Date: April 5, 2010
Randall and Claire sneak out to go clubbing, running into Portia at the club.
"Fake IDs and Jalapeno Cocktails"
New York City
True to his word, Felipe did know a guy. And because he's known Randall from the busboy gig for a whopping two weeks, he even arranged for the 'friend of a friend rate', which was still a ripoff but not so big that he couldn't soak it for a special occasion.
"So does it look all right?" he asks Claire, leaning against the counter and sliding the freshly laminated card across. Thanks to the magic of cameraphones, the photo even looks right - unless someone looks closely enough to realize that there's a refrigerator in the background, not the wall of a DMV office. He's trusting in the bouncers to be phoning it in a bit.
"I don't actually have an New York driver's license, but it looks pretty good. Close enough to my California one," Claire says in a hushed voice. The "party" earlier was a bust, but she at least got some presents out of it. She wears the green-stoned necklace and bracelet Peter gave her, and the puppy mills about their feet below. She's dressed to go out — black jeans that look painted on, a pair of heels that bring her height up a few inches, and a tight satiny and silvery top. For once she has makeup on, since she's leaving the house.
"Ready to go, then?" she pockets the ID with the cash in her back pocket, then picks up the dog to put him in the laundry room with newspaper laid out.
Meanwhile, there are other people who might not ordinarily be able to get into clubs. Portia happens to be one of them, but sneaking into clubs is her expertise these days. A girl has to have her fun, after all. It's only a matter of a little invisibility and careful timing, and Portia slips right in after a group of people, completely unnoticed. The good thing about crowds is how easily one can fit in—especially invisible.
Randall's outfit is understated - black slacks, dark red button-down - it's left over from an office temp job a couple weeks back, and has barely been touched since then; when he was getting ready to bail from his usual haunts on a moment's notice, he picked it out precisely because it wasn't his usual thing. Nodding to Claire - and taking a second to check out her get-up while the puppy is being stowed - he follows her out a back door, the same way he usually sneaks out to his gigs at the restaurant.
The two make their awkward brand of conversation on the way to the club, where Claire grows a little less confident, if she was confident at all, and lets him do the leading. As they get to the bouncer at the door, she tries to look nonchalant and cool as she shows her very new, very fake ID and hopes that it doesn't get her arrested on the spot. When it passes, she slips it back in her pocket, waits until she's inside, and shoots an eyebrow up at Randall. She looks suitably impressed. Then she glances at the club itself and chews her lower lip a little nervously. "I … don't think I can dance like that," she says under her breath, staring at some of the dance floor's patrons, grinding away.
If there's one thing Portia knows from her own club-hopping days, it's how to play it cool. There's a careful balance between being hidden and being seen, knowing how to blend in. And Portia's becoming a master of the chameleon. As she moves between people, she carefully times her slip from invisible to visible and proceeds to make her way to a tamer section of the dance floor. With the knee-length skirt with a slit in the side and snug-fitting red shirt, the heels and hair messily pinned up definitely make her pass as older. She's got this covered. Her gaze slips throughout the crowd, looking to get a feel for the club at the moment.
The bouncer asks to see Randall's ID as well. With the short hair, he looks less his usual nebbishy self and more like the type to wind up in a fistfight in the alley behind the club. He's only a little nervous - his is real, so he just needs to act cool and not call undue attention to Claire.
"Be the jaded barfly, then?" he offers. "Or just hang out near the fringe, maybe people won't notice you as much—" Oh, who does he think he's kidding? There's already a couple guys checking her out as they walk in the other direction, plus a middle-aged guy at the bar who thinks he's being inconspicuous despite the gold chain disappearing into his chest hair.
"Jaded barfly, I can do. I'm jaded and I can't really get drunk, so… that's easy enough," Claire murmurs, eyes scanning the crowd, very oblivious to any glances in her direction. "How old are you, anyway? You look like you could be anywhere from like … 22 to … " her green eyes narrow a bit, not wanting to insult him. "I don't know. Like maybe Peter's age." That will probably offend him, since he thought maybe she was Peter's daughter, though. "Luckily I'm not a bouncer. I can't tell ages for crap," she says with amusement.
The problem with being the jaded barfly is that you are in one place… easier to spot, and easier prey for the creepers! Lucky for Claire, Portia's on the lookout for something fun or interesting, and now the blonde's in the crosshairs. She does happen to be just standing there out of the way, and it doesn't seem like she's having fun yet. So… Portia makes her way through the crowd of dancing bodies, occasionally moving with the music as she heads to take a closer inspection of the 'jaded barfly'.
Randall narrows his eyes. He isn't sure exactly how old Peter is - the stubble doesn't help matters any - but he's pretty sure the man's older than he is. "I'm 26," he mutters, glancing over toward the bartender. Who looks like he's going to be occupied for a while longer: a pair of women are hanging out right in front of him, laughing and snapping flash photos of each other in turn.
"Well, you're closer to him than me, then. I think he's 30. And I'm 20. And you're in the middle, somewhere," Claire says with a laugh at the dirty look. "Besides, don't guys like to look older?" She's a bit bubblier out of the house, that's for sure. And she's happy to get away from the stress of her family. She can't help but begin to move to the music, turning her back on the bar to watch the club. Her green eyes fall on Portia, and she tilts her head. Why is Portia looking at her? She glances down, a little shyly — she isn't the expert at the club scene Portia is, clearly. "What are we drinking, anyway? It's on me — since you can't get me drunk," she teases Randall, looking back up.
Hey. Hey you! Portia glances back to Claire. Thankfully, with Randall busy looking the other way, she hasn't seen him… which means the situation doesn't end up getting awkward yet. No, that can wait. Staying where she is on the dance floor, she catches Claire glancing her direction. Perfect. She proceeds to beckon Claire close, almost as if it's perhaps a little urgent. If she can just lure her out…
Randall, cheerfully oblivious, smirks at Claire and then turns his attention to the question that was asked. The six-rounds-in duo have wandered off toward the dance floor himself, leaving him with a clear view of… ooh, that bottle right in the middle of the second shelf looks promising. It's short and squat and green. "Two of that, straight," he calls out. "Put it on her—" and he glances back to make sure she hasn't taken off at the last second or anything. It's a club, these things happen sometimes.
"I … " Claire begins, then turns around, putting one knee on the barstool as she faces the bar, leaning to whisper to Randall. "Ssome girl's like, beckoning me." The hushed whisper is said loud enough to be heard over the music, and to the petite blonde's chagrin, gets a couple of chuckles from those nearby — the bartender and the gold-chain old guy, alas. She blushes a little and glances back, then looks up at Randall again. She may as well publicly announce she's a club virgin.
Right. This would take some effort. Seeing as Claire wasn't following the pretty clear directions to come out onto the dance floor, Portia would simply have to take matters into her own hands. She makes her way through the remaining people in her path, moving right over to Claire. "Come on, you aren't dancing. Don't be shy!"
Randall turns, looks - and stops in his tracks. Well, there's a familiar face, and one he knows doesn't belong here any more than Claire does— not that he's about to blow the whistle on her. "I'm not dancing either, do I get an invite?" he teases. Spotting the drinks being poured out of the corner of his eye, he leans back and passes one over to the blonde, glancing down at the other - what is this stuff, anyway? - as he waits to see how the conversation plays out.
"I'm … drinking," Claire says, taking the glass handed to her by Randall and taking a sip of the green drink, before wrinkling her nose and setting it back on the bar counter. "Or maybe I'm not. What the hell is that," she says, reaching up and wiping her mouth with the back of her hands, looking at him as if he'd just played some cruel joke on her. "You can have mine. That is disgusting," she says, before turning to head to the dance floor — without paying for the drink she promised to pay for. Poor Randall.
Oh. Well, Randall's here. That certainly makes things a little interesting. Portia plays it cool, though, glancing at Randall as she notes his presence and his comment about dancing, she shakes her head. "I didn't ask /you/ to dance." The tone's playful, but she glances back to Claire as the blonde moves for the dance floor. Now /that's/ the spirit. "See… much better!"
Randall rolls his eyes - and so does Gold Chains; hey, he's not the only guy getting dissed tonight, see? - and fishes through his pockets. He's got enough to cover the drinks, but it'll burn through most of the pocket money he's got left. She'd better at least spring for the cab fare back to the safehouse later. And what's so bad about the— oh, that explains it. Jalapeno juice, for when the alcohol doesn't burn your tongue enough on its own.
Claire knows how to dance and isn't too bad at it, but she's a bit self conscious as she begins to move to the music, knowing that at least three people are watching her — Portia, Randall and the Gold Chain guy. This is different than shaking your pom poms and your pleated skirt at a football game, though only in style, really. "Better than that drink, maybe," Claire says, still a little dubious of this girl's intentions. "I'd say 'you come here often' but that sounds like some cheesy pick up line or something."
See, the trick is to pretend like no one's watching. Portia herself is dancing, so it's not as if she's just standing there and spectating like Randall and Creeper McGoldChain are. She moves with the music, ignoring the rest of the crowd for the moment. "I've been in a few clubs, yeah. You just have to know what to do and then you're good. I went to a lot while I was in Paris, and they're much more, er, liberal in the clubs there."
Well, like they were, anyway. Creeper is still rooted to his bar stool, but Randall's attention wanders over to a passing redhead with more than the usual share of freckles.
A couple of wordless back-and-forth glances later, they head out to the dance floor as well— and it stays wordless once they get there, unlike the other pair. Maybe she doesn't speak English, or is concealing a disability, or just doesn't feel like shouting over a bass line thumping strongly enough to strike the resonant frequency of one's eighth and ninth ribs.
"Really? More liberal? I think those people in the corner are …" Claire makes a face and diverts her eyes from the corner in particular. Her cheeks are a bit flushed, a mix of the heat of the throng of sweating bodies on the dance floor and her own embarrassment at not being very worldly. She moves with the beat, following the younger girl's moves a little, letting the thrum and thud of the music take her over. It's actually cathartic, she finds, letting her worries flow out through her swaying hips and arms — until her cell phone buzzes in her jeans. She stops dancing in order to wriggle the device out of her pocket — skinny jeans a touch too skinny to make it easy, and glances at the display.
The blonde makes a face and tries to catch Randall's eye. "I gotta go…" she calls, trying to be heard over the music. Her green eyes flit back to Portia and she smiles sympathetically. "Someone's looking for me… nice kinda meeting you." She begins to make her way off the crowded floor, not sure if Randall is following or not.
It seems that her new friend was doing just fine on the dancing until that pesky phone rings. She shakes her head a little as the blonde heads away, offering a wave. "It's Portia, by the way." She offers by way of introduction on the way out. "See you around."
A number of people are coming and going as the music changes to a new track - including the redhead, who waves and takes off as a pack of friends come to collect her - even as others decide to stick around. Randall looks around, spotting the one he came in with, and does his best to catch up with her: he'll be well and truly hosed if she somehow fails to get back to the house okay. "What about you, you staying?" he asks Portia, as the ebb and flow of the crowd brings them face to face.
Names. She hadn't thought about people asking her name and what she'd reply. "Nice to meet you, Portia," she says, back pedalling toward the exit. "I'm Sandra." She smiles and gives a wave, glancing at Randall. "You can stay if you want. I'll get a cab," she suggests, before turning and heading for the door, texting some lie or another into the cell phone to keep her uncle from exploding in worry.