Another Round... of Questions

Rock'n'Bowl - Pool Hall

Dingy. At least that's what it seems like it is in here. The walls in the room are painted with a dark, smoky grey, which in no way brightens the area up. Surprisingly, the floors in this room are carpeted a near matching color - to keep the noise to a minimum, though the noise of the lanes down below can still be heard over the music. There are a half dozen pool tables set up in here as well as a snooker table, with just enough space in it to keep people from hitting one another with cues as they take their shots. Hanging above each table is a long bar which holds three lights, angled downward casting a somewhat shadowy glow upon the green felt. Recessed indentations on either wall allow for cue racks and chalk. A few small side-tables and chairs are set along the perimeter of the room, where one can leave their glass or belongings while they play.

It's not often that Ivan feels the need to get together the few reliable guy friends that he has. But then again, it's not often that a man gets engaged. With a broad, easy smile, the man is kicking back and relaxing at the Pool Hall, leaning up against a wall as he awaits his turn. His buddies are boisterous and drunk, but this man has laid off of the alcohol wisely and seems to be quite calm and collect.

Question is: What is Chloe doing here at the pool hall? It's not her usual hangout, and it's far from a place she wants to be. Too much drunken noise.

Answer is: Chloe contacted Ivan's office to see if he was in, as she wanted to discuss with him the ribbon, as well as his offer. The secretary directed her here, with a bit of a smirk in her voice. Obviously thinking that she was about to get Ivan in trouble with one of his straggling exes. Still, she enters and manages to not look too out of place. Simple, casual clothing is worn, as well as a lot of makeup in order to hide the still-purple bruise on her cheek.

"Hold on, guys - you know what, I'll cover the next round." Ivan's declaration is met with hollering and cheering from the man's three mates. And with that proud task on his shoulders, Ivan puts away his pool stick and shoves his hands into his pockets, moving to saunter over to the concession area. In the process, leading him right into a certain redhead… "Oh! Hey there!" He greets brightly, an open smile on his face.

There's the man in question. Chloe eyes him, and the smile. Immediately, without saying a word, she starts trying to rifle through his mind to find out what's got him so happy. "Your secretary said I could find you here. I don't want to take you away from whatever party you're having though. It can wait…" She takes a breath and turns to go, so as not to bother him further. Trying to be a decent friend.

Kind of sucks when a man can't even be happy without being suspicious anymore. The riffling through his mind will be very fruitful, because Chloe will find, very clearly, the fact that Ivan is newly engaged. And ecstatic and scared shitless. "What? Oh - no, don't worry about it. S'just a little get together with some of my friends, no big deal. Why were you looking for me?" There's a pause, followed by a concerned frown. "Is there something wrong? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine," Chloe says, forcing a smile to the forefront. She's amused that he can't see the bruise through the makeup. Maybe that salve Josephine left for her is actually working? "Engaged, huh? Congratulations." She takes a deep breath, then glances around the pool hall. "Just remember what I said about that?" The smile becomes more friendly, more genuine. "The counter ribbon… I just wanted to know how it worked. Do I just wear it all the time for the next few months?"

It's the bum lighting. Plus the fact that he hasn't had the time to notice the bruise quite yet - though Ivan's concerned inspection ends up revealing the mark to him. And immediately, he sobers up. "What happened?" He demanded, cool and just a little harried. She ought to be able to tell where his mind jumps initially - to blaiming vampires. They are the root of all evil. "How did - ah. I forgot. Yes, but that's unimportant right now. Chloe, did someone…strike you?" He'll ignore talk of the ribbon for now. This is more important.

The truth, or a lie? Chloe goes with the modified truth she's been telling anyone that asks. "Oh… right. The bruise." She wrinkles her nose. "I got in the middle of something at a bar. Silly, right? It'll heal. Nothing's broken. It just looks bad because I've got such a light complexion." Not scary pale, but paler than most. Bruises tend to show up darker and last longer thanks to that. "No, Ivan. What's important is that you are engaged. That's a far way to come from the guy checking out that young girl at the sushi place."

Ivan doesn't look quite convinced. After all, the women he surrounds himself with often try and downplay their pain. But, he can't exactly tell if Chloe's lying, he doesn't know her tells well enough. And so, liking his lips thoughtfully, he reaches forward to brush his fingers against her bruised cheek gently. "Yeah? Was that all? Okay…just be careful, Chloe." Sometimes, Ivan feels like a broken record - it seems that's all he says these days. But, since she seems convinced she wants to move on, he obliges with a small smile. "Yeah. Heh. I know. Kind of a…big deal, isn't it? Who'd have thought."

"Ivan, do you think if a vampire did this, he'd still be alive? Will wouldn't allow it." Okay, that is a flat out lie, but Chloe's gotten good at hiding stuff from concerned people. It's why she's kept her plans from her family. "I'm always careful. But geeze, let me take care of this round for you, okay?" Motioning for him to go to the bar to place the order, she pulls out her purse and yanks out her credit card. "Not trying to outdo Bobby, I hope? Since we'll sort of be family, I'm hoping that the two of you can put the past behind you…"

"I never said it was a vampire who did it!" Ivan just thought it, is all. But when she offers to cover the expenses, Ivan laughs, shaking his head liberally. "No - no, really, it's okay. You don't have to, Chloe. You don't, I swear. I…" Beat. "Oh…err… four beers, please?" Once the order has been put down, Ivan's eyes are cast over to Chloe once again, though he finds himself rolling his eyes with clear distaste. "This has nothing to do with Hope's wedding, at all. And I've already outdone Bobby, by not being a cheating asshole. There's nothing to put behind. But the fact of the matter is I don't respect him and I never will." There are numerous other mean and downright cruel things Ivan's thinking about Robert, but aware that his family is in the vicinity, he's trying to cut down and be nice.

"You didn't have to say it, you were thinking it." Winking at him, she hands the card over to the bartender. "Make it four beers and a gin and tonic, please." Why not have a drink while she's here? It's not like one is going to push her limits, and she should at least toast Ivan once. "Good. You don't have to respect him, I'm not going to force that issue. I just don't want you two at each other's throats when I'm gone. If you can be civil? That's all I ask." The cruel thoughts have her giving him a stern look, and she shakes her head. "So the ribbon then? I just keep wearing it? How long will it take it to work?"

Ivan grins sheepishly, lifting a hand to run through his hair self-consciously. "So…what do you think about it? You know…m getting engaged and all." He's seen and is anticipating mixed reactions, and for a man as concerned with the opinions of others as Ivan, this is a legitimate question. "I don't plan in being in his company much, period. So I wont be at his throat, I don't think, you know? I can be civil. I can be very civil." Beat. "Hm? Oh! Right! Heh. Yeah, just wear it. Primarily when the dude affected is in the vicinity. It ought to cancel out the superimposed love vibes."

There is a very heavy sigh that's exhaled and a look given to Ivan. "Civil at the wedding. And keep in mind, Ivan, the two of you are marrying twins. Chances are, you'll be in his company more than you want. You. Are. Going. To. Be. Family." Each word is accentuated to press the fact that they're going to be related via marriage. "I think it's strange, but if you're happy? Then I'll be happy for you. That's what matters, right?" That's her reaction. It's mixed. It's truthful. She has made her thoughts about them moving in together known, and now this? It just seems pretty quick. So she has to ask, "She's not pregnant, right? Because that's a really stupid reason to get married."

Ivan shrugs his shoulders idly. "We're dating twins, and I barely see him now. Don't know why that'd change once we have our own families to tend to and all. In fact, I barely see Hope too - and I'm not even avoiding her anymore." But then, he pauses. To allow her words to really sink in. "…Strange? Strange how? Why? I don't see what's so str-ack!" He chokes, literally, when she asks if Faith is knocked up. "N-no! Oh god. No. She's not."

"Twins are strange like that, but you know that, Ivan. Female twins, especially if both are having families, tend to like to be around each other more often." Chloe remembers reading that somewhere or other. The drinks are offered out on a tray, and Chloe takes hold of it. Marching it over to the table of Ivan's friends. Setting it down, she grabs her gin and tonic. Holding it aloft, she winks at Ivan. "Congratulations, Fontane!" She waits for the clink of glasses, then adds, "I'm glad you're not being forced into it." A sly grin on her face and she turns her back to the guys and sticks her tongue out at her friend.

Ivan follows along doggedly after Chloe because…really, what other option does he have? And so, she makes herself at hom with his friends, who crowd around her (read: the drinks) brightly and easily. And Ivan picks up his own with a slightly frown, and he clinks the glass with her before taking a swig. "Thanks! Gee, thanks everyone…Ah, Chloe? Mind if I ask you a quick question?" And he grabs the edge of her shirt, trying to lead her away from his pals a little. "Why strange? You never answered me!"

Dragged away from the group of men, the telepath snickers. "I didn't think you had it in you. You never really struck me as the settling down type. Why do you think I was so hard on you at Sakura?" Shaking her head, Chloe grins. "Now, I've got a question for you. That job offer… still on the table? If so, what are the benefits, the pay and the caveats?"

Ivan blinks. Once, then twice. "Well…what did you think, that I was going to be an eternal bachelor for the rest of my life?" Ivan inquires, brows arching. "C'mon…it can't be that strange…not in the past month or two…can it?" Beat. As to her question, rhetorical or not… "Honestly? Because you were jealous I wasn't checking you out, that's why I thought you were so hard at me. Err…heh. The Job offer? Yeah. Yeah, it still is. The caveat? You're going to work with me. And I mean with me, not for me. It's cooperative, you tell me what I need to know, and…well. I'm going to have to trust in you, just as you're going to have to trust in me. Can you do that?" The pay and the benefits are listed afterwards.

"Stranger things have happened. I mean, you seemed to be that pushy little playboy type. I can't stand that in a man." Never mind that her brother is something of the sort, or was, even though he avoided relationships rather than relish in them. "Oh, sweetie, if I really wanted you to be checking me out? I would have primped and preened just like that bimbo was doing. I'm not that type of girl, and even with your ability to hide your mind behind an illusory wall, it would have pissed me off every time I could 'hear' you looking at someone else."

If things were different? If they weren't who they were? Who knows how that situation might have played out. Chloe's just happy they got past all that and she's got a friend she can talk to about both sides of things instead of just 'become a vampire' 'don't become a vampire' that she gets from people on either side of that thought.

"Then I have to know one thing. Are you planning on using me against them? Manipulate me into doing something that's against them? If not, I can come by the office tomorrow and we can set up the paperwork."

Ivan grins doggedly, sipping from his beer once again. "I've never been pushy. I guess I could have been categorized as a playboy, however. And, heh. So, it'd piss you off if I looked at anyone else…which means that I was right, then? And that you wouldn't have been pissed off if I was looking at you?" Ahem. Anyway, time to sober up! "Ah…I'm not going to be using you, Chloe. You're not going to be a tool. But…a comrade. I don't plan on using you period. Nor do I plan on going against them, unless strictly necessary. What I do plan on doing, however? My best to ensure the safety of the human community. I would hope I could count on you for help with that."

Snort. "Ah, no. If we were together at the time? It'd probably piss me off. Why do you think I stick with them rather than hang around a bunch of humans all the time?" It's a fair enough assessment. She likes not being able to read what's on their minds. At this point, she's delving into Ivan's mind as much as possible. To get a grasp as to what he's really planning. "Just so long as you know going in that I'm deathly loyal to Will, okay? If you plan on doing something that's going to really hurt him, I'm siding with him." Smitten, give her life for him, in love. "But I'll help you then. Besides which, if Faith doesn't feel like attending social events with you, there'll be less speculation if your assistant or aide is attending them with you than some random librarian."

Ivan quirks his brow upwards, smiling then. "That wasn't the question I was asking, but I think I already got my answer anyway." That's all Ivan needs to say, and all Ivan will say. His mind is fairly easily dissected, and it's clear he's thinking of using her with humans mostly - since her telepathy doesn't quite work against vampires, he's come to find out. "Of course. Well…then, having you on board'll just be one more way to solidify our relationship right? But…" He pauses then, turning to look at her solemnly. "I need to know you wont sell me out to your boyfriend. That you haven't just been sent to spy on me."

"Funny. The two of you think so much alike." Chloe shakes her head. "No, I need out of the library, and away from Mischa. I'm taking the job for purely selfish reasons. Besides, if he really wanted to know what's going on in McNaab's office, he'd likely already have a plant. It's the Sheriff you'll likely have to worry more about." And the telepath does not do anything for the Sheriff if she can avoid it. "Look, I wanted to ask you something else too. I've run into this guy a few times, and he's not a vampire. Absolutely not. But I can't read him at all. Even just a tiny peek gives him a headache. Do you know anything that would cause that, or any way to build up such a block that it's part of who you are?"

Ivan looks to her, then. Silent and slowly. He purses his lips then. "I wish I could believe that entirely. And I hope you don't take that the wrong way…you know? If he told you to betray me - would you?" There's silence, then. As well as the narrowing of his eyes. "Huh. I don't know, Chloe. I don't. Who is he? This…guy?"

"Jesus, Ivan. I'm my own person." Chloe gets a little huffy at that, feathers a bit ruffled, hackles raised. "Will isn't like that. In fact, it's the opposite. He figures you are going to use me against him." She downs a good majority of her gin and tonic, and then eyes him during the silence. "His name is Skylar Murphy. He owns a blacksmith shop I guess? Sky Blades. He snuck up on me in the library, and you know how hard that is to do when I'm paying attention. Then it was the same when I saw him at the Heritage Village. Only I could tell he was like a mind inside a void. It's really weird. But if he can keep me out, then maybe there's someone else out there that can…" That's non vampiric.

"You didn't answer the question," Ivan points out faintly, pursing his lips. "If Will turned to you and asked you to spy on me, to betray me - would you? I absolutely believe Will, as you like to call him, is like that if he sees advantage in it. And I need to know your response to that question before we go any further." Beat. "Ah…anyway. I've never heard of that. Strange."

"Would you rather I call him Boba Fett? His name is Will Grant," Chloe says, before finishing off the rest of her drink. "I'm not a spy. The only way that there would be anything of the like going on is if it was a direct order." Her voice lowers as she sets her glass down on a random table. "A Child has to do whatever a Sire orders. I will not allow that to happen." Period. End of discussion.

"I've never heard of it either. Can you see if it's something witchcraft related though? If it's something as simple as that, I'd like to know. It could mean that I don't have to become a vampire…"

"I don't know. I can close of my mind to you…sometimes. I don't know if I use magic to do it, but I do it. And…so. You would then, if you were asked. Huh." Ivan is eyeing Chloe rather strangely, as though she's a piece of a puzzle that doesn't exactly fit. After a while however, he finds himself letting out a generic sigh with a shrug of his shoulders and a sip of his drink. "I'll think on it later."

"Ordered," Chloe points out. "It's not that I would it's a… well I don't know. I guess like a compulsion? Like a glamour, only it's in the blood not the mind? I don't understand how it all works, just what I've been told. Kind of like… when you're a kid and you have to do what your parents tell you to do, right? Since you're obligated to them?" That's how she understands it anyway. "Find out for me, Ivan? If you do, I promise I will do everything in my power to get myself out of that situation. I'm not a betrayer. I'd quit if I had to in order to avoid it, okay?"

"Find out what for you, exactly?" Ivan wants to clarify. But then, finally, he finds himself thinking over her words, before nodding. "I probably shouldn't, but I believe you. Okay. That's as much as I can ask for."

"If that whole Jedi mind-trick is a witchcraft thing." Chloe appears to be on a Star Wars kick this evening. "He's not a telepath, I'd know. I can feel them. I can tell." Biting her lip, she reaches out and gives him a hug — much to the amusement of the guy-friends at the table. "Congratulations again, Ivan. I'm glad at least one of us gets to live a happy, normal life."

"Alright. I will. Just leave it to - !" Ivan trails off, sliding into clear surprise as the woman hugs him. He freezes, but soon afterwards, loosens up, and even goes as far as to return the embrace. Closely and emphatically. There's a smile on his face again. "Heh. Thank you, Chloe. I…yeah. That's the hope. I'm happy now, I am. And one day, you will be too."

Releasing him, Chloe winks at the boys. "Don't go getting too drunk, Fontane. We've got a business meeting in the morning, and I swear if you're hungover? I'm going to be as noisy as possible." With that being said, she turns to leave him to his night. He deserves to be out celebrating with the boys, and she's taken up plenty of his time already.

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