|Summary||Kazik slaps Karina's knuckles but not very hard.|
| Once a small, secretive club for those in the know, The Vault has exploded in popularity and has since expanded to include three full stories of throbbing beats and alcohol-fueled dancing. The main entrance is still a small door found at the bottom of a set of stairs leading downward from the sidewalk, but it's now marked with a neon red sign stretching all three stories. The line often snakes up the stairs and down the sidewalk.
The three floors offer a variety of music styles, but the decor remains the same throughout. Rusted metal, concrete floors, giant doors with giant bolts, wide metal stairs, and exposed beams overhead give the entire place an abandoned industrial feel. The tables are tall and small, made for standing rather than sitting, and the bar on each floor is a curve of rusted corrugated metal topped with shining steel. The third floor is half the size of the others, with an opening surrounding by a balcony that offers an excellent view of the second floor's dance floor.The focus of each floor is the wide expanse dedicated to dancing, where strobe lights and lasers flash in time to the music through a thick haze of smoke. The floors are almost always filled with a crush of people, and when they are not, holograms step in to fill the holes. A stage set at the front of each hosts either DJ or band, according to the night, and the pound of music makes it difficult to hold a conversation from more than several inches apart.
Nineteen year old Karina Artyomovna Zarubin is fearless and fierce, wrapped in the immunity of youth against her actions. It isn't hard to find her at The Vault, so self-satisfied for being /in the know/ and being one of the few, even on a tuesday evening. She doesn't have a thing with her, no ID or purse or money of her own. After all, where would it fit in the soft, pink sheer jumpsuit that she wears? Her shoes even are missing as she dances shamelessly on the metal bar, only leaving the long lines of bare legs and arms and shoulders that catches light even where dark, wild curls seems to consume it. If she were looking for attention, she has certainly found it, but the young woman isn't currently returning any of it.
<< Get down. >>
It's not a compulsion, not really, and certainly not as Karina would work it. But the words cut past all the noise to command singular attention. The music is somewhat dimmed and the lighting less enchanting as the echoes of those uncannily clear words fade. There is a single path, a single face bright in the dark, who stands smiling at some distance from her at an isolated table. A few years older, perhaps, yet somewhat indeterminately youthful, a dark-haired Asian man waits. His smile widens as his eyes meet hers and he adds, << I'll buy you a drink. We should talk. >>
If not for the fact that he seems to be the source of these silent words, he would likely not stand out in the crowd. Kazik is just a guy. Some dude. At a table. Who wants to buy her a drink.
Fingers are still buried in her curls as Karina's ice-blue gaze lifts, finding the man rather unerringly quickly, helped perhaps by that smile. Even from a distance, her gaze manages to be bright and interested, rather than cold as the ice would have one think. Her decision is made just as quickly, slipping down to first sit and then slide off that bar. "~Shut up~," she tells a man who starts to cajole her into dancing again, a careless command as she leans to catch high heels in her fingers and make her way with confidence towards Kazik's table. There's still the soft hint of an accent to her words when she greets him with, "I only drink top shelf."
"Of course you do." Kazik gestures for someone to collect her drink order. Please don't break his bank. For all that his appearance suggests Korea, his words suggest home. His accent skews Southern backwater rather than Northern metropolis, but it's Russia, and Russian that follows: "It's not precisely that anyone objects to you showing a little initiative, but initiative is better turned outward." His telepathy furls close. The lighting and sound even out again, but he retains a close watch on her thoughts.
Karina tries; she orders the most expensive drink that she knows of, but it is only one. And once they are alone again, her gaze slides over him for that Russian. /She/ speaks in English, almost in a challenge of the older man, "He deserved it." That fearlessness is in her thoughts, twined into the very subconscious of the woman that sits across from him. She doesn't even think twice about the situation that she has gotten herself into, so confident in her own abilities to save herself from /anything/. And, of course, some appreciation for the looks of the man who is watching those thoughts.
Kazik's smile winks again: a quick flash, there and gone again. He refuses to cede lingual lead. Again, in Russian, he says, "I suspect you mean that /you/ deserved it -- but I won't argue." He draws his hand to the side in a short, spare gesture and then turns his palm up. "First, and most importantly, I've been asked to make clear to you just how inappropriate that was. Do not act on our own. Understood?"
"Have you met the man? He is disgusting, to say the least. And I do not do anything for less than my price," counters Karina, in Russian now, with the lift of her fingers in a dismissive wave, only for those fingertips to catch at her lips, partly hiding the corner of them as she studies Kazik and that disappearing smile. It is a teasing, testing challenge where she adds, "I don't know. Are you /sure/ that you wouldn't want me to act on you?" And while there's no thoughts there that she is serious (though certainly, she may not mind), it seems more as if the young woman is getting the measure of Kazik.
The path that Kazik's gaze takes down to the -- alas, quite high -- tabletop and then back up is meandering and leisurely. He takes his time meeting her gaze again, and when he does, his eyes are narrowed in appreciative amusement. Her drink arrives, with the brief interruption bringing no break in his reply: "You do have your charms, but the particular charms to which I'm referring? That would be a mistake. What you can do seems useful -- even valuable," he adds, putting heavy weight on value in the knowing tip of his gaze. Use is great; value is so much better. "But if you can't agree here, now to direct it at outsiders, I'm going to have to be offended on Alexei's behalf. And I'd /hate/ to have to take that side," adds Kazik, leaning in and lowering his voice as he slanders poor, absent Alexei. "He's terrible. You were absolutely right. Disgusting. He deserve it."
"If you can agree to that, then I can agree to the other," is what Karina drawls in soft, easy answer after a moment. Her smile is left half-hidden behind the light cover of fingers, those bright eyes watching Kazik with an interest that many men probably have gotten themselves in trouble over before. Of course, in her mind-- There is still the thought that if she /needs/ to, well.
"Ah!" Kazik sounds so happy. He leans on the table and favors Karina with the brightest of smiles. "I'm glad we could agree so easily." His smile linger in a slight curve of his lips. "Your client list will be changing. I'll be acting as your contact. You may find I am less persuadable than many you deal with."
Karina's body language for his statements seems so careless and relaxed, even as she slides to her still bare feet, reaching for her glass with her free hand. There is, however, a streak of independence and rebellion and youthful annoyance for the man who has just flounced in and announced that her hard earned clients will be changing, even for his statement of his persuadability or not. But, a smile only dances on her lips as she murmurs, "Sladkiy, you've never been persuaded by me. Many people find it hard to say no to me."
With a remarkably powerful bluff, Kazik opens his hands and says, "Try me."
Oh, did he think she meant with compulsions? That isn't what Kazik receives with his challenge. Instead, Karina slowly leans over, braced with a hip against the table, as she pulls her high heels back on. And then, after, she slides closer to hook a finger against the man's jaw, before she brushes only a light tease of a kiss against the corner of his mouth where that smile caught before. "One day," is a promise when the young woman moves to draw away. "Do you dance?"That light touch drawing more response than the gentle force would suggest, Kazik looks after Karina with attention rather effectively hooked. (Men.) "Tonight," he says, abandoning the table to join her. "Tonight, I do." He places a hand at the small of her back to lead her out onto the floor. Yeah, okay. That was hard to say no.