Attempted interactions: Take 2

(OOC: Reserved for Lilly Teal, Ozymandias Brent, and Carmine Field.)

The first thing she noticed, with some light relief, was that the club wasn't as crowded as it usually was. Perhaps it was too early, perhaps it was a slow day, but it was, all in all, a much less overwhelming prospect.

This was, by and large, a good thing. Turning to Carmine at the door, she gave him a bright smile with an air of coaxing a wobbly-legged baby deer over to the river to drink.

... if one wobbly-legged baby deer could coax another.

"Well. This is where I work." ... the other place I work, I mean. You already know the first place I- you know what, never mind. She'd sold it to him on the fact that the food was good, so were the drinks, and the clientele were nice, but there was something vitally important that was missing. Ah! "And I can introduce you to people!"

That had been a major selling point, at least for her. The idea to encourage Carmine to socialise more had sounded excellent until they had both realised that she wasn't exactly a social butterfly under her own steam.

Any place that was familiar territory for at least one of them could only be a good thing.

"If you want." If you just want to settle into a comfortable chair for a bit we can do that too!

    • Reynard Lowkey
      Reynard Lowkey

      A quick scan of the area gave him three possible exits, if something were to happen. In this crowd, it wouldn't take much to push through and create a path for Lilly and then...

      Wait. Lilly. She's talking. 

      Carmine's attention snapped back to reality. Music flooded his ears and the full weight of the situation settled on him. "Lets grab a table for ourselves."

      Now you might think it's resistance to put himself out there that caused him to hold off mingling with people. You'd be wrong, as he would insist. It's just good practice to have a base of operations. That's all. 

      Reached up to adjust his, as he now remembers, non existent collar. His hand stopped half way up before he quickly pocketed it. Honestly, it's almost shameful how much he couldn't leave work at work. 

      For goodness sake, he dressed down for tonight. As much as he could anyway. In a sea of old suits, he managed to dig out a worn-once v-neck shirt. Not his first choice but tonight was about being out there. And showing off a little chest did give him a bit of a confidence boost. Though he did balance it out with a light jacket. 

      Unfortunately, he had no dancing shoes around, but his usual pair had been through so much already that a little shuffling on the floor wouldn't kill them. 

      "I was thinking we could start off with drinks, so good?" 

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        "That's perfect!" she chirped, linking a merry arm with his to look for a table together, so happy that he was going along with this. As they moved, she didn't pause, but she raised her hand up in the air to wave happily at someone over the crowd.

        "Celia! My friend," she added to Carmine, as if he'd think she was waving to a complete stranger. Said friend gave a little wave back and then disappeared into the crowd, leaving them to manoeuvre their way towards a table. "I'll introduce you when she comes by, she's so nice."

        Again, you think everyone is nice.

        Settling him at the table, she bounced a bit, completely forgetting she was not here to work. Or the fact that she didn't work as a waitress. "What do you want me to get?"

        Wait, you're not supposed to be getting drinks, you're not the host. Technically. Carmine, make her sit down and wait for a waiter.

        Like... like... oh look, the Celia she was waving at is coming here with a tray. Tall, all the taller for her heels and hair, and very pretty, she flashed the both of them a beautiful grin that was all big-cat teeth.

        "Hey there good looking."

        "Celia, really." Give him some space!

        "Oh sorry. Hello to your guy friend too," she added, giving Carmine a wink.

        "Celia, really. Oh. Carmine, this is Celia, we've been friends since school. Celia, this is Carmine. We've been friends since... St. Canard!"

        Truly, a deep, long-standing friendship.

        • Reynard Lowkey
          Reynard Lowkey

          Carmine watched the little exchange go back and forth without feeling much need to jump in. 

          He gave what he thought was a modest smile and welcome nod, but knowing him and his intense look that seldom left him, it probably wasn't as gentle looking as he pictured. 

          The real challenge came with what to say next. He had some choices and sub choices.

          Does he offer a seat to join them? Would that come off as demanding? Would it put Lilly off, thinking he preferred the newcomers company? 

          Maybe return the compliment? But is that too forward? It would be weird if he started with that. Though she was good looking. Actually they both were. Annnnnd his eyes were drifting, scratch that plan. 

          Wait drinks, they were getting drinks. There's his in. 

          "We were thinking of starting off with a round of drinks, anyone got recommendations?"

          He played it casual. But...well a deep unspoken part of him knew full well that he really couldn't hold a drink that well. That small voice hoped loudly that Celia would jokingly offer a "girlie" drink for him, which he would take in a heart beat. He'd last longer and maybe score some humor points. 

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            Leaning forward, Celia side-eyed Lilly and spoke in the stage whisper of embarrassing friends everywhere.

            "She can't hold her drink very well so can I toss you both something light to start and bring the grown-up drinks when she's not looking?"

            Lilly just rolled her eyes, but smiled.

            "A baby Mudslide for youuuuu," she patted her head. "And you, handsome? Mudslide or something fruity? And tart or sweet?"

            I can be both~

            Lilly's face looked like she was already apologising for Celia's flirty behavior, just not out loud when in front of her. The "I'm sorry about that, I hope she's not making you uncomfortable, that's just how she's friendly, especially if she thinks you're attractive," was definitely going to come, but only after Celia had gotten their order and moved away from the table.

            She's more bark than bite unless you play along, I promise! Take it as a... compliment? Ego boost?

            • Reynard Lowkey
              Reynard Lowkey

              He almost let out a very audible "Oh thank god" that would not doubt have come out in perfect timing for both the music to switch to a new song and the entirety of the club to go silent. 

              "Mudslide, huh? You know what, I will start off with that."

              It sounded like chocolate. He could do chocolate right now. 

              "We can move up the ladder after a few of those."

              Yes. Escalate things. You certainly won't regret it in the morning. Or a couple of hours from now, depending on how much food he's gotten in him. 

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                "Perfect! Two mudslides." And maybe something for the two of you to eat, just in case. Giving them another bright smile, she swayed away.

                And then the predictable happened.

                "I'm sorry about that, I hope she's not making you uncomfortable, that's just how she's friendly, especially if she thinks you're attractive," Lilly said all in a rush. Suppressing a groan, she watched the mudslides come back, by some miracle some had been prepared since they seemed in heavy demand and there was little waiting, along with a small plate of snacks to start.

                And then she realised something, and burst out again the moment Celia was really gone.

                "Wait no, she doesn't just think, you are attractive so aaaah take it as a compliment?"

                I'm trying to help, I swear I am.

                ... let's just drink chocolate how about we do thaaaa oooh this tastes very nice. Very nice indeed.

                • Reynard Lowkey
                  Reynard Lowkey

                  He let her dig herself deeper in that hole for a bit. The temptation to make a 'no wonder my dad thought we were dating' joke was strong. 

                  He smirked a little. "Thanks, I hadn't noticed." 

                  Despite appearances and a low level of engagement, he was enjoying himself some. Just not nearly as much as Lilly seemed to. He assumed it was the familiarity element. This is her job, that is her friend. She's comfortable. Speaking of friend. "She seems nice." 

                  A little forward, but he wasn't one to shy away that easy. Who knows, maybe a little into the night they'll hit it off some? 

                  • Lilly Teal
                    Lilly Teal

                    "She is. I think you'd really like her," she smiled. Not like that, I just think you two would get along despite me thinking that about almost everyone. "We've been friends for ages, but she takes care of all the girls here, if anyone has a little too much to drink and tries to be overly friendly."

                    Luckily we don't get many cases of those, but it never hurts to be careful!

                    Having a little more of her drink, she gestured a little to prompt him to join her. "This is really, really good, Carmine."

                    Can we just sit here talking, eating and drinking what amounts to a chocolate milkshake with alcohol in it for the rest of the night? I think that would be great, don't you think that would be great?

                    And then maybe we can dance! And if you want to talk to anyone you can absolutely talk to people!

                    "Will you dance with me at some point? It's okay if you don't want to!"

                    "Yes, will you dance with her at some point? Or can I cut in?" came an amused voice over her shoulder, arms coming around to give her a hug from behind. Whether he meant he'd cut in to dance with him or with her wasn't clear, probably intentionally. He would mind dancing with either. Both if he could swing it. It'd just be more fun. "What's a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this, with a boy like that?"

                    That was pronounced with definite approval as Oz took in the lapwing's whole appearance with a grin and a flick of the eyes.

                    "Driiiiiinking chocolate?" she tried with a winning smile, putting her hands on the arms around her shoulders. "Carmine, this is another friend of mine from school. I owe almost all of my theatre to him."

                    "Oh stop." No, go on.

                    "Oz, this is Carmine. He's a friend of mine and he's very sweet so be kind."

                    "Why?" It was clear he was only teasing, but it caught her off guard all the same.

                    "Um..." Carmine help me out here please?

                    • Reynard Lowkey
                      Reynard Lowkey

                      Carmine was, admittedly only half paying attention at this point. He was expecting a troupe of friends and acquaintances of Lilly's to show up at this point, each only disappearing never to be bothersome again. He couldn't help it, it was a pattern he was starting to see form already. 

                      In his lack of focus, he may have been keeping a steady gaze at the new comer. Sizing him, for sure, but honestly uninterested in what was being said until it was addressed to him. What he did notice was yeah, like all of Lilly's friends, he was good looking too. 

                      He came back to when he heard his name. 

                      "It's fine. You know my company, Lilly. I can handle someone if they want to act up." 

                      Don't let the hard look and possibly vague threat fool you, he is very sweet. Lilly promises

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        Yes, this did look like it was going to be a pattern. She hadn't realised how the familiar faces might interrupt and potentially spoil a nice night out.  Grimacing just a little, she mouthed an 'I'm sorry' at Carmine as Oz grabbed a chair and swung it around to join them.

                        Oh my, what was with that steady gaze there? Are you trying to intimidate me? Oz may possibly have just sat down with them because of this imagined attempt at intimidation, to show that he wasn't affected in the least.

                        And also because their mutual friend was a bit of a gullible idiot, and he wanted to size up this guy a little more to see if she needed an extrication.

                        "You certainly look like you can handle yourself," he agreed, his tone friendly and charming and not at all betraying that he was trying to work him out as he held out a hand to shake. "Nice to meet you, Carmine. So why and how are you friends with the most bullyable person on the planet?" Oh okay, so right into the friendly interrogations.

                        She would have objected, but where was the lie?

                        • Reynard Lowkey
                          Reynard Lowkey

                          "Charmed," he let his voice sound a little casual. Just a bit. "A mutual headache of ours got us to meet. He couldn't join us today, which you should all be thankful for." 

                          He smirked at Lilly a bit. Then back to Oz who...well, he was having a little trouble figuring out. 

                          Clearly a strong personality, just from what few words he's said so far, but hard to peg exactly where he stood. He was up to something, but against all common sense he had developed, Carmine couldn't quite call it anything hostile.

                          It was....interesting. He took another sip of his drink. Or tried. Turned out, he had drained it already. Darn good chocolate.

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            Oz would be quite entertained to know that Carmine wasn't sure where he was coming from, but apparently they were both holding their cards close to their chest as they sized each other up politely.

                            Lilly just beamed. They looked like they were getting on well!

                            "Oh, you've run out, Celia, get them refills, will you?"

                            "On it." Watching the tall woman pass them by to restock, he gave the two at the table another brilliant smile. He seemed, since Carmine was making those connections, the exact mold for the kind of person Lilly seemed to make friends with for the most part. Charming, confident, aggressive in a friendly way, and always ready for someone to be all of those things to.

                            Or rather, the people who made friends with her, dragging her into the vortex of their personality.

                            "Oz was my first real friend."

                            Well that might explain things.

                            "And I'm glad you're bringing your new friends to meet your old friends." Oz reached over to give her a pat on the shoulder. "So, Carmine. How are you liking the place so far? First impressions? Comments? Criticisms? I have to warn you the last category gets repurposed as praise."

                            • Reynard Lowkey
                              Reynard Lowkey

                              Of course you would. 

                              First impression was that the place was...trendy? He supposed that's the right word. He wasn't sure if he had decided if that was a good or bad thing yet. Plus it was clearly a slow day. Which, again, not sure if he would mark down as a plus or not. 

                              "So far the only people I've talked to is the staff, so make that of what you will." More of a comment on the work day than the actual location though. Realizing this he quickly added an actual comment. "The, uh, music is nice." 

                              And the one drink I've had is mildly addicting. 

                               

                              • Lilly Teal
                                Lilly Teal

                                "It certainly is!"

                                Oz, did you just ask him to comment to bolster your own eg- of course you did.

                                "I hope to see you both up and dancing soon. And talking to more people, we usually get a good crowd here as long as you avoid the back tables."

                                Looking only a little shamefaced, he shrugged. "Mobsters like good music and drinks too."

                                "... what are you-"

                                "SO." Oh, she didn't know, huh? We're just going to pretend he didn't say that so Lilly wouldn't ask any questions? Accepting the new round of drinks, Oz pushed their glasses forward. "Carmine, what do you do, where are you from, do you have any intentions to rip out my friend's bleeding heart and stomp on in while she watches?"

                                Somewhere in the background of this interrogation, she quietly covered her face in embarrassment.

                                • Reynard Lowkey
                                  Reynard Lowkey

                                  He rolled his eyes. This old song and dance. 

                                  "I'm an independent financial acquisition officer working under multiple contracts for both instate, out of state and over seas locations." 

                                  In one breath. That earned a drink. Half way done in one gulp this time. Hm. 

                                  "I'm from St. Canard. Can't say I'm too broken up about having to leave it for work related reasons. And we're just friends. If I do break any hearts, I'm hoping it'll be someone I meet here." 

                                   

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    Oz blinked. Once, twice, and then threw back his head to laugh incredibly loudly.

                                    Please Oz. Please. Don't be more embarrassing than you already are.

                                    "Oh dear God NO," he gasped, wiping his eyes. "I don't think you're dating, good grief! She's far too at ease for that. I mean as a friend. Does that make sense? Yes, I think it is. Are you, purely as a friend, going to break her heart because she has a very bad habit of making friends with people who do that."

                                    Except me. I am perfect and wonderful.

                                    "Oz, please..." Lilly mumbled from behind her hands.

                                    Oz, typically, ignored her completely, his eyebrows high but very amused. "But I appreciate that confident confirmation that you're single and ready to case some havoc."

                                    • Reynard Lowkey
                                      Reynard Lowkey

                                      "Not for lack of trying..." He muttered in to his glass before downing the rest of it.

                                      "She does have questionable tastes in friends, doesn't she? Present company excluded." That may be misinterpreted as a compliment, but he would allow it this one time.

                                      Oh sorry, Lilly you're still here aren't you? 

                                      "I promise you, I'm not going to end up like the mentioned heart stomping friends she's apparently had and hasn't told me about in what I can only assume is some lingering effort to protect them from what I might do if I find them." 

                                      If, more like when. 

                                      • Lilly Teal
                                        Lilly Teal

                                        Okay. I like that attitude. You get a pass. Leaning back in his seat, Oz nodded in approval.

                                        "Good man. But if you want to start making a list of targets I'm happy to give your their na-"

                                        "Carmine!" Lilly stood up from her seat uncharacteristically brusquely, giving the both of them a slightly strained and still very embarrassed smile. "Will you dance with me? Please? I'm. Ah. Feeling restless."

                                        This is a terrible night out. He's going to be so unhappy with me gaaah.

                                        "I'll be waiting riiiiight here," Oz added, both with a wink to Carmine and a teasing look at Lilly. her eyes just widened slightly as she gestured vaguely at Carmine as if to say 'dance, yes? Maybe?'

                                        Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

                                        • Reynard Lowkey
                                          Reynard Lowkey

                                          He was not sure what to make of that wink either, but a certain feeling in his gut sure did make itself known. Nausea? Too much to drink. No he felt fine. More than fine actually. Especially since he didn't say no to a dance. 

                                          Maybe he was feeling restless too. 

                                          "Yeah, I'm game." Some awkward scooting out of the seat and he was ready to tear it up out there. Or something. Except something wasn't quite right. Maybe. It's just a little too. 

                                          He went back to the table and lost off his jacket.

                                          Much better. Arms out and all, more movement. Nice. Might have even spared a little look at Oz before hand. You know, to see that he wasn't up to anything. 

                                          "Okay let's go." Was that little bounce in his step?

                                           

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            Just to see that he wasn't up to anything. Surely. Oz also made sure to to see that Carmine wasn't up to anything as he removed his jacket.

                                            Yes, everything seemed in order. But there will be more checking later as the night progresses. Just to make sure you're still not up to anything.

                                            The little bounce in his step eased Lilly somewhat as she took his hands and led him out onto the floor. The music really was very nice. It was a peppy, bouncy number calculated to make people want to move their feet, and it was timed just so as more patrons started pouring in. Dancing customers work up an appetite!

                                            Still, the easing was only minor. She still had to apologise.

                                            "I'm sorry. I really am. I didn't know everyone was just going to descend on you like that," she said hurriedly. "Especially Oz. He didn't embarrass you did he?" He really embarrassed me. Is that obvious? "He's just. Protective."

                                            • Reynard Lowkey
                                              Reynard Lowkey

                                              "He's. Something." 

                                              Put a pin on that one for now. What's important is, well, he's no more closer to doing much with anyone besides some he already knows, but he couldn't complain. He certainly wouldn't be out her on his own if she hadn't invited him. 

                                              As he got more and more into the music, he found himself with less noisy thoughts crowding his mind. He was getting less aware of things happening, occasionally noticing that more people had been crowding around. 

                                              More alarming, he couldn't care less right now. 

                                              "But not bad. Not the worst at least." 

                                              High praises.

                                              • Lilly Teal
                                                Lilly Teal

                                                "So... you're not... having a terrible time?"

                                                Well, it was still too early to call it terrible. But from her expression she sincerely seemed concerned that she had spoiled his relaxing time out due to the choice in venue.

                                                Still. He didn't really seem upset. Which was... good? Maybe the music and the dancing were having a positive effect on him. She smiled, her dancing growing more confident.

                                                "I do just want you to have a good time, Carmine."

                                                "Sorry, can I cut in?"

                                                Lilly blinked a little at the intrusion, and blinked a little more when she realised that nobody was given time to respond, and Oz had just caught her around the waist and spun her away into Celia before taking her spot in front of Carmine as if nothing was wrong.

                                                Smooth. Very casual.

                                                "Hi. Need you to do something for me. Can you see a man in a dark blue jacket near the door?"

                                                Tall? Conventionally good looking? Watching the patrons but not actually being part of them?

                                                • Reynard Lowkey
                                                  Reynard Lowkey

                                                  And tonight was going so well. 

                                                  Carmine just watched from his spot as his dance partner was spirited away before settling his look at this Oz fellow. Of which he was having a distinct feeling there would be a sort of issue happening between them. 

                                                  That aside, the tone of his voice and his request did peak his interest. So for the sake of things, he kept up appearances and looked around for this person at the door. 

                                                  Sure enough there he was. And oddly enough, he was giving off some very pronounced vibes despite how little attention he was drawing to himself. 

                                                  "He might as well have a sign that says 'free red flags here'. What about him?"

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    Good, you see it too. He nodded at this very fair assessment.

                                                    "Celia pointed him out to me. He was here last week and did the same thing. Hung around the door, after a while he got a drink and started slinking around the dance floor towards the back tables which were already full. But he saw her watching him and left instead. I'm not a hundred percent on what he's after but..."

                                                    He shrugged, executing a neat little spin and continuing to dance.

                                                    "Thing is, those back tables are usually the less than nice clientele we get. They don't cause trouble, it's a nice place to be. But the last time someone tried to cut in on a handoff, she pretended she was part of the show and Lilly and Celia nearly got into a lot of trouble in her place. So we don't want him causing trouble. What's he doing now?"

                                                    • Reynard Lowkey
                                                      Reynard Lowkey

                                                      That was sobering. Enough so that the good time feel he was experiencing had been thoroughly replaced with a health mix of suspicion and simmering under the surface aggression. What ever was about to happen would be on his terms now. 

                                                      Oz was doing a wonderful job of getting in the way of his line of sight, but made for a good cover. Carmine had no problem making the best of the situation when he grabbed his new dance partner on by the shoulders to better guide his dancing. 

                                                      Step, step, spin, shake, step, shake...ah ha. There he is. 

                                                      "Taking pictures. You can't see it, but he's got a mini camera in his coat." How can you see it then?

                                                      "Smart. Everyone has cameras on phones, so that'd be too obvious to have out. Can't tell what he's taking pictures of."

                                                      Then he was back to reality and just how close he had gotten to Oz and. Ahem. Let me just make a little space between us here.

                                                      "He's too dressed up to be clubbing, he's either going to be there all night or leave soon and come back again."

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