I Know You

- 11th October, The Wonky Donkey, Noon -

“This way, Monsieur.” Zelda walked backwards to one of the tables, keeping her eyes on Kadison save for a few quick glances over her shoulder to avoid collisions. “We have a special running today available exclusively to our hat and tie patrons. I bet you weren’t expecting such fortuitous discounts when you wandered into this fine establishment.” She pulled a chair out from a small round table and nudged her head toward it twice like a signal. “People will stare if you stand for too long,” she whispered.

Kadison was quick to seat himself. More eyes were all he needed. But to be fair, with the amount of time he spent indoors and away from people, it was unlikely he'd be recognized. He cleared his throat, "I wasn't particularly interested in a meal when I came in here but what else did I expect?" he chuckled quietly and looked to miss Zelda. She had a frame similar to that of his sister's which only made him more curious; not many had that physique in the city unless they were entertainers... now her name sounded even more familiar. He'd obviously known her from somewhere and he had a pretty good guess. Her hair is what stood out the most both in memory as well as the present. You'd never see another shade of auburn so delicate and beautiful in all of Dusk. He'd definitely seen her. If all went well this moment he might even consider offering up a name himself, informal as it sounded being so late. Why wear out a name when you only have one? Still, he felt like a dick.

"So now that you've peaked my interest, what is this special you have?" Kadison set his hat on the table, eyes wandering the room before continuing, "And what beverages, besides water, do you serve that aren't alcoholic?" He'd never been much of a drinker like the rest of his family. It was all too bitter, smelled too strong, and just downright disgusting anywhere he tried it. He'd seen how that horrid poison worked; did no good for anyone. And he was incredibly familiar with poisons.

“Well since you’ve admitted you’re not here to eat I think it’s okay for me to confess,” Zelda leaned in and screened peripheral view of her mouth between the tray in one hand and a menu in the other. “The fried mushroom fritters are tasty enough, but the real special is in the service. That’s me. Although, just so we’re clear, I’m not actually on the menu. This is an upright and moral establishment.” Even from this close distance she couldn’t see the weave of his clothing; that meant a high thread count. Why did that matter? And just like that she was thinking like a prima ballerina on the hunt for a patron. In the world of theater they were called patrons, not sugar daddies.

“Truth be told, there’s nothing particularly special about today’s culinary selection, either; prices haven’t even been marked down. I’m required to market them as specials though. Rules are rules. Let’s see, we have a spiced herbal tea; I’m told that’s not alcoholic, but Lathan over there’s on his fourth kettle and his smile grows with each. I can bring up from the basement a chilled fruit sangria, well no, that’s alcoholic as well. We have fresh cream, but that’s really for the chef’s use in the kitchen.” Zelda bit her bottom lip and found an excuse to touch her hair. “I’m sorry, Sir, I guess we really don’t have many options for such a refined taste as yours. Or if we do I can’t remember them. It’s only my third day,” she offered as way of context. “Much like yourself, if I’m not mistaken, I’m unaccustomed to dining in establishments such as this. The theater district is full of coffee houses and the like, but even those were a rare outing.”

"I'll take those fritters and a cup of your herbal tea, but judging as it's a sober beverage whatever you're putting into it must-" he paused for a moment and snapped his fingers lightly like a lightbulb had gone off. It had finally registered. He hadn't had his caffeine yet so he wasn't the sharpest, but it finally got to him. Late nights in the lab took a toll on your sleep schedule. "The theater district, that's where I know you! My sister danced at the Solstice before all this, Fawn Larcher? I'm Kadison by the way." He held out his hand. If she was there long enough she might have some notion of Varya, but the chances of her or anyone knowing her current whereabouts or even a dropping of a trail were unlikely. She seemed honest enough, telling such top secret information regarding her place of work to some customer. It was worth a try, even if he really didn't want to talk about something that bothersome to him.

“Kadison Larcher?!” She managed to put his hand around her own despite him initiating the greeting and shook it with exuberance. She was careful to keep her voice down even if it had risen in pitch. “I should have recognized you, but then I only met you on the two occasions. You probably won’t have reason to remember me, but I know the face of Fawn’s brother, of course. Silly me for overlooking it this long.” Zelda and Fawn were not exactly friends, but the prima ballerina rarely had the luxury of sharing genuine friendship with the rest of the dancers, not when you considered some of the rivalries that built up between them. Zelda didn’t like to think of it, but she’d done some mean spirited things to achieve her position and hold onto it. Mean spirited might not be a sufficiently offensive term, but there was no need exploring that now while Kadison was here. Or ever.

She was visibly torn between pulling over a chair and actually performing her duties as a server. Zelda patted him on the hand and said, “Wait here,” before she skipped off to the kitchen to put in his order. She was halfway back to his table when she was called over by another and after that another. By then those fritters were up and the owner’s wife, seeing a bit of genuine joy in Zelda’s face for the first time since her employ had begun, was kind enough to fix up the herbal tea and have it on a tray waiting. Zelda mouthed a thank you to her and brought it all to his table. She fussed about getting Kadison set up with his silverware just so and even tucked a napkin in under his chin before she offered to pour him a cup of tea. “I don’t see Fawn often these days, but then I don’t see any of them as much as I’d like. Everything is in such a topsy state. I mean, look at me? Here?”

Kadison watched the steam rise into the air as she poured, smiling at just how excited she'd gotten over him of all things. He didn't know it was possible to have that kind of affect on someone he'd only met twice, but then again he was charmed by the woman's personality to say the least.
The trip here was definitely worth it so far.

(JP with Esimed)

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