WoD Denver Forums

Full Version: Lola
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
[Moodish post set Saturday 5/25/13 @ Lola. Damon's traveling so don't look for a post from him! Damon, I will add another post re: the rest of the conversation (aka, the point of it all) later, when inspiration strikes. Smile]

It is Saturday. They meet for brunch at Lola. The invitation came via text, rather late one weekday night the week past. Too late to be working; likely too late to catch the rancher who must be up at dawn before he went to sleep. So he found it the next morning, a very simple -

Have news. We should talk. Brunch Saturday?

Some handful of hours after an affirmative reply, confirmation -

Lola @ 10:00 a.m.

- and nothing more.


This time, Éva is there before Calden arrives, seated not on the crowded outdoor patio, but inside the restaurant, at a rather private table well out of the way of the usual crowd. One leg crossed, her attention snagged by the tablet she holds in front of her with a careful precision. Awareness of her surroundings is written into the frame of her body, the alert posture, but she is absorbed by her work and does not see him until he is close, the hostess leading him through the maze of tables chatting pleasantly about the weather and the day's specials.

And when she sees him, she stands. Chair sliding backwards with the movement of her hips, tucking the tablet neatly down on the dark table. There is an echo of his own manner there, which seems as ingrained in her behavior as it is in his, arrived at through different avenues. Look, she does not assist him with his chair, under any guise, but simply extends her hand to him across the table, her dark head tilted, her fine mouth smoothing into a wry, contained half-smile.

"Mr. White." A perfect tincture of irony shades her tone.

A single golden bracelet slides down her forearm as they shake hands. Then she releases his hand and reclaims her seat as he claims his own.


Truth, they have little in common, and their small-talk is like to be as banal as the exchange he shared with the hostess over the weather. Éva already has a chili-infused bloody Mary on the table. While drinks are ordered, menus distributed, specials explained, she recommends that he try one. With tequila, not vodka. Or, no. Perhaps he should try the "Ultimate" bloody, which will arrived with its own virtual meal stacked atop the drink skewered through. This recommendation, bland as it is, nevertheless has the feel of a challenge.

There is a certain lift to her chin. A certain sharpening of expressive brows over dark eyes, which gleam with a banked but oddly feral humor.

She is dressed rather more casually on the first Saturday of a holiday weekend than she was on a Friday evening, at the workweek's end. Jeans and dark, open-toed sandals with a slight wedge heel. A V-necked silk blouse or shell, ivory rather than white, with some sort of hand-worked detail where the hem curves at her hips - but still, there is this - a three-quarter sleeved jacket. The shape is menswear inspired, the fabric a heathered, dark charcoal with very subtle pinstripes. The jacket is well-fitted but not body-skimming, and although it is perfectly pleasant inside Lola - she will not remove the blazer throughout their brunch.

During that first flurry of activity at the table, the conversation remains light. She re-awakens the tablet and scrolls through her camera roll, finds and shows him a particular picture. A hallway, the impression of a Persian runner on a hardwood floor and a mahogany console table to one side. Children's shoes tumbled in a mass beneath it, and a glimpse of a toddler in the distance, who is not the focus of the picture.

The focus is a girl, eight or nine or ten, standing framed by the wall and a rising stairwell, proudly showing off her new cowboy boots. With heels to hook onto stirrups, thick enough leather to protect her ankles from rattlers, and just enough tooling to make a solemn little kid stick out one hip sharply and pose like that. Like there was nothing better in the world than what was on her feet at just that moment.

They are not pink.

"She wanted them for riding lessons," Éva reports, voice infused with the dry tone of a defeated parent. " - but wanted to be sure she had the boots before she requested the lessons. Ellie likes to be prepared."

Then, later, the waitress removing their menus (she orders an oyster shooter and the rock shrimp ceviche), she appends, with a rather more somber mien. "Though I think this will not be the summer of riding lessons."


And so, waitstaff retreats.
And so, the conversation changes.

After all, this is not a social call.
"I don't know what rumors you and your family heard about the incident a few weeks ago. They're keeping it quiet as they can." A half-hooked smile that does not reach her eyes. They. The Garou, she means. "Though I am sure that they will share what they know with the each other at the next full moon. The facts are simple enough - one of the city Guardians was ritually murdered, his body surrounded by the bodies of a number of men and women, whose hearts were removed. Consumed, and left behind in a parking garage far too close to their headquarters for anyone's comfort.

"I'll spare you the most gruesome of the details," the Shadow Lord continues, dark eyes carefully aslant from Calden. Not because she fears to meet his eyes or because she refuses to do so, but because she is keeping a careful watch on their periphery. Here again is the edge of her smile, as spare as any other, though perhaps not so ruthless as it might have been when first forged. " - in great part because I have spared myself the most gruesome of the details.

"One of my assistants tracked down what information she could on the dead men and women. No rhyme or reason to their disappearance. No evident patterns of place or time or opportunity, except for the brutality to which they were subjected in the end."

She inhales through her nose, her eyes dropping further aslant, dark head tipped forward, expression rather removed. He does not know her well enough to know that the bracing twist of her mouth, that follows, the steady rise of her dark eyes back to meet his own is the same expression she employed again and again in the days and weeks when it seemed she was accepting condolences from every Kinfolk in her acquaintance, and far too many gruff and scarred strangers.

"This is not a new enemy, though. But an old one returned to plague. Perhaps a year ago, a year and a half-ago, there was a series of similar attacks. A large pack of fallen targeted the city. They called themselves l'horreur bien-aimée," she speaks the French with as much precision as she can manage, but does not know the language, " - and for madmen, they were remarkably disciplined in their approach. They targeted Garou, and kin, taking them when they were alone, or in very small groups. Swarming and overwhelming with their numbers.

"Creating these - " a pause, her head canted aslant as if she were listening for a particularly distant and haunting tone, the tip of her tongue against the back of her teeth as she considers her next words. " - tableaux, for Sept to find. Corpses arranged, just so. Hearts consumed. Viscera - "

A sharp breath out. She leaves the word as it stands, finishes the thought with another spare, tight smile.

"The Sept Elders quiet nearly insisted that Kin who lived in the city move into the Sept itself. Or, venture out only with an escort of some rank.

"Of course they hunted the hunters as well. Eventually, they destroyed perhaps half the pack, and the tainted ones slipped away to wherever they'd come from in the first place. The attacks stopped. The city slipped back into some semblance of normalcy.

"I suppose their tale-tellers would call it a victory."

Here, she finds the cowboy's eyes again, across the table.

"But our losses were much greater than theirs."

The restaurant is crowded, popular, lively, and the sound of laughter and conversation fills the vertical space, as servers weave between the tables, rushing to keep up with the demands. Some crowd of tourists are clapping for the show of the guacamole prepared tableside and a pleasant hum has enveloped the room.

"And now, they're back."


That is the story she has for him. Told in a clear and quiet and quite nearly dispassionate voice. Once he has heard it, she becomes pensive. The truth is, there's little more that can be said.

Though her rather small plate is little more than half-consumed, she eats nothing more. Takes, merely, a sip or two further of her drink and summons the check with a direct look at the waitress and a lift of her chin. There is no dance over the bill. She explains quite clearly that they are splitting it, and pays her own in cash. If Calden pulls out a credit card to pay, she forestalls him with a touch of the tip of her forefinger on the edge of the card, and covers his bill with cash as well.

"Perhaps for the next few weeks or months, Mr. White, when you are in Denver it would be wise to avoid a paper trail."

After they have paid their bills, as they are saying goodbye, she cuts him another glance. Asks him if he has a conceal-carry permit. No? He has her card. He should call her office Monday morning. Her assistant will fax him the proper forms. Normally it takes a few weeks or a few months but, if they get it filed Monday, Judge Hagen will entertain the matter Tuesday morning.
Lola isn't quite the sort of place Calden would pick. He seems comfortable enough -- relaxed, dressed down in his usual denims and flannels, not at all agog at the artistic little morsels on those shining white plates -- so it's not that this place is too classy for him or too modern or simply too expensive. Still, left to himself he would likely have chosen something a little ... meatier. Perhaps one of those steakhouses his ranch exclusively supplies: one of those swanky, edgy downtown establishments with those deliberately exposed brick walls, that brushed-steel lighting, the smell of charred meat and smoke in the air.

Lola is, however, exactly the sort of place Calden would have suspected Eva Illeshazy to frequent. Pricy. Sleek. As much about presentation as it is about food, with menus full of unexpected adjectives and a page or two of biographies at the back: their 'executive chefs', their 'organic sustainable sources'. He tells her as much as they meet over the table, his hand shaking hers while that bracelet slides down her wrist. This is exactly the sort of place I would've thought you'd like.

She suggests the ultimate bloody mary. He takes her advice, pairs it with a smoked salmon ciabatta. They exchange pleasantries; Calden bursts into laughter. Riding lessons. "I guess it should've been obvious she was up to something when she kept insisting she wanted real boots," he says. "When's her birthday? I'll get her a pair of spurs, but she has to promise not to use them 'til she can control a horse with her knees."

A little later, their food arrives, and the waitstaff withdraws, and the conversation turns toward the main topic. Calden doesn't say much, mostly listens, eats. Asks a question now and then to clarify. Doesn't touch the bloody mary until Eva's done with her story, until his sandwich is down to the last quarter, until they've both leaned back in their chairs.

Then he sips at it, eating meat off the skewer between drinks. "Sounds like things could get messy down here," he says. "I think I'll stay up north. But if you can pass word on that I'm ready and willing to help, I'd appreciate it. I've got family all over the state, and a couple of them might even be useful. I've got plenty of open land and spare rooms too if anyone needs to hole up for a few days."

A wry pause.

"And cattle. Plenty of that too, though I'll be damned if someone figures out a way to make 'em useful in a secret war."


The meal is finished. Eva pays with cash -- or she starts to, but Calden stops her. He's old-fashioned; still carries enough cash to cover a meal. If she argues, which wouldn't surprise him a bit, they end up splitting the bill. As they're walking out to their cars, she asks him about concealed-carry; he tells her he doesn't even own a handgun. Her assistant will fax him forms. She suggests a decent semiautomatic or three. He promises to check them out, and then --

"Eva," he says, as she's turning to pull open her car door, "thanks. And what I said earlier goes for you too. If your family needs to get out of town for a while, give me a call."