2019.04.13: Renovations

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2019.04.13: Renovations
Alicia steps in to see some of the new renovations.
IC Date April 13, 2019
IC Time Afternoon
Players Dawson,Alicia, Phil, River
Location Styx and Stones
Spheres Mortal+

Styx and Stones - Pool Hall


Outside, she stands, leaning against the wall alongside the door, quietly waiting until.. Two bikers leave the pool hall and, before the door has time to close, Alicia slinks through the opening and into the seedy darkness inside. Nobody really pays her any attention, even those who would want to find themselves looking away with no interest. Pulling her hood down, she relaxes a little as she makes her way toward the bar, slow, casual steps, her t-shirt for the day showing an image a weird looking comic book character in tears, with a speech bubble asking, 'Why didn't you love me, ma?'.

Moving up to the bar, she finds a quiet spot and leans against the solid top, a crisp twenty dollar bill held in her hand. Her head bobs to the loud rock, and she reaches over to grab the remains of a coaster that she starts to twirl lazily in her fingers.

The scent of some fresh paint and construction can't be missed within the pool hall as the back of the building is blocked off with long, blue tarps. A sign reads "Under Construction" hanging just inside the door as if people might actually care that the place is being semi-renovated. The sound of saws, men working, the occasional hammerstrikes have only been semi-muffled behind the tarps creating a background of construction-flavored white noise.

From behind one of the blue tarps, a white-haired guy, lean and in his mid-twenties by the look of him, steps out on his phone. He's speaking firmly with whomever he's talking to in a tone that's -just- below yelling. Once he's done he flicks the phone off and stuffs it into his back pocket and heads to the bar - sliding behind it to grab himself something to drink.

"How's it going?" he asks, his voice a bit louder than conversational volume.

Though she stands at the bar expecting to be served, it never happens, it hasn't since before things changed. But it's nice to act like things are normal every now and again. And so when the newly arrived Dawson speaks to her from behind the bar, she actually looks quite pleasantly surprised, so much so she wasn't expecting to have to answer to anyone. "Uh..", a tilt of her head as she looks at the man, "Yeah. You don't want to know.", waving off the question, then sliding the crisp twenty across the bar. "Could I get a beer and something greasy? Burger, fries, whatever.". The twenty is given another nudge closer, then she rests her forearms on the bar, allowing them to take her weight.

"You expanding?", she asks, looking over at the tarp and 'Under Construction' sign. "Or did somethin' go bang in there?". Instead of looking back to Dawson, she glances back over her shoulder, taking a moment to see who else might be here, until her gaze returns to the man opposite. While he's not paying attention, she looks him up and down, eyes resting on tattoo's, moving to scars, the white hair, silently judging and considering who she might be dealing with.

“Putting in a better kitchen, and a few other things” the apparent owner or crew leader answers and reaches below the bar to grab a cool bottle from the box and pops the cap off with a practiced flick of the opener. It’s not great beer by any stretch but it’s not piss either. Whatever was served here is probably stacked up in boxes to be burned or given away. The man’s intensely blue eyes are so bright that they almost, for a second, seem to shimmer or reflect some stray reflection of light as he twists his head to yell something towards the back.

“Hey Tommy,” he calls out, “Burger and loaded fries for the front.” A muffled voice answers the summons and he turns back to the woman to tell her that it’ll be a while. Taking the twenty, he gives her back twelve dollars in change and slides it across the bar to her. His voice is brusk but not forced, his confidence and authority seemingly coming from an assurity that things -will- be done his way but he’s not unnecessarily harsh with his words.

When he looks at the woman, who had her hood raised to partially conceal her features, he actually -looks- at her. Not by her, not near her or even down to her chest. He locks eyes with the girl at least once just to get an idea if she will maintain the connection or look away.

Once the beer is placed down, Alicia slides it closer and takes a quick drink, before placing it back down in front of her, her black painted fingernails lazily scratching at the label to peel it away. With a slow turn of her eyes, she seems to follow the direction of the shout to see where the current kitchen might be, perhaps she'll catch a glance of 'Tommy', but that's not to be.

"I've been here a few times..", she says out of the blue, ".. I like the music and the atmosphere. And the privacy.", not that she has a lot of trouble with privacy, the other patrons of the bar are still paying her no attention, and if they do, they'll forget her by the time they leave the place. If not before. "Cuephoria has you beat on burgers and arcade games, though.", she adds, looking back toward the bar, only to find herself locking eyes with the man opposite.

Her blue eyes look tired, either she doesn't sleep much or what sleep she does get is regularly disturbed. The young woman doesn't turn her gaze away, continues looking lazily back at those bright blue eyes of his, fingernails still scratching at the label. Eventually, it starts to get weird, so she looks down at the bottle, pulling the label slowly until it comes off in one full piece. Now for the label on the reverse. "Though they are really old.", she finishes.

“If you came here for the food and games you’re in a for a -big- surprise there chick.” Dawson explains and pulls a clipboard from under the bar and starts flipping through pages as though he were checking through a series of to-do lists. Checking off something with a nub of a pencil, he tucks it behind his ear and reaches down into the box to find himself something to drink. “Most people come for the privacy...and the anonymity. That’s why I bought it. The kitchen is just so that I have food, well -better- food while I’m here.

He seems to notice that the woman is largely being ignored by the few patrons that seem to be trying to enjoy a game of pool despite the construction.After a few more pages, he drops his voice so that it would be still heard by anyone at the bar but still not loud enough to be heard by the room.“You got a name?” he asks as the scent of a deep frier and a grill start to find their way to them.

The corner of her mouth raises into a hint of a smile, Alicia breathing a huff of a breath in amusement, "If I wanted food and games I wouldn't be here.", she replies. Lifting the bottle, she has another drink, then swirls the liquid around in the bottle before it finds itself replaced onto the bar. Her fingernails go back to work, peeling away the second label. "Do you have cameras in here?", she asks, taking a moment to look around, trying the usual locations before her attention is back to Dawson. "I mean, is it private /enough/?", a faint raise of her eyebrows questioningly.

The change from her meal and beer still sits on the bar, except for a glance when it was placed down it's received no other attention from her. Odd for someone who appears as if they spend most nights sleeping anywhere but a bed. She's clean, her clothing isn't too bad, but she has that 'air'. "Alicia.", she replies. "I'm assuming you have one, too?". Reaching over, she drags a bar seat closer and slides herself up onto it, relaxing a bit more. With a nod to the check lists, she asks, "Anything important?".

“Now see,” the owner begins, “...if I -did- have cameras installed here, the police could subpoena the video should they ever suspect some kind of untoward activity was going on here. But if I didn’t, then how could I ensure that my patrons were protected from the low-lifes that would toss brick through the window?” He smiles thinly and doesn’t look away from his clipboard as he explains his complete security plan. A clever person might deduce that he’s saying that there are cameras outside to watch the exits but nothing inside to watch the people.

“Dawson or Daws to most people,” he explains and glances up as Tommy comes out with a tray of food for the woman. The cook, as that’s what Tommy appears to be in his white apron, is a stout-looking man with no neck, fifty-extra pounds, a sleeve of tats up one arm and a scar on the side of his neck that looks like someone tried to punch his ticket with a somewhat-sharp object; which it very well may have been. Any one who can read a person would peg this guy as an ex-con by the way he carries himself and all of the mileage written on his body.

The food, however, is another story. This isn’t your typical bar food. Burger and loaded fries it may be but the smells. Oh the smells. At the first bite you can tell that Tommy -loves- his food. The fries are lightly seasoned under the blanket of cheese and freshy-cooked bacon; none of that instant-pig meat for him. No sir. The buns were toasted before served with a plump patty, fresh, chilled lettuce, tomato and a trio of thick pickles. “Bon Appetit…” he says with a cheesy french accent - as spoken by someone who probably grew up in the Bronx.

That seems enough of a reveal for her; whatever was clouding the minds of patrons and perhaps Dawson alike slowly fades, even her appearance becomes clearer, a strange effect, as if someone switched from Low-Res to HD on her. Even a few of the patrons start to notice her, one bearded man whistling appreciatively and calling, "Well, hello there sweetheart.". Alicia pays him no attention of course, though the way the corner of her mouth raises a little higher shows her amusement, perhaps enjoying the simple human interactions that she normally misses.

"I'm going to be most people, today, so.. Hey Daws.", the other side rises too, into a genuine smile that she looks down at her bottle to try and conceal. And then there's Tommy; tats and apron, scars and food in hand. "Thanks Tommy.", she says as the food is placed down in front of her, the young woman sitting up, shuffling her stool closer to the bar so she doesn't have to stretch. "Alicia.", she tells him before he disappears, raising a hand, pointing at herself, the point turning to a thumbs up to Tommy, then another point at herself, getting the message across as best she can.

"I take it back..", Alicia notes, after the first look at the food, a munch on a few fries, ".. you have Cuephoria beat, hands down. They have a bigger menu, but..", a puff of a breath in appreciation, the woman gathering up the burger, raised to eye level to get a good look at it before taking a big bite, murmuring something around the mouthful, nodding happily as it's gently placed back onto the plate.

He's seen that trick before - the sometime subconscious lowering of the 'don't see me' field that seems to surround some people who know a little something about something. Dawson turns his attention from his lists to the woman with her food and raises an eyebrow questioningly. The one cat-call she receives is ignored without a second thought but she's definitely piqued his interest. "You want another?" he tap-taps in front of her beer, "...or something else?"

The cook didn't seem to pay the woman too much attention when he dropped off the food but turned back as she offers up her name and nods - as though it might be important one day. Dawson echos the nod appreciatively and comments that Tommy's talents were wasted where he found him. "The man is a friggen magician. Turning -real- food out of a closet. That's one of the reasons why I'm doing the renovation - among other reasons."

Once the food has found a place in her tummy, Alicia reaches for the beer and washes it all down, starting with a small drink, but when the question about another is raised, so is the bottle. Down the hatch, the beer finished, the empty pushed gently in Dawson's direction. "Another sounds good.", a quick point at the change still sitting there. "I'm alright..", she replies to the second question, raising her arms out to the side, stretching her muscles for a moment, then letting her arms drop again. "I'm going to enjoy a moment of anonymity while not being anonymous.", whatever that means. It probably means something to Dawson, considering he's aware of her now.

"Have a few fries, if you like..?", the young woman offers, even nudging the plate forward. The burger? That's hers, grabbed again as she dives in for the second bite of the day, leaving a smudge of relish on the side of her mouth. "Mmff..", she tries, shaking her head, swallowing down the food, then a second try, "He's amazing.", an honest response, "Imagine what he can do with a larger kitchen.", a shake of her head as the thoughts consume her for a second, the mouth watering treats, "You're going to put Cuephoria out of business. You'll need some arcade games, though. Or better music..?".

At that thought, she glances over at the music selector, furrows her brow in silent thought; it's a couple of seconds of contemplation, then there's a click from the machine and the next song up becomes 'Electric Worry', by 'Clutch'. Maybe it was already in the playlist? "Well you made me weep, and you made me moan, when you caused me to leave, child, my happy home..", she sings along; she's no singer, but she likes the song.

Dawson shakes his head at the offer of fries and reaches down into the ice box to fetch the girl another bottle of beer. At the same time that he flicks off the cap she comments the food and he calls back to Tommy to tell him the good news. “Doin good Tommy - she said we gonna close down that other place” he doesn’t even bother saying their name. Maybe it’s superstition or just bad luck to mention another business in your own - especially during renovations.

And then...she mentions music and turns to the old fashioned juke box - updated to carry CD’s rather than old records but it still has that vintage feel to it. What’s she doing? His eyebrows furrow in questioned consideration until it starts to play - seemingly by her command. A cold shiver crawls up his spine and he grabs the edge of the bar to keep from swaying from the momentary bout of dizziness. “Whoa fuck…” he mutters nearly under his breath and his eyes flick to the girl accusingly.

Her head nodding along with the music, Alicia glances at Tommy as he's praised, giving him a little smile, then back up to Dawson as she spots his reaction to her mental commands sent to the juke box. Lifting her hands, she points them out to him as he sways from the dizziness, continuing the singing of her lyrics, "Bang bang bang bang, vamanos, vamanos..", a wink to the man as he regains his bearings.

Leaving him too it for a moment, she gathers up the burger, takes another bite and munches slowly, her blue eyes now watching the man opposite with a more curious and interested air. Another bite and it's gone, the young woman running her hands down the side of her coat, rubbing away the grease left behind, then she leans forward, rests her forearms on the bar. It brings her closer, her voice lowering as the music continues to play behind her. "Sometimes, you get the weirdest feelings, right?", her fingers curling around the new beer, easing it closer, "It just hits you, just like that. It's weird how that happens..", her eyebrows raising faintly, along with her lips into a look of amusement.

It’s weird how there are words coming out of the woman’s mouth but Dawson doesn’t seem to be focused on them at the moment. Either he’s not been around many people who can throw out the whammy like that or he’s just not been ‘aware’ of their effect on his world before. It takes only a second for the man to rid himself of the dizzying sensation before he tries to play it off as though it were insignificant. “What of it?” he asks with a sniff.

The man’s hackles are up, his danger sense is turned up to about eleven and his hands are gripping the clipboard as though it were a shield or a weapon. He’s not exactly being hostile - more likely just trying to prepare himself should anything weir-er go down in his new place.

"Oh, nothing.", Alicia replies to his sniff of a question, gathering up a couple of fries to munch on while she keeps an eye on the man. Her black painted fingernails are back to work, a new bottle, a new label to scratch at in an attempt to remove in one piece. "The first time that happened to me, I didn't even know what it meant. It /really/ freaked me out.". Her voice is low, aware of people playing pool nearby and keeping the tone down just enough so they can't make out the conversation.

"So, are you going to keep squeezing that clipboard, or do you want to challenge me to a game?", a glance back at a couple of the empty pool tables. "I warn you, I'm no pushover.", she adds, while twisting on the stool so she can drop her feet back to the ground, her beer gathered up along with a few more fries to munch on.

“That’s...new,” Dawson confesses and takes a pull from his own bottle to settle his nerves a bit. “How long have you...uh...felt it?” He asks hesitantly - uncertain as to the words that should be used. He’s starting to chill out a bit, his nerves calming down as he takes measure of the woman and what kind of threat she might represent. The sound of hammers and saws continues and someone yells from the back for a question to be answered so he steps from behind the bar to poke his head behind the tarp to give them an answer.

White-hair and tats, as some might know him in his limited time in the city, turns back to watch the woman walk to one of the tables. “Why do I feel like I’m gonna lose this?” he asks with a sarcastic tone to his voice.

With Dawson working behind the bar, Alicia is on the other side, finishing off a meal if the almost empty plate in front of her is anything to go by. A few fries are left on top, though she's grabbing them occasionally, while in her other hand a cold beer is held. She's just slipped out of her seat, her expression to Dawson offering a challenge of some sort.

This /was/ gonna be a typical Saturday afternoon. Pop in, pretend to be a little less skilled than he is, separate people from a bit of their folding cash. Phil pauses just after walking inside, though, taking a closer look around. "Who the hell ordered cheese fries?" he asks, of no one in particular. He thinks it smells like cheese fries, at least.

"The first time..?", Alicia asks, pondering the question for a moment, trying to place it, "Like, a year ago?", lifting a hand, pushing a few jetblack strands of hair away from where they've fallen across an eye. "It was a..", her steps take her toward one of the empty pool tables, the beer bottle placed on the edge, ".. never mind. It's a long story.".

Crouching down, she slips a few coins into the table, pushes the handle, listens to the rumble of pool balls sliding down the chute to the end of the table, ready to be set up. "Oh, you're definitely losing.", she replies, pushing herself up straight again. "But it's just for fun.", a little smile given to Dawson as the young woman slips her coat off, throws it over a nearby chair for safekeeping.

Hearing Phil, the young woman points at the remnants of her fries, "Right there! You have to try them, they're amazing!". Her arcane is currently off, the woman noticeable to everyone, even the occasional leering patron, one bearded one paying far too much attention when she's removing her coat.

”We’re renovating,” Dawson calls out to the newest arrival - as if preemptively attempting to explain the sound of the hammering, saws, and workman behind the blue tarps covering the back of the room. Assuming that the newest arrival might want something to drink, he yells to the back for one of the guys to come up front and take care of him while he loses to the girl getting one of the tables ready

”Hey Danny - get up here and watch the bar. I’m about to get my ass kicked…” His tone jokingly phrased so that the back end of the building doesn’t suddenly empty to come to his aid. Getting into a fight at the Styx is an average afternoon for some people. The place is lightly populated while they’re doing their work and when a guy steps out from the back with an obvious limp to his left leg no one says a word.

Danny, the would-be bartender, hobbles with the gate of an amputee. It’s nothing that you’d notice if he was standing still but as soon as he moves there’s no question about it. The young man is in his mid-twenties, possibly latino by his darkly complexion with a military haircut and the facial growth of someone that’s been adjusting to civilian life for a year or more. A few tattoos visible just above the line of his t-shirt and the bump of a pair of dog tags around his neck confirm any suspicion that he’s probably an injured vet.

Phil doesn't say no to the drink, nor the appetizer for that matter. He's paying more attention to Danny and Fatso, though, in that order. "Wheelchair still on the fritz, huh? I know a guy, I'll have him drop you a line." Letting the door swing shut again, he heads over to an open table and gestures toward it. "Can you even /see/ the table with all that?" There, that ought to bait him pretty good.

The bottle is lifted again as Alicia moves to the end of the table, a quick drink before it's placed aside and she crouches to pull out the triangle, fill it with the colored balls. Another quick drink, then her hands move quickly, thump thump thump as one ball is lifted, swapping places with another, back and fore they go until they're correctly set. A shuffle of the triangle over to the break point, the black dropped into place, and they're ready to go.

"You can break..", she says to Dawson, beer lifted for another drink while slowly heading for the rack, pulling out a stick for herself, peering down the length to ensure it's actually straight, before dropping the end down to the ground between her feet.

Dawson, the white-haired man with the tattoos that seems to be running the renovations in the back, walks over to the cue rack and grabs one for himself. He's of average height so he grabs a modest-sized stick and plants the but on the ground before the table and applies a bit of chalk, "Ya know," he begins, "my momma warned me about girls like you..." he mutters in Alicia's direction and leans forward to line up his shot.

It's not a bad break, as luck would have it. The balls scatter in every which way and one of the solids finds a home in the far left pocket. He's no amateur at the game but he's not a pro either. His skills would suggest that he had very little to do other than to learn to shoot for a few hours a day for a few years; prison ball is somewhat different. You're not playing the game but rather the room - and making sure that no one's coming up behind you while you're trying to take a shot.

With a final gulp, the last of the beer is gone and Alicia places the empty on a nearby table. She remains standing for the break, but seeing a ball drop she slips up onto a stool next to the table, rests the cue on the ground between her knees and taps it side to side. "I get the feeling you've met worse than me.", she replies to Dawson, a look at his scars and tattoos, before turning her attention to his next shot.

"Momma would be proud..", she adds, giving the man a little grin. While Dawson is taking the next shot, her attention drifts over to Phil and his challenge, eyebrows raising in surprise at the stakes. "Some people have too much money.", her hands pushing in alternate directions against the cue, causing the stick to spin for a moment until she catches it again.

Perhaps she added more than just the one song to the playlist, as another Clutch songs starts to blast out to the pool hall, DC Sound Attack. ".. peace I do despise, I'm a warmonger baby, I've got blood in my eyes and I'm lookin' at you.", she sings along, body swaying with the tune.

The next shot wasn't so great but it doesn't leave Alicia much of an option either. Dawson plays it flat - trying not to reveal joy nor sorrow in his skill at the game; this is not why he bought the place anyway. "I've met lots of worse." he mutters and leans forward on his cue long enough to pull out his phone to check an incoming text. "One second?" he mutters and walks back to the back to yell/talk to the construction people.

Words like Material, Budget and 'Bury you in the Desert if you Stiff Me' can be heard from behind the blue tarps. Eventually he comes back into the room and tucks his phone back into his pocket. Frustration seems to resonate upon his features as though he's having his fair share of difficulties for what should be a simple project.

Once he's back at their table, he gives the newcomer an appraising glance and suggests that if he waits a few minutes he can play her. "She'll probably dial it down until she can get you for the real money."

And then it's her turn, Alicia hops down off the stool and wanders over to the table, swinging the cue back and fore as she goes. A lean forward, a look at the angles, a shuffle backwards a few steps, another look at what's on offer, a furrow of the brow, a quick check from the other side of the table. Oh! There it is!

Waiting for Dawson to return from the minor argument, she eventually takes the shot. The end of the cue is high in the air so she doesn't hit anything by accident, a slight squint; it's all math, angles and trajectories, application of force, and if there's one thing she's good at, it's math. With a simple push the white bounces off the edge, whispers past one of Dawson's colors, and gently taps against one of her own. The ball rolls slowly up to the nearby pocket, closes slowly, then lets out its final breath, left hanging over the pocket. Which is fine, as that makes it really difficult for Dawson from where the white was left.

"Next time.", the young woman declares, and with a hop-skip she's back to the table, wriggling herself back onto the stool. "I'm thinking..", she starts, before Dawson gets back into the game, ".. your scars didn't come from scratching too hard.", the corner of her mouth rising in a hint of a smile, "Have you ever taught someone how to defend themselves?".

If this was a slightly longer con, then Phil might express annoyance at the others for giving it away ahead of time. Lucky for him, it isn't, and Fatso isn't paying attention anyway. His skill turns out to be strictly average, sinking a couple shots and missing the third. "Guess that means I'm up," the younger man chimes in. He glances up at Dawson as well, but eh, let the little lady ask the questions; she's doing a good job of it so far.

Flat eyes watch the table as the balls roll this way and that. His gaze, bisected by the chalked tip of a pool cue as though it were the shaft of some spear, reminds one of the center of some black-and-white action comic from Japan. Dawson squints in frustration and pushes himself off of the wall where he was waiting his turn so that he can stalk around the table and look for some obtuse angle that he might possible use.

And he circles...and circles and finally he seems to draw closer to some insane shot and holds the butt of the cue straight up in the air in the hopes of striking the ball with such downward force that he can force it to hop over one of hers - without striking it. He lets out a breath - a slow and steady breath as though drawing a bead upon some distant target and slowly he squeezes - or, in this case, he jabs it with the spear with a quick, sudden thrust.

The ball jumps up in the air, a bit farther than he had anticipated and banks off of the sides, misses the ball completely and strikes an anonymous target in the far corner that he didn’t see or intend - and it wasn’t even his. “Dammit…” he curses though more out of habit than frustration. He didn’t actually plan for it to do anything but it was, for him, at least an honest attempt. “And no...never taught anyone,” he answers enigmatically. “Somethings just come naturally or they don’t.”

River makes her way into the hall as she listens to music through her headphones provided by her phone. She bounce -walks as she hums 'Im Still Standing' by Elton John.

Pushing off the stool again now the shot is over, Alicia heads for the table, swaying the cue side to side in front of her, though she overshoots the table and continues toward the bar. When, suddenly, she rushes forward, shoots the cue out to tap the arm of a man reaching out for her pile of change that still sits where she left it. "Hands off! That's mine.". He glares at her, she stares back, continues up to the bar where she points at the small pile of money. "Another beer. And one for my friend, too.", a motion to the man who she'd just bapped with a cue. That seems to cool his jets, at least for now.

Once the drink is delivered, the pile of change shrinking away, she makes her way back to the table, sits the moisture covered bottle on the edge of the table. "I'll let you have another chance.", she says to Dawson mischievously, as she leans in with her cue at the ready, briefly aiming a shot and firing it off; one ball down, the white moving comfortably across to be ready for the next shot. And down goes a second ball, then a third, the open table seeming to be open season for the young woman. A fourth ball, then she stays true to her comment, takes the harder shot instead of the easy one, a long shot past one of Dawson's colors. It's not good enough, giving him plenty of chances for the time being.

The beer is gathered up, the young woman heading back to her stool, as she continues her side conversation with Dawson, "What if they didn't come naturally?", she asks. "And, let's say someone was in real danger. Would you help teach them?", a curious tilt of her head.

River walks over to the jukebox or the equivalent thereof and selects a song. She then finds a table and a stick. it is obvious she has either never done this before or has only seen it on tv or something, but she does rack up the balls properly.

”We’re under construction,” he points with his cue to the large blue tarps hanging to cover the back of the room - as though it were not self-evident by the sound of the hammers, saws and workmen. He watches as ball after ball finds its way into the pockets and he can’t help but smile at the woman’s skill. “Good thing this ain’t for money,” he mutters and then tries to find himself a shot once she decides to let him come up for air.

“If someone was in real danger - there wouldn’t be time to teach them. There’d probably time to hide them, though. Hiding if you can’t win is better than fighting if you could lose. Ain’t no honorable deaths in my playbook - just stupid ones.” Dawson’s philosophy, as pragmatic as it is, seems to just rattle out of his mouth as his eyes start to watch the room as more and more people start to step inside his project, er...pool hall.

”But...if people needed a hand, and if they were the /right/ people...I might be able to help,” The white-haired owner admits. “But I don’t need someone bringing hell to my door - got plenty of that as is. I ain’t a charity.”

Resting her elbows upon her knees, Alicia leans forward, head on one upraised hand, watching Dawson as he moves around the table. "You should kick me out then.", she replies to that final comment of his. "I'm surprised the door hasn't broken open already.", a glance up to the entrance, as if she expects it to do just that. "But, I find it's the camera's that do it.", a motion to a corner, where a camera might exist in a reputable establishment.

Moving her hand back to the cue, the young woman sits up straight again, taps the cue from one hand to the other while the end rests on the floor. "I hide all the time..", a brief intake of breath, a soft exhale of a sigh, "All the time.", she repeats. "They..", a pause, trapping the cue between her knees so she can finger quote that word, "'They' have someone I need to get back. And I can't do it when I have trouble punching my way through a paper bag.".

Waving off the whole thing, as if the answer is a 'no' regardless, Alicia rises back to her feet. Twirling the cue in her hands, she seems to spot a familiar face, taking a few steps toward River, "Hey, we met before. At the Witches Brew. Come on over, you can play the loser.", a glance at Dawson with a little grin.

"So, you get to play again..", she tells him, moving closer to the table, waiting for him to finish his turn.

River smiles to Alecia and says "Oh yea. How you doing?" She does offer a one arm hug as well River is a hugger. She then smiles and waves to Dawson and says "Hello. Im River by the way" as she offers her hand.

Dawson is done. He’s not really in the mood for another game and just puts the cue back in the rack on the wall. The conversation has taken a different turn and he’s got a clipboard with his name on it. Wait...did she just say? His attention shifts from the bar, to River and then back to Alicia, he walks over and takes a sip from his now-warm beer. “Like I said - ain’t a charity.” He’s not exactly saying yes or no to whatever problem the woman might find herself in but he’s just stating a fact

River’s given a side-glance as she offers him her hand and he smiles flatly back at her, “That’s nice,” and he flicks his attention to Alicia before asking, “You know her?” Clearly the guy is not one for hugs - and by the looks of him he’s not really a hand-shaker either. He is, however, -very- cautious about who he talks to about things. Alicia’s word - or her knowledge or acknowledgement of River may make all the difference.

With the game over, despite balls being on the table, Alicia returns her cue to the rack as well. "Wouldn't the warm fuzzy glow inside be enough of a payment?", she asks, dripping with sarcasm, the young woman gathering up her beer and moving over to the table. A ball grabbed, pushed across the table into another, knocking it from cushion to cushion until it slowly runs out of energy just in time to drop into a pocket.

Turning to look at River, she turns her attention from one to the other before replying to Dawson, "I met her once, she likes pastries.", leaving that one in the hands of the man himself. Her beer is lifted for another drink, then she's moving to River, giving her arm a friendly squeeze in passing, before she's heading back toward the bar.

"It's fine, I'll work something out.", Alicia tells Dawson when she's seated again, the 'can't quite focus' effect returning, as the young woman becomes a little harder to focus on, to even care about, and don't even try remembering anything from this point on.

River smiles to Dawson despite the overly warm greeting and says to Alecia. "Forgot phenomenal, most awesomeness ninja leveled skilled chica!" She grins impishly and then finds a seat at the bar, although when she orders she ask for a glass of Ice tea.

"Ain't never seen someone pay a bill with a 'warm fuzzy glow' but if you could make that work I'll be impressed," Dawson retorts and finishes off his nearly warm beer with a last pull that up-ends the bottle. He slides back behind the bar and scribbles a note on the clipboard about something and then looks over to River as she makes her joke about ...something. "Yeah...about that," is all the comment he gives her. It's not exactly impolite but he doesn't seem to be the kind of guy that appreciates impish behavior - he's seen the real kind.

For a moment he -almost- seemed to forget that he was still talking to someone else and then looks to the bar and notices the pool shark there. "You want another for the road? On the house for having the good graces not to completely kick my ass at pool." he asks the woman - attempting to be at least a decent loser. Pool ain't his game.

The protection is up again, Alicia hiding in plain sight, and so she replies to Dawson, "What if I were to hack the National Bank and transfer as much as you think it's worth? Because I could.". Her tired looking blue eyes meet his gaze again for a few moments, then she shakes her head, slips off the stool and rises to her, now slightly wobbly, feet.

"I'll be back again.", she tells him, "If not for you, then definitely for the food.". Her beer bottle is raised in a silent toast to Dawson, the last of the alcohol finished, then she slides the bottle onto the table and turns away, heading in a not entirely straight line for the door.

She starts to pull the door open, spots something through the opening, and quickly steps to the side and pushes her back against the wall alongside it. "How the f..?", not finishing it as the door opens alongside her. She takes a deep breath and holds it in, those not currently looking at her now completely losing track of her.

The door opens and a large man enters, dressed down in jeans, sweater, leather jacket, black shades; but there's something about him that simply screams 'undercover'. The shades come down, folded up in his hand, the man, who is well over six foot of muscle on top of muscle, slowly looks around as if searching for someone.

River does not seem to notice anything at the moment really. She is focused on her glass of tea as she pulls a packet out of her pocket and uses her own sweetener. She then stirs it with the straw and looks to Alicia's side and arches a brow as if she sees something not there.

"We're under construction," Danny, not Dawson, calls out to the door as the undercover something comes inside. The white-haired owner notices, for a moment, that Alicia was heading for the door but is apparently distracted by something because by the time the muscled man takes his sunglasses off he's basically lost sight of her. Did she leave? Did she just hide under one of the...wait..who was he looking for again? He's got more things to worry about than some...girl.

Daws, as he's known to some folks, gives the newest patron a level glance and waits for him to either move on or ask a question - that he'll probably not answer. He ain't no charity but he ain't a snitch either. So he'll wait, clipboard folded up against his chest with a pencil behind his ear like he's the foreman at a worksite.

River sips her drink and then seems to decide it is the right level of goodness as she takes a swallow and seems to turn to say something but then loses track of her train of thought as she looks around.

Is there a chill in the air? It seems to have dropped a few degrees in here since the man arrived. With steady steps, he takes himself up to the bar, stops, pushes the shades into his jacket; there's no rush, no need to worry, what needs to be done will be done.

The hand moves to another pocket, pulls out a torn up photograph, brushes it clean of fluff and dust and turns it around, points it at Dawson. "Have you seen this girl?", his voice positively rumbles it's so deep, "I'm led to believe she was seen here recently."

The photograph is, of course, of Alicia, though perhaps a year or two younger, torn in half, another person missing from the image, except for an arm around her shoulders. "Think... carefully.", he says, a hint of a threat in there.

River smiles sweetly to the man and holds up her glass as she says "I got tea!" She then looks to the picture and says almost wistfully "There is a fine line between love and hate?" She almost seems air headed as she sips her tea and gives the big guy a very vacant look.

The bartender, Danny, and the apparent owner, Dawson, can, honestly tell the man that they don't really remember a woman matching her description coming in here. The other patrons, few in number as they are, agree that it's been a slow day. "Who the hell would put up with all this damned racket?" one of them complains as the background of hammering, saws and workman is only barely muffled by the large, blue tarps hanging to block the back of the room.

"Maybe she went somewhere else," he suggests with a thin-lipped smile that doesn't seem at all helpful. He takes a step closer to his side of the bar, unfolds his hands to rest them on the surface and leans forward a bit before speaking, "So I suggest you look there." His voice is hard, resolute in his conviction that whoever the guy is looking for isn't here and that he needs to be somewhere else. It's a tone that demonstrates that he's not about to back down. River's words don't seem to register upon him as he's not taking his eyes off of agent-no-name.

The photograph remains in front of Dawson through his comments, then the large man flicks it back and returns it to his jacket pocket. "Is that so? I don't suppose you would mind me taking a look around?". Without waiting for an answer to that, he starts to slowly move away, taking steady steps that thump under the weight of the man, glancing down the gaps between the tables as he makes his way steadily over to the construction area.

He reaches the tarp, starts to extend an arm toward it, but is interrupted by a noise in his ear. A hand is raised, fingertips touching against the receiver, the man nodding as he listens before turning and moving back toward the entrance. "Thank you for your assistance.", he says in passing, continuing on toward the exit.

The door opens, he steps outside, and once the door is closed Alicia seems to appear from nowhere, though thankfully nobody will really remember it in the morning. Or in an hour. "Thanks.", she mouths to Dawson, then pulls open the door a tiny section, just enough to peer out, watching the man return to his car and drive away. And with that, the young woman slips away too, disappearing onto the street and away from the pool hall.

Dawson watches the man brush past him and back to the blue tarp with fire in his eyes. He slammed the clipboard on the bar and was heading over to at least try to remove the agent when he gets the word to leave. Yeah, it would have been a scrap - one that probably would have ended badly but he did -not- like having his turf invaded. Once the muscled-thing leaves, the white-haired owner sweeps a gaze to the others in the bar.

"Get out." It's a simple command - one that he's not going to repeat. The other patrons, what few there are, definitely get the feeling that they should be elsewhere for a while and quickly head out on their own. tells Danny to lock the front door for a while - he's got to go in the back.