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Liam didn't like being told no. He wasn't good at denying something once it battled past the prelude of nonchalance that he wore as armor to make him truly care about something. Reporting to a supervisor made him more than a little uncomfortable at times and even resentful. It was not easy to be told to wait when he wanted to run. Sometimes, he felt like no one listened and that the cases he brought before the guards were ignored, but thankfully, he had little regard for the rules and being told no didn't necessarily mean that he would leave a lead alone. It had been five weeks ago that he'd brought a case of illegal smugglers to the team, but with so much on their plates defending the city and breaking up fights, it had fallen between the cracks. Somehow, he hadn't been able to let it go, despite being warned that going in without backup was dangerous. He'd been patient this time; well, as patient as Liam Arbor ever got and done two full weeks of recon and location scouting.
There was a gala for the new casino opening on the river banks and while it had been nearly impossible to score a real ticket, coming up with a contraband item hadn't been that difficult. It was a large party, with a few bouncers for security, but nothing he couldn't handle. At least, that was what the young man told himself, as he buckled his gun to his leg beneath his tuxedo and straightened his bow-tie in the mirror.
Spiffy. He was almost impressed.
Not comfortable, of course, but if he showed up in anything less, he wouldn't make it past security.
There was something connected in all of the this and he was going to find out what that was - or, more likely, get in a lot of trouble while trying.
Soft, classical music poured out of the open french doors as he approached. It was fifteen minutes past seven o'clock and the party guests were already mingling with delicate glasses of champagne in their hands.
He took one, too seem polite, but he would not be drinking.
To his left there were large, round tables decked in red table clothes where dealers started games of blackjack. He frowned. It made him uncomfortable to see people recklessly throw their money at chance. It had ruined more than one person in his family. Still, in order to come back with a report that actually meant anything, he had to catch the croupiers in the act. That meant blending in and even particpating in the games.
He took a deep breath, waited for a chair to empty, and placed himself at a table with a good vantage point. Around him were several stern faced men with cigars, old women in floral, and to his right, a young woman with red hair like his sister's favorite mermaid and a dress that resembled like poured wine.
I wonder if she's cursed not to speak. Liam wondered, as the games began.
Her general aura certainly made him speechless.
In the past she would spend many nights just like these. Back when she lived more of a carefree life. Living a nomad and carefree life. When conning was the only thing she knew. The only way of life she had back then. No family, friends or responsibilities. Living a carefree life. Now it was something she craves to have back these days. Life was all different to her now these days. She was now coven leader and ambassador. A figurehead almost. Back then it was something she’d never see and picture herself doing. To settle down, not being on the run all the time. To have a family even, when before she’s always been by herself. It was a strange thing to think how things have changed so much in the past few years. Still she couldn’t let go of her past life of conning. Still craving that life and all of it again. Choosing not to leave it all behind yet. It was a part of her and always will be. Now she just has to be more careful and clever about it. To make sure she’s not caught by anyone who would recogninise and call her out. So far it has worked out to her favour.
Originally tonight she had planned for it being a simple poker con. Something she had done countless times. It was an easy one if cards are all played right and her rivals are too clueless to see that they are being robbed in front of their eyes. The Diviner had already done what she went out to do tonight. Having taken enough money that she came here for. That can keep her happy and well off for a while. It was no secret she yearned for the life of luxury. It mostly was to have her hands on the newest clothes and latest designer labels and shoes or make up. All of those things came up to a hefty price tag but for what was left she mostly chose to donate it. Something to remind herself that she wasn’t all that bad. Yet she was confused for what Liam’s motives were. She knew that it was different from what she was here for. They shared one thing in common. Both of them have done something illegal tonight. That's what she knew for sure at least but she wanted to find out more. For her own curiosity of course.
It came as of a no surprise to her that he would question her trust. She was just the same. Not being able to trust anyone but herself but now it was different these days with it being extended to her cousin who she could trust with her life and he would with his. “Why should I trust you?” Turning the question back around to him, showing they were both the same. Kaelyn knew it was coming that he’d think she’d use that she knew against him. “Well lucky for you I work alone. So stop your conspiracy thinking and just trust me” Reassuring him softly she wouldn’t turn against him, hoping that he’d do the same. Kaelyn saw the smirk arose on Liam’s face before watching him walk away and headed to the bar. She knew that he was waiting for her to follow and that's what she did. Soon they spoke of their plan for how they were going to leave, nodding her head agreeing with him. “So have I made you curious?” She smirked, teasing him softly. It seemed they were both curious about each other. “You go first and I’ll meet you there. It is better for you to slip out first” There were people already leaving early for the night so it made perfect sense. For her she’d wait a few moments, collect her winnings before leaving not long behind. Kaelyn knew everyone in the room were too busy with their games to take their focus away and onto them.
Liam tended to enjoy social drinking. It relaxed him and the environment of the bar across the road was nothing new to him. When he was in school, his nights had often been spent at the pub across from the main hall with a whiskey to his right and a law book to his left. The hubbub of all the people and softly pulsing music felt like home. It was certainly more relaxing than the candlelight from across the road. He wasn't exactly a person of high-society. Trying to blend into a world where he didn't belong was far from his favorite task. The room was filled with paneled walls and glowing neon letters. There was a bar in the back and a pool table resting by the fireplace. The subtle clack of the wooden balls resounded as two players hit them back and forth. The young lady whom he'd met only a few hours earlier was standing at the bar. He loosened his tie and shrugged off his jacket. It was warm here, despite the chilly temperatures outside.
Despite that he'd left earlier, somehow she'd arrived first. That only added to the mysterious haze that seemed to stretch from her smile to her eyes. It was quite an accomplishment to march into a bar in a long red dress and three inch heels. Even with the added height, Kaelyn still just barely reached his shoulders. Her bold personality seemed to make up for what she lacked in inches. In many ways, he felt relieved that she seemed content to do most the talking. Liam had a tendency to go for people who were emotionally unavailable. For some reason, temporary connections seemed to be easier than forming lasting bonds which could move into vulnerable territory. There was less risk in being around other people who, like himself, didn't mind maintaining a certain level of distance. He reached for his whiskey glass, turning to face her. They were opposite the gaming table and had a clear view of what was happening. Liam liked betting on the underdog. Right now, the player in blue was six points behind. It would take several hail mary's for it to turn favorably. He took a sip from his drink, eyeing the girl in red. "I'd bet that the guy in blue will make a comeback and clear the table."
"Despite the posh school that I attended, I don't believe I've ever actually played a true game of pool." He stirred his drink. "Sober, anyway." There were a lot of things that he hadn't done sober. While his affair with alcohol wasn't nearly like his mentor's, it certainly took on a life of it's own at times. There were times that he preferred to be to himself but drinking made socialization easier. As a true introvert, he spent much more time thinking about what he was saying than actually speaking. "I'm not sure you'll manage to run the board the same way you did the casino. Shall we put it to the test?"
Kaelyn thought that tonight would be a simple con one that she had done plenty of times. She wasn’t the best at playing poker but knew enough of how to manipulate people. Picking up other people's body language was something she was best at. Someone that people like her are good at. It was basic. Even for any other good poker player it was an essential skill to make sure you win. Normally she wasn’t one to be distracted. That normally it was other way around that she would be the one distracting others. Yet the Diviner would find her being distracted. Choosing to go and seek out the distraction. At a bar at that. It’s been a while since she’d been into a bar. Mostly it was since becoming ambassador. Choosing not to be seen as a day drinker along with she got tired of the people who always tried hitting on her at the bar. Choosing to go to places that were more classy rather than ones with floors that were sticky from spilt alcohol.
Now here she was at the bar that she’d agreed to meet Liam at. She knew it would be a bad idea for them to stay back at the party with too many prying eyes who would be sooner or later figuring out they’d been strung along. Then to whatever Liam was doing in the office she’d helped him break into. Soon as she stepped into the bar she could feel all eyes on her. Something she’d expected with how it was not every day someone was dressed in a fancy dress walks into a bar. The Diviner kept her head held up high, choosing to ignore the stares seeing the blonde male who was waiting at the bar for her. A smile appeared on her lips noticing how he’d already ditched the tie and the jacket. Already able to tell he wasn’t a suit kind of guy that it was just for his cover. “Couldn’t wait to get rid of the tie and jacket” She mused lightly as she appeared beside him taking the spare seat. Kaelyn looked up at the gambling table opposite them but it wasn’t at the level from the place they’d last come from. “I’m done with placing bets for one night”
She could see Liam starting to eye the pool table nearby. Now she was starting to learn a little bit more about him. “You’ve never played it before?” She was surprised that most people played it once before having a proper game. “It’s not that hard really. I think the aim of the game is to get more balls in your colour then the black. Normally I lose but I always have a go. Let’s see if you have beginner's luck” She smiled taking him up on his offer, teasing him on the beginners luck. “I’m a little bit overdressed to play pool” Laughing a little looking down at her red dress and high heels.
Liam's tendency towards spur of the moment decisions was not something he prided himself on. In most scenarios, he liked to think and measures his chances of success before committing, but relationships were the one place that he tended to be purely rash, perhaps, instinctual. He'd never had the kind of success that he'd wished to with the ladies. There were plenty of times that he'd courted someone for a night, bought her a drink, and seen her out the next morning; but he tended to mistrust lasting connections. They were a risk that he didn't often take. Tonight, with Kaelynn, he had no intentions of ever seeing her past tonight. That was part of what made it easy to relax around her. If he said something foolish, it wouldn't come back to haunt him.
The young man took the cue from the wall and approached the table. Games were puzzles. He liked the ones that had elements to figure out. Pool was not like that. It depended on a large variable of chance, just like gambling. He examined the colorful balls strewn out across the board and crossed his arms over his chest. If there was no strategy involved, his chances of success fell significantly. Luckily, the whiskey shot he'd had a few moments ago would cushion the blow to his pride. He took the pole and aimed the ball at a cluster towards the edge. Before he shot, he peered up at her curiously. "What would you say to one more bet?"
He took the shot, watching two of the five balls fall into a nearby net. "If I win, you have to tell me why you didn't alert the security when I picked that lock. And if I lose, I'll tell you why I was there."
It was risky business revealing missions of the Guard to a stranger. If he was caught, he'd be strictly reprimanded and faced with Dominic's glare of disappointment for the next eight weeks. Sometimes, the disappointment felt worse than the actual guilt, but tonight Liam didn't want to think, or calculate, or assess his risk of loss. He just wanted to be free from the responsibility and the burden of adulthood that he'd carried ever since he was an adolescent. For once in his life, he wanted to get drunk and kiss a girl senseless without worrying what might have happened if he'd been responsible.
He leaned on the table, watching, as the young woman in bright red calculated her own shot and outmatched it by one ball. His smirk teetered on the edge of a frown for a brief moment, but instead of worrying, he snatched the pool cue from her fingertips. "I do believe you've stolen my luck. Where can I find it again?
He chuckled, hoping his luck wouldn't end with a game of pool. Despite that his chances were slim, it seemed like a good night to be impulsive.
Normally whenever she went to poker nights at underground or secret locations she was always in and out as soon as she got enough money that she’d been wanting. The least time she spent at places like there was the better. To be in and out. To pull the wool over other’s eyes. Then by the time people would realise what had happened she was long gone. Leaving no tracks or traces. It was so simple but dangerous at the same time. With one simple slip up or someone recognising could be game over for her. Luckily for her nobody’s ever recognised or put two and two together. Always using a fake alise, keeping up the act so perfectly. Just like she’d been doing all her life. Sometimes she’d be too into the con forgetting she can drop the act after. The Redhead didn’t plan to go to a bar that she’d never been at with someone she’d only just met. Still she didn’t really know. All she knew was that he was there at the poker night not just to play poker. That he was just as bad as her. Normally when going to bars she would dress more low key and not into a ball gown that she was in now. It wasn’t like she would draw attention to her sense of style normally. Just tonight she was looking more extra than usual. That she doesn’t exactly go around dressed for a fancy party every day.
Now somehow she had to play a game of pool in a ball gown. One of the most impractical things she could do was play pool in or really move properly in but she wasn’t going to say that she couldn’t do something that she wasn’t dressed for. Kaelyn let the mysterious Liam go first, letting him take the first shot. Seeing as he looked over to her before he took the shot, hearing as he placed the first bet of the night. A smirk appeared on her lips seeing how he wanted to figure out what was so mysterious about her as he was to her. “Deal” Nodding her head accepting the challenge even though she knew she was going to most likely win. It was now her turn to take the shot. The Redhead focussed on which ball she wanted to aim at, like always it went peferectly. She couldn’t help but laugh a little seeing how Liam snatched the pool cube from her already seeing he was starting to see that he was a sore loser with how she was already looking to be in the lead. “My cousin has a pool table at his place then I’ve had some in places I’ve lived at in the past” She commented casually shrugging her shoulders, always to say that he had no chance. “If I recall you weren’t so good at poker earlier, I was practically carrying” The Redhead smirked pointing out the truth.
Liam was incredibly competitive, certainly not the world's warmest loser. He liked being the best at what he did. When that came to his education or debate, it had often been easy to best others with his own verbal repertoire. Tonight, however, he had a bad feeling as he watched her nail two shots in a row. Perhaps, he should have chosen a game that was more up his alley, but as the human sipped on his whiskey, he could feel that sentiment slowly start to buzz away. In the very least, even if he lost, he had the satisfaction of knowing that he had the attention of the prettiest girl in the whole bar tonight. He liked the mystery. It was a large part of what had intrigued him into stepping away from public office in the start. He'd never been interested in the law because of what it could do for others, but more because those who worked with it seemed to hold some kind of power. He found that attractive. There was so much freedom in never having to worry where your next meal would come from. He certainly hadn't found that in his life as a guard. It was more the type of job that required sacrifice and made ends meet. He'd made his first allies though and he appreciated the mentoring that he'd been getting, step by step.
Liam took the pool cue hastily as she finished her shot, but was not reckless in his game. He leaned back against the table, eyeing where the different balls fell across the green velvet backing. There was a safe shot that guaranteed minimal risk, but low reward; and there was a tricky one which could guarantee him the win. He'd never often backed down from a challenge, even if it meant that he'd make a fool out of himself. Liam downed the last of the drink, eyeing up his gaming partner with a slight smile, "Wish me luck."
He did not wait for the affirmative response before taking the difficult shot. The white ball sped through a burst of colored ones, spreading them into several different nets. He leaned back, admiring the job well done. It may have been beginner's luck, but Liam liked to end on a high note. He set the cue aside and reached for her hand, sneaking his arms around her waist. "Would you like to get out of here? I've heard that bars are bad places to spill secrets."
The Redhead was a suker for any time type of game. Especially if it involves placing bets or winning something at the end. With her line of job it was always anything with stragtiegies you had to be good at. Reading people too. That's how she was able to take the money from people so easily earlier. Sometimes she would have her own game of pool. Able to see or guess what move her opponent was going to take. Kaelyn could guess that Liam was trying to take this game seriously. Seeing the blonde male was better at playing pool than he was at poker. That's what she was able to guess with how confident he was coming off to her. Or he was trying to pretend to know what he was doing or trying to show off. It was no secret that the two of them were trying their best to impress each other. Showing off. Kaelyn knew there was something intriguing about Liam from the moment they had first met. It wasn’t just that she knew he was there at the poker night for no good just like her. It was something else that she couldn’t wrap her head around. She was sure that it was the same for him that he was tryng to figure her out. The Diviner was always mysterious for everyone.
“Just don’t hit the black one in then you’ll be fine” She smirked, teasing him a little, testing to see if she would make him a little bit nervous to mess up his shoot. In the past she’d manage to make people look their focus in the last few moments making her then win. Soon as she took her shot she watched and waited as he took his. Looking to see where the white ball would go if he had shot any of his coloured balls into the holes. To her surprise he potted several into different holes. something that doesn’t happen unless you're a pro, which she was sure that he wasn’t. She was taken aback feeling his arms wrapping around her waist as Liam had found some courage from his shots to try to make a move. “Hmm someone is confident” She smirked tilting her head to look at him with his arms around her waist. “Let’s go back to mine” Accepting his offer, inviting him over to hers. She wasn’t much of a bar person especially when she was wearing a ball gown with people still staring at her and it was already getting late. Along with the sexual tension between them was wanting for them to explore more. “We’ll find out which secrets want to be spilled…”
Unlike most, Liam tended to feel at home in bars. he'd spent many of his college years studying in them -- using the racket to drown out the noise in his own head. That was where he'd picked up the small bits and pieces that he knew of pool, too. Tonight, what had happened was mostly luck. That was something that he would never take for granted. His skill acquisition came mostly through observance rather than practical experience, but tonight it had paid off plentifully. Despite his reserved personality, Liam could be quite charming when he put his mind towards it; the problem was that he truly believed most people didn't deserve his charm. The average person barely deserved common decency. His cynicism had left very little wiggle room for public niceties, but as the exited the bar with his arm wrapped securely around her waist -- Liam almost wondered if that should change. If anything, he had tried for a very long time to hold onto hope for his little sister, but right now that was one of the furthest things from his mind.
The young man loosened his tie as they stepped into the chilly January air. There were still holiday lights hanging from the post lamps and they cast a warm glow upon the sidewalk. The way which that light bounced up onto the dark red hues of his date's hair was bewitching and her aura lilting over him was obvious. He didn't seem entranced, but the way his normally stiff shoulders had relaxed into a human posture was unusual. For some reason, the curiosity that he felt towards the young woman was lowering his guard. "Your place it is." Liam nodded. The walk down the midnight street was quiet, but every so often his steel blue eyes would drift from his surroundings and towards her red lips, or hair, or flushed cheeks. It was only his disdain of public displays of affection that kept him from pulling her into his arms and exploring the strange electricity that seemed to bounce between them.
The walk was only around a mile, which seemed like nothing to the guard. He'd become so accustomed to running miles with his fellow soldiers that the quiet stroll was more relaxing than invigorating. Ahead, he saw a shadow in the distance that became more and more shaped like a house the closer that they got. It was two stories, Victorian architecture, with a grand wrap around porch, bay windows, and silver shingles. A brief look of puzzlement stuck to his face as he followed her up the stairs. Perhaps, it shouldn't surprise him that she owned her own home. He'd noticed early on that diamonds around her neck were most certainly real, but he hadn't suspected that she actually owned them.
The human tried to keep his bewilderment underwraps as they entered the corridor. Moonlight shown down from the windows, casting bright spots on his companion's face. It was her necklace, reflecting in those ever so alluring eyes. Liam did the proper thing and removed his jacket and his shoes and her soft fur flounce before finding himself facing her once again. "I don't suppose that anyone has ever told you that you have the power to render a man completely speechless?" His attention did not stray from her eyes as he spoke. Once the heels had been removed, it became entirely obvious how his height towered over her. There was a bench a foot away and Liam took a rest, giving her a gentle tug onto his lap. "Yet, somehow, I do not mind at all."
It was inches that separated them at first, but the sparks off one another quickly turned that into centimeters. Her red dress was like a matador's cape in the moonlight. It was driving him mad. The bare space became nothing. Liam wasn't sure who moved first. Perhaps, it was gravity. Perhaps, it was desire. His lips crashed into hers with urgency. The embers which danced around them seemed to go up in flames as they came together. He melted into her, letting the young woman next to him lead the way.