Stories untold

Celia was having an exceptionally good day. She hadn't had to throw anyone out, for one. All the patrons that had come in today were on their best behaviour, nobody was drinking too much, and the tables at the back that tended to have the more shady customers that they were supposed to ignore, were mercifully empty.

It wasn't her turn to sing, but that didn't mean she couldn't look gorgeous. She liked to do that all the time, because the world was a stage, and eyes were always on you, so why disappoint? Besides, she liked looking beautiful.

Spotting Darryl taking his usual drinks break at the bar, she gave him a cheeky wink that made him roll his eyes and grin back, before turning back to the table, resting the tray against her hip.

"Ready to order, honey?"

"Um... can we just have... a minute more?"

"That's fine, I'll be back. Don't go away~"

The strange thing was, it wasn't usual for dates to get too jealous, if only because her honeys and winks and smiles were for everyone. Mostly because she knew better than to give too much attention to a man who was here with a woman. What was she, cruel?

Single men, though? Fair game. If they responded? Even better. It was all part of having fun. And once in a while you find someone too terribly fun, and it's just as much a pleasure as it is fun.

    • Gladstone Gander
      Gladstone Gander

      A single man walked in the door. Tall, thin, attractive in a bookish way, and simply dressed but carefully still stylish.  What might not have been considered stylish was the large brown bag he had tucked under his arm. 

      Leonard scanned the club for Lilly but was distracted almost immediately by a blonde and he swallowed thickly. Okay. Social interactions. You've got this. The bag wriggled slightly, he supported the bottom of it with a firm hand. After a moment of swift thinking he opted to sit at the bar.  Lilly would be able to see him easily there, he'd be able to get this bag off his shoulder as it was cutting off the circulation in his arm, and... well she worked the bar didn't she?

      But mostly the first two right?  Yeah.  Yeah of course.  He took a seat putting the bag on the empty chair beside him.  There was no movement, odd, he opened the top to peek in. Sleeping.  Good.  He hoped that Oz didn't mind him bringing a micro pig to his club. She'd followed him for two blocks before he'd spotted her.  Carefully he reached in and extracted the book he'd offered to Lilly with great care to not wake the sleeping Bristle.  

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        A single man and a micro pig walk into a bar-

        ... oh wait, this isn't the set up for a joke? Apparently not. As Leonard took a seat and got himself and his sleepy passenger settled, Celia had ferried a few more drinks to various tables before she swung her way back towards the bar and slid behind it, gently knocking the already attendant barkeeper out of her way with a hip as he passed to get more bottles out of the back room.

        Halfway between digging out some more olives and taking out a glass which she was sure wasn't supposed to be in the spot she'd found it in, she noticed the eagle out of the corner of her eye, and leaned her arms on the counter with a grin, sliding a drinks menu towards him.

        "See anything you like?"

        Down girl.

        • Gladstone Gander
          Gladstone Gander

          Ah. Yes. This was it.  He had wondered if she'd still present herself as interested in him once more, which was a little confusing to him.  Leonard was not used to women of her... physical specifications being drawn to him in that fashion.  However it was possible that she was just overtly flirtatious as part of her career or perhaps just her personality.  Whatever the reason he had decided after their first meeting had been when he was greatly distressed and rather off his game that if he ever had the chance to speak with her again that he'd be more approachable.  Dare he think, even... charming? He had even made flash cards for possible topics of conversation that he practiced in the mirror at night, long after Bristle had fallen asleep.  He'd never been a fantastic flirt, never really initiated it but was able to passably engage in the back and forth of verbal fencing.  But he'd been out of the game so long he was rusty.  Very rusty.  And it had been a long time.  Almost as long as he was letting this silence drag on unintentionally as he wrestled with his internal dialog.

           

          "I uhh-" He stared at the menu then her. "-Yes I'd rather like an Old Fashioned. And it is a pleasure to see you again Ms. Celia. You're looking-" What? Oh no.  Words. Where were those flash cards now?! "-well."

           

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            With a great show of willpower, she prevented her lips from twitching. Adorable. "You're not looking so bad yourself."

            Physically as well as emotionally. As she moved to grab the necessary ingredients to prepare his drink, she gave the book in his hand and the bag by his side a quick glance.

            "So either the club's boring enough that you had to bring something to read while you're here," the comment had no disparagement to it, just good humour, "Or you're setting up shop here. I don't know how Oz'd feel about that, but personally if you're setting up near me, you can stay as long as you like, honey."

            Maybe continue being adorable like your brain doesn't work when I talk to you. It's really flattering. She slid the glass over and leaned comfortably on the counter again.

            "Sorry about last time. Oz told me about it. We don't usually have villain situations that bad."

            Is there any way I can, personally, make it up to you~?

            • Gladstone Gander
              Gladstone Gander

              Well yes he was rather studious about his appearance was he in a state of disarray the last time-oh... wait did she... ah. Yes. Okay. Now to reply. But instead she drew her attention to the book and he protectively and gently placed his hand on it, his fingertips sliding along the cracked leather in a subconscious tender stroke. 

              "I'm afraid that I would impose far too much if I were to make this a satellite location of my establishment.  That would require quite a number of bookcases that would take away from this carefully cultivated-" She leaned on the bar top then, his hand catching the glass without breaking eye contact with her. "-aesthetic. Which... would be the biggest crime. As it is so very... lovely." Yes the club. And you.  But you already know that don't you? He lifted the glass in thanks before taking a much needed drink.  It was getting rather warm in here.  "But no, I am in actuality waiting for Ms. Teal.  This book came to be in my possession and she had mentioned being interested in it if I ever had one come up on my radar.  So-" He patted the book. "-my good deed for the day."

              He was about to take another drink when she mentioned the nightmare that had nearly destroyed his opinion of the place. Thankfully there had been a few redeeming points of the  evening.  The glass had paused near his mouth and he didn't move it as he spoke.

              "Is that a fact?  That is good to hear, as it was-" embarrassing? Traumatizing? Horrifying? "-uncomfortable. But before that ridiculous sheep did his foul deed Gladstone had been rather shamelessly parading me around for your associates to adore." He rolled his eyes lightly and pushed his glasses up his beak slightly. "It was almost a relief to be away from that, I prefer-" he stared at the ice in his glass as it slid lazily around in the alcohol. "-a more personal introduction. One genuine conversation is far more-" his eyes moved back onto hers. "-engaging than a handful of brief interactions. Don't you agree?"

               

              Well none of this was on his flash cards.

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                Oh my, were those some moves? Her eyebrows raised in pleased surprise, her flirty grin shading into something far more entertained.

                "There's nothing like an intimate one on one," she purred. "Especially with a man who seems to be so good at... handling things."

                And is a good Samaritan to boot. You absolute cutie. She reached over under the pretext of getting some serviettes, hand accidentally brushing against his, and opened her mouth again.

                "Leonard!"

                Lilly's cheerful voice broke through the carefully cultivated tension, and Celia rolled her eyes with only slight irritation and mostly good humour.

                "Damn."

                • Gladstone Gander
                  Gladstone Gander

                  Leonard tensed at the touch, not very surprising to anyone who knew him as he wasn't keen on being touched by strangers... or most people. But this was not a recoil of aversion, it was almost as if he wanted to move but had stopped himself. Lilly's voice reduced him to just looking into the cougar's eyes for a long moment before tearing his attention away to look at the duck.  

                  "Good afternoon Ms.-" Wait.  She was going to insist on mutual formalities. "-Uh Lilly.  It's nice to see you." His eyes lowered from the smiling face to... well there were teeth. "...you appear to have a-" He double checked the creature. "-honey badger trailing you."

                  There was a sudden snuffling beside him, a tone of snuffling that... did not bode well. He slid his eyes to the bag only to find himself being glared at by an adorable little face.  Slowly he reached over and tried to close the bag up without cluing in the furious piglet

                  • Lilly Teal
                    Lilly Teal

                    A what?

                    The friendly smile flickered in confusion as she looked down. "Oh! Javert, bad!"

                    Javert good! The honey badger grinned up at her, pleased with his own cleverness. Aha, you never saw me following you, did you? I'm the best predator. The best.

                    Snuggling up against her legs, he gave Leonard one of his usual, absolutely evil 'you look delicious' expressions, as Lilly gave Leonard a 'I'm so very sorry' one.

                    "Sorry, he must have followed me. He's supposed to stay home. This is Javert." Not that you deserve introductions.

                    "Oh, is this that pet of yours?" Celia leaned further over the counter in interest. "... not what I was expecting." She thought it would be something... cuter? Less evil looking? More fluffy?

                    I mean it's Lilly.

                    Javert didn't seem to care whether he was what people were expecting or not. Pausing mid-snuggle, he stuck his nose up in the air and sniffed, slowly moving the the chair with the bag on it and placing his front paws on the leg.

                    I smell ham. Did you bring me food? Maybe I won't eat you after all.

                    • Gladstone Gander
                      Gladstone Gander

                      "I am rather glad to not be Valjean as he appears to be quite a force to be reckoned with-"

                      OH you want a reckoning I'll give you a reckoning!? 

                      With a frantic squeal Bristle launched herself out of the bag at the absolute HARLOT that would so blatantly try to steal HER Leonard right in front of her face! Her little hooves clattered on the bar as she landed on it, and with a furious stream of oinks bit the handle of a corkscrew and moved to strike a few choice targets on the trashy looking feline.  Leonard shot his arms out grabbing the piglet as she waved her head around trying to stab Celia with the curly bit of metal and with considerable effort dragged her away from the woman into his arms. 

                      Let me go you-you- YOU'RE NEXT!

                      Leonard pried the corkscrew out of the pig's mouth and looking frazzled he gave Ceila an apologetic look. 

                      "I am, so very sorry. Bristle, she... gets excited." He glanced at Javert who was snuffling the leg of the stool beside him then to Lilly. "I also have a shadow I was unaware of today.  Perhaps there's something in the air? '

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        Celia shifted back from the attempted assault very slightly, surprised but not shaken.

                        "She's a feisty one, isn't she?"

                        "Must be such a lovely day that they both wanted to get out," Lilly said with a smile. Oh Bristle. So full of life and enthusiasm and strange ideas. "Hi Bristle!"

                        The micro pig seemed a little to worked up for a hug, so as Celia took her corkscrew back and moved to put it far away, Lilly reached out to give her a little scritch behind the ears. "Do you want to say hello to Javert?"

                        want to say hello to the ham, Javert seemed to say, having watched this whole episode with approval at how well the ham could handle sharp implements.

                        "Sooo, Bristle, Leonard. You said you had a surprise for me over the phone?"

                        I love surprises!

                        • Gladstone Gander
                          Gladstone Gander

                          Leonard watched with mild terror as Lilly scratched the livid pig in his grip.

                          Hello nerd who looks nothing like me where did they get that idea anyway? You can talk to Len, only because you're not trying to 'talk' to him. She oinked in approval. I will say hello to your ugly cat. Put me down Leonard you shameless flirt.

                          He lowered the pig to the floor to put her beside the badger and then started speaking the language of geek to the other woman. Bristle wasn't fluent in dork so she ignored them. She trotted around Javert sizing him up. 

                          Hello ugly cat. I see you're heavily armed. That's good. I am Agent Bristle. 

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            Javert didn't seem impressed by the sizing up, casually inspecting his claws until she came to a stop.

                            I'm not a cat, ham. I'm a honey badger, the baddest animal of all time. You can call me Javert.

                            Could... could animals talk to eachother? Was there a secret animal speak? Whatever it was, they seemed to understand once another just fine as their people got deep into conversation. He flicked his eyes upwards to make sure he didn't need to eat or terrorise anyone before looking back at Bristle.

                            ... well, he didn't need to. That didn't mean he might not want to, later in the day.

                            Agent. Like police? He narrowed his eyes. Animal control?

                            Are you not a pig but, gasp, a MOLE?

                            • Gladstone Gander
                              Gladstone Gander

                              The baddest animal of all time has honey in it's name. Right. 

                              Okay tough guy- she snuffled at him experimentally. He reeked of nerd. -what do you know about police? What does a little punk like you know about that?  I bet that nerd feeds you cat food and cuddles you with little kissy noises.  I've been on international missions were I've killed at least a dozen guys in an hour.  I'm a SHUSH Agent they're better than the police.  You could say....-she popped up one of her front legs raising her head in the air haughtily. -I'm the baddest Agent of all time.

                              WELL, close.  What she was, was the WORST Agent of all time. 

                              So no. I'm not animal control.  Why? Got a warrant out Burt?

                              That was what he said right?

                              • Lilly Teal
                                Lilly Teal

                                No warrant, he shrugged. But you never know. I don't exactly look like a pet, Ham.

                                Or do you prefer Agent Ham?

                                And she does cuddle me. What's the matter, nobody hug you so you think its weak because you can't have it? Too busy carrying you around in bags, big bad agent?

                                Oooh.

                                But never mind. You know your way around sharp stuff. Don't meet a lot of animals like that. You've got skills.

                                Maybe not a lot of them, but you've got them. After a moment, he grinned.

                                Want me to show you where they keep the good food?

                                • Gladstone Gander
                                  Gladstone Gander

                                  Bristle... uh... bristled at the vicious call out to her mode of transportation.  Okay so maybe Leonard had shoved her in a bag! And maybe he started locking his bedroom door at night after the last time she'd snuck under his covers and it wasn't like she couldn't pick a magical lock in this body.   BUT HE DIDN'T NEED TO KNOW THAT-Wait food? Wait skills? Yes. Yes I do have skills and yes I always want food.

                                  Alright Honey, show me where this food is and I'll be the one to determine how good it is. And you're right, I am insanely talented with a blade.  So what about you? Are you a scrapper as well? With that arsenal of yours I'm sure you could make quite an- she turned her head and narrowed her glossy adorable eyes at the cougar -impression on an unsuspecting target.

                                   

                                  So Honey and Ham seemed to be getting along like a house (and maybe an entire city block) on fire.  Leonard sent them a nervous glance.  Should he be worried? He felt like he should be worried.

                                   

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    Scrapping with unsuspecting targets is one of my favourite things to do! Second only to targets who see me coming. He gave a remarkably evil snigger, before turning to head towards back, jerking his head a little.

                                    Come on, then. There's a room in the cooking place that's nothing. But. Food.

                                    You mean the pantry?

                                    But I need to boost someone else to reach the handle. And maybe someone good with opening cans.

                                    Catching Leonard's worried glance, Lilly gave him a soothing pat on the arm. "See, they're getting along so well."

                                    I... don't think that's what he was worried about.

                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                      Gladstone Gander

                                      Very resourceful of you.  I find that I am still insanely skilled in this form, I'm not always a pig did I mention, it's not important, only that I'm gloriously beautiful and ridiculously skilled all things. Especially modesty.  Well it seems that carries over even into my pig form too. I mean, I am the most pleasing picture of a porkchop don't you think? 

                                      She posed again swinging her head from side to side, her snout glistening in the light.  

                                      But I can open any can you point me at Honey. Who knows when we'll get the chance to do whatever we want again.  Leonard and his ugly landlady always keep me cooped up in her shop or his shop. That's no way to live.  I'm an adult if I want to go shopping or see a movie who are they to tell me I can't! Just strap the money to my back and I'll take care of the rest! Does your nerd take you anywhere fun Honey?

                                       

                                      • Lilly Teal
                                        Lilly Teal

                                        I mean... you look delicious, if that's what you mean. But he kept the thought to himself. Even as an innocent observation it might make the conversation a shade awkward.

                                        No. At least, I go places, but I'm not allowed to have much fun.

                                        Maybe because your fun is very... destructive, Javert.

                                        I have to protect the house when she and the big man are working, which is fine but gets really boring. Sometimes I slip out, but people start making such a huge fuss that I don't get to be on my own for long. This is refreshing. I agree. No way to life.

                                        If you want to to guard, I'll guard, but let me live my life!

                                        The honey badger jerked his head again and led the way to the kitchen, as close to the wall and in as many shadows as possible until they slipped inside and shuffled under a counter.

                                        Not very busy. Excellent. You see that door back there? That's what we want.

                                        • Gladstone Gander
                                          Gladstone Gander

                                          What you need to do Honey my friend is get yourself a disguise. You know those little clothes the nerd probably tries to get you to wear for Christmas cards and things like that? Make yourself look like an ugly little human and no one will give you trouble. I, myself am a master of  disguise. I have become so convincing in the art of stealth and disguise that they had to put me in lock down because they would never be able to find me.

                                          Or because the only thing that draws more attention than a micro pig is a micropig in a sundress. As soon as their target came into sight she scoped out the terrain.  Aha yes. Got it.  She took a frenzied little gallop, a blur of little pink legs and clicking hooves and WHOOSH jumped up on a chair.  From the chair she managed to hop up on a counter clatter across it and grab a serving spoon from a drying rack.  With that she could lean out and hook the claw like handle and carefully depress it until it clicked open. Her work done she just opened her mouth and let the spoon rattle loudly on the floor.  She let out a pleased little  "Squee". 

                                          Hold your applause, I am, as I said, the best.

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            If Javert was the type to applaud, he might have done so, but he wasn't, so he didn't. Instead he narrowed his eyes and shuffled further under the counter as Bristle's incredibly loud spoon drop attracted the attention of the nearest two-legged form.

                                            "What was-"

                                            Speeding out from underneath, he inserted himself under the man's feet, almost sending him to the ground, and having caught his attention sufficiently, clattered his way loudly out of the back door as the man gave chase.

                                            Huh. There was nothing in the back alley. The furry blur must have gotten away. Strange...

                                            The cook took a final look around to make sure it was really gone, while Javert slid quietly back in through the door, ran silently over to Bristle, and jerked his head for her to follow him into the pantry.

                                            The best maybe, but a loud best isn't much good if it gets you caught, does it? But that was impressive, I must admit.

                                            Safely inside the door, they were faced with a delicious smelling wooden crate. Sealed tight, of course. That's fine, Bristle could probably find a-

                                            Javert's claws flashed, tearing through the wood like paper with barely any effort.

                                            And that's what I do.

                                            • Gladstone Gander
                                              Gladstone Gander

                                              Bristle was impressed.  This ugly cat was more competent then most people she knew. She couldn't applaud, although she was the type that would have so what she did was an odd little prancing dance that let her hooves click and clack against the tiles in a small round of what she thought of as 'pig clapping'. 

                                              You do it well! I like you Honey.  You get it.

                                              But was more important TO get at this present moment was that food. She shoved her head in the hole the honey badger had left and rustled around pulling out a mesh bag filled with an assortment of fruit. She squealed happily at it but dropped it at Javert's feet to delve deeper into the pantry nuzzling the contents of the shelves with her snout until she sniffed what she wanted. She bit the corner of a still wrapped wedge of cheese and cantered back over to him proudly. Dropping the goods ontop of the bag.

                                              Well this will be a nice little snack. Fruit and cheese are great together, your primitive pallet may not know that. But I'll teach you the ways of sophisitacted taste buds. Like putting french fries ON your hamburger before you eat it. Or dipping fries in your milkshake. ...mostly things to do with fries.

                                              • Lilly Teal
                                                Lilly Teal

                                                Javert just shrugged, ready to eat anything. What was far more important to him was mouth feel, the firmness of the food under your teeth, the satisfying crunch that some of them had.

                                                If you say so, Ham. But we can't hang around here, people come in all the time to get more food. We need to drag all of this to a dark corner.

                                                There were a lot of dark corners, but would they remain dark when the door was opened and light from the outside came streaming in?

                                                Or... we go out that door I used to cause the distraction. There's a comfortable alleyway there that nobody bothers with. Not even rats to shoo away, though they wouldn't have been a bad addition really.

                                                Rats crunch amazingly, I'm just saying.

                                                • Gladstone Gander
                                                  Gladstone Gander

                                                  Bristle blinked at the honey badger.  Outside? Without supervision? Her curly little tail started whirling around like mad. Without another word (? Loud animal thought?) she grabbed a hold of the mesh bag and started dragging it toward the indicated door. YES. OUTSIDE. WHERE THE SUN WAS. AND FRESH AIR. AND PROBABLY THIEVES THAT NEEDED TO BE PUNCHED IN THE THROAT. SHE LOVED PUNCHING THIEVES IN THE THROAT.  Leonard probably wouldn't notice that she was gone for an hour or two right?  Not with that much cleavage around at any rate...

                                                  But really she had no idea where she was going.  She was halfway to the broom closet by the time Javert would come out of the pantry.

                                                  OOH MAYBE SHE'D FIND A STILL LIT CIGARETTE SHE MISSED CIGARETTES! 

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    Maybe we should redirect her. Shaking his head, he picked up the cheese gingerly in his teeth and followed suit.

                                                    Outside's that way, Ham. There's only cleaning things this way. He gave her side a little nudge with his head to turn her before they attracted even more attention. Strangely, nobody seemed to noticed their passage to the back door. Possibly because there had been an influx of customers and they were all ordering something. Whatever it was, it was fortunate, because any further fleeing or fighting might have bruised the fruit. And who likes bruised fruit?

                                                    What are we, anim- wait.

                                                    The alleyway, as predicted, was nice and quiet, and as Javert kicked the door closed behind them, he dropped the cheese and gave her an evil, toothy grin.

                                                    Mission accomplished, Ham. Let's eat.

                                                    • Gladstone Gander
                                                      Gladstone Gander

                                                      To our flawless victory Honey! 

                                                      She let out a series of celebratory oinks and helped herself to a mango. She plopped her backside down gracelessly letting her legs splay out to either side as she munched loudly and happily.

                                                      You know you're pretty useful.  That nerd probably doesn't see your true potential.  I think that you could be a valuable asset to my crack team. ....you can't have a 'Crack Team'  of one Bristle.  Would you be interested in teaming up again? Maybe... for seconds at some point? 

                                                      Today had taken a very nice turn!  She was actually having fun! She bit a huge chunk out of the cheese, plastic wrapping and all and chomped it merrily. The only thing that could make today better would be a case! Or... a case of burgers.... or Leonard to realize the error of his ways and beg her to come back.  Heck, why not all three? 

                                                      So what do you do for fun Honey?

                                                       

                                                      Somewhere on the street beyond the alley, someone was scouting out the perfect victim to kidnap.  A man in thick glasses on his slight little rodent nose was keeping a steady even distance from his mark. He couldn't afford to lose another one.  His masters would NOT be happy if he came back empty handed again.  

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