Hurt The Ones You Love


david_icon.jpg max_icon.jpg nora_icon.jpg

Where: Bottom of the Barrel
When: 6/28/20
What: Nora cries on Max about her breakup, while David sends them cryptic notes.

You always hurt the ones you love - the ones you shouldn't hurt at all. You always take the sweetest rose, and crush it til the petals fall. - You Always Hurt the Ones You Love

A warm day means a warm evening, and so it's no surprise that the citizens of South Central are out in droves tonight. Groups cluster in front of graffiti-painted buildings, smoking and talking; other folks either hurry home or duck into bars.

One such folk would be a short Asian newvie who looks like she's definitely seen better days. Her hair is an unwashed mess tied back into a limp but frazzled ponytail, and her skin is a little bit dirty. But that's what you get when you've slept under an overpass for a week — as well, a bit of a crick in the back. Yowch. As such, when she ducks into the Bottom of the Barrel, it's no exaggeration: she's a little hunchy.

The inside is somewhat crowded, as the sun has just set and folks are all coming in for a drink, but that suits her okay: she just gets in line, a morose little twist to her lips.

In one corner, a merry laugh rings out as a small brunette with a tell-tale green aura holds out her hand, gathering not only a collective groan of dismay from a group of what look to be college boys around her but their money as well; a ten-dollar bill from each is slapped into the hand of the Newsh who must have just won a bet. She has no qualms about counting it in front of them, having made an easy fifty bucks off of whatever bet they all just lost.

Slowly Max heads toward the bar, now that she has the cash for a drink, but there's no hurry. She seems to take a good look into the eyes of each person she passes, green eyes alighting on a new person every few seconds.

At one of the tables near the wall, David tries to be inconspicuous. Or, as inconspicuous as a blue-auraed man in an impeccable suit can be in this part of the city. He sits upright, turned out towards the bar, one legged crossed nonchalantly over the other. The late-twenties man seems to be caught between people watching and checking texts on his phone. He smiles as Max seems to win good money, watching her head back towards the bar, but too far out of the way for her to notice him watching right away.

Instead, he writes something on two napkins, and grabs a passing waiter for a quick whisper and a hand shake. The waiter nods, hurrying off towards the bar. Shortly, both Nora and Max are getting drinks from the bartender, each with one of those napkins.

Nora's says, "Why the long face?"

Max's says, "A beer for a bet?"

Nora approaches the bar, only to have a drink laid down in front of her. She blinks a few times, and then squints at the napkin, turning to look around. Is Henry here? But no, no Henry. Her heart sinks a little and she accepts the drink. "Hey, could I get, like…as many beers as this will buy me?" she asks, dropping forty bucks on the table.

She turns around as she waits, spying the seelie and eyeing her thoughtfully. What an odd bird, looking at everyone like that. Her brow knits, and she takes a long pull of her drink. Probably this money would have been better spent on blood, what with not having eaten in…longer than she should, but hey.

Just as Max makes her way to the bar, somehow slipping past some of the people in the line unnoticed, she gets nudged by the waiter with the free drink. "I didn't order thi— Oh!" She reads the napkin and turns in a slow circle looking for her mysterious benefactor. She sees Nora's drink first, and lifts a brow.

Still looking for the drink bestower, she says in an aside to the vampire, "Someone's playing the field, looks like. Wonder if anyone else got one." She doesn't sound annoyed, but rather amused, lips curving up into a slight smirk.
David leans back in his chair, finger to his lips, smiling as the two girls start chatting. Seems like he's helping make some friends! The lawyer stays back in his chair, quiet and unassuming for now as he just watches the two of them, checking his phone occasionally.

As far as Max can tell, doesn't look like there are any other cute girls surprised at getting a free drink from the bouncer.

Nora blinks at the Faerie and then looks at her drink…and snorts. "Hmph. Well he misfired, whoever he is," she mutters, taking another drink. "I am sooooooo out of the dating pool right now, 's not even funny. What about you, you gonna figure out who he is?" She casts another glance about the bar as if that might magically reveal the culprit, but alas.

The angle of the bar is just right for David to lurk and watch without Max quite being able to see him clearly; there's a tall and burly guy blocking part of her view, and so all she gets is a bit of forehead, a little of one shoulder, and once in a while, his knee when the burly guy moves just so.

Max shrugs after a few skims of the room, eyes pausing now and then on some stranger or another. "Guess not. He'll make himself known or he won't, and either way, a free drink's a free drink. Even better if there's no string attached, right?"

She makes a face as she catches someone else's eyes, turning away quickly and taking a hard swallow of her beverage. "Avoid the guy in the red shirt. Bad mojo."

"Yeah, true enough. I'm definitely a proponent of free." Nora finishes that drink, dropping the mug back to the bar with a snort. "Yeah…that's a good start to the night. We're well on our way." As a few bottles are delivered, she plucks up a new one. "Red shirt, huh? Good to know. What's your name, anyway? 's always good to meet a fellow Fey, y'know." She extends a hand, somewhat roughly.

"That's a lot of beer," Max says with another lift of her brows, glancing first at the bottle, before looking down at the offered hand. "I'm Max," she says, swapping her beer to her left hand so she can shake with her right.

Only after clasping hands, does she finally lift her eyes to Nora's, lips parting a little in anticipation of the information that eye contact will bring her.

"Annora," Nora says, "but I prefer Nora." She takes the hand and offers a firm shake, lifting her eyes to Max. In an instant, Max can see the overwhelming heartache and frustration and depression laid in a thick layer over a sweeter, fierier personality. … But then she can't seem to quite look away. And Nora, perhaps unwittingly, just eyes her right back, brows lowering. "You don't have to stare," she mutters.

But apparently she does have to stare, as Max's green eyes seem to be locked on Nora's. She can barely turn her head enough to give the tiniest of headshakes. Her lips part slightly, perhaps to speak, but nothing comes out. Everything else seems normal; her beer is still held, she still balances with one foot hooked on the barstool behind her.

"…Okay this is getting creepy," Nora says as she wrinkles her nose. She looks away, breaking the stare, and then back — but Max is still staring for a few seconds more. "What!! Do I have something on my face? You got a problem with my teeth? Is that it? Is— wait. … Wait, oh shit, I just— uh, hey, did I just do a thing…? I did. I did it. Fuck, lady, I'm sorry. You, uh… you ok?"

A couple of the nearby bargoers back away from the two Fey; it's a Fey-owned bar, but there are always a few that are still wary. The question seems to break at least the silence that comes with the spell, but it comes with its own price. Max's voice is softer than it was a few moments later, hard to hear in the din of the bar, and slower, without much inflection. As if she were in a trance.

"I'm fine. Yeah, you're using your ability," she murmurs. "I can't look away unless you do. For longer." The last added since the last time Nora glanced away it was too short to break the spell, so to speak.

"Guh, right, sorry!" Nora turns and looks very pronouncedly at the bar. Look! What woodgrain! "I didn't even realize— I don't think I've ever done it without thinking before. I'm really sorry. /Really really/ sorry." A hand goes to her face and she groans. Stupid stupid stupid. "I'll get you a drink to make up for it, I swear."

Max reaches up to rub her eyes and looks away as well. "It's okay," she says, voice back to normal. "It's not the first time it's happened, and it's likely not the last. I'm not… I'm not very careful about it."

She lifts her beer to finish it off, but waves off Nora's offer to buy her another. She lifts the wad of cash still gripped in her free hand. "I have money."

The person whose barstool she'd had her foot on leaves, so Max slides onto it, one foot curling beneath her to lift her a little higher up on the stool. "You don't have to be sorry. You didn't take advantage of it." Though it'd be hard to, in such a busy place. "There are others that would. And do."

"Yeah, but…" Nora looks at the empty stool beside Max and slumps her way onto it. Why not. "…I dunno, I just had a breakup 'cause I'm a newvie so maybe I'm sensitive about it. Well. In any case, thanks for understanding." She offers a little humorless half-smile and pulls a beer to her to renew her drinking. Because tonight is definitely a night for drinking. "So, Max, right? What do you do for a living, anyway?"

Maybe it's her own mention of people like Nora who do take advantage of the ability Nora accidentally used that makes Max rub the still-healing wound of two puncture wounds on her wrist. It looks to be perhaps a week old.

"I'm sorry," she says to the sudden confession of a breakup, Max's voice sympathetic. "Did you just become…?" she waves her hand in a vague way in Nora's direction.

The question of what she does is a complex one that she shrugs off. "This and that. I can't sit still for a real job."

"Huh? Oh, no." Nora blinks a little as she notices the tell-tale wounds, but doesn't press it. "I turned in December. No…my boyfriend had some real legitimate issues with vampires, and he was doing his best to get over them, but… He still had this look in his eye, you know? Like some part of him was always worried I was gonna snap or something and kill him. So…eventually I just…broke up with him." Mope. She takes another drink of beer. As for the job, "I hear ya, sister," she mutters.

"Assholes," Max says cynically, perhaps lumping Nora's ex into the category of all men or all people who aren't Fey, or some other category that only she's clear on. "I don't usually date anyone normal anymore. They all worry I'll turn them into a frog or something, or they want me to bring them to one of the old ones to get them to be changed, too."

Her empty bottle is set aside, and she looks over at Nora, though her eyes settle somewhere around the woman's nose. "He lasted from December until now, that's more than most, I think. He must have been trying pretty hard to get over it."

"Right?" Nora huffs. "Stupid jerks and their…stupid…jerkishness." Words! She drowns them with beer. "Oh, uh. It was actually only about two months or so maybe. And he had real good reason…to be leery, and all… And he was trying /really/ hard. He was! It just…sometimes it wasn't enough, I guess." She sinks a little lower in her seat. "Still…he was the nicest guy otherwise. I miss him terribly, and maybe I shoulda been more patient with him or…something. I dunno."

"Wait. It's only been a couple of months?" Max says, frowning as if the information is confusing. "Then no, he's not the nicest guy. If you know you have issues with something like that, then… don't start something you don't intend to finish, you know? Screw him."


"I mean, be glad you stopped screwing him, I guess. That's just dumb. He could have all the 'legitimate reasons' in the world not to like vampires, but then he shouldn't have dated one. Unless you did something that messed up with his building trust or something, I say it's all his damn fault."

Apparently she's gotten her voice back. It's a little loud and earning a few glances from their fellow barflies.

Nora blushes and looks down, burying her face in a beer again. "…Well, I accidentally bit him," she mumbles. "I was /really/ drunk. And I shouldn't have, but…I did, and he freaked the fuck out. And it just… I guess it just…I don't know. It felt bad, I guess, having him freak out /so/ bad. But when your wife was murdered by vamps in your apartment…I dunno. I feel like it's legit." She's a lot quieter than Max. And a little shyer about it all, drunk as she may be getting.

"Oh." There's a flatness to the voice that is a tiny bit condemning. "Well. Yeah. That's a pretty legitimate reason not to like vamps, but he knew that he had that going on before you and him were going on, so I still say it's on his dumb ass."

She signals to the bartender for another drink, tossing one of the bills down. "Still, you shouldn't drop out of the game altogether. There might be some hot guy who's all into getting his neck gnawed on. There are people who like that. Granted, they're a bit twisted in the head usually, but I guess we Fey can't be too picky. A good majority of the normals who like us are just a bit touched in the head, you know?"

Nora looks down into her beer again, and then downs that one too. Onto a third. Or is it a fourth? For such a tiny gal she can sure pack it away. "Naw," she says with a mopey groan. "I don't even wanna be a newvie. I dun even know why I bit 'im. I dun wanna be with someone who sees me as a leech with legs; I wanna be someone who sees me." She pounds a fist on the bar, and sniffles. "And he did. … I made a big mistake." She looks at Max and just wibbles. It's comical, almost, the way she sort of sways while her lip trembles. "I'm an asshooooollllle," she wails. Apparently, she's not getting Max's very important lesson, here. Drunk or stupid? One or the other.

"Oh, lord," Max says, mostly to the ceiling when Nora wails. The drink is glanced at, and her bill pulled back to slip into the table. She lifts it in a salute to the room at large, in case their benefactor is watching.

"Not an asshole, just a bit naive, maybe. It's kind of cute really; no one expects a naive vampire. You could probably use that to your advantage if you wanted to go bite unsuspecting people. Not boyfriends, I mean. But you know. People you don't like. Or maybe just when you're hungry."

The alcohol is maybe starting to affect Max's ability to empathize with her new friend.

"But I don't like biting people!!" Nora sniffles. "Biting people sucks!! I mean…I mean… the blood tastes better, sure, but— but biting people!" She blinks though when she sees that napkin with the unhappy face. And she does a very good job mimicking it. "Is a naive vampire like the Spanish Inquis…in…inquiz…inquisition? No one 'spects it?" Sniffle. She turns to look around, trying to figure out who sent the stupid drink. "I can't help that he was my first boyfriend," she adds with a sniff. "Spend too much time /workin'/ and /no/ time with /people/. But he was perrrfeccctttt." So that's another good reason why she seems unreasonably attached. She is naive.

David's smile has fallen to a look of worry. But he's not stepping forward just yet. From a ways away, it looks like he may just be pondering his phone, though he watches those girls out of the corner of his eye. So dark-haired girl seems pissed but sympathetic. Asian girl is bawling her eyes out. Guy trouble, perhaps?

Eyes that flicker between all of the shades of green are juxtaposed against pale skin surrounded by thick dark hair that falls to this young woman's middle back. Her face is a strange mix of soft and sharp; a full mouth, the upper lip fuller than the bottom, helps to soften the sharper features of her chin and nose, which have an impish quality. The tell-tale luminescent green glow marks her as a member of the Seelie Court.

She is petite, perhaps 5'3", and small in frame even for that modest height. At a glance, it's hard to tell her age. Her clothing varies from day to day, depending on the job she is doing.

"No one… trust me… no one is perfect. And you said you ended it, so maybe he's willing to work on it. I know you don't like people looking at you like you might hurt them, but that's always a possibility," Max says before leaning across the counter to nab a lime slice out of the bartender's garnishing tray, and tosses it into her beer.

"You wanna know why?" she asks, taking a long drink of her beer, her eyes now back on Nora's, apparently no longer wary of being hypnotized again.

Nora sniffles and starts drinking the free beer — which is arguably not the best idea given how drunk she already is. "Why?" she asks, picking up the :-( napkin to wipe the tears from her dusty face and blow her nose. So much for that message, David!

The Seelie takes her time, taking a long draught of the beer before she sets it down and wipes her mouth. "Because people hurt people. All people do. Fey, human, whatever. If you care about someone, they're going to hurt you. And you're going to hurt them. It's human nature."

She reaches into her purse to find a pen and writes on a napkin. Bet you wish you revealed yourself earlier is the message for David that she hands back to the bartender to give to David. "Some people are just a bit more subtle in the scars we leave."

Nora wibbles. Trembles. And sniffs. "I guess you're right," she says, bravely holding back tears. Sort of. Ish. "I— Maybe I have a lot to think about." She slides off her chair and stumbles, having to grab the counter to hold herself up, and then she wobbles. "Um. Thanks— thanks for talking to me, Max. Sorry for being a total spaz about it. I haven't, uh— I haven't had anyone to talk to about it and it just sorta— tumbled out I guess."

David looks up as the waiter approaches would another note, blinking in surprise. "Ah. Thank you, my dear sir." He takes the note, opening it curiously… and he smiles in broad amusement at the message inside. "Cheeky devil," he murmurs, folding the note over twice and sliding it into his breast pocket.

Another napkin is taken and a phone number scrawled on it. This Max hands to Nora. "No problem. Just… don't be so hard on yourself. You're still new at being 'new,' so you're going to make mistakes. If he's worth it — and I'm not thinking he is, but maybe I'm wrong — he might give you another chance."

She slides off the barstool and lays a couple dollars of a tip on the bar for the tender for the drinks she didn't buy. "I gotta work at the crack of dawn, though, so I'm out like bell bottoms."

She pauses and pulls a ten out of her pocket to slide to Nora as well. "Take a cab or something home, all right?" And before the money can be pushed back at her, she ducks between two people talking nearby, toward the door, and out.

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