|Don't pet the kitty|
You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluorescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the floor and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and holograms of different movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR - caught as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the restaurant, surface polished and shiny and all-together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are the various beverages that are serveed, and a giant mirror. There seem to be an inordinate amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung around it. Multiple round wooden tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's an exit. A large fireplace nestles in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second-floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.
Another quiet evening in the Usual. Well, so far at least. Standing behind the bar is Tenna, the overly hyperactive bartender who is currently talking to her squeak toy because she's run out of things to do. "You think we'll get any company tonight, Spooky?" >SQUEEK!< "I hope so." Un-Usual-y the bar is empty, much to the relief of Tabitha who comes creeping in the front door. After so many failed attempts to disguise herself, the Nekojin has decided to just come out as she is and is currently scared half to death expecting to run into Senior Diablo anytime she turns around. Slowly pushing open the door to avoid ringing the chime, she creeps to the bar and takes a seat, waiting for a moment to-
Serenity nudges open the door with two pairs of damp cobalt 'wings' extended from the water and slips through the resulting gap before performing a less-than-sneaky Immelmann. Ren slides, helicopter like, off to the side of the front door and leans over to peer curiously at the tables, as if looking to see if any of the few occupants looks familiar. The check is interrupted by a sudden squeal that makes Ren 'blink' and twitch inward a bit before locating its source and then its ultimate cause. Ren frowns slightly at the sight of Tabitha on the floor, but that quickly disappears and Ren and the hovering blob of water flow over to greet her and Tenna.
Tabitha rubs the back of her head as she starts to pull herself back up. She's got stars in her eyes as she spots Serenity and a brief smile is forced at her. "Ow. Hey. How's it going?" Finally sitting back on the barstool she started with, Tabitha glares at Tenna who seems far too happy for just injuring someone.
Serenity might have long 'ears', but they don't seem to be taking any particular damage from Tenna's enthusiasm. Ren slips over as Tabitha gets up and then slides into the gap between her stool and the next (slightly dampening the latter). "Hello again, to both of you," Ren hisses cheerfully, extending a pair of wings to offer Tabitha a pat on the shoulder and another pair to wave to Tenna. "You seem no less chipper than the first time we met!" Ren remarks to Tenna. Looking then to Tabitha, Ren ventures, "Pardon, but I wondered what you'd like to go by... 'Barstool' and now 'Ms Kitty' have been suggested, but I thought perhaps I should ask first."
Tabitha cringes at Serenity's question. If she'd had a drink in her hand she'd have probably broken it. "My name is TABITHA. If ya gotta call me somethin', call me Tabby." To herself she adds, "...she ain't got a damn trademark on the name." Rather than explain herself she takes her drink the second Tenna sits it in front of her.
Serenity frowns slightly at the emphatic reply, but nods in return. "Hh. I'm glad I asked, then." Now, Tenna's gesture seems to have been unexpected by Ren as well, but Ren responds in a much more subdued fashion by just staring in surprise at the two. Ren looks back and forth a moment (while pressing up against the side of the unoccupied barstool) before hesitantly an obvious distraction, "hhh... might you have any aged cheese that isn't too high in salt?"
Tenna breaks her pending fake waterworks to cheerfully reply, "I bet I can find some!!" Grabbing Spooky she points towards the kitchen doors, "ONWARD SIR SQUEAKS-A-LOT! DUN-DUN-DA-DAAAAAAH!" And off she pounces through the double doors!
Serenity regards Tenna's emotional about-face with a confused expression before turning to Tabitha. "I can see how having movements restricted might leave one less than tolerant of others' quirks." Ren extends a pair of fins toward Tabitha, deeply scalloping the edge to vaguely resemble a hand. "I'm not certain we had a proper introduction yet, so perhaps we should try again. You can call me Serenity." Ren adds with a note of amusement and ends with a crackle, "I wouldn't suggest trying 'Chffktsk pfftssfsspk shktpkfsskt'".
Tabitha blinkblinks at the sound. "Chifcutsick..? Yeah, Serenity is much easier to remember." She blinks and wow's a moment before taking another sip of her drink. "How long have you been on Twisted, Serenity?"
"It's been almost three months since I arrived," Ren replies thoughtfully, motioning outward. "This has been considerably more dangerous than the trip I had intended to take, but not without its fascinating moments and other rewards." Ren looks up suddenly at the banging doors before regarding Tenna and the platter curiously. "Thank you... That should last me a while." the toothless customer eventually replies. Ren adds after Tabitha, "I don't mind a bit of friendly touch myself, but I think that Tabitha may have other preferences."
Tenna stares at Tabitha longingly a moment more and then sulks off to find something to do. Tabitha takes the opportunity to continue talking, "Three months? Jeeze, time flies." After another sip she stares at Serenity and her cheese wheel and simply shakes her head again. "...I was born 'ere." What was that story about the barstool again? "I-I mean on Twisted!!" She nervously rubs the back of her head. "I've lived here my whole life. I used ta run around greetin' everybody for Diablo, but I think I'm done with that." She sighs as the weight of the changes in her life start coming down on her shoulders. "...I suppose that also means if ya have any questions about Twisted I could probably answer them, but if you've been 'ere three months you probably already know everythin'."
"Certainly I've met many interesting people since, but I still feel like I know almost nothing," Ren replies with a shake of the head. Ren extends a pair of fins to grab the fork in their edges, but even working the fork out of the rind proves to be more than trivial. "I can hardly imagine having grown up in such an unpredictable place. Surely after all that experience, you can't be afraid to perform those welcoming duties?"
Tabitha is quietly watching Tenna mop the floor out of the corner of her eyes. "Oh, no. I'm not afraid of it, there's just a lot of.. well..." oO(He erased my memory and tried to turn me into some kinda slave for some nefarious scheme!) "Me an' old Horn-head aren't getting along so well these days an' I think it's time I try ta find something else." Yeah. Good save. Her ears suddenly perk up as she realizes that Tenna vanished while she was distracted. Hastily she scans the restaurant looking for-!
Serenity nods slowly at Tabitha's explanation. "Horn-head being Diablo?" Ren surmises. "I think that you shouldn't let an argument keep you from performing duties that you are suited for." Ren digs into the cheese wheel in an attempt to lever out some crumbs. "But I can certainly think of some other reasons why one might look for other employment- this is not the safest town." Ren is a bit less shocked by Tenna's sudden motion this second time around, but still completely failed to notice her until she started yelling. Ren looks after Tenna once she is disappeared. "I wonder if she is just in need of a hug."
Tabitha groans at the fake sobbing more than Serenity's observation of it. "Ugh, I wonder if I just get it over with if she'll leave me alone or if it'll make 'er worse?" She shudders slightly thinking about it. "Anyhew, no. I was..." oO(...lied to) "I, uh. Had th' wrong impression about things. It's better to just walk away in the long run." She frowns, staring at the doors to the kitchen. "Anyways, with everything goin' on in my head lately I'd rather not have to deal with that on top of everythin' else." She sighs again, clearly this conversation is making her uncomfortable. In a desperate attempt to change the subject she announces, "Oh! I have a house now! Sun lemme move in with her!" She smiles widely as she finishes off her drink.
"I see. It seems like there are plenty of others to take up that duty, too," Ren says. Ren looks around for Tenna just briefly before returning eyes to Tabitha and going back to being oblivious to anyone with even a modicum of stealth. Ren smiles and nods at her latter bit of information. "Hh, yes! In fact, I recently got an upgrade to my own apartment as well. I'd heard that you were staying with Sun when you needed to keep to yourself for a time, but I didn't realize that you would be moving in." Ren motions to her. "My impression was that you're of an age to be living with a guardian, so I'd assumed that you were already doing so."
Tabitha looks hurt by that last statement, "I'm almost an adult! I lived in the ticket booth at th' Town Hall for th' past two years." She huffs a moment before letting out a sigh. "I guess it doesn't matter. I have a home now while it lasts. Once I get my head cleared things'll be better." oO(IF I get my head cleared.) Looking longingly at her now empty glass, she scans around for Tenna. "Dangit." Maybe she can hold off a little while longer...?
Serenity abrasively licks off a layer from the chunk of cheese dug out of the wheel. "Pardon," Ren says, motioning inward with the free fins. "You may have surmised that I have less experience than your usual resident at estimating ages for people who look like you." Ren then adds curiously, "But a ticket booth? How did that come about?"
Tabitha frowns again, "Remember what I said about Diablo?" She pauses briefly to cross her arms and lean on the bar. "He wanted me ta be close by when he needed me..." She just lets that sink in a moment as she plays with her empty glass. "...I could really use another drink."
Serenity uses the fork to poke at the hole in the wheel of cheese on the silver platter that sits on the bar. "That sounds like a rather clingy employer," Ren remarks with a frown, "and I rather doubt that this town has laws prohibiting after-hours calls for help." Ren still smiles a bit at her latter comment. "'I could use another drink' sounds like a line from a movie- specifically a character looking for something non-prescription and tranquilizing."
Tabitha leaps on the change of conversation. Talking about Diablo is not an okay subject with her right now. "Non-prescription an' tranquilizing sounds fun, but I'd be fine with caffeinated and sweet." She grins looking down at her glass. "Always had th' same affect for me anyways. These just taste better."
"The same effect?" Ren repeats curiously, then grins at her reaction to Tenna. "This is certainly not a sort of extortion that I've heard of before," Ren remarks with an amused note between licking the cheese from the fork. Ren gestures toward Tenna. "I would offer to return the favor for you, but I'm not sure that it would come across the same way that it does for a child -hh- young person."
Temporarily satisfied, Tenna wonders off again humming softly to herself. Tabitha just stares blankly as she continues to sip her drink. It's really bothering her how oddly comfortable that was. Determined not to dwell on it she puts her glass down and glances at Serenity with a raised eyebrow. "...return the favor?" She picks up her drink and finishes it off. "Y'know, I don't think I wanna know what you meant by that." The Neko stands and stretches, "But I do think I'm gonna have ta call it a night. I'm still nervous about runnin' into th' old boss. I'm not ready for that yet." She bows at her new friend and waves. "I'll catch up with you later, Serenity. Thanks for th' chat!"
Serenity continues poking at the excessive quantity of cheese on the bar while watching Tenna's exit. Ren then returns eyes to Tabitha as she speaks up again. "I'm sure that one who grew up here must be resourceful and adaptable," Ren says with a nod to her. "I hope that you won't make yourself too scarce."
As Tabitha vanishes, Tenna makes her way back over to the edge of the bar. "Aww, she left." She's holding a hairbrush. "...maybe next time..." Someone needs to learn about personal boundaries.