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What is she doing here? 

 

Tom marched toward the door with a determined stride. The crowded floor seemed to part around him, as if they all instinctively knew to stay out of his way. If anger had an odor...

 

As if intended, Roderick slipped just behind Tom as he got near Eris and Ahanu. Tom gave him a quick glance, and Roderick looked away briefly, guilt plain on his face. 

 

This was his fault. They'd have a discussion about this later. Rage boiled up inside him unconsciously...the moon was soon and it was evident. Brows furrowed and a low growl escaped. Suddenly, a gentle calm slid over him. His rage subsided a bit. A barely controlled inferno reduced to a contained blaze. The fury and passion was there, however, thanks to Roderick, it was contained. For now. 

 

Walking up to the tiny woman, Tom greeted her with a warm and welcoming smile. His smile was tempered a bit as he caught a whiff of Eris's silver necklace, but that was quickly dismissed, smile returning in full. 

 

Welcome to Bakkhos. I'm glad you decided to come. He said as he offered his hand to her.

 

This wasn't untrue. There was a part of him that was glad to see Eris again. Tom was just not a large fan of surprises...especially those that involve someone like Eris. 

 

Stealing a quick glance at Roderick, he noted that he appeared to be nervous, slightly. Great. Someone was smitten. This is why this scenario exists? Yes. They would definitely be talking later. 

 

 

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She hated people.

 

She hated people.

 

She hated people.... dark lashes narrowed as she stared down a party goer that had attempted to make a beeline toward her and Ahanu with a tumbler of something from the bar.  A small head shake and he was moving back toward the bar.

 

Nose crinkled slightly, refusing the urge to rub it to ease the smell of pheromones... and chlorine... and sweat... booze-y sweat, crappy perfume.  Sex.  The whole damn room smelled like hot blood and sex.

 

...and agitated Lycanthrope.

 

...with a smitten Roderick in tow.

 

For Christ's sake.  

 

Eyes flicked to the still somewhat deserted patio as an escape.  Seemed all the fun was in here, which meant she would rather be out there.  A glass of something, watching the dark sky in swirls of winter cold and warmed air, relishing in the silence.

 

But no.

 

Silent, rolling thunder may have parted the seas for him, but it stopped short when it hit her cool wall of indifference.  She didn't move, for anyone, and she didn't care if they wanted her to either.  He would never be able to sneak up on her...not that she wasn't okay with that.

 

Nostrils flared slightly as she breathed it in, the fresh blood in her veins allowing her to read more into the intricacies that most would never know.  Alpha, with a scent as good as a fingerprint now.  She'd killed an alpha once, regretfully... but he'd been trying to kill her in full fang mode so it was necessary.

 

"Welcome to Bakkhos, I'm glad you decided to come."

 

The slight curl of her lip paused, then tilted upward on one side in a lopsided grin.  Brow quirked.

 

The word liar almost slipped from her lips.  She nodded slightly, the faint amused expression on her face evident she knew the jig was up between Ahanu and Roderick.  It wasn't often she overlooked things, but wasn't surprised.  Ahanu was beautiful in every sense of the word, she expected it, but Ahanu rarely returned affection.  The Viceroy wouldn't be tweaked about it, the air magus could be with anyone she chose.  Just wasn't sure if Roderick knew what he was getting into...

 

The shaking hands thing again...she had to remind herself he was just being polite. Unless she was feeding, fighting or fucking she hated touching people.  A distaste that had lingered from her mortal years.  When people wanted to touch her they were either teasing, beating the crap out of her or shooting at her... among other humiliations she no longer had to endure.

 

Graceful hand withdrew from her pocket to shake Gallo's, grip iron, skin warmer than usual.  Business had essentially concluded between them, he wasn't under any obligation to entertain her.  She could entertain herself.

 

"Pleased to be invited Mr. Gallo.  I'll get out of your hair now and let them have their..."  lower lip rolled through her teeth, "...date."

 

Brutal honesty was quiet, calm, rum rich with honey, and still licked of amusement.  She'd gotten all dressed up to be a chaperone.  Dark eyes flicked to Ahanu, she nodded toward the patio.  Veiled, aloof smirk glanced at Roderick a moment before releasing Gallo's hand and sliding hers back into her pocket.

 

She wouldn't ruin an evening for Ahanu with her business.  Business could come later.  Pristine, plain manicure traced delicately down the silver chain briefly to make sure the gold ring was still tucked in the folds of her shirt.

 

Another time.

 

"Besides, I forgot my bikini," comment to Ahanu was under her breath, extremely rare warm humor quiet as eyes slid over to the patio to find an escape route.  "Keep the car... I'll find my own way home when I want to leave."

 

When, not if.  Not bored, just tired of crowds.  She hated people because people hated her.  The bullying and ire thrown at her for twenty years of her life had stored in her psyche like kinetic energy.  It would be a long time resonating back into the world, if it ever ran out.  Came off as arrogance, and she was okay with that.

 

Glance again to Gallo was uncharacteristically more cordial than usual.  She'd been had, but was okay with that too... for a while anyway... because it was Ahanu.  There would be a limit though to her tolerance for watching drunken brouhaha, even if it was trying to be fashionable.  The Sheut didnt want to hold her back.  The entire room smelled like sex and ego.  She needed silence, air, and a damn drink.

 

Besides... Bakkhos may have thought they were scoping her out, it was completely the reverse.  There was some clue in their tight inner circle that the world was more organized than they thought, how much of a clue they had that she was that umbrella that weathered the storm for them to rebuild was yet to be seen.  Maybe she could get some insight tonight.  

 

Or maybe she could just stare at the stars.

 

Stars were more interesting.

 

Nod was slight to all, and she moved to make her escape.

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When Eris’s lips quirked in a half-smile at his admittedly ingenuine greeting caused him to smirk a bit himself. It wasn’t that he was upset at her presence here. His current default mood with regards to the moon, coupled with his personal disdain for surprises gave away the half-hearted attempt at polite deception. Most knew to step lightly around Tom during these times. Even the party-goers here who didn’t know him from Adam seemed to instinctively know to stay out of his way. This effect seemed to have no sway over Eris. She appeared to be more uncomfortable with the crowd than himself. He had given it some thought since their last encounter…she was one of few people in the world who didn’t display any sort of fear when dealing with him. This was oddly refreshing. Whatever occurred during the Nevus Event…she had gained some confidence with her new-found strength. But he could almost smell the cringe-like feelings coming from her when this close to so many people. Interesting.

 

Tom turned his focus on Roderick and Ahanu. So this is why she was here. Roderick had pulled a fast one. He felt his rage boiling…then he felt his rage dissipate, slightly. Roderick was clever. He knew how this would play out and he preemptively smothered Tom’s rage as it began to swell. Jaw and fist clenched, he turned a near-feral stare at Roderick. The look was brief, there and gone in a second. The message was clear though, Roderick had crossed a line.

 

Roderick had put a hand to his head in pain. He had made the rare mistake of underestimating the torrent of rage that Tom was capable of. Roderick’s mood-altering powers had limits, and he had just been brought to the brink of those limits. Withdrawing his hand from Eris’s, he put a firm hand on Roderick’s shoulder and gruffly said, “Go and enjoy yourself. We have a long day tomorrow.” Roderick led Ahanu deep into the throng of people as Tom returned his attention to Eris.

 

Just as Eris had turned her attention to the near-empty patio, Tom asked Eris, “Care to join me on the patio for a…quieter experience?”

 

Tom strode forward with a deliberate stride that was as likely to change direction as a train on the rails. The cool, night air was welcome. As soon as thud of his Alessandro Démesure Oxfords could be heard echoing on the cobblestone patio he looked to the bouncer on duty here and simply nodded back toward the club. Without a word coming from Tom, the bouncer rounded up the half-dozen or so patrons from the patio and ushered them back inside, leaving just Eris and Tom outside in the quiet night.

 

Tom walked behind the bar that was situated in the corner near where the bouncer had stood. He grabbed a pair of glasses from underneath. He reached for a bottle of Zyr and poured it into one glass. He held the bottle above the other glass and looked at Eris, silent question obvious.

 

 

 

 

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Keen attention caught the smirk.  Little sassy pants was he then now, quietly watching the Alpha in the room focus on his companion, then her own Ahanu.  Neck should have bristled, it didn’t.  Ahanu was capable of taking care of herself if needed… she’d seen her suck the air out of someone’s lungs before, it had been amusing for the mere seconds it had taken the guy to fold and indicate he was going to finally talk.  The ripple through the air though, like heat from a room wiggling into a frigid landscape was blatant.  Only there for a moment, leaving a scent like fire lingering in the air.  It was making more sense; the parting of the crowd for him, the unconscious slight stance change of Ahanu to a protective position next to the Sheut.

 

Humans were strange, they smelled things… felt things pattering on their skin, could taste it on their palate, subtle tweaks of behavior, but could never seem to put two and two together unless they were highly tuned.  They perceived it as a “feeling”, and their fight or flight response made it simple for them to understand.  Fear.  Her senses could untangle it, deconstruct it, follow its source, and it was buzzing right up her arm from the handshake.

 

Brow quirked at the stare that seemed to also quirk Roderick.

 

The hand that let go of hers left a pulsing echo of energy in her palm that she slid casually back into her pocket.

 

“Go and enjoy yourself. We have a long day tomorrow.”

 

Ahanu inclined a glance slightly to Eris and the Sheut returned the gesture.  Then they were gone, the dark eyes watching after them with an almost melancholy “baby’s all grown up” expression… or just simply amused. It was hard to tell, her reactions to things were not typical.

 

“Care to join me on the patio for a…quieter experience?”

 

Her pause was intended.  Quieter experience would have been by herself… few others intent on each other would have been by herself.  Someone expecting she talk, wasn’t…

 

Again the slight nod, “don’t mean to take you away from your guests, I’m just not the crowd type.”

 

Quieter must have meant no people at all, because all the subtlety of the earlier Capo she’d met was gone.  His strides were heavy, his presence was heavy.  Odd choice of time frame for the opening of a club, or deliberate.  As noticed before, people were aware of presence through ways they didn’t quite understand, they recognized big.  She watched them leave, not really caring one way or the other, eyes shifting upward to the sky.

 

You could see stars, so much more than before the world ended.  The traffic, the blaze of light from the bustle of the city would choke it out almost a hundred percent of the time.  They were at least visible now, along with the crazy rip in the sky.  In central and south America, they were beautiful.  In a plane over the ocean, breathtaking.  Cheek turned toward the cold slightly, the swirl of heated patios fighting with cold air so much more noticeable to her.  Kept her alert.

 

She nodded in response to his unspoken question.  Not an incredible fan of vodka though, but that particular one she enjoyed.  It was sharp on her taste buds, especially after a feeding… seemed to light up the surplus of iron and burn through the new warmth in her blood.  It would be rude to refuse, and would keep her on her toes, so it was a good idea all around at the moment.  But, probably bring attention to something that might already be itching at him.  She smelled different, and not just the ‘rolled in the hay’ with someone kind of way.  It was on her skin, and internal; warming her core, powering her “engine” with more heat than normal.

 

“Does everybody do what you tell them to?”  voice was quiet, eyes casting over the patio to decide where exactly she was going to sit. She didn’t want to sit anywhere.  A refined store not choked with people, sweat and hormones was one thing.  A club was completely another.  Agitated earlier in the evening, feeding encouraged control, but she hated crowds… and that hate supercharged the aversion to touching things, and brought the itch to smash someone in the face or tie a wayward Sheut to an east facing fence post at dawn to the forefront.  Mythos sprang to mind.

 

“What happens when they don’t?” she slid into a chair at the bar in front of where he’d perched, smirk was light, and she let it go.  Eyes cast upward again for a moment, one leg crossing gently over the other… she wasn’t fond of bar chairs, however swanky they may be. They made her feel short, but she handled them with the grace of someone model tall.

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