Giving Thanks

Dallas Police Department

The lobby of the Dallas Police Department is primarily made up of white-washed brick and old, battered hardwood. Double glass doors lead into the building, a dark blue carpet spanning the length of the room to the Duty Desk. Painted on the wall behind the desk is the silver and blue seal of the department.

Off to the left of the lobby is a roped off section where people can stand in line to make requests or file minor statements and complaints. To the right is a low wall that blocks most of the offices and cubicles from public view, but still shows a certain amount of accessibility. Down that same hall are the holding cells and interrogation rooms, with the actual jail in the rooms below the building.

If there's one thing Hugo feels strongly about, it's expressing his thanks and appreciation when someone does him a favor. Granted, that in part is why he's in so much trouble now with Tareq, but then how was he to know that accepting the blood of a vampire when you're dying and then doing him favors out of gratitude afterward would make him said vampire's personal slave? That's the problem with vampires. The print isn't just small, it's invisible. For Chloe he bought flowers, for Paige? Well, Paige has received other forms of thanks and will continue to receive those and others. But for Max? Hugo's not really sure what one gets for an off-duty cop who risked his life to save yours only to get choked and nearly killed for his efforts. Flowers seem too girlie. A six-pack, too crude. Hugo is still pondering the matter when he walks into the police station and waits by the front desk till it's his turn, weight shifting from one foot to the other, his left arm in a heavy cast at his side. When he finally reaches the desk, he offers the frazzled looking woman there a small smile and rumbles, "Uh, hi. I'm looking for Officer Max Winters please?"

Miss Frazzled doesn't really act as though she's even heard Hugo initially. She finishes filling out a piece of paper and then glances up at him at the same time that she reaches for the phone. Then she proceeds to watch him as she presses several buttons, then waits. "Yeah, will you tell Winters that there's a," she pauses, arches a brow for the man's name, then continues with that or just 'a man', "here to see him." And then when she hangs up she offers him a service smile and says, "He should be here in a couple of minutes."

That's about all it takes, too. Maybe it's a slow day. When Max comes out, he's dressed in regular, downright casual clothes, and doesn't look much like a cop at all. There's only a brief look around before he knows exactly who's here to see him and heads that way. "Mr. Bosch. Something I can help you with?" He's assuming this is business.

Stepping aside, Hugo waits patiently and when the officer in question appears he offers his hand and studies his features. After all, he never met the man before now. He was unconscious when Max arrived on the scene and the officer left the hospital before Hugo had even come to yet. "Ahhh, no, not exactly. I just wanted to thank you. For coming to my aid a few weeks ago? I heard that you were injured in the line of duty and just wanted to express my appreciation for what you did and to offer to buy you a drink sometime, just to say thanks."

"Ah," Max says as though he's not really sure what to make of that exactly. He glances toward the frazzled woman, then back to Hugo and says, "It was nothing, really. It was my own fault, getting hurt. And, well…" His icy gaze drops toward the very obvious cast that Max couldn't keep the other man out of. "I'm sorry I couldn't have done more for you, Mr. Bosch." There's a pause, then, "I'd like a drink sometime, though."

"Hugo," he replies with a disarming smile. "I don't really care to be called Mr. Bosch all that much. It's a bit formal for me." His shoulder shrugs at Max's mitigating point, noting, "Well, you still got hurt trying to help me. That's more than most would do, though I suppose being a cop and all it's part of your duty." His warm blue eyes drop to the cast, another shrug of his opposite shoulder proffered as he notes, "Well, it was a difficult and complicated situation. Not much you could have done, really." He studies Max through his eyelashes, wondering just how much the police officer realize he was up against that night. "A drink then," Hugo agrees with a bright smile. "Heck, I'll even throw in some food if you like. Don't know when you get off duty but here," he offers, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a business card. "Whenever it's convenient for you." The card says simply ~Hugo Bosch ~ Artist~ and then lists his phone number and gallery website.

"Hugo," repeats Max with a small nod of his head. "Max," he says for his own behalf. "I'm off now, actually, if… well, if now would work?" He's probably not usually this prompt about picking up dinner and drinks from a grateful person he's helped out. "You get that sort of difficult and complicated a lot? I don't like not being much use to the public but some of them insist on sticking their head into the lion's mouth. So to speak." Which would be an odd statement if all Hugo knew was that he was hit by a truck and attacked by some crazy guy. "You're okay, though, right? Arm'll heal?"

His smile is ready and easy, a nod given as Hugo concurs, "Now is perfect, actually. What's your pleasure? Pizza? Steak? Simple bar food?" The fingers of his left hand wiggle, trying to ease an itch as the artist chuckles and shakes his head. "Lord, I sure hope not. But lately my life seems to be both difficult and complicated. Miscommunication is a bitch." Gesturing with his head toward the doors, he asks, "You need to finish up anything? Get your stuff before we go?" He is curious by Max's comment which hints that he knows more about what went on than Hugo did at the time, but he says nothing for now, seeing as how they're standing in the middle of the police department and it was never released to the press that Hugo's attacker was a vampire. Curious that. "Yeah, the doctor says the arm will be just fine. I'll need some physical therapy after the cast comes off, but the breaks were all clean. Didn't even need any pins or plates, thank God. Besides," he notes, raising his right, "This is the one with all the talent."

"Think bar food might go best with a drink or three," Max says but there's something lacking in his tone to make it seem like he's joking. Hugo might also notice that this is probably the cheapest option other than maybe pizza. "Yeah, I just need to wrap something up real quick. But I can meet you in a couple? Or… do you want to meet up at a bar instead?" Everything else he puts on the side burner for now. They can talk plenty once they're settled somewhere less… police department-y. He waits for an answer about what they're doing as far as getting where they're going before taking off to finish whatever he was doing.

"Choose whatever you're in the mood for," Hugo returns readily and with a nod he takes a seat on one of the waiting room benches, waving his right hand nonchalantly. "Go ahead and finish up whatever you need to. I'll just wait here." It'll be easier if they just go together most likely. And while Max is off, Hugo ponders what sorts of places might fit the bill. There's a tasty steakhouse not too far away from here. A couple of bars that he's not too familiar with, but probably have both the requisite drinks and the appropriate food. With a soft puff of breath, he leans his head against the wall and listens to the sounds of the station for awhile.

Except for some small bursts of activity here and there, the station is relatively quiet. Max returns soon enough, this time with a duffel slung over his shoulder and looking, if only slightly, more relaxed. "There's a place I like to hang out at. You ever been to Grisly?" In case Hugo hasn't decided on somewhere better by this point, at least. "Want me to drive?" he asks, shifting the duffel on his shoulder before gesturing toward the door for them to get a move on.

"Grisly? Nope! But I'm always interested in checking out new places," Hugo offers as he rises up to his feet. His lips quirk at the question as he reminds the officer, "Well, considering my car is toast and they don't like people driving around one-handed, that would be great if you could." Rising up to his feet, Hugo lets Max lead the way, following him out into the heat of the streets.

"How'd you get here?" Max wonders absently as he leads the way out toward where his car is parked, holding doors and even opening the door to his uncovered wrangler and helping Hugo in if he needs it then moving around, throwing his duffel into the back before getting himself in and taking off. He's a good driver, follows all of the rules of the road and generally seems laid back even when someone cuts him off. "Hope you don't mind that sorta… rustic feel." Which might be putting it rather nicely where the Grisly bar is concerned. But it's right across the street from a garage that Hugo's probably familiar with.

"I caught a cab. I could have walked but in this heat and with this monster on my arm, a cab seemed just easier." Hugo manages to get into the car on his own, but each time a door is opened and held for him he gives Max a quick smile and a mumble of 'thanks'. Once on the road, Hugo's gaze shifts to look out of the windows, turning back at Max's comment, one brow lifting curiously as he echoes, "Rustic? Hmmmm. So long as the food is good and the beer is on tap, I think I can slum it for an evening." But if anything Hugo seems intrigued by the description and curious to check this 'Grisly' place out. Though he frowns at the thought and asks, "What sort of name is 'Grisly' anyways? Like Grizzly bear? Or the food has a lot of gristle on it? Or it's grisly, like a terrible horror movie with hacked up teenagers on a camping trip?"

"You know… I'm not really sure where the name came from. But the people there mostly keep to themselves and don't give me a lot of crap." Max shrugs. He has simple tastes, evidently. "The food is alright. And the booze is drinkable." This makes Max grin outright. "You oughta let me know where you think the name comes from after, though. Never really thought about it myself, truthfully. What is it that you do again?"

Chuckling softly, Hugo muses, "Well, I suppose that's one way of picking your dining places. Personally I go for quality of food and drink myself, with company a close second." His head twists as he studies Max's profile quietly and curiously for a moment before asking, "So, do you just not like people? Or do people tend to give you a lot of crap?" His lips curl into a wry smile as Hugo hmmmms and notes, "Okay, I'll give you my personal assessment of the place and the reason for it's name. But if they try to serve me a slaughtered sorority girl, I am so out of there." His attention veers away again, watching the buildings go by, grateful for the air-conditioning of the car as he answers, "An artist. A painter. Paint … portraits, I guess you could say. But not the ordinary sort…"

While he's studied, Max keeps his attention fixed on the road ahead. "I don't… dislike people," he says after a couple moments of thought. "I'm a police officer. I'm not supposed to dislike people." It's good logic, right? "As far as I know, they've never tried to serve me sorority girl." He says it so seriously that he can't really be serious, can he? "It's just up here," he offers and he's turning off even as he says, "A painter." Possibly impressed. Or trying to sound it, at least. "What exactly is a not ordinary portrait?"

Chuckling softly, Hugo glances over at Max and notes, "Just because you're a police officer doesn't mean you like people. Heck, most people feel that police officers hate them. And like many other professions where one has to deal with people - teachers, politicians, video store clerks, it's easy to get sick of people fast." Hugo lips curl though at Max's dry humor and nodding soberly he replies, "Well, that's good. The charm bracelets get stuck in my teeth." Looking about, Hugo realizes that he knows this area from dropping off his Ducati, a quick smile touching his lips before he turns back to Max. "Hmmmm. Okay, let me see if I can explain. So an ordinary portrait painter paints pictures of people in poses for their pleasure. A keepsake and heirloom piece. The 'portraits' that I paint are not for the people that are painted. I show them in galleries. I don't paint simply the person as they appear, but who they are as well as what they look like, using mythological gods, goddesses, beings, and creatures to reveal secrets of their personalities. Who they are on the inside, not just the outside."

"Okay, well if you're not going to go around telling everyone, I guess I can admit that people do drive me kind of crazy sometimes. Especially people like who attacked you." Max goes from nearly joking to very serious in that short amount of time it takes to say what he says. "You good?" he wonders about helping the other man out of the jeep again and will help if necessary but otherwise just waits after he parks and gets himself out of the car. "I'm not much of an art guy… but that actually sounds really… interesting." He says it like he's not sure whether or not he should be admitting something like that. "Do they tell you about all that stuff?"

One brow lifts again as Hugo asks mildly, "So, you knew what you were up against then?" As they park, Hugo nods and replies, "I'm good," opening the door with his right hand readily and slipping out of his seat, careful not to whack his broken arm against anything along the way. His head tilts to one side as Hugo muses, "Sometimes they tell me, but more often than not, they tell me stories and from the stories and what I see in them - their behavior, their fears, their reactions, I see the myths that they parallel and then I have the inspiration for the piece. But it can be frustrating. Sometimes I want to see the myth, but can't. Sometimes I spend a lot of time with someone for naught. No inspiration. It's not an exact science, alas. But yes, the hardest part is finding people who are willing to open up and tell you who they are and what they've been through. So I guess unlike you I am a people person. I have to be, if I'm going to continue to paint what I want to paint."

"Bad guys," Max amends, though it only comes after a moment of thought. He's clearly not sure how much he wants to say about anything that he deems important. But then, "Do you know what you were up against?" As he leads Hugo inside, Max doesn't lead them to the bar, instead aiming for a booth off to the side and out of the way. Better for talking without people listening in. "That's an admirable quality. Being able to get that sort of stuff out of people. Be curious to see some of your work. You said you… have a gallery? Or?"

Grisly Bar

Worn wooden floors stained with ages of spilled drinks (and worse), creak under the feet of patrons as they enter the dark, disordered room. Though dust has settled over a lot of the establishment, making it appear abandoned, the flow of customers would speak differently. Dirty glasses, some with sticky yellow patches in the bottom where beer or scotch has been allowed to dry, stand on one end of the bar.

Several of the windows have been bricked up to prevent vandalism, but create a great fire-hazard. There is a tarnished mirror on the wall behind the bar with a chipped and fading Art Nouveau nymph painted across the bottom.

"Bad guys," Hugo echoes. "Well, in this case, a bad guy." As they head toward the door, Hugo nods and replies, "I know exactly who and what attacked me that night. Thanks to Paige I know everything that happened, more or less. And I know exactly who the driver of the truck was and pretty much why he did what he did…" But as they step into the bar, Hugo comes to a full stop and softly exclaims, "Whoa." Okay, this is definitely a far cry from any place Hugo's been before. The artist has spent time in some pretty seedy places in his time, but New York City seedy is definitely different than Dallas, Texas seedy. A slow, uncertain smile touches his mouth as he presses on, following Max to a booth that is out of the way, sliding in carefully before lifting his gaze to the man across from him. "In New York, yes. But I'm here in Dallas to do a special exhibit. It was supposed to be about Dallas, about the city, but it looks like I might need to fudge that part of the contract a little, cause so far I've been kinda stuck on that. This city doesn't have a pulse that I can find. But the people? There are some interesting people here that I've been curious about. Their stories are being elusive, but I'm hoping with time and patience I'll see their inner mythology." Leaning back against the worn cushion of his seat, Hugo notes, "I do have a studio…" his eyes focusing intently on Max now. Wu oh. That might not be so good. "You should come by some time." He flashes the officer a bright smile, eyes gleaming with curiosity now as he muses, "Perhaps I'll paint you…"

Max is a cop. Everything's okay! Or, uh, something like that. He seems a little surprised that Hugo knows all of that stuff about his assailant but the officer doesn't seem particularly eager to go asking a lot of questions about what attacked the artist that night. "You don't think the city has a pulse?" Max asks curiously. "What exactly do you consider a city's pulse? I haven't been here for too long myself but I've lived in Texas most of my life." So maybe he could help. Whatever tangent he was going off on, though, is quieted by the very last of what Hugo says. "Me?" There's a small laugh and he manages to get out before anyone comes to see if they want anything, "Doubt I'd be very inspiring. But it's a nice thought." To the waitress, who's clearly more interested in Max than Hugo, and looks younger than one might expect in a place like this, he says, "We're gonna need some beer and I want a burger and onion rings." He glances across for the other to let her know if there's a preference in beer and whatever he wants to eat.

"I dunno. It's an attitude," Hugo tries to explain. "New York City … the city itself feels alive. It's wild and crazy, the people are wild and crazy. It has character and personality. It's dirty and gritty and shiny and neon. It smells incredible and horrible all at the same time. It feels… alive. Dallas … Dallas doesn't feel alive. It feels like a place where people live, but this city doesn't breath, doesn't talk, doesn't …. doesn't have a pulse. I dunno. Maybe I'm just a New Yorker through and through now…" Hugo's getting used to people looking at him strangely when he tries to explain the difference between New York and just about everywhere else. Lifting his head to the waitress, Hugo doesn't seem perturbed by the fact that she can't take her eyes off of Max. He's a good looking guy after all! "Beer," he confirms, hoping and praying that it isn't Budweiser or some equally nasty slop. "An import or independent brewery? Chicken fingers and fries, if you got 'em," he orders instead of a burger. Much easier to eat with just one hand. "Side of ranch dressing?" That should be safe enough to eat, even in a place like this.

The waitress even knows Max. She calls him Maxi before she goes, which has him clearing his throat in an attempt to completely ignore that nickname or maybe distract Hugo from hearing it at all. "I guess I can see where you're coming from. I've visited New York and, honestly, thought it'd be a little overwhelming for me to live in full time. I like it here, though. Laid back, I guess? I'm from Corpus Christi. Grew up surfing and not worrying about a whole lot of anything." Beneath his standoffish air, there's a more genuine smile for thoughts of his childhood.

Ahhh, poor Max. Hugo has perfectly good hearing, one brow lifting in amusement at the nickname, a wicked gleam in his blue eyes as he is quiet for awhile, letting Max talk, his head nodding from time to time. "Yeah, New York is definitely not for everybody. It is fast and frenetic. A lot of people find it overwhelming. Me? It's totally home." His casted arm rests on the table and placing the elbow of his right arm on the table as well, Hugo cradles his chin in the palm of his hand and asks, "So, Maxi… what makes you think you wouldn't be particularly inspiring? Sounds like you're selling yourself short."

"Max," he repeats, emphasizing the fact that there's definitely no 'e' sound on the end of his name. Despite the correction, he doesn't make it sound as though he's upset or that it's a sensitive thing. Just wrong. "You think so? Are you particularly inspired by anything about me?" he wonders, managing not to sound self deprecating. "Mostly, I don't like talking about myself. Don't like talking about my past. Or my future. I just don't think I'd be a great subject for you." Never mind that he already /has/ talked about his past.

There's a gleam of mischief in Hugo's eyes, but he somberly repeats, "Max." With no 'e'. But at his question, Hugo tilts his head and notes, "Well, you have a unique look. That's something right there. But as for the rest, yeah, if you don't like to talk about your past then it might not work so well. Unless I just get a sense of something and use you as the model, rather than the inspiration." Gesturing toward Max, Hugo notes, "Well, you have my card. If you ever are interested in seeing some of my work, maybe doing a little modeling on the side, let me know." The beer arrives first and Hugo hesitates for a moment, suddenly remembering that he isn't supposed to mix his medication with alcohol. But with a soft pfft sound he decides that one little beer won't kill him and lifts the glass to his lips, taking a deep taste of it before putting it down with a soft sound of satisfaction. "So… I noticed that the papers only said that a vampire was rumored to have been involved in the accident. Is that usual? For the police to shush up the truth in such cases? Or was your and Paige's testimony insufficient 'proof' of the race of the assailant?" His voice is not angry or bitter, merely curious.

There's a curving up to one side of his lips when Hugo says what he does about the way that he looks. Max has probably heard something along these lines before but hearing it from a stranger, someone that paints and deals with this sort of thing on a regular basis must be just a tad more meaningful. "I'll definitely want to take a look at your stuff. Not sure about… anything else." He hardly seems shy but there is some line there that he seems hesitant to get too close to. "It's… complicated. Not really something I ought to be talking about, honestly." He frowns, at least, if only for a moment. "It was an unusual case," is what he finally allows.

Waving a dismissive hand, Hugo assures Max, "Don't worry about it. It was just a thought. Whenever I advertise for models in the paper for some reason I get mostly women, but hardly any men. So you can't blame me for propositioning you, so to speak." Tilting his head to one side, Hugo studies Max for a moment but doesn't push, noting simply, "Everything involving vampires is 'complicated'. Their rules. Our rules. The fact that they're so damn secretive about their rules and don't give a damn about our rules. Com-pli-ca-ted." Taking another sip of his beer, Hugo rumbles, "Sorry. don't mean to put you on the spot or anything," even though he's done so twice now. First modeling and then questions about police procedure. Sitting back again, Hugo chuckles, noting, "I would ask you about your life, how you became a cop, but you don't like talking about yourself. That makes this a bit tricky. What do you like talking about?"

Finally taking a drink of his beer, Max takes a slightly longer drink than he might usually. Catching up? Hard to say. Maybe Hugo notices it might be related to talking about vampires. "It's okay. Really. Don't worry about it." Max waves his own dismissive hand but he seems a little relieved when the waitress brings them the rest of their food. And he must trust them enough because he doesn't check to make sure his burger is cooked right or anything before picking it up. She doesn't linger, at least, this time, except to make sure there's nothing else they need. When she goes, Max says, "I was in the army. When I got out, it seemed like a natural progression to become a cop." He shrugs, apparently not too worried about admitting that much. He takes a bit, considering the last question longer than most might. Food swallowed and after a false start at saying something, Max puffs out a breath and gives Hugo a 'hell if I know' sort of look, vaguely surprised with himself.

Picking up a chicken tender with his right hand, Hugo dips it into the ranch dressing and then takes a bite, chewing peaceably as he listens to Max. He might notice the deep draught of beer that was taken, but it doesn't send up any questions or alarm bells for the artist. He listens quietly, thoughtfully, before asking, "What did you want to do… before you joined the army? Before you figured you might as well be a cop?" Clearly this is not what Max wanted to be. it's a job of convenience, or perhaps a job of timing and opportunity. The right skill set and the right time. But it isn't his calling, that much Hugo can tell right away. He laughs softly at Max's baffled look, taking a different tact and asking, "Well, what do you talk about with your mates? Your friends? Your colleagues? Sports? Hunting? Fishing? What do you do when you're not busting up drug deals and cracking in heads?"

That probably shouldn't take quite so much thought as it does but Max eventually says, "I don't know. My father was in the military and it was just always… what I was going to do, you know." Maybe he doesn't know, but that's how Max knows how to explain it. "I didn't really intend on getting out. Becoming a cop was, yeah, convenient." He takes another bite of his burger and isn't in a huge hurry about inhaling it. "Don't have a ton of friends. I guess I talk to some guys at the gym about whatever sometimes. Even when I come here, I don't really talk a whole lot to many people." He can't just be realizing this, right?

"You didn't intend on getting out? You mean of the service? You were going to be a professional soldier then? What changed all that?" Hugo eats slowly, dipping his chicken and fries into the dressing, taking the occasional gulp from his glass of beer. It's actually not bad at all. Pretty dang tasty. "Sounds like a lonely life, Officer Maxwell Winters. Got a girlfriend? What do you do to blow off steam? Relax?"

All the questions make Max grin despite himself. He is at least somewhat observant, being a cop and all. It's kind of ingrained. "This how you get stuff out of your clients and models? Not too bad," he allows, talking between casual bites and drinks. He doesn't even touch on the first part but he shakes his head to the last questions. "No girlfriend. I work out. Spar. Run." That's apparently his answer to both blowing off steam /and/ relaxing.

Chuckling in easygoing amusement, Hugo shrugs his one good shoulder, noting, "Hey, what can I say? I'm curious about people and it's easy to ask questions and then see where the answers lead. Usually to more questions, but that's okay." Frowning a little, Hugo shakes his head and tsks softly. "You definitely need to get out more. Once I'm free of this thing?" he notes, gesturing to his cast, "you should come out with me. Shoot some shit, go clubbing, check out what the city has to offer. Get you a date, for christsake. Good looking guy like you flying solo? Ain't natural," Hugo notes with a wry smile.

"Usually I'm having to tell people that I'm the one asking the questions. Nice turn around, though, I guess." Max does seem relatively at ease in the other man's company. It might have something to do with the location but that can't be all of it. "My life works for me. Not like I couldn't get out and find someone to take home. I just… don't… date. Really." He does have a laugh for the 'good looking guy' comment, maybe because it's coming from Hugo. Even though he kind of liked that not so long ago. "The rest could be fun, though."

Chuckling, Hugo muses, "I guess I would make a terrible suspect in a crime. Always interrupting the investigating officer with questions of my own." Shaking his head, Hugo finishes up his meal, lingering over the fries as he hums thoughtfully. "No dating. Just one night stands? Guess that's easier. Less complicated at least." Smirking at Max, Hugo announces, "Of course it will be fun! And Lord knows I could use a friend who isn't a woman in this city. I seem to have a knack for meeting all sorts of lovely ladies, but so far no one to drink myself into a stupor with and yell at sporting events."

Whether or not Max really is involved in a lot of one night stands is left unanswered. Not even touched on. Maybe he's a private guy. "No ladies that're willing to drink with you and yell at sports?" Max asks, seeming mildly amused by the prospect. He leaves it there for now, though, finishing off the rest of his burger and starting in on another onion ring with a drink of his beer somewhere in the middle. They're seated out of the way in a booth.

Leaning back in his seat, Hugo ponders that question for a moment, musing, "Y'know … some of them just might be not only willing, but actively interested in doing that. I suppose I'll have to check and see. But there are just certain things that only guys want to talk about with guys…" Hugo stares a trifle mournfully at his now empty plate, but rather than order more food, he orders another beer, finishing off the glass before him and watching as 'Maxi's' favorite waitress takes away his plate. "So," he ventures, his mind flipping back through their conversation thus far. "You run? So do I, though not lately, of course."

Shrugging off her jacket, Josephine enters the bar, for once laptop-less, and trying not to pay too much attention to the rest of the clientele for now, walks directly over to the bar, sighing to the 'tender, "Beer please. Make it a large one?" Fingers drumming on the counter, seems that beer can't reach her fast enough. Dark circles under her eyes, she's quite simply, a mess.

"They'd probably look better drinking and yelling than I would," Max grins. He orders another beer from the waitress that likes him, too. He'll have to leave her a good tip for not being a complete pain in the ass. "But I'd be up for all of that. Maybe. I mean, suppose it's worth at least one try before I say no." A new body coming in catches the Were's attention for just a moment but it doesn't linger long.

One brow arches at that assessment, but Hugo's already told Max once, or was it twice now?, that he's a good looking man. Any more and the clientele will probably start to wonder a little bit more than they should. Perhaps even Max himself. Hugo's gaze follows Max's and the shift in his demeanor is more than enough to indicate that he is surprised to actually recognize the woman who has come in and sat down at the bar. For a moment he's torn between sinking down low in his seat and hoping that she doesn't notice him and going over to say hi. Decency and sibling goodwill win out in the end. Turning to Max, Hugo notes, "Ahhhh, hold on a sec, would you? That's my sister over there." And then there's a light bulb that goes off, Hugo's gaze resting on Max for a moment before shifting to Josephine. "I apologize in advance if she says anything rude or bitchy. She's got… issues…" Sliding out of the booth, Hugo walks over to the bar and thunks his cast upon it, next to where Jo has plopped herself down. "Well. Fancy meeting you here." In comparison to his sister, and with the exception of his broken arm, Hugo looks the picture of health. Well fed, well slept, just … well.

Startled is the understated word of the day then, Josephine stepping back with a soft yelp when cast meets bar. Hand over heart, she looks sideways, glaring, "Huug? Don't do that! What…" Suspicion rises as she drops the shields she was holding up, actively searching now, "You're in a bar." Immediately she looks around her, scanning for the blonde. Or brunette. Maybe even the redhead. But all she probably finds is…?

All she finds is Max. Or maybe the waitress that's bringing their drinks back but she's probably just as fuzzy as the man she giggles at since Hugo has vacated his seat for now. Once he gets the waitress off again, Max is left watching brother and sister interacting with each other, probably more than a little curious about Hugo's parting words about the woman.

There are certainly other blondes, brunettes, and redheads about though it seems that at this hour most of them are men, save for the waitresses. Taking her arm with his good hand, Hugo grins and offers, "Come and meet my date … don't forget your beer," he reminds with a wicked twinkle in his eyes, though the only thing she can get off of his head is «Oh boy is she gonna be surprised!» over and over again, perhaps because he knows his sister so well and setting up a litany is sometimes the only way to keep her from overhearing what you might really be thinking about ordinarily. Escorting her back to the booth, Hugo introduces, "Jo, this is Max. Max, this is my sister, Jo." And then, to said sister, he lightly jabs her in the ribs with his elbow and warns, "Be nice…"

"You're…" Hugo might get the immense pleasure of seeing his sister truly flabbergasted, almost to the point of dropping her beer, thought she manages to put it down on the table before she actually does. Staring openly at Max, she finally blurts, "You got gay overnight?!"

He's taking a drink when Hugo brings his sister back over to introduce them but he's only just swallowing when she says the last and he nearly chokes on his beer. Max shifts steel blue eyes quickly to the other man, at a slight loss for words. Then he says, "Uh. Hello…? I don't think that's—" But Max doesn't really know what's going on now so he falls silent.

Grinning at his sister, Hugo elbows her again and explains, "This is Max Winters. He's the officer that tried to assist me during the… accident, a few weeks ago. I invited him out for some food and drinks to offer him my thanks and appreciation for his help." He winks to Max, hoping the man won't be too offended at his teasing his sister. "As you can see, he's terribly good looking. Hmmm. Maybe you better sit down before you fall down, zusje…" He waits till Jo has taken a seat before scooting in next to her and offering Max an apologetic smile. "Sorry. It's so hard to surprise Jo, so I couldn't resist the opportunity."

Looking between the two, Josephine sits down hard, needs a drink badly. But at least has the decency to keep conversation in English, even if hers if a thick northern European accent. "You're shittin' me," she asks of them, still not entirely sure. More drink then. And when she's finished hers, she starts on Hugo's. "So." Eyes on Max. "You really think that was an accident…" And yes, she's giving everything she's got to wade through Max's thoughts.

Not offended but beneath his otherwise calm exterior, Max's thoughts definitely read anxious. It's an anxiety that seems directed mostly toward Hugo. "It's fine. Really," he says, then shakes his head to the woman. "I can't really answer that." Except he does. Because if anything about him is easy to read, it would be that no, he knows it wasn't an accident.

"Hey!" Hugo protests, as his freshly arrived beer gets swiped by his sister, snatching it back from her the first opportunity he gets. His voice drops lower as he notes, "Of course he knows it isn't an accident. Don't be daft. Just easier to say 'accident' than it is to say that crazy nutter vampire who thinks he owns me and tried to kidnap me after ramming a stolen car into mine." He keeps his voice low, because no point in alerting the whole bar to the story. Studying his sister now, Hugo shakes his head and asks, "How is it that I look better after all of that and being in the hospital for two weeks than you? What have you been doing to yourself?" They've already had their yelling match over the fact that she sold her soul to the devil, so to speak, for his protection. He cleverly didn't let on to the fact that he tried to negotiate a deal with regards to just whom the final bill will be given to. But her little brother really is getting tired of his sister always looking like death warmed over, especially when that was supposed to be his role for awhile.

"You were in coma," Josephine mutters darkly at Hugo, her attention temporarily drifting from Max who she was about to answer, "I worried. Still do. AND you're on fuckin' heavy medication, so no alcohol for you." And with even darker glee, she retrieves the beer, even if she has to sit half over him to get it. To Max she murmurs, "You'll excuse my silly little brother. Tareq must've hit his head pretty hard." Snort. Sip. "Right." Now she extends her hand to the officer and introduces, "Josephine van den Bosch."

If Max is at all turned off by the interaction between the siblings, it doesn't show either internally or externally. He does watch curiously, though, and keeps his own beer in hand until he has to switch to reach and take the woman's hand in a firm but not overly firm sort of shake. "Maxwell Winters." Even though Hugo had already introduced him.

"What are you, my mother?" Hugo bitches as Josephine takes his beer away from him once again. "I can take care of myself. One little beer," «okay, two» "isn't going to hurt me any. It's not like I'm driving now, is it?" He frowns as Josephine drinks his beer with demonic delight, muttering softly to himself, "Should have just stayed hidden…" Sighing, he rests his chin upon his hand again, eyeing his sister dubiously. "There's no point in being worried. I'm fine. Well protected." As well she knows, a less than subtle glare in her direction indicating that Hugo is still incredibly pissed off at what she's done. "Tareq didn't hit my head. My head hit the window. Totally different."

"Don't make me give her a call," Josephine threatens, not even trying to make it resemble anything else for Max's sake. "And yes, you are. Thanks to my insight. Do you really think Tareq's given up you moron?!" Leaning back, but securely cradling the beer, she nods to Max, "He's pissed that I hired a vampire to watch his ass." At least that's one way of putting it. "You probably don't have any lead on the bastard yet, right? What's your department doing about it anyway. Officer Max Winters."

As much as he's trying to keep a cool head and at least not look outwardly ill at ease, Max is having a more difficult time keeping something like anger from bubbling beneath the surface the more they talk about the vampire that attacked Hugo in particular. "We're doing what we can," he offers the reassuring non-answer easily, almost automatically. "If you'll excuse me, I think I need to visit the restroom and maybe step outside for a few." He doesn't intend on leaving Hugo stranded but he does need … something. Space. To recompose his careful control. Something along those lines.

The shift is abrupt, Hugo's gaze going cool before he shrugs and mutters, "Like she'd care. And I'm not a moron. I don't go out after dark…" «and as soon as I get the word….» but that thought dies quickly as Hugo's retorts, "If it was as simple as that, as 'hiring' one, I wouldn't mind. But you and I both know it's a great deal more serious than that." His eyes narrow then as he rumbles, "Jo, enough. The police can't do anything about this and you know that. Leave Max out of it." And when Max chooses the flee the scene, well, Hugo can't really blame him, but the anger flares hot and hostile as Hugo likewise shifts out of the booth, glaring down at Jo. "Now look what you've done…"

Josephine spreads her arms wide, "What /I/ have done? Hon, you're seriously fucked, so sit down. He'll come back. Don't they always?" For once there's no jealousy to be found, she's just stating fact. "And we've been over that before. I owe Will Grant. About as much as he owes me when it's a good day." Driiink. "Sit. Sit down Huug. If anything… Sit and I'll tell you. Come on, I don't wanna fight. Not with you not fully right yet. You're fresh out of the hospital man?!"

"What have you done? What have you done? Nothing! Except what you always do which is insult, upset, and drive everyone away. I honestly don't think Max will come back in and you know what? I can't say I blame him." He doesn't sit back down, just stares at Jo as he rumbles, "I think you're the one here who is seriously fucked Jo. Because you know what? No. No you don't owe Will Grant. You owe Marius," is his cold and angry answer. Rubbing at his face, Hugo turns, eyes catching the waitress before asking her, "Check please?" He said he would pay for Max's food and drinks, and he will. Thank goodness they finished eating before now. Turning back to Jo, letting that little bomb settle on her consciousness, Hugo notes, "I'm right enough. Better than you are."

"Oh, fuck off Huug, that's total bullshit." Obviously she doesn't believe a word of what he said, some part of it probably being plain denial. "I've plenty friends and at least I can appreciate them being there for me, helpin' me out. Unlike a certain brother. Who thinks he knows all about the deal I made because…" Now suspicion starts to rise.

"It's true," he states flatly. "I asked Charles to have his 'employer' visit with me. Marius came. Said you asked Chloe for help and that Chloe called him. I don't know who this Will Grant is, but the favor you owe isn't to him. It's to Marius." «Unless he changes his mind…» One brow lifts as Hugo studies Josephine's face and asks, "Friends? Name me one. I have plenty of friends too. Friends who have done for me, risked for me, that I appreciate. What I don't appreciate is you putting yourself in jeopardy for me. That's my debt to pay off, not yours." Fear. She can feel it thrumming through his mind. Not fear for himself. Fear for her.

"Will you stop that?" Josephine rises as well now, of all things to wrap arms about him in the gentlest bear hug she can give him on account of arm. But it's one she intends to keep for a while. "I'll talk to Chloe and sort things out, don't worry." Even if she now can't keep her own concern from her voice. "Don't you dare worry about me broertje. Not a sec, ok. If I survived the Sudan, I sure as hell can survive this stinkhole. Not all is your burden to carry. I thought we discussed that already."

"Too late. Chloe doesn't have any power, Jo. Marius sent Charles. Marius has already made it quite clear that he will collect on that debt whenever he decides that he wants it. The matter is done. Finished." He lets her hold him, shaking his head as he murmurs, "I don't think you can keep doing this, zusje. You're going to break apart at this rate and I don't know how to put you back together…" But he can hope. Hope that Marius will change his mind and take Hugo up on his offer.

"That's my business. I'll sort things out." Tight control over her voice now, but that should tell him enough of how the news kicks in. "And you should know by now big sisters don't break." She loosens the hug enough to look him in the face, "Have I ever." Not that they ever made it to that vacation he promised her the last time she fell apart.

He stares her in the face and murmurs, "Close enough. It only takes one step to go over the edge of a cliff. You've been dancing along the chasm's edge for far too long…" Shaking his head, Hugo murmurs, "It's a done deal, Jo. Marius holds your marker." Though with any luck, he’ll trade it in for Hugo's. But there's no guarantee of that. And if the vampire knows what Josephine is? No way he'd take a human favor over a psychic's. "Look just … just take care of yourself, alright? I'm okay. I can take care of myself now. Tareq will be dealt with." He hopes. Still doesn't know what Marius is planning other than to use him as juicy, tempting bait.

"Oh yeah? How. How will he be dealt with. Is that Marius?" He can probably feel the shiver run through her, though she keeps her voice clean. "You can take of yourself - so can I. Or what the fuck makes you think I cant." A kiss on the tip of his nose. "I'm the elder. I take care of the younger. It's a genes thing. Right?" Trying to get him to smile.

He doesn't know yet, and he doesn't want her involved, so all Hugo says is, "Marius has a plan. And there will be no debt to either of us for it." Reaching up, Hugo's hand lightly traces the dark circles under his sister's eyes. "These tell me. Your drinking tells me. The fact that you can't go for two minutes without cursing tells me." He does smile, a little, as she kisses his nose, eyes flickering this way and that as this is clearly not the sort of bar where this sort of emotionalism gets displayed, though the cursing likely hides the fact that tender feelings and fears are at the root of it all. "Sometimes it's the younger ones who are better at taking care of their elders," Hugo warns wryly. "Look… I better check on Max. Shouldn't have dragged him into this family stuff. Poor guy. Come by later? For dinner or something? I need you to pose for me." Distractions. Distractions are always good. Hugo pulls away gently, reaching into his pocket for some cash and placing that along with the bill onto the table. "Catch you later, zusje…"

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