To Absinthe Friends


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.

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With a glass of the namesake of the club pressed against her lips, Ella looks quite comfortable perched up on one of Absinthe's bar stools. She is angled slightly to better hear a pair of sorority girls share a "funny" story about the latest frat party. The blonde smiles, but it's a bit faint, and she looks rather distant from the group. Deciding they have had enough for the evening, the girls hook arms and depart so they may hit up the next bar. Ella stays behind, draining the rest of her green drink and ordering a replacement martini. "Can I have an extra olive, please?" she asks the bartender in a hopeful tone.

The door to Absinthe opens, and Desiree steps inside from a damp, Dallas night. The rain is light, but promises to remain falling for hours yet. Low lying clouds hover above the city, and the humidity is high. All that doesn't seem to bother Desiree; she's cool as a cucumber in a lavender gown that makes her look almost ethereal. She stops inside the door, scanning the crowd, and finally spots a familiar face seated at the bar. She seems almost regal as she negotiates her way to the bar, smiling as she says, "Good evening, Ella. I wouldn't have pictured this as your kind of place, but it's nice to see you. Fortunately, "open mike" night hasn't begun, and there is only soft music in the background. "Is this seat taken?" is asked, Desiree nodding to the empty stool beside the blonde. Those around Desiree catch a whiff of an exotic perfume. The only things which seem out of place is a cast on her left arm, and the dark purple silk scarf wrapped around her throat.

It comes as a bit of a shock to hear her name - Ella swivels, grasping the edge of the counter with one hand to make sure she doesn't suddenly fall off the stool. She is generally very balanced and poised, but all the alcohol has mellowed her out quite a bit. A hand moves to self-consciously tug at her very simple black dress. "Everywhere is my place," she explains - though it may sound odd, she certainly seems to believe it herself. "It's nice to see you too. Cindi and Mindi and Lindi just left so they could make the late-night wet t-shirt context at Alpha Delta Nu. Thank goodness. Please, do sit." There's a very slight edge of sarcasm in her voice there as she comes up with three appropriately stereotypical names. She punctuates her words with a small laugh, before she takes a long sip of her fresh martini - extra olives included.

"Thanks," Desiree says, smiling as she slides onto the empty stool. She seems perfectly at ease in the evening gown; certainly there's no dress code that says she must be garbed otherwise. "I see," is said in regards to the "my place" comment, and there's a sparkle of humor in Desiree's eyes. "I'll have to remember that. Hope you don't mind me partaking of your place." A wink and the bartender is greeting her by name. "Sure, David. The works. None of that synthetic stuff either. I want the real thing." She is, apparently, well known here. "What're you having?" is asked as the bartender turns away. "Oh… did you fix it yourself, or was it poured?" The inquiry will make sense when David sets a rather odd contraption in front of Desiree. Made of wrought iron, it appears to be quite old. A dish of sugar cubes is set beside it, along with a glass of slightly darker green than Ella's drink. The last thing to be set in front of Desiree is a small, cut crystal glass.

It has seemed that Michael has been spending more time than he would usually at Absinthe, usually he's much more likely to go for the Bass Clef, or Mary's but for the second night in a row he's at Absinthe, he enters the room with the usual casual confidence he almost always exudes, and almost immediately, almost as though expecting them to be there his eyes come to rest on Desiree and Ella, he makes his way towards the bar, managing to slip through any crowds without any difficulty, he arrives at the bar deliberately close to the pair, he offers them a nod. "Desiree, Ella." He offers one of his rarer smiles to the pair before turning his attention to the bar and ordering a TruBlood.

The blonde woman gives a solemn nod, her expression entirely serious. "I don't usually come here because I am as broke as a joke these days, but the boss was nice enough to give me more hours at the front desk and another class to teach on the weekends." Ella lifts one of the olive-skewed-toothpicks out of her martini to her lips, sliding the morsel off with her teeth. "What's that?" she inquires with a lift of her brow, nodding toward the… machinery now placed in front of Desiree at the bar. She appears curious, swinging her legs a little, but she's unobtrusive other than her question - she peers at it from afar, even leaning back slightly on the stool. "Good evening," she greets Michael with a polite smile and a more friendly finger-wiggle wave.

"This," Desiree replies, "is the proper way to fix and drink absinthe. Observe." She then begins the very slow, almost arcane preparation of the drink, first securing a sugar cube into a holder, then lighting a match and holding it to the sugar as the liquid is poured drop by drop onto the cube. As it soaks through, it's caught in the small glass. Not too long afterward, the glass fills and it's ready for drinking. "So. This is what they were talking about in 'Moulin Rouge,' when they were chasing the Green Fairy." Desiree, it would seem, is very knowledgeable when it comes to absinthe. "Of course, the U.S. doesn't allow the very strong European absinthe. That's practically an hallucinogen." Then she sees a familiar face, and nods. "Evening, Michael." She doesn't seem overly surprised to see the vampire here. "I didn't know you knew Ella. It really is a small world."

Michael inclines his head to Ella. "Good evening." He then turns his attention back to Desiree. "True Absinthe is apparently a very… lucid experience, people tend to claim incredible personal epiphanies, of course some people just do crazy things like cut off their ears." He smiles faintly watching the ritual with his usual interest. "We actually met in the club yesterday, before you arrived." He turns his attention back to Ella. "So how are you ladies this evening?"

"Ah. Well. Interesting. The absinthe I had a moment ago wasn't entirely weak either, though." Ella watches and nods politely, but doesn't look /entirely/ fascinated. "I've never seen that movie," she murmurs with a quick shake of her head. "We met briefly last night," she explains to Desiree. "It's good to see you again." Lifting her martini glass, she smiles a bit wryly. "Much better now. And you?" She comfortably rests an arm on the counter, leaning against it ever so slightly.

"Indeed, but, as you can see, both my ears are quite firmly attached." There's humor in her tone, and laughter in her eyes. "Ah, I see," she says, nodding at Michael's mention of having met Ella the day before. "We work together at the AVL," Desiree explains. "Oh, not in the same department, but we both volunteer our time there. There are times when I'd trade the PR department for the phones." She lifts the small glass and toasts both of those with her. "What shall we drink to?" There's a moment when she's silent, then, "Ah, I have it— to friends old and new." Then she sips from her glass. "If you're interested, I'll fix you one and you can taste the difference. Mine is less like a stick of licorice. Smoother. Sweeter."

Raising his own glass Michael shakes his head. "Ah yes, but I seem to recall someone beginning to take an unhealthy interest in the concept of flight last time she drank absinthe." He too sounds amused. "Be careful." He looks to Ella with his standard mask of neutrality. "I can't complain, one evening is usually the same as the next." He then looks back to Desiree. "As for a toast… I think it's customary to begin such toasts… 'To absent friends'?"

"Mm. I'm sure you wouldn't want to return to us lowly phones," Ella murmurs a bit wryly. As her martini glass is now completely drained, she moves on to ordering a new beverage: a screwdriver. Swirling the orange juice and vodka around in her glass, the bright hue of her new drink seems to perk her right up. "I'll pass, but thank you. If it's as strong as you say it is, I'll wait to try it one night when I'm not already rather inebriated." Flashing a grin, she raises her glass to toast with the others.

Desiree laughs at what Michael says, a faint blush on her cheeks. "Well, it was a beautiful night for flying, as I recall," she says with a wink. To Ella, she explains, "This isn't the European brew. It's much lighter, only a little stronger than what you drank already. But, I can certainly understand not wanting to drink on top of drinking." She eyes the new drink. "If I mixed alcohol like that, I'd be heaving my toenails up in a matter of minutes. You must have a stomach of iron." THe way she says it, the words are a compliment to Ella's stamina. "Oh, I don't know. Being no phones was nice. You got to talk with people, connect with them. Up in PR, there's not that opportunity for personal contact. It's almost too lofty a perch, you know? Too distanced from the people we're trying to reach."

"It's the one skill from my one and a half semesters of college that translated into the real world," Ella muses, smiling fondly at the memories. "I learned to drink these like water," she admits, before taking a long sip. "At least you don't have to deal with the people who call just to spew hatred. That is the unfortunate downside. Plus, I'm sure you love being on TV, right?" Waving a hand dismissively, she leans back in her seat and lightly rests her hands on the edge of the counter. "You have a point. Actions speak louder that words."

Desiree nods at Michael's explanation of absinthe, agreeing. "Yes, the pre-ban vintage was a lot stronger than present day absinthe. I wonder if there's any of the original left. If so, it must be priceless." There's something wistful in her tone. "Of course, there's no way to get it past customs— " She stops. "Correction. No way for humans to get it past customs and into the U.S. They're very strict about that." She sips the drink slowly, enjoying the rush of warmth as it slides down her throat. It's likely Michael can hear the pulse of her alcohol-infused blood as it circulates. It's when he begins discussing his opinions of what the AVL does that Desiree grows very still, very quiet. She listens, but at the end— particularly at his comment of "smiling for the cameras" —that her expression turns slightly dark. "A very interesting opinion," she says, voice soft and schooled to perfect neutrality.

There's very little for Ella to add to this conversation, so she takes it as her cue to leave. With a little shove she pushes herself off the stool and to her feet. Even with heels on, she's still pretty short. With one last swig, her screwdriver is gone. "It was lovely to see you both, but I will leave you be and bid you good evening. Enjoy," she dips her head, and gestures toward her empty seat so Michael may sit down.

"So you have said," Desiree agrees, glancing then to Ella. "Lovely to see you, as well. I'll be at the AVL tomorrow, so perhaps we can have lunch?" she offers. "I know of a darling little bistro right around the corner. Good food, decent prices. I've eaten there quite a few times, and I think you'd like it." She smiles warmly to Ella. "Are you able to drive? I'd hate for anything to happen to you." But her friend seems well able to walk. "All right then, be safe, Ella." Once the other girl leaves, Desiree turns to Michael. "You have, as always, some very good points. My suggestion is to visit the AVL and discuss your ideas. It may be simply no one has thought of those things. Or, why don't you open a store that stays open all night. A high end store, not a Wal*Mart type deal. Surely other vampires would be interested in the idea and invest."

Michael nods to Ella. "Enjoy the rest of your evening." He turns back to Desiree, his expression mildly amused. "It's not a matter of getting vampires what they need.. at least not directly. I have no trouble getting that which I want, few vampires do, we've had a long time to learn the tricks. It's a matter of the Leagues image, and besides one meeting he arranged when I first arrived I've been unable to arrange a meeting with Braedan. These things are all important steps in my mind of getting the League to become a truly effective force for the cause of equality." He smiles faintly. "Not that I don't approve of their work, I'm highly impressed at how well they're doing in pushing through equality laws." He shrugs. "I fear I have fallen into the trap of neutrality these days. I risk losing much if I join the League." He shakes his head. "But that is certainly not something we should discuss too casually." He frowns a little to Desiree. "If you have no objections I would accompany you back to the studio? I have a few things there I'd like to collect, and I'll admit there are other matters I'd like to discuss."

"I'll be fine. I live in the projects, I'm used to it. They know me. I don't bother them, they don't bother me." Ella straightens up and totally pretends to be awesomely brave for living in the really crappy part of Dallas. "I actually don't work at AVL tomorrow, but the day after maybe? That would be nice, as long as it's not, ah, too expensive." Tucking her hair behind both ears, she lifts her chin. "Good evening to you both." And there she goes, slipping off into the night.

"I don't mind, no. What is it you'd like to discuss?" Desiree asks, slightly wary. "I wasn't planning on making it a late night. Just have a drink and head home. I take it you'll follow me in your car?" she asks, summoning the bartender. "Thanks, David. Drinks were wonderful as always." She pays the man, and waves off the change. "Whenever you're ready, Michael," Desiree says, sliding off the bar stool. "I drive pretty slow these days, since it's hard to control the wheel with my arm in a cast. So, if you want to, you can meet me there. You know where the spare key is." And since she's not rescinded his invitation, he's still welcome in the apartment.

Michael pauses for a moment finishing his drink, he seems to give the next statement a moments thought, his words once again coming with that hesitant lack of confidence. "I think we should discuss the… intention of our conversation yesterday. I think we may have had different meanings." He nods. "I'll meet you there." He too pays and tips the barman as he finishes his drink although no words are shared, just a simple nod of the head. "I prefer as you may have noticed to have such discussions where they won't be overheard."

"As you wish," Desiree says, agreeing to the discussion. "I'll meet you there, then." She waits and walks out with Michael, leaving him to get into her own vehicle. The drive home is smooth; not a lot of traffic before 9:00pm when church is letting out. She spied Michael's car parked beside the studio as she pulls into her own parking space. Lights are on in the studio and upstairs. Desiree pauses outside her car, just looking upwards at the lighted windows. She can't help but wish Michael would have given her a little more time before having this discussion, but … better to get it over with now, perhaps. With some grim determination, Desiree heads inside the studio. No telling how this discussion will end.

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