2009-11-17: Gin and Bitter



Date: November 17, 2009


Adam crashes a private engagement and runs into the reincarnation of his third wife (without his blood, thank you very much).

"Gin and Bitter"


Imago Cabaret, one of the hot spots for upscale entertainment at fabulous prices. The booths are fairly laden with the jet set and their crowd, one of whom has rented the entire building out for the evening for a private function. Of course there are crashers, people wearing the right clothing who pay the right price to get in. Among the guest list are Hallis and a few of her friends from the elite private school that she attended. The party is for one of her oldest friends, and though they've had a recent falling out, Hallis has been cordially invited.

Standing near the bar, she is dressed in a slinky little black dress that highlights what little curvature she has. Her shoes, of course, are the main attraction, being 4" stiletto heels that make her look as though she may fall over if she takes a step. A martini glass rests beside her, nearly empty.

Wouldn't you know it? First night back in New York city and one of the places Mr. Monroe visited previously for the combination of drinks and eye candy is closed for a private party! That's not to discourage him, however, as he's been through this all before; not a club in this century or the last has been closed to his business, one way or another. Of course, one would argue that it's incredibly useful when you can start scrums with the bouncers without any risk of being injured.

Tonight, it's far easier for the perpetually-twenty something to get into the club. Clad in black from head to toe, in button down shirt without tie, suit, and Italian leather, it cost him a mere Benjamin to slip into this party, assuring the bouncer that he'd be accepted here as an up-and-coming professor at NYU named Stan Gifford. He's quite certain that the partygoers aren't interested in education, but that's not his goal. Right now, he'd given anything for a drink, a stiff one. Sliding up to the bar beside Hallis, he gives her the old once-over, nodding his head at her with a smile, before turning to the bartender. "Gin and tonic…heavy on the gin," he orders, not at all caring to hide his British accent.

A small smile is delivered to the man at her side and Hallis' large blue eyes drift over his finely dressed form a couple of times before she turns and pushes her nearly empty glass forward a few inches. "I'll have another martini please, you know how I like it." Her order is delivered promptly after his and then she turns toward the show on one of the stages.

"I don't recognize you from anywhere, are you a new friend of Ray's?" She begins in a tone just loud enough to be heard over the music. One lightly tanned hand finds its way into her hair as she scrunches it slowly, bringing it back to its proper fullness. As a small group of young men pass, she gives them an upward nod and smiles slightly. Her facial expression is quite smooth, as though she is reserving her elasticity for emotions that actually matter.

When his gin is slid over the bar, Adam slides the bartender enough to pay for his, and then some…say, enough to cover an additional martini. "Ray?" Adam says, letting the confusion play over his face for just a moment, but not enough that it would be terribly noticable. Ever the consummate liar, Adam turns the slightly confused look into an perfectly controlled, carefully practiced smile. Not too big, not too small, enough to show some passing familiarity but not enough to say wheter he's a friend of Ray's or a secret enemy. "Oh, Ray, right. Well, to answer your question bluntly? Yes, I'm a very new friend of Ray's. However, the time I've spent traveling has prevented me from properly becoming acquainted with the rest of his friends. And yourself? New friend? Old friend? Or perhaps something more?" he asks, a wry smirk pulling at the corner of his mouth.

Puckering her lips slightly to hide her own smile, Hallis turns toward the man and shrugs one bare shoulder. "New friend, old friend, and something more.. at one time." She says with a hint of amusement in her voice. "It's a long story." Witnessing the amount of money on the bar, she gives him a wider smile as she plucks the glass off the table and raises it to him. "I'm Hallis, by the way, Hallis Van Cortlandt." The name itself is very old in the vicinity and had the man spent any time in and around Manhattan or Westchester in the past 300 years, he probably would have heard it.

Though he wasn't ever in this part of the world in that particular century, he did spent quite a bit of time in Germany and that particular area of the world. He might very well have met her relatives! But unfortunately, he's not half as good with faces from more than three-hundred years ago as one could wish. "Well, now, since you seem so terribly interested in this party, why not tell me the very long story of how you know our good mutual friend Ray?" he says, the smirk growing to both sides of his face now. He leans himself against the bar, turning away from Hallis to focus on the lime on the rim of the glass. Giving it a good squeeze before dropping it in, he answers her name with his own, so nonchallantly he doesn't even look at her. "Adam. Adam Monroe," he replies, figuring her to be far to young to have ever heard that name.

It's a good hunch, because Hallis hasn't. After stirring her own drink with the pick of olives, she takes a sip and places the glass back down on the bar. "All of us met Ray about a couple of months ago on a beach near Ibiza. You know, in Spain? We were there for this huge party. Anyway, I dated Ray for a few weeks, then he got boring." She lifts one shoulder nonchalantly and turns her head in the direction of the man in question and his caramel haired fiance. "And well… everyone knows the rest of that story." A polite smile is sent across the room only to be returned in kind, it appears relations between the two women are rather strained.

Adam looks up from his drink long enough to follow her eyes to the happy couple. "She was a friend of yours as well, I take it? Come to pick the carcass clean?" He's not so subtle with his analogies tonight…he just wants that drink, a good, proper, British drink. Prima donnas, the whole lot of them. A whole lot like his third wife in fact…a woman so vain that her very choice in makeup lead to her death. He's barely paying attention to Hallis…just enough to keep her from storming off (or at least, that's the idea), but not so much that he actually has to think a lot about what she's saying. He's seen her type more times than he cares to remember.

"We're friends, we'll be friends until the day we die, most likely. Things are just a little odd right now. Everywhere." She turns and picks up her glass again, giving him a sidelong glance and pausing a moment at his throat. When she looks away again, Hallis comment, "That's a nice suit." It's idle chatter, to be certain, but the woman seems a little bored, seems at any rate. Her eyes are perusing each of the guests in turn. Should Adam pay any attention, women are avoided aside from the friend across the room. "Did you buy it here in New York? Or in England?"

In this case, he's…nothing out of the ordinary. About 6' of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Englishman in a black suit. His back is almost completely to the party now, his attention on finishing the first drink, and signalling for the bartender to prepare him another. "Now that, my dear lady, is a statement I can drink too. It's almost as if this is an entirely new city." And…in a sense, it is. Though he was here less than two years ago, he had his freedom for barely a year, and most of that spent on the run. Even in the time since, it's become different still, with old faces fading away (and new ones to eventually take their places, of course). To drink to her statement, he raises his new glass, a full one to the air in front of him, and proceeds to gulp it down…showing this Adam's apple clear as day. "Japan, actually. Business, just last week."

"Japan, I've only been there once or twice, and really only overnight. What I've seen is very pretty though." The martini glass is slowly drained in the course of a minute, and Hallis turns to place the glass on the bar. Waving her hand, she shakes her head to refuse another. "What did you mean picking the carcass clean?" she queries, obviously confused by his statement. It is then that a woman drifts by causing the blonde to freeze up, giving her a tight smile and avoiding any sort of eye contact.

"I've seen it dozens or maybe even hundreds of times," he begins, being perfectly honest this time. "A group of rather wealthy, spoiled young women, such as yourself and your friend," he continues, making a gesture first to Hallis with his palm flat, facing upward, then gesturing again to the friend. "Your cliques, among which is one or two young men who, quite fortunately for them, have more money than brains. Like pinballs, they bounce back and forth between women, like fads in fashion, or, dare I say shoes." Yes, ladies, Adam's been around long enough to know one or five of those designers, and he's quite aware of how they flip for shoes shoes shoes. "And in the end, a relationship is based on what's best for the people with whom the couple surrounds itself, rather than what the couple itself wants." Wife number nine, the one Adam learned that from the hard way.

"Bitter, does it taste good with gin?" The woman remarks blandly, though she should be insulted, she's not really. "You're right, and at this point… I should throw my drink at you and storm off, but really? I'm here because my friend asked me to come to her engagement party, the fifth one in three weeks. But to tell you the truth, I'd probably rather be at home counting my shoes or…" She falls silent then and opens her purse to pull out her wallet. She carries almost no cash, but she has more cards than a woman her age should. "So tell me, Adam, have you had a girlfriend or five like me and my clique? Were you the one man that bounced between?"

Another one of those lopsided smirks appears on his face, as he orders his third gin and tonic since he's walked in. Funny, he's not looking pink or warm or anything, not even a mild buzz! "More than I care to remember, honestly. Except I was only foolish enough to marry one of them. It was nasty and short, if I do say so myself. Only one woman's caught my eye since then," he adds, but strategically leaves out the part about marrying her, then being imprisoned for 30 years. "My business ventures presently keep me from being involved in that manner…but at least it's not my looks," he says with a charming smile in Hallis's direction.

A pen is produced and when the bartender makes his way over with Adam's next drink, Hallis points to it and makes a waving motion in the air. Thusly, Adam's money is refused and the bill, a credit card, and a driver's license (stating UNDER 21 quite clearly across the front) is brought to the woman. "You're right, at least it's not your looks. Too bad about the being too busy thing, I'm sure there's plenty of nice women in the city." She gives him another smile, this time a friendlier one and nods. "It was interesting meeting you Adam, but I need to go. I have a plane to catch in the morning and I still have to pack." At first, she stretches out a hand to shake, but then thinks better of it and raises it into a wave.

He waves back, sort of a casual Jedi-wave, in a sense; that is, hand about chest high, fist open, fingers apart, index and middle fingers up, others bent a little, moving in a semi-circle. "It was lovely talking to you as well, my dear. Though it seems to me that, rather than packing, you could simply buy yourself a new wardrobe wherever it is you're going. What fun is jet-setting if you have to prepare and pack all the time?"

"The last time I didn't prepare I ended up in Washington D.C. dressed in nothing but the American flag." Hallis quips brightly, with a smile pasted to her face. She doesn't seem the least bit embarrassed, in fact, she seems quite proud of it. "The shopping trip the next day was a little bit interesting. So, since then, to be polite I pack at least a day or two's worth of clothing. Besides, the stores in the anti-Disneyland don't carry most of the styles I like to wear… so shopping is a chore."

"Fair enough," he says with a gracious nod. "Though I can't imagine you wearing the American flag is half-bad. Almost makes me proud of you colonists, as it were. But for now, I let you get to your packing," he says, ending the conversation by turning back to his drinks. The soldiers on the counter are rapidly growing, and for the moment that seems to be all he cares about.

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