Author Topic: The Kindred Who Brunch  (Read 4380 times)

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Offline Black Philip

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The Kindred Who Brunch
« on: August 10, 2019, 02:59:27 AM »
Jake had texted Kerr - to hell what Ben thought - and asked him to meet for Echelon's new midnight brunch. Not surprisingly, Kindred loved to mock human activities by making nighttime versions of their own, and since brunch was most often done at noon, it made since to begin a vampire version at midnight. Of course, to the humans in attendance it was just a fun nighttime brunch, an excuse to eat overpriced eggs to feel better about the twelve mimosas they'd downed. It wasn't alcoholism if it was brunch.

Jake arrived ahead of the meeting, taking some time to get familiar with the restaurant. He'd been here before, but a long time ago, before the fall of the Oligarchy. It had only been open a few weeks at the time. Jake heard they'd closed down for a few months, but either he'd heard wrong or they'd really rebounded because business looked booming. A waiter, with an over the top French accent, led him to a private table near the back, the view of downtown breathtaking - for those who breathed anyway. 

Jake listened to a big band play some swinging jazz, and he fondly thought about the jazz clubs from New York in the 20's. He texted Kerr to let him know he'd arrived, and that the table was under McCloud. He then put his phone away, and watched the couples dance on the small dance floor. He would have to bring Murphy here. He realized that he still didn't know what kind of music the young vampire liked, but made a note to ask him. The waiter asked Jake for an order, but he declined, stating that he would wait for his guest to arrive.

He was nervous to see Kerr. It would be the first time without Ben since the other's return from the grave. While Jake was curious about that period, he was afraid that it was a touchy subject. He was also afraid Ben had warped Kerr's mind into thinking he was a terrible person, somehow responsible for his rape, and an enemy of the people. He hoped that wasn't true. As much as Jake hated to admit it, he still wanted Kerr to like him. They'd been friends once. It had ended unexplored, but there was something there. Jake had business to discuss, but this invitation might've come eventually even if he didn't. A small, black portfolio rested on the table, and Jake drummed his fingers on it anxiously while he waited for Kerr's arrival. There was no smoking here, and so Jake couldn't distract himself the way he normally would. He'd worn a grey suit with silver pinstripes, a white dress shirt and black skinny tie. The blood ring was on his right index finger. He looked smart, but not like the Black Prince. He was just Jake. He wondered if he'd be seeing Ex-Luminary Galvin, or if he'd get lucky, and Kerr would show. 
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2019, 03:32:54 AM »
Kerr was in the lift when he got Jake's arrival text. His iWatch buzzed and he pushed his wrist out of the sleeve of his black leather jacket to read the message, frowning in annoyance when he read it. He didn't bother to reply that he'd be there imminently.

He hated that old adage that on time was late, but it seemed like every time he came to this place lately, he was the last to arrive! He nibbled on his tongue stud and glared at the digital display showing the lift's (slow) progress to get the ire out of his system. It wouldn't do to head into this meeting with any visible chinks in his armour. Not when he had no idea what had prompted the invitation from Jake in the first place and Ben had been in his ear with that many conspiracy theories he'd had to stop talking to him about it.

It was best to just see what happened, he'd decided, though his calm demeanour had momentarily escaped him when it was time to get ready. Black tie? Formal? Casual? He'd decided on a pair of dark blue jeans, black dress shoes and a maroon business shirt - no tie, top three buttons undone - beneath his leather jacket. It was supposedly a brunch, after all, and smart casual was surely all that was required for such festivities? He'd almost asked Ben's opinion but had resisted, with the pointed looks he was getting.

Once inside, he was shown to Jake's table, his heart sinking when he saw his companion in a suit. Ah well. He fixed his face into something that should look pleasant enough as he approached, intending to sit without any fuss. They were well acquainted enough that they didn't need to shake hands, surely? "Jake," he said by way of a greeting, trying not to come off as too gruff.

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2019, 03:50:29 AM »
Jake continued to sit, his hands folded neatly in his lap, as Kerr approached. He liked the outfit he wore, and Jake suddenly felt overdressed. As almost to remedy their different garbs, Jake stood to take off his suit jacket, and rolled up his sleeves, cuffing them at the elbow. His cuff links were placed on the table, a smart pair of sliver birds. He felt an air of distance between them, and their once familiar style of greeting was replaced by something more reserved. Jake smiled warmly though. At least he'd decided to show.

"Kerr," Jake said, mirroring the greeting he'd been given. He decided to share something more genuine, even though he doubted it would be returned. "It's good to see you."

It was good to see him, and especially with no Ben in tow. Jake felt like he might never see Kerr alone again, and had also half expected Ben to accompany him. Jake would've left if that was the case. He wouldn't share a meal with BEN, not even to see Kerr. 

"Thank you for accepting my invitation," he added, unsure if they should order, catch up or dive right in. He decided he'd let Kerr dictate what happened next. Jake was open to anything at this meeting.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2019, 04:21:57 AM »
Kerr gave Jake a careful smile, watching him fuss with his clothes. He sat down, pleased that Jake divesting himself of his jacket hadn't been a lead-in to physical contact. As Jake placed his cufflinks on the table, however, Kerr's gaze fell upon his hand and a ripple of shock travelled through him. He was aware that Jake spoke some platitudes but he didn't address them.

"Holy shit," he hissed, his wide-eyed gaze centred fiercely on Jake's. Instinctively, he was leaning forward, urgency in his tone and an inability to filter his true feelings surfacing in the form of swearing. "You're wearing that fucking thing?" he asked incredulously, gesturing at the ring on Jake's finger.

He pressed at Jake mentally, only to be blocked in a very familiar, truly unpleasant way. It reeked of motherfucking Lazarus and Kerr was incredulous. The last time they'd met, Jake had informed he and Ben that he'd cut Lazarus' hand off and had the ring. The book about it had been dropped to Sabrina's place, as promised. And Jake had said he wouldn't wear it; had fucking scoffed at the notion when Kerr had warned him to be careful with it.

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2019, 05:09:13 AM »
At first, Jake didn't know what Kerr's reaction was about, and he instinctively looked behind himself for danger. He realized he might've overreacted, but Jake was more paranoid these days. Between district leaders trying to remove him by popular vote, a challenge from within, and to say nothing of external foes, Jake rarely felt safe anymore. When he realized Kerr's reaction was to the ring, he relaxed slightly. Kerr hated Lazarus more than anyone, or so Jake guessed. His whole relationship, feelings, betrayal and subsequent struggle had all happened over a few months. Kerr and Lazarus had been locked in for years. He also remembered the last time they'd spoken about the ring, but things were different now. The ring vibrated, alerting him to mental communication that he guessed was Kerr's. He felt nothing of the other man.

"Sabrina assured me it's safe to use," Jake said calmly, refusing to match Kerr's incredulous feeling with more of the same. "We met about it a few weeks ago and I've been testing it since then. It was a big help in the district meeting the other day."

Jake didn't think there was really much to say about the ring. He wasn't trying to hide it, and Lazarus wasn't the ring itself. It had another master before him, it's maker. Lazarus had actually bastardized the ring when he killed the dragon. Jake had chosen mercy for Lazarus, and that was why he'd earned it's power. The ring wasn't evil. Lazarus was evil. The ring was a tool, and Jake was in desperate need of tools in order to survive.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2019, 05:27:03 AM »
Kerr’s lip curled with disdain. “Don’t you feel stifled with it, though? All blocked off like that?” Lazarus hadn’t missed out on anything when wearing it; he was telepathically ignorant. Jake wasn’t.

Admittedly, he was curious about how it felt but imagined it must feel like being smothered, rather than being ‘a big help’. “What did it do for you in the meeting?”

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2019, 05:39:01 AM »
Jake did feel a little stifled, but on the other hand, he didn't speak mostly through mental communication like a lot of vampires did. Besides, most of the time those he met were stronger than him mentally. He decided answering Kerr's questions, about a subject Jake felt was really none of his business, might help rebuild trust. Lazarus's soul hadn't taken over Jake's body the moment he put it on.

"Sometimes," he answered truthfully. "But all tools have drawbacks. Besides, I don't wear it all the time. To your other question, it kept my thoughts and feelings my own. I'm young, and while I've worked very hard on my mental powers, to Charon the door might as well be unlocked, and the others have their own ways of getting inside me. I'm a good little actor, and so if someone can't read my face, can't sense mental defenses, or read thoughts that might slip out than they can't predict what I'll do and say as easily. Also, it lets me know when others might be communicating mentally, which if my defenses were up I might miss. I caught what I either suspect was Zeus and Zoheret exchanging mental thoughts, or Ben and Charon. I couldn't be sure."

Jake's recent issues with Charon resurfaced, and for a moment he thought about asking Kerr for advice, but Kerr wouldn't likely give it. It would help Jake's position, and he clearly and understandably was team Ben. "I won't be using it to close myself off." Then he did something he hadn't intended to do all night. He took off the ring. There was a chain around his neck he pulled out, and he quickly undid the clasp and slid the ring onto it. He placed both chain and ring beneath his shirt. "Is that better?"
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2019, 06:14:59 AM »
Kerr's expression settled into one of tentative curiosity as Jake explained himself. He was still tense, wondering what the subject of their meeting actually was (that black folder was interesting but the ring had stolen his attention first) but, as Jake opened up to him, he felt the tension leaking out of his shoulders. He appreciated Jake's honesty and recognised a kindred spirit; he and Jake always had had a similar sense of blunt transparency (not that he'd dare compare himself to Jake in Ben's presence) - within reason.

The mention of Charon and Ben in the meeting had Kerr stiffening up again, as he was well aware of Charon's revised opinion of Jake after it, but it wasn't his place to say anything. He and Jake had also agreed to no election talk during this meeting and the topic was slightly heading in that direction... until Jake made a most surprising gesture by removing the ring altogether. Kerr blinked and then smiled genuinely at him.

"Wow. I... it is, really. You feel less closed off to me. More approachable. Thank you. Il's a sign of trust and I appreciate that," he confessed. "Plus, if we need discretion for whatever it is we're here to discuss, we can now do it mentally, if necessary," he hinted, his gaze lowering automatically from Jake's face to the portfolio on the table. "Shall we order?" he enquired, picking up the menu that was the only feature on his side.

He realised the stress of this meeting must be stronger than he'd anticipated because he wasn't interested in any light, fancy little dessert meals this time. He wanted the largest drink of blood he could get his hands on.

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2019, 06:21:38 AM »
Jake had been ready for the gesture to mean nothing. He expected a criticism about using the ring at all, but instead Kerr was warm to him, and that made Jake feel more at ease without his defense. Something people didn't realize about the Anarch bastard, who talked a lot of shit, and backed a lot of it up. He was scared almost all the time, and even a business meeting had turned itself into a monster. He felt the fear dissipate, and it was just he and Kerr.

"Good," he said simply, smiling at Kerr appreciatively. "And, yes. I've never tried this place. Any recommendations?"

He intended to bring up his proposal after ordering, but was enjoying one more round of simple, pleasant conversation. He politely caught a waiting waiter's eye, and the man moved briskly towards the table.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2019, 06:55:15 AM »
Kerr chuckled automatically - not because Jake had said anything funny but because he was remembering his and Ben's dinner date with Vincent and Owen and the way his choice of main had caught Vincent'a attention.

"Well, if you're looking for something light and unique, I'd recommend the Blood Mousse but if your thirst is as substantial as mine, best to stick with one of the basic bloods. I'd recommend the Melange Acrobatique but I'm pretty sure it's a mix and I know what a purist you are," he smirked at Jake, recalling his insistence on the most elite of bloods whenever they'd supped together at the Oligarchy. It was odd, those memories linked with his teasing took him back to when their relationship had been a hell of a lot simpler and he acknowledged a sense of melancholy over it.

The waiter arrived and Jake took his advice, ordering a large glass of his favourite human blood type while Kerr amused himself by following in Vincent's wake and ordering what he'd had last time. It warmed him to think of sharing this little tidbit with his elder, perhaps he'd send him a text. Would he think that odd or would it make him smile also?

Their menus were taken along with their orders and Kerr shuffled around in his seat, feeling a little more comfortable with Jake now. He scratched his left ear and then leant forward with his forearms on the edge of the table, his hands clasped loosely before him. "So why am I really here?" he asked wryly, wondering if Jake would play coy or cut to the chase.

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2019, 10:05:47 AM »
Jake enjoyed Kerr's tease about his picky pallet. It was a clan thing, but Jake had given up on teaching the other vampires about that. He gave him a wry smirk and replied, "Yes, well we all have our guilty pleasures." He winked at him in that signature Jake way, a mix of sass and flirtatiousness. Kerr had seen it many times before, although most memorably the night Kerr had made Jake the first vampire Oligarch. He definitely wasn't hinting at what happened that night! Ben might murder Kerr if that happened. He chose AB- from a male donor, and was pleased to hear they had an age range for that type. Jake chose young twenties. He was nothing if not consistent in that way. With their orders placed, and Kerr fidgeting in his seat, Jake knew it was time. Luckily, Kerr agreed, and asked him to disclose the very thing he'd wished.

"Lovebite," Jake said, sliding over the portfolio. "I want to invest and help you expand, both your member base, and the number of safe locations for people to meet."

Inside the portfolio were a few items. There was the White Rabbit's attendance logs for all their major parties, email list subscribers, and profit margins for the last three quarters. It told the story of a bar doing very well, their new programming list bringing in new people, as well as pleasing their regulars. They were the largest vampire bar in the Central District, and the closest to the Academy Central. Additionally were other proposed locations for safe zones. The theater in the west, a kitchy wine bar in the North-West and Club Zero in the North were on the top of the list. Finally, their were numbers, lots of proposed figures for investment and return.

"I love the app. I think it's very smart, and I've been given the advice that I should expand my business profile to supernatural causes. I offer you a ton of members, who could sign up at the bar, in exchange for letting us promote it as a partner. The bar is partnering, not the Central district, and would be managed by my fledge Sam. The investment money is for you to improve the app, and potentially open it up to other forms of supernatural matchmaking, and expand the number of safe sites."

"I want a dedicated safe zone in every district, and I want the White Rabbit to be the largest in Central. Soooo, are you interested?"

Jake had given a large overview, and tried to address the more obvious questions Kerr might have, but would also let him look over any of the documents he'd included. He was nervous that Kerr wouldn't want to work with him for fear of upsetting Ben, but the younger had been more than happy to take Jake's money when convenient. The district leader was hoping Kerr was as opportunistic as his progeny.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2019, 04:03:47 PM »
Kerr looked through the portfolio, listening to Jake's proposal so earnestly that a line of concentration appeared between his eyebrows. The proposal itself was surprising but complimentary. The app was a good idea but still only in its early phase, within a relatively controlled environment, so as to iron out any potential problems or hazards before it went too wide.

The thing was, although Jake's calculations were highly promising, they didn't need investors or expansion proposals just yet. They were still keeping a leash on it. Once they were ready, Kerr was sure Lovebite would blow up and it was nice to see that Jake agreed with him and wanted to get in early. He was flattered. There was just one, big problem.

"Uh... the proposal sounds good but... it's not my company. It's Ben's. I can't make decisions like this on his behalf," he explained apologetically, closing the portfolio and folding his hands upon it. "The app's his intellectual property and he's the CEO of the company. We did that on purpose because we realised, when I came back, that he'd inherited my business portfolio and assets but he had nothing with the potential for growth in his name. So, uh... I can take it to him, if you like?" he offered weakly.

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2019, 04:20:10 PM »
Jake had felt pretty strong about his proposal, and had heard that Kerr was running the company while Ben ran for election. He'd heard wrong. Ben was not the person Jake wanted to do business with. It was too complicated, especially in the midst of the election. The whole thing had hinged on Ben letting Kerr be in charge. Jake couldn't hide a look of disappointment, but followed it up with a polite smile. They were having a nice time so far, and Jake didn't want to spoil it just so he could get his way; he wouldn't anyway.

"No problem. Pass it along if you feel he'd be open to it," he said with a stiffer tone than moments before. "I imagine Ben won't want me as a business partner though, if I'm being honest."

He didn't really know what else to say. It had been kind of a hard no. At least as far as business was concerned, the meeting was a wrap. Jake considered trying to press Kerr harder, but there was no point. He'd been very direct. Jake took back his portfolio and was mildly embarrassed as he did. 
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2019, 04:51:54 PM »
Kerr allowed the portfolio to travel back to Jake, appreciating the metaphor; it was literally out of his hands. In a way, he was glad, because he didn't need another bone of contention between Jake and Ben - especially one where he'd potentially be in the middle of it. He was the general manager of Lovebite, the hands-on guy, so to speak, but they'd specifically set it up to be Ben's achievement.

"Yeah," he winced, following it up with a wry laugh. "I'd have to agree with you on that. We have plans for expansion but hadn't considered the White Rabbit as having such lucrative potential, both people and money-wise. That might be something he's interested in," Kerr shrugged, knowing it wasn't much of a consolation but it was all he had.

The likelihood of Ben doing anything but laughing himself senseless over this proposal was pretty low, in all honesty. All Kerr had for Jake were crumbs but no real hope. They really didn't need investors with all of Kerr's money and they were comfortable with Luminescent being the base of operations for the time being. Expansion would come when they were ready.

Kerr was reminded of the fight he and Ben had had after the last time he'd seen Jake, at the Luminary. Ben had been paranoid that Jake couldn't be trusted with the information about the app, that he'd try to steal their idea. Kerr saw now that Ben hadn't been completely off the mark. Jake's interest had been piqued, though Kerr had been right, too, in that Jake wasn't trying to acquire it dishonestly, but in the manner in which Kerr was used to dealing with him. Up front and without subtlety. At least he had some information about the White Rabbit that he hadn't had before.

He cleared his throat, looking for a subject change. "So... how did it go with you and Murphy?" he asked, trading his discomfort for Jake's, no doubt.

Offline Black Philip

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Re: The Kindred Who Brunch
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2019, 05:14:10 PM »
Jake sat with his hands folded, his face more masked and slightly less open. Of course they hadn't considered the White Rabbit. Of course they didn't think it would be profitable. They probably thought Jake was losing money over it. He could hear Ben's voice.

Jake and his mindless followers.

Kerr's subsequent statements also felt like he was being patronized, and while Jake didn't stop him mid sentence, he'd wanted to badly. He'd already been on edge, and then Kerr asked about Murphy. Now his shock showed, his mouth opening a bit and his eyes glassing over. He looked for the waiter. Where was the bloody blood?

"It was a bit of a shock," Jake replied, both to the question being asked, and his actual reaction to Murphy. "My first thought, I'm ashamed to say, was that I should've just killed Lazarus."

The storm cloud that constantly hung over Jake's head, looked like it was trying to make an entrance, but he quickly pushed all those feelings away. He decided that since he'd been asked a personal question he'd give a more personal answer. "I wanted to sire him someday, especially after Ben turned him away. Once that happened, I thought I would get to eventually. Now Lazarus is a permanent third wheel."

Jake ended with a joke, because if he didn't laugh right now, he'd likely shut down. "So you know, pretty typical of my dating life. Downtown Abbey has got nothing on me and Murph."
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras