2010-08-07: Wacky Tabascky



Date: August 7, 2010


Who'da thunk it? Tabasco makes a perfect gift between strangers, fame isn't what a one person might want, another person just wants to be invisible while yet another can do just that.

"Wacky Tabascky"

Downtown, NYC - Oldcastle Pub and Restaurant

One thing about having a room mate with post traumatic stress disorder, Lizzie gets sent out a lot. Delivery people are persona non-grata, due to being strangers, and even though she's offered to protect her gracious host, Lizzie's former therapist has nixed anyone coming to the house for any reason. Not that the little socialite eats pizza anyway, but she knows a liquor delivery service.

The bouncer is bypassed easily enough, enough though the blonde doesn't have any ID to speak of, she really doesn't look old enough to be in a bar. All it really takes is a stare down and the age old "Excuse me? Do you know who I am?!" Her shrill little voice causes everyone in the place to freeze and stare for a while, until someone recognizes her as that weregoldfish from that soap. Then she's the belle of the ball.

And she's loving it.

So, New York is a pretty interesting place, to say the least. People aren't nearly as nice as they are down south where Aiden comes from, not nearly as friendly as he's used to. Today, he's making use of that handy dandy fake ID, seated at the bar and quietly sipping at a mug of some amber-colored beer, his eyes upon the television. He certainly doesn't want to get drunk, but a beer or two never hurt anyone.

The blue-eyed man is one of the many heads that turn toward Lizzie as she speaks, his brows raising. He certainly doesn't recognize her…but she has caught his interest, sweet-looking little thing she is. A small smile appears on the young man's face as she enters, and he turns in his seat to face her. He doesn't make a move to greet her, yet, sipping at his beer as he reads the room's reaction to the apparently famous girl…

After signing a few autographs, answering a few questions, and blowing more of the soap opera's plot than she's contractually allowed, Lizzie eases herself from the gaggle of women that avidly watch the prime time program. None of them noticed, not one. The young woman sidles up to the bar just on the other side of the blue eyed young man and smiles at the bartender. "I'll have one of whatever he's having, please~" she sing songs as she points to the amber brew. "And a menu please."

She almost forgot the original reason why she was sent out. Food. Who can think of that stuff when there's drinks to be had, really. The young woman turns to smile at the beer's owner and gives him a little nod. "Hi!" Her young sounding chirp is nothing at all like the sultry siren's on the small screen. She's cheerful and smiling while the character on television is generally surly.

The man watches quietly as she interacts with her fans, chuckling softly to himself. His mother used to watch soap operas, but he always found them not suiting to his tastes. Too much drama and emotion, and far too complicated to be of any interest to the rather simple man. His brows raise as the girl sidles up right next to him, taking a draught of his beer as he discreetly eyes her, while she speaks to the bartender.

He's even more surprised when she talks to him. He was starting to think that nobody in New York ever spoke to anybody they didn't know, or something to that effect. Sure, he's met a few folks, but the general attitude seems unfriendly. His brows raise even further, and he offers a warm smile in response. "Good evenin', ma'am. What's a pretty little star like yourself doin' here all alone?"

He offers a hand; should she take it, he dips his head down to kiss the back of it in a true gentlemanly fashion. "I would expect such a beautiful young lady as yourself to have a man following you arund and fulfillin' your every whim." When he speaks, it's in a distinct French-Southern accent. Definitely a Cajun. He turns those blue eyes briefly to the bartender, smiling. "Please, sir, put anythin' she orders on my tab."

Lizzie can't help but grin widely as she hears Aiden speak. His smooth as silk speech is a far cry from the harsh New York accents that fill the pub. "Oh, uhm…" she watches carefully as Aiden takes her hand and catches her breath as soon as his lips touch down on her skin. There's a tinge of blush on her cheeks when he looks at her again, things like that don't happen too often outside of television or movies. "My room mate wanted to have some stew, I don't know how to make it very well." The near whispered reply to his first question is answered haltingly as she uses the same time to compose herself by turning away and getting up on a stool next to his.

Once she's completely settled in and comfortable, she swings around and waits for her beer. "So she sent me out to get it…." The offer to pay catches her by complete surprise, "Are you sure? I mean, you don't have to, I have a lot of money." Presumably from the job she's no longer employed at. "But.. thank you, my name's Lizzie."

Oh, she's responding nicely to the gentlemanly charm. Aiden can't help but flash a bright white smile. "Well, at some point I'll have to teach you how to make a good gumbo, then. Satisfies all the cravin's for stew." He chuckles, leaning back in his barstool and taking a drink of his beer, watching Lizzie with twinkling eyes as he ponders his next move.

He lets out a smooth chuckle, waving a hand and shaking his head. "Ain't no thing. I don't believe in lettin' a lady pay for her own things. It's not right." He chuckles softly. "I'm Aiden Calcasieu. Come from Avery Island, Louisiana. Very different from here." From his pocket, a miniature bottle of Tabasco sauce is produced and slid toward Lizzie. "Add this t'your stew. Helps y'keep healthy."

The young blonde picks up the tiny bottle of sauce and examines it carefully. "I've never had gumbo… it's got okra in it, doesn't it?" The question is posed with something of a little wrinkle of distaste in her nose. She leans forward just a little and speaks lower, so the bartender doesn't hear the 'super secret' she's about to impart. "I tried a piece of fried okra the other day, it wasn't very good." She straightens back up and gives a smile to the bartender as he places her beer on the bartop.

"I was in Europe last month, did you know that people drink wine and beer more than water? Well I don't know if it's more than water, but it's a lot." She raises her mug to Aiden's and clinks the glassware. "To Avery Island and Tabasco sauce!" Then she takes a long drink. When the mug is finally pulled away, a little bit of foam is left on her upper lip, forming a nice thin mustache.

Ah, memories. A major sour note in Randall's past got its start here at Oldcastle - but before that, it was also the place where he and Portia took their first steps as a half-decent musical duo. (The 'half' was his fault - it took a while for skill to catch up with enthusiasm.) So when she called and mentioned some kind of related news that she needed to share, it was the natural place to meet up again and work things out.

Having arrived some time after Lizzie, he missed out on her grand entrance, and is sitting too far away to recognize her on his own - and he can't stand to watch Afterlife because they didn't do the research - so he just lounges and waits for the familiar brunette to join him. Club soda is the order of the day.

Said brunette seems to appear from nowhere. She's good at appearing from crowds and she takes advantage of such, making her way through from who-knows-where. Portia makes her way over, peering at Randall as she approaches him. "Hey." She states, peering around. The star is entirely overlooked… she's never even seen Afterlife.

The Southern man offers a small chuckle, sipping at his beer as he watches the girl. That's a cute little feature she has. "Well, Miss Lizzie, it can have okra in it. But it doesn't have to if y'don't want it to!" He laughs. "I usually use shrimp or chicken or sausage, m'self. I like that much better than okra. Frankly, I was never fond of th'stuff m'self.

He chuckles. "I didn't know that, no. I've never even left the country, unless you count goin' out in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico to fish as leavin' the country." He chuckles. "I'd rather have tea or coffee, m'self. Not much of a drinker, save for the occasional beer." He laughs softly, raising his mug and clinking it against the girl's. "To New York and this beautiful girl who is sittin' right next to me!" He says this wish a flash of a smile, taking a draught of his. Once he lowers his glass, he can't help but laugh softly at the little foamy mustache.

Familiarity breeds liking and the Oldcastle is particularly familiar to Sydney; she used to study in here. She worked on her dissertation in here when she needed to get away from the school. She lost her temper in here, causing someone else's ability to go a little wonky. Yet despite the familiarity, everything about this space feels foreign. She sounds. The smells. The sights. All of them feel strange, like her life is no longer her own.

The blonde therapist lingers in the doorway, dressed in a too-big-for-her cream-coloured crocheted sweater (in August) and a pair of dark wash blue jeans, her arms are pulled around her body like she's chilled. Dark eyes scan the room for whom she's looking— one of which is still discoloured from her mishap over a month ago, particularly under the increased paleness of her skin.

Finally her gaze lands on Lizzie, her roommate. Quickly, she shuffles towards her, and slides next to the other blonde, forcing her lips upwards in a near-smile, not there yet, but closer. "I don't want stew anymore," she declares quietly, almost afraid to speak. Her fingers clasp the bar in front of her to fight that creeping anxiety coming over her features.

As soon as Aiden starts laughing at her, Lizzie's hand goes to her mouth to wipe away the thin line of foam that's framing her upper lip. There's a little glint her her eyes as she watches him too but her eyes drop to the floor in a demure manner as the blush paints darkly across her cheeks. "I drink a lot, like… a lot." Her emphasis, believe it or not, is an understatement to the amount of substance that's been pumped into her petite system over the years.

Sydney's arrival has the dainty woman lifting her eyes brightly and giving her a brilliant smile. "Hey Sydney! No stew? Uhm… that's a good thing I haven't ordered then.." She volunteers that bit of information sheepishly at the same time as passing the menu over to her room mate. "You need a beer and this is Aiden, he's a nice guy from Avery Island… and he gave us some Tabasco sauce!" She shows off the tiny little bottle to the other blonde, like it's a trophy of some kind.

As the bottle is brandished and identified, Randall arches a brow. There might be an explosive spit-take coming up in a second, especially if Sydney turns out to not be familiar with it either… but until then, there's a more immediate matter at hand. "I see you're on form tonight," he offers to Portia, as she appears from the direction he hadn't been watching.

Aiden grins widely, shrugging. "Nothin' wrong with that. T'each their own, I say!" Another flash of a smile as he runs a hand through his hair. Sydney's appearance prompts yet another flash of those pearly whites, and he holds a hand out to the woman with a gracious smile. Should she take his hand, he'll offer her a kiss to the knuckles. "Hello, Miss Sydney. You have a very sweet room mate here, comin' out to get you some stew."

Then, his attention is back to Lizzie as she shows off the Tabasco sauce, an amused smile playing over his face. "I'm a lucky man tonight. It seems I get the company of not one, but two beautiful ladies. Miss Sydney, I'll happily take care of your tab, as well. Feel free t'get whatever you want on th'menu."

"I'm always on form." Portia states, folding her arms. There's a hint of a smile that seems forcibly held back. "I like to keep things sharp." She notes, glancing over as she notes the Tabasco sauce. Is there… a practical joke going on?

"Aiden," Sydney repeats like she's operating on autopilot and not quite all-there. She tries to smile, but the wariness of having left her townhouse prevents anything truly genuine from quirking her lips. Regardless, she knows her manners and does take the hand, but Aiden likely doesn't get the reaction he'd hoped for, the blonde can't prevent the shudder from creeping across her body. PTSD does wonders for the constitution. She does, however, manage to add rather belatedly, "Nice to meet you. And… thank you for… the Tabasco sauce."

Eyes cast downward to the menu, further displaying that random bruising across her eyelid as she brings a hand to her cheek, running three fingers over it. "Yes. Hal-Lizzie is very sweet." Pause. "I don't get out much." Or at all over the last few months.

"Aiden's going to teach us how to make gumbo," Lizzie announces to the more skittish of the two. She looks back over at him and gives him a wide smile. That's when, out of the order of her eye, she catches sight of Randall. The face from her former life causes her smile to falter a little bit but in true trooper form, she stretches it out again and offers the curly haired man a wave.

When she lowers her hand, she seems a little less bright and cheerful than before. "So… Aiden… What are you doing all the way up here in New York?" Her right foot swings out from her stool and wags back and forth in the air between them. "I think if I lived in Louisiana, I'd stay there. It's so pretty and green!" So much green.

Randall follows Portia's gaze at just the right time to catch the wave. A momentary look of confusion crosses his face - what did the other blonde just call her? - but he shrugs and waves back. "Ambitious fella," he murmurs, looking back to Portia. "So— news? C'mon, dish! Did you get a new scholarship or something?"

As Sydney shudders, Aiden raises his hands to signify that he means no harm. "My apologies, Miss Sydney, I didn't mean t'offend you or anythin'." He smiles disarmingly. Then, he nods slowly to the woman's final statement. "Well then, tonight, feel free to have yourself a grand time, my treat. Seems like you deserve it." He dips his head respectfully toward the woman.

Then, he's smiling back to Lizzie. "I can teach you t'make all kinds of other things, too. I'm quite good at makin' red beans and rice, and jambalaya, and all kinds of delicious food from down south." He chuckles softly. Briefly, he turns to glance over to Randall, before turning back to Lizzie once more as she speaks to him. "I decided I wanted t'see the country, get somewhere bigger than Avery Island, where everybody knows everybody. I couldn't even look at a girl without the entire town talkin' about it." He chuckles softly. "Though I must admit, I do miss the bayous. You ain't seen pretty 'til you've seen a Louisiana sunset over th'Bayou."

Portia's gaze flickers to the group for a moment before she looks back to Randall. "Well, not a scholarship." She takes a deep breath. "I thought you aught to know. I've heard from a recording studio."

"You didn't offend," the therapist counters, as once again she tries to smile now allowing the menu to fall in front of her. "I… just don't get out much." Or at all. Swallowing hard, she suppresses the sigh that so desperately wants to escape. "Lizzie can attest." A hand is run through her blonde locks as she shifts uncomfortably in her seat. "And it's very generous of you for offering."

She tilts her head at the information about the bayou and the idea of a small town only to hug her arms close to her chest again. Eyes soften at the notion of such a place before quipping, "Sometimes anonymity has its merits."

Even though she can be completely self involved, conceited, singular minded, and generally self absorbed, Lizzie does have a few good qualities. This time the one that pours through the tiny knit of her eyebrows is a wash of concern for the woman beside her. "How about… Instead of stew, we can have some uhm… I don't know, what else do Irish people eat? Potatoes right?" She shrugs a little, turning toward Aiden for help. "Right? Potatoes? Because there was that whole starving thing a long time ago and some band did a benefit to help all the starving Irish people?" She really has no idea.

"Speaking of benefits! Sydney~ Guess what~?" There's a wicked little sparkle in her eye while she reaches into her pocket and pulls out a piece of mail, addressed to Sydney. It's been opened. "I got a check from that place with the bags! Well… you did, but it was really for me because I was using your name." She's shameless about it and the letter is passed over to the other blonde.

At much the same time, Randall's face lights up a few tables over, leaning forward on his elbows. "And that's a good thing, right?" Surely she wouldn't make this big a deal over it if they just told her to check back again after she graduated. No, this is her version of an NFL jump, it has to be!

Aiden offers yet another kind smile to Sydney. "I agree. I mostly just got tired of everybody talkin' about everybody. It was difficult to get even a little privacy down there." He chuckles. "So I'm likin' that part of New York, all the privacy I get here. I don't know, I might just think about movin' here."

As he says this, he grins over to Lizzie. "Potatoes are always good. Um…not really sure what else they eat over in Ireland. I never got much in th'way of cuisine, aside from Southern cookin'." He tilts his head to the side, listening quietly at the explanation, grinning. "So, where are you lovely ladies from?"

"Well, there's a catch. They aren't just interested in me, Randall. They're interested in us. As in the pair of us." Portia wrinkles her nose a little bit. "Like, y'know, a musical duo."

"Uh…" Sydney's eyebrows knit together at the potato famine reference. "Thanks Ha-Lizzie but I think… maybe… fish and chips?" an expectant nod is given to the other woman accompanied by a wary shrug like somehow Lizzie would object to her order. But then, months of powerlessness wear on a person. "I'm a New York convert. Never moving out east again."

Sighing softly, she "And… what bags?" cracked, unmanicured fingers grasp the envelope before Sydney opens it. Unfolded carefully, the therapist scans the words, eyes widen as they move down the small typeface, a kind of shock written across her features. Her lips twitch as she places the paper on the bar and shoots Lizzie a sidelong glance. "I hope the IRS doesn't get wind of this… first the gangs… then the tax men… know any good tax lawyers… just in case…" while it might be a joke, the blonde's features remain deadpanned and humourless. Hopefully she'll find her smile again soon.

Waving a hand, Lizzie gives a giant roll of her eyes and shakes her head. "IRS-shmeye-are-ess… As long as we give them thirty percent they won't care. Hey! Maybe we can send a little bit of money to the potato starved people of Ireland and Africa! That's a tax write off, you know." She's not really worried, anything they try to pin on her will just get tossed on her old life and the woman living it.

"I'm from New York, born and raised." The blue eyed blonde informs Aiden with a giant smile and the flirtaceous shrug of one shoulder. One of her hands gets raised just enough that she can point a finger northward. "Croton-On-Hudson, actually, In Westchester." She says it as though everyone on Earth has heard of the tiny town. Her attention is diverted for a second as Portia's voice carries to their table and her eyebrows raise curiously at the conversation there. "… but… uhm…" she turns back toward Aiden with a smile, "New York would be pretty lucky if you did move here."

Aiden grins, nodding toward the two ladies as they speak of their origins, draining the last of his beer. He peers quietly at the bottom of the mug for a moment, before pushing it toward the bartender, requesting another. Blue eyes then turn back toward the two blondes, chuckling softly as they speak of IRS-related things. He wouldn't know anything about the IRS…he does, after all, tend to avoid such trivial matters. "Fish and chips would be delicious, I think. Good idea, Miss Sydney." He flashes another smile to the woman.

Lizzie's remark prompts a sheepish grin. "Why, Miss Lizzie. You flatter me." He even blushes a little at the ears. "I will certainly keep that in mind, however, as I look for a place to rent. If I do end up doin' that, will I get to see you every once in a while?"

In stark contrast to the easily chatty Aiden, Randall abruptly falls silent for a good long while. This does not compute. "Us," he finally manages, "as in me and you us? I didn't lose an e-mail about someone else? I mean… I'm okay but I was never at your level. Did they say why or anything?"

Maybe if I understand what kind of crazy they're smoking, he thinks to himself, then I'll have some idea how to feel about it myself. And this is coming from one of New York's poster children for mental divergence…

"Saw us playing and thought we made a good pair, I guess." Portia shrugs a bit, rubbing her neck. "Anyway, point is, I thought you should know since they're interested in you too. It's a good opportunity, I think." She shifts a little, looking uncomfortable with the whole idea. "I mean, it'll get my name out there, at least. Don't really know what you're looking for…"

"I guess that's true. Make sure they get it. Or. Get my assistant" that Sydney has yet to hire "to do it." A non-for-profit therapist with an assistant, someone is bound to think she's up to something illegal. Her fingers tap on the bar as she nods at Aiden. "Food out is good." Period. "Better than oranges and ice cream sandwiches." Her lips press together in what is likely supposed to resemble a smile.

She studies Aiden carefully before arching an eyebrow at Lizzie. A new dating partner perhaps? Her skepticism surmounts about herself, however; she's normally so on the ball about these things.

"What are you talking about? I told you that I'd be your assistant." The tiny roll of Lizzie's eyes and the smile she gives are extremely good natured. It's not something she does every day, mind, volunteering to be someone else's servant, or employee for that matter. But she's had enough practice as Jaden's gopher. "Don't worry, I'll take care of all of it. Then when we have enough, we'll get some new bathroom stuff." She leans over to Aiden and gives him a knowing look, "I wrecked her last stuff… Awful mess… Never leave me alone in your house. It's a disaster waiting to happen."

Straightening up again, the former starlet glances over the menu and waves the bartender, "Three fish and chips please! Just not in a newspaper, they're pretty dirty here." Then she pauses and glances at Sydney as she takes the menu and passes it toward him. "And she needs a beer, same thing as we're having." Aiden's question doesn't get ignored, far from it… in fact it invokes another little blush to her cheeks. In answer, she simply grins and shrugs… then nods quickly.

The man offers a charming smile to Sydney. "Well, I might have to cook for th'both of you, from the sounds of it. Get some good food in you ladies." He chuckles. "All you two have t'do is call me, and I will go grocery shoppin' and cook for you two." He smiles to both of them, sipping his fresh beer. One hand comes up, brushing over his chin as he regards the two women. A brief glance is cast back to Randall and Portia. Alas, his attention is on the two ladies, Lizzie in particular.

He smiles softly toward the girl. "Well then, I guess I should start lookin' at places t'live. Knowin' that I'll get t'see a pretty girl like you is some pretty good incentive t'make New York m'home." He raises his glass toward the ladies, before taking a long drink.

Randall bites his lip. "I thought I knew. I thought for years that I knew, but—" This is so completely out of left field. He'd never really looked for a career, just a day job while he chased his own windmills. Is this worth a look? What if it sinks like the proverbial lead balloon, and he ends up dragging her down with him?

Or, going in the other direction: what if it goes big, and they wind up touring the country? And what about Carrie's hopes of med school? That sort of thing takes years; musicians can rise and fall in mere months…

Fortunately, his closest thing to a touchstone on the subject happens to be sitting within line of sight. "Excuse me," he calls over to Aiden, standing up and taking a couple steps toward their table, "could I borrow part of your arm candy for a few minutes?"

The young brunette sighs a little bit, noting Randall's reaction. "If we don't do this, Randall…" Portia trails off, her eyes suddenly more fixated on the table, eyes widening at Randall's words. Borrowing… what? She looks a bit perplexed.

"Riiiight. Yes. You take care of it then," Sydney agrees with Lizzie as her menu is taken away. Her arms are hugged tightly around her body while she adjusts on the stool and glances around anxiously, but that's what she does these days; she's always watching her back. When she turns back around the waiter has placed a beer in front of her, but the sight only causes her to jump. With a slow deep breath, long fingers grasp the beverage before she slides it over towards Lizzie.

Being out like this is too much; it's too soon. She slides away from her friend and points towards the door, "I'm sorry… I need… I'm not… he's still…" her cheeks flush with mild embarrassment as she shakes her head, a frown dominates her face when she reaches her feet. "I'm sorry," she repeats a little more firmly before disappearing to the door, her arms tightening around herself.

Lizzie just gives an open mouthed stare toward Randall and glances at Sydney as though he just might be talking about her. He must have been because the other blonde is out the door in a flash, before the young woman even has a chance to say goodbye. "Uhhh…" a quick glance to Aiden has one side of her mouth angling upward in an apologetic half smile. "Sorry, she's a bit jumpy lately. Bad br— eak up. Yeah, bad break up."

Her blue eyes slide toward Randall again, her eyebrows twitching down at the inner corners in a worried frown. She regards him rather suspiciously, then puffs out her chest with pride and purses her lips. "I'm not a Mister Potato Head. I don't come apart so you can't just borrow a piece." Unless he has a machete handy…

Aiden's eyes turn up toward Randall, his brows raising. A glance is first cast to Lizzie, then back to the man. "Well, she's not a piece of arm candy, first of all. And I think that's up t'her." He offers a winning smile to the man. However, his attention is quickly grabbed by Sydney's little freakout session, his brows raising even higher. A questioning look is cast toward Lizzie. Then, he leans back in his stool, sipping at his beer as he thoughtfully peers after the therapist.

He glances toward Randall as Lizzie speaks, brows raising as a shrug rolls over his shoulders.

Randall blinks, turning briefly to glance after Sydney as she runs off, then back to Lizzie. "Oh, I meant you as opposed to—"

Oh, crap. The 'arm candy' thing was a guess at Aiden's mentality - he seemed to have a ladies' man vibe going on, earlier - but now he's distanced himself from it, everyone's about to attribute it to Randall instead, if they haven't already. Time to backpedal right now.

"I'm sorry, what I meant was, apparently somebody wants to throw us the celebrity ball." A gesture serves to indicate the other half of the 'us'. "And you've got some experience with that, so— help?"

Arms folded over her chest, Portia's still not seeming all that pleased about whatever turn of events is going on. She looks back over to Randall, then to Lizzie, shutting her eyes for a brief moment. She's just hoping Randall won't do anything to embarrass them. Her patience seems thin.

Still eying Randall rather suspiciously, Lizzie picks up her beer and takes a small sip. "I'm not a celebrity— " She begins rather humbly, looking around to make sure the bouncer isn't paying attention. "It's been months since my face was on the cover of anything." Though to spot the tabloids and magazines, there's still a capture of her face there every week. At least in one or two of them.

Setting the beer down, her eyes flit to Aiden for a brief second before she imparts another tidbit of advice toward the other pair. "If you're in it for fame and money… be prepared." It's an ominous warning, likely one that they've already thought about. "The only way to get a lot of it is to get caught doing something dirty."

Aiden tilts his head toward Randall, sipping at his beer quietly as he allows the two to speak without interruption. Lizzie's remarks prompt a small smile as he thoughtfully regards her, idly scratching at the small amount of facial hair on his chin. Otherwise, he remains silent, patiently waiting for the two to finish.

Randall scratches his head. She does still have the acting gig, right? Not that he's watched her, but he doesn't blame her for the writers phoning it in. "But you've been there… No, I mean, money would be nice but it's not about that, it's about the performance. What's the hardest thing about it?" What he really wants to ask is whether it's worth it, but he'll have to bring that up in private later on.

The idea of doing something dirty to get fame repulses Portia. She frowns, hugging her arms a bit more. "I wouldn't stoop to that level." She mutters, the conversation doing little to improve her mood.

"I don't know, it's different for everyone. Some people like the cameras following them around everywhere, some people don't. Some people like the never ending attention, some people don't…" Lizzie shrugs and sinks a little on her stool. She still has to contend with some of it, not as much since she started dressing down and not getting the million dollar treatment at the spas every week.

Crossing one leg over the other, she twirls her foot around in a circle, staring at it for a while before talking again. "If you get big enough, they'll hire people for you. Just keep your nose clean." Her eyes drift between Randall and Portia for a moment, as if implying something a little unseemly. "In the beginning, no matter how big you explode, one bad story … even if it's not true… will end your career."

With that, she turns to Aiden with a smile and raises her eyebrows, "So you're just traveling around right now? Where are you staying? In a hotel?"

Aiden offers a warm smile. "I don't personally think I could handle bein' famous like that." He offers a small salute to Randall with two fingers, before grabbing his beer up once more. "I wish y'luck on that whole gettin' famous thing, though." He chuckles softly, raising the mug and taking a sip. As Lizzie speaks to him once more, he returns with another charming smile.

"Right now, yes. I'm stayin' in a hotel. Nothin' a classy lady like you would find interestin', I'm sure." He leans toward Lizzie just a tiiiny bit, nothing horribly obvious. "I've been travelin' for a while, now. Just been enjoyin' the sights of our beautiful nation, such as the Smoky Mountains, and yourself." Another flash of those pearly whites.

Well! That was actually surprisingly thoughtful, given the tone of their earlier run-ins. "Thanks," says Randall, "I'll let you get back to your dinner date." With that, he walks back and sits down, running his fingers nervously through the back of his hair.

"Portia, I… this is big for you, believe me, I get that. The thing is, for me, there could be two or three big things trying to happen at the same time… and I think there's only room for one. We gotta get more information, see if there's a way to make it all work, okay?"

That's exactly not the answer Portia's hoping for. "I respect wanting to get more information, but I don't think you really get how much it really is to me. I don't think you really get it." She frowns heavily. "So if you're gonna pick some other random pursuit in life just tell me now, don't string me along."

Lizzie returns Aiden's warm smile and shrugs her thin shoulders. "I think that's why so many celebrities are alcoholics and drug addicts. No one can handle that kind of attention without it getting a little overwhelming, sometimes you just need to forget everything." She leans forward a little bit as well, just as the bartender swishes over and drops their food in front of them. Sydney's is thoughtfully wrapped up in a to go container.

The server's sudden appearance causes the young blonde to start and straighten up with a slight blush. She wrinkles her nose as she tries to hide her smile, looking down at the food rather than over at Aiden. "So! What do you do besides give away Tabasco samples?"

The young man raises his glass in farewell to Randall, before his blue-eyed gaze shifts back to Lizzie, another bright smile forming on his face. He likes to smile, it seems, especially when it comes to Lizzie in general. Such a cute little thing. He's apparently quite oblivious to the concerns of Randall and Portia, enjoying the little blonde's company far more.

"That's pretty understandable. I wouldn't even try to get famous, m'self." He chuckles softly, making sure to keep eye contact…that is, until the unfortunate timing of the bartender with the food. Aiden takes it in stride, however, turning to the food and popping a fry into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. Then, he chuckles. "Well, down in Avery Island, I worked for McIlhenny company. Picked peppers, worked in the factory. Helped make some of that Tabasco in that sample jar."

Another bright flash of a smile. "Though I think I may have procured a job workin' for Church of the Blessed Word. I'm not much into the church m'self, but my momma watches him whenever she can, so I'm sure I'll do her proud by workin' for the church. Dean Haynesworth himself approached me."

Randall sighs, letting his chin sink into his hands, staring across the table at Portia. "That's just it— I don't know yet. If I knew I was going to say no, I wouldn't string you along… but I can't guarantee I'll say yes, either. If I don't, I will come talk to them, tell them to at least listen to you on your own. Or rotate some other partners in and out? Like Alan Parsons, only the other way round."

Hearing 'church' and 'Haynesworth' in close succession in the background, he winces a little, but leaves it alone. As far as he knows, he's dropped back below their radar - and he'd just as soon keep it that way.

There's still that lingering frown on Portia's features. "Don't worry about it. I'm sure you've got two or three other big things on your plate, so I'll let you deal with those. I'll just be waiting around." Her gaze shifts around the room uncomfortably. "Just call me or whatever, I'm sure you've still got my number somewhere."

Lizzie's smile freezes and sticks to her face as she hears the name of the reverend and the church. She'd been to one service, quite a long time ago but her lifestyle at the time didn't exactly mesh with it. "That's great!" Her exclamation is a little too enthusiastic and that smile doesn't quite reach her eyes. "So, you'll be on television then? Or behind the scenes?"

Her food remains untouched, not that it doesn't smell delicious. The scent of the french fries tickles her senses and so she reaches toward them, resting her fingers near the basket but not actually taking one. "Either way, I'm sure it'll be a big change from… uhm… Tabasco picking?"

Aiden blinks quietly at the moment, his head leaning to one side. He notices things fairly easily, and he certainly notices the reaction. "I'm not quite sure just yet. Hopefully in the background or somethin'. I don't wanna be famous or anythin'. Honestly, I'm mostly acceptin' because it's a job that showed up on my doorstep. I still haven't even gotten the details. Don't think for a second I'm a religious type."

Why would he be, when he can do things that most people wouldn't be able to dream of?

He pops the fish into his mouth, peering up at the TV for a moment, before washing it all down with his beer. "Pepper pickin'. I'm glad I don't do that, any more. I always came home smellin' like Tabasco. Smell never really came out until I stopped workin' there for over a month."

Under the table, Lizzie holds the tiny bottle of Tabasco in one hand. Her thumb rubs over the label nervously, not hard enough to rub any of the ink from the paper surrounding it. Looking down at it for a brief second, a small reflection catches her eye and she discreetly puts the bottle into her pocket.

"I've only ever had two jobs," she admits rather nervously as she pulls her hand from her pocket again, this time without the bottle. "I thought I was good at the last one, but…" she shrugs nonchalantly and gives the man an easier smile. "… I don't think I want to be on television anymore, at least not playing a were-goldfish. I want to travel more and do things. I should get a show like those ghost hunter people, they probably have a lot of fun."

"Carrie wants to go to med school, all right? That is a big deal." Randall throws up his hands in frustration. "I don't know if it's do-able, it's long and expensive and… and they might not admit her in the first place. And she might not need them to. But I don't know."

The third thing… well, he's even less certain how to bring that one up. And it's just as well that he missed the comment about hunting ghosts on TV, considering.

The man offers an owlish blink as she mentions what she played, and he offers a small laugh. "You played a were-goldfish? That must have been an interestin' role t'slip into." With a soft hum, he pops a fry into his mouth, chewing thoughtfully. "That makes two of us who've only had two jobs. I worked at the Tabasco plant, and now that other job."

He smiles softly to the girl. "Well, one of these days I'll have t'take you down t'Louisiana. Myrtle's Plantation near New Orlean's is supposed to be really haunted…"

Portia is not amused. It's very good she's no queen, or there'd be a beheading. "Right. I don't see how that matters, so much. Good for her. It's not like you have to stop your whole life to follow her around like a puppy. But y'know, if that's such a big deal in your life then go ahead. Let her make the decision for you, cause that's what it sounds like to me."

Lizzie's eyebrows raise high on her head and one of her hands moves up to twirl a bit of hair around her fingertips. "It was fun for a while… but… It sort of messed me up." In more ways than three. Her nose wrinkles a little again when Portia's voice carries over and her eyes dart over to Randall, looking a little alarmed. Chewing on her lower lip, she scootches forward on her stool a little getting closer to the bar top, enough to look smaller and hunch over a little.

"It— " She stumbles over her words before answering Aiden's second statement. "It sounds like a great road trip, we'll drive right?" In her mind, the open road sounds quite lovely right now. She turns to look at him and catches sight of the clock. "Oh! I should get going… Sydney's food'll get cold and I— Do you have a number?"

The longer this conversation goes on, the less Randall likes where it's heading. "And if I just said yes to you right now, what would I be doing then?" His frustration comes out more sharply than he'd intended, enough so that he makes a point of cutting it back before continuing. "Look, this isn't an either/or thing yet. Let's not have this argument unless it gets to that point first, all right?"

The other thing is, he's starting to come up with new ideas as well. If there is a tour, then it might just have a hell of a light show to go along with it…

The man leans against the bar top, smiling quite fondly at Lizzie. His eyes dart toward Randall as the blonde looks over to him, one brow arching. Oh well. Not like it's any of his business. Aiden returns to smiling at the woman as he grabs a matchbook from a jar on the bar. A pen is snatched from the bartender's stash, and Aiden quickly writes his name and number on the inside.

Then, he reaches out, attempting to catch the girl's hand in his. "It was an amazin' pleasure to meet you, Miss Lizzie. I do hope you'll call me soon. We have lots ahead if I'm gonna teach you t'make Gumbo and drive with you down to Louisiana." He grins, dipping his head down to plant a kiss on the back of her hand one last time before she leaves.

"You seem to be making it an either or thing or you wouldn't have brought her into this conversation. What do you think I'm trying to make you choose between?" Portia's arms are folded over her chest, still frowning. "I'm just saying, make the decision for yourself. This is your choice, that choice is hers. So it shouldn't matter. Unless you're making this into way more of something than I think it is."

The blush to Lizzie's cheeks that appears lingers much longer than the last few times. With her other hand, she grabs the sack with Sydney's food in it and swings it down to her side. Her eyes don't leave Aiden for a moment, not even as she pivots her feet, angling them toward the exit.

"It was really nice meeting you too, Aiden," she starts. Her voice hitches at odd intervals, just like a teenager asking if he might want fries with that in a drive through. Slowly, she backs toward the door, bumping into people, chairs, a table or two. Finally, she turns but every once in a while she glances over her shoulder at him until she's completely out the door.

Aiden smiles warmly after Lizzie, offering a small wave. "See you around, Miss Lizzie." He watches her leave with a warm, if slightly amused smile upon his face; once she's out the door, her turns, settling the tab with cash, plus a generous tip. After boxing up his food, the young man heads towards the door himself, offering a respectful wave to Randall and Portia. He's looking pretty content with himself right now, certainly!

Shaking his head, Randall stands up again. "I'm just worrying that it might be. And you're right, I shouldn't be. And I will…" Just not right away. With a sigh, he reaches a hand out, offering it to Portia's. "Go ahead and set up a meeting with the studio, all right? I'll be there, I promise."

The hand is looked at skeptically before Portia reaches out to take it. "Alright, I'll set up the meeting. Just… don't make it about anything else, alright? It's just about a career. You figure out whatever-the-hell you need to figure out separately."

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