People Suck

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.

Noon has come and pass, and yet the not-so-local house of pancakes is still graced with a considerable share of customers, usually paired off in groups of smiling acquaintances or functional family units. To find someone sitting alone is rare, but not unheard of. If you need proof, one look at Ashley Cooper Enders would be enough to confirm it.

The young woman looks worse for wear. Her hair is a veritable rat's nest above her head. Her make-up dark, smudged, and unable to hide the fierce bruise that mars her pale skin. Her lip is split, though not bleeding, and over all, the woman looks exhausted to the bone. The plate of pancakes and sausages that has been deposited in front of her is barely even picked at, and she seems to be quite prone to zoning out at any and every given opportunity.

Mostly, she looks like someone that has partied much too hard last night and hasn't gotten the chance to get her bit of beauty sleep in.

The hangover is just starting to kick in; the only possible defence grease and sugar. It's going to be a killer, and doesn't Gabriel know it. He meaders in to the pancake place, the faint smell of last night's alcohol still following him like a lost puppy. Still, he's managed to get dressed in a pair of artfully ripped jeans and a dark shirt; not last night's clothes. He blurrily scans the room, scowling at the lack of free space, and simply wanders towards the solo girl.

There is enough dignity in him to pause as he reaches there. "Hey. Mind if I sit?" Camaderie in obvious hangover.

Cooper is a frail little thing in baggy clothing at the time being, her purple hoodie dwarfing her frame. This, in conjunction to the she keeps her murky eyes closed in pain, gives her an exceedingly pitiful air. Even after Gabriel wanders over in her direction and vocalizes his intentions, the woman just sits there in clear pain. Her brow wrinkles quite expressively. "…What?" With clear reluctance, the girl's eyes slide open and fix upon Gabriel. "Oh. Yeah. Whatever."

She can't even shrug in nonchalance. And so it is with a swift inhale that she bends over, moving to rummage through her bag in search of a little something-something to take the edge of her current crash, to shut out all the overwhelming thoughts that sound inside her head. An aspirin is then, rather quickly, plopped inside her mouth. A blood red aspirin.

The young man slides into the opposite seat, the bloodshot of his dark eyes now evident. He does eye the introduction of red aspirin to tongue with a vague interest, though he does manage to shake his head. As though talking to a television or mirror, not quite involved in reality, he quietly says, "Only delay it, the red stuff comedown is like a thousand angry midgets in your head. Recommend introduction of calming chemical for total wipeout and wake up fine. Should help with the bruises." Someone hasn't quite ejected last night's foreign subtances. He does manage to sound like he's trying to help, if a little zoned.

Cooper doesn't respond at first. With her brows furrowed in concentration, the woman lets out a muffled groan as she feels the effects of the V taking place, and a delicate shiver runs down her spine. Suddenly, this world is wonderful once again. Suddenly, the vivid colors and light-hearted chattering around them proves to be a positive. Grey eyes blink open, and for the first time, the blonde actually looks at Gabriel, even offering him a faint smile as she cants her head to the side before her attention wanders as she starts staring all around her. "Have you ever had one thousand angry midgets in your head? I don't think you have. I have, though. Well…granted, they weren't all midgets, I don't think. Would you like orange juice?" Even as she offers it, she drags her glass closer to her person, taking a tentative swig of the stuff.

"Only seven hundred," Gabriel returns, vaguely, a faint frown touching at his brow for the sudden perkiness that he feels compelled to match. A hand slips into a pocket, and there is some ferreting around going on. "Orange juice," he repeats to her, as though it were a great revelation. "Orange, sugar, grease. Good." He turns his head, idly seeking some sort of waitress. The hand from the pocket slips up, and flicks a small tab between his lips. A tab with a red spot.

Cooper should be amused by Gabriel's words. And to a certain extent, she is. But she doesn't have the time to offer him a snicker of any sort. Why? Because business is calling. The moment that little tablet is flicked into his mouth, Cooper's eyes widen dramatically, and she leans over the table in his direction, holding out a hand to place on his arm in what could be seen as an invasion of privacy. "You're blooding up!" She accuses in pleasant surprise, barely louder then a coo or a hiss.
At this point in time, she smiles. Broadly. Merrily. With such convinction that it distracts from her injuries. "Where do you get it, sir! I'm all curious-like."

Dark eyes close, allowing the touch without bothering to move. When Gabriel's eyes open once more, they meet a broad and amused grin. He minces through his words now, now he's back to himself. "I got my guys, milady. Don't like to pry, don't like to let it fly. One number from you, and I'll pass it on. People have secrets, you know?" A cadence of poetry, a please lilt to his tone. "So hi. Gabriel. What do they call a girl pretty as you?"

"Your guys are ripping you off, I bet. I get the cleanest, purest shit for the least amount of money in Dallas, I do. It's my thing, man." There is a note of pride in Cooper's admission, her eyes shining in an unnaturally glassy manner. Her fingers brush against his arm, the movement soft and subtle but deliberate in itself. Then, at the introductions, she cants her head to the side in thought. "Well…some people call me space cowboy. Others call me Cooper. Some call me 'her' too, but that's not my name."

Gabriel flashes a grin, eyes flicking down to the touch, and his hand turns over, fingers slightly curled, an invitation for further contact if ever there was one. "My guys are just fine," he returns, voice clearing as the V starts to filter through his system. "I get what I want, when I want. Never hurts to have another number though, neh?" He pauses, a mockery of deep thought and consideration flowing teasingly through his face. "I shall call you cowgirl," he tells her, "or Cooper. I am yet to decide for certain." The joyous and playful arrogance common to the man on V.

Cooper allows a lazy, lop-sided smirk to grace her features as she soaks up his attention and his beckon. She leans forward and continues to draw initials into his skin, but after a moment she pulls away altogether. Leave them wanting more, that's her game plan. "That's cool. Gimme me a sec', I need to find my pen, yeah?" She leans back into her chair, removing her presence from his personal bubble altogether as she once again rummages through her purse. Eventually, a pen is produced, and a number is copied down onto a paper napkin. "Cowgirl?" She sounds surprised. "Oh, well, whatever I guess. That's cool. Why're you like…here?"

The young man leaves his arm where it is, though his smile drifts to the sly. A nice little game begins, it seems. He reaches down into a pocket, drawing forth a slender cellphone, finally moving the spare arm to start tapping away. "I hardly think anyone's going to call you Space Cow/boy/, are they?" he comments, as he inputs the number from the napkin. "Doubt there's a straight guy in the world pegging you as a boy, milady." His attention flicks to the menu, briefly, though brings itself back up to Cooper as he leans back himself, finally pressing a button to check the number works. "Sugar and grease, the non-chemical cure for a vicious day after. Chemical cure now substituted, I'm just here for the view."

Cooper wrinkles her nose slightly, peering at Gabriel with express confusion. "You talk weird. And like…yeah, I know. It's a song. You know? Like… Steve Miller Band…The Joker? No?" His appearance is examined and appraised carefully. "You like, some sort of yuppie, yeah?" But then, her phone rings. At first, she seems startled, but soon enough she's fishing for her own flip-phone and checking the number on the screen. "Okay, cool! I'm going to put you down as…wow. I don't even know."

"Teasing?" Gabriel returns, with the faintest hint of wry disappointment seeping into his voice. "The whimsical talking is mostly a product of the various chemical joys still trace within my system. Last night was a big one." He allows another brief smile, this one indulgent and amused. "I," he announces, though quietly, "am a professional partygoer and slacker. I also attend college, on occasion." He presses the 'end call' button on his own phone, with a delicate touch. "Gabriel. One of a kind."

"One of a kind, huh?" Cooper returns, not bothering to mask her slight derision about it. As his thoughts filter through her mind, there's nary a change of expression, and after typing down a mysterious moniker into her phone, she puts it away. "What makes you any different than all the other over privileged asshole on the planet? What makes you so special?" It's a legitimate query, one which prompts the woman to quirk a finely plucked brow in his direction before returning her attention to her food.

"What makes /you/," he returns probingly, "so suddenly hostile to a guy looking only for a little fun and games?" There's no hostility to him, just a teasing lilt to his tone. "Number one," he continues, lifting a single finger. "I moderate my intakes; no addictions. Which means if you successfully win me as a customer, you've got me for a long time to come. Two." Another finger joins the first, his words the truth for the moment. "I spread the love, to all and sundry." At least, all and sundry both pretty and female. "Three." The third finger comes up to join it, a mockery of the Boy Scouts' salute. He allows a foolish grin, and his tone waxes towards self-deprecating humour. "I'm an overpriviledged asshole who is prepared to admit it."

"I aint hostile. But everyone's the same. You're no different than your college buddies, and it's kind of funny to think otherwise." Cooper returns simply. "There's no such thing as one of a kind. I thought I was special too, but there are like, people that can do what I do. I met 'em." With a sniff, she shovels a bit of eggs into her mouth, chewing copiously. "At most, there are people that are more special, sure. But…college boy gone wild and horny isn't exactly something that's out of the ordinary. And that's what you are."

"I disagree," returns Gabriel, with a faint shake of his head. "For sure, you can stick me into that pigeonhole, stick yourself into another, but you miss the vital point. Everyone is different, in some tiny way. Every pigeonhole segmented with a million tiny nuances, everyone the director of their own everlasting movie." Spoken like a real nihilist. "What I do is /art/. Balance the chemical pleasure, and let destiny and random chance do the rest. I was also somewhat wild and horny before college." Grin.

"Sure, but deep down, we're all the same. People all suck. S'cool though. Just like, do what feels good now. There's no like, other way to live." Spoken like a true pessimist. The blonde woman allows the faintest of shrugs to prompt her shoulders into a bounce, although to his credit he does manage to make her laugh at his final comment. "Yeah. I could've guessed that - you're a guy. You're wired to be. Not that chicks are any different - we just aren't as upfront about it or we're labeled whores. But fuck what everyone thinks, you know?"

"Each to their own," says Gabriel, lifting shoulders to a shrug. "Our philosophies collide, and they each leave their mark on the other. It seems that do what feels good is where we definitively match." His grin twists sly, even coy. He does allow a nod of the head, his mind again pondering the bruises on her face, not quite ready to ask. Wonders again if it was a guy. "Never understood that attitude to women. What's the problem with harmless fun? You'd think we would have reached the point where consenting adults could do whatever the fuck they wanted and no-one else would care, right?"

He might not be ready to ask, and Cooper definitely isn't up to volunteering the information on her own, and so she glosses over the subject of her injuries as though she didn't hear his curiosity. "Well," she explains brow quirking upwards as she grows increasingly sly. "Women aren't really people, are we. In some peoples minds. Just like…dolls to be protected, claimed and porked. In whatever order works out best. It aint really a surprise that people think like…backwards and shit still." Vulgar and honest, the woman has no problem expressing her personal opinions on the matter.

The young man allows a nod, bringing forth a faint frown for those terrible, bad people who think like women aren't people. Even as his mind agrees easily that they are mostly manipulative scum. "Option three works for me," he says, with that same self-deprecating humour. "Though I prefer them to enjoy it." His tongue slips between his lips, a look of concentration and thought rather than humour, as he seeks the appropriate words. "The elder generation are sadly lacking that which we embrace so thoroughly. Freedom. Freedom of action, of thought, of opinion. Also, rednecks."

Cooper shakes her head faintly, apparently motivated by the insight into his mind to contradict every thing he says. Out of love, really. "You aren't free. You're just as oppressed and shit as they are, but in a different way. But if you like thinkin' so, that's cool." It is with slight distaste that the woman gets to her feet now, looking over her spread of food. "Hey, I'll be right back, Gabe. Going to use the bathroom." And with that, she walks off…

And out of the restaurant altogether. Leaving him with the half-eaten food and the bill to foot. Surprise surprise.

Distractedly, the young man reproves, "Gabriel." Automatic, apparently. "Nah; oppression implies acceptance of the established rule. Sure." He allows her to wander away with a slight wave of a hand. It's not long before his own food is ordered, and a few minutes before he realises she is gone. A murmured "Fuckin' whore," is allowed for, before he starts looking forward to his food once more.

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