2046-02-24 Ex and Present

From X-Factor

Ex and Present
Date Posted 2016/02/24
Location Sloppy Pony - Mutant Town - New York City
Participants Ciel, Sierra
Summary Sierra buys Ciel a beer. No, really.
There used to be glass in the heavy old frame of the door, but now several boards serve to keep the vermin out -- or, do they? You made it in.

An old hitching post greets patrons along the wall by the door, right next to a broken old jukebox that's just for show. The room itself is narrow and long, with mismatched chairs crowded around a couple (literally, two) small tables and a few crates dispersed elsewhere to sit on, but mostly it's all dancefloor, baby. The bar itself must be original, because despite it's dilapidated condition it's actually fairly well-kitted. There's a couple beers on tap, even. A sink, with shoddy plumbing, but it's a sink, coupled with a fridge whose light is always flickering, but keeps bottles icy cold. Thanks to the kid behind the bar, the collection of poisons to pick from is growing, too.

There's a dartboard at the back, with darts available from the bar staff upon request, and tacks to pin up your choice of photograph to toss at. Right next to it is the door leading upstairs to the proprietor's office/living quarters, pockmarcked by stray dart-holes. The peeling paint and mold seeping through the ceiling are barely even noticeable in the dim light from the hanging, singular string bulbs around the place. Less so after a drink or three, so bottoms up!

It is a winter evening. The weather is cold and flurrying.

The drab weather seems to follow people inside here at the Pony, possibly amplified by the lack of adequate heating. Don't leave your coat at the door and all that. Still, Sierra's behind the bar tonight, without a coat. The place isn't exactly hopping this hump day, but it's enough to keep the proprietor pouring and chatting to try and distract her patrons from the patches of mold on the ceiling. (They seem to be multiplying.)

Certainly busy enough that business brings Ciel to the Pony on a weeknight alone, with neither boyfriend nor roommate to keep her company. A quick glance confirms that the guy she's tailing is actually settled at a table near the back, as suspected, and a certain degree of long-practiced subtlety has Ciel edging up to the bar. She's brave enough to shrug off her coat, but she leaves her purple scarf wound round her neck as she slides atop a stool and leans into the bar's surface. "Yuengling, please!" she calls toward Sierra, which is like 'hello' for bartenders. And then she stills a little as it sinks in that it is in fact /Sierra/ behind the bar tonight, and not one of her many employees.

"Ya, hold that thought, chica," Sierra chuckles at another customer down the end of the bar, pausing to retrieve a beer from the fridge for Ciel. The breath of frosty air that clouds out of the swinging door promises a very chilly beer, but also causes the bartender to shudder uncomfortably. "Ai, that's cold," she complains as she cracks the top open, but it's delivered with a mostly genuine smile that twists with curiosity as she sets it in front of a vaguely familiar face. "That's for you, miss."

"Something up with the heating?" Ciel wonders, adjusting the drape of her scarf as she answers Sierra's smile with a careful one of her own. She grabs for the beer, lifting it to her lips for a preliminary sip before she adds, "Might as well open a tab. I might be here a while." Her gaze slips over to her mark in the corner, and then she lifts her hand to make a few vague gestures at her Eyes to pass her payment information over to Sierra.

"Ahaha, the heating," Sierra laughs, her expression fading rather sourly as she sighs. "I told the landlord about it. Pretty sure it's getting fixed on the twelfth of never, yeah? Sorry." She shrugs, splaying hands briefly before turning to fetch a beer for herself. Back turned, she wonders, "You look familiar. You come here often?"

Ciel waves her beer bottle as she swallows, easily dismissive as she says, "Mmm. No, it's fine. I mean. Chilly, but." She shrugs, all easy and loose, and her eyes track back to the corner briefly before resettling on Sierra. Her smile is quick and amused, and for a beat she's silent before she says, "All the damn time. I know most your regulars."

Sierra ducks her head guiltily at that response, spinning around with her beer. "Shit, sorry. Ha!" She exaggerates a grimace, and cracks open her beer for a long gulp. "I mean, you know. I appreciate that. Are you from around here?"

Ciel watches this duck with a perhaps unavoidable moment of humor, but she softens it just a little by assuring, "No, not sorry. I'm just in mostly when you're not. I mean, seems like you've got other things to keep busy with than handing me a beer, yeah?" At the question, she pauses briefly, clearly turning over options, and then, Beaubier-like, she opts for blunt honesty. "No, DC. Also, I'm dating your ex."

Probably she times that last for Sierra's next big gulp.

It's almost like a nice normal conversation is taking place between bartender and patron. "Ai, busy isn't even the word." And then said bartender is half-choking and spitting beer on the floor. Which, you know. At least it's the floor and not in Ciel's face. Having dutifully sprayed her drink (possibly partly out of her nostrils) on the floor, she wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and blinks a few times before announcing in disbelief: "Piss off?!"

Ciel lifts her brows, perhaps in surprise, perhaps in query. It's not quite clear. Either way, she does not in fact piss off. She does take another steadying swallow of beer, then gives Sierra a smile. Hi.


Sierra stares for a long moment, her jaw working various degrees of shock. Yes. Hi?! Since it does not appear that Ciel is in fact pissing off, she does what seems the most natural for her - she promptly drains her beer in a series of swift gulps, slamming the empty bottle down perhaps a liiittle too hard on the bar. "Motherfuck. Um. Sorry, I mean, hello."

Ciel watches this process with an edge of wariness that only increases as Sierra drains her beer. She's nursing hers with much more care, although her fingers have taken to picking at the label with what might be a nervous edge. "Hey," she says. Her fingers flatten against the bottle, and then she says, "Sorry. I kind of thought it'd be better to say something than, you know. Not."

"Ya, no it's fine," says Sierra, waving a hand dismissively through the air and batting her eyelashes furiously. "Sorry I cussed you out. I don't usually... well I mean, I do, but. Anyway. Uh. You can have your drinks on the house, okay? Shit." Presumably the last curse is for her empty beer, which she collects to dump and switch out for a freshie.

"I feel like that might be a kind of bad idea," Ciel says, leaning into the bar as her gaze tracks Sierra's movements behind the bar. "Not that I don't, y'know. Appreciate the thought and stuff."

"At least this one," Sierra insists. She lingers a little longer than necessary at the fridge, as if she might be contemplating a change in brew or something. She's not, though, and is eventually forced to return for the sake of politeness. Her hand reaches up to rub soothingly at her scalp, tousling down through her long, dark curls. "So this is kinda awkward, huh?"

Ciel shrugs, her smile rueful around the tip of her beer bottle. Her swallow is long, and she's drained a good portion of it by the time she settles it back on the bar. She gives the corner another quick glance, then leans in, elbows on the bartop, and says, "Little bit. I mean. You don't have to stand here and make conversation if you don't want to. But uh." She pauses, fingernail flicking at the bottle label again before she draws in a breath and says rapidly, "He said he told Nina the other day so I figured since there are weeks I practically live at your bar--"

Sierra takes the opportunity to draw a long swig of her own beer, sucking it down thirstily. She reaches out phsyically to interrupt Ciel's spiel (hee) with her hand, waving it between the both of them. "Oh, it's ok. I mean, I'm glad to meet you. Kade said to me about you guys, too, so. I dunno." There's a little shift to her brows that suggests that might mean something, and Sie shrugs. "I think I know you from somewhere else," she tacks on casually.

Ciel leans backward abruptly, blinking at Sierra in what is clearly surprise, swiftly interrupted by one of those soft, silly expressions common to the newly infatuated. "He did?" she says, and nevermind that stupid smile. So distracted is she that it takes her a moment to track Sierra's casual addition, and she clears her throat belatedly before answering a vague, "We used to work together." And then, after a beat, a less vague, "We've uh. Met before. A very long time ago. Jean-Paul Beaubier's my uncle."

Ugh, lovebirds. Sierra rolls her eyes a little behind the flutter of lashes at Ciel's silly smiles, dragging on the neck of her beer again. She clicks her tongue at the next, pointing a finger in the air. "I knew it! I knew it. You were the funniest little thing," accidentally tumbles out on a breath of laughter. "Oh my god. I'm sorry. Do you want another beer?"

Despite her general attempt at good manners, Ciel's eyes narrow at this. Her fingers draw a little tighter around her beer bottle as she says, over light, "Was I?" And then a little less light, "Better not. On second thought." The second thought being the part where she's hanging out with Kade's ex, apparently.

"Oh, just a little bit. I guess that crush you had never went away, huh?" Sierra arches a brow, tilts her head, and shrugs again, all with an easy smile. "Good for you," she adds with a nod towards Ciel's beer.

It is difficult not to be a little defensive at that description. Ciel is not very successful in whatever slight attempt she makes. Her voice is flatly tight as she says, "It's been a long time since I was thirteen."

Oh, honey. That's the look Sierra fixes Ciel with, a mixture of sympathy and apology, with a dash of peevishness sprinkled on top. "Yeah, you and me both. Look, I didn't mean to make you annoyed, ok? I'm not the raging bitch that Kade makes me out to be. If you think I'm bad, wait until you see Nina on a bad day. She sets shit on fire."

Ciel eyes Sierra skeptically for a moment, but it's brief, and it ends in an exhale as she lifts her beer and drains it. "Maybe I will have another," she says, and something in the tone of it is a teeny bit apologetic. She flicks her fingers against the bottle, then adds, "He doesn't, really. I mean. Not to me, anyway."

"I'm not even joking," says Sierra as she's being eyed skeptically. "She blew up our whole fucking kitchen once." Kids. Her smile is a pretty easy-come, easy-go kind of thing, and it's easy-come again now as another beer is ordered. That's the spirit! Or lager, as the case may be. "I hope he doesn't," says Sierra as she fetches another beer from the ridiculously cold fridge, "A man starts harping on at you about his bitch of an ex, you fucking run, girl."

"Kind of the downside of all that hotness bottled up in one body," Ciel says, her smile flashing quick like innuendo before she clamps it down again. She twists her empty bottle toward the back edge of the bar as Sierra retrieves her second. She outright laughs at the last, surprising even herself, and she covers it with a rub of her hand at her mouth. "I'll keep it in mind," she promises.

"Ha." All that hotness, yes. The innuendo might have been funnier had the memory of a ruined kitchen and subsequent eviction not been flashing in Sierra's mind. She slides a new beer across the bar for Ciel with some warmth in her smile now, collecting the empty. "Hey, do you know where he sold his suits to?" It's a bit out of the blue, no pun intended.

Ciel blinks a little, then shakes her head as she pulls the other beer toward her. "No idea," she says. "Is that what he sold? When he went down to clear things out?" She looks a little surprised, and then a frown settles across her features. "Suits /plural/?"

"Shit." Now Ciel's frowning again, and Sierra's smile is starting to go too. She tosses a look toward the ceiling, tongue sliding over her teeth. "He mentioned his patio stuff too. I dunno. I just thought if you knew where he sold them to, I could try and get some of it back. The blue suit at least... it wasn't worth a stupid window in this ghetto, you know?" She wrinkles her nose and sighs.

"/I/ know," Ciel says, her voice drawing pointed. "Especially when it wasn't his fault." Up goes the beer for a long swallow as she watches Sierra with a sharp gaze. Ah. There's the Beaubier judgment on display.

"I tried to tell him not to pay for it," Sierra counters, just as barbed. She's gesturing pretty sharply with her beer, which is almost empty. "I think if I told him the sky was blue, he'd insist it was red, ok? Maybe you can spy through his stuff and find out where he sold the blue suit to? You're a spy, aren't you?"

Ciel looks skeptical. She doesn't even try to hide it. Her expression is easy to read as she twists her bottle against the bar, eying Sierra as if she's trying to determine just how much she trusts the other woman. "I was a spy," she says eventually, eyes drawn narrow. "But I'm not spying on Kade." There's a long pause before she finally concedes, "But I'll ask him."

Sierra drains the last of her beer and dumps the empty, folding her arms under her chest indignantly. 'Go 'head, girl, stare,' says the firm plant of her feet and the high rise of her brows. She breaks easily though, rolling her eyes as Ciel declares that she won't spy on Kade. How very high-road. It's the concession that gives her real grief though: "Ohmygod, don't you dare! If he finds out I am trying to get it back I can only imagine the tantrum he'll have. Sheesh. It's fine. I'll get Nina to do it."

"I wasn't going to tell him your whole-- /plan/," Ciel says, breaking into a scowl as she tugs her bottle nearer. "Occasionally I've been subtle." Her voice goes very dry at this, but she doesn't offer up any argument when it comes to tantrums, or Nina.

Sierra is without a beer now. That's depressing. Surely not the only reason for her frown, though. "Well if you think you could be //subtle//," she allows, talking with her hands a bit now that they're wholly unoccupied.

Ciel makes a noncommittal noise, and she watches Sierra for a beat before answering, "We'll see." Which is about as vague as one can get. It's possibly a good thing for the increasingly strained mood at the bar that at this point, Ciel's mark in the corner stands, heading for the exit. Ciel's gaze tracks him sidelong (/subtle/!), and she waits until he's well clear before she slides off her stool, jerking her chin up in a nod toward Sierra. "Thanks for the beers," she says.

We'll see. Sierra just nods, then moves to fix herself something a little stronger than beer. She's still pouring tequila as Ciel's target makes to leave, filling the glass up nice and full. "Yeah, anytime. Have a good night."

Ciel gives Sierra something like a wave before she jerks her jacket back on and disappears out the door, post haste.

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