Max.jpg Jaya.jpg

Date: 2010.08.02
Location: Jaya's Bar
Synopsis: Max goes round to the bar to try and extend the olive branch. The expected snapping and snarling ensues with some kind of uneasy truce reached at the end.
Rating: PG18 for language
Logger: Max

Activity comes to a close for the evening, and Jaya's tired. With small stacks of crates lining the walls around her barspace, the bar owner pauses from the list she is writing up to inspect the work done and to be done. "I hope our next shipment does not end up down in Landing like last time," Suli's heavy voice could be heard from behind her, even though the woman-tower is not seen. The bar owner sighs to that and goes to the countertop to reach for her glass of brandy, her dark eyes falling on a particular section of crates off to the side of the wall. "Next time I'll have Sel's hide if he does," Jaya gives on that quietly, her gaze narrowing at nothing in particular. It's a testament that Suli says nothing then, perhaps detecting that her boss was still smarting over the whole ordeal down in Landing in the first place.

With most finishing up their last duties and settling in for the night, foot traffic in and around the various passageways of the Weyr is at a minimum. However, there is one that is on an inbound path rather than out, that would be the beast manager. Once again, the man hovers at the doorway, observing rather than announcing his presence. However this time, there’s a distinctly guarded and shadowed cast to him. He’s done wrong and he knows it. Exhaling on a slow breath, he crosses the threshold, voice held low, “Jaya.” Suli if he sees her is given a bare glance of notice, all his attention focused on the barkeep.

Suli, coming out from the storeroom from behind the counter, spies him first since Jaya's back is to the entrance. Seeming to recognize him the towering barmaid, craggy-faced barmaid's face changes when she sees him, and that is what causes the bar owner to turn around at the familiar sound of her name. The glass almost touching her lips, Jaya pauses at seeing the beast manager before, slowly, the glass is brought back down on the countertop. Her gaze hardens to something daring - the /nerve/ of him to come back here! It's all in her face: the anger, the embarrassment, the hurt - all couched in guardedness as she seems to deliberate on what to say to him. Since nothing comes forth, "Bar's closed," Suli's heavy, deep voice breaks the silence for her, her knuckles cracking from behind the counter as she stares Max down. Nevermind the fact that the barspace hasn't even opened yet. As if to give Jaya a moment to recover herself, the older barmaid goes on asking, "Is there a reason that you're here, sir?"

That expressive gaze coming off of Jaya obviously hits him somewhere in the gut, for Max’s jaw tightens in response but he doesn’t break his attention away from her. Just standing there, hands in pockets, staring her down, waiting for her to make the next move. When it’s Suli that does so in her stead, dark eyes deliberately take their time in finding the older woman, his tone level, expression flat, “Not here to drink. Here to talk with Jaya.” Answering both questions and then disregarding the woman entirely in favor fixing the bar keep herself with his silence. Yup, seems like he’s just going to stand there making the place look untidy until he’s either thrown out bodily, or Jaya will say something. Anything.

All eyes fall on Jaya. Knuckles crack again. "Then that's going to be a problem, too," Suli, taking up the defense, levels at the beast manager as she draws herself up. It's perhaps then, perhaps knowing what the older woman's movements were about to elude to along with her warning, that Jaya comes to life. Releasing her hold on the glass of brandy, "There's a crate of glasses that I keep forgetting to bring from the back," she sends toward Suli, her eyes looking pointedly at her in that brief moment. "Get it for me." Suli looks mutinous, the barmaid turning her glower on Max just as heavily before she's reluctant to move away and disappear into the storeroom for that crate. Back to Max, the bar owner waits until she hears the door close shut before her shoulders visibly stiffen and she forces herself to turn around to face him. A coward, she is not. Leaning against the counter now, her arms coming to a fold across her chest, "What can I do for you?" It's said with stoic calm, fake in its deliverance but since she -did- promise him her cordiality, the woman seems adamant to follow through with it.

Shoulders roll at the unspoken threat, as if stretching and loosing in preparation of a brawl, if that’s what it’s going to come down to. Dark eyes hold flat and cold to Suli, with Max not in the least bit intimidated. To his credit, he holds his tongue, jaw set in a stubborn line. Once Jaya sends her off after the crate of glasses, his gaze goes to her, expression loosing into something a little less forbidding. “You can cut the crap for starters,” he states quietly in response to her overly cordial tone, though there’s no heat in the words. He’s not coming any closer either, not prepared to encroach on the woman’s space. Silence spreads until eventually, low and sincerely spoken, the words start to come, “I’m sorry, Jaya. For…what I did to you,” she can take that any way she pleases. And he’ll leave it there for the time being. At least until she gives some type of response.

Max's words draw a raise of both brows for his first, and they both drop at his second. "You've said this already," Jaya points out, now choosing to drop the cordiality for something harder, colder. Head tilting as she affects a contemplative look on him, "What? Are you expecting to find me a puddle on the floor, or beggin' on my knees, or crying…'Why? Why??'?" The last is given with dramatics: her eyes widen and both hands lift up to emphasize the act itself. When she drops the act, both hands coming to slap her sides, she sends Max a derisive snort. "You men," she drawls, now choosing to take up her glass of brandy and bring it to her lips slowly. "Doesn't matter where in Pern. You're all the same. Now," and, once the sip is taken, the bar owner sets the glass back down so that she could fix him with a pointed, intense stare. "Why don't -you-, dear Lomaxin, cut the crap and tell me why you've graced me with your presence."

Quiet, his jaw tightens once again when Jaya's putting on her feigned dramatics, eyes shielding his reaction and then he takes a step closer once she's done talking. "Because you don't seem to believe the apology to be real," stated clearly, evenly and another step closer is taken. "I fucked up, Jaya. I know that." Some of the guards drop away and the pain and regret for having hurt her in the manner he did, is in evidence, "I'm here, because I saw a brief glimpse of the woman you truly are that day. The one who carries hairclips in her backpack, who has plans and smiles and is happy for them. The one who carries hopes and dreams for her future. Not this…jaded, cold bitch you wear as protection." Yeah, he sees through that. The words might be hard but Max's tone has dropped down to a gentler note as he adds, "The one who's own father threw her out of the clan." And it's -that- that seems to bother him the most. "And now here I am, the man that took advantage of you and then turned his back after you trusted me enough to share that piece of your past. So forgive me if I'm trying to do the right thing here by apologizing and trying to make it right with you." Yes, there is now some heat to his words, but that likely only due to the frustration of being met with her well crafted barriers.

Jaya watches Max like a hawk as he advances, saying nothing to his words as he speaks them. She spies the emotions on his face, his own cold and hard mask seeming to shake in that instant at it. It was a tiny crack that immediately gets sealed up at the mention of that night, and her father. Darh eyes narrowing as she draws herself up to her full height, "You…you would -dare-…?" she starts in a whisper, her eyes searching Max's before she starts again after a pause. Pointing at his chest, "You -you don't know /what/ you saw that night! You don't know me, Lomaxin, and for the -nerve- of you bring that fuckin' ….that fuckin' /man/ into this…" She refuses to call him 'father', that's for sure. Her pointed finger jerking at him before dropping away, forcing her temper to settle, "You've apologized," Jaya says calmly now, trying to bring her breathing back down to normal. "But don't ever make the assumption that you know me and mine again, Max." Eyes turn hard along with her warning, the words spoken quietly. "What you see here and now, is reality. Get -that- through that thick head of yours and we'll have a peachy understanding. Deal?" Barriers and demons well in place, the cold bitch of a woman doesn't seem to be moved or convinced.

Calmly in the face of her anger, “I know what I saw, Jaya. Deny it all you like.” Max simply stands there, stoic as she jabs that finger at him. Hell, he’d probably not even bother ducking if she decked him again. “That fucking man,” he echoes her own words back to her, “should probably be put down considering the pain he’s caused you,” fact, “But I am not him, Jaya. Neither am I any other man that’s seen fit to treat you like shit. I’m just the moron that added his bit to it but is man enough to acknowledge as much and apologize.” Shaking his head a little as she retreats back behind her barriers, “I know what it is to hurt, Jaya. More than you know,” his own demons cackling and dancing in the shadows of his eyes, “But I also know what it is to start learning how to breathe again.” Lips press into a sad line and then he’s taking a step backward with small shake of head as he states quietly, “I only wish the same for you. And that when it comes your way you’re not so blinded by hurt and anger that you completely miss it.” By the look on his face, he’s about done with this round of trying to extend the olive branch, “In the mean time, you know where I am if you need a friend,” a friend not a bartender/client type passing of information, “If you can get off your high horse for long enough and realize that life is hard enough without throwing away those that hold out the hand of friendship.” As he turns to leave he shoves a thrust of chin toward where Suli had disappeared, “And you can call your dog off, I won’t bother you again.” At least not this seven.

"Oh, well," and Jaya lifts her glass as if in mockery of a toast to the beast manager and his calm initial words. "You got me /aaallllll/ figured out, doncha, shuga?" She downs the brandy in one swallow, then sets the glass audibly back down as she wipes the back of one hand across her mouth. "'The whore Jaya only needs the gentle touch of one that will chase the darkness away'… kinda poetic, actually." Sauntering forward and letting one of the tables be the barrier between them, "All I need to do is to stop being a bitch and get off my shiny high-runner." She snaps her fingers out, "Just like -that-!" she cries, eyes wide. Hand dropping then with low laughter, "She must be something else, this other woman," she drawls, tracing those fingers absently along the table top between them. "Good for you, Max. Really." There's very little mockery here despite the last words, and it's given so low that one might has to strain to hear it. Her voice going back to its normal level, her expression one of veiled thoughfulness as she looks at nothing beyond him, "If you knew," she starts hesitantly, slowly, "then you'd understand." Eyes meeting Max's, "I know Leron works for you," this sudden change of subject is probably jarring, but, it's Jaya after all. "He's offered to help lift things around here. Only when he's finished with his work with you, then you can send him my way." It's almost as if the bar owner doesn't fully believe that the stablehand is honest in finishing one thing before the other.

The visible flinch would serve as demonstration that her first words have hit home, but he says nothing in return. It’s her next that draws a low growl and anger to finally lift up onto Max’s expression, “Stop it, Jaya! You’re no whore! I don’t fuck whores!” If crude and blunt is the only language she understands, then that’s exactly what he’ll give her. Schooling the anger back with a deep breath, he’s shaking his head again, “Aye,” snapping his own fingers, “Just like that.” Quietly sardonic. When she brings up whomever it is that he’s with, his expression turns initially wary for her words and then his expression softens a tad, “Don’t rightly know that I deserve her, but I’ll take what I’ve got while it lasts.” Cyncial much? A flicker of empathy shows up in his eyes, “If you’d let me in, Jaya,” tone quiet and sincere, “Then maybe I’d understand and we could stop all this…” shrugging for lack of means to describe the verbal jousting. When she brings Leron up, the beast manager actually blinks and then utters a short laugh, “Leron? Really? You’d let that clumsy oaf bumble around in here?” Odd fondness for the stablehand despite the mocking words.

Ah, the anger. Perhaps -that- was what Jaya was going for from the beast manager, for the cold smile that flashes immediately after his outburst seems a little triumphant. She rolls her eyes and turns from him, returning to the counter where her empty glass resides as she says, "You don't?" She looks back over her shoulder at Max, showing a little skepticism. "Seemed to me like, before her, you would fuck anything that had a right pair of tits. The way -you- talked. My, my. How memories fail when in love." She lets a little smirk appear at that before she looks away. Max's sardonic response and snap of fingers, even the quiet words on the other woman, gets a dry, "Here's some barkeep advice, shuga." Turning to lean against the counter again as she takes up her empty glass, "Self-loathing doesn't look cute," she drawls, regarding him guardedly now with cordial calm. "If she's worth it, believe it. Fuck all the uncertainty." She seems to close up a bit at the mention of letting him in, a heavy sigh given in response to it as she tries to find words. Then, matter-of-factly, "I don't trust you." Pause. Brows lift at Max's laughter in regards to Leron, and oddly enough, some defensive expression flits across her face for his words on the stablehand. "He just needs a backhand to the head a few times is all," she drawls, frowning a bit in her own confusion. "Suli will keep him in line, and he doesn't seem -too- bad….I venture to say for now."

Nostrils flaring as he tries to contain the anger that rises up again, Max’ voice turns low and steely in defense of those he’s been with before, “Don’t you dare judge any ladies,” ladies, not whores, “whose company I may have enjoyed, by your own standards, Jaya. Neither one of us are saints, darlin’.” Just saying. Brow lift upward for the self-loathing comment, drawling just as dryly in return, “Says she. You should try wearing your own advice before you go handing it out.” She doesn’t trust him. Broad shoulders lift and fall in a shrug, “Won’t know until you try me.” The briefly defensive expression that flits across Jaya’s face over his stablehand draws a curious narrowing of eyes and then he’s tucking the information away and continuing on as if he’d not noticed it. Though a little strained a chuckle releases, “Gets those about every second day. Don’t seem to help much. He’s a good kid just…” how does one even begin to try and explain Leron, “a little odd?” contemplating this new development, “But if you reckon you can get decent work out of him, I’ll gladly send him over,” saves him tripping over the lad himself. And then oddly enough, “Don’t be too hard on him, aye?” Says he.

"And see?" Jaya, with a little roll of her shoulders in mockery, delivers Max one of her rough smiles. "I dare to judge you and your women. You dared to judge me and mine." She's not backing down from his steely tone - in fact, seeming to bristle at it. "Saints, we are not, Max. So you expect me to just assume your words sincere….when I've heard them far too many times enough? Not that it matters," she continues on with a shake of her head. "You say what you'll say and then that's that. Your anger amuses me." The hint of her defenses is there, though the path to its key far from certain. As for advice, the dry response gets an immediate shrug by the bar owner. "Hey, buddy. I ain't the one with someone waitin' down the road. All I have is Suli and my bar, and neither of them expects anything from me other than what I am." The words did smart, however, and it shows in the hard look being sent his way. "'Sides, us barkeep don't have to take our own advice. It's the unspoken barkeep rule, get me?" Petulant much? She silences on talk of Leron, nodding once at his own assessment of the young man. "Naive," she speaks her own assessment a bit evenly. "Strange. I can handle him," she is quick to say with a firm nod. "And don't worry. His nose will stay intact-" eyes flick up to Max's own as she says it. "So long's he don't rile up my barmaid too much. I can't vouch for her."

For all the angry words and accusations, Max’s shoulders start to twitch as he tries to bite down laughter. Eventually it’s no use and he just lets it out managing to sift in between it, “You and your women, Jaya?” It may have been that had amused him so highly or just…he’s so done with fighting with the woman. With the laughter passed he answers more easily, “And you’ll believe what you believe, and that’s that, hmm?” On the comment of his anger, he shrugs, “As does yours, me. Quite the pair aren’t we?” dryly amused. Her avoidance of taking her own advice earns a simple, “Mmhmm,” in response. “Actually,” the beast manager points out, “Leron is more observant than most give him credit for. He just has a very different way of looking at life. Refreshing actually. Unless you’re trying to get some work out of him.” When Jaya states that she can handle the stablehand, his mouth twitches and then is quickly clamped into a straight line, note number two being filed away. A hand unpockets and he’s touching at his now healed nose with a pretence of a scowl being sent the barkeep’s way, “You hit Leron like that and you’ll knock the kid clear out for a six.” As to her barmaid a closed look is sent the way of the storeroom, “You might want to try hiring a slightly more…cheerful one once you open because that one is more bouncer than welcoming party to your establishment.”

Max's laughter startles the bar owner for all intents and purposes. Blinking hard, Jaya looks taken aback, frowning heavily as she seems to rack over words said before before she shoots a glare in his direction. "You know what I meant!" she cries, sucking her teeth before she turns for her decanter of brandy left on the countertop. She's not finding it humorous in any case, but she's fine with shooting daggers for looks at the man while she pours herself a glass of the rich brown liquid. The rest of his words get no response from her other than that same look as she takes her time in draining the newly filled glass. "Still makes him weird," she continues on Leron, the heat lessening in her glare at the beast manager once the drink is done. "As long as he doesn't try to get inside my head and poke around. Stableboy thinks I'm clearly an open book for him to read." She catches that scowl from Max, too, lips twisting wryly. When Max looks toward the close storeroom, she does too - her own face suddenly guarded as the barmaid in question is brought up. Dark eyes regard the man in the brief moment then she simply answers with a gruff, "I need her. No way around it."

He knew what she meant? Did he? Maybe. Either way the amusement lingers a while longer as he shrugs, not contesting Leron’s oddness but then states quietly, “You could do worse, Jaya.” This to letting the stablehand into her head, “Friends, aye?” pointed reminder of earlier words to her learning to trust someone for a change. He could comment on whether or not she were that much of a closed book, but instead chooses to leave the woman alone with that notion. Like understanding like. Of the surly barmaid, “-You- might need her, but your customers don’t. Asera down the lower caverns has the charms to have a man spending his last mark on booze. Something you might want to think about.” On that he seems to be knowledgeable, though whether it be of the girl herself, or getting men to spend more marks, is left unclear.

"The way you throw that word around," Jaya tsks on friendship, the frown turning into a near-scowl as she shakes her head. "Don't get all ….you, on me, Max." Whatever 'you' could be. "He isn't a friend, and neither are you." But there's uncertainty now instead of the adamant coldness that Max is met with in this statement - as if somewhere in her impregnable forttress something has cracked. It's as if she was saying that if he wanted to be trusted, then it had to be earned. Underlying emotions flit briefly across guarded features until it settles into something unreadable on the bar owner before she looks away to regain some semblance of composure. Picking up the decanter and moving off to go behind the counter, "Just need some help around here is all, and, I thought it best to confer with you first. I would've came by the stables, but…" there's a half-shrug after the businesslike tone she's taking with him, the decanter getting stored away as she speaks. As to Suli, Jaya meets Max's gaze on his assessment on the older woman before she grudgingly gives him a nod. "I'll talk to her," she decides to say, shooting a look behind her towards the closed storeroom where the barmaid was. "She won't be a problem with customers once I get someone else to help out here. Perhaps this Asera, if she's available." She seems willing to concede to Max's advice, though she remains adamant in keeping Suli around.

The edges of amusement tips a brow upward as Max shakes his head slowly and then it drains off when he states quietly, “I know I’m not, Jaya. But I hope to be.” No more pretence, just that and the unspoken vow to earn that right. Watching as the edges of emotions flick over her face all he has to offer is a small smile. Still remaining where he is, hands pocketed, shoulders roll as some of the earlier tension slips off him, “Appreciate the thought,” skirting around the issue of her not wishing to go down to the stables, “I’ll let him know, he’s free to come by after duties, aye?” That having been said he turns to the issue of the barmaid a short chuckle delivered, “Asera’s…a good girl. A little flighty at times but a hard worker when she has something to set her mind to.” Seemingly knowing the lower caverns girl rather well.

"Don't hold your breath." Jaya seems to have plenty room for petulance, so despite the sharp words delivered back on friendship, a slow and barely-there smile is wavering at the corners of her lips. "Good," she is quick to agree on their deal with the stablehand, nodding firmly at him to cement it. "Thank you." The empty glass gets put away for washing, as now the bar owner starts her routine of cleaning up the counter. With a rag to the countertop surface, "Well, since you seem to know her, you can feel her out and see if she's interested," Jaya continues on as she wipes the countertop clean with a vigor, her eyes focused on her cleaning. "Don't mind flighty, so long as she can work. She'll find me fair. Not a difficult task master. You should probably be getting back." Each statement is said briskly with little inflection between each, quick to turn the tables on him again. She pauses here, however, her rag stopping midway as she considers her next words to Max in the silence. "I…appreciate you coming here," she says heavily, a grimace forming before she looks up at him. "That is all I can offer you. Perhaps…someday." It seems to be the best she can do for now, the nod given a mixture of civility and gravity before she resumes her cleaning.

A short smile and a nod of head all that greets Jaya’s first words. Dark eyes tracking her movements as she starts to clean up, an oddly strangled sound, as if laughter were being cut off greets her asking him to ‘feel’ out Asera. Clearing his throat, Max turns out a crooked grin, “I sort of owe her one, and she’s not been all that happy since we all got here. Reckon this might perk her up some. I’ll talk to her.” That about all he’ll reveal on the nature of his association with the girl. Going quiet as the barkeep does, a warmer expression tinged by the edges of regret for all the anger and hurt settles onto her. Smiling slightly, “That’s all I ask for.” Now he’ll close the short distance to the bar and try to capture the rag holding hand to close fingers around it briefly if she doesn’t jerk away, “Just meet me halfway, aye?” At that his hand will retreat back to his pocket and after a long silent study of the woman, the beast manager turns to go, “Thank you for hearing me out.” Sincere.

"Good," is curtly given again, this time in regards to Asera as Jaya gives that part of the countertop one final swipe of her rag. The rag gets captured as she was about to pull it up and away, her dark gaze going from Max's hand to his face in the closing silence. She doesn't pull away from his press of her hand, the unreadable expression present as she simply stares at him for his words on meeting him halfway. Eyes narrow only briefly, the dark-haired woman straightening from the counter once Max releases his hold of her hand and steps away. The rag now getting slapped over one shoulder once he turns to go, "Have a good evening, Lomaxin." Her voice is a low, calm husky with further words cut off from the bar owner as it is clear that she has much to think over for once the man was gone. Anything further she could have added gets silenced anyway, for the door to the storeroom opens and Suli is by Jaya's side behind the counter once more - not surprisingly, no crate of glasses in hand.

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