Self Respect


Art Nouveau decor throughout the main lounge pays homage to an era when architecture and interior design were the perfect marriage of form, function and art. The walls are purples and pinks that blend into more subtle hues with the constant green lighting. Small tables with four tall chairs can be found scattered about the room. Large purple couches can be found nestled between the table sets, and in front of a smaller stage used for poetry readings.
The bar itself is long, taking up the entirety of a wall. Tall chairs are scattered on the patron side, and behind the bar is a beautiful greenish glow. The glow comes from the shelving where the majority of the alcohol is stored. The nearby glass racks reflect the glow splendidly as well.

Early evening settles in upon the city. Given it is a Sunday, the Absinthe is fairly quiet and sparsely populated. There are no live readings this evening, most taking advantage of the quiet night to recover from the weekend.

Having arrived nearly an hour early, just in case, Samantha has claimed residency upon one of the more remote tables — her jacket hanging over the back of her chair while she sits with a small journal resting under her hands. She fidgets a little uneasily as she braces herself for the impending meeting, having rehearsed her words over and over again to the point of nauseum in her head. One of the servers passes by to refill her mug of tea with some more hot water as she goes back to waiting patiently.

Ivan had very nearly forgotten about this meeting, due to the hectic reality that just so happens to be his life. Therefore, he is uncharacteristically late by a couple of minutes. It's fairly obvious that the meeting had been forgotten altogether, judging by how messy and ruffled his hair and outfit happens to be. But regardless of this fact, he storms into Absinthe, glancing over the establishment with a discerning eye in search of the woman who had summoned him. When they fall upon Samantha, he nods solemnly, making his way over to her. "I'm sorry," he offers judiciously, heaving out a sigh as he makes his way into the seat across from her. "I know it's no excuse, but things were a bit…overwhelming at home, and time escaped me. How about this. I'll buy you a drink to make up for it, deal?"

"There's no need to apologize, Mr. Fontane, I'm used to it. However, if you really feel the need to buy me a drink you may," she replies warmly as her gaze slides to regard him thoughtfully for several moments. A flicker of sympathy wavers within her eyes for a moment as she nods in understanding, "I should apologize for summoning you on such short notice, really. Normally I would not dream of being so forward or persistent, but I really do need to speak with you about some things that might be… a bit /sensitive/ in nature. I trust you will not take too deep of an offense to anything I say, so it should be I begging your forgiveness in advance." Samantha idly lifts a hand to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear as she takes a slow breath.

Ivan leans forward onto the table slightly, lifting a hand to summon the nearest employee so that he may order his own beverage of choice. "Mhmm? No apologies necessary. It's part of my job, after all." He admits, smiling in an easy going, if slightly harried fashion, to Samantha. That is, until his smile ends up dripping away. "Actually…is it?" Her choice of words have him slightly concerned, and he moves to steeple his fingers together in a professional fashion, undermined by his wry tone. "What is the nature of this call, anyway? I'm rather…curious. I don't suppose it's about hamsters, is it?"

"Unfortunately, no, it has nothing to do with hamsters," Samantha counters softly, her gaze slipping towards the approaching server as she waits for him to place his order and their privacy once again before continuing. Her hands press flat upon the journal beneath them, bracing herself as she finally drops her voice to a near whisper, "There really is no easy way to say this so I am just going to… say it and go from there." Pausing for a moment, the young woman finally states in a simple manner, "I know you are a witch, Ivan Fontane… as is your sister, Helen… and I would be willing to stake a great deal that your other sister is as well. The practice and discipline can skip some family members, but in the more practiced lines it is a rarity — I am told."

"Just a beer, please," Ivan calls out rather gruffly, before dismissing the server with a casual wave of his wrist as his green eyes flies back Sam-wards. When she makes her grand revelation, however, Ivan looks thoroughly unimpressed. Truth be told, he almost looks a bit relieved. The last thing he would need is more bad news, and if that's all… "Yes? And you are too. I feel it. Somewhere…inside, you know?" There is a hesitant pause, coupled with the furrowing of his brows and the tentative lick of his lips. "Was that all? Because if it was, then I don't see the problem here, or the necessity to use such a grave tone. So long as you don't intend to go spreading it around…"

Her own body relaxes somewhat as he seems to take the first portion of her news well enough — a soft sigh escaping with relief as Samantha glances back to the server to give her a faint smile. Once they are alone again, her golden gaze slides to regard Ivan thoughtfully as she continues, "I won't tell anyone but you really do need to be careful, Ivan." She sighs a bit deeper as she finally questions directly, "Did you really threaten to kill the vampires in the city? Before you take offense, please know I am not trying to chastize you for it. I realize if you did, you may have had your reasons… but I really do need to understand, because right now — there are many under the impression that you are a potential threat and that endangers your sisters as well as every other witch within the city."

Ivan looks intrigued in a detached, passive sort of way - not personally invested, interested. "You? Telling me to be careful?" He parrots, slowly testing out the words on his lips as if unfamiliar with the phrase. "Would you mind if I asked you a question, Samantha?" Here, he shifts comfortably in his seat, glancing over towards the server as he approaches with Ivan's mug of beer and thanking the man with a pleasant smile. But then, back to Samantha after a quick sip. "Why does it matter, what danger I'm in? I've met you, what? Once?"

He would continue to drawl in that slightly insufferable, cool manner - but something she says strikes him. Hard. He freezes, eyes opening as he stares at Samantha frankly. Suddenly, though, his eyes narrow in cool speculation and his expression turns uncharacteristically dark. "Who told you that?" There is danger in this tone. A very sharp anger, thinly veiled by control.

"People talk, Ivan, and sometimes I happen to hear what is said. Contrary to what some would believe, there are folks who happen to care what happens to others — whether they are virtually strangers or not," Samantha replies quietly, falling silent for the few moments the server is in attendance before finally shifting her gaze back down to her journal. She does consider his questions in silence, looking more than a little uneasy in her seat as she attempts to continue, "I did not summon you here to upset you, but to find out the truth. I can possibly help you, if you will let me. In fact, I intend to do so even if you will not permit me — but it just makes things a little more complicated upon my end." The young Niveus woman hesitantly lifts her gaze to study Ivan for a long moment of consideration before commenting quietly, "We barely even know each other, and yet the news has reached my ears. If I know of the threat, rumor or not, I can assure you the local vampires do as well… and that bodes a significant issue. Targeting one vampire or two that have given you personal offense is reasonable — targeting an entire race of them for the actions of a few is suicide."

Samantha closes her eyes for a moment to compose her thoughts once again, trying hard to find the words so as to not offend. Eventually she adds quietly, "I hate the gossip mill and rumors… but unfortunately, at this point it doesn't even matter if your threat was real or rumored — it all comes down to what the vampires believe to be true."

"See, that's where you're wrong. I happen to know quite a bit about vampiric politics, surprise surprise. I am in no immediate threat, of that I can assure you." There are perks to associating directly with the vampire King, Ivan knows. The most prominent of them being the fact that the King would be Most Displeased with anyone who touches him unless having been ordered to by the King. "Also, I suggest you give me a name. It's a crime for vampires to discuss their business with humans, did you know that? We are not supposed to know what it is they do. The news that this…derelict is going around, smearing my name and speaking of treason?" He lets out a faint laugh, leaning back into his seat with a practiced ease. It's almost impossible to tell that the ease is contrived and fake, only evident in the tightness of his mouth as he lifts his mug to his lips in order to take a sip. "He'll have to be taken care of, plain and simple. I'm going to say this once, so if you find yourself dabbling in this so-called Gossip Mill once again? Well…you'll have it from the source. I don't wish to eradicate all vampires from this planet." Which is something of a lie, but since he has the will but no means, he might as well claim not to have the will as well. "What I want? Is an atmosphere of peace and cooperation between all races. I want the safety of the public, regardless of whether they have fangs or don't. And I will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this. By whatever means."

Arching a brow speculatively, Samantha's lips twist wryly as if not entirely believing his practiced speech as she counters softly, "Ivan, I am not some constituent you are delivering a practiced speech for. As I have said, whether or not you wish to eradicate them from existence really is not my concern. A person's thoughts and feelings are their own to entertain. Still, I do offer my assistance as a precaution should it be needed." She fingers her own mug slightly, gaze slipping to look around the room — taking note of the sparse occupants before once again lighting back upon her companion, "There was no discussion of business with any vampire. I don't generally keep company with them, if you must know. As I said, I happened upon the gossip. Really, it was simply a case of coincidence." She sighs deeper, her expression softening, "I came to you, Ivan, because I was concerned. We don't really know each other, but we share a distinct existence different from others. Where I come from, we look out for each other and do what we can to assist those who have do no harm to others. Your own family and relations might do things different, but I really did just want to help."

Ivan watches Samantha with open suspicion, attempting to dissect her every word, her every motivation. Slowly, he lifts his mug to his lips again, his sharp gaze never leaving her face. Once a generous amount has been inhaled and the mug is lowered, he allows some of his careful guard to follow suit. "I see." It's a gruff tone, low and carefully neutral. "In that case, Samantha…if you're sincere, then I have a request to make. I need to know who you heard this from. If you wish to help me, if you wish to help the city of Dallas, then I'll need a confirmation of identity. I'm fairly certain I know who the culprit is, but if there's more then one, I will have to plan accordingly."

"It is a fair request, however I have no desire to propagate the gossip any further than it already is. So, I will make a concession and moderate a meeting between you and the source," Samantha states simply in a decisive manner as she allows her golden gaze to linger firmly upon the Fontane man. Her own body appears fairly relaxed as she continues, "It will allow you to address your concerns with the individual and in turn, help to clear the air of any potential misunderstandings. I promise not to intervene in the discussion between the two of you unless things become escalated. There is no reason for this to become more out-of-hand than it already is…" hesitating for a half a moment she finally adds, "… and in the interim, I will make sure that your sisters are kept safe — just in case the rumors have leaked further and inspired some more reckless sorts to take action. In either case, Ivan, there is a safety in numbers. We may not know each other well at all, but you are still a Witch and that means something to me."

"Denied." Ivan states, without hesitation or consideration. "I appreciate your concern, Samantha. I appreciate the fact that you've taken time out to contact me about this, but this is, really, over your head. It behooves me to settle this particular issue on my own. To drag you into this mess…well, not only would it equal your murder, but my possible suicide. The issue at stake is that you do not understand the gravity of the situation." He takes a deep breath here, a tinge of dark amusement flashing in his light eyes. "And how, pray tell, do you intend to protect my family? How do you know of my sisters, at that?"

The denial elicits an actual arch of her brow in surprise as she shakes her head slowly, "I'm a big girl, Ivan, and believe it or not I /can/ take care of myself. I mean I have no doubt you are adept at negotiations and handling many things on your own, but I don't believe this is one of those circumstances." Samantha leans in a little closer to her table to regard him as her voice lowers, "Make me understand the gravity then, Ivan. I won't deny that I might not understand the gravity of the situation — nor the fact that any dealings with vampires can be dangerous." She bites her lower lip, bidding her own silence for a moment more on the matter as the topic stears back to his family. Bracing herself, yet again, the young Niveus finally confesses softly, "I have actually met the one, Scarlett? We spoke a little my first day back in town. She spoke quite a bit about her siblings at the time… and while she is admittedly different than you appear to be — there's no denying how much she cares for both of you. Keeping people safe is something I am well versed in. In some ways, you can say it's a calling."

Ivan shakes his head slowly, regretfully, before finishing off the beer. He's fussing with his pocket at this point, fumbling with his wallet to pull out the money necessary to pay for his drink. "I can't. I'm sorry. And beyond that, I refuse to drag you into this. You're not going to be involved if I can help it." He declares, brows furrowed in a tight, tensed manner, betraying just how solemn and bothered the situation has him. "I suppose, then, that you won't be open to selling me the information I desire? It's a moot point, isn't it?"

Beat. "Ahuh. I figured as much. Where else could you have heard of me, if it wasn't from a viable media source? Well…" At this point, he lowers his voice, fixing his intense stare to Samantha's after he places enough for the beer and a good tip on the tabletop. "Samantha. If you are serious, and…if you can protect my family as you say you can…then please. Do so. You will be helping me more so then you could ever imagine. They're…I need them safe, alright." He shuffles, a bit uncomfortable by the admission of vulnerability when it comes to them. "Please, do so, and I'll find some way to repay you. Someway, somehow."

"I'm not for sale, but I will at least arrange the meeting for you with the source. From there, it is all yours to deal with," Samantha finally relents with a crease of her own brow. She watches him place the tip upon the table before adding in a soft yet serious tone, "I will protect them with everything I have, but you make sure you come back in one piece. My gifts tend to extend towards keeping a body whole as I have not yet found a spell that can erase grieving and sorrow. The best way you can help your sisters is to ensure that they still have a living brother to fuss over." Even as she adds the last, she begins to rise — a hand instinctively reaching over to brush his before collecting her journal and jacket. Slipping her hand into her jacket pocket, she removes a small piece of paper with an address and phone number upon it — sliding it across the table towards him, "If you have need of anything, whether simply an ear to listen or cuts that need stitching and tending, let me know."

Ivan pauses watching her in an almost guarded fashion, as if unsure of what exactly to do with her. The brush of her fingers over the back of his hand produces a downwards glance at the place of contact, and as a result, he ends up eyeing the paper as it slides over to him as well. It is considered, before he relents and ends up reaching for it, not even glancing at the contents of it before it is pocketed. She is given an almost curt nod. "I will do, then. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. And…fine. Arrange the so-called meeting. If you can get to him before the Authorities do, at least." Beat. "Have a good evening, Miss. Get home safe." And with that, Ivan is off!

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