2007-03-22: Napkingate 2007


Jane_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif Lachlan_icon.gif Riya_icon.gif Anthony_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif

Summary: A gig is played, a Rockette flirts, a detective listens to music, a napkin with secret messages is passed between two men, and the secrets come out.

Date It Happened: March 22, 2007

Napkingate 2007

Den of Iniquity, Brooklyn, NYC

Saturday evening in New York City arrives. Just before eight p. m. a woman arrives at this Den of Iniquity with guitar, portable amp, and backpack. She lets her eyes wander the crowd and search out the proprietor while making her way to a place just inside, facing the windows and visible to the street. The items Jane carries are set down moments later, and she's crossing toward the bar.

Having just returned from dinner at Mesa with Eliana on his arm, Jack is still wearing most of a tuxedo. His things have slowly been migrating to his office, so this is the best place for him to regroup after dropping off his date. Though he's removed the sash-like cummerbund from around his waist and loosened his tie, he's still sporting an old-fashioned, long-tailed coat as he bustles about and mixes drinks. When Jane enters he bobs her a nod and smiles absently, but his thought appear to be elsewhere.

Not far behind Jane is Lachlan. Events from last night have got him in a broody mood, and where better to brood than a dive bar, right? Right. The Den of Iniquity also has the added bonus of being in the same general neighborhood of his new apartment. Bonnie walks on a leash at his side as he heads over toward the bar, casting a curious glance at Jane's equipment. Ooh, guitar? He likes. Jack is given a friendly nod as the Scotsman takes a seat, resting his elbows on the bar.

Riya has the general consensus of actually beating Lachlan and Jane into the club. The Rockette is sitting at the bar, heels hooked on the bar, sipping her second whipped-creamed, un-virgin strawberry daquiri. Mmmm. Alcohol. Her last night is a bit fuzzy, but Jack's outfit does make her blink twice, and stare. "I… uh…"

"Jack," she greets, arriving at the bar and reaching for one of the fruity juice stock she's had kept for her, "a tux today? Wow." Jane's clad a bit differently than she was for her first appearance, it's a black tank top this time over dark jeans and heeled boots. The warmer temperatures changed her choice of clothing to wear under the muted red coat, and her partly fingerless gloves were left at home. A smile is shown, she holds the drink up for him to make record of. "Fancy party?" The man behind her is given a cursory glance; she doesn't seem to recognize him, but he may well remember her from a pair of gatherings on the Deveaux Building roof.

After a few seconds there's enough of a lag between customers for Jack to properly greet his new arrivals. Jane has only played a few sets, but already his customer base has gone from nearly nonexistent to most definitely present as people crowd in to hear the Den's new musician. "I took my lady out," Jack replies, and shoots a self-deprecating glance to his attire. "I look like Fred Astaire." Never still, he whips out a glass for Lachlan and sets a half-full bottle of Glen Moray beside it. A chilled can of whipped cream clanks down on the bar-top and he glances to Riya. "Freshen that up for you?"

The only thing Lachlan is recognizing right now is Glen Moray and a glass. Mm-hmm. He offers a smirk and another sharp, grateful nod to Jack before taking up the bottle and pouring a little something for himself. A gulp is taken from the drink and then he finally decides to take a look around the bar and the other customers. Jane is given a smile that says "oh hey I've seen you before!", and then Riya is … well, ogled. A bit. Because he's seen /her/ before, too. Naked.

"You look good, Jack," the guitarist replies with a grin. Jane doesn't say it, but the look on her face shows a hope things are better in that arena for him. It's followed by one of wistfulness, she softly remarks "There was a guy I was into, thought he was into me, but… he never called again." Hands pull her hair into a ponytail, she takes a moment to glance back at her guitar and backpack where they rest in front of the street-facing windows, then Lachlan, just in time to catch his expression and be puzzled by it. Jack gets a 'why is this guy looking at me like that?' look. Riya doesn't seem so much to catch her attention.

Riya does not know Jane. Jack and Lachlan… well. Needless to say, then girl promptly chokes on her whipped cream, Lachlan being the one person she didn't expect to see again - naked or dressed, as is otherwised. She does grin at Jack, though. "Yes please. Was it a nice night out with the misses?"

With a frown, Jack notes the straying of Lachlan's eyes. He snags a cocktail napkin and a pen from the bar and scribbles something down, then folds the napkin around the pen and passes them over to the Scotsman. The frown smooths away, and his carefully neutral expression is once again in place. "Thanks, Jane. It's an uncomfortable bitch, though. We had a pretty good time. Decent meal, I guess." It seems the night could've been better, but it also could've been worse. He smiles raggedly at Jane. "So what was your would-be beau's name?"

I know it's hard to be discreet, but keep Mr. Weenie in the pants.

Anthony makes his way into the bar. Shift's over and Anthony's looking a bit worse for wear. His tie is undone and his cellphone is to his ear. "Don't worry, ma. No.. I won't be out long. Just keep an eye on Lisa and I'll be home shortly. Thanks.. Love you too." He hangs up the phone and sidles up to the bar.

Hey! Lachlan gets to pass notes like Cass did with Elena in the bookstore the other day. Except Cass isn't here to wrestle with over it. Woe. His ogling is interrupted by the cocktail napkin and he peers at Jack questioningly before taking the note and glancing over it. After several moments of silence, he shoots a confused, angry, and slightly horrified glare at the bartender, opens his mouth as though to say something, then thinks better of it and instead takes to writing. Once he's finished, the napkin is passed back.

What the fuck do you know?

"Clint Evans," she answers. "Not sure what happened, nearest I can think is I had… issues and he walked." One shoulder lifts and lowers in a gesture suggesting she's gotten past it. The juice bottle is lifted and partly consumed, little attention paid to the note passing around her. Jane's apparently not concerned by it. She just drinks from the juice and mulls over what to play in silence.

Riya watches the note go from Jack- who she flirted with- to Lachlan - whom she uh, did you know what with, and then one hand sneaks out to try and nab the note, with no words.

Jack unfolds the note and reads it. Then he picks up the bottle of Glen Moray and refills Lachlan's glass before jotting down a fast reply, all without looking back over at the other man. Let him sweat. Pen and napkin slide back across the bar, and Jack bats Riya's grasping hand away absently. As ar bartender, he's stopped faster, drunker, and more determined people from trying to reach out and touch him. He doesn't even comment on the attempt. "Eh, don't sweat it, Janey. Trust me, there's another pretty boy out there, just a-waitin' for you to scoop him up. Err, hold on. What can I get you, sport?" Jack's quick hands are just finishing up Riya's daquiri. He floats whipped cream on the top and scoots it over to the grabby young woman, leaving himself free for Anthony's order.

I met your azn mistress.

Anthony raises an eyebrow as he glances over at the childish game of keep-away with a note. "Might wanna be a bit careful with that boys. Wouldn't want teacher to find it and make you read it out loud in class." He says with a smirk as he waits for his order. "Just a shot of Jack, please." He asks the bartender. He glances at Riya and just… glances before returning his gaze to the bar.

Another pause as Lachlan stares at the note after shooting a glare in Riya's direction for her attempted snag. /Rude/. He blinks at Jack, bewildered, then at the note before he almost meekly scribbles something else on it and passes it back slowly. Afterward, he takes another gulp from his glass and immediately refills it himself.

Don't tell Cass.

"Maybe," the guitarist replies Jack, showing a weak smile. "Always have hope. Anyway, I'm rarely far from a way to vent." Jane flashes the tuxedo'd note passer a grin, finishes off her bottle and sets the empty down, then crosses the room with heeled boots tapping on the floor and starts setting up. Her guitar comes out, then the portable amp, and tuning begins while she scans the crowd and makes mental notes on what might work with them.

Riya is nodded to as Jane leaves, then Riya watches the note. Her dark hazel eyes continue to watch it then… with the stealth mode of a sneak, the girl tries to go for the note again.

Sneak? You want to talk about sneaks? Jack has been a criminal since… Well, probably a while before Riya, if she ever was one. Though it's a much closer call this time, he snatches the note back out of reach again. "That's strike two, missy. I don't give a toss if you piss or go fishing, but if you lean across my bar again, I'll throw you out of here so fast you won't know which end is your ass, and which is your teakettle. You dig?" As he chastises the younger woman, he writes out yet another reply to Lachlan. This time, he presses the note directly into the other man's palm. Seconds later he has Anthony's shot ready. "Sorry for makin' you wait, boy-o. First one's on me."

Anthony smiles and nods. "No problem, thanks." He says, a brow raised at Riya. He speaks to Jack. "If she gets to be too much, I can have her taken out of her." he says, ever so helpful.

Before Lachlan can dish out his own brand of "stop-trying-to-snag-my-note", Jack pipes up in a much nicer sort of way, and the Scotsman grumbles out an agreement. Yeah. He told you. Then he returns his attention to the note. Funny as it might sound, the Scot is relieved when he glances over the words and he smiles wanly at Jack. "Already have," he responds in a low voice, absently pocketing the napkin. Or at least he's made the effort to. Old habits and all that. He downs another shot but doesn't immediately refill, instead turning his attention toward Jane as she starts to set up. Anthony is given a very brief glance.

It doesn't take long to make sure the instrument is in tune, Jane quite apparently keeps it that way, as if she plays this particular guitar a lot. Her eyes close, she draws in a deep breath and lets it out, then picks a spot in the audience. That person gets the honor of being the first potentially made to think she's playing directly to individuals. "Good evening, Brooklynites! I'm the Brunette Canary, and may the Dodgers forever rot in hell! Here's a hometown favorite." And she goes into a rocked-out version of New York, New York. When her voice supplies lyrics, the pitch is mid-range soprano.

Riya frowns at Lachlan and Jack, and Anthony, then says in her best scolding teacherish mature female voice: "Hey. It's not nice to pass notes in front of others, especially if that one is getting ignored." Besides. She's gotten Lachlan out of his pants already, she can sure get him out of them again and then get to that note.

Jack finally appears to be satisfied. A crooked grin stretches across his face and he cuffs Lachlan on the shoulder in the friendly fashion. "Good man. I'll drink to that." And he does, pouring himself a stout three-fingers of the Moray, then taking a healthy swig. Riya's note earns her a brief glare and a shush. "Quiet. You're on thin ice already. You don't want to get on my bad side, do you?"

Jane's opening number has been a favorite at the Den since her first night. There's a scattering of applause, boots thumping on the floor, and mugs and glasses pounding on tables before the patrons all go silent to listen.

Anthony applauds the performer. He didn't know there was gonna be a show, but then it is a Saturday night. he glances over to Riya. Hot, but she's becoming a nuisance. "Is it attention you're looking for, Miss? I can make sure you get it." he says, half-threateningly and half-jokingly.

A good swig of scotch is something Lachlan can't resist. He drinks when Jack does, grinning, and then does his level best to keep his eyes on either his glass or Jane as she plays. He doesn't say anything else. Brooding, remember? It's an art. In his mind, Riya is ignored on purpose. Don't look at her, don't look at her, don't look at her.

Enter into this foray of note stealing and guitar playing is one Cass Aldric. The store closed up, the woman looks kind of tired and shaken up from events previous. But, she wants to check in on Jack and talk to him about what Eliana may remember, if anything, from her stay with the Company. And to make sure she doesn't think she's a drug addict like Elena told her Jane thinks she is. Entering into the room to the sound of applause of Jane, she blinks to see the guitarist playing there. Wow. Maybe thinking about people really do make them appear. Stopping right in the doorway, the woman stares at Jane for a few moments before heading to the bar, where she's glad to see Jack is tending. And…Lachlan is seated it? It's a small world, truly. Deciding to surprise the Scot, she heads for the bar and slips into the seat next to him. "Come here often?" It's said in a teasing tone.

The guitarist is skilled, that much can be told. Her play suggests years spent practicing and studying her craft. The voice, for this tune held at mezzo-soprano pitch, is rich and strong like Ann Wilson's. She rests her eyes on Cass as she enters and stares at her, an eyebrow briefly raising as if to say 'What? You knew I played already.' Jane's eyes move on after a few seconds, settling on someone else as she polishes and refines her stage presence.

Anthony and Jack are glanced at- probably glared at a bit, too. However, the girl doesn't waste her time with those two as she moves to stand, long black coat falling off of her shoulders and to her chair. "Lach…" She says, her voice an edging purr that she seems to get at times- "why are you ignoring me?" And yes, for anyone that's wondering- her hair has been left in a long, tight braid that reaches down past the small of her back, and her eyes are outlined in a shade of beige to match the skintight beige, outlined in sparkling gems dress, and then that bare length of leg that reaches down to khaki-colored high heels. "Don't you…" A long, very long, probably too long pause… "Remember me?"

"Cassie! Long time no see, lady-o!" Grinning, Jack leans against the bar and smooths back the tails of his tuxedo coat. A moment later, he tugs away his tie and tucks it into a pocket. "What can I get…" his voice trails off at Riya's bold approach to his Scottish drinking buddy. "Damn," he mutters under his breath. All that note-scribbling is about to be for nothing. Rather than allow that, Jack leans closer to Ri and shakes his head. "He doesn't remember you, but I do. I called dibs when you got here tonight, so it's no use go after my friend, is it?" He shoots Lachlan a conspiratorial wink.

Anthony just watches the goings-on. His observation skills still intact despite the imbibing of the shot of whiskey. He glances again at Riya and just shakes his head to himself. "A shame.." he says, muttering to himself before turning back to listen to Jane. He does note Jack's smoothness and mentally applauds the move.

Lachlan is in the middle of another gulp when Cass takes the seat next to him, and he swallows hard. Wow. Small world! However, he's soon turning a broad grin on her. Right now, he's extremely happy to see Cass, because Cass is the best distraction he could ever hope for in this bar of temptations. "Hey, baby!" he greets brightly in the manner of one who is about to glomp someone. He refrains from actual glomping but that's only because Riya makes her approach, and his head whips around to stare at her in alarm. God, God, God, oh God, oh God. And then there's Jack to the rescue! The Irishman is given a relieved and grateful grin before the Scotsman tips over to the side to hopefully lean up against Cass. "Missed ye," he informs her in a low voice. Even though it's been, what, a whole day since he saw her?

"Hey," Cass responds to Lachlan in a familiar manner and a happy smile. It's actually good to see him. "I'll just take a pint of what you've got on tap." When Riya comes over and does her little dance of flirtiness, the woman does the unthinkable. Due to their conversation last night, she decides to let Lachlan have the benefit of the doubt and decides that this is one of those ex-girlfriends and that she just needs to be Educated of the Situation Now. "Hey, look, lady, he may have remembered you at one point, but the only one he needs to remember right now is me. So stop trying to flirt with my boyfriend." That should be that in her opinion, so she leans against Lachlan and gives him a please smile. "Did you now?" Jack's response gets a puzzled look. "What about Eliana, Jack?"

Tension and danger to Lachlan's manhood from being in the same place at the same time with his girlfriend and a cheating partner aren't known to Jane Forrest as she continues playing in front of the window facing the street outside. She's focused on her craft and pleasing the crowd. Inwardly she's enthused, playing here is such a rock and roll thing. Her thoughts are on how many famously successful rockers started like this. By now, she's perhaps three quarters through the opening piece.

Riya is very, very bold. But very, very naive. Cass is given a probably all too innocent grin, then she remarks, "Why, I was only tryin to get him to dance.. I'm a Rockette, that's what I do…" Jack gets a long, considering look, thne Riya admits, boldly; "Well, that's true…" She admits, the word Eliana hitting her,, however, she does continue to flirt. "Does that mean I get to finally see your desk in the back?"

Uncle Jack dusts off his hands in an exaggerated, self-congratulatory gesture. Another wayward Evolved properly guided, another potential crisis averted. He takes another sip of scotch, then lifts two fingers to touch his brow in a mock-salute to Lachlan. Unfortunately, Cass's proclamation isn't helping him with his attempt to divert the Rockette. "I just had dinner with Eliana," he replies evenly. "Now I'm having drinks with my friend Riya, here." Riya who wants to strip down and shine the finish on his desk, it seems. "Sorry, love," he demures. "Duty calls. I've got to keep mixing drinks."

Near the front of the pub, customers have begun to filter up and drop offerings into Jane's guitar case.

Anthony orders a second shot of jack when the tender on duty gets the chance. He turns his attention away from the bar, watching Jane. His ears still pick up things here and there, but he's not outwardly snooping. His initial attraction to Riya has suddenly gone down the tubes, apparently along with Riya's self-esteem. Noticing the others walking up, he does the same, placing a five in her case before returning to his seat at the bar.

It's like watching someone take a bullet for you. As Lachlan watches the drama that could have been his night suddenly become the drama of Jack's night, he starts to feel something that is almost completely foreign to him: guilt. Jack didn't /have/ to do this. It's highly doubtful Lachlan would've done the same in his place. The Scot's smile fades a bit at the notion and he leans into Cass a bit more. "Sorry," he informs Riya, "dunna dance with anybody 'cept m'girl." Well, and Mara the previous night. But that was totally accidental.

Having no knowledge of people taking figurative bullets for one or the other, Cass gives Jack a frown and watches him talk to Riya. "Enjoy your high kicking, then," the store owner mutters at Riya before wrapping and arm around Lachlan's waist when he leans into her more. "Why do women think it's sexy to throw themselves at guys? It's so cheap," she sighs at Lachlan in undertones. No matter what she may think, she's not going to yell it to the entire bar unless she's provoked. "Where do you /know/ her from?" It's not an accusing tone, to be said.

Her opening piece concludes, and she's at least apparently oblivious to the drama by the bar. Jane's voice and guitar slide into another offering, this one from Joan Jett. It's an upbeat rocker called I Love Rock 'n' Roll. It's like home for her, anywhere she plays, with the ability to let out everything she's experienced, vent out the stresses of her life. It feeds the energy of her performance like it has for so many others before her.

Riya snorts drylyl at Cass, then mutters quietly to herself, ""It's kinda… eh, nevermind." However, she does meander up to Jane and the open guitar, flicking a ten dollar bill in there, and dancing a bit to the song choice. Smart move, anyone?

Jack quickly whips up a shot for Anthony, and one for himself as well. Nodding to the other man, he down the liquor, inverts the glass, then sets it next to a line of others just like it. Ahh, what the hell. He pours himself another and tosses it back just as quickly. This is going to be a long night. Luckily for everyone, Riya chooses to beat a tactful retreat.

Someone's dancing? This really is a rare night in the Den. As if the Rockette's first moves were a rapidly growing snowball, first one man joins her, then a couple, then several more people until there's a small knot of dancers in front of Jane.

"Just … 'round," is Lachlan's vague response. Nevermind that he knows Riya from this particular bar and that it was last night that he knew her. That sort of fact is something that ought to be skipped. He takes another shot and then perks up immediately when Jane makes her transition. Hey, he loves this song! And there's dancing! It's a party. Swiveling his head around to grin at Cass, he raises his eyebrows inquisitively. "Speakin' o' dancin', d'ye wanna?"

"That's….not really an answer," Cass eyes Lachlan and then looks over at dance floor where Riya is already dancing. She frowns. But, then, she was suspicious and angry last night for something that turned out to be nothing, should she run the same route this night? "Whatever. It doesn't matter. It's over with." She flags Jack down for a shot of something and once that's downed, she slides off her seat. "Let's just dance." And hopefully get this nagging feeling in the back of her head to go away.

Anthony finishes his shot and stands, placing some cash on the bar as tip. He gets up, straightens his jacket and heads for the exit.

The development of dancing persons is watched with enthusiasm by the guitarist as fingers and voice continue through the song. Jane's eyes watch the Rockette for a brief stretch then continue across the room to reach the back where the bar is and rest first on Cass then on Jack and Lachlan. If she only knew what was going on, she might well crank out an old Presley number about a dog. She's instead thinking quick, running over in her mind a list of tunes she knows that could keep this going. There's a sparkle to her eyes as she finds one, while not a chord or word of the current tune is missed. "… He smiled so I got up and asked for his name. 'That don't matter', he said, ''cause it's all the same'…"

Riya dances with whomever hits the stage with her, and the girl is having a good time. Lachlan as he comes up gets a look of: uh, wtf? You aren't supposed to follow me.

Suddenly Jack's alone at the bar. And he's still grinning like an idiot, despite his lack of audience.

"Hey! Can I get a beer?"

Startled back to the land of the living, Jack lets out a long pent-up breath and deflates like a pricked baloon. "Bloody crazy sons of bitches," he mutters under his breath as he goes back to serving customers.

Don't be like last night, don't be like last night, don't be like last night — Cass is /still/ kinda acting like she did last night, but Lachlan's coping. At least she agreed to dance. After sliding off the stool, he gives Jack a grin and a wink before trailing after Cass to the makeshift dance floor. Riya's look isn't caught because he's not really looking at her — /pointedly/ so. If he just looks at Cass, everything will be cool, right? Right. As they start to dance, he gives the bookstore owner a bit more of a real response, keeping his voice low so as to be heard only by her: "Met 'er in this bar b'fore." It's the truth!

It's true, there's that whole nagging why is he acting like this? thought going on repeat in Cass' head. And it's hard to act anything other than standoffish when that's going through her mind. Putting a hand on Lachlan's waist, she tries to forget the events of last night and just a bit ago and starts swinging her hips to the music. For someone so klutzy, she's not actually that bad of a dancer. The explanation that Lachlan gives her restores a lot of her smile as she takes the 'b'fore' as being before her. Oh, if only that was the case. "Alright," she says.

Her own body moves as she plays and sings, one foot tapping out a rhythm with the heel of her boot. When the chorus is reached her voice lifts in pitch and volume, Jane belts out the lyrics. "… I love rock 'n' roll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby. So come on, take your time and dance with me." A smirk settles onto her face as she spots Cass moving out to dance with Lachlan, a memory surfaces of the day she met the bookstore owner, and the sarcastic guitarist who was also there. 'Let's see you pull something like this off, Rose!' she thinks.

Riya continues dancing, but it's evident that she's boogieing her way to the door as she does so. "Bye Jack! Bye Lachlaaaaaaan!" She calls out before the door is pulled open then shut behind her as the Rockette goes. Her phone can be heard ringing, briefly, before the door shuts, and closes the girl off from the rest of the scene.

Jack is still mixing drinks. Alone. Having fun dancing?

Indeed! When Riya moves off, Lachlan spares her only a brief glance, but he sticks close to Cass. The chorus causes him to break into a great big grin and he even sings along quietly with Jane. It's not really loud enough to be heard outside of himself and his dance partner, but it's really not bad. Rock and roll is his genre.

Wrapped up in dancing, Cass doesn't notice Riya leaving, though she hears the trilled goodbye to Jack and Lachlan and she can't help but frown at that. Well, she's going to forget that and just have a good time. Dancing with abandon, she laughs when Lachlan starts singing along to the song. It's cute.

She feels the shift in air behind her as the door opens and the Rockette exits soon after the off duty detective, but it doesn't draw a reaction. Jane keeps going, eventually reaching the end of Joan Jett's signature song, and lets her eyes wander. She moves straight into another tune, this one perhaps recognizable as a David Bowie item. During the intro she takes time to speak with her audience, a grin showing. "I thought you'd like that one! Yeah! Now, this one's kind of a woman's tune, but it's also about following your own course in life." She begins to sing then. "Got your mother in a whirl, she's not sure if you're a boy or a girl…"

Jack's relief has finally arrived in the form of another bartender. After patting the young woman heartily on the back, he slips out and through the back door to change out of his monkey suit.

Dancing continues on up until Jane decides to take a break from playing. The small throng of dancers return to their pool or their barstools for a bit of refreshment, and this includes Lachlan and Cass, the former of which is grinning and laughing breathlessly. Dancing's fun! He should do it more. One can be sure he offered his own musical, albeit quiet input to the songs that he knew, too. Once back at the bar, he taps the spot where his glass and the Glen Moray once were. Bonnie remains laying next to his stool, dozing peacefully.

Dancing /is/ fun. And it finally manages to dash away all those doubts and the nagging distrust of Lachlan flee in its wake. Endorphins! Taking deep breaths, she sinks into a stool with a laugh and orders a gin and tonic from the new bartender. She didn't see Jack leave, so the new person behind the bar confuses her. But, she doesn't let it get to her and scrapes her stool over - being mindful of Bonnie - so that it's close enough for her to lean against Lachlan.

Shifting the guitar behind her as the final chords fade and her voice stills, the guitarist strides from the stage. Boot heels tap on the floor with her walking toward the bar, straight for Cass. Hands reach up and release the ponytail her hair is held in, shaking it out. Enthusiasm lights her features, Jane is clearly enjoying her time here. "Cass!" she greets once close enough to be heard. "Good to see you!" She settles onto a stool and reaches for something from her stash of sodas, Pepsi this time, and holds it up so the 'tender can make a record. "This place is so very rock and roll."

Jack has shucked his monkey suit in favor of a white t-shirt, worn, ragged jeans, and his favorite pair of scuffed boots. Leanna, the short brunette who relieved him, is attending to the majority of the customers, leaving Jack to fix drinks for his small group of friends.

Scotch is acquired and there is a Cass leaning on him. Lachlan is a happy man. The arm nearest the bookstore owner is draped around her waist while the other is left free to make with the drinking. When Jane makes her way over and announces her greeting, he looks at her and smiles, but he doesn't make a response beyond that. He's not the one that was greeted.

"Jane!" Cass shifts away from Lachlan to greet the guitar player. "You were amazing." Pause. "How're you doing?" She doesn't bring up what she heard about perceived or real drug addiction. Finally seeing Jack again, she raises an eyebrow at him, remembering why she came here in the first place. "How's Eliana?" she asks. "I haven't seen her since…well, in awhile." No, it's not just a subtle dig about Riya. It's a sincere question.

A moment is taken to look over the Scotsman with Cass and remember how he looked at her when she was talking with Jack earlier. She flashes the man a polite smile, but doesn't show the slightest hint of recognition despite having been present for two occasions on a New York roof. Her eyes go back to Cass, leaving it in her court whether or not to make introductions. "I was, I know," she replies with a laugh. Confidence. "Thanks for saying so. I'm… good now. No tumors. It's… something else entirely."

"Ahh. Eliana's not really herself these days. We don't talk much anymore." Suddenly glum, Jack is happy to shift topics to Jane playing. "You were spot on, lady-o. I couldn't be happier with our arrangement. One more show and we'll have to renegotiate our contract, eh?"

But Lachlan at least recognizes Jane and is now a bit confused as to why she doesn't return the favor. Still, she doesn't ask for introductions, so maybe she's just having an off-day. Or something. Who knows? He's happy to remain quiet for a moment, outside the conversation and simply enjoying the drinks and the company. A sympathetic glance is given to Jack, however. "She said they tried ta get 'er in fer drug charges."

"That's good to hear," Cass nods to Jane, swirling around her drink with the little plastic stirrer it came with. "Brain tumors are a huge bummer. Hopefully the something else entirely is better? Oh, sorry, Jane, this is Lachlan." Introductions made, she frowns at Jack. "Don't talk much?" That's worrying. "Drug charges? Who wanted to get her for drug charges?" Hm. Jane being duped into thinking she's a drug addict, Eliana being questioned about drugs. There must be a connection there.

Not herself. She's got some understanding of that, given her experiences, what she believes, and what she's been told. It still doesn't completely connect for her, there's no link in her memory while the cold turkey experience it competes against is so vivid there. "I could talk to her, Jack," Jane quietly suggests. "Maybe there's a common thread I can help her work out, something we both know that you… can't. The experience isn't there." Out in the open and the presence of Lachlan, who she doesn't remember, there's no elaboration on what those experiences might be, it's left to the understanding of those in the know. "Our agreement," she remarks, shifting topics, "we might look at it again. I won't squeeze you too soon." A grin goes the man's way, one intended to lighten things and chase off glumness. She doesn't want to dwell on things any more than he does. And back to Cass. She raises an eyebrow, giving a look she hopes asks without words whether or not she can speak safely with Lachlan, and a turn to the man. Her hand is offered to shake, soft and smooth skin with short nails and calluses on the fingertips. "Jane Forrest, musician, and other things."

"Yeah, Jane… I'd appreciate it if you'd talk with Eli. I'm at my wit's end." Jack lets out a long, weary sigh and pours himself a glass of bourbon that could better be described as a vat. With one gulp, he empties half and wipes his mouth on the back of his hand. Obviously, the stress is getting to the Irishman.

If there was any doubt about being able to talk about such subjects in front of Lachlan, he'll disperse it soon enough. To Cass, he gives a shrug. "Dunno, she dinna say who. S'pose the police'd be the ones ta do tha'." He doesn't mention the part where he laughed at her about it and she stormed out of his apartment. It /was/ kinda funny. The Scotsman abandons his drink momentarily to give Jane's hand a shake, his own firm and strong with a rough palm, as though he worked with his hands at some point in his life. There are similar calluses on his fingers. "Yeah, I 'member ye from the, uh— " he releases her hand to wave his vaguely "— the whole business with the … the stuff." Okay, so maybe he's not so good at dispelling doubts.

Right. Lachlan doesn't know that she doesn't remember anything from the whole rescuing incident. Leaning forward, Cass whispers something in his ear before pulling back only slightly. Staying close enough to lean against him, she wraps an arm around his waist and comfortably moves to put her hand into his back pocket. "I'd like to talk to her, too," she adds to Jane's offer of help. "Maybe the two of us could figure out how to help." The other hand keeps a hold of her gin and tonic, which she sips slowly.

Cass whispers: Jane doesn't remember anything from the break in.

Her grip doesn't have anything like Lachlan's, but there's some strength to it, possibly from the musicianship. She shakes once and releases, making eye contact with the Scotsman if she can. "Stuff?" Jane asks simply. "What stuff?" Her eyes move on to Cass and Jack, asking by her expression if that means anything, the look also saying she expects truth. And a spoken question follows for the Irishman. "How and where do I find her, Jack?"

Jack bobs a slow nod. "I would appreciate anything that you and Jane were willing to do to help. I've tried… Maybe she just needs some girl talk?" he suggests hopefully. The worry lines at his mouth and brow deepen. "I've run out of ideas. I'm afraid that I'm losing her. If you want to put a word in, I see her here as often as anywhere else. Which isn't much."

The whisper at his ear sparks a bit of realization behind the Scotsman's eyes, and he glances at Jane with a renewed sense of understanding. "Oh. Uh, nevermind." And he leaves it at that. The subject of conversation is otherwise out of his league, so he returns to his drinking. Cass' hand in his back pocket doesn't get much of a reaction beyond a small kiss placed to her temple.

Keeping a steady gaze at Jane, Cass gives a somewhat sheepish smile about the 'stuff' Lachlan talked about. It's not really a topic for bars. Allowing Lachlan to handle it how he does, she just moves on to the rest of the conversation. She nods at Jack, even if the concern about losing her after flirting with some girl at the bar skews her perception of the matter. "We'll see what we can do, Jack. Maybe she just needs to talk to someone else about it. I'll see if we can track her down."

There's something not being said to her, and she very clearly doesn't like it in the least. Jane's eyes shift from one to the other across the trio in turn, but nothing is said that would seem far out of the ordinary to anyone else who might hear. No, she simply comments "I'm a scream queen if I want to be. I can put all those Hollywood horror movie actresses to shame." What she's aiming at, trying to communicate through vaguery and non-verbality, is how well Lachlan can be trusted with what that really means, and she hopes they'll get it, give her some clue in the same tacit fashion. Her cola is lifted and taken from.

"Thanks, Cass." Jack's gratitude is unfeigned. He slumps against the bar and chucks back the other half of his bourbon. Upended, the empty glass is placed next to a cluster of shots that've likewise been flipped over. A lot of fallen soldiers tonight, and it's starting to show. Though Jack infrequently carries himself like a drunk, his diction is overly careful and his gestures are slightly exaggerated. "Jane is on the level, guys. I wouldn't have her working her if she wasn't."

It's not that Jane isn't on the level; Lachlan simply doesn't want to fight with someone's memory loss. He does blink a bit at Jane's statement, however, because it doesn't really make much sense to him. "Righ'," he intones carefully. Then he shuts up again and glances between the other three present before he shrugs. "Yeah, she is. She doesna 'member me, though, 'r any o' the stuff tha' happened when, uh, Paddy went down." And there's still a hand in his back pocket, so he takes the opportunity to duck his head and mutter playfully to Cass, "Ye lookin' ta pick m'pockets again?"

Jane's statement doesn't make any sense to Cass either, so she just gives the guitar player a confused tilt of her head. "Um, awesome?" She's not sure if there's a better reply to that, but maybe it's something Jane's working up to say. If there is some code, she certainly doesn't have all the pieces to make sense of it. Finishing off the last of her drink, she sets the empty glass with its ice cubes down on the bar. "It's fine, Jack. I'm worried, too, now. And…I'm not quite sure what level we're talking about here." Did they somehow slip into some other conversation she's not away of? She thought they all were already on the same level. Pulling her hand out of his back pocket, she holds them up to show that she's not holding anything. There's nothing in those pockets to steal! "Aw, would I do that to you?" she replies to him with a playful look. That's when she leans forward to give him a kiss. Really, it's a diversionary tactic because now that he's brought it up, she thinks it's a hilarious idea. As soon as they're kissing, she reaches her hand into his pocket to try and snatch something out without him noticing.

That seems to be good enough for her. Jane's features soften, the harshness leaves. "Thank you," she quietly comments. Her voice is subdued, the volume kept to a level she thinks only the three others can hear. "Anyway, I think I can connect with Eliana. I think maybe she and I have gone through the same wringer and survived." Nothing further is said on the subject for some moments, she continues to drink her cola slowly and let thoughts drift through her mind. Her eyes show the darkness, the feelings the whole thing brings to bear. One hand runs through the woman's hair slowly. "I've got outlets. Music. It's all made me a better musician. Pain and artists are two of a perfect pair. Past that, I can go someplace solitary and scream. Just scream, and that always makes me feel better. I should get back to playing soon. Can't be too long on break."

With quick, deft motions, Jack mixes up another drink for Cass and shoves it over to her. Then he pours himself another glass of bourbon, and tops off Lachlan's drink as well. "Take your time, Jane. You can relax for as long as you like. It'll just rev the crowd up more anyway." Some of his usual humor is returning, and he grins lopsidedly. "Besides, every time you stop playing, I make a killing on drinks."

Can't talk now, lips occupied! This time, Lachlan figures he knows what's coming; he may be thick, but he at least learns from past experiences. As soon as he feels Cass' hand in his jacket pocket, his own free hand snaps down to catch her by the wrist, keeping her hand right where it is. He breaks the kiss to grin and utter, "Yer a bad pickpocket, baby." The fact that the pocket she's reached into and the item she's snagged is the napkin from earlier doesn't cross his mind. He's had a bit to drink and a lot of fun between then and now.

Some sort of crisis has been averted, but Cass isn't sure what it is that cheered Jane up. For someone trying to get information and research, she misses a few clues. But that's because she's been drinking now and Lachlan always seems to distract her in one way or another. "Eliana writes, so she has an outlet, too. But she doesn't really do the screaming thing. As far as I know." She will not make any obvious jokes here. "And, yeah, stay here with the group and relax. You can make them hungry for more. We'll start a chant for you. You can ascend the stage to huge applause." As for the pickpocketing, Cass grins and laughs. She should have known that it was totally predictable, but she couldn't help herself. "Yeah. I know. Good thing I'm a bookstore owner and not a thief." What she's grabbed makes her laugh and wrinkle her nose as she attempts to pull her hand out of Lachlan's pocket. "Lach. You've got crumpled up napkins in your pocket. Why don't you just throw them out? That's so gross." Deciding she'll throw it out for him, she keeps a grip on it.

A laugh bubbles to the surface with Jack's remarks, Jane lets it loose to be free. "True enough, guy." She faces the front window and watches the street outside for some moments while Cass and Lachlan play pocket games. A sidelong glance at their activities causes her to smile slightly. The darkness has started to recede from her, focus is settling on brighter things. "It's a dream come true, I'm becoming a successful guitarist in New York City. I didn't pick that as a standard opener just to please the crowd, no, I feel it. That same spirit, the determination. Queen of the hill, top of the heap. Make it here, make it anywhere."

"I'm glad, lady-o," Jack replies. "It's one thing to give a person a job. It's another entirely to give them a sense of purpose. It pleases me that I could be of service to you." His grey eyes twinkle merrily and he crosses his arms over his chest. "You've done well catering to this crowd, too. I'll be honest, I was worried about that. You know your business, though." Napkin. Wait, napkin? Jack winces visibly, then quickly covers it with an over-casual smile.

Napkin? Blink! Lachlan's grip on Cass' wrist tightens briefly, reflexively, before relaxing again as he slides his hand down hers and attempts to take hold of said napkin. All the while, he grins. "Yeah, I do. Here, lemme have it. Ye dunna wanna see it; 's ugly." Boy, is it /ever/. Note to Lachlan: don't put sensitive material in jacket pockets anymore.

Cass winces slightly when Lachlan's grip tightens on her wrist. "Ow. Lach. That hurt." Reflexively, she yanks to free her arm from the uncomfortable grasp. Just as instinctively, her grip tightens on the napkin when he fights her for it. Not because she really thinks it has much significance, but because that's what you do when someone tries to snatch something out of your hands. "It's a napkin, Lach. I think I can toss it out."

"First year of college, three girlfriends and I had a band," Jane states. "Put it aside when the parents insisted on being more serious about academics, and the load got too heavy. Earned two degrees, and continued on for the JD. Now I'm free to walk in two worlds. My greatest interest was copyrights and trademarks, IPR. I'm the dutiful daughter who did what they wanted, but always had a plan. I'm a musician who doesn't need agents, and can't be cheated by contracts. I can also help others avoid that, for free." She pauses to drink more cola. "I came here to New York to play. To see if I could make it. Sense of purpose, passion, was always with me. Now it's just sharpened. Harder on the edge." She pauses again, pondering a thought, and resumes. "I take the pain and make it serve me. John Lennon wrote a song called Cold Turkey. I'd heard it many times, learned to play it. But now I know firsthand what he wrote about, and I can play it better. I can feel the song." She flashes a smile and looks over at Jack to gauge if that makes any sense.

Jack is nodding agreeably in response to Jane's comments. The Irishman understands it all. Pain. Confusion. Addiction. With one hand, he reaches under the bar and pulls out another Pepsi for her. With the other, he directs yet-more alcohol down his gullet. No stopping him tonight, it seems. "I think you've set yourself a number of admirable goals. S'far better than just floating through life, y'know?" Napkin. Sigh. Oh, napkin. Despite Jack's best efforts, this night may yet turn out to be a messy one.

And with that, Lachlan gives up the battle of the napkin. Maybe she'll just throw it away. Maybe. Without looking at it. It's a lot less suspicious than fighting with her over it, and he /really/ doesn't want to fight with her about /anything/ right now — especially not the napkin. "A'righ', a'righ'," he acquiesces, raising both hands complacently. "Toss it out, then." And he looks as nonchalant about it as possible, too, taking up his scotch and downing it.

Jane and Jack's conversation kind of washes over Cass as they're talking about music and involved in it themselves. Right now, she's more concerned about the fact that her wrist burns a little from Lachlan's little panic attack. "Geez, thanks for not wanting my hands to be all gross, but you didn't have to hold on so hard." It's a tad scolding, but she doesn't know why he doesn't want her to see said note. Luckily for Lachlan, the waman doesn't want to look to see what icky things may be stashed inside said crumpled napkin. In fact, she doesn't even look at what she has in her hand. It's a napkin, what else is there to see? Seeing a trash can by the corner, she hops off the stool to drop it in there. There's probably a trash behind the bar, but the bartender is busy filling other orders and she doesn't want to bother her. Whoosh! She goes for a basketball toss a few feet away, but she totally misses and the napkin falls to the side. Never one to just litter, she sighs and after a couple more steps, reaches down to pick it up. And, as she's bending over to grab it, that's when she notices writing on that napkin. And…is that her name? Blinking, she picks the crumpled up thing and pulls it open. What she reads, she definitely does not like. In the end, that napkin gets tossed. It gets tossed down very hard into that trashcan.

Clueless about Napkingate 2007? Yes, Jane is. She has no idea of the tornado brewing so close to her. She's been entirely focused on her own life and performing, the undertones have all blown right by her. She glances back to Jack, looking a bit puzzled by his sigh. An eyebrow raises. "Just being me, Jack," she replies quietly. The second cola is started upon. "Thanks." She raises and holds it out as if to toast.

Jack freezes, drink halfway lifted to his lips. It's times like these that a person wishes they were super-smart, and they had super-fast wits. Unfortunately, Jack's just a silly, drunk Irishman. He has no witty, charming comment to save the day. He's already gone out on a limb to save Lachlan's ass tonight, after all. And so Jack freezes, and he makes a stupid, shocked-and-surprised face.

With his heart in his throat, Lachlan watches Cass as she takes the napkin and moves toward the trashcan. There she goes, and she's not reading the contents. Hope flutters about in the Scotsman's belly. There goes the napkin! It soars elegantly through the air on its way to oblivion! Oh glory be, Cass has not read the— no, no, nononoNO! The moment Cass picks up and uncrumples the napkin, Lachlan knows he's sunk. He turns back around to face the bar and does not look back when the napkin finally goes into the trash too late to save him from certain doom. There he sits, hunched over his glass and saying nothing. Maybe it's better if Cass comes to /him/ about it. Yeah. That'll give him time to think.

If Lachlan thinks Cass is going to come to him, he is sorely mistaken. As soon as that napkin is tossed down, the woman swings around with her jaw set and a very serious expression on her face. Grabbing her coat and then her purse, she says nothing to the Scot. "I've got to run. Sorry guys," she says curtly. Tossing some money down onto the bar, she just starts for the door.

Now Jane's totally lost, holding her can out there to toast Jack, while he freezes on her with that face showing. As it dawns on her that something is suddenly Very Wrong, she looks around and asks "Folks, what've I been missing?" She stands, it occurring to her now is a very good time to return from break and resume playing.
"Cass," she calls out, confused. "Are you okay?" Eyes watch the woman gather up and move to leave.

"Shh," Jack hushes Jane, then shoots her an apologetic glance. Though he doesn't relish the fact that he's been caught up in all this and in the end, everyone will inevitably blame him for the entire ordeal, he knows that now isn't the best time for he or Jane to verbally involve themselves. Then Cass is leaving, and he frowns. "Cassie… I'm sorry." What for? Who knows, but apologizing seems incredibly wise at this point.

Panic! As soon as Cass starts to head out, Lachlan swings around on his stool and surges up to follow, ignoring the request for clarification from the unfortunately clueless Jane. "Cass, wait," the Scot protests, moving fast in an attempt to intercept her before she gets out the door. "'S no' wha' yer thinkin'." Sound familiar, anyone?

There may be confusion and apologies left in her wake, but Cass doesn't stop for any of them. Jack's 'sorry' just further cements that inkling she's had since she entered the bar. She especially doesn't stop when Lachlan comes bounded after her. "Yeah. I'm sure. You're not fucking anyone, why do I have to be like this, la de da. Just go away, Lachlan." Instead of yelling, the words come out bitten and spit out. Now she just feels nauseous.

Her thought to resume playing is rethought when Lachlan goes after Cass and they stop near the door. She doesn't particularly want to walk between them right now, so Jane simply retakes her seat and glares at Jack. Shush me, will you? That's on her face. And it hits her. The light bulb goes on. "Jack." she begins, her voice having an edge to it, "tell me someone didn't just get caught in the male pastime of thinking with his cock instead of his brain."

Oh shit. This is exactly what Jack was afraid of. He places both hands on the bar, and for a moment he seems on the verge of vaulting over to follow his friends. Then, in a rare moment of logical and rational contemplation, he realizes that he's not going to be able to magically erase the aftermath of Lachlan's inability to keep Mr. Weenie in the pants. "Ugh. Yes. Lachlan made a boo-boo."

"No, Cass, I'm no'. Tha's— " Walking and putting words to thoughts in a highly stressful situation such as this is like walking and chewing bubblegum: Lachlan can't do both at the same time. However, he's already got a very good explanation (read: lie) for this! Shame he's stumbling a bit. He manages to catch up to Cass and attempts to slip around in front of her to block her avenue of escape. "— tha' note was— the girl I tol' ye 'bout. At the club last nigh'. Tha' was the girl in the note. Tha's the one I told ta bugger off last nigh'."

Once again, Cass finds herself stopped when Lachlan blocks off her escape route. Not being able to keep moving and ignoring her pursuer makes her edgy and she keeps a tight hold on her purse for something to grab. "Stop it. Just stop it!" Even if he's standing in front of her, that doesn't mean she can't move to the other side and try to push past him, which is what she does. "Don't make the same stupid excuse you gave me last night. Just let me get out of here so I can go home."

She sits there, silent for some long moments, watching Jack and looking back toward Lachlan and Cass in shifts. There's a bit of a storm in her eyes. When Jane finally speaks, it's a single word muttered under her breath. "Buttheads." She stands again, as if to walk over to the aid of Cass, and one might well wonder if some show of feminine solidarity is about to develop, involving a woman easily capable of reducing Jack's alcohol inventory to glass shards and wet floors in seconds, not to mention that nice front window. "Lachlan!" she says sharply, "go. sit. down. Let her leave. Now. You can start to beg forgiveness some other time." She's at least hoping to draw his attention and clear her path. As for Cass, she doesn't address her, the question of her being okay was already asked and ignored as the answer became obvious; she'll talk to her or she won't, but the least she can do is help her leave.

"More lies aren't goes to fix things, Scotsman." Apparently, nobody's getting of with a glibly told falsehood tonight, despite Jane's words. A hush has gone through the crowd in the wake of Cass and Lachlan's fighting. Jack's low, booming voice carries to both of them. Man-solidarity only goes so far before it turns to outright disgust. "Tell her the truth, or I will."

When Cass sidesteps, Lachlan doesn't attempt to get in her way again, but he does reach out to catch her by the arm in a last-ditch effort to keep her there. "Cass, please— " and now there's suddenly a Jane in the picture, and this ruffles the Scot's feathers. He turns a glare on her, because she's trying to help Cass leave, and he does not /want/ Cass to leave. This makes Jane a temporary enemy. "Piss off, this doesna concern ye," he growls at the musician. And then Jack speaks up and the Scotsman's ire turns on him. "'M /tellin'/ the bloody truth!" Sorta. In some strange, convoluted way, it /is/ the truth. In his mind.

Brushing past Lachlan leaves Cass vulnerable to being grabbed and while Lachlan /does/ get his hands on her, she immediately attempts to pull away. "Just. Stop." The hush over the crowd is extremely hard to miss and she doesn't like the idea of all these people publicly viewing this very embarrassing spectacle. Her eyes sweep the onlookers, but they pointedly look down when they come even close to Lachlan's face. She doesn't really want to look right at him at the moment. If there's going to be truth or honesty, she doesn't want it to be with a crowd of people listening to it. As soon as it's possible for her to, she's fleeing right out that door. And if it happens before Jack tells her the 'truth' then that's just the way it has to be.

"This does concern me," Jane replies in that same sharp voice. "A person is trying to leave, you're interfering with her. That's not something I'm just going to stand by and watch. Now, go. sit. down. All you're doing is digging yourself a deeper hole. The first rule of holes, Lachlan: stop digging." Yes, she's got loyalty, altruism, and a full bag of notbackingdown.

"She's right, Scotsman. Your best bet now is to run up the white flag and beg for parley after sunrise." Jack eyes the other man up and down, then beckons him back to the bar. "Let her alone. I'll buy you a drink, and we can stew about how much fun it is to tell the truth from the get-go." The dusty bottle of Glen Moray in his hand waggles invitingly.

Because he's not holding onto her too tightly, Cass is able to yank out of the Scotsman's grasp. Jane's distracting self prevents him from renewing that grip. He doesn't /want/ to back down and let her go until she sees /reason/, and he's about to tell Jane such. The expression — the nasty snarl — that he adopts when he gears up to tell her just how /much/ this isn't her concern is wiped almost entirely off his face by Jack's interjection. By the time he glances over at the Irishman, Cass is likely already out the door, rendering resistance useless anyway. With Jane backing her up, it's doubtful Lachlan's going to get a word in edgewise with Cass tonight anyway. So? The alternative is to get as drunk as he possibly can. With one last lethal glower at Jane, Lachlan turns and storms back to the bar.

With Cass finally free and out the door, having not asked for any further assistance or company, Jane stands there glaring at Lachlan's back for several seconds. When the moment passes, she returns to her place in front of the window, shifts the guitar back in front of her, and resumes performing. Professional, this one. Job at hand: grab crowd attention and make them forget all they've seen happen. First song off the guitar: Aerosmith's Walk This Way.

True to his word, Jack pulls a fistful of glasses from under the bar and plops the down with a clatter. Each one recieves a hefty dose of the Glen Moray. Then he pushes two of them to Lachlan and keeps two for himself. The Scot is going to need company, after all.

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