Jaya.jpg Max.jpg

Date: 2010.07.28
Location: EW - Kitchens
Synopsis: Max happens upon Jaya in the kitchens and comes clean with her.
Rating: PG13
Logger: Max

Another day, another night, another late night sneak into the kitchens after-dinner. The small place is empty save for two women - one dark-haired with a scar down the side of her face and the other a solidly-built older woman that looked like she has been in a few bar brawls back in her day. The two were craddling bowls and talking low over by the countertop, although the older woman looks to be leaving. "I think we can arrange for some of that kind of wine to, uh, make its sudden way into Eastern," the older woman was telling Jaya, showing her uneven teeth in a smile. "I'll make sure it's legit, too." -"You got /my/ approval," Jaya could be heard saying in that cool alto of hers, busy spooning the last of her meal into her mouth.

It would seem that the kitchens draw more than one late night visitor, this being in the form of one rather dusty looking beast manager who, despite the hour, looks to have just come in from somewhere. At least he had the good sense to have disposed of spurs and hat. Frame darkening the doorway, a dark brow goes up with interest for the snippets of conversation overheard, flicking between Jaya and the older woman until he announces his arrival with a blandly spoken, “Wine, women and food. Must be the kitchens.” As if he hadn’t been too sure where he was initially.

"And I wanted to ask-" Suli stops what she was saying, turning towards the entrance to find Max there at the doorway. Both women frown at him in unison, and it's possible for completely different reasons. Suli brings herself up sharply and sends a furtive glance Jaya's way before gravelly announcing, "I think there are boxes back at the bar that needs my attention. Excuse me," this last spoken to Max as she tries to shoulder her big frame pass him. Once she's gone and out, "Just women and food," Jaya returns with her familiar cool and calm as she regards him under her furrowed brow. She dips her spoon and scoops up the last of her meal, setting it aside with a brush of hands. She lets the silence reign after that, just settling to staring at him and probably waiting to see what he would do next.

“Ma’am,” Max gives to the older woman as she pushes passed him and then turns a knowing grin onto Jaya, completely ignoring the frown. That lingers for a moment or two and then he’s moving about the kitchens with familiar ease, opening and closing cupboards before finally bending to peer into one of the ovens. “Ahah,” exclamation comes, “some things don’t change,” this as he pulls a tray of bubbly pies out and promptly helps himself to one. Leaning up against one of the counters, he turns back to the barkeep, “So, how’s my favourite barmaid doing this fine evening, hmm?” One pie hungrily devoured, another is reached for.

"You shouldn't be stealing." Jaya's a fine one to talk it seems, but she's not exactly visibly stopping Max from filching a bubbly pie, either. Her eyes did linger on the doorway now from which Suli disappeared, the frown changing only slightly until Max spoke. "I'm fine," she levels the cool words at him, turning that same frown on him now. "And I'm probably the -only- barmaid that's seen fit to speak to you." Or, oh wait- "Yourself?" The last is given with a slight lift of chin, her gaze guarded as she seems to be keeping that Stoic Mask of Solidarity in place upon her face.

Licking his fingers, Max holds the tray out to Jaya, “Not stealing if we eat all the evidence,” a boyish grin appearing. That amusement remains as broad shoulders roll out a shrug, “Think you’re the only barmaid that’s…spoken, to me?” the pause deliberate to emphasize that word with a vaguely cocky air about him. Nope, not a whole lot getting the man down this night despite the mask she wears. Taking a bite of another pie, he tips it toward her, “You should try leaving that scowl of yours behind when you get up in the morning. Probably be better for business.” Either deliberately trying to rankle or offering backhanded compliment.

Eyes falling on his fingers with a thin-lipped expression, "I think you've eaten enough," Jaya sends back, keeping a straight face as she says it. "And, oh, I'm fairly sure you've had /plenty/ of barmaids." Sardonic her words are, the dark haired woman. "I just…it's…forget it." Words fail? She drops her gaze to the pie offered, seeming to consider as his comment on her scowl earns one in return. Throwing that very scowl right at the beast manager, "Business is fine regardless!" she tosses back, seeming to find the words to say - anything, really - "Why do -you- care, anyway? You'll buy my ale either way. Or maybe I'll just make Suli deal with you!" and she tosses a nod towards the door, indicating that that big older woman was the one in question. "She seems to have a rather -nice- smile. Good at breaking noses, too! Or so I can tell." Cocky for cocky, the barmaid -then- takes up the bubbly from his hand, giving it a healthy bite and having its juices run down her chin.

And just to prove he hasn’t, or to taunt further, Max takes up another pie and devours it too, eyes issuing a rebellious look onto the barkeep. Man’s got some appetite on him! “You going to turn me in?” for eating the pies. Most else of what Jaya says is ignored, with the beast manager latching onto something in particular with a light frown. All jesting aside his tone turns cautiously concerned, “It’s just what, Jaya?” He’ll allow silence to reign until she’s answered his question, quite clearly not prepared to ‘forget it’.

"I might," Jaya, keeping on with the cockiness, quips. "If there's a reward for missing bubbly pies." She matches that rebellious look for look, and it slips and falls at his quiet question. Unreadable her expression may be, she lets that silence lord over them as she finds the sticky juice on her finger -far- more interesting all of a sudden. Licking one finger and affecting a tone of mere indifference, "I don't want to like you," she decides to say, dark eyes flicking up to meet Max's, "and so, I won't. I've behaved rather…unseemingly, the other night," and she purses her lips briefly at that, shaking her head a little. "You are far too dangerous for me, Max." This is given evenly, seriously. "But, I can be civil, and I will be. Put such things behind us, yes?" Her words are indeed tumbling over themselves, some indication that she's merely saying some of them to say it. And if her gaze dips away from him as she says them so that he couldn't see her eyes, then she wasn't making any note of it.

Grinning, “Watching my mother trying to catch me, to kick my ass,” this to what reward she could expect in dobbing him in. Dusting the crumbs off his shirt, Max moves quietly over to where Jaya is and then spends a good long few minutes pinning her with a contemplative look. Finally he’ll try reaching out a hand to stroke a finger down the scar on her face, “I ain’t the enemy, darlin’.” As to her ‘unseemly’ behaviour of a few nights back, he can’t help the low chuckle that spills out, “You need to loosen up and start enjoying life more.” However, he then too slips into a brief silence before taking a deep breath and then setting a rueful look onto the barkeep, “There’s…someone else,” clearly awkward in this situation, “Don’t know where its going or if she even wants me,” shoulders shift a helpless shrug, “But you deserve that I be honest with you.” His turn to stare off at somewhere else before adding quietly as he tries to find her eyes again, “But I’d like for us to remain friends. You’re more than you think you are, Jaya.”

"Worth it," Jaya quips in such a reward as in his mother kicking his ass. When Max comes close, she stays where she is, regarding his study of her quietly. His touch to her scar gets her eyes to narrow just a fraction as she lets him say his peace. Nothing can be seen on her face, her study of him heavily guarded now the more he speaks. Finally, when he is done, she seems to force out a low chuckle that's far too hollow. "You mistake me," she finally speaks, words as hollow as the laughter. Eyes remaining firmly on his own as her face shuts down, "And I don't ever remember calling you a friend. But," and she steps away, putting some distance between them in the small kitchen, "as barkeep, once my bar opens, you know where to find me should you need an ear. I offer such services to all future patrons." Anything else said doesn't get commented, the dark haired woman turning from him and looking to leave him with the mess of bubbly pies.

Jaya's expression shuts down and his turns heavily discomforted. Max leaves her to move away from him but when she starts to leave, he goes after her, trying to halt her progress by reaching for an elbow to turn her around to face him. Jaw working tightly against the consequences of his own reckless action "Guess I deserved that," comes out heavily, "I…I'm sorry, Jaya." Now its confusion that wars across his features, "I don't…I don't know how it happened." That rather heated christening of her new bar, or this other woman he speaks of? Probably both. "But if it makes you feel better to hate me…" now he'll release her and spread both hands away from himself, "Then go ahead, I've earned it," said with deep self-mockery, "But know that I don't regret it." The last said as he turns away from her and heads back to what remains of the bubbly pies.

Jaya's elbow is taken, the woman turning back to glare at Max. Letting him hold on until he doesn't anymore, "I didn't say I -hated- you," she returns evenly. "Hate requires feeling something." She straightens, giving a heavy sigh at his apology before shaking her head. "You owe me nothing," she says after a moment, quietly. "Just as I." Stepping away from again, at this point she can only manage a rather stiff "Goodnight, Max. Clean up after yourself." The way the last is given, there could very well be double meaning there. Whatever that -other- meaning could be, however, she doesn't explain for she's already making her way out of the kitchen without a backward glance.

The grimace in reaction is plain to see, but Max remains silent on what it is that hate requires to exist. Hands to hips, he’s quiet for a long while and then nods slowly to some kind of internal acceptance of what he’d done, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, Jaya.” Truth in the shame for having done so, roughing his tone. Clean up after himself…clearly he wasn’t very good at that or else she wouldn’t be leaving. A simple, “Aye,” coming through a heavy sigh as troubled eyes follow her out. A few moments later, he leaves the kitchens, the pies suddenly having lost their flavour for him.

Seether - Careless Whisper

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