On The Same Page

Participants:

Max.jpg Suli.jpg

Date: Sept. 18, 2010
Location: Beast Cavern, EW
Synopsis: Lo gets Suli to drop by the beast cavern to see if she can glean what's become of his captured runner thief. To Max, she's there on the pretense of purchasing a runner - for real, this time. The two trade barbs along with business. Takes place a day after Tracking A Renegade.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya


Suli was on a mission. After the failure of the runner heist, Lorayit had promptly came to her in an impromptu meeting in the kitchens. All was revealed to the Telgari barmaid there, and she wasn't too pleased to hear it. Any trouble this early associated with Lo could possibly be connected to /her/, and that was the last thing she needed. So, she was easy to agree on checking out to see what has happened to Jinnet, the runner thief that got caught. It meant she had to face Max - a man she couldn't stand as much as she was sure he couldn't as well, but this was far too serious to not back down from.

Suli decides to approach the beast caverns early in the morning - which she figures is a decent enough time to act out her carefully constructed plan. It also gave her time to deal with this before the bar opened, which meant Jaya wouldn't suspect a thing as to her whereabouts. She marches herself right into the stables, sharp eyes darting every which way as she goes. She was certain Jinnet was being stashed somewhere in the stables. The question was, where? "Max," she calls out, walking slowly down the row of runner stalls and shooting hard glances at each one she passes. All she could hear was the usual sounds of runners, and the stablehands were out and about to make things a bit more difficult. Suli didn't care. "Beast manager!"

It’s around two days since the scuffle in the beast caverns and the unsuccessful attempt to steal Renegade, with the day before having been spent in the saddle in search of said runner that had broken free of his would be captors. As such, bruises have deepened in colour and injuries received during the fight, stiffened further still, all of which makes for one crotchety beast manager. “What!?” he snaps out from the direction of his office at the call being made for him, sending any dawdling stable hands skittering off in different directions. It is however a few moments before he appears in the aisle, favouring one leg, the upper half of his face bruised and swollen around the cut on his eyebrow and the eye on that side swollen shut. Lips thin into a displeased line when Suli comes into view and that open eye narrows, “Come to visit your invisible runner.” Given sardonically.

Suli's eyes narrow once Max appears, his words for her getting an automatic, "That's 'Morning, ma'am', but I expect such lack in manners from someone like you," in a cold voice. She'll ignore his barb, for now, though a corner of her mouth twists up at it. Then she's taking a good long look at his state, one brow lifting at him. "Got into it with a wily runner?" she drops the question with open mockery, arms coming to a fold against her ample chest as she stares the beast manager down. "Looks really bad. Hope my invisible runner wasn't the one to meet out such a punishment." Well, she tried to ignore it, anyway, but she just couldn't resist.

His uninjured brow hikes upward for the reprimand sent by Suli, “Sorry, didn’t realize you were a dragonrider…ma’am,” caustically mocking. Max’s mouth twists around a dark smirk, “I like to wrestle watchwhers in my spare time. Helps keep me on top of my game. Watchwher lost.” In other words, you should see the other guy. Patience thin as it is, hands with bruised knuckles shove into his pockets and a slightly irritated look appears, “You come down here to play poke the beast manager, or is there something you wanted?”

"Dragonrider or not," is all Suli says to that, seeming adamant as she pins a hard stare at the beast manager's swollen eye. Eyes still narrow all the same by the tone Max takes with her, and she forces herself to look away from him and towards the various stalls around them. "Vicious watchwher," she notes on that, her gaze taking in the stall closest to her. "But there is something I wanted. A look at your runners." She turns then, facing the man again as she brings herself up to her towering height. "I really do plan to buy me a runner and I wanted to take a look at the ones you got here," she explains, all business now. Hands clasping behind her back, "I trust you know where I could obtain one for a decent price? How much did you spend for the ones you own, if you do? How best should I get one? /Which/ one should I get? I'm just into riding," she explains quickly, stepping close to stare at another closed stall door. "So, I want to take a look at these runners briefly, get a feel for what I want to buy. Don't really need you here for this, but, if you want to lead me around…." brown eyes turn to regard Max again, brows lifting at him before flicking over visible injuries. "Surely walking won't injure you further, will it?" she tosses at him then, lips drawn into a severe line.

“Or not,” Max gives in flat determination not to afford the woman the respect her older turns would likely draw from another. And one wonders why he probably got more than his fair share of smacks upside the head from his mother growing up. Even to this day, grown as he is. “Pansy assed, watchwher,” he corrects with another dark smirk. Deeply dubious the look the beast manager sends to Suli and then snorting, “Little late to try closing the stall door after the runner’s bolted, darlin’.” Sardonic reminder of her having been caught out in her lie of already owning a runner. With great reluctance, he plays the part, or at least makes a good show of doing so, “Got a runner dealer I can source from,” he confirms on knowing where to purchase runners, “if you’re new to riding, you’re going to want something a little older and more sedate. A plodder if you will.” And by the look flickered over to the woman she might think he’s stabbing that as a duel edged sword at her persona. Sweeping a one eyed look up and the down the aisles, “The Weyr owns these, and those not owned by the Weyr belong to people passing through,” deliberately leaving out the runner which is his personally. He remains exactly where he is however, not taking a step in either direction when she states she’s wanting to look around. Levelling a look onto the barmaid he states evenly, “You don’t get to just wander about my caverns unescorted,” using the possessive there with ease and ignoring her barb over his being able to walk or not. Now only does he move off a pace or two toward the nearest stall and gives out the runner’s name, breed, height and to whom he belongs. This he does for several more, moving along stiffly, his expression schooled into a bland mask behind which any discomfort is kept well hidden.

The older barmaid woman bristles at Max's barb, but it's a good thing that she remains silent. She will address his bit about closing stall doors, however. "That matter is between Jaya and I," she notes, turning from a stall to look long and hard at the beast manager. "I'm sure you were in glee to tell her the things you did. No matter. What's done is done." She turns from him then, looking pleased to hear that the younger man may have a dealer for her. "I will need to set something up with that dealer, if you can send my interest their way," she returns in clipped tones. "And I'm not new to riding. Been riding in Telgar for longer than you've been born, sir." Eyes flick behind her at him, but she doesn't seem to rise to his challenge. "I can ride like the best of them, don't worry about /that/." And then she's trailing behind him, looking at those runners introduced briefly and her gaze seems to sweep through the stall rather thoroughly. Perhaps /too/ thoroughly? Not that Max would notice, currently with his back to her. "Fast ones cost more, am I right?" she levels this at Max's back, her gaze finally leaving off the current stall towards his back. "I can use something fast, but not overtly so. This all you got?" Stepping past him now, "What's down there?" she points towards the back where she notes Max had emerged from, frowning a bit when she looks his way.

In low and deliberate tone, “Jaya,” Max says, meeting Suli’s hard look with an intent and pointed one of his own, “is a friend of mine. I look out for my friends.” And he’ll leave that hanging in the air for her to take however she chooses to. His uninjured brow lifts and he sends after the woman as she turns from him, “You deal with me. He doesn’t deal directly with buyers,” which may or may not be the truth. Chances are, the beast manager is given kick backs for deals brokered on the breeder’s behalf. Having been listening to all that the Telgari gives of her riding experience, he half turns his head over his shoulder, though not enough to notice her giving her surroundings the thorough going over, “If you know so much about riding, then why are you asking me to procure a mount for you?” He doesn’t wait for an answer, merely continues on his way, trying to hide the limp as best he can and then frowning heavily when the woman overtakes him, “My office,” and just as he’s about to nod in the opposite direction where a stall stands closed, a big rock outhouse of a man (Waine) lumbers passed and gives the locked door a hefty kick. The beast manager’s good eye narrows at his ‘hand but it’s brief before he comments casually, “And that’s the tack room.”

"Is she?" At this, Suli regards Max fully, as if he had just said something crazy like the sky was falling right then and there. Lips tooted up as she considers his words, "I'm impressed. You look out for her a lot, it seems. All the way here in your little stable." She chuckles once, coldly, before deliberately turning away as if she were dismissing his words. "/I/ got Jaya," she states then, eyes hard towards the stall where Renegade used to be housed. "I reckon marks she trusts me more than you." That's her barb on the invisible runner situation, the words calm and rather confident for a mere barmaid. When Max mentions that she must deal with him rather the dealer, "Whatever you want," she sends back over her shoulder flippantly, eyes on the back of the stables with mild interest. "And my asking you to get one for me is /my/ business, sir." Looking back at him, "Got something against making a profit?" she levels at him, hard to keep the sneer from her voice. Then he tells her what's back there, and she's willing to let that go until Waine lumbers by and kicks at the locked door. Oh. Suli's eyes lock onto Waine, then that door like a hawk. "Tack room," she repeats only too casually, watching Waine walk away before her gaze returns to that door. "Your man there likes to kick at tack rooms or something?" At this, the Telgari barmaid slowly turns to look back at Max, as if gauging his reaction.

Max doesn’t rise to the bait, merely stands there, hands in pockets sending an unreadable expression over to Suli as she says her bit about having Jaya’s back. Only once she turns away does he send a tight smirk to her back and then limps along behind her. As to her barb on his appearing to not want to make a profit, he sends simply, “Always like to be sure my clients and I are on the same page, darlin’.” Not bothering to keep the sardonic bite from his tone. With the barmaid’s attention firmly back on him again, the beast manager merely shrugs nonchalantly to the question put to him of Waine’s actions, “Just replaced the door. He’s checking the hinges are holding.” Lying as smoothly as a Bitran at the card tables. You can bet your last mark, the big stable hand’s going to be getting a mouthful once the woman leaves.

Words not said, retorts not given back - Suli's taking that as small triumph by the little smirk that appears over her shoulder. "I don't turn pages, /darlin'/," she sends back at Max, her gaze remaining firmly on the tack room for moments longer than it should be for one there looking at runners. "You'll find I like to be upfront. That's how I do things. You stick to that, and we'll be golden." She pauses here, taking a step towards the tack room's direction before stopping at his non-chalant words. Eyes on the beast manager for why Waine kicks the door, "Such concern and care for a door that doesn't house one of your precious runners," she notes, eyes flicking over Max's visible injuries again. She's silent a moment longer, eyes slightly narrowed at him before her chin resolutely lifts and her arms lift to plant firmly on her hips. "Perhaps I've been a bit too….unkind to you these days," she slowly puts forth, choosing her words with a small grimace. "Perhaps it can be remedied. Jaya suggests I should get along with you more, and I think I've been rather bullheaded about it." Beat. "That's if we're to do business, you and I," she is quick to give reason, lips pressing together.

“You should try it sometime,” the beast manager gives coolly on the topic of pages and whether or not to turn them, “the only way to know a full story is by reading the whole book.” With that he steps away from the woman, good eye narrowing lightly as she continues to keep her gaze on the tack room. When she takes a step toward it, he counters her move by putting himself between her and the door itself, giving with the edge of scorn as to why it’s under lock and key, “It holds their saddles and bridles which are probably worth more than you make in a turn.” Shoulders square and Max draws himself up to his full height, staring Suli down with a hard look for the attention his injuries are once again given. Its round about then that a muted sound comes from within the tack room, like something heavy scraping on the rock floor but it’s brief and gone almost before its heard. The beast manager barely registers a reaction to it, and slips easily into responding to what the barmaid says. “You want to kiss and make nice now?” openly sceptical at this sudden turn around of the woman’s and then snorting, “I don’t mix business with pleasure.” But he’ll play along and slowly forces his features into a more relaxed pose, “Half up front, half on delivery,” he notes on the procurement of a runner for the woman. “Once you’ve paid your deposit, you’ll be taken to see a selection of runners.” Starting to walk away from the tack room in the hopes the woman will follow suit and drop her apparent interest in it.

"Is that what you do? Read the whole book?" Suli merely snorts to that, turning back towards the tack room before she finds her path suddenly blocked by the beast manager. /This/ was new, and the barmaid gives Max her full attention now for the move. "You have no clue what I make in a turn, young man," she notes as she returns his hard stare with a western-style showdown one of her own. "I find it interesting that you would guard such precious saddles more than you would that runners you keep. I see /their/ doors aren't under lock and key. Either your priorities are jacked up-" and a corner of her mouth lifts at this, as if she believes this choice to be doubly so in her opinion "-or, you got something more than just saddles and bridles in there." She nods pointedly in the tack room's direction, and it's then that she catches the muted sounds from the tack room's direction. Very carefully, her eyes do not stray from Max's face at it, and she chooses to ignore it in favor of his next words on her sudden change of heart. Well, sorta sudden. She still seems open to verbally attacking the man, anyway. "I'll leave the kissing to you and yours," she remarks to that, chin lifting in open challenge to the beast manager. "Prefer my men less skittish than their own mounts, so that is fine by me." So much for being 'nice'? Hands coming together before her, Suli follows the man away from the tack room with seeming little interest in it now. She doesn't seem all that much interested in the runner stalls any longer either, but the barmaid seems to want to play with the beast manager a little longer. "You'll get your marks," she agrees, gesturing to the side with her chin a little arrogantly. "I'm good for it. Send a price to the bar and I'll send payment your way. Or," and here the smirk starts to form, but it doesn't reach her lips fully as she adds, "you can come by the bar and get it yourself. Since you and Jaya are such good friends. I'm sure she wouldn't mind." Any reason to strike a barb at the beast manager she seems to take it, but the barb seems to be intended for the bar owner not present as well.

His face impassive throughout Suli’s opening words, Max’s mouth eventually folds around a smirk, “I’ve kept it locked ever since the night I found someone snooping about in there.” That certain someone being her boss but he’s not about to elaborate on that as it’s probably not something she knows. Keeping his path deliberately on an outward course toward the caverns exit, the beast manager sends a snort the barmaid’s way at the implication that he might be considered ‘skittish’. Turning his head ever so slightly in her direction a twist of a cold smile appears, “Oh, I’ll be down the bar soon enough, never you worry about that.” And by the way he says it; it might just be cause for her to worry.

"Who would want to snoop in /here/?" Suli gives that question with some sort of disdain, appearing blissfully ignorant of any passed incidents involving the stables. All the same, the barmaid has heard enough and seen enough. She is willing to follow the man towards the stable entrance, her steps heard behind him as she casts one final glance towards that locked tack room. She remains silent behind him, her eyes on his back with enough force to suggest 'if looks could kill' at his last words. Her eyes narrowing as she strides up to stand beside him, reaching the stable doors, "I will be there," she notes when Max speaks of him going to the bar, her words heavy with meaning along with her gaze. It's only with a deliberate pause that she adds, as if belated, "With the payment." Right. Like she's /really/ talking about the payment at this point.

Who? It’s an oddly amused look that gets sent back to Suli but Max gives no voice to it, choosing rather to keep Jaya’s confidence. Coming to a halt at the great doors used to shield the beast caverns against Threadfall, the beast manager puts smirking tipple of lips over to the barmaid once she draws alongside him. Shrugging, “I wouldn’t expect otherwise,” he gives to her words of being at the bar when next he visits the establishment. “No payment, no runner,” he gives so nonchalantly, she might be forgiven for thinking he’s on to her. Which of course he’s not - yet.

That oddly amused look doesn't seem to pique Suli's interest, but then again the older barmaid hardly gives out that many expressions other than frowning or scowling. That's perhaps why Max only gets a frown for his smirks, her eyes taking in his facial injuries openly and once again before she decides to speak. She deliberately doesn't speak right away, but once she stares down his injuries long enough - even perhaps uncomfortably so for the other - "Don't cheat me, or your little injuries there will be the least of your problems," she gives quietly, the held warning taut with steel from her grave voice as she gestures with her chin towards his face. Eyes meeting Max's then, "Is that 'being on the same page' enough for you?" Such heavy words for a mere barmaid, but some by now would probably note that the Telgari isn't the typical barmaid to be having an a bar, in that case.

The frown coming off of Suli is for the large part, ignored. However, with her continued staring at his injuries, his good eye narrows onto the woman and then he takes a step closer, right up into her personal space for the warning she hands out. Through a cold smile and even colder tone, “You mistake me for someone who gives a fuck,” Max states calmly of her threats. “Don’t cross me old woman, or it’ll be the last thing you do in this life,” handing over both insult and dark warning combined and then he promptly turns his back on the barmaid and heads back up the aisle, neither awaiting reply, nor to see her leave.

How's that for making nice! Oddly enough, threats is something Suli understands very well, so when the beast manager invades her personal space, the barmaid stands stock-still in not backing down. Chin lifts in defiance at his initial words, but it's the latter that has the cold woman awarding him with one of her rare smiles. Might not be a good thing, especially when she looks worse smiling than scowling, but all the same, it's to her back that she tosses back, "You have yourself a good one here in your little stable, beast manager." The words mild seeming in comparison, but coupled with the smile, it's likely best Max doesn't see it. Then Suli is gone, slow laughter following in her wake as she returns to the Weyr proper and the familiar dark hallways of the bar.


Ending Music: Shinedown - "Sin With A Grin"


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