Playing the Game

The Warehouse

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It's late on a Friday night. Gregory's done his duty by Isobel, tonight, and picked up his latest set of instructions. They're somewhat odd, to be sure — helping the 'enemy', so to speak. But, there they are. They'll wait, though, until tomorrow, well enough. So, as the barman pours him a Stella, Gregory slides a bill across the countertop and turns about to survey the patrons moving to and fro, to see if there's anyone that catches his eye, tonight.

The Warehouse holds a pulse. A beat. The steady thrum of the music keeping the place alive. The bodies moving and dancing. It's one of the best places in the city to get completely blitzed and not care. Until you run into one of the bouncers. Hailee's had her fair share of run-ins here but tonight she actually seems pretty mellow. No wild party girl.

With Cooper out of the city, and the issues with her last V dealer, and her desire to avoid Oliver at all costs, she's mostly sober. Thankfully the joy of the Warehouse is that it serves wonderful alcoholic beverages. Unlike the rest of the women around the bar, either trying to pick up men or get their drinks cheaper, she's sitting off to the side. A small glass filled partially with amber liquid.

Gregory gives the occasional ghost of a playful smile to one or two of the self-styled femme fatales staking out the bar. Woundn't really do to shun them entirely. There are times when a turn around the dancefloor and an easy escape out the backdoor is just what the doctor ordered. Tonight, however, Gregory's not actively hunting that sort of sport. Thus, he actually notes Hailee off in the corner — partly because she's not engaging in the same pasttime as most everyone else at the meat market, and partly because — Hey! — he recognizes her. Collecting his change from the barkeep, but leaving some of it behind as a tip, he shoves away from the bar and starts a slow amble toward her. "Hey," he greets as he gets nearer. "I think I know you." Not well, mind, but that's neither here nor there, for the moment.

"Who doesn't," Hailee says with a smirk as she quickly downs the double malt scotch. When the glass hits the bar, she turns to eyeball him. Eyes roving over his body. "Though, pretty sure you know me for a different reason than most." Winking at him, she slides her glass to the bartender and nods in order to get a refill. "Is this the part where I say, 'of all the gin joints in all the world, you just happened to walk into mine'?" Moistening her lips, she leans against the bar a little. She'd lean upon it but chances are she'd slide right off the stool if she tried to. "I owe you something, don't I, sug'?"

"Oh, I dunno," Gregory drawls in response. "Pro'ly just your life." He winks after he says it. He's only partially serious. "How's that fiance of yours?" Good memory? He pushes himself up onto the stool beside her, taking a long swig of his beer and setting it on the countertop lightly. "Haven't seen you in the tabloids, lately. Things must be slow for you." Still teasing. "Guess you've managed to avoid whatshisname, anyway. That's a good start."

"Rosco's just fine." Hailee doesn't give away the first name. Not yet. "Sure he'd thank you for my life and all, but he's been busy." Cleaning up. Getting ready to work for his parents. Fun, fun. Whatever gives them the free house and fancy cars. Convenience of marriage and settling down and all that. "Been laying low. Ain't much call for a washed up model these days," she says with a dry laugh. The scotch is placed in front of her, and she twirls the glass around. "What's the going rate for a life these days. Pretty sure, good as that kiss was, it doesn't cover the bill."

"It was a good kiss," Gregory replies, chuckling deeply at the memory. Yeah. He definitely enjoyed it. "But, nah. Pro'ly not quite worth a life." He smiles at that, eyes partially hooded. "But, y'know, trade I take for that won't be tawdry or cheap." Which means he's either not gonna ask for sex, or it's going to have to be some surefire spectacular sort of sex. He leaves her to draw her own conclusions, however, unbothered by the implications. Given his casual demeanor, however, the smart money's probably on the former. No matter how much he enjoyed that kiss. The man knows how to call in his favors right.

The amber liquid in the glass is swirled once before it's lifted to her lips and quickly downed. There is no sipping and enjoying the scotch for her. Hailee gives him another slow once over, then smirks. "I'd offer a life for a life, but chances are as good as I am at getting out of bad situations, you're better." Leaning her head against the newly emptied glass, she gives him an almost respectful look. "You're probably the only guy I've met that isn't looking for cheap, tawdry sex in payment for whatever I wanted. So tell me, detective, what is it you're looking for?"

Gregory laughs now. "Standards," he says, referring not to what he wants, but, rather, the reason for his willingness to hold out for something other else. "You've seen the parties my mother throws." He watches how quickly she polishes off that scotch. And it's not even the really good stuff. "And, I dunno what I'm looking for. I'll know it when I see it. Pro'ly guess if it's something you can tell me when I do." He takes another swallow of his beer, head moving subtly to the heavy beat of the music. "But, what about you, Miss Hailee Rose? What is it you're looking for?" A beat. "Aside from another round of scotch, that is…"

"I see how it is," she offers with a very playful grin. "You're trying to get me drunk." It takes quite a bit these days, but she's been here a while already. "Parties, yes. I've got plenty of those to go to soon. Engagement parties, and bridal showers, and dinners…" She sounds so thrilled about those. "Maybe I should have let whats-his-face clobber me." Setting the glass down on the top of the bar, she stands up. It's a very slow movement, designed to look graceful. Really it's to keep her from falling on her face while she tests her balance. "Generally what I'm looking for is a good time. Generally."

"Generally," Gregory echoes, watching her slowly stand and try not to sway like sailor just off his boat. He cants his head to one side as she proves her sea legs. "I gotta say," he muses slowly. "For a woman about to get married, you seem awfully blase about the whole thing. Is it the wedding you hate so much, or the idea of being married?" He gets something of a lopsided, challenging grin on his face as he speaks. "If it's just the wedding, you could just elope." He watches her face, playful smile still there. "Find a JP and be done with it."

Four drinks down, and she's just starting to feel fine. By the sixth she'll be slurring her words but everything is still clear at the moment. Hailee sweeps her hair back, then leans against the bar right in front of him. "No. The wedding has to be this huge to-do. The Rosco's won't have it any other way. It's a status symbol." The grin is met with a wink. "Other than that, it's a secret, sug'. Not too sure I can entirely trust a private dick just yet. Could be you're working for someone that wants to hold something over on me, or you could be working for them." The emerald is flashed as she waggles her fingers at him and then smiles.

Gregory laughs at that. "You're right," he concedes. "Could be. Could be, but isn't. Not that you'll believe it." And he's okay with that. He can respect cagey. This isn't to say that he doesn't enjoy the view as she stretches across in front of him. He reaches for his beer and takes another long swig. "Tell you what, though. I won't the Roscos or the media anything about you, if you don't tell 'em anything about me." Especially the part about him being a P.I. In fact, he very, very rarely gives that information out. It's not even written on the business cards he usually hands out. But, anyone with the wherewithal to go poking about 'official records' could find his license. Especially since he's so patently not media or law enforcement.

Hailee has little trust for anyone, but he does get a brief tiny bit of a nod. "Who'm I gonna tell, sug'?" The only one that would be remotely interested in Gabriel, and that'd only be to know if he needs to vacate the apartment for a while. "Let's just say it suits the beau and I to keep up appearances, hmm? He gets his parents off his back, I get a lot of pretty jewelry." Wink. Really, that's all there is to the wedding. Convenience and fun. "You're right though. I tend not to trust too many people. The world is pretty much give and take, hmm?"

"More take than give," Gregory notes with an off-hand shrug. It's not something he worries about it. He knows how to get what he wants; that's the main thing. "You're smart," he says. "Most people aren't worth trusting. Not till they've proved themselves, anyway." Which can take a very, very long time. He doesn't need to say that. Another sip of beer. "Actions speak loudest." And hey. He did save her life. Okay, so he got lucky with the water and such. What's that got to do with it?

"Smart by necessity. My own mother was screwing me out of a great deal of money." Her father? Best to not mention him at all. Hailee dips her hand forward to walk her fingers up his arm. "They do speak loudest, and I still owe you for saving my life." Chances are she hates having that hanging over her head, but she'll put up with it because he's not bad on the eyes. "For the take and give, depends who's taking and who's giving. While back, I could've shown you quite a few who were much more give than take."

"All depends on what you want, who's got it, and what they want in return," Gregory smiles. He's not one to call in favors lightly or quickly. So, it's a good thing she likes his face. "First rule of economics: supply and demand — he who has the supply can make the demands." Well, there's a twist on it, anyway. He follows her walking fingers with his grey eyes, smiling. Sure he enjoys the attention; he's male. Doesn't mean he's going to melt, however. There's lots that think the head he thinks with is in his pants. They'd be wrong. "A while back, I could've shown you quite a few who were much more take than give." A beat. "Still probably can."

He's a tough nut to crack, which means she'll have to figure out other ways to manipulate him. Though she's not even sure he's got anything (hot body) that she wants. "That's actually the first rule to a lot of things, sug'." It was one of Oli's rules way back when. Coop's too. Part of why Hailee never really got into the 'trade' so much as just enjoying the 'wares'. "I'll send my givers to your takers. Best distractionary technique this side of the border."

"It is, isn't it?" Gregory grins. "Probably on both sides of the border, really." He takes a nice long swig of that beer, now. Sure, he enjoys her closeness and her touch. And how the alcohol's supposed to help him resist temptation is a mystery. But, he's not above enjoying the flirtation. He leans in, his forehead only a finger's breadth away from hers. "Could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, y'know," he all but purrs. "Supply and demand. You supply the givers, I'll supply the takers. Together, we can make demands." His grey eyes gleam playfully. "The world becomes our plaything." He chuckles. Hard to say, really, if he's actually serious.

"Probably," Hailee muses, winking at him again. When his turn comes to drift in a little closer, she watches him. Watches those grey eyes. "Could be the beginning of something beautiful," she murmurs in return. "I do like the sound of that. Making the world my… our plaything." A finger idly taps against her cheek as she 'contemplates' this offer. Not unlike the one she and Gabriel schemed up really. "I suppose that depends on how much you actually like to play."

"All depends on the game," comes the easy response. "But, what's life without a little sport, right?" Indeed, there's a hint of the gambler in his eyes — the all-or-nothing proposition. They may not have that, just yet, but it's there, lurking in the grey. Gregory moves forward as if he might kiss her. Just as his lips cast enough warmth against hers, however, to very nearly touch, he pauses. "You're a tease," he says, breath warm. Leaning back against the bar, he reaches for and takes a long swallow of his beer. "I don't think you're serious."

"Sug', life's nothing but a game so why not play along while the playing's good?" Hailee doesn't lean away, doesn't so much as breathe as he comes closer. When he draws away and calls her a tease, she actually laughs. Most women? They'd put up a fuss. Not the model (ex!). "Chances are, I am." Her tongue flits out to moisten her lips again and she leans in toward him now. "The only way to find out if I'm serious or not is to play the game."

Gregory leans in and takes the kiss, now. He lets his beer settle on the table before he captures the back of her head in a cupped hand, letting the kiss linger. When he does finally break it, however, he smiles at her, a bit of a hawkish look about him. "Bring it, babe," he grins. "I'm not stopping you."

Public here, very public. Much different from the hidden depths of the stairwell. Hailee would protest if she hadn't thought he'd shy away at the last moment again. There is a smile in her eyes, a subtle little wink that tells him to play along. Her hand comes up to slap him, though it's a well acted move and not meant to hurt. Appearances, after all, are everything. There is no 'how dare you' spoken, no hmph and storm off. Just the attempted slap and her leaning in to whisper, "You wanna keep playing the game, sug'? Meet me out back in five minutes."

Gabriel wouldn't care if she's off fooling around. His parents, the ones with the money, the jewelry, the fast cars… they might. Chances are, with all their contacts, someone they know is here right now so for Hailee, it's better to play it safe than sorry. Until after the wedding.

Gregory is quick. This is true. He catches the glint in her eyes, the flicker of an eyelid. His head turns sharply as her hand grazes by. He can playact. This isn't to say she doesn't make contact. But there'll be no mark there, by any means. As she issues her soft challenge, he grins. It's a wolfish grin, really. All part of the act? Maybe partially. But, as she stalks off, he turns back to finish his beer. It doesn't take more than five minutes or so. The last swallow drained, he shoves to his feet and makes his way toward the mens room at the back — and the kitchen exit beyond it. Yeah. He can come out to play.

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