So Not Charlie's

Five guys wearing navy blue t-shirts with "Crestview Fire Department" on it in white letters and jeans.
Rowan has "Fire Marshal" stamped on his.

Rowan was just finishing up his shift and him and a few guys were headed over to Charlie's to have a beer... as was custom. The place had been under some sort of renovation and the crew hadn't thought anything of it until they walked in the door. Gone were the creeky and very scratched up wooden floors. Gone were the questionable bartenders and servers. He didn't even smell the familiar stale beer and greasy meat scents he normally did.

He stopped in the door way, his coworker running into him from behind before clapping him on the shoulder. "Well, looks like Charlie's took a step in the right direction"[/q] Justin said as he walked around him to head toward the bar. Did it take a step in the right direction? His leopard grumbled at him to continue on, to [i]eat something as he was coming off a double shift. This was definitely something Milla would like. It was more her style. Perhaps... if she really did stay. She'd be able to find a job here.

His steps were slow, cautiously hesitant as he walked up to the bar, leaning forward to look for a menu. "Excuse me. Is there a menu for this place?" He asked the first person who looked like they might work there. Surely with the renovation that meant there were new owners... which meant a new menu. I mean, the place did feel like... territory. Like someone owned the area. It was still too new to tell. As if the magic hadn't quiet settled in yet.


A bunch of very attractive firemen tromped in, and Asha was behind the bar tending and she had to remind herself she wasn't available for dudes, Asha. Sob, but she would manage. Where was her prince (barf but like a proud loving barf), anyway? She might have been overworking him and he was probably due for a massage at some point. HmmMMmMM.

Anyway. She heard compliments. It filled her with pride, and as one very pretty dude approached, she realized she kind of recognized that particular cat smell. Leopard.

"Sure do," she smiled, and she offered him a freshly printed menu. She was pretty proud of it, having named all the drinks and everything. Even got her other job to let her rebrand the beers under their partnership. (They were very nice people.) "Have we met?" she asked while he perused, kind of leaning on the counter a bit.

The woman turned toward him and instantly she reminded him of someone he knew. Or thought he knew. You know, it seemed like a very long time ago. Back before he realized Milla was his mate, if she would have him, and that his temper needed an outlet that wasn't just food. He needed pain. Fists, Sex. Anything besides food and he had acted on it. He took the menu as it was offered to him, scanning it to see if there were any familiar entrees. "Thanks, darlin'," he said, his accent light.

Well... this was... different. He barely looked it over before Justin snatched it from his grasp, placing it on the table before the rest of the guys. Rowan looked up, blinking at the woman quickly looking her over. Still, there was recognition there. "I'm sorry, it's been a rough year. Maybe a name would help trigger my memory?" It had been a rough year. He spent half of it drunk and miserable, the other half working.

Darlin'. What a word. Asha would allow it from a pretty face. His friend stole the menu, so it was a good thing in a beer garden restaurant thing she had more than one. Asha chuckled and handed another to him.

"Asha," she answered regarding her name, grabbing some glasses in front of her and filling them up with ice water for him and his friends at the table. Her voice lowered for the next bit, even if she was speaking in code. "Got a cat too, but it's bigger than yours."

She set each glass on a tray, waiting until she had six to deliver them.

He smiled, nodding his head in thanks before looking over the menus again. Was that... sushi? He cleared his throat as he skipped over those particular appetizer names and went to the Build a Buger section. Asha. Asha. Asha?

He looked up at her. Ah. He met her when he ran into that bitch of a leopard Sinead right here in Charlie’s. Er, The Terrace. They were friends right? "Oh your friends of the Blacks right?" he asked, looking over the beer before sliding the menu back toward the opposite edge of the bar and folding his arms and leaning on the table. She didn’t seem like some man-hating bitch. She actually seemed... nice. He could recall her being pleasant then too.

He was looking over the menu, cool, but the question made her brow raise. And then— "Ohhhh right! Yes! I met you here! How've you been??"

That had been such a different time, her running off to do a shift at Shift. Which reminded her that there was someone she had to reach out to. God, Asha, aren't you popular now. Later. Also, wasn't there some weird tension between them? Hmm. Maybe she could get some deets on whatever had happened there.

Yeah. She seemed nice enough. Thankfully; she didn’t ask him about the Blacks because he would have no idea. Even during the short time he had been in the part, he hadn’t been too invovled. Last he heard, Oliver was out of town and he didn’t know about Sinead.

Rowan offered her a small smile, one of politeness than anything. Ever the guarded soul since Milla ripped out his heart and was just now proving it together again. "I’ve been good. What about yourself? Do you own this fancy joint now?" he asked, actually curious. Especially considering how the place felt like someone territory, however new it might be. He took a sip of his water, loving the crisp taste, but you know what else he loved? Beer and food.

Okay, no drama deets yet. That was okay. He was asking about her, and she liked being the focus of attention when it was a pretty person asking.

"Good! Real good. And yep," she tossed a wink. "Actually, I kinda own the entire surrounding area." Hello, coded info drop. "What about you, you live in the area?"

Clearly he worked in the area, unless he and his group just took a field trip out. Wouldn't that be something, Asha, to be such a big attraction. She looked to the other guys, but it didn't seem like they were ready to order yet.

Rowan blinked at her, his leopard curious and wanting to reach toward the metaphysical plane and check her out. She didn’t seem much stronger than him and yet she owned the place? He didn’t know much about group antics, only having been in one briefly. But weren’t Alphas... stronger?

"It would seem congratulations are in order, then. You’ve certainly fixed up the place," he admitted. It wasn’t Charlie’s, but that duty place wasn’t going to come back. Maybe it was for the best since her was a “recovering” alcoholic. "I live a couple of blacks away in the Lanoma suburb. But the crew and I work just down the street. So we’d be the ones who are called if this place went up in flames... not that it would," he added, clearing his throat as he looked to his friends who were all joking amongst each other.

Rowan kicked Justin’s stool lightly before speaking up, "Ya’ll ready to order?" he asked, quickly getting the okay to order from all of them. Even for humans they are a lot. "I’ll have a triple jalapeño cheese elk burger, rare if you can make it that way, smoked bacon, a side of fries and a black widow.... please." Holy shit ton of food. And honestly, that probably wouldn’t put a dent in his stomach. The rest of them were used to the amount of food he ate, chalking it up to always being busy and a hella good metabolism. He’d wait for the rest of them to order before continuing on with their conversation. It was the polite thing to do.

Heh. He was confused. She couldn't wait for the time to pass and her connection to the territory could really take root.

Asha offered a thanks at the congratulations, and then a nod to all the info.

"Nice. I'll try to make sure my place doesn't go up in smoke," she grinned. She listened to the orders then, jotting them all down and passing them to the kitchen for them to make it. Rare was definitely possible.

Meanwhile, she got them their beers, passing him his stout first. "So are you all on break or just coming off a shift?"

She meant work shift, but the other meaning of the word wasn't lost on her.

He smiled at her, tapping the smoother wood of the bar as he did so. "If it did, I think we got you covered, miss," he said. Ever the Southern gentleman. He was sure they would be able to put out a would be fire efficiently... even after a double shift.

He was thankful for the beer he got first, the guys going on about some winter stoem that was ravaging the Southern-Central part of the US and if it might affect flooding and good fishing spots. At least until Asha asked about them being on break. Justin looked Asha over, his brows raising suggestively.

"Depends on who you’re asking miss. Rowan here is afraid of the girl he finally got back so he practically lives at work and Seth just had a baby and gets more sleep at the office than at home. " Rowan stared at him, and then downed half his drink in just a few gulps, and then stared some more

"If you don’t behave, Justin, I’m going to be forced to shove a stick so far up your ask you’ll have splinters in your tongue," he nearly growled, his beast grumbling quietly in that metaphysical space. "Sorry about that. He doesn’t know when to shut the hell up. We are just getting off rotation. So how long have you been scouting this place out?"

Asha could more than handle a dude flirting with her. In fact, she was right about to run circles around him with a little cookie crumb trail of suggestivity that would ultimately blue ball him to outer space when the leopard cut in. Which was nice of him, but sadness. She wanted the kill. Anyway, she huffed and smiled with humor, pouring out some beer for herself.

"Oh, I'm fine with a bunch of talk. I don't bite often," she smiled and winked. Apparently the leopard had a girl, which meant flirting was allowed to be both no holds barred and definitely not going to lead anywhere, which was fine by Asha. "We were looking for a place somewhere in town for a while — but Crestview had sentimentality, I guess, so when we got down to it we managed this in... a little more than a month, maybe? It's a bit of a blur."

She thought that was coded enough conversation considering his human friends were like literally right there, but anyway.

"So do you still keep in touch with Oliver and Sinead?" she asked, wondering if it was some kind of delicate topic.

"Maybe we like a little biting..." Marco called out, someone else whistling loudly. "Yeah we do!" Rowan frowned, ready to smack them all into submission, but instead ilhe turned toward Asha and raised his beer in a salute before taking a drink. If she wanted to put them in place, now was her chance. Besides, if this were her territory then he was nothing but a guest now.

Yes, fairly new. Interesting. He let it soak in for a minute, thankful she carried on the conversation instead of leaving it there. These days, the Were could get lost in his thoughts fairly often. It was worse when there was alcohol involved. Rowan shook his head in answer. "No. I haven’t heard from them since they left. I don’t know if Oliver is still in town. I didn’t talk to his sister much," he admitted.

Oh, boys. They seemed pretty poorly behaved for firefighters. Maybe they were all raised in barns. Or by Republicans. Both!

She offered a suggestive smirk and then would give nothing else. She was ultimately more focused on the leopard, especially once he was answering her question.

"Ah. You know why they left?" she decided to ask, having... not talked to Sinead about it.

She decided to ignore them, and Rowan did the same. It wasn’t his job to parent. Especially a new rowdy, young bunch of guys that thought being a firefighter meant getting hot chicks.

Rowan turned to Asha, his leopard growling in the background at the lack of discipline from the humans. "No idea. To be honest we’re weren’t that close." even if he had been in the lard for what... a month? Probably not even that. He went with them on the full moon once. Then the pard disbanned. The leopard might have been sad, but Rowan wasn’t.

"Don’t you have her number or something? It seemed like you two might have been friends." he wasn’t being rude. Just a guy getting straight to the point.

Was being sorta friends with someone the same as being in their group? Why would you not like, want to feel close to your own group? Asha didn't understand it. But she felt close to everyone in the Prowl, even if things got weird between them sometimes.

"We're probably not the same level of close as I am with like... my bunch of people." She shrugged. In the end, she'd spent more time with Sinead as a human than as a jaguar.

The kitchen called out some appetizers or whatever that the others had ordered, and she moved ahead and grabbed those and doled them out.

Back to leopard dude. "So what's next for you then?"

Close. Ha. Yeah.. That was what you could call it. It leopard was not the kind to show his belly and neither was Rowan even though they were one in the same. When he met th either leopards, sure he had wanted to be their friend, but when they differences arose, he needed to come out on top. He was no one’s bitch.

But then duty called and he had to go away from some training in Denver and when he returned Mills was gone and there was a Pard. His leopard was not happy but craved that closeness at the same time. So he joined. Because he had to. But with intentions of moving up. There was only room for one alpha. One king.

Still. He didn’t have to tell her that. Instead, he hoped for a nod and a sip of his beer. It wasn’t terrible for a fancy beer. IT was something he would have to get used to. "I just want to have a quiet life with my girlfriend and work," he admitted. That was all he ever wanted. "What about you? Now that this place is yours, what do you plan on doing with it?" Crestview included. This might be her territory now. He could feel it, but this was also his home.

"Ruling my roost," she answered with a crisp grin, but there was only so much she could say when his buddies were right there.

Instead, Asha took a napkin and a pen and scribbled down her number. "Let me know if anyone ever gives you any grief. And I'd love to meet your girlfriend some time. Though be careful — I'm good at stealing 'em."

A wink, playful, though... it was pretty true.

Ruling hmmm? Rowan took a sip of his beer, wondering if he would come here now that it wasn’t Charlie’s, I mean... it had been his joint. Her personally paid all of their salaries and now? Yeah, Milla would probably like this place a hell of a lot more than him. But that was perfectly fine.

"She’s more than just a girlfriend," he said. She was a potential mate. No. She was his mate, which was what he told her. When she left, he had been devastated. He turned to drinking. Rowan still drank. He took the napkin and looked at it briefly before putting it in his pocket, one of the guys at the far end of the table loudly whistling a cat call. Rowan hadn’t told them about her. It would have been too much if she decided to leave to have to deal with them again. So, they assumed he was a free agent.

Jokes on them. Once Milla came into his life he would never be free again. "Sure thing. Let me know if you need me for anything. I’ll text you my number some time later." Right now, he just wanted to drink, eat and sleep. Not nessessarily in the order... but he would take what he could get.

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