Trying Times


Jaya.jpg Max.jpg Yaron.jpg

Date: 2010.08.12
Location: Jaya's Bar
Synopsis: Max and Yaron (NPC) stop by the bar for a nightcap before completing their rounds. Jaya comes clean with Max about something that leaves the man dumbstruck.
Rating: PG13 - Language
Logger: Max

The bar is winding down for the evening, with few patrons and residents left at the tables as they try to stagger themselves back to their respective places. There's no card tables this time around, and the counter seats are empty save for one - the bar owner. Jaya is here with her pile of marks, seeming to tally up her profits on a sheet of hide as Suli busies herself with washing down the tables that aren't occupied. There's a subdued uneasiness in the atmosphere of the bar tonite, which is quite unusual if not for the current circumstances going on in the Weyr.

Having recently completed his rounds of checking on the henchmen installed at the Weyr’s entrance and the few others he and his mother have scattered about the place, Max makes for the bar a rather big and cruel looking Yaron at his side. Both wearing openly wicked looking hunting knives at their belts and ending off some or other conversation being held in low tones, they cross the threshold only to find the establishment at the closing end of its hours. “Shit,” this Yaron’s dour exclamation to finding the place all but deserted. The beast manager ignores him and walks boldly up to the counter, more precisely to where Jaya is seated at it. None of his usual cock and swagger at play this evening simply a lowheld, “Jaya”, given as greeting.

Suli, having just finished rubbing down one of the boundary tables to the entrace, turns to regard the two arriving men - or more rather, Yaron since he catches her eye first - and straightens. She says nothing as they pass her, though her eyes narrow once they manage a purchase on the beast manager. The clink-clink of marks stacking can be heard as Jaya continues to tally up her profits for the evening, meanwhile, so the quiet call to her name has her slightly startling and looking over to Max's face. Her gaze turning over to Yaron and then down to his knife as fingers pause over her profits, "What can I get you boys?" she asks, also seeming to be missing her usual bravado and arrogance this night. She ignores the look her barmaid gives her as she straightens on the stool. "Something strong?" is asked then.

“Tankard o’ ale,” Yaron’s the first to answer, eyes openly assessing first Suli and then Jaya, face expressionless, eyes dead as he simply stands there like a big piece of furniture in the middle of the room where he’d come to a halt. Max at least has the grace to offer the glimmer of a weary smile Jaya’s way (Suli completely ignored as usual) before replying with a rub of hand over face, “Aye, brandy, double.” Jerking a thumb the way of his companion, “This is Yaron.” Even although no names had been asked for. Taking up a stool alongside the bar owner, the beast manager fixes a long look onto her but remains silent.

"Suli," Jaya merely calls her name to comply with the order, the scarred-faced woman not taking her eyes off of Max (nor her fingers off of her profits). The towering older woman was behind the counter in short moments, first fixing Yaron's ale and setting it heavily on the counter beside the beast manager. Then, a double of brandy is quickl set forth before Max, with the older woman lingering a sharp look on the young man before she leaves the three alone at the counter. "If looks could kill," drawls the bar owner, finally taking her own gaze from Max to assess her barmaid briefly. Nodding towards the drinks then, "Half off," she says on the price of them, her look sobering. "Heard you two need them." Pausing to regard them both, "How has it been with the investigation?" She seems to have heard, which is not surprising given the constant patrons that come through her bar.

Only once Suli has plonked his ale down on the counter does Yaron lumber on over, take the tankard up in a large paw with a nod toward the older barmaid and then move over to a table in the corner where he can easily keep watch on the door. Jaya’s comment has Max shooting a narrowed eye look onto the barmaid and then turning it back onto the bar’s owner until it eases with a soft snort for his own paranoia before drawling, “Not the best choice of words, darlin’.” The brandy is taken up and tipped her way in thanks for the special price given. Swallowing down a mouthful, eyes closing in appreciation for the burn, they open and fix to an unseen spot off in the distance. “Slow,” the reply somewhat terse with his frustration for the entire situation. Another mouthful of the brandy and then his head turns and dark eyes fix back onto Jaya, “You’ll tell me if you hear anything in here, aye?”

A brow raising at Max's initial response, "Prefer I say she likes you?" Jaya returns a bit dryly, another look sent over to the older woman. She turns to send a look Yaron's way too, speculative at best. Hearing his frustration, however brings her gaze back to him, along with a grave nod. "I will, shuga," she drawls with an incline of her head. "Keep me in the know as well, hm?" Always one for information. She suddenly lifts two fingers in farewell over Max's shoulder as the last table empties, rendering the place free save for Max and his thug.

That earns Jaya an expressive roll of eyes, and then a mutter of, “Not what I meant,” before lifting the glass to his mouth again. If he notices her assessment of Yaron, Max ignores it. Or at best doesn’t feel much like explaining his association with the thug. The glass of brandy drained and set to the counter with a nod for a refill a faint smirk greets the woman’s return for information, “If it pertains to yourself, sure.” Voices growing and then fading as they pass by in the hallway have the beast manager turning a careful look onto the bar owner, “You want I should send someone down to keep an extra eye on things for you?” concern for the safety of the two woman evident.

"Not what I meant, either," Jaya is quick to return, flat, shooting a pointed look Max's way before she finally returns to her work. When she sees the empty glass, she gets up from the stool and moves around the counter to go and refill it. "We hold our own," she answers on the extra help, bringing up the brandy decanter and moving forward towards the glass. "Doubt anyone would be bothering us with Suli around, shuga," and for that, there's small glimmers of cold smirk there for her barmaid towards him. "Besides, think anyone -would- come here to do harm?" Not expecting an answer for that, the bar owner goes on to quietly ask, "Have you seen Randi? How is she with all this?" while passing the filled glass back across to him.

An edge of a chuckle shorts out and Max inclines his head her way, “Touche.” Skeptical the look that follows Jaya as she moves around the counter to refill his glass, “Aye, so do dragons, and we all know how that turned out.” He reminds and then adds, “And the poor sod they found down in the tunnels.” Anger flirting about his tone, though it’s not directed at the woman herself. A short shake of head as he reaches for the refilled glass, “Thanks,” that for the refill, “No, not since it happened,” spoken quieter, “Been a touch busy of late.” Running the stables and helping his mother keep their thugs-for-hire in line. “Might stop passed on the way back though.”

"Hmm," is all that is given on that 'touche', the bar owner returning to her work at the stool without a glance Max's way. She catches the look of skepticism, however, and then talk turns on the dead body. With her gambler's face in place as she drops herself back onto the stool, "Unfortunate," Jaya states on that, regarding the anger in his tone with some interest as her intense gaze lights on him. "The way death comes. My father used to have choice words on such a matter." On the matter of the weyrwoman, she inclines her head to that in understanding. "Haven't seen her much since the move myself," she states, finding her writing stylus and reaching for it. "Send her my condolences if you do."

Max merely nods to all said on death, doom and destruction as is currently stalking the Weyr, distracting himself from his more morose thoughts on the matter with his brandy. As to the goldrider, there he affords a small smile, "How about you do so by sending her a bottle of your finest, hmm? I'll even hand deliver it myself." With a roll of shoulders as if shucking off the mantle of gravity (or just burying it for the time being) he reaches out a hand, a finger heading to deliberately knock over a stack of carefully counted out marks unless she scoops them out of the way, saying as he does, "So what's going on in the world of Jaya, hmm?"

Jaya seems to consider the suggestion of the gift, saying nothing as she stares Max down. There's a slow nod, but nothing else is said on it, momentarily returning to her small stacks of marks until she finds Max's fingers so close to ruining her figures. Lips pursing severely, if he doesn't move his hand out of the way she does have her hand up to smack it away from her percious profits. Shooting a guarded glance at him for his question, "I keep to myself, as I should," she drawls on that front darkly, though a dramatic look of a thought suddenly stealing into her appears on her features, eyes rolling up to ceiling as she adds, "Although, I had the most -interesting- conversation with your woman, the other day." Gaze falling on Max then as she drops the act, "Other than that, what goes on in -my- world is not for ears to hear and eyes to see." And her brandished writing stylus makes a scratching mark ontop of the sheet of hide in arrogant emphasis to that very point.

A light smirk appears, Max’s hand hovering a moment or two at the stack of marks a moment or two in silent taunt and then moves away to drop to his belt near the hilt of his knife. The guarded look has effect of drawing up a brow but nothing gets said immediately. And just as that brow had settled back into place, Jaya drops that little gem into the pond of carefully maintained calm and both brows jerk upward as his gaze pins onto her from where it had dropped to his brandy glass. Sounding nonchalant, “Aye, she said she’d offered to help out here,” not sure he should even ask what that conversation had been about until something drops into place and he ends up just staring at the bar owner, “Good conversation?” Yup, maybe he wants to know after all. Her last however, draws a snort, “Stop being an ass, Jaya. Just trying to be friendly.” The irritation is mild as he drops the subject.

Looking away from her work as she doesn't go through with her smack on his hand as she perhaps planned, "That she did," Jaya is easy in being vague," but I meant your mother." She seems at least vaguely pleased, however, but she continues on blithely with, "Here's me trying to be….friendly," and the woman makes a show of forming that the last word out with mock difficulty. Pinning her gaze onto the beast manager, "Try and cut some slack on her for a little bit, hm? Seems like she doesn' have anyone. Other than you." She's quiet after that, considering him and his brandy in the silence before adding, "As to Ahnika, she's not what I expected," is given only too lightly with formality. "I appreciate her helping out here. We talked, too. You told her." And if he doesn't understand what she means, her eyes go pointedly to the side of the counter briefly. To the last however, there is the show of a bratty smile involving a brief flash of teeth. "So was I, shuga. I could have said 'fuck off' and let that be that. Baby steps, right?" Riiiight.

Max openly blinks when Jaya corrects his assumption, “My mother?” and then goes quiet fingers toying with the near empty glass before him. Rather than seem put out or annoyed by he ‘friendly’ advice her turns a half smile out to her instead, “Aye, I know Jaya. She’s…” frowning a little as he searches for words or perhaps deliberates whether or not to share them, “…been hurt too many times to take a chance on anyone anymore,” a shoulder lifts in a half-shrug, “reckon its why she plays with her boy-toys. They don’t want nothing from her.” Except the obvious. The glass gets lifted to his mouth and the contents drained in the silence dark eyes flickering to the side of the counter and then settling onto the woman with an unreadable look. Nodding slowly his reply is quiet, “I did.” And then after a pause a light frown forms, “She said something to you?” apology sitting in his tone. Her last however is set aside with a dry twist of lips.

"I can sympathize with her," Jaya remarks on the headwoman perhaps more coldly than she meant to, but her gaze never wavers on Max. More quietly and sober now, "Know where she's been, what she means. Sometimes the play -is- far safer than feeling anything at all." Dark eyes go to his drink, though the wanting look is probably more for herself than for him. "Another?" she asks then, brow lifting at him and his glass. She catches the unreadable look and awards him with one of her own at his question on Ahnika. The bar owner turns from him then and starts collecting up her profits still left on the counter with a lofty air. "She wanted to know how you did me, in proper terms," she says a bit too casually. Eyes finding his, "How you threw me over this here counter," and her voice was lowered should Suli and Yaron heard, her eyes briefly touching on each of them as she worked. "Girl's blunt, I'll give her -that- much."

The flinch is barely visible, but it’s there at Jaya’s word and tone taken. Max has nothing to say in return, staring down at his drained glass instead, head shaking for the offer of more, “Got a last round to make before turning in.” Inhaling slowly it’s on the exhale that his eyes finally lift and meet Jaya’s about to apologise verbally and then her reply catches him. If he were a man to blush, he’d be wonderful shade of crimson right now. As it is he coughs and looks all kinds of awkward, “She, uuuhhh…wanted to know what?” a hand lifting to rub fingers to his forehead before a strangled chuckle spills out, “Shit, I’m sorry, Jaya. She’s always wanting to know stuff…” something suddenly occurs to the man and eyes narrow onto her, “you didn’t by any chance give her…advice did you?” his tone kept low enough that the last might come out as an unintentional hiss.

The corners of Jaya's mouth turn up imperceptibly when her words struck home to Max on all fronts, choosing silence for a few moments as she busies herself with sliding the marks away into one of her many trouser pockets. At his question on what Ahnika wanted to know, the look she sends his way is a knowing one. It's to his last question she finally answers, affecting a light-hearted shrug. "Perhaps you should ask her, since you both are in the sharing mood," she gives dryly and evasively, taking up her sheets of hide in the ensuing pause. Meeting Max's eyes then, "Don't worry, loverboy," she drawls, taking up his empty glass. "It was tame, as much as it could be from me." And then there's that little smirk of trouble.

Well, this conversation had gone an entirely different route to what Max might have envisioned it going when he walked in there which finds the man stuck with anything to say for a while. Finally he stands from the stool, lifting a finger to Yaron (currently slumped in a chair and staring blankly off into space) in signal of imminent departure and turns a long closed look onto Jaya. With a light frown and small shake of head his tone quiet though the words are genuinely intended, “I’m sorry, Jaya.” All he ever seems to be doing is apologizing to the woman. A mark bit gets slid out onto the counter for the drinks and then he’s turning as if to head out.

"Stop with the apologizing," Jaya is quick to say, and she is quick to snatch up that mark bit from the counter with deft fingers. Coming from the around the counter towards the beast manager as she pockets it, "You're seriously going to drive me crazy if I hear those two words from you again." It seems like she's blocking Max from leaving, ignoring Yaron and the looks coming from Suli as she plants hands on her hips. She stares him down this time, perhaps not sure what to say next, so that air is let out of her sails and those hands fall from her hips. Shaking her head, the bar owner turns from him and starts to walk by him towards the counter with a lofty, "Evening, Max. Just….keep me posted about this-" a hand steals out, waving about with her back to him to indicate their somber topics of before. "That."

His exit blocked and his apologies swept aside, combined with a rather tense and tiring last few days has Max snatching out a hand to try and grab Jaya’s arm to stop her movement away from him, heedless of the other two standing there likely gawking. Words hissing out low, “What the fuck do you want me to do, Jaya? Take a knife and cut myself a line across my arm to remind me what I did to you?” his free hand dropping to his hunting knife as if he might actually do it, “Would that make you feel better? For fuck’s sake, I’m trying here, okay? If it was anyone else…” he wouldn’t bother. But now Yaron’s starting to close in on him, likely to try and get a better earful and so his words stall and then fall away as does his hand if he’d managed to grab a hold of her. Lifting both hands up slightly in sign of defeat, he takes a step backward expression turned discouraged before he nods a sharp dip of head to keeping her up to date with things.

With Jaya's arm caught, the dark-haired woman has no choice but to stop and look at him. Ignoring the stares of their companions, she merely narrows her eyes at Max's words and remains silent through them. It's only when he's finished, on the words 'for fuck's sake' that she speaks low and heatedly: "Can't figure it out? I want you." She lets two heartbeats go by before she raises her hand to stave off any words from him on that front. "If not for her," for Ahnika, "I wouldn't control myself so, but I do. I actually like her," she gives on the redhead grudgingly. "So…don't fuck up with her, okay? And as for me….I'll get over it. In time." His last draws brows together, her gaze roaming over him as she asks quietly, "If I was anyone else? Why -do- you bother?" No mockery here as she seems to pick up his trailing thought, her confusion with him showing in those words. "I'm certain you didn't come around as often with the ones before me. Unless you're trying to get cheap drinks from me." It's a joke that will likely fall flat, given the situation.

Usually one able to read the subtle hints, this is one that had obviously completely escaped the man’s notice and leaves Max staring dumbstruck at Jaya for a moment or two, trying to process the information. Eventually he starts to shake his head as if he could change the whole situation with that simple act. Still no words come as he shoots the encroaching Yaron a warning look to back the hell away. “Jaya, I…” starting, stopping and then trying again as his voice turns down softer, “I never meant for you…” To what? Fall for him? Get hurt? “Shit,” flatly intoned as a hand lifts to pinch thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose. Not willing to broach the hazardous territory of what she might have done if not for Ahnika, a soft snort, barely there, drifts out for warnings over hurting the redhead. “Give me some credit,” he’s finally able to give in response to that and then is frowning as he meets her gaze, “Because I like you. Because I think that despite this,” a hand drifting between the two of them, “having started out as one big cock up,” excuse the pun, “we’re alike in a lot of ways and you look like you could use a friend.” Harping on that old song again. He doesn’t however comment on which women he might still maintain contact with and which not, simply sending an edge of a dry smile as response. Except to state quietly in reply to something said earlier, “You need time. I get it. You come see me when you feel you can stand my ugly mug around again.”

With Suli creeping forward as well, Jaya shoots a glance that stops the older woman in her tracks. "What's done is done," she says coolly on what was meant and not meant to happen, the dark-haired woman bringing herself up with her pride in place. "I have no regrets, despite what I've said. I'll likely not say this again, either." As for the old friend dance, the bar owner merely raises a brow to that, perhaps finding it best not to comment. "I wouldn't have said I wanted you if I thought you were ugly," she drawls dryly on the last after a long pause, regarding Max steadily before snorting. "I'm fine, and the only reason I would ever drop by your stables is to take something - as you so accused me of, long ago." She's kidding, right? Her gambler's face is in place to tell. The bar owner does tend to have a strange sense of humor -where one couldn't tell whether anything said was either a joke or a tease or just pure mockery.

A crooked quarter smile appears fleetingly and then Max’s expression schools back into a guarded line leaving talk of regrets behind in favour of quipping with vague sardonic tease, “Aye, which would be why you tried to re-arrange my face, eh?” A short half laugh greets Jaya’s next, his thumb drawing to his lip in amusement despite the currently awkward and strained situation, “Next time I leave you to Waine,” the big rock outhouse lump known to lurk about the stables, “might even lay marks on you beating his ass down.” With the last of his newly acquired duties beckoning to him to make his departure, the beast manager would by nature gather the woman toward him for a brief hug but given the recent revelation he isn’t about to make matters any worse. Instead he takes a step sideways toward the door a regretful cast to eyes and smile, “Later Jaya.” That shift causes Yaron to come lumbering forward, a brief glance going to Suli and then down onto the bar owner, “Ma’am,” his head dipping with what politeness the man has to his name and then his frame is filling the doorway as he crosses it to leave.

"I can rearrange it again," Jaya says with enough quiet confidence on the first bit, her smile fleeting at best. The mention of one of the thugs gets a roll of shoulders, not easily intimidated. "Knocked down worse," is her bravado speaking before the bar owner is stepping away from him. In the silence that follows as Max prepares his departure, there's hesitation before the woman gives him a firm nod, then it gets repeated with a lift of her chin to Yaron. "Later Max," she says then once her gaze returns to him, Suli now flanking her at Yaron's farewell with a grave nod of her own. It's only then that the bar owner and barmaid turn as one back towards the counter, the towering woman already laying claim to Jaya's ear with undecipherable words.

Madonna - Sorry

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