Title: Stroke of Luck [Graham]
Taylor Hewitt - January 3, 2010 05:32 AM (GMT)
Taylor sat at the bar, staring down at her hands. How could she have been so stupid? Of course he wouldn't have wanted to go out with a stripper. She'd gotten an uncomfortable voice mail from Trevor, telling her that Colton wouldn't be meeting her and not to call. She followed his advice, because Trevor didn't like her anyways, and aside from that, Colt's phone was shut off. His number was disconnected. Man, he'd really gone out of his way to avoid her, that was for sure. She had no idea he'd left the city, so she was assuming he'd just decided to hate her forever.
She'd gotten all prettied up, ignoring the fact that she couldn't get him on his phone. He'd never been late for a date, no matter how lame they were, and she had no reason to think so now. And then, just ten minutes prior, that message from his brother... She swallowed an angry shot of whiskey just thinking about it. She smoothed down the light pink fabric of the flirty gauzy dress she wore, angry that she'd even bothered. Her hair was down, she'd worn a "nice" dress that was cut just above her knees as opposed to something slutty - she'd even found a tasteful cross necklace to wear. Taylor was trying to clean up.
And it had gotten her nowhere. She slumped down on the bar and twirled a cherry stem between her French manicured nails. Oh well. She glanced up as a tall but boyish-looking man sat next to her, and she returned his smile with a sad one of her own, before holding a finger up to the bartender.
"Can I have another one?" she asked, her voice typically light, despite her mood. She remained in that slumped position, content to feel sorry for herself. Wasn't this what the other girls had warned her about? Guys didn't date strippers. She should just love 'em and leave 'em. Why couldn't she change her own luck instead of everyone else's for once?
Graham Armstrong - January 3, 2010 06:26 AM (GMT)
He didn't have a good reason for being in the bar if someone asked, which bothered him a little, but he figured he could bullshit his way through if he was forced to. In actuality, someone had said the place was haunted, so the Hellhounds were thinking of investigating it. Before they brought in the fancy equipment, however, Graham was going in alone to see if he got any 'vibes' from it. Normally, Luke would also go, but today his friend had other stuff to deal with, so it was just Graham. He could do it without Luke. He'd told Luke that, and himself, and he was GOING to make it true.
Besides, he was betting the place wasn't actually haunted. They'd found a lot like that, so he wouldn't be surprised.
He really wasn't even paying attention at ALL when he sat down and ordered a cranberry and soda water concoction that actually tasted good (he thought) and didn't have booze in it. In the event that there really WAS a spirit there, he didn't want to be at all off-balance. That there was a pretty girl sitting in the stool next to the one he'd chosen didn't hurt, but he was already bracing himself for her refusal. He was horrible with girls.
"Wow, I feel underdressed," he commented, glancing at her and what she was wearing. She looked really nice, but he didn't think he should say that. Was there a less direct way of saying it? One that might not say that he was trying to pick her up? He didn't really know of one, and he didn't want her to laugh at him.
Taylor Hewitt - January 4, 2010 03:19 AM (GMT)
Taylor glanced over at him, and much against Graham's stroke of bad luck with women, she actually smiled - and it was a genuine smile. It was also a little sad, but that was more because of Taylor's personal pity party. She was feeling bad for herself, and she felt like she had the right to. Graham, though, had come at just the right moment. Taylor was lonely, and she wanted someone - no, needed someone - to talk to. Anyone wouldn't have done, of course - if Graham had been a stuffy businessman or a young hellcat with a motorcycle, she'd have gotten some remark about how "hot" she looked or "what's a pretty little thing like you doing here" like Lupa wasn't a normal restaurant for women to go to. No, Graham was like the good bowl of porridge - just right.
"Can I ask you a question, and you will answer me honestly?" she asked, straightening up. She turned more fully toward him, changing her body position so that her right elbow was down on the counter, crooked while her hand clasped around her drink. She was still leaning, but she wasn't as slumped as she had been before. Her voice was sweet, curious even - she almost sounded like she was a cheerleader in high school or something.
"If you don't want to, it's okay, too. I'll understand." She smiled at him, and it was that sad smile again. Taylor was good at making people feel guilty for shit they hadn't even done - but that was her chance alteration hard at work. She was influencing him, whether he knew it or not, to be more receptive to her. Not to lie, but to be more open to speaking to her.
Graham Armstrong - January 4, 2010 04:22 AM (GMT)
He had no idea she was influencing him, that much was absolutely certain. It wouldn't have really occurred to him that someone would manipulate him just because he was a good person and wouldn't expect that from someone, and his own skills didn't have anything to do with the other people who had supernatural talents. She wasn't a ghost, so he didn't have any idea about her.
He also wasn't trying too hard to figure out that place's ghost issue, not currently. She was more interesting, and she was smiling at him. The ghost wasn't likely to.
The ghost, if there even was one, also wasn't likely to ask him strange questions. This felt like a trap, all the way from her just asking if she could ask him a question before she did to her wanting to him answer it 'honestly', which to him suggested that he might be tempted to lie. He wasn't much of a liar to begin with, so he didn't plan on it. He also wasn't good at saying 'no' to pretty girls. He got attention so rarely from them that he wouldn't dare, even if it didn't usually do him any good.
"Sure, why would I lie?" he asked, and he meant it. He even smiled to go with it, really just glad that she was talking to him. He got something of a 'popular girl' feel from her, like she was way too pretty and had way too many friends to care about talking to him, so he was happy that she was. It was kind of sad, really. This wasn't high school anymore.
Taylor Hewitt - January 4, 2010 04:43 AM (GMT)
Taylor smiled a little more broadly. "When I ask you, you'll want to lie. I want you to honestly think and then tell me. Promise," she said. She finally felt satisfied that she'd gotten at least that committment from him, and then took a sip of her drink.
"Okay. So, say you meet this girl, and you think she's really nice. But, she works at a strip club. She's not exactly a stripper, but she does work at the club. Now, she's not into drugs or partying and she doesn't have any bad habits - well, she chews a lot of gum and doesn't like doing dishes - but other than that, this hypothetical girl is cute and fun."
She paused for effect, and then continued when he nodded.
"Now, in this situation, would you say that you could date someone like this? I mean, if she's not a bitch and isn't horrible and doesn't have like constant bad breath or man hands, I mean, is there any reason you wouldn't like her? Would her job be that big of a deal?"
She looked at him expectantly. She really wanted an answer. Graham was answering for ALL men at that exact moment, actually, whether he liked it or not.
Graham Armstrong - January 4, 2010 04:57 AM (GMT)
Normally, having Graham answer for a large group was a BAD idea. He wasn't the most articulate speaker, he wasn't the most intelligent, nor did he have the best common sense, but this was one of those rare cases that his genuine honesty would help them all. He didn't even know it, either.
She told him he'd want to lie and he felt a little nervous for a minute, but he promised anyway because she'd asked. That's all that was really necessary. Then, she went on to describe a girl that he was not stupid enough to think was an actual hypothetical, imaginary female instead of her, but he could play along. What she described wasn't bad, either. Initially, he thought she must mean stripper when she mentioned the club, which he actually could have gotten over. He really didn't have the high level of self-esteem that would have made him likely to refuse an interested girl because of her job, honestly, but then she said that she WASN'T a stripper. Not a stripper, no drugs, no heavy partying, and why would he not like her?
He hesitated, waiting for the clincher, that detail that would make it all matter, and it didn't come, so he blinked at her. "Are you kidding? I mean, where's the bad news? I can do dishes and I can definitely stand being a gum dispenser for a cute, fun, nice girl," he said, and he meant it. He didn't get it. What was 'not exactly a stripper'? If she worked at the club, that must mean she did something else there, right? He figured that prostitution-type stuff would be a 'bad habit', so he didn't see the problem. Sadly, he probably would have dealt with THAT for a little attention from the opposite sex, but that was him personally. If that wasn't going on, then it was perfect, as far as he was concerned.
"I don't think I get the problem. Why was I supposed to want to lie?" he asked, looking genuinely confused.
Taylor Hewitt - January 12, 2010 06:18 AM (GMT)
Taylor stared at him for a long time - it was only about a full sixty seconds, but with a scrutinizing stare from her, it could literally feel endless. She was trying to influence the odds of whether or not this was true; true would suck if it was a shitty answer, but she was coming to realize that she'd really picked the one person who probably wouldn't actually have a problem with the things she'd listed. Was her self esteem that low? Her list suddenly seemed less of a big deal, and she began to wonder what she'd ever even seen in that - that jerk.
"Oh," she said. She smiled after another pause, and then took a sip off of her drink. "Well, I guess maybe I was being too hard on myself, then." She still was facing him, but she didn't seem to know where to go from there. Finally, she stuck her hand out.
"I'm Taylor. I got stood up by someone I was seeing, and I was kind of calculating in my head all of the things wrong with me. I guess I sort of overshot myself. Maybe he was really just a tool."