(2018-11-17) Having a (Tropical Evening Charity) Ball
Food, drink, Polynesian dancers, zoo animals, protesters, the return of Calvin Shay, and multiple furious exits. Anything for a good cause!

The stately old Winchester has many elements that call to mind a more elegant era: including a formal ballroom which is more often used for large dinners and corporate events. But tonight, it has been transformed into a little piece of paradise. The icy land outside hasn’t been obscured: several large windows form a great vantage for watching the snow fall from a warm, well-lit interior. But each window is flanked with living, tropical trees and plants in giant terracotta pots; discreet signs thank the nurseries that provided them. Living birds of paradise, hibiscus, and clivia flowers have been arranged into colorful displays along with screening palms, providing plenty of places for quiet, private conversations. There’s a dance floor, and a stage - although the stage has all the wirings for electric music, it’s currently being used by a Polynesian dance troupe of men and women who are gracefully practicing their routines, and offering brief, friendly lessons on their culture and the meaning of the dances to any who show interest.

Several stations are set up throughout the ballroom to allow guests to try food and drink (including several cash bars, proceeds going to the charity) without being too crowded. The air is balmy, with bright lights over head mimicking sun. One side of the ballroom has been converted into a traveling exhibit from the Denver zoo, and various tropical animals relax behind protective barriers. Zookeepers monitor the animals - including a capuchin, a capybara, and even a jaguar - and allow people to have brief, close encounters with them, sharing facts about the animals and the conservation efforts the zoo is making. Tables near the door display glossy brochures about the recent natural disasters and their impacts on the local families - a discreet sign reminds people that in addition to the tickets, if they want to donate more, they are welcome to do so

Xavier is gliding from station to station, checking in with staff and greeting guests as they circulate through. He is dressed formally: a sharp black tuxedo cut in a classic style, complete with bowtie, cumberbund, and white gloves.

It’s an elegant, beautiful evening - except for outside, there’s a small knot of protesters. Only about a dozen or so, but several are waving signs like, “Save our land!” And “Local land for Local people!” Others are waving signs about water rights, and how meat is murder. All of them look bundled up, cold, and mildly miserable.

There's a lot of chit-chat and laughter as Luke escorts Abby into the Winchester Hotel, the pair obviously on the tail-end of sharing some sort of hilarious joke or another. It appears that Luke's opted not to wear his Army dress uniform and is in a sharp, neatly tailored black suit (with a skinny tie!) instead - but there's actually a good reason for that. Because an extremely perceptible person may note that every so often? Luke does not step, but rather glides when he walks, as though there were roller skates hidden underneath the all black shoes he's wearing. But that's absolutely ridiculous, so anyone who sees that is clearly just seeing things. "Oh hey, it's really awesome in here," he enthuses as he steps into the tropical wonderland, though it's no surprise that Luke's attention almost automatically drifts to the zoo animals. "Too bad about those protestors outside."

Calvin Shay is here. Someone saw him and others gossiped. 'Did you see what he came in? It's like, an ancient pick up!' and 'He looks good! Sober suits him.' and, of course, 'Someone's hit their middle age spread'. Where did he go though? Wasn't he supposed to perform?

Cassidy Carr isn't a local, and she's a fairly new arrival in Calaveras, but here she is. The young woman arrives with one of the city councilors, acting as their assistant for the evening, to remind them who various people are, and what is and is not a good idea to eat at a public event. The petite blonde is dressed impeccably, as always, and quietly fosters introductions to councilwoman <insert name here>. (Wearing: https://celebmafia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/skyler-samuels-marie-claire-s-image-maker-awards-in-west-hollywood-1-10-2017-7.jpg)

Ethan and Katherine are technically late. Sure, they're here at the beginning of the scene, but really they're like ten minutes late coming in, and there are coats to check and all the little things that have to happen before officially joining a party. He's looking a little grim in the face, but - no matter what the unbelievably fast rumor-mill in this town has to say! - it's about the protestors, his comments something to the effect of wishing free speech didn't extend to spaces across the street from his place of business. Anyway, "We should at least get some cocktails. Fifty bucks, after all."

One must never be the first to arrive, or the last. Not at Angela's age, at least. Fashionable is somewhere right in the middle of all the arrivals, and she does her best to time her arrival in such a way. Protestors? She ignores them with the blitheness of someone that has had those protestors outside her door before, just manuvers around them and heads inside. Tonight she's flying solo. Overcoat is passed off to whoever collects those things tonight, and she unbuttons her suit jacket as she makes her way into the ballroom, tucking her small handbag beneath her arm as she scans the room until she spots one of the bars that have been set up. Instead of heading straight for it she begins to make her rounds of the room, a brilliant smile spreading across her face for the greeting of people.

Sober-faced men and women in dark suits with incongruous tropical flower wreaths around their neck glide through the crowds, offering directions to restrooms, canapes, drinks, and other assistance as they can. They also apparently carry word to Xavier, because some will come up to periodically whisper to him. Calvin finds one earnest young person attached to him, offering to show the performer to a quiet place if he wants to lurk for a bit, while Xavier looks towards the doors as people he knows comes in. Luke, the woman with him, Angela, Ethan, and Katherine all get a smile and a wave, and he starts in that direction. But business calls, and he pauses to get a coveted introduction to Councilwoman InsertNameHere and her assistant.

Even in a tailored suit, Edgar looks like a kid who's raided his dad's closet. He just isn't suit material. In any case, he cleans up well enough. The suit is nice, gunmetal grey, and it covers his tats. It's a step up from an MCR tee and a flannel shirt. His hair is mostly combed neatly. Only a few strands have escaped. The important thing is he made the effort. He arrives with Owen, and once he gets a chance to take a look around, he says, "Wow. I think this is it. This is the moment I've officially sold out."

"You want me to drink?" Katherine murmurs to Ethan, keeping the smile on her face. "Brave man." She adds, gazing around the venue with curious eyes. She takes a moment to tug on the hem of her dress and make sure her hair isn't doing anything strange and unusual, waving to Luke before she steers Ethan toward the bar. "We're going to go see the animals after the drink, I hope. Before they get restless and hungry."

Luke's made a beeline to go put eyes on the jaguar, while Abby slides off to go talk to some fellow doctors or something. He's got all the eagerness and wide-eyes of a child at a for-real zoo, paging happily through the pamphlet while talking eagerly to the keepers about how they are ensuring the animals' health and well-being during the event. But all good things must come to an end, and so too must oogling zoo animals, for he sees Ethan cutting out through the crowd. He makes his way over to Kate and Ethan - gliding maybe once or twice on what are definitely, absolutely, certainly not skate shoes (who would even do that?), lifting a hand up to both of them. "Hey!" he says to them both, flashing a grin to Kate as he sneaks her into a quick hug. "You look pretty, Kate. But man, Ethan.." he wolf whistles. "Simply gorgeous."

Cassidy smiles with the calm serenity of one who has grown used to babysitting politicians. As Xavier approaches, she leans in to murmur to the Councilwoman, "Xavier Westin, President of the Westin Institute. Real Estate Developer. Architect. Host of the event." She leans back again, as the Councilwoman steps forward and offers a hand to their host. "Mister Westin, what a lovely event you've put on. I hope it raises a great deal of money for charity."

The zookeepers are happy (and even visibly relieved) to talk to someone who actually knows something about animals. The jaguar, and the other animals, are all trained for public events, and special retreats have been set up for any of them who start to feel stressed - the head keeper points to a door behind their area. The jaguar is, currently, sleepy eyed and willing to be led out so that various people can pet and adore it.

"Councilwoman, it is a pleasure," Xavier says, with a warm smile and a firm handshake. "Thank you, I do hope that people enjoy it. And that we are able to help many others." His eyes flicker to Cassidy, and he extends a hand once the handshake with the Councilwoman is finished. "I'm sorry, I don't believe we've met?"

There is an artform to looking like you give a damn about people that are between you and alcohol, and Angela manuvers through like the pro that she is. At the bar she passes over money in exchange for a whiskey neat. A few moments are spent chatting at the bar before she peels away from it, moving towards the host to pay her respects there, cirling around until she's able to move into the conversational bubble.

Ethan runs a hand down the front of his tie, nodding enthusiastically at Roller Girl Luke. "I know. What can I say?" He does a little twirl to show himself off, and might be peering at Luke's shoes suspiciously in the process, but not a word about them. "Kate and I were discussion the merits of cocktails. Personally, I find they only make situations better." With an open hand gesture toward whichever bar is nearest, his eyes passing across Luke's briefly in the process.

"Technically you haven't sold out. I bought the tickets, and dragged you here against your will, even made you dress up," Owen points out. His own suit is a cobalt blue, with a brilliantly yellow tie and pocket square that makes him look pretty tropical, himself. The man has no fear of color, that's for certain. His hair is neatly combed and beard trimmed. He gussied up for the evening. "Drinks?" he asks, offering Edgar an arm before glancing around the room to find familiar faces.

It would be completely ridiculous for a grown, educated woman to go skating around a fancy party full of fancy people. And yet, it does seem as if Abby slides with a kind of unworldly grace whenever there's several feet so spare. It's hard to tell what's going on with her feet, as the flow legs of her black pantsuit seem to just obstruct the view of her shoes. She spends several minutes speaking with some doctor sorts for awhile, before begging off and traversing the room back to Luke. Are Ethan and Katherine still there? She smiles at them both, though it appears a bit… confused and wide-eyed before she slinks her arm around her date's waist. "Hellooo, everyone."

Cassidy looks momentarily surprised at Xavier's hand being offered to her. She's used to being invisible at events, but she takes the hand in a proper shake. "Cassidy Carr, the Councilwoman's assistant for the evening. A pleasure Mister Westin."

The Councilwoman laughs a little. "Yes, my regular assistant is down with the flu, but Miss Carr was able to fill in at the last moment."

Cassidy smiles. "I was glad to, Councilwoman. Can I get you something to drink? Mister Westin, would you like anything?" she asks, playing her part.

"I can't see how anything could go wrong with us all drinking a lot of alcohol tonight. Not a damn thing!" Luke declares, yet his eyes pass over Ethan's own and into the distance at someone in particular, before he goes clapping his hand against Ethan's back. "Let's get you not sober, my man," he says cheerfully, though he doesn't seem very bright. Until Abby comes gliding on over, and he flashes her a dimpled grin, pecking a kiss to her cheek so that he can mumble something to her under his breath. "Doesn't Ethan look gorgeous, Abby? Well, not as good as you, but don't let him get jealous."

"It will certainly be interesting." Katherine replies, turning to smile at Abby when she moves closer to the group. "You look beautiful tonight, Abby. How've you been doing?" She gives the animals a dubious look as the group moves toward the bar for drinks. She rolls her eyes at Luke and shakes her head. "I don't think that's a good idea at all, but I'm probably one of the few that thinks as much." You look nice Luke."

"Miss Carr, then. A pleasure." Xavier catches sight of Angela, and grins. "Ah, and here is Ms. Angela Bell. Councilwoman, I'm sure you're well acquainted, but I've only recently had the pleasure. Ms. Bell, this is Miss Cassidy Carr." He smiles at the offer, but shakes his head. "None for me…but I do see some people over at the bar I've been meaning to greet, so I'll walk with you, if you don't mind? Ms. Bell?" He makes his goodbyes to the councilwoman and offers an arm to Angela, if she wants to head towards the bar as well.

The theme said 'tropical', and as he strolls in and takes an appraising glance around, Vyv does look prepared for parts of the British Empire on which the sun least set. He's chosen a pale cream linen-blend three-piece suit, with brown-and-beige oxford spectator shoes, a steel blue silk tie, and a pocket square with a pale green and blue pattern of batik leaves tidily arranged at his breast. The movement of his arm as he drops some discreetly folded amount into the appropriate donation receptacle reveals the french cuffs and the brief sparkle of their citrine links. They're simply an echo, however, of the single brilliant orange and blue bird-of-paradise flower tucked through the button hole of his lapel, certainly the focal point of the ensemble.
Like many others, it's drinks he heads toward to start with, one eye out on the rest of the crowd for the few people he might know, or the somewhat more of them he might like to. Katherine, at least, gets a slightly brighter look when he spots her, albeit not quite a smile — and oh, how convenient, they're headed the same general way. He lets his trajectory drift closer, inclining his head to her and her friends on reaching conversational distance. "Good evening. On the hunt for ridiculous thematic cocktails?"

"Councilwoman, always a pleasure." Angela offers to the woman, reaching out a hand for a shake, both to the Councilwoman, and to Cassidy when she is introduced to her as well, "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Carr." Although she's already aquired her drink when asked if she wants to head for the bar with the pair she nods, "Oh, certainly. Everything is absolutely gorgeous tonight, Mr. Westin. You really out did yourself." She gestures with her glass to the decorations before she accepts the offered arm, falling into step when the group gets moving.

Abby is looking between Ethan and Luke as one of them seems to develop a desire to drink heavily, she follows the direction of her date's eyes before bringing them back into focus on the couple at hand. "Oh, yeah. It has been awhile, hasn't? Not since laser tag. I've been busy at the medical center, running myself ragged. We're bringing someone else on staff soon, so I should get a breather." As for Ethan's beauty, "Well, he is very pretty even when he's not dressed up."

Cassidy leans in to whisper to the Councilwoman, "Angela Bell, Legal Council for Bell Industries."

The Councilwoman smiles at Angela and shakes her hand. "Miss Bell, a pleasure to meet you. Some white wine please, Cassidy," the Councilwoman requests. "I'm going to go look at the pretty jaguar. Meet me back there."

"Of course Councilwoman," Cassidy replies with that same fixed smile. "A pleasure to meet you, Miss Bell," the blonde offers in return to the lawyer. She walks beside the pair towards the bar.

Katherine turns to smile at Vyv, nodding. "I'm hoping that anything I drink has an umbrella in it, because it just wouldn't be the same if it didn't." She people watches, her eyes shifting from one brightly attired person to another. She grins at Abby. "It'll be nice to get together again. Hopefully you're getting some rest. Wouldn't do to overwork yourself into getting sick."

Ethan, when Abby comes gliiiiding into the quartet, "Is this night going to end with me getting brained by a pool noodle?" He eyes Abby and Luke suspiciously, then ever-so-happily gets swept up in the process of ordering drinks. "Shirley Temple with an umbrella in it, in that case?" he asks Kate, smiling at her with his teeth on edge. "Abby? Beer? Or fuck it, let's just do shots. I get prettier the more you drink." At least he's kinda in his element for the moment, leaning across the bar to make someone notice him.

Xavier shakes his head. "I can only claim the credit for funding the event - and even there, the cash is the company's, aside from my personal donation. We have a truly gifted party planner who sets up most of the details. I mostly try to look like I understand color coordination and crowd control, and sign things." His tone is dry and self-depreciating, although the praise clearly pleases him. He lifts a hand to the group near the bar. "Ethan, Katherine, Luke! And Edgar, annnnd people I don't know. I hope you're all enjoying it."

Then another of those suited people comes up and whispers in his ear, and he squeezes Angela's arm once before stepping away. "Be right back…but do turn your attention to the stage. I think this'll be special." He makes his way in that direction, taking a mic from the stage. The dancers move off, and he addresses the crowd. "Hello, and good evening! I hope you're all having a wonderful time in this fleeting moment of tropical summer in November. My name is Xavier Westin, and I am honored to serve as your host. But I am /more/ than honored to introduce a man who has agreed to do a performance for us tonight, in the spirit of charity, and the holidays. I would be surprised if he needs an introduction at all, but I'm rather giddy to do it," he confesses. "Please welcome Calvin Dean Shay, back to the stage, after far, far too long."

"Listen, if you're all doing shots. So'm I." Katherine aims a warm smile at Ethan, nudging him in the ribs with a sharp elbow. She turns to the stage, a smile forming on her lips as Calvin is announced. She applauds, and even lets out a shrill whistle with two fingers. She finds a place to perch, so she can watch Calvin while she drinks.

Luke wags his brows comically at Abby for something quietly whispered between the two of them, before his attention slliiides back over to Ethan. "No. What? Maybe. Who knows! The night is still young," he flashes Ethan an all too innocent smile. "Ah, yes. Shots! That sounds like a reasonably responsible thing to do in the moment. Make mine a double," he says to Ethan, lifting a hand to Xavier as he comes over to the bar. "Hey Xavier. And Angela, you look great, we're going to have shots. Obviously you want a shot, right?" he offers to Angela helpfully, before he puts his attention on the stage, letting out a hollar when Calvin is announced.

Cassidy quietly leans in to request a white wine for the Councilwoman, but looks surprised at the announcement. "He's still alive? Wow I thought he overdosed or something a while back," she murmurs to those nearby curiously.

"No, the pleasure is all mine, Miss Carr." Angela replies, falling silent for the rest of the journey to the bar, although once within polite speaking distance to the others she offers them a smile and a nod. At the question of a shot she raises a brow at Luke, glances down at the whiskey in her hand before she downs the contents and puts the empty glass on the bartop. "Love shots." She agrees, making herself comfortable as her attention shifts towards the stage and the upcoming performance. Quietly she murmurs to Cassidy, "Looks like he he is still alive."

Tonight, Calvin seems to have forgone the dress code. His pleasant Hawaiian shirt and board shorts are what you get. He's wearing his mic, the subtle thing attached to his ear. He doesn't come with one of his signature guitars but a ukulele instead. He steps to his mark and for a moment, he looks a bit like a deer in the lights. Then..
"Good evening, Calaveras!" He begins, enthusiastically. He smiles, no, he beams. His posture loosens. "Calvin /Dean/ Shay. My whole name? That's cute." He's fine now. Relaxed as ever. "I hope you are having a good time, looking fancy and eating well. It's all for a good cause too." He tunes the ukulele as he talks. "It's a good cause but it's a sad one. People are losing their homes, their livelihood…but I am an optimist. I am. And when choosing a song for this, I decided to focus on hope, love, and the wonderful world we live in. This is Somewhere Over The Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. May he rest in peace." (OOC: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BeKhlUzPUc)
And Calvin starts strumming. Calvin can supposedly play anything you put in front of him, so his ukulele technique is very good. His deep tone means he can't reach Israel's notes vocally, but he brings a lot of his own energy and sound to the song. Still, it remains cheerful and upbeat and as the song comes to a close, long time fans can almost see the old Calvin Shay in there. Somewhere.
"Thank you, guys! That's my one! Open up those wallets, eat, drink and have fun and be safe! Good night!" He starts to leave, even cutting his mic but suddenly he yells. "I almost forgot! I'll be matching tonight's proceeds, as well. So please give! Thank you!"

Abby whatever Luke says to her as her slapping a hand over her mouth and counting to ten, looking up at the ceiling briefly. "Yeah, lets do whatever we can to make Ethan even more pretty. That sounds like a great plan. SoCo and lime please?" she calls to the bartender down the way. As more people begin to appear around them, she looks to the others that she hasn't been introducted to yet and gives a little wave. "Hellooo." Calvin begins playing and she hushes, at least a little, while his first song plays.

"I accept that narrative," Edgar tells Owen. He smiles at him with a dippy, happy look. "Drinks," he confirms. "And then I need to check out those animals." He nods toward the mini-zoo. "Because that's a trip." He looks around, letting himself be led wherever Owen pleases. He waves when he spies Katherine, then again when he sees Calvin. Then he claps when the song comes to a close. He wolfwhistles. So classy.

"Let's do two whiskey - uh, make that three. And - SoCo and lime. What the fuck is this, college?" Ethan clucks his tongue at Abby, but still hands shot glasses from the bartender to his people, finding time in there somewhere to shoot a wave back at Xavier before he gets hustled onto the stage to introduce Calvin. The drinks stop being handed out for the applause to queue up, then resume once the music starts. He cocks his head briefly to catch a quiet comment from Kate, then hands her a shot-glass and answers, "I don't even think that's possible. Drink up." Oh good, he has one for Angela, too.

"That's the spirit," Vyv replies lightly to Katherine's desire for a paper umbrella, and Xavier and Co. get a slightly assessing look, before their host rushes off and people start talking about shots, which gets a light click of the tongue. "Well, I hope you're at least planning on a Blue Hawaiian or something," he says, attention moving to the stage at the announcement. Cassidy's murmur gets an amused glance. "So did I. Either reports were wrong or his performance should have been saved for Christmas, I suppose."

Katherine waves back at Edgar as she smiles toward the bartender. "I'll also take an Avelanche." She picks up the shot glass full of whiskey and drinks it down, her nose wrinkled as she shudders. "That's…nice." She says, obviously not meaning it.

Xavier does not squee. But it probably says a lot that the guy who set the dress code shows absolutely nothing but open delight at Calvin taking the stage in a Hawaiian shirt. He listens intently, and grins as the song comes to a close. As Calvin exits stage left, he takes back the microphone. "You heard the man, ladies and gentlemen. Remember the season we find ourselves in, and give generously to those who find themselves without home and hearth for Thanksgiving. Your friends and neighbors thank—" There's a loud BANG from a nearby window. Not a gunshot, although several guests cry out and back away. No, one of the protestors has just gotten frisky with a rock-filled snowball against the glass of the window. Xavier's smile doesn't falter. "Your friends and neighbors thank you, even if one or two might take a bit to come around," he adds, turning the thing into a joke. He hands off the microphone, then has a quiet conversation with a minion, who scurries off as he returns to the group at the bar.

"Thank you." Angela murmurs when there is a drink for her, accepting it before she offers a smile towards Abby, "You have got to be Abby, right?" She offers a hand out towards her, along with her name, as if it might have been unclear who she was, "Angela Bell." She maintains that smile right up until the bang from the window, the smile slipping momentarily. Then she shakes it off, lifting her shot, "Salute." Then it is bottoms up, and the whiskey is knocked back like her life depends on it.

Though it's only a quick couple of steps from her Uber to the door of the venue, Royal Kelly's certainly muttering colorful phrases under her breath, while trying to hold onto a friendly smile on her lips, lest she rattle any good moods more accustomed to this frigid tundra. It's a fancy party after all. Girl can put on heels this high, she can smile through a little weather. Royal totters in on a pair of sparkly, pin-thin stiletto heels with a pink-to-silver fade that Jimmy Choo elected, in infinite wisdom, to call Platinum Flamingo. Tropical, right? Her dress is bright yellow knit with a high neck, long sleeves, mid-thigh length—looks kinda cozy actually. The problem is the back, which plunges to her waist, and is not suitable to snow, even if it's only snow you have to walk in for twenty feet. "Lord, tell me they serve hot buttered rum." Frozen. Frozen, frozen.

Luke leans an elbow on the bar, focusing for a time on Calvin's set before his attention returns back to the people around. "Oh, Abby. You haven't met Angela yet, have you?" he motions a hand between them both, flashing a dimpled grin. "Well now you have. Angela's a lawyer," he says to Abby with raised brows, before he reaches for his shot glass, just before there's a sudden BANG! It's the kind of sound that has Luke grabbing Abby to pull her into him, because if anybody's going to get shot tonight? It'd probably be her :( But it was just a snowball, thankfully. "Fucking protestors," he grumbles.

Cassidy smiles at Vyv and chuckles. "Or more appropriately, Easter. But he sounds very much alive. Good for him." She colors slightly, realizing she's supposed to be invisible at this thing, not chat up the rich folk. She accepts the glass of wine for her boss, she herself is drinkless at the moment, endeavoring to remain that way until the Councilwoman is done schmoozing and packed off into a taxi. "I should go bring this to the Councilwoman," she murmurs.

A soberly dressed young man at the door flashes a grin at Royal as she enters. "They do, miss." He points to the bars, which are seeing a fair amount of business.

"Don't shot shame, Ethan. It's not nice." Abby likes her SoCo and lime, thank you very much. She knocks it back and enjoys listening to the rest of Calvin's song, her attention drawn back to the cluster of people when Angela states her name. Out of habit, she reaches out and shakes the woman's hand briskly. "Yes, that would be me. Abigail Thatcher. Does my reputation proceed me?" When Luke speaks, she cuts a glance in his direction and laughs quietly. That is, until someone throws a loud rock at the window. She cringes instinctively and makes a face. "Fun."

"Yes, because animals are pretty awesome, so let's go grab some booze and check them out," Owen says to Edgar with a grin. But then Calvin is getting up on stage and he cheers and applauds for the man, one other face that he recognizes in the crowd. Then he continues to lead Edgar on to one of the areas to get drinks, and finds something for each of them. Thus armed, the next stop is animals, and so it's in the direction of the capybara that they first head. "I heard there's a jaguar here, too."

And the first party foul's on the books, 'cause Ethan spills half his shot when that BANG hits the window. Holding the glass away from himself, shaking off his whiskey-fingers, he snags a cocktail napkin, wiping down fingers and glass. "Fucking protestors," he repeats after Luke, and drinks to that. A signal to the bartender - keep 'em coming, buddy, keep 'em coming - precedes him looking confusedly at Katherine. "As in, you want me to order you an Avalanche? Sure, why not." He does that.

"My apologies about that," Xavier murmurs as he rejoins the group by the bar. "It's cold enough out there that I suppose anything starts to look like a good way to warm up after a while." He chuckles, a bit. "But security will ensure there isn't a repeat, I trust." He watches those who break off to head towards the animals, offering smiles of greeting, but not trying to stop them. Animals are cool, after all.

The capybara has a little play area set up on a low table, allowing people to watch it waddle around. With the zookeepers' aid, hands can be carefully extended to allow the animal to sniff, and even allow brief pettings.

"Quite right, Sister Theresa would have me flogged," Vyv replies to Cassidy, with a hint of a smile in return. "And yes… he does sound significantly better than I'd have imagined the alternative. Lovely frock, by the way."
Further remarks are interrupted by the shot-like sound, which clearly startles him; a quick, small step away from the direction it came from, and he looks over that way for a few seconds. "Right," he mutters, "about that drink," and slips into a space at the bar, ordering a pina colada.

"As in I already ordered myself an Avelanche. Don't worry, I can speak for myself." Katherine shakes her head, accept the drink when it's set in front of her. She picks up the second shot, eyes it dubiously and then drink it, setting it aside. "At least it gets easier as you drink them." She picks up her drink and takes a sip, nodding appreciatively. The bang doesn't make her jump, but she does look around with a confused look on her face, watching people move to the exit, probably to deal with the problem.

Cassidy reacts quite a bit more epically to the BANG on the window. The woman literally dives for the ground at the sound, too like a gunshot to her ears. The wine goes flying, as do some of the sequins on her, as Vyv so eloquently put it, lovely frock. Hands go over her head in a protective gesture.

"You okay?" Luke murmurs to Abby after the little snowball incident, putting his hand on her hip to nudge her in front of him subtly. He is rather eager to knock back that shot, glancing between Katherine and Ethan after he grimmaces when the booze goes down. "I only talked you up a little bit," he promises to Abby about her reputation proceeding her to Angela.

Edgar acquires a drink with a paper umbrella. "No kidding, there's a jaguar, too?" He looks at the capybara and he laughs a little as he says, "Look at that thing, what even is that? Wait, no, I know this. It's one of those, uh… shit, what're they called? They're like giant guinea pigs." He starts at the bang on the window, then admits to Owen, "I kind of feel weird standing on this side of a protest."

Xavier glances to Cassidy as she hits the dirt. Or the beautifully polished marble flooring. WHATEVER. "Ah, my apologies again, but I should—" he gestures towards the scene and slips away from the group again to approach Cassidy and go to one knee beside her. "Miss Carr?" His voice is low and soothing, and he reaches a hand out where she can see it. "It was just a thrown rock. Could I see you to a place to sit down for a bit?" Minions are already closing in to mop up the wine.

Ethan sputters his second shot, choking it down while he nods vigorously at seemingly nothing, coughing in his throat. Between the whiskey and his failure to drink it, his voice is especially broken when he answers Katherine with an amiable, "Of course you can. Cheers." He needs another shot here, my good man!

"A little." Angela agrees with Luke's recollection of how much he talked about Abby, smiling at her once more before she glances towards Ethan, a brow raising at his party foul, then that look slides towards Kate as well. One hand lifts up, two fingers held up to get the bartenders attention with the barest of smirks that flicks across her features, offering towards the others still clustered around the bar, including Xavier when he returns, the overreaction of Cassidy is ignored with practiced politeness. "Isn't everything lovely tonight? I keep hearing about this jaguar, but I haven't made it around to see yet…" She's just going to keep up the small talk in an effort to keep everything moving away from awkward.

A cheerful zookeeper pipes up to Edgar and Owen, "It's the largest living rodent in the world. Well, not /our/ Porky, here. He's only a juvenile. But capybaras in general."

Vyv briefly looks almost as startled by Cassidy's reaction to the sound as by the sound itself, though it doesn't stop him getting that order in as the bartender gets to him. Priorities. He includes a glass of wine in the request, though, and shortly thereafter when the speedy staff have obliged, takes a step back toward Cassidy and Xavier. Careful of the mess. No immediate comment — tending to frightened people is clearly something he's happy to leave to someone else — but when she rises, there will at least be replacement wine on silent offer. For the councilwoman, or herself, whichever needs it more.

Cassidy flinches a moment, breathing rapidly, her eyes wide as she looks at Xavier's hand. His words final filter through her caveman, er cavewoman, brain and are translated as 'there is no danger'. "A, a r-rock?" she asks, taking the hand shakily. "I'm so sorry, it just sounded like, you know," a gunshot. Something she has clearly heard before, in close proximity. "Sitting would be good. I'm so sorry, this is so embarrassing. Could you please have white wine brought to the Councilwoman? I'm afraid I drop-.." she blinks at the one offered by Vyv. "Oh, thank you. I'll bring it to her in a minute or two."

"I'm okay, just surprised by the noise," Abby waves off Luke's concern with a thankful smile. She doesn't ask for another drink herself, instead choosing to remain just a bit more sober than her friends here. "Hmm, I'm sure. Well, it's a pleasure to meet you, Angela. Will you both excuse me for a second?" She turns from them and grabs Ethan's elbow and gives it a little yank. Not a forceful yank but a rather insistent one before she slips in and mutters something to him with a little raised eyebrow.

If there's one thing you do not have to do, it's point Royal to the bar more than once. She flashes that smile to the young man who's got the hookup, nods, "Bless you." She she's off, wending her way through the crowd in search of a hot drink with a little kick. She barely flinches at the earlier banging sound, but her attention does flick to small disturbance in the crowd as a woman there does a duck-and-cover. Royal halts briefly in her progress, but then continues on to the bar, slipping in sideways to a small space life by Vyv's retreat.

Xavier gives Vyv a grateful look - one which becomes appreciative as he takes in the other man's outfit. There's a brief, approving nod. Then he returns his attention to Cassidy. "Let's get you a seat for a moment." He steers her quietly to a low bench near the animals (and, coincidentally, away from the windows) to sit down. "Just take your time." Then he has a quiet conversation with another minion, and it's not long before the dancers return to the stage, starting their full set - drums and pipes fill the air, drawing eyes in that direction.

Luke nods a little to Abby, and while she might be staying sober? He rather eagerly knocks back another shot, particularly when Abby grabs Ethan by the elbow to drag him off. He watches for a lingering second, his lips pursing into a thin line, before he musters up a smile again for Kate and Angela. "This is FUN!" he enthuses, saying specifically to Angela afterward: "I wouldn't mind going to see the jaguar again if you want to go on over there." But he's already raising his hand for another shot.

Most of the Kahula, Crown and cream has been sucked down, and Kate is looking at the next shot with a frown on her face. She watches Abby yank on Ethan and for some reason she finds it hilarious, giggling softly as she waves the shot away. "I think this vastly oversteps the whole let's have a cocktail idea." She spots Angela and looks thoughtful for a moment before she apparently changes her mind, taking the shot glass and drinking it

Owen lifts his own glass with its little umbrella, taking a sip from it as they make their way over toward the capybara on it's little table. He allows his hand to be taken and offered to the rodent to sniff, and gives it a gentle pet before withdrawing once more, not wanting to crowd too much, and instead takes a little step back. The noise outside draws his attention, and then he nods to Edgar, giving his arm a little squeeze. There's a smile for the cheerful zookeeper and he says, "Yeah, I've heard they get quite a bit bigger."

"Oh, we totally can all go see the jaguar. How about that?" Angela suggests, although much like Luke she's reaching for the two shots she just ordered, knocking the first one back before she continues, "In a moment, though. We'll go see the big fuzzy cat." Empty glass is sat down before she starts to raise the second to her mouth, pausing when she spots Kate looking at her, a brow arching upwards, "Ms. Stone?" Yeah. That is happening.

Dear Lord, Ethan gives thanks for his friends coming to stop him from throwing whiskey into his body (though he does have the foresight to snag his shot-glass before Abby successfully distracts him from ordering another one). "The reasons," he begins, louder than whatever she said to him but not quiiiiiite drunk-loud, "are legion, Doctor Thatcher. Why are you wearing skate-shoes to a fancy party?" So there.

The grateful part of the look isn't mirrored, but the appreciative part is, Vyv's glance falling on little points of detail in Xavier's outfit in return. A small inclination of the head, acknowleging the nod, and then Cassidy's speaking again.
"Quite welcome," Vyv murmurs, handing the glass over when she's ready, and in more normal tones, "Sure you don't want it for yourself? I suspect they might have another replacement available if needed." An assessing look. "Or possibly whiskey, you're in danger of blending in with the snow when you step outside."

The cheerful zookeeper nods. "Oh, yes. The largest specimens have weighed in at over two hundred pounds. Porky here is just about at fifty - he's got a lot of growing left to do." She sidles in close and confides in a stage whisper as she gestures towards the jaguar, "Sylvester would just be too tempted if he was a big boy." Sylvester the Jaguar yawns briefly, showing needle sharp teeth, but looks as if munching on giant rodent is the farthest thing from his mind.

Cassidy sits with a thankful look to the gentlemen assisting her. "Thank you, again. I'll be fine, it just took me by surprise." She fumbles for an explanation that is not the truth. "I went to college in Denver and was at a party where someone got shot." Liar liar, but likely believable. She shakes her head at Vyv's offer. "Oh no, thank you. I try to steer clear of the bar until my charge departs the event. One of us has to keep her from embarrassing herself. All part of that personal assistant service."

"This fat little thing is going to get bigger?" Edgar says. He carefully pets the capybara on the neck. "Hey buddy," he says to it. "Look at you. Owen, he looks like he's judging us. It's an evangelical capybara." His attention then turns to the jaguar, and he stands up a little taller. "I'm not petting that," he says. He sidles closer to Owen, and a little behind. If worst comes to worst, he doesn't have to outrun the jaguar, he just has to outrun Owen.

Abby gives Ethan a withering sort of look, eyebrows lifting up skeptically when he starts to answer her in a too loud voice. In the fashion of people that are dumb enough to try and talk drunk people down, she keeps her voice low and even. However on the topic of those skate shoes, she does afford him one little smile and speak loud enough for others close by to hear, "Because it's fun and /harmless/."

"Harmless fun is the best fun!" Luke chimes into Ethan and Abby's not-so-quiet conversation, before his eyes widen a little bit when Angela addresses Katherine. "Oh, uh, you know, I bet if we don't go look at the jaguar now it might.. go… extinct?" he tries, making sure to drink back his shot before he rolls a touch unsteadily over to Angela. "Come on, I'll tell you the story about how the jaguar lost its spots. It'll be great fun."

"So," Ethan begins confidently, "is whiskey. I guess except for liver disease. But livers grow back." He tells a doctor. Over Abby's head, he calls after Luke, "Hey, watch out for the PETA people! I bet you those mother-fuckers are here somewhere."

Kate turns to look at Angela. "Good evening, can I help you with something?" There is a definite slur to her words, but she manages to not sound as angry as she might look. Her gaze shifts to Luke, and she raises her eyebrows, laughing softly as she listens to his excuse about the big cat. She stays seated, turning away from the pair to watch Ethan get loud. "Probably, you've had enough whiskey Ethan."

"Livers don't grow back like that." Abby tells Ethan seriously.

The jaguar stands up as people start looking at it. It's a stocky, muscular cat, who definitely looks like he could run down at least half the party if it were inclined to do so. But the zookeeper gives it a treat, and then takes the lead to bring it over to the edge where people are gathering. "This is Sylvester," she tells them. "He's one of our education animals; he's used to working with people, but if you want to pet him, it needs to be one at a time, and move slowly. He won't bite, but he can get stressed when strangers reach out too fast - just like you probably do!"

Angela's not budging, even when Luke decides that now is the time to step in, "Oh, probably not. You just looked like something was on your mind is all." She downs the second shot in her hand before she moves to slam it down on the bar, upside down, turning then towards Luke. The smile she offers him is rather calm, all things considered, moving to murmur something quietly to him.

Luke blinks at whatever it is Angela murmurs at him, leaning back a little stiffly - which actually causes him to /roll/ back just an inch or two. His brows raise, and then promptly drop into a furrow, as he leans back into Angela and whispers something back to her. He speaks quickly, and the look on his face suggests he's not exactly happy about whatever he's saying.

Ethan listens to whatever else Abby has to say, frowning at her intently for the stuff no one else gets to hear, and manages to dial down the volume for a minute, keeping his comments below the background noise of a fancy party. Afterward, he eyes her skeptically and counters, "I'm pretty sure you're wrong," about the livers. But cooler heads prevail, and - with one last defiant look between Katherine and Abby - he leans back across the bar and orders a beer and a glass of water.

Xavier continues to hover a bit with Cassidy and Vyv. "Just so long as you're all right, Miss Carr. Although your commitment to duty is admirable." He flashes her a smile, then glances back over as he hears Ethan's voice rise briefly over the crowd. He rubs the back of his neck, and shows uncharacteristic hesitation, clearly torn between going over to Interfere, and staying where he is.

"It's a what?" Owen laughs when Edgar judges the capybara judging them, looking between the giant rodent and the man next to him with a shake of his head. Though when Edgar suddenly moves closer and a little behind him, he smirks and says, "Oh I see how it is. Throw me to the predators is it?" There's definitely a teasing tone in his voice as he begins to move in the direction of the jaguar. "You don't have to pet it, but how many opportunities do you get to see one so close?"

"I'm fine, Mister Westin, it was just a silly reaction. I do apologize for taking your time. Please, go see to your guests, Cassidy says to Xavier quietly. "I'll just sit a spell then I'll deliver the Councilwoman her wine and get back to the job." She is clearly beginning to calm down, though flushed more with embarrassment than anything else at this point.

"Mm. Fair enough," Vyv says to Cassidy, quite possibly about both her panic-excuse and the beverage one. Which are surely entirely equivalent. "I suppose we can't have unattended councilwomen roaming the grounds. God knows what they might legislate. Probably where all those laws about falling asleep in a cheesemongers or not chasing greased pigs come from." A glance around, as thought the Councilwoman might be doing just ANYTHING without supervision, and the arguing catches his attention. Hm! He sips his drink absently, considering the body language between them.

"No I am definitely not-" Definitely not going to get stuck in a conversation about livers, Ethan. The nerve. Abby's expression softens a little when he drops his voice and talks to her. She sighs and closes her eyes, letting go of his elbow briefly to put a hand on his arm before drawing away. "No, that's not the only way to go about this," and she drops her volume once more.

Vyv's comments do get a little laugh from Cassidy and she gives him a grateful look. "Thank you, you should go ahead and mingle to Mister…I don't think I got your name? My manners went flying with the wineglass apparently."

Of course the Councilwoman is trying to pet the jaguar. Because that won't stress out her PA more or anything.

The quiet conversation continues! Angela's calm smile remains, and she doesn't even seem to register that whatever she said the first time had the reaction it did. Nope. She whispers something back to Luke before she lifts a hand up to his face, booping the tip of his nose.

The jaguar is being petted by the Councilwoman! It bears this with stoic dignity. Its general attitude is that of a diva actor who knows they're going to get paid whether they actually bother to act or not.

Katherine knows the answer before she asks, but she'll ask anyway. "Are you two okay?" She asks Abby and Ethan, her gaze settling on Abby, eyebrows raised. She sits with her hands folded in her lap, turning on the stool to look at the animals, the people and ooh, food. That's not a bad idea.

Calvin Shay has left the building. As with his arrival, it's all whispers and gossip, at least at first. 'I think I just saw Calvin leave. He looked upset." and "He was all red and wearing sunglasses. I think he turned down someone for a selfie." and lastly, "Oh my god, a protester just flour-bombed Calvin Shay! They got into a fight! Good thing security is tight here."
Set your google alerts. Calvin's about to spike.

"Westin. Xavier Westin," Xavier says, with a flash of a smile to Vyv. He extends a hand. "And it's a pleasure to meet you. We have to talk about your tailor at some point," he says, with deadly seriousness, "because that is a magnificent suit." He gives Cassidy a brief, reassuring smile. "Don't concern yourself, Miss. Just have fun, or as much fun as your duties will allow," he adds, with a wink. Then sneaks another look back over in Ethan's general direction.

Luke breathes an exasperated sigh at something whispered between him and Angela, swiping his hands through his hair before he steps aside. Whatever he's said to her, it appears to be the last thing he wants to say to her, and he wears a frown as he rolls himself back to where Abby and Ethan are quietly interacting.

Edgar looks at Owen with those big, baby blue eyes. What's not to trust? "You're athletic," he says. "I'm sure you could take care of yourself." Still, he eyes the jaguar with speculation, and when it doesn't seem to be snapping off peoples' hands, he comes forward, waiting his turn. "Hey, nice kitty," he croons at the animal. "Wow, you're gorgeous." Alas, if he only knew what was going on outside. Poor Calvin.

Aw, but Ethan had his arms crossed and everything, really prepared to dig in on this liver disease issue. But, between the hullabaloo that wafts in to mark Calvin's departure and whatever Abby's saying to him, he winds up knuckling his forehead and nodding seriously. "You're right. I know. I get it." So he gets out his wallet, explaining for Katherine, "No, I'm gonna - " Hook his thumb toward the exit indicatively and trust she can figure out what that means.
But not before Ethan adds, shocked, "Shots are how much?"

The blonde in the yellow dress orders up a hot buttered rum from the bartender, glad for the press of people. It's not long before Royal's shoulders relax a bit, and her shivers ease. She stays at the bar, though she goes cast a brief glance toward the toothy display of predators. "I'll need another of these in about seven minutes," she murmurs to the bartender, stuffing a tip in the nearest upturned and empty glass.

The jaguar sniffs each hand offered critically. When it gets to Edgar's hand, his muzzle wrinkles and - for the briefest of moments - it really does look like he's about to take off a hand. Instead, Sylvester sneezes, his entire head shaking back and forth, ears briefly flapping against his skull. Then he goes back to looking unruffled and majestic.

Last thing? Nope. Angela's going to get the last word in, because even when Luke rolls away to safety she turns to say her own piece, "Don't worry, I am!" When Ethan speaks up about how much shots are she moves closer to the bar, pulling her wallet out of her pocket to fish out several hundreds that she slaps down on the bar. "Have a nice rest of the evening." This is spoken to those she'd been drinking with, even Katherine, before she starts to make moves towards the exit.

"Uh huh," Owen says to Edgar with a smirk and gives him a little bit of a nudge with one elbow, apparently entertained despite this inevitable betrayal. He joins Edgar at the jaguar and likewise waits his turn before reaching out to very gently touch the animal's coat. "Imagine if one of these followed you home," he says to Edgar. When the jaguar sneezes, he can't help but laugh and says, "I think the cat is allergic to /you/."

Vyv is reasonably easily drawn back from the 'show'. "You could probably pull it off if you did," he answers Cassidy, adding to both of them, "Vyvyan Vydal. Vyv, usually." He accepts Xavier's hand, giving it a decent shake, and the compliment to his outfit gets a small but genuine smile, and another of those acknowledging headtilts. "I'm sorry to say he's not local," he replies, "but I could certainly hope yours is." Another glance over the tux, in case the compliment might have somehow been subtle. "Pleased to meet you both. Though I don't believe I got =your= name," he adds to the young woman.

"Good, because we need to talk." Katherine says to Ethan, her mouth opening to comment further, but then Angela is slamming money on the bar. She shakes her head, looking in her purse for her coat check ticket.

"Jesus!" Edgar says as he snatches his hand back. It's all over! He's going to lose a hand! No, wait, it was just a sneeze. Well, now Edgar's heartrate is up a bit, and he's got jaguar snot on the back of hi hand. "Um. Thanks," he says to the cat. He passes his drink to Owen and asks, "Can you hold that for a second?" He has a handkerchief in his pocket, not that he thought he would be using it to clean off jaguar snot. Man, the rich know how to live.

Abby smiles sympathetically at Ethan before finally giving the poor guy some damn space. She turns her attention over to Katherine and shakes her head quickly, "Everything is fine. Me and Luke are going to give you a ride home, if you didn't bring your own car." Which is said right around that time that Luke straight up rolls back to her again. She looks relieved to see him, glancing back to Angela. Or she's going to talk to Ethan. "We can /definitely/ give you a ride home."

"Alas, no. Not even close to local," Xavier admits, wryly. His eyes flick back over the crowds, and he frowns. "Would you excuse me for just a moment?" he asks, with a smile that suddenly seems rather fixed. He slips away from the two, and starts to head towards the departing Angela.

Cassidy blinks at Vyv. "The patissiere? Oh wow! It's an honor to meet you, Chef. I've had to acquire some of your fantastic creations for council meetings. You have the hand of the divine in your chocolates," she enthuses. "I'm Cassidy Carr. Normally I'm just a secretary at the city council building, but I am filling in for the Councilwoman's personal assistant tonight. It's what I'm trained for, really. Hoping to move into a position more permanently in that field soon." She nods to Xavier as he excuses himself, and finally rises from the chair. "I think I'm steady enough to bring my boss her wine now. Thank you so very much for your help, Chef."

"Yeah," Luke agrees with Abby, slinking his arms around her waist to murmur something to her quietly before he flashes a glance between Ethan and Katherine. "I think talking right now isn't really on the table," he looks apologetic to Katherine, but. Well. Somebody has to say it. "So let Abby and I take one of you home, and you guys can figure stuff out in the morning?"

Sylvester the Jaguar looks at Edgar, lazily licks his lips, and looks quite pleased with himself.

"Listen you two, I'm an adult. If I want to talk to someone, how about we leave it up to him and let us get on with it?" Katherine says, showing an uncharacteristic flare of annoyance. "Thank you though. I appreciate the concern." She turns to raise an eyebrow at Ethan, waiting.

It's not like she's moving real fast, so Xavier has plenty of time to catch Angela. When she spots him on his interception course she comes to a stop, a brow lifting upwards faintly, "Mr. Westin. Lovely party, terribly sorry to be going."

"And he's pretty tipsy already so maybe you shouldn't be pushing him to talk to you in private," Abby quips back to Katherine, tapping one wheeled shoe against the ground.

"That's - " But Ethan doesn't even finish his argument re: needing to talk, just points indicatively at Luke and wiggles his finger a little - that, what he said, exactly. Everyone starts talking about rides home, and he points out, "The bar is literally across the street from here. I'll be fine. You two - " Abby and Luke. " - have an amazing rest of your night." He pauses to add something for Luke, since that's the only person left he hasn't whispered to. <.<

Xavier offers a smile. "And terribly sorry to see you go. Could I persuade you to stay for just a moment longer? There is the matter of the Bell donations, and a token of appreciation has been prepared. We could do that and then, if you still must depart, I will only sorrow in my heart, and not seek to stymie you further," he claims, his voice still light, almost teasing, but his eyes are serious.

"You're an asshole Ethan. If this was your plan, you shouldn't have called me this afternoon to ask me to come here with you. I could have stayed home for all of this." Katherine makes her way to the coat check, hands over her ticket, and pulls her coat over her shoulders. "Thanks for the offer of a ride, but no thank you." She steps out into the snow, brushing past the protesters, ignoring their shouting.

Xavier looks up as Katherine walks out, and his frown deepens briefly as he watches her go. He reaches up to briefly rub his thumb across his lower lip, then resolutely refocuses on Angela, his eyes widening to a not-quite-a-plea.

Owen takes Edgar's drink and even takes a sip from it for his trouble, "This is what you get for trying to throw me under the bus. Cat snot." Despite it all, he does look at least a little sympathetic and says, "I think the men's room is over there.. do you want me to get you a damp towel or something?" There's some commotion going on nearby and he glances over in the direction of Katherine and the others, but he has an affronted boyfriend to attend to, and so his attention returns to Edgar.

Angela's brows shift further upwards, then she shakes her head, "While I appreciate whatever you have prepared, I'm certain that you can simply have it delivered to the office. I really do think that…" She trails off when she spots Katherine's hasty exit, her head tilting very faintly to the side, considering something, "Perhaps just a moment longer. But I should be making my way home soon." Since whispering is the thing to do, though, she leans forward, her voice dropping.

Luke's eyes widen at the outburst from Katherine, and he briefly touches his forehead to Abby's shoulder so that only she could hear his groan. He straightens with a sigh, rubbing his hands over his face, before he frowns over to Ethan. "Come on. We'll at least walk you past the protestors," he says to his friend, offering him an arm to lean on. After all, at this point? He's gone and gotten himself completely sober. "Abby and I'll just.. go roller skating after or something."

Vyv looks fleetingly startled by the reaction, though he covers it up well, leaving just 'pleased'. "Thank you. Wait 'til we're fully open— it's only a skeleton menu until the renovations are finished. There'll be others coming I think you might enjoy." He gives her a thoughtful look. "You seem well-suited to the position. Very dedicated. Perhaps the one you're filling in for ought to watch out. Or are you really more interested in private enterprises?" Oh. People storming out. One of the few people he knows, even. His brow wrinkles slightly as he watches Katherine go, with a glance back to those who were fighting. "Looks like everyone's having fun," he remarks quietly.

"You /called/ her and invited her out here?" Abby looks at Ethan, flabbergasted. But Luke's got some good ideas right there so she'll just follow along with his direction as she watches Katherine storm out.

Edgar eyes the jaguar as he wipes his hand with the hankie. "Yeah, you just stand there and look smug," he says. He pockets the hankie, then takes his drink back from Owen. He gives the other guy a kiss for his troubles. "I think I got most of it. I'll just go wash my hands. But now that I know you can control jungle cats, I'm going to have to watch myself. I'd call you Tarzan, but even I know it's the wrong continent." He tries not to touch anything with his besnotted hand as he makes his way to the restroom.

Now poor Angela gets a frown. "This is buisness, Angela," he says in response to her quiet words. Then he sighs, and responds in a low voice to her, his brow furrowing, before he reaches out to gently touch her shoulder and smile once more. "Thank you for your indulgent. Just a moment. My word upon it." He places his hand over his heart and bows, actually bows, before making his way back over to the stage. He takes the microphone there, before saying, "I'm sorry to interrupt the festivities again, but this is the time in the evening when we acknowledge those who have greatly supported their friends and neighbors in recovering from the recent disasters. As you know, the Westin Institute will be matching a hundred and fifty percent of the donations given tonight and Mr. Shay has announced that he will also be matching donations, but some local families and companies have stepped up to the forefront of giving."

Ethan doesn't turn bright red, but probably that's only because he's alreaady a little flushed from it being hot in here (it's hot in here, right?) and him having had three shots. "Not exactly! It's more complicated than that. You guys should really stay." He'll just get his coat, and continue to insist that he's fine to get himself home, stay, seriously, he's good. The protestors are still celebrating their triump over Calvin, so he gets away unmolested.

"I'd much prefer private enterprise. I find it a bit less," Cassidy lowers her voice to say quietly, "distasteful. I know corporations and the like can be a lot of work for a PA, but the work is usually less unclean." She gives a small smile at that. It fades as Katherine walks out and she glances to make sure the Councilwoman wasn't the cause. Nope, she's over oohing over the Capybara. Whew.

Angela shrugs faintly at Xavier, then gestures in agreement to holding off on her own exit. When he heads up towards the stage she lets part of her attention shift that direction, the other half seems to be drifting towards Ethan's departure, then Abby and Luke. Saints in Roller Skates.

"Ethan.." Luke starts, but Ethan's getting on his coat and insisting he's fine as he walks right out the door. And then Xavier's on stage, and it's too totally awkward to go running after him /now/, so he just puffs air into his cheeks and exhales it out in a low whistle. "Well. This was fun," he murmurs to Abby, flashing her a wry smile. "I'm sure he'll be okay," but he's probably saying that to Abby to reassure /himself/.

Minions arrive, carrying small packages wrapped covered over in cloth. Xavier offers a smile to the crowd. "All of you have contributed towards rebuilding communities and lives tonight, and you should feel proud of yourselves. But there have been a few people whose generosity has been exceptional, and I thought it only fair to thank them personally. First," he looks to make sure Angela didn't slip away, "I want to thank Angela Bell for her very generous donation. Please come up, Ms. Bell!" Applause ripples through the crowd, and the minion unveils a cut crystal trophy with an elegant 'tropical' scene etched into it, and a 'Honored donor: 1st Annual Tropical Evening Charity Ball' plaque attached to the bottom.

"I suspect," Vyv replies, keeping it reasonably quiet as well, perhaps in response to that lowered voice, "that might depend on the corporation. Still— yes, I see what you mean." He glances to the Councilwoman as well, though her squeeing over the animals perhaps doesn't make for the best illustration. A quiet moment to drink, his attention drawn toward the stage by the announcement, and he joins the applause by lightly tapping his free fingers against the heel of the other hand. It doesn't make the slightest noise, but you know. Look of the thing. "What, precisely, do you generally do when you're personally assisting? Aside from preventing photo ops for TMZ, that is."

No, she didn't. Although she probably should have. When she's called up to the stage she manages to find that smile from earlier again, and it's perfectly fine unless no one looks too closely at it. Angela moves up towards the stage, "Thank you, Mr. Westin, but the thanks really should go to the family as a whole. It was a family donation, afterall."

"This was a lot of fun, can we get out of here now?" Abby says to Luke, watching Ethan as he makes his grand departure as well. She glances around on the fancy party and huffs, rolling the wheel of her sneaker against the floor.

Owen returns Edgar's kiss and gives his arm another small squeeze as Edgar heads off toward the restroom. Lifting his own glass, he takes a sip and turns to watch the people around him. When the donors are being thanked for their contributions, he lifts his hands in applause for the names as they are called out, and then gazes out over the room to people watch some of the other guests.

"Yes, yes we can," Luke murmurs to Abby, canting his elbow to her to offer her his arm. And then the two will very very casually roll out of here, while Angela's accepting her prize!

Cassidy applauds for Angela's award as she speaks quietly with Vyv. "Everything from scheduling and reminding of appointments, to research for events such as this to make sure my charge knows who they are speaking to and why they should be. I handle calls, mails, invitation replies, bookings, paperwork, some accounting, event and trip planning, outfit approval, and of course any and all organizational needs."

More applause! If there is one thing that rich people really like, it's being told how good they are for giving away money they won't miss. So, after Angela receives her trophy, and Xavier shakes her hand and murmurs a quiet, "Thank you," for her patience, he calls out several other names of local philanthropists and companies, and they all get elegant little trophies. Then another minion whispers to him, and he says, "Ah, I see that we have our totals for the evening. And as we have a Councilwoman in the audience, perhaps she would be willing to accept this check on behalf of the city?" Two minions, this time, carrying out one of those large novelty checks. The number printed on the check is actually quite respectable, and knowing it'll be doubled twice before the end brings out more applause. Xavier looks out towards Cassidy and the Councilwoman.

As soon as she's got the trophy, the handshake, and the ability to make her exit, Angela beats a fast retreat as well, gathering up her coat on the way out. And if any of the protestors try to get in her way, she's got a trophy to hit them with.

Cassidy erps quietly, holds up a finger to Vyv, and skitters over to the Councilwoman. "Thank Mister Westin and everyone who donated to make this night a great success, ma'am," she whispers, removing a wine glass from the woman's hand which she apparently got for herself at some point. She also holds her purse for her.

The Councilwoman takes to the stage, waving a Queen Elizabeth little hand twist wave to everyone as she crosses to Xavier. "Thank you, Mister Westin, for this wonderful event. And thank you to everyone who donated to make this night a great success!" She accepts the cardboard check and poses for photos, some of which Cass takes with her phone.

Edgar emerges from washing his hands and comes back over to Owen. He slips an arm around him and says, "Were there any good awards? I can cross bypassing a protest line and getting sneezed on by a jaguar off my bucket list." He eyes the massive cardboard check as the Councilwoman poses with it. "Ooh, those are fun."

More applause, of course, and Xavier shakes his head to the Councilwoman. "I have to thank the City Council, and the Madame Mayor, for leading Calaveras so well, and through far-seeing, rational policies, making this town a wonderful place to live, play, and work." He grins, and then does all the photo ops that need to be done, along with schmoozing. When he does extricate himself, he sidles off towards the bar. This time, to give himself a well-earned tumbler of whiskey.

Vyv looks somewhat amused again as Cassidy zooms off to do her job, and remains where he is, standing comfortably and going through his drink at a respectable sort of pace. Good excuse for people watching, though most of the people aren't being quite so interesting as the earlier conflict. Capybaras and jaguars, though — might as well take a closer look at them. As the acceptance devolves into photos and such, he strolls over to look at the critters. The cabybara hits him with that innately judgy look as he approaches, and he gives it a remarkably similar one right back.

Porky the Capybara saunters over and seems to convey, with just the lift of its snout and a few sniffs, that the judgment could turn favorable, if Vyv had any forbidden treats stowed away to share.

With her duty done, the Councilwoman returns to Cassidy and reclaims her purse but not the wine glass. "I think I'll be heading home now, Miss Carr. Thank you for your assistance this evening. Please let Joshua know where he can retrieve the photos taken of me tonight for publicity purposes."

"Of course Councilwoman," Cassidy says with a broad smile as she walks her to the door, using her phone to text the cabbie she has idling in wait at a stupid price. "Your ride will be waiting for you right out front, ma'am. Good night."

With that, the Councilwoman takes her leave, and Cassidy downs the untouched wine she had been given by Vyv in a few swallows. She needed that. She heads towards where the chef went by the animals. "That looks adorable and like it thinks I'm a terrible dresser." She notes of the giant guinea pig.

"Awards for the donors who contributed," Owen says to Edgar when he re-emerges, letting his arm slip around the author again, chuckling at the giant check. "Yeah but imagine trying to get it into the ATM to deposit it." he then asks, "Did you want to go see if we could find any more animals to pet, or has you adventure with the jaguar put you off wildlife for a while?"

Edgar glances back toward the animals, and now that he's not on the receiving end of capybara judgment, he enjoys watching the little animal judge others. "The monkey looks cool," he says, "but knowing my luck, it'll try to bite my face off." He leans lightly against Owen, unselfconscious about being seen with him in public like this. After a moment, he says, "Yeah, let's go look at the monkey. Just don't let it eat my face."

Ever dedicated to the art of drinking and wandering at the same time, Royal finishes off her first hot buttered rum, and slides her empty over before accepting the second, which arrives right on time. She salutes the bartender with her warm ceramic mug, and wanders away from the bar to wend through the crowd vaguely in the direction of the jaguar, half-listening to the words from the stage.

Vyv looks from Porky to Cassidy, as she arrives. "Cats appear to have competition for Best Disdain," he agrees. "But really, head-to-toe fur, at a tropical-themed event? It's really in no position to judge." He does not, alas, have any forbidden treats to offer the capybara, though he probably raises its hopes by somewhat gingerly extending a hand for it to smell. As though it were, in fact, a cat.

The monkey has mostly been hanging from a playset made for her all evening, occasionally watching people with large, nearly golden eyes, and sometimes swinging back and forth. Right now, she's hanging from a 'branch' by her feet, turning one of her toys over in her hands. When humans start to approach, she first pulls the toy in protectively to her chest, then with a very human sort of pout, holds it out as if to share.

"Yeah I'm, not much of a monkey person," Owen says, "Too much like people. Creeps me out a little." Listen, for some people it's cows, for some it's monkeys. He hangs back a bit as they make their way toward the monkey, letting Edgar feel free to visit, but he's more than content to keep his distance. His drink, however, that, he focuses on enjoying.

The capybara sniffs Vyv's hand, gives another judgmental look, then waddles off to push a ball around its table, bumping it along with its snout. The ball never disappoints it.

"It won't bite, will it?" Cassidy asks Vyv. Not a whole lot of capybara where she's from. She grabs a glass of wine from a passing waiter's tray, and a canape from another. "At least I've won my freedom for the night. Now as long as I don't get anything on this dress, I can enjoy myself."

Edgar nods to Owen and says, "I get it." He can respect people being freaked out by animals. Animals are freaky! He approaches the monkey, and at first he's confused when it holds out its toy. "You're not going to eat my face, are you?" he says. He slowly holds out a hand for the toy. "What, do you want me to throw this? Am I supposed to do something with this?" His voice is gentle, for all that he'll never entirely lose his Jersey accent.

When Edgar reaches out his hand, the monkey snatches the toy away, and gives him a big, lips-pulled-back grin. She does not say HA HA, because she's a monkey, but she projects it well. She carefully turns the toy around in her hands, showing it off to him, and then slooooowly extends it out for him again. 'Trust me', her big eyes seem to say, 'this time I am sharing this toy with you in the spirit of cross-species harmony. We will forge a bond of cooperation and love. Together. With this toy.'

The zookeeper, watching this, puts in, "Her name is Lucy. That probably tells you what you need to know, sir."

"I hope not, I need these," Vyv says, withdrawing his fingers just a bit from the sniffing. Does nothing to make the capybara any less disappointed with things, and he watches it head over to nudge the ball. He snags one of the canapes as well; it gets a critical look. "All in all, I think I prefer cats. Speaking of, jaguar?" He moves in its direction, taking a bite. "And congratulations on being saved from dehydration." Edgar's monkey business gets watched as he walks, and the toy-snatching gets a breath of a laugh.

Finally, Royal makes her way around to the Zoo display. She smiles, charmed by the monkey. She does, however, stay just out of reach, quite familiar with the habit of some primates to grab long hair when it's within range. Her eyes find the jaguar, but she stays back, ever one to admire big cats from afar, as nature intended. She chimes in, "I don't think they eat faces. Chimpanzees, though…" Yup, admiring from afar. "What a sweet girl you are, Lucy. Good girl." There's a little bit of a southern accent there.

Cassidy can't help but laugh when Edgar is punked by the wee monkey. "Now that one is a politician in the making. Promise you things up front, and never delivers," she asides to the patisierre. She walks with him to the jaguar and looks at it breathlessly. She used to play a video game character who could turn into one. Seeing one so close is amazing. "He's gorgeous," she comments to the handler, in awe.

Sylvester the Jaguar, perhaps sensing that his title as Most Attractive Animal is threatened by monkey shenanigans, has started to groom himself. It is somehow just as charming when a cat large enough to tear out your throat washes his face with his massive paw, licking and rubbing over his ears, as it is when it's a house cat doing it.

"I can see the evolutionary path," Vyv agrees, and stops to watch the grooming. Which is, indeed, strangely pleasing to see. "He is," he says, moving just a bit closer, to look at the sheen of Sylvester's fur. "Everyone'd want one if it weren't for the face-eating potential. And even then it's tempting. Of course, where would you keep one?" He looks to the handler, asking, "Is he pettable, or is that beneath his dignity?"

"Not in my little apartment, that's for sure," Cassidy replies to Vyv with a grin. At the question of petting, she looks at the attendant hopefully.

The cheerful zookeeper smiles warmly at Vyv and Cassidy. "He's pettable. Just move slowly, and let him sniff you first. He doesn't bite, but we want to make this experience as pleasant for him as it is for you!" Sylvester flicks his ears and turns his attention to the humans, extending his nose towards the two to sniff.

Edgar eyes the toy, then flashes the monkey a pair of fingerguns and says, "I do not believe you." Still, he's got to try. He knows the monkey is going to pull the toy away, but he reaches for it anyway. Let the little critter have her fun. He glances sidelong at the jaguar. Yeah, he hasn't forgotten you, sneeze-cat.

Meanwhile, Lucy the Monkey yanks back the toy and grins in delight. SILLY HUMAN. She hugs the toy to herself, then sizes up Royal, swinging her arms towards the woman to offer the toy to her. She even shakes it a little, her little monkey face the exemplar of 'serious face'. Surely this toy is desired! Surely her gift will be found pleasing by the human!

Owen hangs back a little bit while Edgar plays with the monkey, both not believing her shenanigans, and giving into them all at once. It seems to entertain him to watch, from a slight distance. He seems to be enjoying himself, just watching people come and go, and the animals, and the wya that people interact with them. He takes the occasional sip from her drink and says, "It's too bad that Cal didn't stay longer. I should stop by the shop.. we should both stop by the shop sometime soon," he mentions to Edgar.

Royal eyes the toy for a moment, then glances up to Lucy. "Girl." The blonde knows exactly where this is going, but if you're going to dress up and come to a benefit, the least you can do is humor the monkey. She extends her left arm, palm up, "What have you got there, darlin furry girl?" Yes, she is using a soothing 'what a good girl you are' voice on Lucy.

"Nor mine, and I think the man running the renovations might balk if I tried to include a miniature jungle," Vyv says. He gives the zookeeper a hint of a smile in return, and extends his hand toward Sylvester slowly, fingers curled down. Probably not an effective way to keep them from being bitten off, but he looks less tentative about the jaguar than the capybara, despite the relative threat of teeth.

Lucy chitters excitedly as Royal extends her hand, swaying in place. Royal's fingers get closer, cloooooser, and juuuust before reaching their goal…YOINK. Victory to the monkey! She grins and cuddles her toy aggressively.

Sylvester studies the approaching hand with all the grave dignity of a patriarch, then rolls his head to shove the space between his ears against Vyv's fingers. The fur is soft and plush.

Cassidy misses her cat. He's not here with her. She hasn't seen him in about 5 years, and this big kitty is just looking pettable. She offers him her hand to sniff, and moves to scratch his cheek lightly with her nails if he allows. It's what Donatello liked (he was a Tortie, so named after the ninja turtle, not the artist) so hopefully Sylvester also approves.

Sylvester approves, large eyes half closed in bliss. Or he's about to fall asleep - he's a cat, it's hard to tell.

Around them, the party goes on. People schmooze and politic, flirt and argue, and the protestors seem to have been herded far enough away from the building (legally or not) that no other major disturbances occur. Maybe someone else gets flour-bombed, but it's not Xavier, who has done this dance far too many times before; when he leaves, it's through a back route arranged in advance.

Edgar steps back to cede the monkey business to other would-be players. "She's cute," he tells the zookeeper. He rejoins Owen, slipping an arm around him again. "I need to check in with him. I mean he is why we met, so I kind of owe him my thanks," he says. He murmurs to Owen then.

Vyv does not squee. Squeeing would be decidedly below his dignity. But it might possibly have been a close-run thing. The corners of his mouth only turn up a little as the huge cat bonks against his hand, but it reaches his eyes, and they brighten. "Well, hello," he says to Sylvester, as if he were speaking to a fully adult human, and there's a slight reluctance to retrieve his hand. Still, must be done. "Thank you," he says to the keeper, and glances toward Cassidy again. "I think I could do without the monkey. Shall we see about another drink?" Hers may not be empty yet, but his is.

Cassidy's eyes actually well up with tears for a moment. There's something truly otherworldly about touching a wild animal of this stature. "Wow," she whispers. She looks to the keeper with a bright and genuine smile as opposed to the 'business smile' she wore most of the night. "Thank you. Thank you too, Sylvester," she notes before nodding to Vyv. "That would be nice. I don't get to attend things this fancy often, and it's on the Councilwoman's dime."

Royal laughs. Because, yeah, that's what she was expecting. "That's about right, Ms. Lulu. That's how this week is going. I wouldn't expect any less." She salutes the monkey with her cup, tips it back to finish it off, and says, "Play on, sweet girl. Trying not to take it as a sign, though." It's probably a sign. That's what happens when you buy real estate sight unseen on the internet.

The zookeeper smiles back at Cassidy. "It's an amazing thing. Just remember - the jaguar is endangered, as are many of these beautiful animals. Conservation matters." It's definitely rehearsed, but sincere all the same.

Owen grins over at the whispered words from Edgar and says, "Yeah, I think it's time. This was fun though." He pauses by Xavier if the man is still about to give his thanks for the evening, and also to drop off a donation check of his own. It's more modest than some of those with deeper pockets, but every little bit helps. He then turns to slide an arm around Edgar's shoulders and begins to head out.

Edgar follows suit, dropping off a check of his own. He only dresses like he's penniless. "Good to see you again, Mr. Westin," he tells Xavier, then lets Owen lead him out.

Xavier is still about, chatting with a few folks at the bar. He smiles and greets Owen, accepting the check graciously, with an apology for not having been able to talk to the man at more length, and a hope that might change. He smiles at Edgar. "And good to see you again, too. Thank you for coming, and I hope you enjoyed it. We should have coffee soon."

"In that case, perhaps we should see about several drinks," Vyv replies. Difficult to tell whether or not he means it, but either way he heads back toward the bar, taking in people's outfits along the way, Royal's dress among them. "Nice to see so much bright colour after that snow," he says, with a slight nod of recognition to Edgar in the brief moment they're appropriately close for that, and another for Xavier, since he's nearby. The bartender does not get one, but does get asked for a margarita. Staying in theme, still.

"Oh definitely. I'll be talking about it on my blog for sure," Cassidy notes to Vyv. "I have a little blog about my fashion choices here in Calveras. Silly I know, but it's fun." Cassidy nods to the bartender and quietly requests a vodka tonic with lime.

"Ah, Mister…Vydal, wasn't it? And Miss Carr. And," Xavier's eyes flick to Royal, and he grins, "someone else who I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting?" He's relaxed against the bar, and even as he talks reaches up to loosen his bowtie a bit, with a sigh of relief.

The blonde in the yellow dress would probably wear red to a black and white ball, but nobody here knows her. Royal shakes her head at Lucy, then finger-waves to the little lady before she takes her leave to return her mug to the bar. Her pink and silver heels rap sharply as she approaches, and she slides in to put her mug down and order a, "Bourbon. Woodford, Buffalo Trace, or Four Roses if you have it. Makers if I must. Neat." She says to Xavier, who's loosening his tie nearby, "Nicely hosted."

Vyv's eyebrows lift slightly. "Do you?" he says, "That sounds interesting, you'll have to give me the address." He trades in the empty glass for the new one, and gives Xavier a small nod, confirming the name. "Mr. Westin," he replies. "Our illustrious host. Finally a moment to yourself? …Aside from us, of course."

"Mister Westin. I really do owe you and mister Vydal my sincere thanks for being so kind to me tonight," Cassidy says with a smile. "It looks like the evening has been an unbridled success. The Congresswoman seems to have enjoyed herself a great deal and left smiling." At Vyv's words she beams and opens her fancy clutch purse to draw out a business card with her name, a cute graphic, and her blog website and email on it. It is apparently called 'Confessions of a Calaveras Fashionista'. "Here you go!" she says, handing it over.

Xavier inclines his head to Royal. "Thank you for the kind words. It was a bit last minute, but I wanted to ensure the City could have the money on hand before Thanksgiving. I can't guarantee it'll be distributed by then, but it would be nice. I don't believe I caught your name?" He sips his own whiskey, and chuckles at Vyv and Cassady's comments. "Your company is welcome. And I'm pleased to hear it, Ms. Carr. I look forward to deepening my relationship with the city council in the future." Then he leans slightly to peek at her buisness card. "A Calaveras Fashionista?"

Vyv did not expect the card, but takes it, of course, and looks it over. "And what do you confess?" he inquires. "Now it sounds intriguing, as well." His hand slides between coat and vest to tuck the card away in an inner pocket, and he tests out that new margarita. It appears to pass muster.

"Kelly," the blonde replies. "Royal Kelly." Kelly, Kelly. Nope, not a famous, rich, mover and shaker in town. She's obviously not from around here, if that accent is a clue. Her words are a little softer and longer than those of folks hailing from Colorado originally. "I've just moved my small business to the city. Figured there's no better way to get the lay of the land than walking it." Or dressing up in dry-clean-only and $650 shoes to play keep-away with furbutt over there.
"You are a god," Royal asides to the bartender, as her drink is slide over just as she asked for it. She brings it to her lips and sips the amber liquid. "Whew." That burns all the way down in the best of ways. "Little taste of home."

Cassidy blushes slightly at Xavier. "I'm afraid so. It probably sounds terrible. I just love clothes and fashion and have a bit of my own style I've been developing. It's my reprieve from all the literal and calculated work I do as a personal assistant. It's my form of art, of freedom, in a way." She smiles at Vyv. "I confess to being a crazed bargain hunter and I give up my shopping secrets. I have a little bit of money from a small inheritance, but it's mostly helping me settle in here in town. I've only been here a few months. Moved down from Denver after I graduated." There is no inheritance. It's just what the Feds were able to funnel to her from the money she earned in her previous life. She nods in greeting to Royal. "Miss Kelly, pleased to meet you. May I introduce Xavier Westin of the Westin Institute, and Chef Vyv Vydal. I'm Cassidy Carr."

Xavier grins at Royal. "Well, I hope the walking went well this evening, at the least. Welcome to Calaveras - although as I'm only a temporary guest, I don't know that I'm allowed to say that." His attention shifts to Cassidy. "Not at all, Ms. Carr. It sounds, as Mr. Vydal said…/intriguing/. I look forward to checking it out; heaven knows I could use a place to go shopping without having to fly back to Chicago." The introduction gets another gracious nod. But then, a wild minion appears, and Xavier lowers his head to listen. What he hears has him nodding, speaking softly back, and then finishing off his drink with a quick sorry. "I'm sorry, all. I would love to speak more, but there are apparently some issues to be taken care of. Please, enjoy the evening, and I hope we run into each other again, soon."

"It sounds scintillating," Vyv says, with no sign of the sarcasm one might otherwise suspect. "The world needs more style in it. Why not be art if you can?" He looks faintly amused by Cassidy handling the introductions, though not disapproving, and wishes Xavier a good night before looking to Royal again. His accent makes it seem highly likely he's not from one of the big local families either, an impression supported by, "I've just moved a small business here as well. Mine, as Ms. Carr implied, is a patisserie. What's yours? And where have you chosen?"

As Cassidy speaks about her passion, and introduces Royal to the smartly dressed men with them at the bar, the blonde smiles. "Pleasure. Thank you for the welcome." As Xavier takes his leave, she nods, then looks to the other two. "My pleasure to meet you both as well, Cassidy, Vyv. I hope you don't mind the liberty, but I'll be lucky if I remember my own name when I finish this drink." That's not entirely true, but it's a darn good excuse.
"Well, if either of you, or your friends, find yourselves in need of a little therapeutic massage, that's my specialty. Acupressure too, but I try not to lead with the needle talk. Makes some folks nervous. Still sortin my storefront, but I do private bookings in house." She salutes them both with her glass, then finishes it. "God bless Kentucky."
Royal clears her throat, then follows up with, "I um…" Ahem. "Bought a building out in…" There's a pause, and she takes a breath through her nose, slowly. "Ash Park. Over the bridge." Next to a flipping bar. It's fine. It's fine. It's totally fine.

Cassidy seems to just be a natural at her chosen field. Facilitating introductions is clearly a skill on her resume. She listens attentively to the business owners converse. She brightens at the talk of therapeutic massage. "Oh that sounds lovely! I'm sure I'll be paying you a visit. Or become a frequent flyer." Babysitting people can give you all kinds of kinks and knots of stress. "I should be heading home myself. I didn't expect to enjoy myself, but it has been a real pleasure." She offers Vyv her hand to shake. "I look forward to hearing your opinion on my blog, Chef. An honor meeting you." She nods goodbye to Royal as well, before she takes her leave.

Vyv reconfirms his new-around-here bona fides with a pause for mental mapping, before his brows lift. "Oh, that's fairly far out, isn't it? North-east?" He pauses to shake Cassidy's hand, and express a similar pleasure in meeting. And to have a sip of his drink, while he's at it. "—and no, I don't mind, Vyv is fine," he belatedly says, "Unless you're working in my kitchen or trying to sell me things. Therapeutic massage, mm? Probably a good choice not to lead with the needles. Filling in an empty niche on that side of the city?"

Royal looks to Cassidy and nods, "That would be fantastic. I book flexible hours, so keep me in mind." There aren't a lot of massage therapists called Royal, so a quick google should being her site right up. A search of properties will also bring her name up, hopefully not with pictures of the dump that is her current building.
To Vyv, she says, "Patisserie is a dangerous word. You don't happen to run classes, do you?" Some chefs do, just to humor the tourists and up their rep. "Empty niche or not, I'm confident I won't have trouble booking." She smiles. "Lots of sports injury and occupational stress in a city like Calaveras. I never want for business. I'm sure you won't either. There's nothing in the world like a flaky chocolate croissant."

"Very dangerous. People have died for it," Vyv says with a small nod; the question of classes gets a pause, though at least he doesn't have to answer it immediately. "At the moment we're not really properly open, just providing for a few clients while things get set up. Renovations and such," so at least she's not the only one stuck dealing with those? Fair chance he had better luck on the starting bones, though. "I haven't given much thought to the idea of running classes, but— it's not impossible." Rooms full of tourists, though… maybe not Plan A. "And no, I'm sure you won't lack for clients. Everybody's tied up in knots one way or another these days."
A faint buzz, and his brow furrows; hand into the jacket again to draw out a leather rectangle that turns out to be his phone, along with a, "Terribly rude of me, but the only people with this number are—" A glance at the screen, and though he hits the 'ignore' button, he says, "I'll have to deal with that, I'm afraid. Pleasant meeting you, though, I'll come take a look if I need a massage." He inclines his head to her like the tiniest of bows, and moves off through the thinning crowds, draining the margarita as he goes and setting the empty on the tray of a waiter he passes. A canape waiter, as it happens, but there was room on the tray, so it's all the same, surely. Fairly quickly he's swallowed up by the remaining revellers, and Royal's left to enjoy the rest of her night.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License