Territorial, but in a different spot now

Okay, so Red Rock had not been her best idea, but out of their two options, it was the most familiar! But alas, shotgun-toting rednecks and literally nothing else were a bit of a deal breaker. Staking out a slice of city should have been the easiest part of this ordeal. What was even in Larkspur, other than the zoo? The university? Certainly nowhere they could conveniently shift—they'd have to cross the river and head north to find a safe spot, if they wanted to run.

But at least there were... things. Unlike Red Rock. "Sorry this has turned into an ordeal," Jo apologized as she slowed the car to a halt at a stoplight, just on the edge of Larkspur. She'd taken a few wrong turns to get there, but hopefully Alex hadn't noticed.

 She was relatively quiet through the car ride, pleased that the would-be King and current chauffeur had changed her mind. Still, she wasn't going to make her feel bad for sticking with the beaten dirt path. But this? This had to be a better fit for all involved parties in the long run. Alright there would be full moon travel plans and such but - whatever, she would eat the extra leg of her commute for some goddamn civilization.

 In the meantime, she bit the tip of her tongue whenever Jo took a wrong turn, remained patient and seemingly blissfully unaware. "Look, I'm out of the house - I had nothing planned today so ... let's do this shit." Sitting up a bit straighter once they were in Larkspur proper and staring out the window. "Any idea what we're looking for? Do we want like - somewhere that does ... what? The wolves have a brewery, Garrett says they kick it at a gallery ... I don't know what the fuck Levka is doing. A porta-potty, seems fitting." Add that to the ever growing list of commentary she would rather die than repeat to that particular man's face.

"No idea," Jo said with a small shrug. "First priority is something we can afford. But also I'm vetoing a gallery. That sounds hella pretentious." And also expensive. A brewery might not be bad, if only because they tended to be spacious, but also felt a little like copying the wolves. A bar? Something with a VIP section.

She drummed her fingers against the steering wheel, surveying the city out her window as they waited at another stoplight. "A brewery might not be bad," she added after a moment, thinking out loud and mostly for her own benefit. "If only because they tend to be spacious. But it also feels a little like copying the wolves, y'know? Either way, something with a section cordoned off, or that we can cordon off ourselves, if we're going for a public business front. Enough space to hide a couple shifted coyotes if shit happens."

 "Money isn't an issue." It was spoken quick, casual - she hesitated as she looked away from the businesses outside the window and back to Jo. "I mean, within reason ... I can't like, fund an amusement park or - like, keep this shit afloat is the business itself doesn't thrive." Soft spoken as she took in the requirements of this future home away from home. "I don't really think it matters if we copy them or not? What are they going to do, call us posers?" Deadpan as she slouched further down in her seat and pressed her knees to the glove box.

 "Well let's break this down here, ..." Rubbing at her temples and chewing on her lip as she looked over storefronts and mulled over what she could remember from previous Larkspur visits. "We could do a ... I don't friggin' know - something inconspicuous?" No shit, Sherlock. At this point she was mostly thinking out loud, seemingly oblivious to Jo's existence. "A music venue, somewhere with storage or a back area or - hell, even a grocery store has a backroom." Okay, oh shit wait. "Oh my god it'd be a band that owns a music venue."

 Focus. "I've shared my expertise, anything you're good at that can spin bullshit into gold?" That was a good starting point, right? Checking to see what they were knowledgeable in.

Money isn't an issue. Very little made Jo uncomfortable, but finances was at the top of that short list. Still, if Alex the underground crime lord wanted to bankroll this shindig, she wasn't about to complain and come out as a self-righteous ass, on top of broke as fuck.

"Let's be real, wolves are like, the cool skaters of the Were world. So they'd totally call us posers." Jo grinned, peering over at Alex to gauge her current state. Not wanting to cross the line into too silly, just straddle it and keep things light. This should be fun, right? And exciting. They were doing something pretty friggin cool!

"I can't claim any special talents," she confessed. "I'm good at punching things and herding cats -- or coyotes, so to speak." She'd graduated high school by the skin of her teeth, didn't even have any formal training in a trade, though she'd gotten pretty good at fixing her own cars out of necessity. "I used to help my last family balance their books, so I've got that going for me," she added brightly. Just a little hardware store, but it was something.

"I one hundred percent support playing up the band angle." What was the point of having a terrible group word if they didn't ham it up? "A nightclub or something?"

 Admittedly when she had made the suggestion off the cuff, she hadn't really thought - but actually .... "Holy shit Jo," She sat up a bit straighter, smiled a bit wider. "I'm a fucking genius." Perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but she felt a pat on the back was due. "Do you want to keep driving around or do you wanna walk it and see if we see anything promising?" Open minded and a bit less indifferent now that they at least had some loose idea of what they were looking for, even if it was far from set in stone.

 "Well, I've never run a street legal business but if I can help, I'm all yours." Watching people walk past with handfuls of books and backpacks and laptop cases. And then like intricately placed dominoes knocked over to form a picture, she reached over and excitedly slapped at Jo's arm. "Oh my god - it's a college area, right? A nightclub - let shitty local bands play for the time being ... you probably wouldn't run out of interest anytime soon with the right advertising. " For now she resisted the impulse to remind that she was, in fact, maybe, possibly, sort of a genius.

Jo laughed, thrilled by Alex's enthusiasm. It was a good idea. She reached over to give the woman a playful shove in the shoulder. "Good thinking, smart stuff. Let's find somewhere to park." She turned onto a side street lined with parked cars and carefully eased her truck into an open spot. She turned the truck off and hopped out, pausing to wait for Alex.

Jo didn't know jack about advertising, but that's what the internet was for, right? They'd figure it out. Hopefully Alex was right; a nightclub near a university should practically be self-sustaining in the short term, as long as they didn't throw their money away.

"We need a band name, too," Jo added when Alex joined her. "All the others have fancy names. Malachite Canyon and shit."

 As annoying as it was (even to her) she felt proud and pleased with herself when Jo gave her a proverbial pat on the back. Once they were out of the truck she stretched her arms above her head and huffed. Started out on a leisurely stroll along the sidewalk and mulled over their options.

 "What's your favorite color, Jo? If you say brown I'm going to have to shove you into the street." Because seriously, who the fuck liked brown? Taking shots in the dark about all of this, wondering how off the mark she was and if this was a set of circumstances that could work with a 'fake it til you make it' approach.

"I don't really have one," Jo answered, brow furrowed as she considered the question, maybe a little too seriously. "Red, I guess? Are we gonna get shunned if we break the color-noun naming convention?" Her previous bands hadn't been named like that... although one hadn't really been named at all.

"What about Green Day?" she suggested soberly, but she could only restrain her grin for a moment.

She surveyed the buildings around them. Not a bad area. Lots of foot traffic, with the college nearby. They passed a couple pubs, including some kind of hipster book store coffee shop bar. They'd have some competition in the area, but if they played their cards right...

 "That's all you, depends how far off the path you wanna go. " Personally, it seemed beneficial to blend in with the locals. But, you know - not her circus, not her monkeys or her coyotes. "If you think I'm wearing a Green Day shirt I have some prime real estate on my ass. You can watch it as I walk away. " Empty threats came easier now, far more comfortable now that she could say she had at least suggest something, done something, of even marginal use.

 "I like black and purple, by the way. " Relicing how juvenile it was only when it was too late and she'd already committed. Oh well, there were worse things. "If we're feeling especially pretentious, poetry nights? " Probably a weekday, less traffic and more specialized. "Somewhere like that? " She nodded to a break building, two story and seemingly identical to the two businesses it was sandwiched between. "Or were you thinking free standing? "

"What, not a Green Day fan?" Jo teased, then flashed a grin and side-eyed Alex as she added, "I am in the market for real estate." .

Black and purple. She wracked her brain for fancy color words, none of which she found particularly appealing. "Onyx, obsidian, amethyst—god, these are all so pretentious—uhhh, slate? That's more gray than black." What noun were they even supposed to use? Larkspur had neither vales nor canyons or any bit of wilderness in general.

Jo shrugged at Alex's suggestion. "Can't say poetry is quite my speed, but it'd go over well with the college crowd, so I'm game." Whatever paid the bills, right? She eyed the indicated building uncertainly and confessed after a moment, "I have no idea. This is so far out of my realm of expertise. But I'm not particularly committed to free standing. Something like that looks good to me." How did this even work? Did they need to hire a real estate agent? And an inspector?

She scoffed, shaking her head adamantly and moving a bit closer to take a photo of the for sale sign and send the information to Jo. "Not a Green Day fan, I'm afraid." Hopefully that wasn't some weirdly specific bit of criteria for her blooming friendships. At any rate she kept quiet, considered the other potential parties of this ragtag bunch and wondered what colors each of them might suggest in turn.

 "What about like - teal or some shit? Turquoise or ..." Pleased with even the idea of one small potential home away from home on the horizon. "Of course I understand we gotta strike while the iron is hot or whatever, but there's no need to rush to the first opening we see ... I guess. "

"Might as well pose the question to the rest of these furry trainwrecks," Jo mused. "See what ostentatious names everyone can come up with." She'd make a group text later, pick Kai and Lia's brains. Cobalt, maybe? Or cerulean. But what kinda noun would even fit with cerulean? They weren't were-otters, to name themselves after a lake or something. And there wasn't even a lake in Larkspur, she was pretty sure.

She followed Alex to the for sale sign and scrutinized it for a long moment. "We can keep it in mind," she agreed. "We have to make an appointment to take a peek inside anyway, so might as well take down a couple other options in the meantime."

She turned to continue down the street, pausing to make sure Alex joined her. "You, uh—I know you said money isn't an issue, but... we should probably talk about that. Hammer out the details?" And figure out what Alex wanted in return. And how all of this would look on paper—who owned what and such.

 "Yeah I don't want them to think I'm like ..." She grimaced, raised her hands as if to show she was not armed and far from dangerous. There was a fine line between helping and trying to sway the course, and while she was vocal - it was whatever, dude. Noticing the use of the word we as opposed to I, she opted to say nothing of it and nodded along as she followed just behind along the sidewalk.

 "Right, talk shop." Her smile fell a bit, her posture straightened - a knee-jerk reaction to the word money. It would be a lie to say she hadn't thought about this, still ... "I want forty percent until my investment is paid off in full, and then I'll go down to zero. I don't want to own the damn thing, I don't want to control what you do with it." One business was enough, thank you all the same. "As for like, what you could do or - I don't know. Having a fancy title and shit is nice but I don't want to blunder this with hubris."

Alex's terms weren't what Jo had expected. They were fair, even. She bit the inside of her cheek in thought, wondering what the catch would be. There was always a catch.

"Okay," she agreed finally. Not like she had a lot of options; but either way, a fancy title was the least that Alex deserved for bankrolling this venture. "Are you gunning for just a fancy title? Or the assumption of responsibility -- and power, realistically -- along with it? Setting aside hubris for the moment."

 "Of course I don't expect you to operate on a pinky promise alone - we can get all this drafted." She waved off any concern as best she could, disinterested in pissing off Jo. One, she could kick her ass - two, this woman had to have a saint's patience to sign up for this impending shit show.

 But then they got into the part of all of this that made her a little uncomfortable and she found herself rolling her shoulders and clearing her throat. "I'm gunning for like ... I don't know. I guess responsibility - I don't want to just blend in with the tapestry, I wanna do something." Sure being a benefactor was, technically, doing something. But that was tap on her phone app and not much else. "Don't say anything if you're uncomfortable, Jo. It's not relevant to the deal. not really. I'm just saying I want to do more then just show up to band practice. But if that's all your comfortable having me do for now, then that's what I'll do."

Jo smiled easily with a half shake of her head. "I never do. You're fine, man. I like that you're interested." It was admirable, even, and it'd make her job a hell of a lot easier if everyone showed a little initiative.

"What kinda responsibility? Watch out for the newbies, or beat up people who fuck with us, or protect my sorry ass? Or whatever else there is." She didn't bring up serving as Second. That was a step too far, and a rank she wasn't even sure she wanted filled.

 "Uh, I don't wanna be in the babysitter's club." Full stop - hard punctuation on that one. Know your audience, and she knew that she wasn't exactly the sort who evoked a warm and welcomed feeling for most. "I've never had to beat anyone up with like ... my fists or -" She had imagined beating people into a pulp in the past, received the same results (to them, at least). But as for the actual follow through ...

 "Isn't there a place where people go to kick the shit outta each other in Cedar Creek?" Boom, light bulb. She elbowed Jo in the side and brightened up a bit, despite how nervous the idea made her. "As long as you promise not to murder me, we should go sometime and see if that's a logical thing for my ass to do or not." In any capacity, really - general or specialized to your majesty.

She returned Alex's elbow, grinning maybe a little too cheerfully. But the idea thrilled her, particularly the implication that Alex trusted her enough to spar. (Which obviously required more trust than, y'know, agreeing to start a band and fund it all. Right?)

"There's the Cage, a bar-cum-boxing ring. But it might be better to start small, where we won't have an audience. And I definitely promise not to murder you." She paused before adding, "How about Friday? At the gym in Cedar Creek?"

 "I'll have to get back to you on that one. It depends on if I have any drops that day or not - but ..." The idea made her coyote shuffle about excitedly, the promise of something more than just a run and an easy hunt. "Yeah, I'd like that. Who knows, maybe I'll win." Smirking and keeping her head held high, though admittedly ... she had her doubts about that much.

Jo all but guffawede'll see about that."[/b] She gestured vaguely with her hand as she suddenly stopped, pivoting on her heel. "C'mon, let's get out of here. I'll do some googling and set up a couple appointments."

Appointments. How had she suddenly wound up as a potential small business owner? She was so not prepared for that, much less cut out for it. But it was apparently happening.

 She froze mid-step, stunned by the sudden change of heart as she glanced over Jo's shoulder to make certain there was no threat bounding her way. It was all the same to her - between the drive to Red Rock and then the scouting so far in Larkspur, she could use a burger. And a nap ... definitely an afternoon nap.

 "Appointments" She held up her pinky as she said it, teasing the no-fuss coyote in front of her about the promise of talking real estate with some agent or another. Still, she would be a damn liar if she didn't admit it ... this was all rather exciting. "I'm about to gnaw off my own arm - let's roll." Not a landslide success, but there were a couple boxes at least close to being ticked off.

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