The annual "Melting Pot" party takes places where it does every year: Purgatory Heights' own renowned building, Club Limbo. Typically defended by an organization of Interfectors, this event allows beings of all types and backgrounds to safely mingle and enjoy a hiatus on the usual discriminations. The laws of Purgatory Heights are still strictly enforced and the shadier members of the party will be tagged in case of future discrepancies, ensuring no illegal transactions will be taking place. Also, no one is prohibited from any section, meaning that even the lowest class citizens may experience what the upper-class parties are like for one night.
Club Limbo boasts extravagance with its primary dining room, overlooked by an indoor balcony and a suitable dance floor in the center square of the building. Toward the back end is a stage, filled along the far side with a small orchestra. Waiters with trays of varying drinks and finger-foods patrol the room, offering whatever they have been tasked to carry. Actual meals are not served here, but is intended for light snacks, conversations, atmosphere, and dance.
While the majority of the building and its contained party seems to be of the higher-status society, it actually holds several rooms to the right side with clubs that may be more to the liking of many citizens that prefer darker atmosphere, loud music, and gratuitous amounts of alcohol. No worries, however, as this loud music does not penetrate the walls that lead to the classical area. A renowned D.J. plays the most popular music with a twist for the tastes of the inhabitants of Purgatory Heights to keep the guests moving.
The opposing rooms to the left (as one views from the front entrance) lack over-arching music and any club environment, opting instead for a restaurant-esque theme. Here, participants may order any item of food on the menu without a fee. Such as what is found in most Human cities, this area is based on Royalty design, showing many ornate designs within the architecture, tables, and fine dress code of the waiters and waitresses. It should go without saying that the silverware is sturdy yet beautiful. The only types of liquor offered here are wines and champagne.
The S-class wove in and out of evening traffic with all the grace of an obese swan. Though it was a gorgeously appointed vehicle (with an enormous engine and pricetag to match), its driver seemed very uncomfortable with it.
In fact, he would probably have preferred a winged steed. And he would definitely have preferred a coat of infernally forged armor, a horned helmet and a flaming broadsword to his tuxedo, sunglasses, and silenced Sig Sauer.
He didn't complain, though. This was what Lily wanted, and that was all that mattered.
The demoness was in back, trying to use the soft, well-padded interior to help her ignore the erratic driving. She stared out the window, twisting the ring on her left hand - a black rose set in gold - back and forth. Whatever was on her mind, her expression was inscrutable.
She didn't seem to notice when the Mercedes slowed, falling in line with a number of other expensive black sedans. She didn't move at all when the car pulled up alongside Club Limbo. The driver got out, motioning away the waiting valet. He pulled open the door, his massive frame blocking the window, and as his charge stepped out of the car, a change seemed to come over her. She grinned, her eyes vibrant and alert. Though she wore towering platform heels, her stride was effortless. Her dress was short, open in the back, and made of black lace which disintegrated into rose-shaped patterns at the collarbone.
Even without the outfit, though, she would have been striking. She belonged here, more so than anyone else amongst the crowd. She nodded to the attendant who held the door open for her, and he looked away, trying to remember how long it had been since his heart had been in his throat like that.
Inside, Lily moved through the party with similar weightlessness. Occasionally she stopped, greeting someone and speaking for a moment, but never longer than that. Behind her smile and her sparkling eyes, instinct kept her searching and studying, and she trusted it, even if she didn't quite know why.
Jeff looked in the dirty bathroom mirror of his run down apartment. He looked idiotic, he needed to get in the party across the street. Too bad security wouldn't take kindly to him entering so he needed a disguise until he entered the building. He was wearing his normal tuxedo and shades but with it he had on a black trenchcoat and a black fedora with a white trim. Hopefully this fooled the guards for the brief seconds he saw them. Jeff after all was a wanted man and had been for years, under all that pressure you learn to adapt.
He walked out onto the street as he saw a limosuine pull up, Jeff took a deep breath. The woman got out and he instantly knew that was the person he needed to talk to. Jeff walked across the street and past the woman, he needed to stop by the bar before he talked to her. He was to tense and didn't want to ruin his only chance to get the info on Nick he needed. Nick was an interfector and Jeff looked for his help on clearing his name, maybe he could do a few off the records exorcisms for Jeff.
Jeff walked through the front doors with ease and immediatly went into a coatroom, he quickly dismissed his fedora and trenchcoat. Then straightening his tuxedo jacket he walked out to the party. He saw the woman who he belived could give him info and didn't take his eye off her as he made his way to a table. He grabed a drink off of a passing waiter's tray, then changed his route so he ran into the woman.
He approached her and made sure to get in her way. He stopped driectly in front of her and sipped his drink, he looked over the party. Not making eye contact or turning to her he spoke,
"Info, you have it, I want it. When you want to talk I'll be at the bar, don't be long I am an impatient man." Jeff said, then walked away to the bar not listening for a response. He put his drink down and leaned on the bar not sitting. If things turned for the worse he didn't want to be sitting when they did.
A few moments later, the bartender brought him another drink. "Compliments of the house," he said, nodding. Jeff picked up the drink and took a swig, it was sweeter than what he usually liked but he would drink it. He set down the drink and realized something, who the hell would by him a drink? Even if it was just on the house, Jeff looked at his drink. When he noticed a card underneath it, it had a black rose on it. He flipped the card and pushed his drink away, he didn't want to take another sip if it was drugged. On the back of the card was an adress and time, the time was after the party. Obviously somebody knows who he is, which was never a good thing. However Jeff had only one option, to go to that location. Trap or not, he had to go.
Cold, cerulean eyes stared deeply into the mirror before them. A grand mass stood hunched over the bathroom counter, teeth biting down on smooth lips in an unnatural anxiety—to the man, at least. He dipped a hand into the sink, hot water coming up to splash his face and a towel immediately following. Parties were nice, but attending one was still a distant thought; working at one, that was something entirely different. Hell, he worked at a five star restaurant where it was practically a high-classed societal meeting every night. Of course, one end is definitely different from the other and Raleigh, the tall, slightly imposing man, knew nothing of high-class courtesies. He was barely even close to that echelon of status with his salary.
A hand ran through gelled back hair, stopping the moment his fingers passed the hairline. He cringed, stepping back into the bathroom, mentally agonizing over his image. The fact that he was a Seraphim didn’t necessarily help with his worries. Raleigh stood up straight, rubbing out the wrinkles and lightly touching the slicked hair on his head. He’d go for a quick shave, but the stubble wasn’t that imposing and he obviously didn’t have the time. About an hour had gone into composing his attire, another straightening everything out, and one more hour that was saved for a rigorous hair styling. Layers was something he’d prided himself in. There was the neat, clean, ebony tux, no tail, with a vest and a bowtie to match; pleated pants were snug tight on thighs and calves, ending in vigorously polished dress shoes, pointed tip; above the coat, vest, bowtie, and button-up set a heavy, wool jacket, rough fabric, and the same black as the rest of his attire, with a dark blue and black scarf tightly stuffed around his neck and covering the only breathable opening in his coat. Raleigh wore an abundant amount of deodorant, for obvious reasons.
Already late, well—Raleigh glanced at the clock on his night stand. Nope, actually, just a tad early should he leave at that instant. A curse slipped under his breath as he quickly bolted down the stairs of his loft, grabbing the bouquet of white lilies and box of chocolates before running right out the door.
“Shit, my keys,” Raleigh cursed, just as he entered the elevator. A few moments spared before Raleigh bolted down the stairwell, impatient and in a hurry. A terrible, terrible idea as he reached the bottom, eyes stinging from the gel infused sweat. Regardless, he made it to his convertible, black Jaguar F-Type he’d been saving up for. The fact that he rode an old jalopy to work earned him quite a few stares and snide remarks. But, hey, it was worth saving up his paycheck to buy the expensive Jaguar he now rode without having to sell his loft and live off no electricity for a full year.
Stepping in, Raleigh gave a quick look to the clock as the car roared to life. And now he was going to be late. With little to no time left, Raleigh took off, swerving through the traffic… or rather sitting in the traffic for a good hour before arriving to Miss Callaway’s. It took roughly forty-five minutes just to be able to get into Sara’s penthouse suite. The woes of being friends with an incredibly rich woman usually took the energy out of Raleigh, then again, who wouldn’t be cautious with that much power?
Raleigh gave a hard knock on the woman’s door, waiting quietly as he swayed on the heels of his feet.
Sara’s hand ran through her long hair, making it shimmer in the natural light which streamed through her ceiling-to-floor windows, red and brown mixing into a brunette rainbow. She bit her lip lightly as she listened to the man on the other end of the phone talk, resisting the urge to roll her warm brown eyes, even though he couldn’t see her. He’d thanked her several times now, but somehow he was still talking and no amount of gentle encouragement from Sara was going to make him put down the phone. In the end, Sara’s ear just couldn’t take the droning anymore and she rather abruptly took matters into her own hand.
“Je vous remercie. Cela a été un plaisir de faire affaire avec vous. Oui, nous devrons organiser quelque chose, tres beintôt. Au revoir.” Sara drew the phone away from her ear and disconnected, setting it down on the antique desk which sat in the centre of her office.
She stood up and walked over to her windows, pressing her forehead against the cool glass and tapping her manicured nails against it. Stepping back slightly, Sara took a moment of peace out of her hectic day of business to admire the view from her window. It was one of the highest points in the city and there were certain times of day when the view took her breath away. Early morning, sunset, midday, when the sun was at its peak. It wasn’t long before her lonely serenity was broken and she heard a light knock on the door of her spacious office. After her permission was given, the door opened and Sara turned around.
“How did your conference call go, Miss Callaway?” Her personal assistant, Rebecca, asked, remaining in the doorway with her hands folded demurely behind her back. Sara smiled at the girl, who very rarely entered her office unless invited, and seated herself on one of the two large, red sofas which faced each other at the far end of her office, leaning her head on her hand and closing her eyes out of tiredness.
“Well, thank you, Rebecca, aside from the fact that the French language does bore me so. Italian is so much more…interesting, more passionate, don’t you think? I much prefer to speak Italian.”
“I don’t speak either, personally, Miss Callaway.” Rebecca informed her and Sara nodded, still smiling, and waited for the girl to speak again. It would be rather odd if she’d simply come to enquire how well Sara conversed over the phone. When Rebecca made no attempt to speak, Sara raised her eyebrows and prompted her; “Was there something else?”
“As a matter of fact, miss…” The hands behind Rebecca’s back unfolded and she produced a relatively sized, red envelope. On the front, Sara could see black, intricate writing which read ‘Miss Serafina Callaway’. Sara sighed, knowing what that was. The envelope had arrived a week earlier and Sara had waved it away, telling Rebecca to give it to her closer to the date.
The date had, it seemed, arrived, and Sara knew that she’d be expected to make an appearance by every Angel, Demon and Interfector in the city. There were days and occasions when Sara wished she’d never started the company, never made herself so known. Even Archangels can keep a low profile. Now, Sara was seated on one of the highest thrones in the city. Literally.
“I suppose I do have to go.” She sighed, taking the envelope from her assistants outstretched hand. “Thank you, Rebecca.”
A few hours later found Sara in her penthouse suite in a rather sharp, though not unattractive, black dress with a pair of stylish yet practical black heels on her feet. She owned prettier things, plenty of them, in fact, but tonight, Sara wanted to blend and not draw any extra attention to herself. She was about to call for her car when she heard a knock on the door and, knowing there were only a select few who knew the passcode into the building, she answered. Sure enough, as she had suspected, it was Raleigh.
“How did I know it would be you?” She smiled at her friend, stepping aside to let him into the apartment.
Raleigh trudged in, tugging at the scarf with his free hand. "Got you something," he smiled, setting the flowers and chocolate on the nearest table, "The chocolates are mine, but the flowers are edible, if you're hungry." Like always, Raleigh made himself at home, immediately crashing face first onto the nearest, pristine white couch. Though, he did sit himself up, eyes caught by the rather bland dress Ms. Callaway wore.
"I hope you were planning on changing," Raleigh mumbled, looking his friend over, "I'm a man and I think that's hideous."
"Thank you very much, darling." Sara smiled, picking up the Lilies and taking them through into the kitchen, running cold water into the sink which she then placed them into. She'd cut and arrange them when they came back later. Raleighs insult wasn't what she'd expected when she returned into the lounge to find him sprawled, as usual, across her white sofa. She raised an eyebrow at his feet, gesturing for him to remove them from her couch.
"I'm trying to blend, Raleigh. And besides, I don't have anything else to wear." That was a blatant lie, and she knew he knew it.
"Don't worry, they're designer footwear," Raleigh grinned, sliding them onto plush, white rugs, a hand swiping at the chocolate box on the glass endtable. He paused before stuffing his face with the gourmet sweets, looking up at the angel lying through her teeth. The box was set aside, eyes narrowing as Raleigh stood. He grabbed a hold of Sara's arm before shifting the two into the large walk in closet a split second later.
"I'm guessing this is the dirty clothes pile?" Raleigh gave her a blank stare, gesturing to the endless line of designer wear that hung in the large room.
"Raleigh," Sara told him, as he dragged her into her closet, "I told you. I'm blending! Do you not understand the meaning of the word? I'm trying to be boring and avoid talking to an awful lot of people that I don't want to talk to." She stared at him for a moment and then sighed, her shoulders dropping in defeat. "You're not even listening, are you?"
Rolling his eyes, Raleigh let go and delved through the archangel's supply of clothes. A few moments later, and a few dresses now sprawled on the floor of the closet, Raleigh approached Sara, still ignoring the woman's pleas. He pushed the dress in forward, gesturing for her to give it a go. "It's the least boring you'll get without grabbing so much unwanted attention," Raleigh grinned, "Otherwise, I would have gone for wedding gown over there." He pointed to the now wrinkled, white as snow dress haphazardly thrown on the ground.
"You're paying for the dry-cleaning on that, by the way." She told him, when he gestured to the wedding dress. Once upon a time, that would have been a sensitive subject, and with certain people it still would be, but Raleigh was Sara's closest and oldest friend, he knew almost everything about her.
She took the dress he thrust at her and walked into the changing room at the end of her closet, stripping off the black ensemble and slipping the white and gold dress over her curves. It showed off her seemingly endless, and flawless, legs and was cut just low enough to leave quite a bit to the imagination. It wasn't one of her favourite dresses, but it wasn't boring either, she had to admit. She glanced at herself in the mirror then rolled her eyes and walked out to stand in front of Raleigh, her arms raised slighty. She turned and raised her eyebrows, waiting for his opinion.
"You're so pale," Raleigh put a finger to his chin, "But it works." With that, he stepped out of the closet, making sure to throw a wink Sara's way for good measure. There was only so much miss high-and-mighty tolerated, but Raleigh absolutely loved pushing her buttons. He'd have to make up for it via gourmet food and movie night, but for now, he'd incur her wrath a bit more.
"Miss Callaway, you're limo's waiting!" He called out, stepping out of the house, box of chocolates in his hands, "I'll be getting drunk while you negotiate business deals. I can't wait for the pale princess to get into her pumpkin carriage all day. Don't forget the ruby slippers, Dorothy."
"Raleigh, sweetheart." Sara called out to him, as she picked out a pair of white and gold heels from her shelves, slipping them on and glancing at herself in her mirror, which stretched the heght of her closet wall. He was right, she was pretty pale, but somehow it did work. "We both know you're more of a fairy princess than I've ever been."
She followed him out, hurriedly grabbing a golden clutch bag, slipping her phone, keys and a tube of lipstick inside, closing her front door behind them. "I'm so glad we're going in your car," She said, sarcastically, "It absolutely helps with the whole 'keeping a low profile' thing."
"Oh and Rick Astley Martin wouldn't draw a bunch of eyes?" Raleigh grinned, hopping into the elevator, "And please, I'm the most manly man you'll never get the chance to have sexy times with." He popped a caramel filled piece of chocolate in his mouth, chewing obnoxiously as he stared at Sara. Unfortunately, he forgot to press the lobby button, leaving the man quietly chewing while he waited for the elevator to move.
"Woops," he gave a cheesy grin before pressing the button, "That didn't happen."
As the elevator hit the first floor, and after Raleigh gave a stern glare at Sara's elevator guard, he quickly jogged out of the large building and hopped into his car. The fact that the elevator ride took forever reminded him that they were probably both late. This was why he wanted Sara picking him up... that and the fancy cars she had with the champagne in the—off-topic, but deliciously so. Raleigh tapped impatiently on the side of his car, raising an eyebrow at the heels Sara wore.
"I'm pretty sure I've seen you run in heels before," Raleigh said, snidely as he popped another piece of candy into his mouth. Fat? He didn't know the definition... well, maybe he did, but that was a while ago.
"You're not my type anyway," She told him, smirking, "And I'm not the type to have sexy times with every guy, you know that, so you're not exactly depriving me of that honour anyway." She followed him into the elevator and stared at him as he stood, motionlessly waiting for the lift to move. She cleared her throat and he finally pressed the button, grinning at her like a child. She shook her head, fondly. Her brow creased slightly at Raleighs mention of her running in heels, when they finally exited her building. "Point being?" She replied as she waited for Raleigh to open the car. She shivvered slightly in the evening breeze, wishing she'd had the sense to grab a jacket and at the same time knowing the amount of time it would have taken for her to chose one would have driven Raleigh mad to the point of insanity. "And, FYI, it's an Aston Martin."
Raleigh started the engine and immediately took off. He gave a glance over at Sara, raising an eyebrow, "That's what I said." A chuckle escaped his lips as he continued through the streets, hurriedly making their way to the party. He continued tugging at his scarf nervously, mumbling a few things before looking at Sara. There was no worrying about her judging him mainly because she knew the guy was crazy.
"Did I miss it?" Raleigh nervously leaned forward, tilting his head to the side as he peered at the street signs, "I think I did. No? Wait... that's the street."
He rolled into the line of cars, looking at each of the rather expensive looking vehicles and frowning as he looked at his own. Again, Raleigh suddenly wished Sara had driven to the party, instead. But, too late now.
Raleigh stepped out of the car, handing the key over to the valet as he looked at Sara through the window. "Oh..." he muttered, inhaling sharply as he opened his friend's door, "Sorry, you're technically not my date." Raleigh gave another of his childish grins as he pulled her out.
"You always miss it." She told him. She was applying her red lipstick in the mirror when Raleigh reached down to open her door, reassuring her that he wasn't her date. Sara pretended to look sad, dramatically swiping at her eyes, wiping away make believe tears. "I'm the best date you could find, and you know it." She told him, taking the arm that he offered her. "And I hate you for making me wear this dress tonight."
He gave a roll of his eyes as he escorted her inside, "Please, if I wanted to, I could have made anyone come with me. I'm adorable for a reason, Sara." He threw a look at her, batting his wide eyes as he pushed out his lower lip. Raleigh gave a look around, noticing the piles of well dressed people shoving their way through the building, "I think you blend in very well, actually..."
"And yet you chose me." She smiled at him, knowing it was all in good faith and knowing he knew just how much she adored him as a friend. She followed his gaze around the room and realised that he was right. She was right, too, though. "I'm the only one in white. Could we be more cliche? Angel, white. Talk about inconspicuous." She knew that was probably his motive, but she decided not to comment.
A chuckle was stifled, Raleigh's eyes now on the pristine white of her dress. "Yeah, glad I wore all black," he commented, grinning at her as he lead her through the crowd. The place was fantastic, though his eyes were drawn particularly to the restaurant they passed, seeing various people pile in and smelling the delicious food wafting through the are.
"Hey, we should get some dinner before we do anything else..." Raleigh said, stopping Sara in her tracks as he began making a beeline for the closest open seat.
Sara let Raleigh drag her into the restaurant and to a table, taking the chair that the waiter pulled out for her. "All I'm going to say is if you order spaghetti or red wine, keep it away from me."
She picked up the menu and glanced down the list, biting her lip as she tried to decide what to order and, at the same time, thinking that she really wasn't hungry enough to eat.
Upon sitting down, Raleigh immediately dove head first in the menu, quietly judging every little bit of information they either left out or needlessly put in. He looked up as someone tapped on his shoulder, eyes locked onto the waitress who stood impatiently beside him. "Well," Raleigh narrowed his eyes, "I'll take the lobster thermadore, with a side of... is that fries? No, oh, sorry, ha... I don't want anything with it. Um, wine please?"
"The bar's up there sir, if you want wine," the waitress looked down at him, glaring back.
"Excuse me then," Raleigh handed the menu to woman just as she stepped toward Sara, "I'll be getting drunk; call me when the food arrives."
Making his way toward one of the empty stools, he tripped over his own feet, a hand thrusting itself onto a redhead's shoulder as he fought to keep himself on his two feet. Not even drunk yet and he was already falling over. Raleigh gave an apologetic smile, as he dusted off her shoulder and scooted over two seats just in case he haphazardly spilled whatever she had in her hand onto herself. She was wearing a beautiful dress and it would be a shame should any type of alcoholic beverage stain it. It would be all his fault, as well.
"Don't worry," the woman said, her voice light and calm, "You're fine."
"Another drink on me?" Raleigh glanced over, a brow raised inquisitively, "It's the least I can do. Raleigh Weber, by the way." He carefully hopped a few seats over, hand outstretched to greet the woman.
She took it, flashing a gracious smile. "Lily Qairn. Do you trip over all the pretty girls?"
Raleigh chuckled, ordering two glasses of wine. He shook his head, responding, "No, I'm afraid not; personal reasons, really."
"Only the ones you want to buy drinks, then." She laughed.
"Yeah, I'm pretty shallow," Raleigh winked, taking a sip, "of course, only when it comes to woman. I'm picky about my men."
"Well," she said, taking a sip, "I guess that means I can switch to something stronger."
"Yeah, pretty sure the chances of me putting roofies in your drink are as close to zero as it can get," Raleigh laughed, "I'm just joking, that was terrible of me to say regardless of my sexuality. I'm not good at meeting people."
"It's alright," Lily said, "We people aren't for everyone."
Jeff watched the room silently as everything continued with a usual flow. There was posh laughing that erupted from one table and many couples having dinner. But one stood out, a woman sat alone at a table. She obviously was sitting with someone or expecting somebody, however that person was nowhere to be found. Jeff turned back to the bartender and ordered two martini's, well at least he could enjoy himself a bit. Jeff downed the drink that was thought to be drugged forgetting his prior observation. He then breathed deep and grabbed the two martini's waltzing over to the woman. He walked over glasses in hand and set one down in front of her as he asked " Why would a beautiful woman like you be sitting all alone? Mind if I fill the void?" He smiled at her hoping she liked martinis.
Sara watched as Raleigh moved away from her, rolling her eyes, knowing he was probably going to spill wine on her at some point throughout the night. She pulled her phone out of her bag and was typing a message to Rebecca, reminding her to ship those documents out first thing in the morning, when she heard the footsteps of someone approaching her. She looked up, flicking her hair back as she did so.
She looked down at the glass set in front of her, a small smile on her red lips, and looked up at him. "I have to be honest," She told him, "It's not my go-to drink, but I appreciate the gesture."
She picked up the glass and tilted it in his direction, not taking her eyes from his as she sipped. She struggled not to roll her eyes at the comment, though it did make her smile, instead setting the glass down and repying, "Actually, I came with a friend who left me in favour of a nice glass of wine. I thank you, by the way, even if it's not my drink, you did save me a trip to the bar in a pair of beautiful, but rather uncomfortable, shoes."
Jeff sat in the empty chair across from her."Forgive me for not asking what you would like. I'm sure your friend wouldn't mind me keeping their seat warm?" He picked up his glass and sipped, not taking his eyes off her. "So what," Jeff was cut off.
Sara opened her mouth to explain that she wasn't being rude, that she appreciated the drink regardless. However, just as she was about to speak, something caught her eye. Whether it was the flash of jewelry or the fiery spark of red hair, she didn't care. "I'm so sorry," She told the man, hardly aware that she'd cut him off, "But would you excuse me, just for a moment?"
With that, she was up and across the room, her eyes on Raleigh and who she now recognized to be Lily, wary of the woman and not wanting Raleigh to get too involved with her, knowing just how much trouble the girl could be. As she neared them, she composed herself completely so that Lily wouldn't see through the charade she was about to put up. When she spoke, she was completely cool and collected, even bright, and she put a hand gently, but protectivey, on Raleighs' shoulder.
"And what might you two be talking about over here?" She smiled at the two of them, her eyes meeting Lily's for the first time in several years.
The demoness met Sara's gaze and smiled back, but her eyes didn't have their usual luster. "Evening, Sara," she said evenly. "I take it you two've met?"
Sara laughed, lightly, "Met? Raleigh here is practically my brother, aren't you, darling?" She smiled, "Be a dear and give a lady a seat?" She said to her friend, turning her head so Lily couldn't see her and giving Raleigh a look that left no room for argument, wanting to be between the two.
"Don't worry," Lily said, eyes not moving from the angel. "I was just leaving." She rose, brushing past Sara on her way towards the exit, but looked back a moment to shoot Raleigh another smile. "Nice to meet you."
Raleigh gave a nod, eyes following Lily on her way out, "The pleasure was mine." Quickly, he turned to give Sara an angry glare, "Care to tell me what crawled up your dress?"
"Don't give me that look." She said, defensively, "I know Lily. She's good at getting things done, but other than that, I don't trust her as far as I could throw her. Around Lily, people...change." She gave Raleigh a serious look that was stern and gentle at the same time. "You are like my brother, Raleigh. I'm looking out for you. I'm allowed, aren't I?"
"Being an archangel, you can throw pretty far, so... bad analogy," Raleigh sighed, taking a sip of his wine, "Maybe I need something you can't quite help with? Regardless, I didn't know who she was, but thank you for looking out for me; however, I'm as old as you are, and I think I'm capable of holding my own, Sara."
"You don't know Lily like I do, Raleigh." Sara told him, picking her bag back up from the bar. "But if you'd like to experience first hand the damage she can do, be my guest. Just don't say I didn't warn you." She stood up and walked back to their table, where the man was still sitting, and took back her seat, smiling and apologising for her disapperance.
Jeff pulled out the card and observed it, he made sure there were no obvious foul signs. No mafia signatures or anything of the sort. Just the black flower, he then heard familiar heels approach him. "I didn't expect you to come back." He said looking up at the woman.A waiter approached with a lobster dinner, and set a plate in front of him. "My apologize, I haven't introduced myself. The name is Jeff Constaway, and you are?" He asked, sipping his martini.
The fluorescent light in the bathroom flickered once more. Theo sighed. He had just replaced the cheap fixture, and it was already on the fritz. Just like everything else in his dumpy apartment. He gazed into is mirror, which hung above a podium sink in a bathroom with blue wall tiles from the '80s. Compared to the bathroom, Theo was looking quite sharp, with black slacks, black button-up, and his dirty blond hair slicked back, with a few long strands hanging in front of his forehead. Just to give that "not so uptight" effect.
Tonight, he was working triple-time at Club Limbo. That was way too good for him to pass up, even though he would have actually enjoyed attending the party as a patron. However, Pinnacle decided that sending one of their best would be great advertisement, and who was Theo to argue? Considering he'd most likely lose his job if he did so. Looking into the mirror, with his cloudy blue eyes, Theo already felt annoyed. Who would be at this party? Lots of people that wanted his head on a plate, that's for sure.
Deciding not to think on it any more, lest he risk just giving up and staying home, Theo went into his cluttered living room, which his twin-size bed sat in the middle of, and turned off the stereo that was playing "Highway to Hell". Not very fitting, considering his origins, but he enjoyed it none-the-less. He grabbed his keys, and his motorcycle helmet, and stepped out into the night air. It was charged with the energy of Purgatory Height's biggest extravaganza of the year.
On the side of the road, outside of the strip of dumpy apartments, sat a beautiful red Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle. It was Theo's pride and joy, spending every cent he had to get it. Which explained why he lived in such a dreadful state. Well, that and his addiction. Which got him the money for the bike. He climbed on to the beauty, slipped on his black helmet, and raced down the road, towards the lights of Club Limbo.
He arrived rather late, about a minute before his shift was to start. Once he parked at the side of the club, and entered through the service entrance, a manager was there to see him. She raced over to him, holding a clipboard. There was a fiery look in her sapphire eyes that betrayed her Barbie doll look, with the bright blonde hair and small figure. "Where the hell have you been? You're out there, right now, go, go!" She ordered, and Theo simply rolled his eyes. Authority was not his thing.
He made his way into the restuarant area, where the bar was already impecably stocked and the current bartender was looking worn out. Theo stepped behind the bar, tapping him on the shoulder and nodding. The man took off the apron, and walked away, looking quite relieved. Theo took up his shaker, and made his way to a patron, quite a bit of eyecandy he might add. Stepping up to him, Theo smiled.
"Now what could a handsome guy like you be-" Theo started, but he broke off. Realization sparked in his eyes, and a cold lump settled in his throat. "Mr. Raleigh Weber. Didn't think to see you here. I haven't seen a Seraph since one tried to cut my head off. What can I get you?" Theo said neutrally, already put off. That sure didn't take long...
"Just a moment," Raleigh put a finger up, standing from his stool. The click from his heels pounding on the wood floor, though not as imposing as Sara's own skyscrapers that she wore. He stood over a man who called himself Jeff, looking at the man for a moment before speaking, "Sorry, to intrude, but I think that's the dinner I ordered." He slowly, cautiously moved to pick it up, smiling at Sara.
"Don't mind me, you two keep talking," he flashed a grin at Jeff, "Sara doesn't get to converse with men, other than me. She's a bit... business oriented, if that's anything."
Raleigh moved back toward the bar, setting the lobster thermadore beside the empty glass of wine. "I apologize, um..." he looked up at the bartender, blinking for a moment, "Oh, uh, yeah. Just another glass if that's no hassle. It's rather busy, so, take your time; if there's anyone who understands busy kitchens, it's me." He grinned up at Theo, disregarding the coldness of his comment as he placed his hands on the counter.
Theo blinked in response to the...well, the courtesy Raleigh displayed. It didn't seem to be false, as Theo had gleaned. Plenty of time reading faces in card games did pay off, it seemed. "Sure, I can do that." Theo stated, just slightly less chilly. He pulled a Chardonnay off the top shelf, and poped the cork. He poured, and as he did, he met Raleigh's eyes. "Kitchens, you say? You're a chef?" Theo put the bottle down, even more surprised.
Raleigh nodded, taking a sip of his drink with a smile. "Head chef, to be exact. Running a kitchen is exhausting, but it's been a dream of mine," he took a bite of his lobster, quickly gulping it down before he gave another smile, "It's not a twenty four/seven job, but I do spend most of my time in the kitchen, cooking food for the high class citizens of Purgatory Heights. I'd like to think I'm pretty good, but I'm not really one to brag, so you'll just have to taste for yourself one day." Fingers tapped lightly on the table, his head tilted slightly to the side as he looked at Theo.
Head chef, huh? There had to be some leadership involved for an Angel of his status. Still, Theo found him to be charming, even humble. At least, from what he was saying. This was common among his kind, so he knew not to let down his guard. "Wow, head chef? Pretty prestegious." Theo smirked, deciding to loosen up a bit. The man wouldn't tip well if Theo was stiff as a board. "I guess we have a little in common then. I'm one of the best bartenders my workplace has...which is why I'm stuck here. As a billboard. But it pays." Theo even chuckled a bit at Raleigh's invitation for him to taste his cooking. "Well, if you stay sober enough to work an oven without torching yourself, maybe." Theo replied with a hint of amusement and a smirk.
Was that a challenge? Raleigh smirked, hand flying to his side, fork held loosely in it. The fork, with zero grace whatsoever, flung from the man's hand and fell onto the wood floor with a clank. His eyes followed, blinking in confusion before he quickly got up to correct his mistake. However, the clumsy antics didn't end there; Raleigh bent over to pick the fork up, not noticing the waitress turning the corner with a platter of various alcoholic beverages. It happened all in one go: the waitress, not noticing the man on the ground, toppled over, using enough force to push Raleigh as well; the glasses shattered as they hit the floor, spilling all of its contents onto the few patrons who sat at the bar, as well as the waitress groaning in pain; and, finally Raleigh successfully jumped back up, only to slip on the now pooled up liquor, taking a few bar stools with him.
"I'm... so, sorrry," he mumbled, hand covering his face, "I guess I'm paying for all of that."
Theo was about to put the wine bottle under the bar when Raleigh dropped his fork. While this would be normal for some people, fate just wouldn't have that tonight. A waitress came around the corner, and before Theo could say anything, tripped over Raleigh and sent drinks everywhere, even dousing Theo in some of the alcohol. The waitress grumbled, struggling to stand and not slip in her heels. Raleigh, however, did his share of slipping. Theo pulled a towel from under the bar and smirked. "Since you aren't like every other Seraph I've met...how bout I help ya with half?" Theo offered as he went around the bar, got down, and started mopping up the alcohol. He laughed a bit, something he didn't expect to do tonight.
Raleigh chuckled, biting down on his lower lip as he smiled. The talking he'd get from Sara—actually, no, she was probably laughing her ass off. He got back up, scratching the stubble on his jaw as he looked down at Theo. "I'm really sorry, I should be the one to clean this mess," he grinned bending down on a knee as he talked, "I bring shame to the Seraphim name, but I'm not bothered by it; I've done my fair share of shaming myself, and that's enough to worry about." He looked over at Theo, hand outstretched, "Mind if I help out? I'd feel bad watching someone else clean my mess. I don't even let Sara, my best friend, help clean her own kitchen."
Theo looked up from the soaked floor at Raleigh. "Shame? They could use more like you. Maybe I wouldn't have split in the first place if that were the case." Theo stood, going behind the bar and pulling a hand broom and dustpan out from under it, handing them to Raleigh. "If you want to, you could help get these glass shards. Or I'll do it. Don't want you getting all scratched up." Theo, instead, handed him the towel. It was true, seeing as getting such a high power injured would probably ruin his pay. And...well, he really didn't feel any malice for the guy. Something quite...refreshing.
"All scratched up?" Raleigh raised a brow, "It would be my own fault if I injured myself." He bent back down after taking the towel, mobing up all the alcohol. Mopping up alcohol he spilled wasn't something Raleigh had planned on doing when he got the invitation, but he couldn't complain and he didn't really want to. It was his fault in the first place.
An eye caught Theo, and a brow was raised. Was there something about Seraphims he didn't quite like? Raleigh sat up a bit, tilting his head as he questioned, "You keep bringing up my status as an angel. I don't mind it, but I'm not really known around here for being a Seraphim. I honestly prefer just being called that one chef guy. I'm only here because I've got a friend who needed a date, and I couldn't leave her hanging. I'd honestly rather be in the back cooking the food."
A sigh escaped Theo's lips. As he swept the glass up, he spoke over the music and clanking of the shards. "It was a long time ago. I didn't agree with the heirarchy. The folks upstairs didn't take kindly to my 'disrespect' and I fled here. They've been hunting me down for a while now." By now, some janitors, who were still impecably dressed, were coming to clean the floor. Theo stood, dumping the glass into a bag they had with them. "I've not been able to get over it. So...sorry I came off so cold. I'm Theo." Theo held out his hand for a handshake.
That explained quite a bit. Raleigh shook his head, reassuringly and commented, "Not your fault; I'd be pretty cautious myself. I was too lost in this world to care much about what was going on up there. Sara's the only one who I actually talked to and I didn't realize she was an Archangel until I left." As the janitors came, Raleigh stood, handing the towel to one of them as he sat himself back on the stool he knocked over, taking Theo's hand and shaking beforehand. He rested his head in one of his hands, leaning on it as he fiddled around with the food still on the bar counter.
"You'll find I'm a lot different from my predeccessors," he grinned, "I don't do them much justice, but I never cared for the status my title gave me. I just did what I was told and spent most of my time observing." His hand shot out, grabbing his nearly empty glass of wine. Getting intoxicated seemed like the best remedy for embarrassment, as well as his conversation with Theo. It definitely took his mind off of Sara's warning, which he'd already cast aside. Lily had the answer to what he needed, but that was another topic to worry about. He came to let loose a bit, since work seemed to be beating him into submission.
Theo stiffened at the mention of an Archangel, but forced himself to loosen up. The other bartenders were taking care of his part, and honestly, he knew a couple of them. Poker buddies and fellow gamblers were among them, and they'd vouch for him if Pinnacle questioned how he did. "You do seem different. I may be a bit wary of the company you keep but...I say we have a few drinks. This party only happens once a year, right?" Theo grinned, and he poured another glass of wine for himself, while also filling Raleigh's. That triple pay was sounding less and less enticing by the moment.
"I wouldn't mind getting a bit drunk," Raleigh grinned, taking a sip of his drink, "I did drive here, though, but I don't think Sara's drinking enough to get intoxicated tonight. That is, if you don't mind an Archangel driving you home." There was that sudden thought in the back of his mind, wondering if Theo would be okay with staying with him tonight. Raleigh let out a cough, nearly choking on his drink. That was an unnecessary thought that shouldn't have come to the surface of his mind.
"I'll just hope my bike doesn't get stolen or anything." Theo took a sip of his wine as well. If anyone took Amelia, he'd probably burst into flames. Literally. "I could deal with it. I just don't know if she'd...enjoy my part of town. I know I don't." Theo started downing more wine, the thought of rent and debt coming to mind. He shook this train of thought from it's tracks, but fog was already beginning to fill his mind. For a bartender, Theo couldn't really hold his liquor. "It's pretty seedy. Hell, my bedroom is in my living room." He mumbled that last part, not wanting to give the wrong impression. Even though there wasn't much hope for that. The wonders of alcohol.
Raleigh let out a laugh, taking another sip of his wine, "If it helps, I technically have one room, despite there being stairs. Not counting the kitchen and bathroom. I mean, the money I make is nice and all, but it's not why I do what I do. If I made absolutely nothing, but was happy with my job, where I lived wouldn't matter." His fingers lightly traced the rim of the glass, his eyes locked onto Theo's. Sara probably would mind driving into the seedier part of town, especially in a car she didn't own, but Raleigh was sure she'd do it if he asked nicely. Of course, there was still that option of—nope, that wasn't happening, especially since he just met the guy.
Theo just shook his head. "I wish I had the same drive. I like bartending, but I think there's more out there. Whether or not I find it, that's a different story. It's great you enjoy something so much, though." Theo emptied his glass, but refrained from pouring another. At least, for now. He pulled a coin out of his pocket. "Now, I normally don't do this, but...let's flip this coin. Heads, your friend treks into the dark depths of Purgatory Heights to take me back to my hovel. Tails...we can save her the trouble and go to your place. Deal?" Theo grinned, feeling a bit sleazy, but hey, it may just mean he'd get to know more about Raleigh.
"That's something I'm willing to risk," Raleigh grinned, leaning back as he grinned, "Well, what're you waiting for?" The fact that he was suddenly hoping the coin would land on tails was no doubt alarming to Raleigh. How long had he known Theo? Regardless, he shook the thought out and paid attention to the coin in Theo's palm. It would be rather... interesting should he have to take the guy home with him. Sara would be begging for the details the following morning, probably hours before he actually woke up.
Theo's grin grew wider, and he flipped the coin into the air. As it spun, Theo hoped it would land on tails, that his luck would hold from the poker game the night before. It landed in his palm, and he slapped it on the back of his hand. He lifted his palm, and chuckled. "Tails, my friend. Looks like a slumber party tonight." Theo laughed even harder, not really caring if his words made sense. He was too excited about sleeping in another not-so-rundown house. Which housed a rather attractive man.
Well, that was a fortunate turn of events. Raleigh grinned back, leaning back in his seat and letting out a muffled chuckle, teeth biting down on his lower lip. "Well, I have been wanting to share my old as hell bottle of champagne with something. I guess I have an excuse now," Raleigh responded, gulping down the rest of his wine, "Exciting, nonethless, Theo. Is that short for Theodore, or is it just Theo?" The anticipation was suddenly eating away at Raleigh, but that was mostly in due part because of the alcohol already drowning his mind.
"Champagne? I love a little bubbly. Waaay too expensive at Pinnacle." Theo kind of looked around the room, not really wanting to say his name. It was pretty silly."Short for Theodorium Warlas. Strange name, I know." Theo pushed the bottle away, not wanting to get too drunk. Not yet, anyways. He'd need at least some co-ordination to get out the door.
The last few weeks were greatly anticipating this evening's events, especially with the young Human Interfectors that take up their days as students with another project on the side: the slaying of Wanted Angels and Demons. Naomi, a girl with little ambition but strong goals, is followed closely by Nicholas, a boy with weaker ambition and no apparent goals. Like any loyal companion, the young man makes sure that the girl is able to realize her dreams, even if they are selfish reasons. The night of the "Melting Pot" will be their first time visiting Club Limbo and its annual extravaganza.
Fortunately, the two only had one class today to celebrate the event, so they find themselves within Naomi's dorm room. It's small, but her roommate seems to be out for the evening so they don't worry about the lack of space. The room is also fairly clean and organized due to the cooperation of Naomi's roommate and Nicholas, a joint project that largely had to aim throwing Naomi's clothes and other possessions into containers that could easily slide out from beneath her bed. Less is more, so they say, which certainly describes the blank walls of Naomi's half of the room whereas her roommate seems to adore the idea of posters from various books and romance movies.
In an hour or so will be the start of the party, along with multitudes of guests with all kinds of backgrounds and professions. As far as Nicholas knows, it did not change their plans: scout the party, examine the guests, and remove the corrupted the only way they know how. Lying on the loveseat that serves as the only seating furniture in the entire dorm room is Nicholas, arms extended above him as he reads from a certain book about mythological creatures. The book itself was blank save for its title, "Does It Exist?" Boring, sure, but the contents still managed to capture his curiosity and attention.
In the adjacent bathroom was Naomi, brushing her hair and trying to make herself look presentable. She knew Club Limbo was very posh and expected everyone attending the party to be impeccably dressed, however, she didn't care much for outward appearances. She was there to do her job, not enjoy the party in snobbish company. Still, she borrowed a simple dress from her roommate just so she wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb. Midnight blue in color, the dress was fitted at the top with the skirt flaring out and reaching her knees. Leggings covered her legs and a leather jacket graced her upper-half, obviously clashing with the dress, but Naomi didn't go anywhere without her jacket.
Tying up her hair into a loose ponytail, the young girl walked out of the bathroom to find Nicholas lounging on her sofa. She stood infront of him with crossed arms, but his attention was on his book. Clearing her throat, she asked, jokingly, "Do I look alright?"
He had just turned a page of his book when she approached him with her question about her appearance. Surprised but not necessarily put back by this temporary change, he sits up quickly and eyes her over. The jacket didn't quite fit with her attire, but he simply assumed it was a thing she'd keep until they actually got there. Keeping that behind closed lips, he smiles up at the girl. "I-I didn't know we're going a-as a date," Nicholas attempts to tease, though he often doesn't make the choice to do so, instead coming off rather awkward as if he truly thought they were. His eyes drop to her feet as he awaits her usual indifference toward his thoughts.
Chuckling at Nicholas's awkwardness, Naomi leans forward to look into his eyes. "But of course you're my date," she said with a wink. Taking his hand in hers, she tugs his arm in an attempt to pull him to his feet. "Let's go! We have demons to slay," she says excitedly.
Nicholas could only blink to show his reaction to her words, a lost expression that loses out to his smile. Allowing her to pull him up from the couch and leaving the book to fall to the cushions below, he stands to his full height and pats away at the wrinkles that hang along his clothes. His pants are cargo khakis that Nicholas prefers to wear since they're decent in appearance but still practical for casual days or work, with a black long-sleeved, button-up shirt that remains untucked into the waist. When she wanted to pull him along more, he had to dismiss her so he could gather his belongings: a denim trench coat and a special pair of gloves. Naomi impatiently waited by his side for him to get ready, tapping her foot on the floor, the clicking of her boot muffled by the carpet. She felt like she was forgetting something, but couldn't quite put her finger on what exactly it was.
She seemed distracted by the upcoming event, enough to force Nicholas to clear his throat and gesture to her bed with a recently-gloved hand. Leaning against the mattress are her twin swords, apparently forgotten by the scatterbrained wielder. "Hope you don't mean to use your fists to do the fighting..." Nicholas says quietly to jab at her usual tendency to not even remember the most crucial things.
Hearing his words, it finally dawns on Naomi that she was forgetting her weapons and she quickly grabs them off the bed. "Of course not, I totally meant to get those," she says, making her way to the door. Nicholas shakes his head, keeping close behind her as she goes for the exit.
Sara sat down, feeling only slightly miffed at Raleighs reply to her warning. He was a big boy, after all, but she sometimes felt the need to mother him, as she did with most people, even though he was almost as old as she. That was her status talking, she knew. It didn't give her to right to boss around her best friend, but that wasn't how she saw it. Sara had been burned before, working with Lily, and she didn't want Raleigh going through the same thing. The girl was ruthless, while Sara was determined but not at the expense of others. That was where the two women clashed and knowing Raleigh the way she did, Sara knew he was much too willing to give people the benefit of the doubt and make his own mistakes, rather than taking her word for it.
"Sara Callaway," She replied to Jeff, when he introduced himself. She didn't get chance to say much more before Raleigh walked over to interrupt. She bit her lip, knowing she probably deserved it after walking in and intervening in his conversation with Lily and returned the smile he gave her when taking his dinner. The following comment hit home with Sara and she looked at her friend like she'd not seen him before. She's a bit...business orientated. So that was what Raleigh thought of her? Sara's business was her baby, it was true, but she'd built it up from the ground and turned it into something great, she had to be dedicated to make sure Callaway Ltd didn't suffer. And as for the part about her not seeing any other men...well, there was a story behind that which even Raleigh only knew parts of. Once he'd left, she turned back to Jeff and smiled
"Don't mind him, he's just a friend, he thinks he's funny. I'm not the workaholic recluse he makes me out to be. I hope." She laughed, though one close to her would know it was halfhearted.
Jeff laughed with her, "And here I thought I was getting a free lobster dinner." He said putting his drink back down on the table. "So what do you do for fun Sara? I assume parties." Jeff smiled at her.
"OK," Sara said, laughing aloud, more to herself than Jeff, "Raleigh might be right because, on reflection, I do seem to do more work than anything else. I've been through partying stages, like anybody," She didn't tell him that her partying stages happened mainly in the 1920's and the 70's, he didn't need to know that particular fact about her, "but a lot of my spare time is spent relaxing with friends, because I don't get that much of it. You?"
"I actually, don't get much of a day off. This has been the first party I've been to in awhile, but yeah relaxing is mostly my hobby." Jeff said trying to think of something fun he has done in the past ten years of his life. "I guess I work most of my time, but I enjoy it. So what do you do for a living, by the way you're dressed I'd assume you do something important." He leaned back in his chair.
"Ah, a fellow workhorse like myself." She sipped the martini he'd bought her, "The name didn't give it away?" She joked, smirking to herself, "Usually people only hear the Callaway part."
Callaway, of course."Forgive me, I just didn't want to jump to any conclusions. Well how goes things over at Callaway Ltd, any troubles lately?"
"On the contrary, it's rather refreshing to be able to introduce myself as myself and not as a company," Sara paused before replying to his question. Having only just met, it seemed rather an oddly personal question to ask. "Smooth, as always." She replied, purposefully being subtly vague.
"Ah, well you run it after all. I have to be honest the tabloids do you no justice, you look much better in person." Jeff said as he sipped his drink once more.
Sara raised her perfectly plucked eyebrows, a laugh escaping her. "Yes, people are usually surprised. You know, pretty young, huge business. They seem to think I should be a 60-something year old man, as oppose to...well, me."
"Ah well I believe what I see, and I must say you look unbelievable." he smirked as he put his drink down, "So what brings you to the party?"
Sara didn't blush, like most girls would, at such a line but she did tilt her head, modestly, in acknowledgement of the compliment. "Duty brings me." She joked, and shook her head slighty, "It would turn more heads if I didn't make an appearance than the fact that I have will. The rumors spread like wildfire. Who am I fueding with? Who am I trying to avoid? Anything to sell papers, right?"
"Right, well if I was a rival company I would stay out of your way..." He looked down at the table for a moment then back to her."But tonight should be about us not about companies or work. How about we take the night off?" Jeff said raising his glass in the air for a toast.
A small smile appeared on Sara's lips, and she watched as Jeffs eyes sank to the table, and for a moment, she wasn't sure why, but she almost felt sorry for him. "To us." She smiled, and sipped what was left of her drink, emptying the glass. She set it down and looked back up at him, "I never did ask. What is it that you do?"
She asked him about his job, a question he prepared for."I help people," He said as he stood and offered his hand to her."In a freelance manner, I never did like getting up in the morning." He joked smiling at her.
"I see." She nodded, "Sounds...interesting." She smiled back, "I'm not what you'd call a morning person, well, not until I've had my coffee." She looked at his outstretched hand for a moment, raised an eyebrow and then took it, standing up and adjusting the skirt of her dress with her other hand. "There's barely anyone dancing." She smiled, pointedly.
"Well I guess we will just have to be the life of the party." Jeff smiled as he began to lead her to the dance floor. He listened to the soothing song playing, trying to remember how long it has been since he danced.
Sara let herself be led onto the dance floor and, for a moment, it was like being taken back years. The last time she'd danced, she'd been freer, happier, less reserved. She fell easily into the moves that she'd know for most of her life, and let Jeff lead.
Jeff looked at her and smiled trying not to focus on his feet."Forgive me if I am a bit rusty, I haven't danced in awhile." He calmed himself, as he went through the motions."Nonetheless with a beautiful angel like yourself."
Sara smiled. "I was wondering when that was going to come up." She spun, gracefully, like she was walking on air, "For a while there, I thought you were going to let it go unsaid."
He turned with her,"Well hopefully tonight nothing will go unsaid," He stepped away and then in again. "I assume you already knew just as much about me?" He continued the dance as the song passed the halfway point.
"I knew it as soon as I walked into the room, as I'm sure you did about me. It doesn't do well around here to be unaware of who you share space with. Don't you agree?" She continued to let him spin her.
"Very much so, in my old line of work lives depended on it." He let the dance continue to flow natrually. "Sorry if that was a bit of a dark turn." He apologized out of fear that he ruined the mood.
Sara shook her head slowly, "It's not uncommon, for your life to depend on it. Personally, lately, I've been lucky. And a little scary." She smirked to herself and the smile slowly slid from her face, replaced by a nostalgic frown. "But if you let your guard down for just a moment," She held his shoulders as he dipped her to the floor, perfectly in time with the music, "Everything could be over."
"You couldn't be more right, I learned that mistake the hard way." He realized what he had just said and regreted it. He had only just met this woman and he was already telling her things he wouldn't tell his family. He tried to lighten up "That just makes me and all the people around me safer. Which is what my goal is." He looked into her eyes smiling.
Sara smiled back, but it wasn't a happy smile. There was a sadness in her eyes and she realised by Jeff's comment that they might be much more similar than she had first anticipated. The music ended, but, for the moment she didn't move. She stood with her hands on Jeffs arms, her eyes on the floor. When she raised her head, her blush no longer matched her lipstick, her face was slightly redder and she realised that she hadn't felt so vulnerable or so emotional in a long time. "I think I should go." She said, quietly.
Jeff looked at Sara and he immediatly felt an emotional attachment to her. The music seemed to have stopped hours ago. He moved closer to her,holding her tight. But he knew she wanted to go and it would make it worse if she stayed, he let her go after a moment. "I understand if you need to, I hope I can see you again." He said relaxing his grip.
Sara immediately felt the loss of warmth as Jeff released her, but she didn't move closer or make an attempt to stay. She stepped back a few paces and smiled, but the forced nature of the smile gave her away. "I'm sure you will see me again, "She replied, "I'm not that hard to find." She gave him a more genuine smile, stepping backwards to her table, which was just at the edge of the dance floor, and picking up her purse. "See you, Jeff." She turned on her heels, her skirt twisting around her legs, and hurried from the room and out to the carpark, where she leaned against the wall, a hand on her chest, wondering what was going on in her head.
A good ten or more so glasses of wine had successfully tipped Raleigh's face onto the black counter top of Club Limbo's bar. He let out a long groan, trying to sneak a glance over at Sara and her new 'squeeze'. A small chuckle escaped his lips as he rose in his seat, putting a hand on Theo's shoulder. "I've gotta go to the... bathroom?" he mumbled, obviously lying through his teeth. He'd caught sight of Lily earlier and the urge to speak to the woman had grown with every sip of his wine. It was probably the alcohol talking.
Regardless, Raleigh stood, patting the other man on the chest as he moved toward the exit of the restaurant. He wasn't face first into the tile floor drunk, but there was an evident slur in his words and a tilt to his walk. Hopefully, Lily wouldn't label him a fool and wave him off; he needed what he thought her to have. That nagging at the back of his head quietly guiding him through the crowd of people, bumping lightly into a few and slurring out a mumbled apology. He spotted the black lace and roses of her dress in the midst of the people, a hand outstretch to tap her shoulder.
"Hey, uh..." Raleigh called out, nearly tripping on his own feet, "Lily, right? Sara told me you could help me with something."
The redhead turned to face him. "Sara told you to never speak with me again," she said, smiling.
"I'm a big boy now," Raleigh returned the grin as he spoke, "So, can you help or not?"
"I guess that depends," she replied. "Come on. I know there's hard liquor somewhere in this place." She took his hand, leading him through the crowd.
Raleigh shook his head, though didn't resist the tug as she dragged him along. "I think I've had plenty to drink," he lightly refused.
"That depends, too," Lily said, leading him up a flight of stairs. "Is this gonna be business or pleasure?"
"Strictly business, ma'am," Raleigh gave a nod, nearly stumbling over the steps.
"In that case, we'll definitely need something to drink," Lily said, ducking under a velvet rope barrier. "There's a lounge up here somewhere. I haven't been in a while..."
"Well, I'm pretty drunk already, don't you thi—shit," Raleigh cursed, not paying attention to the barrier Lily ducked under. He quickly caught himself, letting go of Lily's hand as he stumbled in front of her. "What the hell, lead the way, then," he mumbled, gesturing the lady forward.
She appraised him, allowing herself a soft giggle. "My pleasure." Up another flight of stairs was a large private room. Its oak-panelled walls and black leather couches made it feel like it should have been filled with silver-haired men, smoking cigars and drinking whisky. The men were nowhere to be found, but there was a sizeable bar against the far wall. Lily made for it right away. "What's your preference?"
"I like wine," Raleigh called out, eyes wandering the interior of the room. It was a lot more than what he was used to, definitely, but none of it amazed the man. However, then nice, plush leather was very alluring. Raleigh immediately bounded for one, making himself comfortable in the soft, black material. "Is this reserved for you?" he asked, turning his head to face the bar.
"Definitely not," the demoness said, "But I'm sure nobody will mind. How do you feel about bourbon?" She took a bottle and two glasses from the bar.
"Ah, it's alcohol," Raleigh replied, leaning back further into the sofa, "May I ask, why the privacy?"
"It's been a long time since I've done my business in public," Lily said. She poured two generous glasses and held one out to him.
"What exactly is your business? Sara mentioned it, but she never... elaborated," Raleigh graciously took one, looking up at Lily, "I've known her forever and she's only ever mentioned you once—twice, counting today."
"Did she tell you about how I grind human bones to make my bread?" Lily asked, sniffing at her drink. "Because that was only the one time."
That was off putting, though Raleigh brushed it aside. "I can't say she talked very highly of you," he answered, grinning as he took a sip of the drink.
"I'd be worried if she had," Lily said. "Did she tell you about how I seduce people with my wiles? And then they're never the same again?"
"She mentioned how people change around you, that you manipulate them," Raleigh said, tracing the rim of the glass, "I trust you won't take advantage of my drunken stupor, though. I can't say I'm not wary, however."
"That's not really how it works," she said before taking a long drink. "Do you want me to change you?"
"In a way, yes, but no seduction necessary. It's not a sexual matter, mind you," Raleigh gave a nod as he spoke and took a drink of his bourbon, as well.
She laughed again. "That's what she told you?" She shook her head. "It's not really like that, either. It's more about... inspiration."
Raleigh grinned, glancing Lily's way. "Inspiration?" he pondered, furrowing his brow and biting down on his lip, "I'm not sure inspiration is what I'm quite looking for."
"Oh?" She took another sip. "Okay."
"It's... complicated," He muttered as he set the drink down.
"I'll manage," She replied.
"The simplest I can put it is that," Raleigh paused, a hand scratching the stubble on his jaw, "Well, I don't want to be an angel any longer, if that's any indication of what I actually want. It's harder to explain, I guess."
For the first time, Lily looked him straight in the eye. As she scrutinized him, she put down her glass. "That's not a small thing," she said.
"The things Ms. Callaway is unable to provide tend to be larger than one first thinks," Raleigh returned the gaze, not daring to blink, but raising a brow in question to her sudden change.
"Have you told her?" Lily asked.
Raleigh chuckled, taking the glass up. "She never takes the subject literally," he responded with a sip of his drink, "It's a metaphor to her."
"And you're not speaking metaphorically," She stood, picked up her glass and paced to the far side of the room. "What makes someone like you want something like that?"
Raleigh stared after her, his arms crossed tightly over his chest. "I lean on the hand of God, and he supports me. These people? They have little care of what goes on above; I want their ignorance. Selfish, I know, but knowing what I do is futile is just as bad. There are things being this... immortal being does not provide," he answered in full, looking down at his arms.
She turned from the window to face him; even against the cityscape, her eyes seemed incredibly bright. "Why do you think I can make this happen?"
"You're the only other person I know who possibly has that much power," Raleigh replied. He stood from his spot on the couch, arms still folded and brows still furrowed. The sudden thought that this wasn't such a good idea formed, but Raleigh brushed it aside. "Am I mistaken?" he asked.
Lily sipped her drink, watching him silently. After several moments, she said, "No. I don't think so."
Jeff walked out of the party into the brisk night air, he had his jacket and fedora on once again. Still thinking he looked ridiculous he wanted to get out of the area as soon as possible. He looked at the apartment he had crashed in the night before and decided it was time for a change of scenery. He walked up and down the parking lot looking for a vehicle which he would make his shortly. Then something caught his eye, it was a red Suzuki Hayabusa motorcycle, stunning to say the least. He walked over to it and realized he didn't know much about hotwiring a motorcycle, but luckily the idiot who owned it had left his keys in the ignition. Jeff scanned the parking lot and spotted a women who--.Was that Sara? couldn't be, Jeff shook his head at the thought and started the bike. 'Where to next?' he thought looking into the sky. 'Does it matter?' He sped off into the night not knowing where he'd end up.
Raleigh stumbled down the stairs, the glass of bourbon still in his hand. The conversation that had ended not two seconds ago still rattled his mind, but as he neared the exit it soon became a forgotten mist of intoxicated thoughts. At least, that's how he'd want it for now; Sara, despite feigning disinterest in his need to associate with Lily, would probably still be angry at him for his blatant disregard of her warnings. The best mask of inebration was put on before Raleigh trudged outside, eyes searching for the brunette in the light of the building. Hopefully, Theo recognized the angel and followed her out.
"Sara?" He called out, setting the now empty glass of bourbon on a stone wall before walking down the steps and into the carpark, "Sara, I need more champagne. Bourbon stings my throat. Sara! Where are you? God, it's dark out here. Oh, there you are."
Practically tripping over toward her, Raleigh caught himself, grabbing onto the archangel's shoulders and lazily resting his head on her back. "I'm so drunk," he grumbled, dropping his arms in hopes that she'd support his weight as the side of Raleigh's face dug into the middle of her back, "I'm drooling on you, so you should probably take me and someone else home. To my home... both of us... yeah."
Sara hurriedly wiped the stray tears that had manifested in her eyes as she heard Raleighs voice slurring towards her in the darkness. She turned away from the sound of his voice, knowing he was too drunk to worry about whether she was upset anyway. She felt him get closer and heard his acknowledgment of her presence. As he stumbled and grabbed her, she bent slightly under his weight and as he leaned the entirety of his bodyweight on her, she couldn't hold him and he slid from her back onto the floor. Sara reached out to grab his hand, but the small amount of strong alcohol in her system mixed with the tears in her eyes made her uncoordinated and instead of pulling him back up, he pulled her down and she ended up knelt on the pavement beside her friend.
"Raleigh, really?" She asked, sniffing and wiping her nose with the back of her hand in a pathetic, non-Sara manner. "You're going to go home with some guy, with the state your in? You know what, fine. I don't even care right now. You're a big boy, right?" She stood up, shakily, and took the keys from the valet, who she'd sent for Raleighs car a few moments before he arrived, and opened the drivers side. "You better go find your hookup. I want to go home."
A quiet oomph emitted from Raleigh's throat as he attempted to twist around to land on his back. He looked up through slightly squinted eyes, immediately frowning at Sara's look and tone. Standing up and dusting off his suit, he tilted his head before closing in, a hand on Sara's shoulder. He leaned down slightly to get a good look at her face, despite the drunken haze, noticing the slightly puffed up eyes. Raleigh's brows furrowed and he let out a sigh.
"I know you too well," he grinned, letting a small laugh out, "I'm sorry, but I'm also not. You're like a sister to me, Sara, and I love you, but you've got to stop taking some aspects of our relationship as a business contract. I know it's not exactly that, but we both know we care for each other and we've been through so much; however, I'm not incapable of taking care of myself and you've got more important things to worry about than who I associate myself with.
"Now, are you going to tell me what exactly is wrong? Or am I going to have to wait out in the cold until you do?" He let go of her shoulder to take off his scarf and jacket, immediately drapping it over his shivering companion. After a few moments, Raleigh stepped forward, giving Sara a tight hug before cupping her face in his hands.
"Well? What happened while I was off drunkenly flirting with a guy?" Raleigh asked, smiling reasurringly toward her.
"Raleigh," Sara sighed, her voice no longer shaking, but still weak and tired. "I don't mean to treat you like a child, but you're as close to family as I've ever had. For years, you've been the only person I've had, and I know what Lily can do. I've seen her at work and I don't like it." She looked down at her hands, twisting the ring that sat around her finger, "It's pretty obvious right now, but I'm not as cold and unimpassioned as everybody thinks..." She laughed, dryly, "The thought of losing people..losing you, scares me, Rye. The thought of what I could do to Lily if she were the reason I lost you...I don't feel like an Angel when I think that way."
She wrapped his jacket and scarf around her tightly, taking comfort in the warmth and the smell of them, feeling safer and calmer and less lonely. She rested her forehead against her friends shoulder as he hugged her and she was quiet for a moment after he prompted her to tell him. "I was thinking about Daniel." She mumbed into his shoulder, her voice barely audible.
Theo was downing his last wine for the night (he hadn't had nearly as many as Raleigh), when the drunken angel told an obvious lie about going to the bathroom. Theo just shook his head, and smiled. He continued to clean glasses and put alchohol away, serving drinks and pleasing the many patrons. Like he had said, Theo's gambling buddies would cover for him...although, it would cost Theo in the end.
After a while away, Theo saw Raleigh stagger out of the room, heading towards the exit. "Well, boys, looks like my man's on the move. I'll see you guys next weekend, alright?" He grinned as he left the bar, with the barkeeps simply nodding. Theo exited the club, and stood outside. "Where would he go?..." Theo questioned. The parking lot? Yeah, that sounded right. With that posh woman he was with, it wouldn't be hard to find him.
Theo decided he'd come back for his bike after he met up with Raleigh. He may be too drunk to drive it, but he'd at least know it was here. He walked over to where the still-crowded lot, and saw a stumbling man and a woman in a rather nice dress, although not too flashy. When Theo approached, it seemed as though they were in their own world, where it was only Raleigh and his friend. Theo knew better han to interfere. I'll wait. It looks like they may need a moment. Theo thought to himself, as he sat against the building in wait.
"Daniel," Raleigh muttered. That was an incredibly touchy subject that they usually never brought up, mainly because it had happened so long ago. Raleigh figured the moment she stopped talking about him was the moment she had decided nothing like that would ever hurt her again. It looked like he was wrong, but the man never minded being an ear for a good friend of his.
"What brought that up?" he asked, looking at her now with a brow raised in query.
"I was dancing and it was strange, I haven't danced for...well, years," She sighed, running a hand through her hair and leaning back against the car, feeling suddenly very tired.
Raleigh perked an eyebrow, blinking at her response. He tilted his head and asked, "You were dancing? With whom were you dancing with?" A smile stretched on his feature, as if knowingly.
Sara's lips quirked in an unintentional, lopsided smirk and she bit her lip, seeing Raleigh's raised eyebrow and the way he looked at her, like he knew something that she didn't. Then her smile fell and she raised her own eyebrows, defiantly. "The guy you told I was 'business orientated'."
"Mr. Hotstuff?" Raleigh teased, lightly punching Sara's arm, "He got pass that rough exterior of Ms. Callaway Ltd? I'm just kidding. What made him remind you, though?" His own grin vanished, though his head was still tilted as he questioned Sara.
"I don't know," Sara shrugged. "I don't think it was remembrance as much as...guilt. I feel like I should still be grieving. I'm not allowed to be...happy, again. I know I'm jumping forwards a few steps, I just met the guy. But I mean...with anybody." She sighed. "I just miss him."
Raleigh stood back, folding his arms and looking at Sara sternly. After a minute of silence, he spoke, "Sara, love doesn't have time to grieve. It gives you space for a moment; it lets you cry over a broken heart, but then it moves on. And if you don't follow your heart, then you'll be stuck in the past, hoping, wishing, crying over what you lost. I don't want that for you, and I know you don't want that for yourself. I sure as hell do know, though, that Daniel would want you to be happy." His hands found themselves on Sara's shoulders again, this time a smile on Raleigh's face. Instead of the usual goof that his eyes usual held, they were soft, understanding, yet glinted with a hint of sternness. If there was anything he didn't want, it was for Sara to forget about Daniel, but he couldn't help but push her away from his memory, if only a little bit, to remind her that the world held more than pain and sorrow
"Now, I'm about to upchuck that lobster I just had," he turned around, hoping Theo had found them. Oh, there he was. Raleigh moved forward, stumbling slightly as he grabbed a hold of Theo's forearm, nearly falling head first into pavement. He settled on ramming the guy in the chest, rubbing his cheek lazily on the black button up. "Let's go... before Sara runs off to find her man and jump his bones," he muttered, composing himself as he dragged the other angel to his car. Raleigh briefly introduced the man, "Theo, he's a bartender. Sara, she's CEO... CFO... uh... Chief... lady... she owns Callaw—"
"I'm just Sara," She interrupted Raleighs stuttering, smiling at Theo and glancng between him and Raleigh with slight amusement. She climbed into the car expecting Raleigh to get in the back with his, um, date? Sara wasn't sure how she'd categorize exactly what Theo was to Raleigh, but she didn't want to ask. If it was a one night stand, she'd give him a good talking to in the morning over a cup of strong coffee, which was what she was certain he needed. If he even got out of bed. If not, she'd probably just silently but obviously judge him on Monday when he came to see her, as he did most weeks and he'd look all sheepish and smirky and she'd just end up rolling her eyes.
As she got into the car and settled herself behind the steering wheel, Raleighs words turned themselves around in her head over and over again. She knew he was right. Things would have been different, if the circumstances weren't so morbid, but because of the way it had all ended...There was so much unfinished business, so many words unsaid and as Sara drove, she couldn't help but feel like she'd be betraying his memory.
Theo looked at the pair as they confided in each other. He had no idea what they were talking about, but he could tell from their faces it was a hard subject for both of them. Theo, quite honestly, envied them. Just a little bit. Not many people would get as close as that with Theo, and anyone that would had left him long ago. No one could quite stand being around a desperate addict. After they were done talking, Raleigh stumbled over to Theo, obviously being under the full effect of the wine. He introduced Theo to Sara, all the while burying his adorable head into Theo's shirt. "Nice to meet you." Theo said simply, giving a small smile. Even if she didn't have a nice night, and she was acting nice, Theo still didn't trust her.
He climbed into the back of the gorgeous, at least to him, convertable. The wine was beginning to work on him, but he forced himself to stay awake. Someone would have to get Raleigh through his door.
The moment Raleigh's head hit the soft leather of the seats the wine overtook him. The city lights flared through the dashboard window, blurred and hazy as Raleigh's eye began to slowly close, heavy from exhaustion and alcohol. His head fell onto Theo's shoulder, scooting his body a little closer to the virtue, tugging the man's arm up so it draped over him. A small snore escaped his throat, head now buried into Theo's neck. "Sara, are we there yet?" he mumbled, not necessarily trying as sleep continued to overpower Raleigh.
Sara smiled slightly, looking in the rearview mirror to see her friend slowly losing conciousness. He was fighting his tiredness, but Sara knew the alcohol in his system would win out soon enough, it always did with Raleigh. He hated to admit it, but he was a bit of a lightweight. "Almost there, darling," She told him, quietly, knowing he was probably too deep into slumber to hear her. She finally pulled up to his place, stopping the car at the edge of the pavement, and turned in her seat to see a sleeping Raleigh, slumbering oblivously on Theo's shoulder. She glanced from Raleigh to Theo, smiling slightly. "Do you want me to help you take him upstairs?"
Theo was a bit surprised when Raleigh pulled Theo's arm over his shoulders, but the Virtue didn't stop it. He rather enjoyed how close he was willing to get. A little chuckle escaped his lips as Raleigh inquired sleepily about the distance, and was even more surprised when they arrived at his residence. "Not used to this at all." Theo mumbled to himself. Theo shook his head, before stepping out of the car and picking up Raleigh into his arms. He wasn't the lightest thing, but Theo could handle it. A perk from the training Angels went through. "Thank you for the ride. Have a nice night." Theo nodded in Sara's direction with a courteous, if not awkward, gaze before heading into the building.
"So, the loft, huh? Let's hope I don't want to hit your gorgeous head." Theo chuckled before carefully opening the elevator by pressing the button with Raleigh's foot, and stepping inside. He used his knuckle to press the button which would lead them to the top floor.
Raleigh let out a grumble, burying his head into Theo's chest. "Yeah, tippity toppity," he mumbled, tightening his grip on Theo's shoulder, "Sara has the keys to my house, but the spare are behind the plant pot."
The elevator jerked and began it's ascension to the "tippity toppity". Once it arrived, which was signaled with a ding, Theo slipped out of the elevator and to the front door. Next to it, a potted plant sat on a table. Theo nudged it aside and used his knee to support Raleigh as he unlocked and opened the door.
"Wow, it's pretty nice in here." Theo whistled. Definitely better than his place.
An eye opened to examine the loft, smiling at Theo's comment. Raleigh shook his head, not necessarily agreeing with Theo. It was just a house, albeit a high-middle class living space. Most of the room was a sleek white, with mostly glass tables, a soft white couch in the living space. Off to the right, an arch leading into the kitchen, pristine silver appliances and tops lined the walls of the sectioned room, with an island to separate the entrance which served as its own room itself—a small flight of stairs led to the living room. And above the kitchen and entrance was Raleigh's actual bedroom, a flight of stairs leading up where the bed lie, two shelves of books lining their way from one wall to the other, a small entertainment shelf with a flat screen sitting atop it and a set of movies, old and new, piled inside.
Raleigh motioned up, then pointed to the stairs, "The bed's up there; it's the thing that's soft with a black blanket on it and stuff... it's warm too. The bathroom's up there too."
Theo was in awe of the place. All he had was a room. This was an actual house! Carrying the drunken man up the stairs, sideways so he wouldn't bang his head or feet, Theo carefully put Raleigh down on his bed. "I'll be back in just a minute, then." Theo smiled before heading into the bathroom and closing the door. He looked at himself in the mirror, smoothing back his hair and finding something minty to get rid of the alcohol on his breath. Of course, with how wasted Raleigh was, Theo didn't expect much to happen.
He exited the bathroom, looking over to Raleigh with a smile. "You still conscious, sunshine?" He questioned in a playful tone.
End of Episode 1.