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The Way You Look Tonight

It'd been a while since Quackerjack had stopped by St. Canard.

Well, this version of St. Canard, anyways. He'd all but fled from his home universe after everything that had happened, and had sworn not to return for fear of anyone tracking him down and taking him down for good.

But he had a plan. And that plan included tracking down a very familiar criminal in an unfamiliar situation. He didn't know what to expect when he learned his universe's version of his beloved dolly had her current sights set on a nightclub, but the way it worked out couldn't have been more perfect.

He'd opted for a spiffy deep blue suit this time around, with a lighter blue vest and greyish shirt. He'd topped it all off with a goofy-looking spotted red bow tie, which would have been a risky gamble if the people of this universe weren't about as perceptive as a goldfish. Were goldfish perceptive? Probably moreso than the heroes here were, that was for sure.

He'd made a request to sing at the club, as he was known for having a pretty smooth voice. Hopefully, the lady he'd set his sights on would think so, too.

    • Red Nova
      Red Nova

      Natalie Scapelli had been left to pick up the pieces after her husband had died. Which meant that things had to carry on. Tony wouldn't have wanted his throne dismantled or to fall by the wayside. Maintaining order was difficult, but she shared in her husband's vision of an improved St. Canard. Whereas Tony had a more direct approach to things that was straight forward, Natalie evolved with the changing ebb and flow of the city. She knew that stagnation led to weakness.

      She would never allow herself or her daughter to feel weak.

      Since Natalie had taken control over the mob, the crime in St. Canard had lessened, territories from rival gangs had dwindled, and jobs were plentiful in their ever expanding chains of casinos, night clubs, and restaurants.

      The Stardust Club was a particular favorite of Natalie's. It was where she met Tony. After they had purchased the night club from the original owner, they didn't have the heart to change the name. Stardust stayed.

      The woman entered the main lounge of the club on this particular evening, looking towards the bouncer that watched after her daughter. "Biff, have you seen that opener? He was suppose to have come through the back entrance."

      "Eh, yeah, I let him in about fifteen minutes ago, he's backstage gettin' set. Sound system should be good to go."

      "And Ellie?"

      "You know 'dat girl. She takes about as much time tah get ready as you do, no offense." The Beagle grinned and Natalie waved a dismissive hand at him.

      "She knows the importance of presentation is all. Well go on and open the doors, let everyone in. They're eager for their libations, I'm sure."

      • Just Quackerjack
        Just Quackerjack

        Quackerjack - or rather, as he'd be going by tonight, Jack O. Hearts - adjusted his tie as he prepared for his performance. This was going to be good, he could feel it. It was a welcome change that the people here actually treated him with some amount of respect, even as a performer, but he knew it was all because of the disguise. He appreciated how classy it all was, especially the little skinny mic you didn't see around much anymore - the simple things that made him smile. 

        With enough luck, he'd be getting the whole crowd swooning, but he only had eyes tonight for one miss Ellie Scapelli. He didn't know if she'd be easy to spot, but he had a feeling his instincts and the fact that he'd seen her mother would clue him in to what she'd be looking like here.

        • Red Nova
          Red Nova

          Natalie headed back behind the stage to a secure hallway, knocking at the performer's door, cracking it open to peer in.

          "Just letting you know that we're opening now. You still have some time to get situated. I do hope you'll find us accommodating here, Mr...what was it, again?"

          She pushed the door in a bit further to get a good look at him. Sharply dressed, though the tie was an interesting choice.

          • Just Quackerjack
            Just Quackerjack

            Noticing the woman in the door, he turned, with a calm expression on his face. Showtime.

            "Hearts, Miss, Jack O. Hearts." he smiled, letting his voice be a bit lower and smoother than it would be normally. "And it's a pleasure. You've got a real nice place here, maybe even one of the nicest places I've sung at!" he looked up at the clock then, a bit pensive. "How much 'till I go on, may I ask?"

            • Red Nova
              Red Nova

              Natalie smiled at him, "Charming. A pleasure to meet you as well. I'm glad you think it's nice, my husband and I were quite fond of this place. You needn't rush, everyone's still settling. I'd give it fifteen minutes or so. Will you require anything in particular? My bouncer informed me that the sound equipment should be working perfectly. If you need anything at all though, please don't hesitate to let me know."

              • Just Quackerjack
                Just Quackerjack

                "Ah, I don't think I'll need anything." he nodded. "I'm sure it'll all go perfectly, miss." After a pause, he attempted what he hoped was casual small talk. "I've heard you have a daughter? She sounds like a real sweetheart from the rumors I've picked up on, it'd be a real treat to meet her someday."

                • Red Nova
                  Red Nova

                  Natalie quirked a brow, "That's right, my daughter Ellie. I should hope she's behaving herself though, I wouldn't want to hear that she's at the center of any rumor, but I suppose there are worse things to be called than 'sweet', isn't there?" She chuckled lightly. "You're in luck though, she happens to be here with me in the club tonight. I'm sure she'd love to see your performance. Hopefully you sound as impressive as you look, hm?"

                  • Just Quackerjack
                    Just Quackerjack

                    He chuckled at that, trying to keep a calm face. His plan was already working perfectly! "Is she now? Well, I'll certainly be keeping an eye out for her." he answered, a slightly bemused look crossing him face.

                    • Red Nova
                      Red Nova

                      "She's hard to miss. Scapellis usually are." Natalie sent him a wink, turning on her heel, and leaving him to his thoughts.

                      The club slowly began to fill, and sure to her word, every table and booth was packed in at quarter after. There was an intoxicating energy buzzing here; the night was young and restless.

                      Ellie finally strode in on their bouncer's arm, her hair in loose curls, and she wore a scarlet dress tailored to her and her alone. Though her mother preferred hues of blue and purple, Ellie was always drawn to red, and rarely went out without it.

                      She scanned over the crowd before finding her mother situated in one of the booths, speaking to some of her father's old business men. Biff walked her over, and she slipped her arm from his, sitting down.

                      "Nice of you to join us, you're just in time for the show." Natalie smiled over at her.

                      "Well hopefully it's an improvement on last week's opening act. That saxophone player clearly never picked up a sax till that same night!"

                      "I think you'll like this one.~"

                      "I'll hold you to it!"

                      • Just Quackerjack
                        Just Quackerjack

                        The lights dimmed then, signaling the crowd to quiet. This was it. 

                        "And now," the emcee said, "Mr. Jack Hearts with 'Put Your Head On My Shoulder'." 

                        A silence fell over the room as Jack stood on the stage, not facing the audience, in complete darkness. Then, low and smooth, and with the skill of a professional singer, he began.

                        "Put your head on my shoulder, hold me in your arms, baby..." he crooned, lights still out, letting himself slip into the persona of the smooth and charming performer. Hopefully he'd caught their attention, as he was only just getting started.

                        • Red Nova
                          Red Nova

                          The sound was lovely, and the dim lighting made it extra easy to concentrate on the smooth vocals flooding through the sound equipment, enrapturing the crowd. It was music you could get lost into. There was passion, emotion, and it was something everyone could relate to on a basic, instinctual level.

                          Natalie glanced at her daughter to see her smile in appreciation for the song selection. It was something her father liked too, those old fashioned, lovely numbers. Just a microphone and someone to croon into it. There would always be his essence hidden in the monuments of success that Tony had left behind, but his most prominent by far, to Natalie, would be their daughter, who had an equal amount of love for music.

                          • Just Quackerjack
                            Just Quackerjack

                            All at once, on the beat of the music, a spotlight shone down on the singer, who spun to face the audience with a confident smirk. 

                            "Put your lips next to mine, dear..." 

                            As he sung, his eyes scanned across the audience, who were clearly captivated - but something, or rather, someone all in red made his heart skip and his eyes stop. It was her. And she looked stunning. The dress, the beautiful contented smile, everything about her would have taken his breath away if he wasn't performing. But that only made it better, and he opted for stepping towards the front of the stage slightly and looking at her with a charmingly soft gaze.

                            "...maybe, you and I will fall in love...."

                            • Red Nova
                              Red Nova

                              Oh, as if the singing hadn't been lovely enough. Ellie had leaned against the table with an adoring, admiring gaze, watching him with increasing interest. She didn't know what to have expected under the spotlight, but he was admittedly quite handsome, and she couldn't believe that voice. Beautiful. Probably one of the smoothest she'd heard in a long time.

                              It was easy to see how captivated the whole room already was, he had full command and attention. No background dancers or effects necessary, it was old school and classic. 

                               

                              • Just Quackerjack
                                Just Quackerjack

                                Noticing her swoon, he stood a little more confidently, pressing a hand to his heart as he sang and giving her several sidewards glances, playing at curious intrigue. The singer had to be charming, and Jack had a bit of experience now with that.

                                As the song drew to its close, and the final little string of notes played, he looked towards Ellie and gave a playful wink, before taking a few bows as the crowd erupted into applause. 

                                • Red Nova
                                  Red Nova

                                  As the song ended, she let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd started holding, and a faint rosy hue spread across her cheeks. She clapped along with the crowd, looking over to her mother.

                                  "It was like he was singing right to me."

                                  Natalie chuckled, "Maybe he was."

                                  "I'm sure everyone says that, don't they?"

                                  "That just means he's done his job well. He's very talented."

                                  "I've never seen him before! Why hasn't he sang here?"

                                  "Maybe he's new around town. He must know it fairly well though, he's the one that called here asking for a job. I don't usually accept job offers over the phone, but something about him was very persuasive."

                                  "Persuasive is right." Ellie looked back towards the stage again, looking eager for the next number.

                                  • Just Quackerjack
                                    Just Quackerjack

                                    The next song was a more upbeat number, and Jack milked it for all it was worth. Every little move and step was coordinated with the music, and he was actually having a bit of fun getting into it - though Ellie's earlier blush was still on his mind. His glances at her were a bit longer, his breathtaken looks a bit more prolonged, and his performance was more towards her now than the audience. 

                                    As the second song ended, however, he kept his gaze on her, hopefully looking stunned by her. Then, with a small smile, he turned and left the stage as the emcee announced a short break and the audience erupted into even more extravagant applause.

                                    • Red Nova
                                      Red Nova

                                      Ellie was quite obviously impressed with his talent, and she turned to her mother, "I have to meet him."

                                      "Oh? Two songs and you're already a fan?"

                                      "Tell me that's not the most beautiful voice you've heard in a long time. Listen to that crowd! I'm sure they'd all agree with me."

                                      "They'd all agree with you because you're you, and no one forgets that for a moment."

                                      "They're allowed to have their opinions! Though they'd clearly not have any taste if they disagreed. I think now would be a good time to introduce myself, don't you?"

                                      Natalie gave her daughter a sly look, "Try not to frighten him off, it would be a shame to lose another performer."

                                      Ellie grinned, "I would never! He's way too good."

                                      She scooted out of the booth and weaved through the rows of tables and people, heading to the backstage area to search for the singer's quarters. Standing before the door, she ran her hands through her hair and fluffed out her dress before knocking at his door.

                                      • Just Quackerjack
                                        Just Quackerjack

                                        He knew exactly what to expect when he heard that knock. Standing in front of a mirror (which he'd just taped a flower he'd snagged from the stage to) and adjusting his tie, he called out, "Come on in, sweetheart! Fans are always welcome to stop by."

                                        • Red Nova
                                          Red Nova

                                          Ellie nudged the door open, standing in the doorway almost shyly for a moment before clearing her throat. "Hello! I...heh, I just thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Natalie's daughter, Ellie. I wanted to tell you that your performance up there was really something special! My father would've loved it. I certainly did." She smiled fondly, clasping her hands together as she tried not to ogle the gent in front of her too much.

                                          • Just Quackerjack
                                            Just Quackerjack

                                            Turning to face her, he actually gasped a bit. He knew it was her, but the sight of her standing in front of his (and so shyly, too) admittedly did take his breath away for just a moment. Realizing he could use this to his advantage, he let the pause linger a bit before he cleared his throat and responded.

                                            "Oh, yeah, I've heard a lot about you!" he relaxed into a casual smirk, extending his hand. "Heard you're a real angel, and from the compliments, I guess I heard right. I'm flattered, really I am, but I ain't a professional."

                                            • Red Nova
                                              Red Nova

                                              She reached out to return his friendly gesture, chuckling lightly. "Compliments? I should probably ask from who, heh. Oh, but...you're not a professional? Don't be silly, you act as though you've been on a stage all your life! You're so natural up there. I...I mean, you practically commanded that whole room, and that's not an easy thing to do." Ellie realized she was still holding his hand, and she reddened. "You're very humble for a singer, Mr. Hearts."

                                              • Just Quackerjack
                                                Just Quackerjack

                                                Taking her hand and giving it a quick kiss, he chuckled. "Well, I suppose I might be a little bit good." he winked. "I'm known for being able to hold a room pretty well. Though I would wager one could say the same for you.~"

                                                • Red Nova
                                                  Red Nova

                                                  Ellie blushed fiercely at his gesture, "I guess we have that in common, yeah. I can't wait to hear the rest of your set tonight. If every song is as good as the first two, you might have to sing here all the time! I understand you called here? Have you sang at other venues in the city before? I've just never heard of you before now, and I was curious is all."

                                                  • Just Quackerjack
                                                    Just Quackerjack

                                                    "Not at any others, I'm afraid." he smiled. "Though I might end up sticking around here..." he paused, looking at her reverently, then continued, "...if folks like yourself happen to show up often."

                                                    • Red Nova
                                                      Red Nova

                                                      "Oh, well...my mom owns the place, so I guess you'd be seeing me pretty frequently in that case." She grinned, averting her eyes momentarily. She shouldn't stare, it was rude!

                                                      "Five minutes! Just lettin' you kn--oh. Miss Scapelli, sorry, didn't know you was in here."

                                                      Ellie turned at the interruption, nodding, "It's alright." The bouncer continued on his way, leaving them alone again.

                                                      "Well I'd...I'd better let you get back to your show. I'll be watching. I'd say good luck, but I don't think you need it."