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    A drink between friends

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    A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 25/11/14, 11:10 am

    By closing time, Dorien was exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

    After the scene with Emelinda he had retreated to the back of the bar for a while, but when he reemerged she was gone. Part of him had half expected her to still be there, ready to slap him and call him out for his behavior like a petulent child, but she was nowhere to be seen, and there was a line beginning to form at his station by the bar.

    He could have just left. Gone home and pulled himself together. It wasn't like he had a real boss to keep him there. But money was money, and it was a busy night. Besides, it looked bad for Tits whenever the "Special Elixirs" table was closed for too long, and he didn't want her to be too mad at him. He already knew word of his encounter would get back to her at some point. She never missed a trick in her own bar.

    Instead he trudged back to work, although with a noticable loss of spring in his step. By three AM he was more ready than he'd ever been to get out of the bar and someplace - anyplace - else.

    "Hey Gen..." he said, as he stepped out from behind the bar and approached his cousin, who was clearing the last of the tables, "I think I could use a drink after tonight. You up for it? My treat."
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 25/11/14, 02:41 pm

    Genevriel was surprised by her cousin's invitation to go out for drinks with him. Truth be told, she was exhausted from being on her feet for hours, and had been looking forward to going home and collapsing in her bed. And, in spite of the numbing effect produced by steadily imbibing liquor, her arms felt brutalised and raw from her night's labours. Still, she could tell he hadn't recovered from his encounter with his ex-fiancee, and some part of her - the part that clung to a dream-existence free of death and pain - urged her to compassion. "Sure, Dorien. That sounds nice."

    She did her best to bury her nagging conscience, which was asking her in a dry, sarcastic way whether she didn't think she had quite enough alcohol in her system already. It did not understand how much pain she constantly felt; couldn't, really, understand.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 25/11/14, 03:07 pm

    "Nifty, let me grab my coat and we'll ankle."

    A few minutes later, the pair left together through the staff entrance and Dorien paused to light a cigarette from a rumpled package in his pocket. He looked up at the night sky, thankful that the torrential rains had finally subsided.

    "I wanted to thank you..." he said, to head off the awkward silence that he knew would set in otherwise, "...for earlier. For being there. I appreciate it."

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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 25/11/14, 07:27 pm

    Genevriel turned her face away politely from Dorien as he lit his cigarette. Her father had smoked a pipe, and she liked the smell of pipe tobacco, but something about cigarette smoke was more acrid. You'd think after several years of being in the army, not to mention several months of working at the cabaret, she'd be inured to the odour by now, but it seemed out of place in the freshly washed air of the city. Habit made her turn her gaze upward towards her old... friends?... the stars, but Dorien's voice pulled her back. Right. Dorien, she was here for Dorien who needed someone to talk to right now. She returned her gaze to her cousin.

    "There's no need to thank me, cous... I know you'd do the same for me." At least that seemed right. They were family, even though most of their acquaintance had been through letters. "Did you have someplace particular in mind?" Genevriel wasn't certain whether any places were legally open at this time of night. And you're better off not knowing, that dry, sarcastic voice couldn't resist commenting.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 25/11/14, 09:31 pm

    Dorien nodded absently.

    "There's a place not too far from here that's open 'til five. It's not the classiest joint, but it's cheap."
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 25/11/14, 10:34 pm

    "Cheap is good," Gen replied. "You'll have to show me the way."

    She wondered what she would be able to do that would ease her cousin's troubles.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 25/11/14, 10:45 pm

    Dorien nodded and lead the way down the main thoroughfare and down a sidestreet that took them to the less respectable part of the neighborhood. After a short walk they came to a set of stairs that lead down into a small bar who's moldy sign proclaimed it to be The Wooden Key Pub.

    Dorien held the door open for his cousin as they entered. He had been there several times before, mostly meeting clients who were interested in somewhat less legal items. The pair took a table near the front of the place, where the air was fresher and the light brighter. And soon enough a waitress came to take their orders.

    "Gin..." Dorien said simply, barely glancing at the young girl who looked and moved as if it had been a very long night indeed.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 25/11/14, 11:00 pm

    "I'll have some gin, too, please." After the waitress left to take care of their orders, Gen asked her cousin quietly (and not without trepidation), "So... how are you doing, really?"
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 25/11/14, 11:08 pm

    Dorien sighed and shook his head.

    "Tired... confused. I don't know what to feel anymore..."
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 25/11/14, 11:22 pm

    Gen struggled to find a suitable, supportive reply, painfully aware that she was the least qualified person to help someone else sort out their lives. "I'm probably stating the obvious, but... there is no guide I'm aware of that explains how one should feel in any given situation. So maybe you should just let yourself feel whatever you're feeling. Don't try to figure out why you're feeling it; just feel it. You can tell me about it if you think that would help, but... I should warn you that I'm pretty useless at figuring out people. I'll do my best..." Gen trailed off, wishing she were someone who actually could help Dorien, instead of the useless, numb thing that she was.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 25/11/14, 11:37 pm

    "Thanks..." Dorien said, "I'm not sure there's anything to figure out, really. I'm just... I've been so angry at her for so long but the truth is... I'm still in love with her. Even after everything. How fucked up is that?"
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 25/11/14, 11:49 pm

    Gen glanced at Dorien helplessly; what did she know about love, aside from that which was familial? She cleared her throat hesitantly. “Well… love is, I think, a pretty strong emotion? And so is anger. If you loved her enough to propose to her, obviously you felt very strongly about her indeed. So… when she got scared and ran, it is logical that your sense of betrayal would be very sharp. Therefore I would conclude that your mixed emotions are not really… fucked up, at all?”
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 12:03 am

    Dorien gave an amused smile.

    "I'm glad you think so at least."

    Just then the waitress showed up with their drinks, setting them down without a word.

    "Thanks..." Dorien said absently, picking up his glass and swirling it experimentally. It certainly looked like gin at least...

    He took a sip and managed to only grimace slightly. It burned going down, but at least it was alcohol.

    "I'm sorry, I invite you out for a drink and all I can talk about is my problems. How are you doing?"
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 26/11/14, 12:10 am

    Gen took a sip from her own glass, not showing a reaction at all. She had drunk worse; in fact, what was in her flask was probably worse, being a mixture of the brandy someone had left behind at work and her usual cheap liquor.

    "I rather thought I had been invited out for the express purpose of talking about your problems. I just wish I were better at it," she replied apologetically. "I'm doing all right, though. Sometimes, when I forget myself, I even feel a tiny bit hopeful," she smiled at her joke.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 11:25 am

    "I invited you out because you're my friend. That's what friends do... right?"

    Dorien took another sip. In his own pain he'd almost forgotten about what Gen had gone through... was still going through. His life wasn't exactly easy, but she had lost her entire family, and probably seen things that he would never know. The least he could do was return the favor of listening that she'd done for him. Besides, it wouldn't make his own pain hurt any less, but maybe it could distract him from it.

    "Do you want to talk about it?", he asked gently.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 26/11/14, 07:32 pm

    Gen focused in on being called a friend, which got her to wondering what bond was stronger: friend or family? And was it better to be a friend or a family member? In her experience "family" had been the strongest tie. She knew little about what Dorien had gone through, but it seemed that he had become estranged from his parents since his industrial accident; in his case "friend" might therefore be the nicest compliment. And, after all, hadn't she always considered Andri to be her best friend? Well, at least since he was old enough to read and develop his own interesting ideas.

    A slight noise from across the table reminded her that Dorien was still there, and he'd asked her a question. A question she couldn't help but feel was intrusive, although it was the socially expected question to ask. Hadn't she asked him basically the same thing only minutes ago? And he hadn't felt angry about her inquiry. She hated that she did.

    "Talk about what?" she asked, despising the tone of irritability that she knew must be there. "My family? The war? The One?" She hated also the quavery sound that now crept into her voice. Talking to August hadn't been so bad, had it? And she had felt some relief after she had done so. It made no sense that she should be fine speaking to a complete stranger, but not to her own cousin, her friend. She swallowed the rest of her gin in one go, hoping it would keep everything at bay.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 09:08 pm

    Dorien was somewhat worried about the disguised irritation he heard in his cousin's voice. He knew that her family's death had impacted her profoundly, but he had hoped that she had realized that he was only trying to help. He wondered if perhaps he had misjudged the question. While Dorien could be personable, even charming when he felt like it, he was not really a people person. His charisma came more from his wit and intelligence than it did from his understanding of people or ability to relate to them, and he sometimes found himself baffled by people's responses to him. Now was certainly looking like one of those times.

    He wondered briefly if it would be best to press on or to let it drop. He'd heard vague notions of the newly emerging "Science" of psychotherapy and mental health, including the idea that returned veterans often suffered a host of issues related to what they had experienced, but he knew little of the practice of such things, or even if that was truly the issue with Gen. He really knew so little about her, after all, despite having been in communication with her for most of his life.

    "About... anything... I guess", he finally decided on as a safely vague answer, "I know things aren't easy for you. I just want you to know that... if you need to talk... it's the least I can do to listen."
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 26/11/14, 09:15 pm

    Genevriel nodded and took several sips from her flask as she tried to think of how best to answer. Gods knew she needed friends, and Dorien was really the only family she had left. She did not want to alienate him. "It's not that I... I don't appreciate your concern. It's just that if I open a door, any door, all the others will fly open, too. And I won't be able to hold together. I'd be a pile of dry leaves in a windstorm."
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 09:24 pm

    Dorien raised an eyebrow when Gen's flask came out of her pocket, almost as if she hadn't realized it.

    "Ummm... did you want another round?" he asked, glancing at her empty glass, "I mean i know it's not the best gin in the world, but..."
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 26/11/14, 09:29 pm

    Caught out, Gen could feel her cheeks flushing. "It's- it's medicinal. I have the most terrible pains, all the time." She fumbled with the cap of her flask and put it away in her pocket again.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 09:42 pm

    For a moment Dorien was silent, thoughtful. "Terrible pains..." she'd said.

    Images came to mind of Gen grimacing whenever she lifted a heavy tray, of her sneaking into the back between rounds or disappearing and coming back to work with an ever so slight list to her walk. The steady loss of jobs. The gloves; the ones he'd never actually seen her take off, even when she'd healed his leg. All minor things, little incidents and oddities that he had barely noticed in his periphery. Like supersaturated particles suspended in a solution, all it took was the tiniest nudge to make them crystallize.

    He'd seen plenty of addicts in the last year. He knew what addiction looked like. He just didn't know how to deal with it.

    "Gennie..." he began, as gently as he could manage, "How much do you drink?"
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 26/11/14, 09:46 pm

    "What kind of question is that? I just drink what I need to get by. Not much. Just enough to get by." Gen began to feel a little cross again.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 09:56 pm

    For the second time that night, Dorien's heart sank into his stomach. That was not the kind of answer someone without a problem would give.

    He couldn't help but ask himself how far he wanted to push this. He could let it drop and just leave it. He could just shrug and pretend that her answer had satisfied him. It wouldn't be the first time he'd ignored someone who was walking a self-destructive path.

    Hell, if he was being honest, he'd even given a few of them road maps.

    But this was Gennie. She was family. Possibly the only family he really had left. And she was also a friend. Did he really have it in him to just walk away?

    "Is it your hands?" he asked, nodding to the gloves that she wore.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by Genevriel on 26/11/14, 10:15 pm

    Gen's face, pale to begin with, grew even paler and her hands began to tremble. "I don't... I don't want to talk about this." Her words were sharp, clipped as she fought to keep those doors closed.
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    Re: A drink between friends

    Post by tuck on 26/11/14, 10:28 pm

    "It's ok..." he said. He began to reach out to put a hand on hers, but stopped himself.

    "It's alright. You don't have to talk about anything you don't want to. Not until you're ready."

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