Friday, May 13, 2011

Fresh Off The Boat

"The good Captain seems to be getting along with the Major just fine," Harrison mutters darkly to Carl. "Keep their drinks topped off, Carl. I don't want any problems tonight."

"Will do, sir," the head waiter replies.

Harrison slides the package from underneath the bar and tucks it inside of his of his jacket. Drink in hand, he exits the bar area and lets his eyes sweep the establishment. Every table is full. Every guest has a drink. More importantly, no eyes are on him. Usually, such a night would please the proprietor. Tonight however, something feels off. It could have to do with the orphaned package Harrison finds himself stuck with, but that alone is not enough to cause the smooth man unease. He's been in far more precarious predicaments before. There's just... something.

"I'll be in the back," Harrison notes. "I have something to take care of. Keep eye on things for me, would you, Carl?"

"Certainly sir."

Carl loads up his tray with drinks as Harrison strides away. Weaving his way among the tables, the waiter exchanges full glasses for empties. He is halfway through the room when a dazzling couple enters.

Unsurprisingly, they are not regulars. Harrison's club is infamous for attracting individuals that are just passing through. Carl sizes them up in an instant. The man, tall with dark skin and matching hair, appears to be looking for someone. While he certainly cuts an imposing figure, he does not radiate Gilnean, though Carl is fairly certain that that is where the man's origins lie. A waiter is sensitive to such things. Carl glances nervously back at Major Strasser, but the Goblin hasn't appeared to take notice yet. There is no love lost between their two races.

The woman, on the other hand, has already begun to capture eyes. Male heads turn as neighbors are nudged. Lustrous dark hair cascades luxuriously over bare shoulders and burning blue eyes compliment pale, delicate features. Though both her and her date are finely clothed, it is the woman's dress that shines, catching every bit of the dim light in the club and reflecting it back with unbridled bravado. Together, they appear the very part of a wealthy foreign couple on holiday.

"We have two free seats at our table."

The voice at Carl's shoulder is Captain Renault. The head waiter turns with a smile to find the policeman with a full glass in his hand and a fake smile on his face. The waiter raises a questioning eyebrow.

"The Major has requested they be seated with us," Renault adds through his teeth. He then drains his drink in one long swallow.

Carl senses the man's displeasure, yet the smile remains glued in place. "Another drink, sir?"

In reply, Renault helps himself to one from the tray. With a nod and a second glass for his companion, the Captain heads back to his table. Though most of the eyes have returned to their own tables and conversations, Carl notes there is one set still on the couple in the doorway: Major Strasser's.

Carl weaves back though the tables and sets his tray on the end of the bar. Wiping his hands on a nearby towel, he turns and strides quickly toward the door. The two newcomers had just been starting to make for a few empty seats near the back. He intercepts them a few steps from the door.

"Please. If you would be so kind as to follow me. The two men at the front request the pleasure of your company. Shall I escort you to them?" Part of Carl hopes they choose to dine alone, for Harrison's sake.

The man's green eyes find the Captain and Major. One side of his mouth dips almost imperceptibly, quickly replaced by a suave smile. "Well, I've been looking left, right, and center for that man also," he says, the Gilnean accent heavy on his voice. As well as sarcasm. "After you, then."

So much for that, Carl thinks, but only voices, "Right this way."

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