Business Dealings

International House of Pancakes

The International House of Pancakes somewhat maintains that small diner feel, even though it is a much larger franchise. Beige walls are decorated with pictures of various menu items, and are lined with four-person booths. The center aisle is also comprised of booths, with a short privacy wall between them. The kitchen is mostly hidden from view, but the smell of cooking food continually wafts through the restaurant.

Things could of could have gone smoother at the lake, so when the mention of food was made Michael assented to go to IHOP, it's fairly quiet, not surprising since it's now getting a good way into the evening, this is in Michael's eyes a blessing, the thought of watching a resturant full of people eating doesn't appeal to Michael. He smiles quietly as they get to one of the booths, he smiles to Desiree. "I'm proud of you. That was made far more difficult than it needed to be." He frowns a little as he studies Desiree. "Are you sure you're ok?"

Still a little shaken by the events of earlier, Desiree is relatively surprised to have found herself able to face the demons in her dreams, and defeat the fear. It hadn't been easy, and her hand still shakes as she lifts her cup of coffee to her lips and takes a sip. Bright lights and the smell of food can do a lot to help banish demons of all kinds. Ever see fear stand up to ketchup? Just ain't gonna happen. But, she couldn't drive all the way home without something to give her strength. Something hot, delicious and … normal. Like a cheeseburger, fries and coffee. With ketchup for the fries. She hadn't realized how much her appetite had decreased since the attack. Now, oddly enough, it's returned, and she's enjoying that hamburger with some degree of relish. "Oh, I'm fine," Desiree remarks after she's got some food and coffee in her. "I'm … better than I've been in ages."

Michael's managed to avoid watching Desiree too closely while she ate, but he does meet her eyes and smile as once she says she's feeling better. "I'm glad, it seems we've had one drama after another these last few days." He runs a hand through his hair. "I'm glad that Abbey was there to see to that idiot boy." He looks at Des. "For a moment I wasn't sure you'd be able to pull through… I've seen people suffer trauma who could never do what you did tonight."

Licking ketchup off her thumb, Desiree pauses long enough to smile. Wiping her fingers and lips on a napkin, she picks up her coffee, sipping. "I was afraid I couldn't do it, Michael," she says slowly. "It took every ounce of strength and will I possessed to walk down that path. And when I had you go back and wait at the car for me…" She pauses, taking a deep breath. "That was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. I was terrified, but … I overcame the fear, and I lived through it. I can't say I'm cured, but I'm not afraid of a place now. If I have fears, they're based on /real/ things, not … not a place." She sets the coffee down carefully, putting her hand over the top when the waitress comes by to offer more. "I'll be wired half the night as it is," she says softly. To Michael, "I'll be fine, now."

Nodding Michael smiles. "It wasn't easy for me either… I knew there was nothing out there, but to see you that afraid…" He sighs. "I should have stopped you from being attacked in the first place." He shakes his head. "Strange how irrational our guilt can be sometimes isn't it?" He smiles faintly. "Of course I'm glad you feel more prepared to face the world again… So, what are you plans now that you've found at least a degree of closure?"

"It's not your issue, Michael, it's mine," Desiree says, looking at him with soft, green eyes. "I had to deal with it, no one else. And, there was no way you could've known ahead of time what would happen. It's not your fault. Stop blaming yourself." She reaches out to take his hand. "For someone of your age, you forget that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and that sometimes good people are just in the wrong place at the wrong time. You saved me, and I'm alive. I've faced the demon inside my head, and it's mostly slain." She smiles. "Thank you for being my St. George, but some dragons have to be slain by those who're haunted by them."

Michael laughs looking at Desiree Michael shakes his head. He studies her for a while. "You seem to think I obsess over claiming you. That I demand a commitment from you." He seems amused as he smiles softly at Desiree. "It might surprise you to know that I'm…. conent with the way things are at present." Says the recently suicidal vampire. "I know you can't commit to me. I accepted that a long time ago. I meant in a more general sense."

That seems to relieve Desiree. Her shoulders relax and she smiles slowly, genuinely. "I'm getting some work done on the studio. I expect the contractor out sometime this week. He's giving me a very good deal, and I need the building brought up to code desperately." She pauses. "I worry so much that a fire will happen while I'm out and you're asleep…"

Michael looks at Desiree. "It goes without saying I hope that my previous offer to help you buy and renovate the studio still stands?" He shrugs a shoulder with an amused grin. "I know that you're not too fond of the idea, but I honestly don't mind." He smiles. "Consider it in place of rent if nothing else? I have spent enough time sleeping at your place after all."

Desiree smiles widely. "No, I'm not fond of owing people, Michael, especially friends. Once money enters into the situation, the friendship goes out the window fast. I've seen it happen before, and I don't want to have that happen to us." She presses her lips together, then speaks again. "Of course, I can't stop you from seeing my partner on your own, and do your own deal with her. That would be your deal, and I … I could only accept you as a new partner in the venture." Apparently, she's given this some thought. "Between the two of us, we could have the whole building renovated before the Christmas show…" She looks down at the empty cup. "But, I can't ask you to do anything like that. It wouldn't be … be ethical of me."

Laughing Michael shakes his head. "You would not owe me." He does however nod to Desiree. "I have been looking into potential investments, I'd need to see the books, look at potential competition…" Ah, now they're in business, Michael may see money as a trivial score keeping system for the most part, but he'd never do bad business for anyone. "I'll consider it." He studies Desiree. "I can't see where ethics become a problem? I am a businessman, I may think highly of you Desiree, but I do still think."

"I have the books at the office, hardcopy and on the computer," Desiree says, moistening her lips. "Everything's double entered, with a copy going to the accounting service and to Mdm. Trovanova. It's all quite straight forward, and you can see them any time you wish. As for competition…? There is some, of course, but we're considered one of the ten top schools of dance in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Only three are listed above us. There's no other schools up in Deep Ellum, though. We have that area all to ourselves." She looks at Michael across the table. "I wasn't … I mean, I understand. I'm sorry to have inferred otherwise. That was my bad."

Michael nods with a chuckle. "I was teasing you Desiree." He looks at her. "We should probably be going." He shrugs a shoulder. "I'll see about looking over those documents, and then I should probably be thinking about… other matters." He looks at Desiree. "I have been feeding off you exclusively, I think it probably best if I go back to my old routine somewhat." There's a hint of a question to that, but not much of one, he rises offering an arm to Desiree.

Desiree doesn't answer until they're safely tucked inside the convertible (top up), and pulling out onto the highway leading home. "I think you're right about that, Michael," she tells him, her voice carefully schooled into neutrality. "I only ask you not flaunt it in my face. I won't do that to you, either," she says, a promise. "We wouldn't want any … well, accidents. I like my youth, but I'd like to remain human for a little while longer. THere're things I really want to do before then." Interesting answer. DOes this mean she's considering something? Who knows. The drive home is quick enough, the new car smooth and easily maneuvered through traffic. Michael's car and driver are where he left them, in the parking lot of her studio. "Good night, Michael," she tells him on the stoop of her studio. A kiss, soft and sweet, is pressed to his lips. "Be safe, and think of me in the dawn."

Nodding Michael looks at Desiree, he catches the comment, and it earns a faint frown… there are of course complications to becoming a vampire, and it complicates his promise not to meet the sun, but he doesn't say anything. He simply shrugs though. "I grow sick of the old routine already, there's no risk of my turning you, but if you feed younger vampires they'll need much more than I do…. they can't share easily. Be careful." He returns the kiss and then heads for his own car. He smiles to Desiree. "Of course."

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