2007-05-06: Queen of Spades

Starring:

Jack_icon.gif Jessica_icon.gif

Summary: Jessica has a proposition for everyone's favourite Irish bartender of questionable morals.

Date It Happened: May 6th, 2007

Queen of Spades


Den of Iniquity, Brooklyn, New York

By now even the die-hard drinkers have found their way home from the Den. Jack is behind the bar with a half-full glass of bourbon, a pack of cigarettes, and several decks of cards arrayed around him. One deck is unopened, the rest have been shuffled into piles of varying sizes, some fanned out slightly. One at a time, the Irish bartender is flicking cards into an upturned fedora that's a few feet down from the rest of his untidy arrangement.

Jack's wearing a simple, close-fitting white t-shirt and loose black slacks. A white overshirt is wadded up next to his elbow, and a towel is hanging over his shoulder.

The door, suddenly, is thrown open. Someone in a hurry to get liquored before last call? Not exactly. The figure that appears in the entrance is a slim blonde in a black halter top with a swooping V-neck, a pair of dark jeans that disappear into black boots, cowboy style, and blue eyes that find Jack like heat seeking missiles might find their target. There should be no doubt that this is Jessica, and that she's here for Jack. She lets the door stay open behind her, letting in a reluctant breeze. Her arms fold, and she leans languidly against the one side of the frame. "Hey stranger."

Jack looks up in mid-toss, sending a card wide. It skitters across the bar and falls to the floor. Quirking an eyebrow, he studies the blonde for a long moment. "Didn't think I'd see you here again," he drawls as he waves her in. "Have a seat." Riffling cards through his hands, he plucks out the queen of clubs and places it face-up in front of a stool.

Jessica pushes off of the doorframe in an easy, languorous movement, striding toward the bar, her arms still crossed. "Yeah, well." As she nears, the flare of pinkened flesh on her right shoulder I more easily seen. A burn? "What can I say. I'm a fan of iniquity." She slides onto a barstool. Not quite across from Jack, a little to the left. She plucks the queen of clubs from the bartop, flicks it about skilfully between two fingers. "So, Jack," she tosses it into the hat. "You like to gamble?"

A more sober man would notice the distinct personality differences between Niki and the woman sitting at the bar. Sadly, sober is not a word that's often used to describe Jack. Still, he carries his intoxication like a seasoned veteran. Flick. Another card sails over and drops into the hat. "Sure." Flick. "Who doesn't?" Setting down his cards, he produces a glass similar to his own and fills it with three-fingers of bourbon.

With a gentle clink, he places it on the bar and slides it across.

"Mm." Some form of agreement, but she's distracted. Jessica watches Jack play with the cards, one of her brows ever-so-slightly arched as if she's considering. What she has on her mind, well - that's a mystery. The bourbon, though she doesn't so much as glance at the glass, is brought to her lips. A fingerwidth is downed. "You ever cheat?"

Jack's heavy brows furrow thoughtfully. He picks up one of the decks and runs a fingertip along its edges, then draws out a single card with a deft touch. An ace, naturally. The other three follow in quick succession. "I was a stage magician, once upon a time. You anglin' at somethin' in particular?" Curiously, he lifts he gaze to meet his companion's.

This garners a one-sided smirk from Jessica that is equal parts devious and amused. Oh, she's angling, alright. "You could pull a lot of tricks with what you do." She glances down at the three decks, the ace, and Jack in turn, looking him straight in the eye. A glimmer of a scheme lies in those cool blues. First, though, she takes another drink.

The tip of Jack's tongue snakes out and trails a slow, languid line along his upper lip. Few things entice him like the promise of ill-gotten gains. "What did you have in mind? Speakin' all hypothetical-like, of course." He shakes a cigarette free from the pack on the bar and plugs it between his lips.

Jessica makes no plays at being hypothetical. She sweeps a deck from the beginning of the row and shuffles it deftly between her two hands, above the glass of bourbon. The woman lays down a card. Seven of clubs. "Vegas." Another card is placed down. Three of spades. "I could use you." It's a brutally honest statement. Keyword "use".

Suddenly, Jack's all business. He pulls a box of matches from his pocket, strikes one, and lights his cigarette. After waving the match out, he speaks around the butt and through a cloud of smoke. "Sounds fun. Tell me more."

Hook, line… "We're going to go down hard and fast." Jessica flips a third card over, the famous queen of spades, and then swipes her hand over all three, slipping them underneath the deck. She's obviously used to handling cards. It's all swift, natural. "Risk's high." A mild shrug of one shoulder. "So is the payout." She slides the deck across the bar toward Jack, keeping her hand firmly on it, her eyes never leaving his. Jessica is gauging every second of his reaction, waiting for the sinker.

"The risk's never high when I'm around." With a twitch of his fingers, Jack produces the aforementioned queen of spades and lays it face-up on the bar. "The million dollar question is, where do you fit in? I like you and all, but business is business, and I could do this by myself." There's no malice in his words. It's a simple statement of fact that's punctuated by a long drink of bourbon.

The seamless appearance of the queen of spades sparks a glimmer in Jessica's eye. "Hmmmm," she murmurs in her throat, the amused beginnings of a low laugh. "It's not only swiping cards and cheating at blackjack, Jack." She leans far onto the bar on her forearms. "The casino we're hitting is going to be on its knees by the end of the night." And that, apparently, is her area of expertise? "Let's just say I have my own way of eliminating the risk."

Jack takes another draw from his cigarette. "Well that's good and vauge," he says as he exhales. He pauses, pushing back from the bar and looking his drinking partner over from head to toe. A crooked grin creeps across his face. "Bloody intriguin', though. What's your cut for settin' this up?"

"Royal flush," Jessica answers with a similarly creeping, crooked grin. She sits up straighter and traces a finger around the edge of her glass - but she's still solely watching Jack. "/I'm/ getting what I want. And if you're in - even split." That's a boldfaced lie, but she's also neglecting to mention a few other details. But does it really matter, when… "It's all a matter of millions."

"Millions…" That would definitely outstrip any of Jack's previous shenanigans. Face flushed, eyes sparkling merrily, he looks every bit the tousled, excited schoolboy as he tosses back the last of his bourbon and stubs out his cigarette. His grey eyes linger on eyes, lips, and curves for a long moment. "When do we leave?"

Sold. Jessica smiles like the cat who caught the canary, sliding off the stool - that one little affirmative from Jack is the very thing she came for tonight, it would seem. "This weekend." Wasting no more time, she abandons the rest of the bourbon on the bar and starts to stroll away. There's that tattoo on her shoulder again. She looks back once just as she's pushing the door open into the night. "So don't make plans."

"I'm all yours," the Irishman replies. When she's gone, he resumes his card-tossing, humming merrily beneath his breath at the thought of all the money he's about to me. Unless he dies.

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