A Chance Encounter

Bean Scene Cafe

Bean Scene is a small coffee shop and cafe that caters primarily to a younger crowd. The cafe has always been at least a year late in joining any given fad, and in the past it's been done in western-style, set up as a beatnik hangout, a go-go disco, a fern bar, and once even attempted to cash in on breakdancing. A plaque has recently been placed above the door, and says, "No fad is dead until it appears to Bean Scene".
Case in point, the cafe has a grungy feel to it. A grey brick facade has been placed over the walls, the flooring looking more like a worn down metal grid, complete with old sewer grates every few feet. Tables and chairs set about the cafe are quite casual in appearance, made of metal meant to look rusty and splattered with multi-colored paints. Metal street signs hang from the wall amid images of garage bands. Behind the counter is a black chalkboard displaying the available items and costs.

It's early evening, late enough for the sun to have set, yet not late enough to have turned the crowd in the Bean Scene into fangbangers on their way to the clubs, or at least not entirely, there's still plenty of people heading home from a long day at the office, or simply passing by. The place is beginning to fill, the line's short, but the tables are mostly taken. Michael sits quietly in his booth, his hands wrapped around the untouched, but still hot coffee that he's bought, he's playing human again, going so far as to actually fidget, if not for his skin tone it'd be impossible to tell he's a vampire, but even taking that into account it's very hard.

Hugo doesn't know the area well enough to know that the Bean Scene is a stop off point for fangbangers to get a little pick me up before dropping some blood, or that the Bean Scene even /has/ a 'scene' … other than the rather dreadful decor that makes the New Yorker in him smirk. But he doesn't seem to be interested in the decor or even the coffee that he orders, small and black. His grey-blue eyes instead rove about, studying the patrons of the place. He strolls along for a moment before walking over to Michael's booth and gesturing with a nod of his head to the opposite and empty side of it asking, "You mind? Or are you waiting for someone?"

Blue-grey eyes study the world around them with a slightly sardonic edge, reflecting intelligence along with a self-important sort of air … or perhaps it's just the look of a man who has no reason not to feel completely confident in himself. Brown hair is unexpected with those blue eyes, the contrast unusual and a head nod toward his Dutch heritage. His hair is short without being /short/, cut in a casual and cavalier manner, the bangs long and with a tendency to fall over his brow, obscuring those eyes with a rakish sort of charm. As often as not Hugo sports a days worth of growth on his cheeks and chin, as if he just couldn't be bothered to keep himself clean shaven on a daily basis, but has no intention of actually sporting a beard. His attire is as random as his shaing habits - sometimes high class silks and refined tailored outfits, other times untucked shirts, bare feet, and faded jeans with holes in them. High cheekbones and a sharp cut jaw gives his face a defined angular quality and more often than not a lazy sensual smile curls his full lips. Whatever it is that this man does for a living, it's either an active lifestyle or he takes the time to stay in shape. Though not muscle bound, his lean frame is finely muscled and he moves with both grace and assurance.

The word for Michael is power, a description of both physique and attitude. Standing taller than many of his time period, Michael Isonzo exudes confidence. His hair is dark, almost jet-black. He wears it swept back, the ends just reaching the top of his neck. He is clean-shaven, the planes of his face angular and well defined. High cheekbones give him an aristocratic, almost haughty appearance. Deep-set, piercing blue eyes can appear green in certain light, and have a typically enigmatic expression of those who've seen centuries pass. His lips tend to thinness, but can smile pleasantly if the mood takes him. Not an ounce of superfluous weight lies on his well muscled, toned body, as if Michael remains physically fit despite his age. Broad of shoulder and chest, narrow of waist, he has well-shaped legs that carry him with an air of confidence born of authority.
If clothes make the man, then Michael is clearly someone used to command. His charcoal gray, three-piece suit is perfectly tailored to fit his body. The fine lines, silk fabric and simple style scream excellent taste and money. Michael wears it well, the coat falling comfortably from his shoulders, the vest fitting snugly around his torso. The trousers have a stylish "break" at the ankle over his shoes, and a sharp crease up the front. He wears a pair of immaculately polished black shoes, and black silk socks. Under the suit, he wears a cranberry colored shirt, with a matching silk handkerchief peeking from his breast pocket. Gold cuff links and tie-bar wink almost wickedly from wrists and chest. Tasteful, stylish and well-fitted, Michael's suit is as comfortable as it is attractive.

Michael shakes his head with just a hint of a smile. "Help yourself, I was just passing the time." He takes a quick glance around. "And I always find a little company can help with that." He offers a hand to the man. "I'm Michael Isonzo." He still doesn't touch the coffee, he never drinks the stuff after all, it's just for show mostly.

Reaching out his own hand, Hugo shakes the one that Michael offers, the coffee warming it up nicely enough to cover the usual chill one experiences with vampires. If he has any idea that Michael is anything other than human, it doesn't show on his face. "Thanks," he returns with a quick smile, flipping the hair out of his face before sliding into the booth. He does not, however, sit facing Michael, but instead presses his back against the wall, facing out toward the rest of the coffee house. His right leg bends, foot on the cushion, the left one dangles down to the floor, and slipping the black bound book from beneath his arm, he rests it against his upraised thigh as he sets his coffee down beside him. It would seem that his drink is either still too hot, or likewise just for show. Though he doesn't look at Michael, his eyes peering through a swath of hair that has fallen over his brow, studying the crowd as he opens his sketchbook, he still addresses him, asking, "Passing the time till what?"

Michael seems to wait for something for a second, but when no name is given he simply shrugs a shoulder his own attention turning to the rest of the cafe, he seems amused for a moment and then looks back at the man, his expression thoughtful. "That's the six million dollar question, I've found that most of my time's spent waiting for the next big thing, but at present… I don't have any idea what that'll be."

Belatedly, almost as a non sequitur, the human offers, "Hugo. Hugo Bosch." Not a name that most people would consider familiar, let alone famous … unless that person was interested in the arts and kept a sharp eye on the goings-on in New York City. Then? Then that name would mean quite a bit. His hand moves over the paper before him, sketching a couple caught in an intimate moment of the non-romantic kind. A fight, but not the kind where people yell and throw things. It's subtle - the tensing of their frames, the way their eyes are sharpened with anger or deliberately looking away, the twists and turns of their mouth around words, their fingers around cups and napkins. The condiments stand guard; objects deliberately set between them - hot cups of coffee, sugar, honey, salt and pepper. Though his eyes and hands are set upon them, his mind is fully engaged in the conversation at hand. "Hmmmmm. What constitutes as 'big' for you?"

Michael grins very faintly. "That depends, the last big event I can think to mention was the parade. I was there when the explosion happened, I was lucky not to get injured." He shrugs with a sigh. "The time before that it was when I got an offer to buy into a company that made a very worthwhile profit." He laughs. "I've found you don't always notice until it's over." He frowns at the name though; he does seem to recognize it. "It's a pleasure, and I'd just like to say I've quite enjoyed some of your work." He seems to think for a moment, several factors coming together, firstly the accent, secondly the name, and lastly the mention once made that Jo had brothers, one of whom was in art. "You wouldn't happen to have a sister would you?"

"So the next big thing you're looking for is of the two towers variety then? Or do you just really like parades?" There is a small wry smile upon Hugo's lips, his head tilting slightly toward Michael as they talk, or perhaps he's just trying to see around the edge of the booth. The page is turned, a new sketch started, this one of a young man trying to look interested and engaged in what the woman before him is yammering on about, and completely failing. Fortunately, she either doesn't notice or doesn't care. "Step one, steal underpants, step two, something something, step three, profit. So in other words you're an equal opportunity 'big thing' consumer, no big thing too small as they say?" Tilting his head to stretch his neck, Hugo muses, "Yeah, big things are almost all post coital, rarely any foreplay. Unless parades really are your thing. Plenty of foreplay there." He sketches for a quiet moment before asking, "Why wait? Why not make your own big thing?" When Michael recognizes him, he gets his first glance, a hint of surprise replace by pleasure in those blue eyes, the corner of his mouth curling as he replies, "Thanks." One brow lifts at the following question, his eyes returning to his subject matter as he returns, "Why yes, I do in fact have a sister…"

Michael laughs. "I don't know, there'll be something worth seeing, or doing and then I'll act, for now… I watch." He shrugs a shoulder his expression thoughtful. "I hear that one a lot, 'why not go out and change the world'. The simple truth is I've seen time and again, people who change the world die; usually painfully." He chuckles. "I personally don't like the attention world moving brings." He seems to consider Hugo a moment. "I see, your sister wouldn't happen to be Josephine Van Den Bosch? It's just that she's an…. associate of mine she mentioned a brother in town and.. you seemed to fit." The pause before he announces Jo as an associate's obvious to anyone paying attention.

"You don't have to change the world to make something 'big' happen. Big is in the eye of the beholder. What might seem 'big' to me might not be big to you, and vice versa. There are plenty of big things that come in small, non-world altering packages. I hear skydiving is pretty damn exciting, though I suppose one can die doing it without managing to change the world for your money. Poor exchange rate, if you ask me." His eyes flicker over to Michael once more, this time resting steadily on his face, studying it closely as he asks, "You know Jo? Interesting. Guess Disney was right. It's a small world after all." His gaze returns to the patrons of the place, but there is a subtle crease of concentration upon his forehead that wasn't there before. "Associates? How so, exactly?" Eyes flicker toward Michael's untouched coffee and taking a small break, Hugo lifts his own and takes a sip, noting, "Temperature is perfect … if you're not careful, your coffee will go cold." His gaze is steady, almost challenging, as he meets Michael's.

Once again shrugging Michael smiles to Hugo. "I've never been skydiving, but it wouldn't be for me." He nods thinking over the words. "Most of the things I'd have considered big, I've already done." He shrugs a shoulder at the question, there's /no/ expression on his features, his tone's level and calm. "I met Jo here we spoke for a time. She's working for me at present, making sure my diaries are… up to date before I consider publishing them." He then looks down at his coffee with a quick shake of his head. "I don't drink the coffee, I'm a vampire, it's purely for show." It's said in perfectly casual fashion.

The very fact that Michael states that he's 'done' everything big he could want to do? That alone is enough, along with the other clues that Hugo had noted but not placed judgment upon, to make what was merely a possibility a reality in his mind. No one with a normal lifespan could make such a boast unless they were very modest in their desires … and Michael does not strike Hugo as the least bit modest. "Is she now? Interesting." Definitely something he's going to need to chat with Jo about the next time he sees her. He doesn't show any surprise at Michael's confession, simply nods and turns his gaze back to the people around them, turning the page of his sketchbook, this time choosing a lonely looking woman sitting alone, staring outside the window at nothing. "Have you been messing with my sister's head?" he asks bluntly, but not impolitely.

Michael smiles at the question, he studies the young man for a long moment and then shakes his head. "No, I've always been honest with Jo, I've never done anything to mislead her, not since she found out what I was, and even before that I simply never told her." He frowns. "Why? last time I spoke to Jo she seemed /very/ upset."

"Ditto. She was very upset the last time I talked to her as well." And the first time he'd talked to her face to face in eleven years, but who's counting? "But she wasn't particularly forthcoming about /why/ she was so upset. Just indicated that someone had been messing with her head. Quite honestly? I thought she had dropped a few tabs of acid or something. She was talking crazy." The slight crease has become an outright frown. "She was very touchy on the subject of vampires, so I'm guessing that one of your kind is the cause of her distress."

Nodding Michael looks down at his coffee, he seems to be giving it an intent stare before he speaks. "We're not messing with her head, at least not literally, I can't say why she's got a problem with vampires. All I know is that I spoke with her one time and we seemed to be getting along better than usual, the time after she was insulting and sarcastic… which isn't new I'll admit." He shrugs. "I wouldn't be bothered, but the very last time she seemed almost to be pleading with me to leave… I didn't think Jo would plead for anything."

Hugo's lips curl into a genuine smile as he concurs, "Jo's default setting is insulting and sarcastic. You must have been lucky that one time." But he sobers fairly quickly, scowling now as he notes, "She did indeed speak most disparagingly of vampires, or at least at the implication that she might be fodder for one. She also said 'he'. As in "if he put you in my head, he's damn good at it." I don't like the sound of that. But she clammed up and wouldn't say a thing when I pressed her for details."

"And you think it was me?" Michael looks amused as he studies Hugo. "I can't tell you it wasn't… there's little point in that since you wouldn't believe me. I can however tell you that if it /was/ me, I'd simply get in your head and make sure you'd never believe me guilty of it." He seems to give that some thought as though looking for holes. "I'd think if I was powerful enough to get in your head I could do that, don't you agree?"

"I don't know who it is. But you are a vampire and you claim my sister is working for you. Seemed reasonable to ask if you were fucking with her head." Again, though his words are blunt, his tone is surprisingly mild and conversational. "You said that you were not and for now I'll take you at your word. You seemed genuinely curious and concerned. Since I'm not a mind reader, I'll have to go on instinct and say that I choose to believe you for now." His eyes sidle over to Michael for a moment before looking away. With a sigh he closes his sketchbook and places it upon the table, draping one arm over his upraised knee. "If you were powerful enough, and had my eyes, then yes, you could probably do that. I've seen as much before. But holes can be a clue in and of themselves. Simpler to let honest doubt and lack of proof be sufficient evidence of ones innocence. Besides, kind of a public place for glamouring…"

Waving away the comment Michael grins. "You'd be amazed, it's all about subtlety, but the simple fact is… /you're/ not a mind reader." He lets that hand in the air, just a hint that he knows something. "And Josephine wouldn't be possible to be manipulated, not in that fashion. I don't think anyone can really get in her head if she doesn't want them there." He smiles. "I suggest you speak with her about me, see if you can't learn anything… she won't share with me. If she tells you that I'm /not/ the reason for her bad mood, then I'd appreciate your letting me know, and maybe even explaining why I'm getting the cold shoulder."

The artist is quiet for a moment, hair draping forward, partially hiding his features before he replies quietly, "Well, you learn something new every day." Blue eyes flicker over, studying Michael again through brown locks before he nods. "Fair enough. If she'll talk to me. She's still a bit pissed about me going to New York, amongst other things. Is just as likely to keep me in the dark out of spite than not. But sure, if I learn why she's treating you like yesterday's leftovers, I’ll pass it on. I suspect it's not about you … not directly at least." Shifting, Hugo takes another sip from his cup before rising up from his seat. "Time for a new perspective, but I suppose I'll be seeing you around. I'll be here for a few months - preparing for a special show here in Dallas. I'll make sure you get an invitation to the opening night."

Michael grins at the mention of tickets. "Oh, I wouldn't worry. I always get tickets to the opening night." He doesn't mention how, it's only then he moves back. "She's your sister, you're all she'll have unless I'm mistaken; she'll forgive you." He leans back in his seat. "And I'd think it very likely that you'll be seeing me around, I'm a common enough face of an evening."

Shoulders shrug. One less thing to remember then. "Forgiveness has little to do with opening up I find. But we'll see. I've made my choices, she's made hers, for better or worse." Eyes drift to the cup before Michael, a hint of mischief in them as he offers in farewell, "Enjoy your coffee…" before he turns and makes his way through the crowded shop, heading out the door and into the night to find a new place to sketch and study humanity with, perhaps, the occasional vampire thrown in the mix.

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