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ZincAboutIt last won the day on November 4 2022

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About ZincAboutIt

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  • Birthday 01/25/1992

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    Washington, USA
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    Writing, skipping, salt and vinegar chips, wordplay, maintaining my severe tea addiction
  1. Lita, the Grand Hotel, the Bindpoint It was both easier and more difficult to move down a hall that was, for all intents and purposes, entirely Lita’s. On the one hand, she didn’t have to worry too much about others overhearing. On the other, being covert was nearly impossible. So, Lita embraced it. She took a deep breath and walked with an easy step, sinking down into the knowledge that this entire floor belonged to her. Most of the employees here belonged to her too, in some fashion or another. Bribery, leverage, sheer force of charisma, all tools Lita wielded and wielded well. This was Lita’s first chance to prove herself the ideal tool. She needed to be quick, precise, effective. She couldn’t afford to fail. Her step did not quicken at this knowledge, her breathing did not accelerate. Instead she felt herself… distill. This is what she was born for, what she had been improved for. The figure standing at the end of the hall had better be prepared for her. Which was unlikely; so few were actually prepared for Lita Attar. Lita rounded a corner and her step slowed a fraction, green eyes narrowing as she took in the form of…Telian. A bellhop, and one in her specific employ. It wasn’t impossible that he’d decided to step wildly beyond the bounds of his duties and spy on her. Not impossible… but unlikely. Much more likely that Telian was not Telian at all. She smiled, an easy, sweet smile. The smile of a woman who was simply looking for an employee. “Ah, Telian,” she called out. “Just who I was hoping to find. A little early for it, but I do enjoy promptness.” @Voidus
  2. Lita's Suite, The Grand Hotel, The Bindpoint Lita kept her face carefully blank as Voidus began speaking to her, years of training to mask any emotion coming to the forefront. His voice was like night, soft and foreboding and full of promises; she had to pull herself back from falling into recent memories of that same whisper detailing a different sort of instructions. The mention of a listener down the hall jarred her fully back to reality, and she was halfway through a plan of reconnaissance when his finger traced along her arm. It was only a moment, but with her tin as high as it was he may as well have been stroking the blood in her veins with how deeply she felt the contact. She broke a little - just a moment, too short for anyone to catch - her eyes fluttering shut and the smallest inhale of breath. How could so few words touch such a place in her soul? Some place that Lita knew, without being quite formally told, no longer belonged to her. Then, he was gone, through the door with Vivica and vanished without a sound. Lita blinked, unconsciously storing the heat that would have rushed to her cheeks and down her neck in one of her brass arm bands. Valeria was speaking; Lita listened with half an ear to her complaints and remonstrances. The woman was a threat, though likely not in the way Valeria might perceive. She wished for her husband back - if there was any of him left to wish for. Lita welcomed her to try; the two were hardly competition. Valeria wanted love. Lita wanted... what? Purpose? An agreement? A hand finally skilled enough to properly wield her as the blade she was? Something far rarer than love, in all truth. And much more what Lita deserved. "Bad habits..." Lita said, speaking into the silence more to fill it than to actually give the woman any real information. Her instructions flowed back into her mind now that Voidus had left. She pushed her tiredness aside, promising her wearied body 'later', and looking around for another vial of Pewter. Laurelai sat on the couch with a look in her eyes that spoke of a swift collapse should Lita let up her Soothing. Rust, was there ever going to be an easy day in her life? "Plenty of vices to indulge here. Wine in the cupboard, cigarettes in the drawer." Lita pointed to both, chewing her lip as she thought of how best to approach the stranger listening out in the hall. "I need to go speak with the concierge downstairs, update them on your... extended stay. Laurelai? Do you think you could stay here and wait for me?" Behind her back, she sent Laurelai a different message, twirling the pen in practiced, fluid motions. "Someone listening down the hall, need to assess how much they know, and who they are working for. Stay here. Will keep Soothing you. Everything will be alright." @Voidus @Mrs. Voidus
  3. I am happy to help you in whatever way I can
  4. I can’t think of either off the top of my head. But even if there was one in the past, your interpretation would be brand new, so you should go for it!
  5. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys “I enjoy that cultivation of talent. There are few things as upsetting as skill being wasted. I shall be glad to see that yours go neither underutilized or underappreciated." There were plenty of things about this meeting that had caught Lita off guard, but perhaps none of them as much as Voidus’s final statement. Lita felt herself frown ever so slightly, the muscles between her eyes pulling inward. The raw emotions of fascination, of need and allure, parted briefly to allow something new into her mind: confusion, and realization. He was telling the truth. Lita could hear it in his voice, the mark of sincerity in the simplicity of his statement. It was not meant to cloak or redirect. Whatever else he intended for her - and Lita suspected that he intended quite a bit - Voidus did intend on actually teaching her how to harness and refine her new ability. He considered her talented. And he genuinely loathed the waste of such promise in others. This last piece touched off something within Lita, something other than the melting, bone-deep lust that currently spiraled through her blood like poison. It reached into a lonely place, that corner of herself where she kept the sharp, painful rage of her past. Her father, Forian, all the various people who had paid her to spy on their lovers or business associates, the colleagues who stopped by only for gossip and a tryst. The Stranger, and his Shade. All those who had used her - but used her poorly. Claimed her as their own, but did not know what she was capable of, did not care to sharpen, to polish, to admire her. People who had found an emerald and used it as a paperweight. Unskilled and uninterested in discovering her potential. Even a demigod, who could have used her for any purpose, given her any task, had left her to wither on the vine. The pain of being so thoroughly, laughably wasted grated at her each day, and kept her ill company at night. It was this pain, involuntary and unchosen, that she sought to drown in the brighter, cleaner pain of powdered tin. The blood on her pillowcase, the residue on her bedside table, they were choices. If Lita was to be wasted, better she waste herself. To be offered something so extraordinary, so necessary, as appreciation and utilization, was enough to make Lita catch her breath. She felt her hand shake slightly, causing the deep red wine in her glass to swirl lazily. Did he know what he had offered her? Its magnitude? Could he tell that all of her mounting guilt over what this would do to Laurelai, her better judgment regarding entanglements with her superiors, her recent history with the Stranger - everything was muted to an unnatural quiet within her at this one statement. She would be used properly, and appreciated accordingly. A simple thing, and yet how long had she been searching for it? Always she had been a sharp knife in a dull hand. But a knife in the hand of someone like this? Lita felt her teeth toy at her lower lip, a tell that she would usually never allow. But what was the point of demurring now? They both knew her answer. Lita was dying of thirst, and Voidus, generous god that he was, had offered her a drink. More than a drink. A river. All this passed in a moment, and Lita found herself leaning forward slightly, nodding. ”I agree,” she said. “It is refreshing to meet someone both creative and attentive enough to foster and reward such talent. Thank you for your offer. When should we begin?” @Voidus
  6. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys Foolish girl, the voice in Lita’s mind whispered, slightly panicked and laced with derision. She should have realized far earlier that she was walking herself into a perfectly crafted trap - the type that she herself had often employed to ensnare an unsuspecting mark. This was a sloppy arrogance, she was so used to being the parlour spider, and not the hopeless moth that flew directly into the web. Again. Lita’s internal critic was momentarily silenced as she watched Voidus tilt his head back and run a hand through his platinum hair, seemingly lost in consideration. It was a masterstroke, perfectly calculated, and a small portion of Lita’s brain catalogued the utter brilliance of his timing, his positioning, everything, for later use in her own games. The rest of her mind she let catch happily on fire, tin-enhanced eyes following each long, slender finger as they parted furrows in his silver-blonde strands. Her own fingers itched to follow them, to rake through that hair, her mouth parting slightly as she gazed at the pale hollow of his throat. A pulse beat there, infuriatingly steady, completely unaffected. Lita wanted to feel it on her tongue, taste the totality of power and self-assurance that came from being able to end the world with a whisper. “As it so happens I am quite accomplished in the arts of Emotional Allomancy. I am sure I could provide some useful demonstrations and instruction to begin your forays, we can set aside some regular meetings for it." Lita felt her smile brighten mechanically, her training taking over while her conscious mind reigned itself back from total abandon. “How could I refuse such a rare and generous offer?” She said, taking a sip from her wine glass. Dread followed it down, viscous and cold. It woke her up in a way that tin powder never could. Exhilarating, she thought, body a cocktail of adrenaline, need, terror. Relief. This was her, stopping the struggle. Such a terrible, glorious relief to be so utterly, expertly, caught. @Voidus
  7. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys It had often been Lita’s habit to watch the spiders in the corners of her father’s soothing parlor. There were always at least a handful of them hanging about, lurking fat and menacing in the center of their webs, waiting for an unsuspecting insect to wander into their trap. During her observation, Lita came to notice a strange pattern of behavior in the unfortunate prey of the parlour spiders. At some point, they stopped struggling - even if just a bit more fighting could have freed them. They would freeze, transfixed, and simply wait to be consumed. Was it the horrifying certainty? Were they flooded with paralyzing fear? Or was there something exquisitely alluring about their imminent doom? “Not often that one sees such serving skills outside of those who work in the industry. Something you picked up on an assignment?" Lita mentally shook herself, coming out of her reverie to meet the black, penetrating gaze of Voidus. He looked at her over the rim of his glass, expression mildly intrigued. It was distractingly familiar; how often had Laurelai looked at her like that from across the room before her smile turned wicked and eager? ”I…” Lita caught herself staring a moment, then cleared her throat. “An old skill, actually. One of my earliest. My father owned a Soothing parlour in Elendel. I used to pour for the guests.” The memory of her father’s parlour sent a tiny twinge through her left hip, right at the front where Laurelai’s new spike nestled by the curve of her hip bone. She was a Soother now, too. Like her father. It had been a long while since she had pictured the face of Conrad Attarre, with the deep brown hair she had not inherited, and the bright green eyes that she had. A smile that could convince anyone to buy at least one round of drinks. A laugh that had soothed Lita’s childhood worries far better than any Allomancy could have managed. Gregarious. Affable. Far too naive. The exact opposite of the man sitting before her, examining her like she was a rather diverting riddle to solve. Lita took another sip of her wine, trying to focus on the taste, trying to calm the rapid beat of her heart. Trying to remember why she was here: to be professional, to make a good impression. An impression on Laurelai’s father - remember that Lita? Lita did remember, and so out of respect for Laurelai she did not look at Voidus’s long, clever fingers, or the cut of his cheekbones, or the point where the collar of his perfectly white dress shirt curved around the side of his neck, or - “... well I shall have to find some way to suitably reward you. Did you have anything in mind? Anything you would like?" Rust and ruin, Lita thought, reeling her imaginings back before they caused another flush in her cheeks. She shifted position again to give herself a moment to think. A favor offered in this manner was no small thing - it would not do to waste it. So, what did she want? Lita dismissed the immediate, absurd answer that rose to mind with a tiny shake of her head. If only I could Soothe myself, that would be damn useful… Lita blinked, then looked up again, meeting Voidus’s eyes. ”As it happens,” she began, careful to pitch her voice just so - calm, collected, poised, “I have recently come into possession of the ability to Soothe emotions. While I have begun my own foray into the discipline, what I truly need is a teacher. I was hoping you might be able to put me in touch with someone who could mentor me in this skill, and possibly make introductions. Your influence in this matter would make finding the best instructor far simpler, and their likelihood of accepting my request far higher.” And it would get her out of this room before she did something foolish. But she decided not to mention that. @Voidus
  8. Hi @18th Shard, would you be interested in writing some Emily and Vivica? I am considering having her visit the hospital with a "sorry you found my corpse" apology cake
  9. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys It was remarkably unsettling, Lita decided, how very human Voidus appeared. His fingertips pressed lightly together, head slightly cocked as he listened to her speak. The cold stoicism usually present on his face had melted into a lazy smile, amused and pleased. Lita had the distinct impression that she has caught him off guard with her, as he put it, “talent and usefulness,” and that novelty alone pleased him quite a bit. Lita read all this from his expression, cataloguing this allowance as she listened to him speak approval over her idea. The swelling pride and elation over not only being given permission to begin her work on the club but also impressing someone so important should have had her floating on air. But Lita caught something stirring deep within the god’s eyes, and her stomach seized. The mixture was a familiar one, heady and potent: fear and fascination. They moved through Lita like twin serpents, coiling around and over one another until they were impossible to untangle. There was only the twisting, the smooth endless loop that was born even as it was devoured. A feeling Lita had keenly missed, a gnawing hollow in her core that had grown wide and hungry in the last fortnight. She herself had rooted it out, torn it from herself with fingers bloodied and cheeks wet from tears. Never again would the Stranger pierce her through with his mismatched eyes. Never again would his Shade whisper poison honey into her ears and trace spectral fingers down the length of her throat. She was no longer “little Lita,” but Lita Attar. She was no longer someone’s sharpened blade, to be used for purposes not her own. That freedom should have been comforting. It was not. "There are some glasses in that cupboard." Voidus said aloud, gesturing to a cabinet behind Lita. "We should drink if we are to discuss the opening of a bar, should we not?" Lita blinked, her musing wiped away by the singular decisiveness, the total certainty of his voice. She was up and out of the chair in a moment, moving automatically, her body glad to do something, to move and have purpose beyond sitting and remembering painful things. The cupboard in question was simple, elegant, and well-stocked with every conceivable type of glass, as well as the apparatus to prepare a myriad number of drinks. Lita ran an approving eye over the display, selecting two large wine glasses and a bottle opener before returning to the desk and setting the glasses down. Her fingers flipped open the bottle opener with practiced ease, and she was already cutting the wax seal off the deep green bottle on Voidus’s desk before she had a true, conscious thought about what she was doing at all. The motions had seemed so obvious to her, hands twisting the corkscrew into the soft cork and then pulling it back out, the cork giving a soft, satisfying ‘pop’ as it slipped free. Lita removed the cork from the screw and set it aside, lining up the two glasses and taking a short, purposeful breath. She picked up the bottle in one hand and poured the wine. Two perfect glasses, each identical, and all without spilling a drop. The ritual calmed her, the same one she had been practicing for almost two weeks now, and Lita felt herself smile again. It was, perhaps, her best pour yet. Fortunate indeed that she had decided to revisit this old skill. ”Your glass.” Lita slid one glass across the table, the deep crimson liquid swirling slightly, catching the light. She was struck, then, by the oddest feeling. A kind of certainty that both made perfect sense and caused a deep unease. This was the last piece of Whisper’s premonition in the Chapel. This is what she had been ‘practicing’ for. This moment right here, pouring wine for the creature that had slain another god. A creature who looked at once so very human, and so terribly divine. Lita wondered, as she gave Voidus a perfect, practiced smile, what had been so noteworthy about this precise moment in time to cause Whisper to include it at all. Surely her opening a bar was mundane in comparison with the other elements of her premonitions. Why bother, then? A joke, perhaps? Unlikely. Lita shivered, not entirely from fear, and raised her glass. ”To new things,” she said. Her hand barely shook at all. Remarkable, really. @Voidus
  10. It is a tea party! Would you like to have some tea in this dark alley? There are even more cookies available, and cake too!
  11. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys Most people were embarrassingly easy to read, even without tin. Others required more careful insight, a closer inspection, before Lita could tease out what they might be thinking or feeling. And a precious few were so very composed that even a Tineye could only guess at their innermost thoughts. The leader of the Dark Alley was one such person. As she spoke, Voidus’s expression remained remarkably neutral, a canvas of unbothered reception. Once or twice, Lita thought she caught the whisper of a frown, the smallest quirk of a brow, each emotion a vast leviathan stirring deep beneath the surface, causing only the slightest ripple. Lita considered herself quite practiced in the art of concealment, but this was mastery on another level. "Cautious, prudent, and skilled enough to run the department on half resources?" He began, lips twitching up into a slight smile - more obvious now. Something she was meant to see. "Enough that I am disappointed in myself for not giving the position to you sooner. If I may be so conceited, I usually have an eye for those who are talented or useful. A most unfortunate oversight." The words warmed Lita like a sip of fine spirits, heat spiraling out from her core to color her cheeks. She shifted in her chair, rolling her shoulders a bit and taking the moment to siphon the unexpected blush into one of her brassminds. Lita allowed her smile to brighten, the genuine pleasure reaching her eyes, though internally embarrassment followed swiftly after. Survivor, how long had it been since she’d heard such obvious, unguarded praise? Too long, if this was how she reacted. She was an adult and ought not require such validations. But damn if it didn’t feel good to know she was skilled at her job. Talented. Useful. Just another tool. The voice whispered into her ear, subtle and soft as always. But it did not carry its usual sting. Everyone used others, it was the way of things. Lita could be a tool, if someone took the time to clean and polish her now and again. “Generally the people of the city do not react well to any open signs of our presence. Little enough danger, but that is a problem I could do without considering... recent events." Lita blinked a few times as she realized Voidus had been speaking and she’d largely missed half of it. She quickly rewound what he’d said, scolding herself for allowing her mind to wander in such an important meeting, and leaned forward to place the second stack of papers on his desk. ”I daresay you may be as conceited as you like,” Lita said, the words slipping out in far more informal a tone than before, smile just a touch insouciant. “After all, who could stop you?” The horror at her own descent into a more typical, easy banter hit her a moment after she stopped speaking, and she covered her alarm awkwardly, pointing toward the stack of papers with renewed formal professionalism. ”Ah, not a recruitment drive in the strictest sense. I am hardly suggesting we set up a booth in the Bindpoint and begin handing out leaflets to passersby. More a… place to send inquiring minds. Somewhere you might find ‘someone who knows someone.’ A place to vet potential recruits. Somewhere to send contracted third parties for a dead drop. That sort of thing. And that would just be the… front room.” Lita smiled, one corner tilting up a bit more than the other. Lovely, white, and sharp. “I thought perhaps the second half of the club could be catered to a more… refined taste. Dark Alley taste, that is. The sort of place one might find anything at all, if you know how to ask. And are willing to pay the price.” She slid a preliminary floor plan sketch out from the pile and set it atop the rest. ”If you have any specific requests for such a place, they would of course be taken into the highest account, and your patronage would be welcome at any time.” @Voidus
  12. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys “Sit, please." He said as he gestured. "An expense report was it? Cautious and prudent of you to deliver yourself. I appreciate the care you give to your work. We can certainly use someone who does at least.” Lita sat, her practiced smile gaining a genuine shine at the compliment. She did put quite a good deal of thought into her work, thinking things over, planning the best course of action. It was always validating to receive praise for a job well done; she had not expected to receive it here of all places. Someone as old as Voidus struck her as being callous, indifferent, too bored by the world to notice or even care about the level of attention put into her work. It was a pleasant surprise. “But if that is not what you wished to discuss we should get to the matter at hand." Voidus continued. "What does our new department head need today? More funding?" Lita blinked at his question, expression completely unguarded for one moment, before rearranging her features back into her typical pleasant, attentive mask. “Quite the contrary, actually. The Counterintelligence department is operating on such a colossal surplus I have had a hard time deciding what to do with it. Based on what figures I could glean from Mac’s tenure, the department is now operating on roughly half the previous fund amount, with no detectable loss in productivity or ability of my agents to do their jobs. I had considered giving the slush fund back to you to distribute as you saw fit, but then another idea struck me.” She chose her next words carefully, tone pitched just right to maximize tact and minimize criticism. ”It has occurred to me that we may be missing out on a subset of potential promising new denizens using only our current recruitment method - namely that of tacitly encouraging interested parties to wander into the nearest Alley and try not to perish.” Lita crossed one leg over the other, laying her hands in her lap, the picture of a poised, collected woman. Inside, she was shaking. Well, in for a clip, in for a boxing. ”While this method may work for those with a temperament better suited to -“ Lita caught herself before mentioning R&D, “Acquisitions, it is almost entirely out of character for those with less reckless dispositions. Those who would find their place in Records, Public Relations, or Counterintelligence, for example. I myself was recruited in a bar - and that is what I would like to open. With your permission, of course.” Lita sat back in her chair, still smiling, giving the impression of patient contentment. Internally, her pulse thundered in her ears, amplified by tin. Green eyes locked onto the half-familiar face of a demigod, seeking the slightest hint of disapproval, of irritation. She tapped one lacquered finger against her knee - the only outward sign of her unease - and waited. @Voidus
  13. Lita, Voidus’s office, the Alleys She strode through the Alleys with her usual purposeful grace, the stiletto points of her heels connecting with the floor, each step making a light, staccato ‘tap.’ Weaving a path for Alleytravel was nearly second-nature now, her subconscious mind taking care of the necessary caveats and closing the loopholes that made manipulating dimensions possible and, at least reasonably, safe. Unfortunately, this left her conscious mind plenty of time to fret over her oncoming meeting. “…advantageous,” she murmured under her breath, one polished nail tapping against the papers she cradled in the crook of her arm. “I believe this location will prove advantageous… no, believe is too hopeful… it is my opinion that - no, my professional opinion… rust it.” Lita stopped walking for a brief moment, taking a breath to settle her nerves. This was hardly some sort of disciplinary meeting, she didn’t need to be so anxious. She had a good idea and worst case, the answer would be ‘no.’ It was inefficient to disintegrate heads of departments simply because their suggestion was not to one’s liking. Mac had been shamelessly embezzling a truly shocking amount of funds for at least several decades. If that didn’t account for a disintegration, then Lita would be fine. Right? She resumed her Alleytravel, forcing herself to keep her expression neutral, her pace steady and unhurried. Lita was efficient, she was observant and thorough. She was sleeping with Voidus’s daughter. Unimportant. Lita quickly shoved her panic down. Totally irrelevant. She was the consummate spy, organized and cool under pressure. She had been, up until two weeks ago, the Stranger’s object du jour, and had quite literally slept with his cognitive shadow. Not helpful, Lita! She was running her department on half the funding with no loss in effectiveness. She was charming, clever, useful. Very useful. Far too useful to simply kill. Too useful to abandon, to disregard, to leave unappreciated? You thought all those things too. Lita closed her eyes to the voice, banished the thought of him. Of them. This was a simple meeting, and the Stranger was dead. Very dead. At the hand of the person she was about to meet, in fact. He was no longer relevant. He held no power over her anymore. Why wasn’t that more comforting? Lita blinked, realizing she had been standing outside of Voidus’s office door for at least a minute now. She raised her hand to knock, knuckles rapping once on the plain wood, when the door opened. “Miss Attar." Voidus’s voice was cool, measured, precise. "You are amicably punctual. Young Miss Whisper here was just leaving." Lita looked down slightly, meeting the wide grey eyes of the younger woman and trying not to shiver. She’d always been unnerving, but now the image of Whisper standing motionless beneath the waters of the Chapel played in Lita’s mind. The terror, the confusion, the haunting echo of Whisper’s voice featured in plenty of Lita’s restless nightmares. She nodded to Whisper, a perfunctory motion, and the girl looked back at her with a slight expectant smile. Rusts, that was far more unnerving than her usual stoic expression. Something in her eyes stirred Lita’s memory, but then the girl was gone, closing the door behind her, leaving Lita alone with the Head of the Dark Alley. ”Good afternoon, sir.” Lita inclined her head again, this time a bit deeper. Not quite a bow, but close. She walked forward, her heels clicking on the fine wood floor. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.” Gods, but he looked like Laurelai. The same high, angular cheekbones, the set of his mouth, the fine silver-blonde hair. All but the eyes. Lita bit down on a shudder, meeting those two black eyes, placid and endless as the yawning space between stars. She smiled pleasantly, not showing her unease, setting one of two folders onto his desk. ”While I was here I thought I’d take the liberty of delivering the most recent Departmental expense report myself, though it is not the point of my visit. Managing a cadre of spies gives one an appreciation for guaranteed security of information.” @Voidus
  14. Lita, Lita’s apartment, the Alleys Lita stood in front of the mirror and carefully plaited her hair. Her fingers moved through the strands, pale slivers in a sea of red, separating each section, crossing it over, holding it still. Repeat. Repeat again. Breathe. The motion calmed her, a practice that came close to meditation in the way it centered her in her body. A ritual always performed before going out into the world, a way to put on unseen armor. She never let her hair down in public - only in private. And even then, only with a select few. Lita smiled at a memory, one of Laurelai’s long slender fingers pulling through her hair as they lay warm and spent in Lita’s bed. It had been easy to let her hair down for Laurelai, when the woman finally asked for it. The last few days had been a contrast to the week before, blurry and warm and full of blue eyes and silvery hair. The small pouch of tin powder in her bedside drawer lay mostly untouched - mostly. It was still important to stay sharp, stay on top of everything. That weight on her was still there. But it was far less lonely knowing that Laurelai was there, wanting her around. Not hating her for what she’d done. Brilliant, gorgeous, wickedly-talented Laurelai. Her only friend. Wish I felt so optimistic about all of her family. The thought soured her good mood, and Lita tied off her braid. It hung down over her shoulder, its end curving around her bust line and brushing the crux of her elbow. She eyed her reflection with uncommon intensity, not trusting her usual confidence in her appearance. Today she had to present precisely the correct image. Professional, a woman to be taken seriously. But not too seriously, or she’d appear insecure. She’d chosen a black pencil dress, something quite modest in comparison to most of her closet with its neckline barely lower than her collarbone and the hem brushing her knee. The back cut down a bit lower - she did have a reputation to maintain after all - but hardly enough to appear presumptive. Lita stepped into a pair of black heels polished to mirror shine and looked at herself again, cocking her head. Not quite right yet… On an impulse, Lita slid a pair of ruby drop earrings out of her jewelry box and hung them in her ears, echoing the color on her lips. The touch of red, startling against all that black, felt right. Lita nodded once, then walked from her room without a second glance, sliding a small pile of paperwork off her kitchen table and into her arms as she made her way to the door. Laurelai had left earlier in the day, mentioning some business she had to get to in Records. Lita had waved her off, glad for once to have some time alone to prepare. Laurelai was uncomfortable enough about her father, she didn’t need Lita’s unease as well. As she neared the door, she reached out instinctively to put the gold Coin into a hidden dress pocket before stopping herself. She looked at the Coin for a long moment, then set it back on the small side table next to the door. One god was enough for today; she didn’t need the disappointment of another haunting her thoughts. With a last deep breath and a straightening of her spine, Lita exited her apartment, locked her door, and Alleytravelled. It was time to ask god if she could open a bar. @Voidus
  15. Lita, Lita’s apartment, the Alleys You... you actually think that I, what? That I hated you? Gods how could you possibly..." The shocked look on Laurelai’s face, the wounded sorrow, was enough to make Lita stop for just a moment and catch her breath again. Laurelai wiped a hand across her eyes, smearing perfectly-applied makeup under her lower lids. The startling crystalline blue of those eyes seemed even brighter against the smudged kohl and shadow as Lita stared into them. She truly was surprised - utterly blindsided by Lita’s anger. The realization that Laurelai was telling the truth, at least in this, calmed her a bit more. But that calm quickly gave way to renewed confusion. If Laurelai wasn’t repelled by Lita, what in the hell was going on with her? You've been crying." Laurelai spoke suddenly, breaking the moment of intense eye contact and observation. "Before now. Before anything that's happened tonight. Is that... have I….upset you? Or is it... Him?" The very mention of “Him” sent Lita’s blood pressure back towards the ceiling. Her eyes narrowed again, and she bit her tongue to keep from giving a dismissive, biting reply. It felt like a stalling tactic, and Lita was both irritated and impressed with Laurelai’s ability to sway a conversation her way, even when she was so out of sorts. But then, this could also be an opportunity. Lita recalled a similar bid for honesty in the ruins of a tavern, two jaded young women sharing wine amidst the end of the world. That night had not been an end but a beginning - the first time Lita had truly felt as though she might have made a friend. Could it happen again, here? A different table, a different drink, but the same two women. Mostly the same. ”I -“ Lita opened her mouth and was arrested by the taste of something hot and metallic hitting her tongue. She sputtered, looking down at her hand still splayed on the table, and recoiled at the sight of blood. Her other hand flew to her face, fingers fruitlessly trying to stem the steady stream of blood pouring from her nose. “Gods damn it -“ She tilted back her head and lurched into the kitchen, snatching a towel off the counter and holding it to her face, peering over the folds of cloth at Laurelai as though daring the blonde to say something. @Voidus