On Thin Ice


Jaya.jpg Suli.jpg

Date: Nov. 14, 2010
Location: Lakeshore, EW
Synopsis: A day after returning home from Telgar, Jaya presses on the Tackas issue - the one who brought her into Jaya's company in the first place. Suli now knows she's skating on thin ice from hereon out.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Jaya

Since returning to Eastern, Jaya hasn't had all that much time to go seek out or talk up the people she's been meaning to. After one journeyman healer had put her in a terrible mood, she's been further delaying in speaking with anyone - chief among them, her own barmaid, Suli. So it was with grudging hesitation that Jaya agreed to join Suli out on the shore one morning for breakfast - Shijan trailing behind like always - with a basket of fresh goods in hand. Suli hesitated to ask her herself, but figured she was growing tired of waiting for the blow to hit. Was she found out up in Telgar? What did happen up in Telgar, in fact? What better cover story than to take her barkeep out for breakfast on the lakeshore, suggesting the Bitran could use a break? She could tell Jaya has been in a foul mood not much long since she returned home, though the towering barmaid had no clue what (or who for that matter) brought it on.

"Business slagged while you were gone," Suli brings up as an icebreaker, watching the bar owner as she settled down on a laid-out blanket on the ground close to the lake. She didn't like the fact that Jaya was far too silent this morning, viewing it as ominous. "Hayli seems to think I had something to do with it."

Setting the basket of goods down with her, "Don't worry about it," Jaya tries to reassure the older woman that she wasn't mad, her mind and voice clearly preoccupied with something other than what's currently before her. Falling into a heavy silence again, she sets about laying the breads and meatrolls on the blanket and adding the fresh juice and the cups last.

No, Suli wasn't worried about that. "So are you going to tell me," she decides right then to broach the subject, keeping it purposefully vague, "or are you going to make me ask?" No point in lingering in the bush, right?

Once the food and drinks were laid out, Jaya reaches for her cup and starts to pour the redfruit juice for herself. There's no reaction to the question asked.

Suli continues to stare at the younger woman, eyes narrowing a fraction. She tries again, asking the more obvious. "How's Keane doing?"

Jaya looks up at her then, setting her drink down and answering right away. "Well. He's well, considering." She pauses, wanting to clam up but deciding against it. Quickly, she lays down the details of her time spent at the bar. She tells the barmaid about Olira, Crawl, and Kelarad - though she leaves out the more important bits like Max claiming Southern and Olira being brought down with them. She figures Suli wasn't going to take neither of those tidbits well, and the bar owner wasn't in the mood to argue over the beast manager again. Well, not yet. "Keane brought up Tackas coming around," she adds this without hesitation, looking towards the spread as she starts working on pouring some juice for Suli. Keeping her tone level, "You never gave me a message to send to your boss," she notes, pouring into another glass with a brief look going towards Suli for her reaction. "I trust you still keep in touch with him?"

Of course. Suli has little reaction to all that's said, only choosing to watch Jaya pour her a drink when Tackas is brought up. Lips pressing together, "Did Keane know of me?" she ventures to ask the hard question, it being the sure-fire way to find out whether she was discussed at length or not. Knowing Max, since he was there….

Jaya actually considers the question, finding it interesting that the older woman would directly ask rather than avoid or evade altogether. "Actually, no," she admits, leaning back some and passing the drink over. "Tackas never mentioned you at all." Dark eyes regard Suli now, measuring the barmaid for what she could say next.

Well, that was to be expected. It was likely that Max made things worse the moment her name was brought up, too. Suli could throttle him. Affecting a look of grudging relief, "Well, at least he's keeping up his end of the bargain," she notes to that as she takes her drink from Jaya and punctuates the statement with a sip. When she finds Jaya still staring her down, she explains further. "I didn't want him telling anyone that I've been down here."

"Why's that?" Jaya is quick to ask, her interest peaked. "Got some trouble of your own you're not telling me about?"

Suli knows where this is going. "I'm not a turncoat, Jaya," she says this with enough exasperation to suggest she was getting annoyed with being questioned about her loyalty all the time - and in reality, she was. Other than a couple of slips involving a certain nosy beast manager, what all else has she done to deserve this? Setting the drink down carefully since her appetite was waning, "And neither is Tackas. We both have your best interests at heart."

Jaya snorts to that and starts digging into the meal prepared. "Tackas's best interests usually involve his dick," she quips dryly on that account, shaking her head. "As for you…"

Leaning forward to put a hand on Jaya's shoulder to get her attention, "There are…people," Suli tries to explain, making it difficult on purpose, "…people I don't want knowing where I am from up in Telgar. Has nothing to do with the renegades, but it does have to do with family a bit. It's not something I want to go into or deal with, and I would think, surely…with the trouble you have with your own, you would understand mine."

"Then why all the secrecy?" the Bitran woman puts to the barmaid then. "You see what confusion it creates, Suli? Things are really tetchy right now with there being Vaput's men about and us not knowing who," and yes, she includes Max in the 'we' for her benefit. "This is not the time to be acting suspicious." Lips press together then as she places a hand over Suli's on her shoulder before squeezing. "I want to believe you," she chooses to say earnestly, looking into the older woman's eyes. "I really do, shuga. But all this….all this secrecy needs to stop! You know how I feel about honesty." It was a bone she picked with Vaputero as well, along with Max when he came demanding to know about her former boss. "You get it?"

"Yeah," and Suli barely nods, eyes slightly narrowing on the young woman before her before she slowly withdraws her hand. "Yeah, I get it." She gets that she's on thin enough ice, anyway. Suli had miscalculated the Dicori woman, and her association with the beast manager. She knows there's more to Telgar than Jaya's telling her as well, and the barmaid was determined to find out what it is. Finding out such things weren't very hard for her - someone was always bound to start talking once marks make it into their pockets. Jaya was one to talk about honesty, but Suli had decided that two could play that particular game. For now, to make sure things were okay between the two with the whole Tackas mess, "I'll tell you about it over cards, tonite," she gives as a peace offering, hoping that this would perhaps smoothe over any bad blood picked up between them. At least she wouldn't be so much as lying this time. She did have family issues that she found best to be far away from.

Jaya wasn't in the mood to argue (one was enough already), so she was easy to agree to hear Suli out over a game of cards that night. A part of her still didn't see Suli like Max and the others did. She still believed in Suli, and it made her really wonder why when before Eastern, she was easy to let someone go just for the sake of it. But could Max be right? "Tonite," is all the barkeep says to that, and then she offers Suli a meatroll and puts the matter of Tackas and the Telgar trip to rest for now.

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