These Boots Were Made For More Than Just Walking


Bowen.jpg Jaya.jpg

Date: 10/6/10
Location: EW: Jaya's Bar
Synopsis: Bowen arrives in Jaya's Bar to get the order for her new boots and a bit of information, and whiskey, is exchanged.
Rating: PG-13
Logger: Bowen

Afternoon at the bar is not a busy time of day. There's a few patrons about, getting an early start on their evenings with a nip for the gut her and maybe a card game or two at the makeshift tables. Suli and Hayda, the new, blonde barmaid are about the floor space still getting ready the crowd to come that night while the barkeep herself is busy behind the counter checking inventory lists. Shijan, the bar's new bouncer, sits on a stool at the entrance and looks ever-ready for trouble - his gaze sweeping over those unfamiliar in the bar as his sitting position takes on a seemingly lazy sprawl. The atmosphere and quiet and peaceful for the most part, which is a stark contrast to how the bar usually is during the coming night.

With a large duffle-like sack on his back, the stocky tanner makes his entrance into the bar again for the first time since he decided he needed to pick a fight with someone, anyone, and Kaskan apparently was the flavor of that day. Bowen is decidedly in a better mood, though it’d be hard-pressed to figure that out from his expression alone. His gait seems a little less heavier, however, and his blue eyes showing less strain at the corners. He gives Shijan a ‘not-here-for-trouble’ nod on his way in, either expecting him there or just seeing him as he entered, and then he is looking around the room briefly before heading to the bar with a nod toward Jaya, “’Fternoon, ma’am.”

Shijan's gaze picks up Bowen's arrival easily, not showing any tensing of muscles to indicate that there's trouble for the tanner. He merely watches the man pass him by in silence before he shifts his gaze over to the barkeep. Suli looks up from washing down one of the tables, and his words get Jaya's attention from her lists. Looking up sharply, it takes a brief moment before recognition shows on her face. There's a slow smile coming, eyes sweeping over him with open interest in the pause before meeting his gaze fully with a nod. "Just Jaya, shuga," she waves a hand to the 'ma'am', her amusement evident in voice as she sets the inventory lists down. "Bowen," she takes a short moment to amend, remembering their previous encounter. "Come looking to fight in my bar again, or are you here to drink?" She doesn't believe the latter even as she gives it for an option, already pegging the man to be the honorable sort that doesn't drink during the day since he was the one that paid upfront the damages to her bar by the brawl.

Bowen is a single-minded guy at times. Well, at most times. Perhaps all the time. He doesn’t seem to notice the others in the bar once he’s clapped his blue eyes on Jaya and made for her at the bar. Once there, he sets the bag across two stools beside him without even a grunt or sigh, and then nods, “Right, Jaya. Sorry. F’rgot.” He does remember to tip his head politely though, now that his hands are free. “Neither,” regarding drinks or fighting, “Ya said ya needed new boots, if I recall proper. I came by once before, but ya were out.” He rests his hands on the edge of the bar counter, “Ya still needin’ boots?”

Eyes fall on the bag being set across two stools. "Honorable with a good memory," Jaya notes when Bowen states his business, inclining her head to let him know that she had indeed remembered their contract. "Had some business of my own to take care of," she explains smoothly to why she wasn't there when he showed up, and she drops that matter promptly. "Still need boots if you're good for it. Got the marks, and it is time to have some new ones made." Eyes on the bag again as she moves her lists aside, "What do you have for me?" she asks, her curiosity evident as she cuts the pleasantries for now and goes straight into business.

The compliment about Bowen and a good memory after he had commented that he had forgot not to call her 'ma'am' earns a smirk and 'yer kiddin' look. The he goes to unbuckle the bag and starts withdrawing samples, a total of three, different lengths, and hide thickness and one where the leather is folded over at the top. A professional tanner-cobbler would probably be able to do more variety and fancy stitching, possibly even embroidery, but Bowen isn't a crafter. He knows the basics. But he did warn her about that fact and since she didn't seem to care, he came anyway. He sets each on top of the counter. There isn't any mud or dirt on them since they are samples and have never been worn. "Here whut I can do. If ya want somethin' fancier, I know a journeyman who can prolly do more detailed work. I tend ta go with functionality an' durability over look in my work," which is really quite fitting for this particular tanner in many respects.

"Do I look fancy?" Jaya pins a look over at the tanner, even stepping back so that the man could get a good look at her ensemble. Hands spread out then falling to her sides as she steps up to the counter to reach for the closest sample with a snort, "I've spent the last 5 or so turns living in the harsh lands far from any Hold, Hall or Weyr. I wouldn't know fancy if it bit me on the ass." Eyes roam over the sample she claims as she talks, reaching for other samples that he pulled out with open interest. After a long moment, "Not bad, tanner," she pronounces, finally looking up at him with one of her crooked smiles that lifts the scar side of her face. "Not bad at all. I'm looking for durability. This-" and she lifts up the one with the hide neither too thin nor thick for him to see, "-is something I could use. Do you dye them to make it darker or lighter, too?"

Bowen makes a pretense of looking her over when she invites him too, but a practiced eye would notice that it’s more for reasons of not wanting to be rude, and in the case of the boots she’s wearing now, professional interests. His attention goes to the boot she selects and a nod for the compliment, and adding, “Durability is whut I’m all ‘bout.” Then he withdraws swatch-like samples of the leather used on that particular boot, only these are dyed: black, maroon, and sienna, all mostly natural colors, nothing like fuchsia or candy apple red. “That p’rtic’lar leather can handle these dyes.”

"Something like this will work for me," Jaya is practical and quick in choosing the right color, her fingers brushing over the sienna color as she speaks. "I'll take a boot in that dye, that thickness." Releasing her hold on the swatches as she looks up at Bowen, "I'll trust your expertise to the rest of it," she adds, tapping her writing stylus idly against the counter. "You seem to have the same tastes as me. Durability." Eyes flick briefly over the bar's activity before she adds in a more professional tone, "How much are we looking at it costing me? How long will it take for you?"

Taking a mental note of the order placed and not writing it down, Bowen starts putting his samples and swatches away as she speaks. A grunt comes in at the mention of tastes and durability but he says nothing until he removes a little measuring stick from the pack and waves to her to come out from the bar. “I’ll tell ya cost when I get yer measurements. As fer time, can likely get ‘em done within th’ seven. Th’ dyin’s gonna take th’ longest.” His expression remains neutral and seems to be all business at this point, no play.

Jaya moves from out behind the counter, hands on her hips as she presents her worn-out boots. "Mentioned before you didn't walk the tables." She seems to agree to it all since she makes no comment, switching topics as she approaches Bowen with his measuring stick. "What made you leave.or were you kicked out?" Nose crinkles a bit at the latter option she presents, herself not believing that one for a second. She doesn't know Bowen well, but from her dealings with him so far she was putting together a picture of a man that wouldn't be the type she would have ran into back in the shady dives she worked in. He was a different kind of man.

“Ayup,” Bowen says to her first statement, already staring at her boots as she comes around the counter. He crouches down beside her and starts measuring, the length, width, height, and even feeling the toes out where they are placed in her worn out boots, considering that usually one foot is always a little longer than the other. He checks the measurements of her calves, too, though the leather has been brained long enough and is pliable enough that’s not as much a concern as the measurements of her feet directly. He speaks as he works, so maybe he’s not single-minded after all, “Got hitched,” he states on his reasoning for leaving. It’s not some big deep dark secret for the man, so he doesn’t mind sharing that much. He straightens then and puts his blue eyes on her face, “Max says ya can be trusted with some of th’ recent trouble he’s seen down there in the beast caverns.” Talk about abrupt change of topic.

Jaya stands still when Bowen crouches to make his measurements, the odd activity drawing curious glances from all present within the bar. Eyes cast down on his head since she couldn't see his eyes, her brows lift all the way up at hearing he was married. "Married," she repeats that as if the whole concept was foreign to her. Probably was. "I imagine he did, that Max," she allows the change of topic for now, lips quirking up at hearing about the beast manager's words about her. "Especially since that recent trouble was brought here because of me." No use lying or being evasive if Max was telling Bowen that much, Jaya was figuring. "Thanks for letting him know I needed to see that thief. Got someinteresting information from him. Needed to hear it." Beat. "So whatyour wife pissed you off enough to come swinging fists in my bar that night?" Predictably, she's lacing the previous topic with the current, her face carefully schooled like a Bitran gambler.

Bowen may not always know when or how to be discreet, but he normally speaks in that low, husky tone of his for it not always to matter, really. And so when Jaya speaks first of marriage, Bo merely confirms with a grunt. When she continues on with the rest of it, the tanner merely blinks a long moment, as if taking it in and chewing on it before wanting to reply to that as well. “M’wife’s dead,” he states in that soft deadpan tone. Then he looks at her another long moment before quietly sayin’, “Y’know any reason fer somebody t’target th’ Healer whut fixed up yer lil singin’ boy out there?”

When Bowen flat out tells Jaya that his wife is dead, the barkeep's brows knit together and whatever words she had prepared to say died on her lips. What can one say to that? Jaya isn't completely heartless in probing further there - not when they didn't know each other like that yet - so all that comes forth after a lengthy pause was a heavy, "Fuck." In that one word, she manages to fit her condolences and apology. She frowns a bit at him while he works, meeting his eyes when he asks that question. "Think it's connected?" she asks on that account before giving into a slight shrug. "Don't know a reason, but then, there's a man locked up for trying to steal a runner - a runner he doesn't need." She shakes her head at that slowly, "None of it's making sense, but I plan to get to the bottom of it if it means I'm to make a home here," she admits openly to him, her tone grim for the situation they're placed in. Gesturing down with her chin sharply, "How much did he tell you, anyway?" she asks about Max, starting to regard him with slightly different eyes as her tone takes on a less charming quality to it in regards to this particular topic.

If it were a man and not a woman whose response was that single word, Bowen would have come back probably with something to the effect of ‘ain’t inta dat’ in his usual dry tone. But he’s still getting to know Jaya and not yet willing to treat her like one of the boys. Point of fact, he’s still wrapping his mind around the concept of treating any woman like one of the boys. So her single word combination apology and condolences seems to just get a little nod, as if he understood her for what it was meant to be. There’s a lengthy pause after she speaks which usually makes the tanner look like he’s slow mentally and not just physically, and then he finally answers in that whispery husky voice to her, “Part of m’still ain’t too sure it ain’t all meant as distraction … th’ runner an’ mebbe goin’ aft’r th’ Healer too.” Then he shrugs as if to say ‘but what do I know?’ To her final question, he pauses a few heartbeats and then says quietly, “Told m’ Vaput’ro was aft’r ya.” This time the quiet in his voice includes a bit of sympathy and sobriety for the pickle the woman must find herself in. It’s mirrored in his blue eyes briefly, and then it’s gone and he straightens and clears his throat, putting voice to a number. There’s a pause and then he gives the number again with ‘marks’ stated behind it, and jerks his head to the bag, “Fer da boots.” And the price he lists would be a few pricing tiers below journeyman crafted boots, as appropriate. “But I’ll knock off twenty p’rcent if yerself an’ each o’ yer crew here wouldn’t mind writin’ down a few words fer me on pap’r.” Beat pause, “Oh, an’ b’fore I go, I need ta buy two bottles of whiskey. Th’ good stuff,” that being the stuff he drank that night here in the bar, “One fer me an’ th’ road, and one t’be left ‘ere, untouched an’ on res’rve fer Kaskan.”

Jaya is usually one to pry, as barkeeps tend to be, but in this instance she remains silent as she watches Bowen's face. She addresses the latter with a brief, "Probably is - the distraction, I mean," she amends quickly on her vagueness. "I don't put anything passed the man." And speaking of the man in question, his words on Vaput being after her gets a grunt and nods, succinct. Her turn to be silent, eyes dropping from him with that unreadable expression in place before he gives the price in marks for the boots. "A few words?" Jaya shoots a look to Bowen at that, frowning slightly as she asks for elaboration. "I'll have the marks for you as soon as you want them. Come by, or should I go find you?" When he asks to buy bottles of whiskey off of her, her mouth opens to speak on it until he mentions the guard's name. Lips shut on that, brows twitching before she abruptly turns from him and slowly approaches the counter. Over her shoulder, "Got just what you need," she puts in too casually, moving to go behind the counter and bending down to pull up the right bottles. Two dark ones land on the counter before her audibly, the barkeep looking over them at the tanner before nodding with her chin. A price is given, then she adds wryly, "Honorable. Kaskan's lucky you were the one he was fighting with that night. If only all men were as such, Bowen."

Putting away his measuring stick as Jaya moves back behind the bar, Bowen grunts a bit and in his usually slow-to-answer manner takes awhile to answer and choose how and which to answer in which order. As such, it’s a few heartbeats pause before he finally begins with, “A few words,” and a nod, his voice maintaining that whispered husky volume, “They can pick whut they wanna say. They can call me a gutless whore fer all I care. I j’st need ta rule out yers an’ their handwrit’n as whut was on th’ note whut lured th’ Healer out in th’ open,” he arches one eyebrow and his blue eyes get a little harder, while his voice drops even softer, “‘nless o’course, ya happen ta know it was one of ‘em already?” There’s a little pause before he grunts again and adds, “Don’t both’r payin’ me ‘til I hand o’er th’ boots an’ ya try ‘em on and know ya like ‘em.” And then this is followed by a sly smirk on the bar fight, “That yer way o’callin’ me a pansy?” That Kaskan is lucky it was him and not someone else. He almost asks her if she thought he threw punches like a girl or something, but thinks better of it at the last moment, which is wise, considering who he is talking to. Maybe he’s learning after all. But the tone of his question seems to be a light tease and mostly rhetorical, and he continues, “Was j’st a matt’r dat I thought he was a’nuth’r feller is all. No need ta hold a grudge ‘gainst ‘im an’ I hope ‘e ain’t got none ‘gainst me. Dis is mah peace offerin’. Reckon it’s j’st th’ right thing t’do.”

Once Bowen explains why he was needing to see their handwriting, Jaya casts a long look towards a watching Suli before she turns back to him and nods once. "I'll have the writings sent by the end of the day," she assures him briskly, giving the man a thin smile. "Don't think I know who could be luring healers away from their stations. This Weyr seems to be a hotbed of intrigue these days." It could very well involve the runner thieves, but the barkeep clearly doesn't know and she alludes to that very fact. "Never did find the one that killed that person found around the hatching, so might be best to keep your eyes and ears open." That's if Vaput's not involved, anyway. Since he reiterates on her not paying until the boots are made, she inclines her head to that and sends him an easy enough smile. As to that bar fight, "Don't look like one," she answers on him being a pansy, but she draws those words out as she looks the man over slowly. "He's a guard, and plus he is getting free booze out of this, I presume?" Brow lifts and there's a low rumbling chuckle as she picks up one of the whiskey bottles and hefts it towards him. "Seems like you're all about doing right," she notes idly to his last, the curious glint in her eyes present as she studies him from behind the counter. "Where I come from, shuga, you're rare."

“Max an’ I, we been keepin’ a look out fer th’ Healer since an’ ain’t nuthin’ bad come of it,” Bowen says softly, leaning his forearms now on the bar counter, and his eyes are for the whiskey a moment before turning back to her, “So, I reckon it was either j’st a badly timed prank ‘r they don’t mean th’ Healer no harm so much as j’st wantin th’ Healer gone fer a spell t’get at sumpthin’.” There’s a shrug that punctuates the statement, as if to say he wouldn’t know what that something would be. Yet. “But I j’st like bein’ sure,” which is undoubtedly part of the reason he’s pursuing it. He buckles his bag closed once more, then, and adds, “I wanna be ‘round when they do it,” as a witness. Otherwise, one of them could just get anyone to write anything for them and he wouldn’t know it. Though he doesn’t actually state that. “But since it’s tied t’yer boots’ fee, I reckon it can wait until I get ‘em done an’ bring ‘em in fer ya, if ya would ruther have a chance t’talk with ‘em first.” Then he takes out a coin purse from his pocket and counts through a handful of marks for what price she stated earlier. “Ayup, th’ one’s bein’ left fer Kaskan. Dunno when he may be back.” Pause. “Thank ya kindly,” he says, putting the marks on the counter and putting his money away before tipping his hat at her, both for the whiskey and for farewell. He says nothing on keeping his eyes and ears open, which could mean a variety of things, including he just simply forgot to respond to it, slow as he can be. But he does take his pack back up on his shoulder and reaches for the bottle she offers toward him before saying softly, “Don’t let on,” on him being rare, “I gots me a reputation ta keep.” Smirking faintly, he turns as if to make his departure.

"Good line of thinking," Jaya seems to agree with Bowen and Max on investigating, her study of him still present. When he mentions that he wants to present at the writings, there's a slow lift of one corner of her mouth for an initial answer. At further words, however, "I will need to talk to them, yes," she agrees on that, not turning the tanner's request down. "They're already on edge as it is, hmm?" Dark eyes fall on those marks he counts out briefly, and it's a rather sly, "Oh, he'll be back. What man wouldn't?" on the account of the Bollian guard. Maybe she knows something he doesn't, but the barkeep says nothing more on it and reaches forward to collect up the marks deftly. "Thanks from coming by with the samples," she says then, the smile a bit more genuine now the more she gets the know the man. "Look forward to seeing the result. And your secret," and here's the smirk turns mischievous, "is between you and me." That being on his being rare, the wink following an easy one as the man turns to take his leave. "Have yourself a good day, Bowen, and" head inclines briefly, "don't be a stranger here," she adds the last just a bit dryly, but there's enough amusement in her eyes to suggest otherwise.

“Ayup,” Bowen says softly to either her needing to talk to her employees about it or them being on edge, “It’d help, but I ain’t gonna force it, Jaya, which is why it’s only fer th’ discount, an’ I ain’t holdin’ yer boots hostage ‘r nuthin.” He tips his hat with the top of the bottle and smirks faintly at her statement about Kaskan, knowing good and well that if anyone has a reason to avoid this bar, it’s the one who got knocked in the head with the butt of Jaya’s knife. But he doesn’t counter her statement, just offers the faint smirk, and then completes his turn to go, “I reckon I already have, Jaya,” had a good day, and he makes his way to the exit with that, leaving her to potentially wonder if he means had a good day or is or is not a stranger. There comes only a nod to Shijan as he passes him on his way out.

Closing Credit Theme Music: Billy Currington - "That's How Country Boys Roll"

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