Meeting Over Music

Bass Clef Club

Bass Clef is a fair sized Jazz club with the lighting dimmed so that the booths and tables along the back and side walls of the cafe area are slightly shadowed and more private. Eight booths line the bricked walls, four on each side of the club. To get up into the booths there is a single step so that they are not on the same level as the rest of the floor. The walls are decorated with posters from past and upcoming events and entertainers. Several cafe-style tables have been set up in the center of the club with two to four chairs surrounding each. Closer to the bar there are taller tables, being close to forty-four inches in height so that someone could stand next to it and rest their elbows upon them as they leaned in against them.
Across from the large wooden door that is the entrance, there is a very short stage comprised of black marble. In the center of the stage is a grand piano, and enough room for the remainder of the jazz-band to set up. The stage is normally lit up with a spotlight, making it the most illuminated area in the entire club.
Settled on the right wall is the bar. The lights around the bar don't seem to be as dim as those in the rest of the club, but the lighting is still very low in order to keep the atmosphere of the rest of the establishment. Behind the bar the wall is done up in aqua-colored tile before the shelving for the various types of beverages; including soda. A door behind the bar presumably leads to the kitchen and storage areas.

People mill about, getting their drinks and food while piped in music plays, soft and sultry, setting the mood for the live music that is to come and spilling over and around the rumbles of voices in conversation that is occasionally is broken by a high-pitched bout of laughter as stories are told and jokes are made. The place is filling up fast with people eager to hear tonight's band, the famous Dallas Jazz Orchestra. Sadly, Dallas is possibly one of the worst cities in Dallas for jazz music. When looking into the matter Hugo was, quite frankly, quite appalled. No real theater shows, and most of the clubs honored talking and rude patrons over the actual music. He heard that Bass Clef Club would be different … here's to hoping. Elevated slightly at one of the booths, his goal is three-fold. Enjoy some music, enjoy some drinks and food, and people watch, which is one of things he does best. A sketch book rests on the table before him, his hand lazily doodling over the page as he watches the patrons settle themselves in. He looks past most of the happy couples, blue-grey eyes seeking out the obvious and less-obvious stories in the crowd tonight. He glances up as his waitress comes over with some spinach artichoke dip with crostini and his drink, a wickedly sensual smile given to her in return, his eyes following her as she moves off to fulfill the next order before drifting away again to the crowd.

And indeed it is crowded this evening. Aislin steps into the club and looks around, her purse held loosely over her shoulder as she arrives. The petite redhead frowns at the sight of the number of people gathered and purses her lips slightly. It's going to be difficult to find a place to sit and enjoy the music. She tilts her head from one side to the other before moving further into the club, peering around at the tables to seek either a familiar face or a friendly one.

The tables are definitely filling up fast, with pretty much all of them taken by a few people if not an entire group. Hugo's is one of the few with a seat to spare, mostly because he isn't familiar to anyone here, seeing as how he is new to the area. But his face certainly seems friendly enough, his lips readily quirking into a smile even if his eyes seem intent and intense as he studies the room. His eyes drift over to where Aislin is standing, searching the crowd, wondering what it is exactly that she is seeking. A lover? A friend? A free seat? He waits, quietly and patiently, till her gaze slips past his before catching her eyes and smiling, his head tilting slightly to the right, an invitation in those ocean eyes and promises on his smiling lips should she care to accept.

The woman before you is petite, standing just over five feet in height. Her skin is light, but there are hints of freckles across her nose and cheeks. Waist-length red hair is slightly curled and woven into a tight braid, though there are a few short strands of hair that refuse to stay pinned back and fall down to frame her face. Her bright green eyes observe the world around her, framed with eyelashes that are pale red to match her hair, unless painted with mascara.
A simple set of clothing covers her body, consisting of jeans and a t-shirt. The jeans are snug against her legs and tuck into a pair of brown high-heeled boots that give her about two inches of height. The t-shirt is dark blue and dips into a v-neck, though it's still modest. A simple black-banded watch is around her left wrist.

Aislin's own eyes travel about the room, searching quietly before finally settling on Hugo as his gaze catches her own. She offers him a pleasant smile and her path alters, angling towards him. It takes a bit of weaving before she manages to reach his table, but she eventually reaches him. "Hey," she greets warmly, slipping into the seat that was wordlessly offered earlier. "Apparently the club is popular tonight. I'm Aislin." Her purse is set into her lap and one hand lifts, extending towards him as she introduces herself.

He offers his hand as well, his grip firm but friendly, as he smiles over at Aislin. "Hugo. Well, this is one of the few clubs where people actually /come/ to listen to the music, and tonight is supposedly one of the more famous Dallas jazz bands so yeah, I think it might get busy," he offers with a wink. He pushes the appetizer toward her slightly, indicating that she should feel free to sample it should she wish as he asks, "Did you want something to drink or eat?" For the moment he closes his sketchbook and slides it to one side, his body shifting outward, readying to signal for a waitress should she want something. Ocean eyes shift back to meet green ones as he asks, "So what brings you here tonight? Clearly not company. The drink? The food? The music?"

Fingers curl snugly around his as he grasps her hand, a nod given as she files the name away. "A pleasure to meet you, Hugo." Aislin links her fingers in front of her and rests them on the table, glancing down at the appetizer plate briefly before allowing her hands to unclasp and bring one of the foods to her mouth. "Haven't had dinner yet, so both are on my list of things to do for the night. The music brings me here. The food isn't too bad either, but it's the music I enjoy." Aislin smiles at him and shrugs, eyes glancing towards the sketchbook briefly before lifting to meet his gaze again. "You?"

"A little of this, and little of that," Hugo answers, confirming her glance. "Here for the music. Food is a bonus. But mostly I'm here to watch and listen and maybe, if I see something I like, sketch. I prefer to work listening to music, so it's a win-win scenario. I'm new to the area, so I spend most of my time out, exploring Dallas, trying to figure out what makes this city tick, see if I can't find its pulse. So far though," he confesses with a laugh, "I'm not sure it has one! I'm hoping to be proved wrong though." Leaning against the table, he studies Aislin's face before noticing, "You're clearly not a native to the area though. How long have you been in Dallas?" Though not a native himself, almost all traces of Hugo's Dutch accent have been erased from his voice. Only someone with a sharp ear for dialects would notice any lingering hints.

One hand lifts to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear and she looks towards his sketchbook again as he mentions drawing. Aislin shifts and crosses her legs beneath the table, idly picking at the appetizer plate and slowly nibbling on the food. "You draw? Find anything interesting lately?" Her head tilts at the question of her heritage, a warm smile on her lips. "A few months now. I'm not from the area, no. As for a pulse… well, I'm undecided if it has one too. Some days it's busy, other days it's just totally dead."

"People are always interesting," Hugo returns with a wry smile, his eyes drifting out over the crowd as they start to settle in. "But I haven't found anything unique yet … anything that truly inspires me." His gaze comes back to hers, bright and determined as he counters that intensity with a casual shrug, noting, "I'm sure I'll find something though, soon. A little more research, a little more digging in the dirt to find something beautifully rough and unpolished. It's just a matter of time." He listens well, his attention fully focused on Aislin, his lips quirking as notes, "No offense, but I've known vampires more lively than this city. But I suspect that just means that it's just a little more … hidden. They say that about the South - that there is darkness and passion hidden beneath the gentility, the accent, the makeup and its grand history. Course, if I wanted the real thing I would probably go someplace less … citified. But that's not the job." Reaching for his drink, Hugo takes a sip before blowing out a breath. "I miss that about New York. It's a city, but it's pure and raw. Sure, it has its hidden secrets, but more often than not no one ever hesitates to tell me exactly what they think."

Aislin leans back casually, wiping her fingers clean on a napkin and folding them in front of her again. "It's tough to find inspiration these days," she agrees with a bit of a sigh. "I don't do a lot of songwriting. Just performing. And even that has been quiet as of late. Mostly performances for weddings and receptions and whatnot." She moistens her lips briefly, running her tongue over her lips as she glances around. "Vampires are indeed lively, but I'm content when they choose not to be. Met a couple nice ones, but I've met more nastier ones." Eyes return to him and she tilts her head curiously, eyebrows arching as he mentions New York. "What's New York like? I've never been there. I imagine it's a bit busier than Dallas."

"So you're a musician then," he comments, one brow lifting with interest and curiosity. "What do you play?" He scoops up some of the dip onto his crostini and munches on it contently noting, "Sometimes it takes awhile - lots of hard work but no real breakthroughs. Do you busk? Do some small shows, clubs?" He laughs, both at her commentary on vampires and her questions about New York. "Vampires are like people for the most part - some are nice, some are nasty, some are interested in making things happen and others are content to sit back and just watch the world slip past them." His shoulders shrug as he notes, "So far the vampires I've met here stretch that gambit, one rather passive and reserved, the other calculating and, I suspect, quite the piece of work. In the end, you can't really trust any of them. They …. we cannot understand their lives, experiences, power. And likewise, they can't remember what it is to be human. We still must look like mere chattel and livestock to most of them. I'll be curious to see how the integration plays out over time. Will they become more human? Is there a middle-ground? Who knows!" His expression grows thoughtful, a soft sigh expressing keenly how much he misses the city. "New York .. it's like no other place on earth. No other city. It is so beautiful and so ugly all at the same time. Alive 24/7, moving, bustling, people doing, being, creating, dreaming, climbing, destroying, changing constantly. So much to see, to do, to eat, to try, to experience. That city has a pulse that is racing, thundering with love and fear and excitement all at the same time." Hugo sighs again and rolls his head on his shoulders murmuring, "God, I miss it…."

"I am," Aislin affirms with a smile and a nod. "I sing. I'm a soprano. I also play violin and harp. So I have skills, but opportunities are a bit hard to come by." She releases a bit of a sigh, but the smile remains on her lips. "Don't busk. Haven't had many people interested in classical music for their clubs or shows." One arm lifts and her elbow rests on the table, hand coming up so she can rest her chin on her fist as she looks at him. "That's fair. Met just as many nasty non-vampires. But they don't tend to try and turn you into a meal." Her expression softens slightly as he reminisces about his time in New York, eyes never leaving his face as she gives him her attention. "Restless, are you? I'm sure you could find those things here. Just a matter of looking for them. What do you -want- to do? Why are you here if you miss New York?"

Shoulders shrug as Hugo counters, "Everybody's gotta eat. It's not like we can't make more blood. It could be seen as a donation to save a life in the end. Most humans aren't out to eat your blood, but it doesn't mean they aren't just as happy to spill it or worse." Is he talking from experience? Perhaps. His voice and features, however, don't give anything away, his smile easy, his gaze focused but not impassioned or pained. He chuckles softly and shakes his head. "I'm always restless, but this city wraps up and rolls in for the night early. Believe me, I've been looking. And I will keep on looking. But in the end Dallas isn't NY. No amount of looking is going to make it so. I can only hope that this city has something of value to offer instead. But what that is? I don't know. Yet." His head tilts as he lifts his glass, taking a few swallows of his beer before placing the glass down again. "Work. I've been contracted to do a show here in Dallas - something new, just for this city. Something unique and personal to Dallas. Another reason for why I'm looking. Why, in part, I'm here."

"Then why not go to blood banks? Or ask if someone is willing to offer their blood?" Aislin asks with a slow shake of her head. "Simply taking it… is wrong. And terrifying." She lifts her shoulders in a mild shrug, shifting slightly in her seat. Her other hand lifts, plucking up some food from the plate again to bring it to her lips. "Work is important. Pays the bills and puts food on the table. Hopefully it's interesting work for you. You aren't stuck staying at a hotel, are you? They paid for an apartment or something?"

"You have no argument from me there. Taking without asking, not acceptable. Didn't mean to suggest otherwise. As for blood banks … not sure that works. I think it has to be fresh for some reason, but I'm no expert on that." One hand lightly fingers the wrist of the other as Hugo's gaze is thoughtful, studying Aislin's face as he asks, "I'm guessing that someone forced you to give a donation without your permission?" Hugo's lips curl in pleasure at her question, his blue eyes glinting with mischief as he returns, "Something like that. I apartment swapped with a friend of mine. He's staying in my place in NY while I'm staying at his." Leaning into the palm of his hand, Hugo nods and replies, "Oh, it's definitely interesting work. I get to pretty much do whatever I want. Just the way I like it." He looks Aislin up and down as much as the table between them will allow, his gaze resting on her mouth for a moment as she takes a bite before lifting to her green gaze. "So why the US? Why did you leave Ireland?"

Aislin smiles lightly at him and shakes her head. "No, I've never been forced to give a donation. A few have tried. They just… haven't gotten anything from me yet." She shrugs and lifts her head from her hand, lowering her fingers to the table. The woman who's joined him at the table is petite and slender, seeming to possess rather little physical strength. "Well at least you enjoy your work. And I'm glad to hear you aren't stuck in a hotel. Because honestly… those suck." Her lips curve into a pleasant smile as he asks why she traveled over and she breathes deeply. "Not a lot of work in Ireland. Not for a musician. More work here."

"What about you? You have a flat? Sharing a house perhaps? I'm guessing since you've been here a few months, you're not staying in a hotel. Surely that would be too expensive to keep up over the long run?" Unless it's a pretty seedy place. Not like Hugo hasn't spent his fair share of time in those and worse. His lips quirk as he takes in her slender figure and her claim with a modicum of surprise, but also relief. "Well, good for you. So, do you likewise enjoy your work, or do you feel like you have to sell yourself rather than pursue the music that you want to play?" Speaking of music, the band as started to set up on the stage to the applause of the club around them, distracting Hugo for a moment, his eyes flickering to the stage to watch as they prepare their instruments with a relaxed and joking air, waving to the audience but not yet addressing them.

"Small apartment," Aislin tells him. "Not staying in a hotel, but I don't make -that- much money. I'd like to buy a house one day, but I have to gain a bit more fame before I can do that." She laughs quietly and scuffs one foot lightly on the floor, toes wiggling in her shoes. "I love my work. It's just hard sometimes. I have my name out far enough so that I can still make enough money to live, but I always aim for more. Have had a few people sort of offer me a gig or two, but they never followed through." Eyes shift over to the stage quietly as the band moves into place, a smile coming to her lips as she watches them prepare.

"So you play mostly classical music you said? Not trad? Have you considered joining an orchestra perhaps?" He leans back in his seat, opening his sketchbook once more and tilting it toward him till it's resting along the edge of the table on an angle. Eyes on Aislin, he starts drawing as they chat. "It's hard being an artist. Any kind of artist. Do you cave in to what is popular, what is 'in', or do you stay true to the voice inside of you? Do you sell out, or starve? Though I suppose with music it isn't quite as hard if you're not writing it. You can tell by listening whether you're 'good' or not. No judgment there, only levels of expertise. Creating new music, new art, is tricky though. Then you're at the whims of the public, what they like, what they think is 'good'. It's atrocious how much crap gets lauded while real quality works goes unseen and ignored."

"Orchestras aren't always looking for people," Aislin points out. "When they have their people, that's it. Until a slot opens up, I can't really join. I had an offer for a rock group. They needed a soprano and a violinist. But… they never got back to me." Eyes drop briefly to the table and she sighs a bit before the smile is rebirthed on her face. "I suppose I'll have more opportunities later. I'll just have to keep looking."

"Well, best of luck to you. I'd love to hear you play some time. Do you have a website or something?" His hand moves with casual grace, eyes flicking back and forth from Aislin's face to the paper before him. "A rock group? I thought you liked classical? Or are you just … flexible in your pursuits?" There is a rise in clapping as a man with a trumpet in his hands steps forward to take the mike, introducing the band and himself, the room quieting down though there is still the soft buzz of conversation as the band starts to play, the lights dimming down fractionally.

Aislin laughs quietly and shakes her head. "I can't afford a website. No, there is no website." Her legs unfold and she sinks down a bit in her chair, slouching comfortably. "I do like classical, but I don't mind rock either. Or jazz for that matter. I'm not fond of punk, but that's about it. I'm classically trained, but that doesn't mean I dislike the other options." Her attention turns towards the stage as the lights drop and the volume of people chattering starts to lower, eyes studying the trumpet player quietly. "Don't suppose you know anyone who needs a musician."

His brow lifts, a soft snort escaping Hugo as he retorts, "Can't afford a website? Of course you can. How do you expect anyone to /find/ you without one? Even if you can't afford to pay someone to build you a nice one, you should have /something/. Most musicians these days seem to lean toward a MySpace page. You need something out there. Samples, videos, this is a viral culture. If you're not on the internet, then you don't exist." The words are harsh, but his tone isn't. Just matter of fact and to the point. A quick smile flicks the corners of his mouth upward as he continues to draw musing, "Alas, I don't know of anyone who is looking for a musician, but perhaps I can speak to the gallery - see if a little live music for the opening night would be in order…"

Aislin's eyebrows arch slightly. "Word of mouth! Advertisements in like… wedding shows and whatnot…" She chews on her lower lip as she considers that for a moment before sighing. "I don't know anything about computers, Hugo. Heard of MySpace and whatnot, but I don't know what to do with them," she admits. Her eyes drop to the drawing as he sketches, watching the movements of his hands. "If they need live music, that'd be great."

Sighing softly, the artist rejoins, "Do you at least have a business card?" Clearly 'word of mouth' and 'advertisements' are simply insufficient in Hugo's eyes. His voice has dropped lower, so as not to interfere in the pleasure of the music, but it's still a warm audible rumble as he shakes his head and tries not to be too cruel. "Aislin, it's 2005. You need to catch up or the world will leave you behind. If you like, I could introduce you to this internet thing, get you started. But it will cost you. Not money though, since I know you're low on that. But you could … barter for my services?" He looks up at her, his head lowered to the page, blue eyes peeking rakishly past dark lashes and locks of brown hair, his voice teasing and seductive.

That does cause her to perk up a bit and she smiles brightly. "I -do- have a business card!" Aislin reaches into her purse and withdraws a small folded wallet-like item, opening it up to reveal a number of business cards. She pulls one out and hands it over to him before closing up the holder and dropping it into her purse again. An eyebrow arches slightly at the mention of bartering and she looks him over briefly. "Barter for your services?"

Hugo slips her card into the breast pocket of his black silk shirt, still eyeing Aislin with a wicked smile through those locks of hair that fall over his brow when he leans forward. He chuckles softly and nods, offering, "Model for me and in exchange I'll help you create an internet presence. I think that's a fair trade, don't you?"

Blink blink stare. "Model for you?" Aislin looks a bit confused more than anything. "I've never been asked to be a model before." Eyes narrow slightly as she squints at him, head canting to one side. "I don't have to be naked, do I? I just met you, and modeling isn't exactly something I'm familiar with. I'm not prone to immediately stripping my clothes off."

"Relax," he assures her with another rakish smile which ordinarily would belie his words. "I won't ask you to do anything that you're not comfortable with. It's an arrangement that only lasts for as long as it is mutually satisfying. I can give you a list of references, if you have any concerns, of course." He shrugs and notes, "There's really nothing difficult about modeling, other than sometimes a pose can be hard to hold. Basically I’ll have you pose in a particular position, maybe have you wear something specific for said pose, you hold it for as long as you comfortably can, then take a break, then resume the pose. So on and so forth. Very easy."

Aislin considers his proposal for a few moments, moistening her lips again and breathing deeply. His explanation seems simple enough. "Well… I think I can handle that. I'm used to sitting in one place for extended periods. Of course, I'm usually playing an instrument at the time." She smiles lightly and shrugs. "Sure, why not? Sounds like fun. Works for you and it works for me. Gets my name out. What did you have in mind, anyway?"

Shrugging, Hugo replies, "I have /no/ idea. But I'm sure some will come to me. Maybe for this show … or maybe for something else entirely. Just have to see how the muse strikes me. But I'm currently looking for models and since you have a need that I can fulfill, bartering for one another's services seems a far better idea than just outright hiring you. Especially as, as you say, you're not a professional in the field of modeling." Laying a hand over his heart, or more specifically the pocket he put her card into, Hugo murmurs, "I'll give you a call. We'll arrange a time that's convenient for you and go from there. Sound good?"

"Sounds good," Aislin agrees with a smile and a nod. "You need a model and I need to get my name out. Seems like a fair trade to me!" She folds her hands together and rests them on the table again, looking towards the stage as the musicians play. "I'm hardly an expert, though. So I hope I don't waste your time. I suppose only time will tell, right?"

"Like I said, if it's not mutually advantageous, either one of us can cancel at any time. No strings, no onus, no hard feelings." Signaling to the waitress, Hugo indicates he wants a refill on his glass and turning to Aislin asks, "Shall we indulge in some food and drink and enjoy the music for awhile?" After all, she did come here to listen to music, not talk business. And likewise Hugo wants to draw and listen and while talking does not interfere with the former, it isn't as ideal for the latter.

"Perfect." Aislin flashes him a warm, pleasant smile, seeming rather happy with the arrangement. "Food and drink sounds great. The fact that there's music just makes it even better." She straightens up in her seat and rolls her shoulders a bit, settling comfortably and focusing the majority of her attention on the stage in front of them.

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