers."

Eliana can't help but chuckle and shrugs her shoulders. "I bet you haven't," she says, then looks to the bartender to subtly remind him she subtly ordered another drink, and within a few minutes, the Long Island that had been ready a minute or so ago is set in front of her again. "It's called Another Magazine," Eliana explains as she curls one hand around the glass and lifts it to take a sip. "Out of London, but they have an office here too. What do you do?" Ah, the natural progression of idle human chit-chat.

"Cheers," Job echoes, taking his own drink when it is presented to him. "Let's hear it for drinking alone in night clubs, and again for the strangers you meet while you're there. May they continue to make things more interesting than they were when you came in." Job drinks to that; he proposed it, after all.

Sydney is silent while Job makes his toast, using the opportunity to formulate an answer that isn't as half-assed as tonight's attempt at sobriety. "I guess you could say I work in the entertainment industry, too," she says, and leaves it at that. When the bartender comes by and asks her if she'd like another drink, she waves her free hand in a noncommittal gesture. "Wish I could say I was here for research. My sponsor stood me up."

Mara grins broadly and knocks back quite a bit of her drink before coming back up for air. Unlike the women down the bar, she doesn't bring up the subject of occupation. "Did you come here to drink alone? Or to find conversation, Job?"

"I wouldn't really peg this as the best place for that kind of meeting." The mention of a sponsor sends Eliana's mind directly to some sort of substance abuse problem. "You sure you're alright?" She sets her glass down and takes another draw from the clove, all traces of her smile gone.

Job is keen to listen to the conversations around him as best he can. That doesn't mean, of course, that it's easy to listen to what's going on around him. "I can stay home, if I plan on drinking by myself," he replies, "No, I come out here for conversation. To meet new and interesting people, maybe make a few new friends in the process."

"You think so?" Sydney smirks, but it's more than simply self-satisfied. There's a vicious edge to it that becomes even sharper as she speaks. "It's so easy to get sucked into that twelve step bullshit. They treat you like a bitty baby bird with a broken wing - like it's something they can fix with some masking tape and a popsicle stick. Truth is? The poor bastards are only trying to help you with your problems so they don't have to think about their own." She shakes her head. "No. This is the perfect place."

"You make a lo' of friends?" Mara's brows hike upward, disappearing into her bangs. "You do seem a friendly sort," she teases lightly.

Sydney's answer pulls a chuckle from Eliana that twists around the smoke she breathes out. "Isn't that what everyone making money off helping someone is doing?" she asks, the smile back on her face. "So I don't know if I should congratulate you for getting help or tell you that it's better to do it on your own, if you can. But I guess then you wouldn't have a sponsor, and I wouldn't be getting into your business."

"I like to think that I am, Mara. I suppose I make a lot of friends. Don't make too many in the business, I'm noticing, so I have to make them somewhere. And here, where hundreds of people get together in one building at a time? Best place to do it, if you ask me. Don't you think so?" After quite a mouthful, Job pauses to drink more of his vodka tonic. No point having a drink if it won't be drank.

"Yeah, well, if you don't mind - I'm gonna go help myself to a cab." Sydney reaches into her jacket and goes fishing for cash. What she reels out is a twenty dollar bill, which she folds in half and tucks under her coaster as payment for the bartender. Apparently, the Cranberry Cordial isn't the only drink she's had tonight. "It was nice meeting you, uh…?"

"All right," Mara drawls, "I'll bite. What line of work are you in tha' you don't make many friends? You a tax collector or something? Maybe a… Ya aren't a coroner by any chance, are ya?"

"Eli," the pale pink haired girl replies with a slightly brighter smile. "Take care of yourself." She doesn't ask for a name, assuming one will simply be given. Conversations are like ping-pong - what you get depends on what you give.

"No, I belong to neither of those illustrious career paths," Job replies, "I'm a psychologist. For some very, very strange reason, people don't seem to want to establish friendships with the guy who spends two hours a week saying what's wrong with them. Figure that one out, huh?"

Sure enough, the next word out of Sydney's mouth is her name - though it isn't the one she usually goes by. "Amber. And you too, okay?" With a final glance at Mara and Job, she turns and plunges into the crowd, swallowed up by a sea of pale, sweaty, and mostly unfamiliar faces

"I can't imagine," Mara chuckles and sips on her drink. "You gotta be the best friend and worst enemy all at once… I sympathize."

Eliana leaves the bar too, then, but she takes her drink with her. She'll find some booth of young managers or something and see how they react to their first unknown taste of harder substances, making careful note so that she can record what she sees later. For this, she needs the booze.

"I appreciate that, Mara. But hey, if I won't do it, who will?" It's one question for Job to postulate, for certain. A fair one too, likely. "Besides, research, isn't really my thing. A little too intensive. I'm more than happy to sit in a chair and listen to someone tell me why they think it is they can't stop spreading vaseline on their toast."

Mara tips her head back and laughs at Job's example. "I bet you aren't even making that up." She takes another sip from her drink and then nods, "Listeners are hard to come by. But far more precious than talkers, don't you think? People can learn much, much more from listening than talking."

"Well, that's the theory I've been working with for the last few years. So far, it's been working out for me." And then, Job finds himself forced to stop talking while he pulls out his vibrating cell phone, inspecting the display. "Every time I ask myself, 'Who would call their psychologist at this hour?', I suddenly get an answer. I'd love to stay and chat, but this is probably pretty serious, so I need to take it." Quickly, Job also withdraws his wallet and drops two twenty dollar bills and a business card onto the counter. "Card has my number on it. Give me a call some time. Use whatever's left of that cash towards your tab, too. My treat."

"Why thank you," the accent takes on more of a 'southern belle' tone as Mara tips her head graciously. "I'll be sure to give you a ring next time I want some company out here, Job. Do take care."

"And you." Much like Sydney before him, Job vanishes into the crowd on his way towards the exit.

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