Dogs on the Loose, Snakes in the Desert

The Raven's Nest 
#1


 If discretion was the name of the game, she didn't have a sign stapled onto her forehead but she was falling just short of the mark as she ordered herself two entree's and an appetizer. Every single item marked with that ever promising chili pepper next to the name - a good sign of things to come more often then not. The news played on screen's overhead and she glanced up from time to time to assess the loop of footage - jaguar loose in Larkspur. Stupid.

 A part of her wondered if it was Paloma, or perhaps that entitled little shit that she remembered in tiny fragments. She was leaning towards the brat from Red Rock based on principle alone. Still - she wasn't touching that with a ten foot pole. Instead she ordered another beer, mumbled a thank you when it was set down in front of her and drifted her attention to a back door near her left.

 She had been watching it on and off for the better part of twenty minutes, making note of how people muttered to the man standing alongside it and then disappeared. Drug hub was the first bet, but none of the people she'd seen enter had left. Bizarre spot for a brothel. Mob dealings, gambling? Shots taken at the hip in between forkfuls of noodles.

 Once in a blue moon she'd make eye contact with the presumed bouncer, kept her face hard as he stared in a way that felt like a challenge. She knew better than to drag her ass off the stool to even try it. Instead she stared, unabashed as she leaned a bit to the side and sniffed as the spice had her nose threatening to run if she took too many bites too quickly. "Any idea what's up with that?"
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#2
It was probably not the smartest idea for a former alcoholic to visit a bar in a time of stress. But nowadays it was exceedingly hard for Cliff to achieve anything past buzzed. Plus, he had a good hold on himself now that he wasn’t twenty something and reeling from the death of his father.

Still, he kept in mind to take it slow. It was pretty easy when he was distracted by the news broadcast of a group of people corralling a gigantic jaguar into a car. Cliff recognized Abraham, but not the two women. Seeing as he only knew of two jaguars, he was willing to place his bet that the beast they were tackling was Asha. Annnnnd that the women were definitely Weres. No human had the balls to do that.

Cliff rocked the bottle before him with one finger hooked on the rim, really not paying too much attention to his surroundings. Other than the sense that there was something else here that was specifically feline, he hardly noticed the woman sitting on the stool two over from his.

So when she leaned in to strike up conversation, Cliff nearly tipped the bottle right over as he straighten up. Were reflexes spared him disaster and embarrassment. He blinked as he looked up and over at the woman, his brow furrowing some as he took that awkward pause that was necessary to determine if she was talking to him or someone behind him.

“Uh,” His eyes flicked up to the TV... maybe she was talking about that? It didn’t occur to him that she was the source of the cat just yet, “Crazy stuff...” Sorry, lady, he wasn’t really in the mood for idle conversations about current events...
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#3
Crazy stuff.

 She was pretty sure that had to be the most glib brush-off anyone had given her in a while, enough so that her wrinkled her nose and narrowed her eyes as she turned to lean back and assess who had said it. A guy - looked like he cut down tree's for a living, had a scent of animal on him - something that felt big, not wanting to root too far into the metaphysical and risk an eerie gleam to her eyes.

 It was as the news cut to a commercial and there were drums coming from the television overhead that she first realized that perhaps he was mistaken as to her hang-up. "Nah man, not that shit - I know about that shit." A sentiment that she hoped he could read between the lines on, realize that it was a club she was also a member of, even if she belonged to a different sector.

 She dipped her voice low, tapped the prongs of her fork against the side of her plate and nodded her head a bit more pointedly in the direction of the door. "I mean that, watch -" She took another bite, chewed ad swallowed before clarifying. "People keep disappearin' back there."
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#4
Uh. Oh. Not the news... she knew about that. It wasn't hard to catch her drift, and the cogs started turning pretty quickly. She was the cat smell. Okay, got it. And she wasn't really concerned about the news. Instead, her focus was on something going on in the back. Cliff's brow furrowed some and he looked discreetly enough over to where she was gesturing. It was a few moments of keeping an eye on the people gathered in the shadows before he saw whom he assumed was a bouncer nod and step aside to let some shady looking couple down some hallway.

"Huh," He mused, actually a little intrigued. Maybe a little relieved that there was something for him to focus on and distract from the pressure on his chest. "Maybe its some kinda... I dunno, brothel." Suddenly, it didn't feel worth it to stick around and pay ten bucks for a fucking beer. Not if people were fucking in the same building. He shifted some in his seat.
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#5
 "See," She lifted a single finger, motioned for him to give her a minute as she took another bite, not wanting to be kept away from her meal for too long. "I thought about that - but if it's a fuckin' brothel then this is one hell of a cover business." The idea felt risky, a whole lot of in-and-out foot traffic when a warehouse or a home would probably serve such a business model better. Just her two cents.

 "I'm thinkin' drugs or maybe gambling." Again, if it weren't for the limited space and the front of house the list could have went on - a fight club, something awful and shitty like a dog fighting ring, even. "You should ask 'im." He probably wasn't that stupid - but, you never knew.
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#6
This chick was... super Scottish. It was almost amusing to hear her talk. What she said wasn’t actually bad logic, either. Unless it was some high class whores... nah, he couldn’t even see that as a rationalization for something so nice.

Gambling or drugs. Probably both. He snorted at her suggestion.

“Ladies first,” He huffed with a growing smirk. His eyes flickered back to the bouncer, then to her again.
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#7
 "There's the fuckin' catch, not much of a lady." An easy dismissal of the idea as she swung her legs and looked away from the door as the bouncer took a glance about the greater front of house. It was then it struck her that perhaps it could be taken in a different way - as unintentional as it might have been - enough that she grunted at herself and picked her fork back up.

 There was a pause, just enough to reassess and formulate a new plain before soldiering on. "I take it you're not from around here neither?" Shot in the dark, but it seemed like he might be able to glean a bit more understanding of the establishment if it was commonplace for him.
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#8
Wasn't... much of a lady. Cliff was all about people doing how they did, but he really wasn't super conscious of being overly PC. So it didn't exactly cross his mind that maybe the chick was... maybe she had a dick. But then she probably would have... wait, None of that made sense. Maybe she just meant she wasn't super lady like. Which he could sort of agree on, if he cared about that type of thing.

Her assumption was pretty spot on.

"Nah, just moved down from North Glenn. Lived more south before that." But he wasn't going to give her a history of his life. "Are you, uh, scottish, or?" She seemed like the type of chick who'd bust his balls if he was wrong, so he hoped his vague familiarity with European accents didn't betray him.
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#9
 For all of thirty seconds she had thought to recoil, to scoff and act appalled and make a grand time of it. Maybe she'd say she was Irish - perhaps she'd claim something out of left field, 'I'm from Wales you dick'. Better yet - New Jersey. But all of it felt like a lot of work when she still had roughly a quarter of her dinner left.

 "Yep - Glasgow." She took another bite, thought about North Glenn and grunted as she waited until she was done to speak up again. "I stayed up there for a bit when I first got 'round here." A particularly shitty motel she wasn't too interested in revisiting in any sense. "It's very ... green."
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#10
Cliff was only mildly surprised he'd been right. More surprised to hear the chick had stayed up in the Glenn for a bit. His brows raised some, and he offered a sort of bemused smile at her observation. A wry chuckle escaped his lips, and he said it sorta before he realized. "Yeah, and run by a fucking asshat." Ooops. Was that harsh? Childish? Maxine would be frowning at him if she were here. Maybe even scolding him. OOPS.
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#11
 The truth of the matter was that she had a lot of intel due to her relationship with a certain leopard King. So while she knew nothing about the King (it was a King - she could have sworn Oliver relayed as much) in any personal sense, she knew it was bear country. Just like how she knew about the cheetahs, hyenas, wolves, coyotes, and whatever else was crawling around the greater area. But for the sake of a good bit of gossip, she grunted, turned her face towards him and arched a brow expectantly.

 "You can't say shit like that and then just leave me hangin', that's cruel." Waving her fork a bit for emphasis to hopefully encourage him to elaborate further.
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#12
Regret. Regret. He wasn't some gossiping teenaged girl. Especially not with some random leopardcheetahlionjaguartiger chick at a bar. Cliff inhaled some as he straightened up in his seat, his jaw setting some. She prompted him for elaboration, but he returned only a crooked smile and a shake of his head as his gaze flickered back to the shady business in the back. Another couple slipped into the door, ushered by that same burly bouncer. With a quirk of his brow, Cliff waved over the bartender. On a scale of one to stupid, this was pretty stupid. But he needed a distraction.

The bartender; some skinny guy with a mop of black hair; approached and leaned in to hear over the din of the restaurant. "We missing the real party?" He gestured discreetly toward the back, a knowing look on his face. Totally bullshitting, but. "Not that this isn't fun and all." A nod to the sparsely populated bar. The bartended scruitnized him for a moment, his green eyes flickering from Cliff to Sinead then back again.

"I'll gamble that you'd both have a great time."

He really stressed the word gamble.

Hm.
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#13
 Boo, that was unfortunate - it was more or less apparent all at once that the bear was not going to divulge anymore than he already had. A bit of a tease and then that was that, just a glimpse and the curtain fell back into place. She knew better than to push a stranger, deciding instead to let it slide. When he took it upon himself to ask the bartender, it felt like a surprise - enough so that she didn't bother to mask it, setting her fork down and leaning in a bit when the man at the other side of the counter spoke.

 Easily, her hand connected with the hardwood as she pushed her plate back and had a knee-jerk impulse to celebrate the emphasis of the bartender's words. "Under the table gambling - called that shit." More like theorized about it, but potato / tomato or what have you.

 "Learn something new every day, yeah?" She moved then, tilted to one side to pull her wallet from her back pocket and root through for a handful of relatively crisp bills which she set down alongside her plate. "You the gamblin' sort?"
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#14
Cliff regarded her mini celebration with a bemused smirk. The bartender let out some sort of strange noise that was something like a "shush" but trying to disguise itself as a chuckle. Cliff shrugged his way apologetically, but ultimately focused on the woman as she pulled out money. A brow furrowed some as he looked over her shoulder at the bouncer, then back to her. Was he a gambling sort? No. Well, that was a lie. He used to be. Just something to do on the side and take his mind off of the shit he'd been going through at the time. But like binge drinking, that habit had died hard. He had a handle on himself now. No bad decisions, everything in moderation. So. This could be done in moderation, too, right?

He was buying an entire new house and also wasn't bringing in more money since he couldn't work without a shop, but... it wasn't like he would go crazy. Cliff was pretty sure Maxine was having some spidey-sense thing right now telling her he was making poor choices. But she wasn't his mom or his girlfriend so >:[

"When in Rome." Cliff said after a moment with a faint chuckle and a shrug.
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#15
 It seemed like there was some hesitation where the bear in the room was concerned, some uncertainty about the promise of trouble just a short walk and a door away. And while she wanted to accuse him of being a boy scout, she said nothing and waited with something loosely akin to patience. The response she got was good enough, making her drum her fingers on the counter as she slid off the stool and onto her feet.

"That's the spirit. -" Ahw cut off, realized at once that she had more or less no idea who she was speaking to, chuckled to herself and offered her hand. "Sinead, by the by."
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#16
sry i suk


Was he really doing this? He'd look like a pussy if he backed out now. So he slid from his seat with his beer in hand, but offered his free one to hers. "Cliff." Sounded super... American next to her's. But what if he was named something like... Graham or Angus or something. He wouldn't be able to even take himself seriously.

With that he headed toward the bouncer, who had a good foot on him but less in the muscle department. Not like Cliff couldn't throw him through a wall if he wanted to...
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