Lord, I was Born a Gamblin' Man

The Empire 
#1


 Except that Severin had never really gambled - not in a Casino, anyway.

 He wasn't even sure what the right thing was to wear to a place like the Empire. Maybe jeans wouldn't cut it for this place, he thought as he walked inside - there were people in suits and find dresses, but with a second glance, he would also see people in... Hawaiian shirts and flip flops. He figured he fell somewhere in the middle.

 The main floor seemed abuzz with the chatter of patrons and machines alike as he meandered along, all of it seeming to coalesce in a thick menagerie of sounds to his sensitive ears. Cards shuffling, bending, falling into place in dealers' hands. Slot machines clinking and making music. Laughter, oohs and awws of wins and losses.

 A crash was the newest and loudest sound to draw his attention - his eyes, along with several others in the room, drew to the scene of someone colliding with a waiter and sending a tray full of cocktails crashing to the well-manicured floor. Oops. Not sure of where he intended to spend his budget to begin with, Severin would approach the mess with a soft smile and an intent to helpful. "You two alright?" This as he glanced between the fallen waiter and the patron, wondering who had been the one to be so unfortunately clumsy.
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#2
Look, Cliff really didn't like to gamble. He used to. A lot. A lot. But those were The Dark Times, which he was sort of thankful he didn't remember most of, even if it was because most of that time he'd been high as a kite. Places like this, though, did remind him of some poorly advised evenings. But he was an adult, who could go and function normally like anyone else in a Casino. He'd come for many reasons, though none of them had much of a weight to them as just simply 'impulse.' Still, he gave himself reasons. Stress, and an urge to go somewhere that was so incredibly overstimulating that it was impossible to hear yourself think. Fun, because the games were pretty fun even if he wasn't too drunk to see straight. And, on more 'royal' business, a nosy look under the boulder that was The Empire, sat right in the heart of his home, checking out what kinds of bugs and grubs hung out in places like this. If there was anywhere in Red Rock he could guess a vampire might most want to go, it'd be somewhere like this. Packed full of people, dark and noisy and hard to keep track of anything around you.

Which was why he ran right the fuck into a waiter.

Really, honestly, he did not see them coming around a collection of slot machines. He'd been too busy looking up like a fucking idiot, looking at the ceiling as if he'd see a bunch of fucking bats hanging out ready to swoop in for a meal. "Shit. Sorry!" He'd say aptly, grimacing forcefully as he stepped back in reaction. There was, of course, the clatter of glasses smashing into the floor, sending sugary liqueurs all over the place. Which, in turn, sent the waiter falling as well. He tried to grab the poor kid, but it was too fucking late. They slammed onto their knees, and plunged their hand right into the mess of glass. There were gasps and whoops of drunken asshattery from onlookers, and Cliff frowned as he moved to help the waiter back up. About that time, someone swooped in, and he glanced up at the man as he hoisted the waiter up back to their feet, and even in his distracted state he could recognize that smell and signature. A jaguar. Not one he'd met before, though.

"Yeah, uh." He said, and looked to the waiter, whom clutched their hand to their chest, "Hey, go on and take care of that, I'll uh." He gestured to the floor, spotting the tray where it had skittered off, "I'll start cleaning this up." He looked to the man then, grimacing out a smile, "You mind helping?" The waiter lingered for only a moment, but you know he didn't blame them for hurrying off to dig glass out of their hand.
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#3
 Oh, blood. It made his cat get a little dumb and snarly in his head, giving him flashing thoughts of ripping the poor waiter's hand off. And eating it. Masticating delicate hand bones in his big teeth. He wouldn't even have to chew it very much to swallow it, but the crunch would feel good.

 Blergh. Severin was grimacing a little as well when the man - bear, maybe? - spoke to him. "Oh, yeah, sure," he said, warming up a little. "Uh." His eyes wandered, seeking a broom or something, and would spot one nearby, its red handle peeping out from between two coin machines. He'd move to grab it and return to help the matter of sweeping shards.

 He fumbled with the idea of asking this man what exactly he was. He could ask him if he shit in the woods! Because bears, right, but no. He decided that was stupid. And what if he wasn't a bear at all, then he'd look really stupid. Maybe easing into it was the better choice.

 "Are you from around here?" he attempted, friendly, as he drug the tinkling shards through the puddle of cocktails into the dustpan.
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#4
A broom was better than Cliff's method of grabbing the tray and gently plucking big pieces of glass from the mess, and placing them on the tray. He guessed both worked, the broom could get the smaller stuff. The jaguar was nice enough, probably not expecting to be roped into helping with a sudden clean up, but. Well, whatever. Cliff stood to look about the surrounding area, making sure there weren't stray shards laying around for some lady in her slippers to come along and slice her foot on.

At the question, he smiled, then looked to the jaguar. "Yeah, I live out here." He said with a nod. And, really, what was the point of being secretive. He wanted other Weres to know. "Me and a few friends of mine." He'd get the picture, if he wasn't brand new. "You... er, you from Crestview?" Touchy subject, and something pretty heavily coded. If the guy hadn't been running around with Abraham and Asha before the split, then he'd definitely not know what the fuck he meant.
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#5
 The man confirmed his status as a local - him and a few friends. Severin nodded slowly, without a smile, some attempt and showing he understood the shadow of the words. At least, he was pretty sure he did - mister maybe-bear and his buddies were probably the ones exuding the feeling of occupied turf. He was made more confident in his slow-going train of thought for the question turned back onto him

 "I was," he said, with a grim sort of smile, shaking sticky pieces of glass out of the bottom of the broom. "You know them?"
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#6
Was. Yeah. Yikes.

"Yeah." He said with a nod. "Pretty good friends, actually. Sort of drifted apart, before... yeah" Well, he knew. Asha didn't remember him, so he guessed he couldn't consider himself a friend of hers. She was still a friend of his, though, for what it was worth. Cliff spotted one stray chunk of glass, and moved to grab it to add to that pile. By that time, another employee was approaching and assuring them that he could take it from here, and thanking them for their help. Cliff was happy to let him do his job, backing off and rubbing his hands on his jeans in attempt to wipe away the stickiness.
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#7
 Another friend thrown into the abyss where Asha's mind was concerned. He frowned slightly, kept it aimed down at the end of the broom. There was some irony in the idea that this man had drifted from his relationship with Asha and Abraham, and now that drift seemed like it could be very well permanent. Severin wondered how much this bear man knew.

 "I'm Severin, by the way," he'd say as a way of introduction, once they'd been shooed away from the scene of spills. "I'd shake your hand, but uh." He chuckled a little, steering himself away from a constant source of indignation. "Maybe we should go wash up."
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#8
Severin. No hand shake, because cocktail sugar was another breed of sticky. Cliff chuckled, and raised his palms up with a nod, "Yeah, I'd prefer not to stick to a slot machine." That was, if he even committed to playing anything. "And, Cliff. Nice to meet you, Severin." Wow it sure did feel weird not doing a handshake. He'd start searching for the bathrooms.
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#9
 Severin chuckled for the remark, and would start to follow Cliff's lead in the search for the restrooms. It was a few long seconds before realization clicked in his little old cat brain. "Oh, you're - you run the sanctuary?" he asked, somewhat absently gesturing towards the restroom sign at the same time. He'd even pull the door open for the bear man.
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#10
Oh, what. Looked like Asha and Abraham had spread the word. That warmed him a bit. "Uh, yeah." He said with a somewhat sheepish smile, nodding to him in thanks as he stepped into the bathroom and toward the sinks. "Guess they told you about it?" It was a really good feeling, knowing that word got around.
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#11
 Severin would go to wash his hands as well, for good measure. You never knew what kind of germs lurked in a casino.

 "Yeah," he confessed as he lathered the suds around his fingers. "I've actually got plans to be there this coming, uh. Whatever day it is." Would he ever come to keep track of the dates of the moons? Who fucking knew. "With a buddy of mine, Frank." Maybe Cliff didn't know him and name dropping was useless.
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