First Confluence

Helium House 
#11
 "One of them. How 'othering' of you." His follow up was far more intriguing. "I wasn't aware. I typically make a stop in to support any potential businesses with a flare for the fantastic, but was a bit late with my visit. Had I known I would have come sooner. Are you saying this is a magical mecca? Of fun, of course. Clearly."

 She raised her glass to the only person close enough to her to hear, but people were so self-absorbed they hardly paid attention to the twists of someone else's conversation. For all they knew she could just be helping the barkeep with a new slogan.
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#12
 He wanted to roll his eyes at her. So much for trying to be polite, he thought, not seeing that he’d been decidedly impolite. Instead, Rich only listened to her words, smooth, polished voice making him feel like a country idiot.

 “Mecca, heh.” He snorted. “Nah, I didn’t ask for pilgrims, but they came anyway.” He spread his hands, indicating the establishment, if not the room. “You don’t see many places like this. We wanted a certain aesthetic, I guess.” Or he did. Something far-future-y. Accessible science fiction, right in your backyard. “Guess I played right into our hands, though. Dark, mysterious. Industrial crossed with Tim Burton’s Wonderland?” Whatever it was, it was working.
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#13
 The plural pronouns didn't escape her notice, nor did the nods to more specialized business decisions than befitted a simple bartender. "Well, I certainly think you achieved your aesthetic goal. But I'm curious, who's 'we'? Is this your place? Do you have a partner in all this?" And more importantly, were they different too?

 Roslyn finished her drink, not feeling the least bit guilty about monopolizing Richard's time. Everyone else could wait, and if they didn't like it there were plenty of headaches to go around.
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#14
 Rich reached for the empty glass instinctually, placing it on the edge of his wash sinks. He had done it again—allowed his mouth to get in front of his brain. Not that there were any real secrets here. They had to get the building permits, the liquor licenses, and cut through the rest of the red tape. It wasn’t just his name on the place or any of those documents.

 “Yeah. This is my place.” He nodded around to the bar, still busy. None of the other bartenders seemed to notice him singling someone out. That, or they didn’t care. Wasn’t precisely unusual for him. “The club is my partner’s. We thought of the idea for the combination; didn’t think Portland had anything quite like it.” He touched the empty glass beside him, “Want another drink?”
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#15
 "No thank you, one is enough." Roslyn had a very conservative limit when it came to fun.

 Her fingers intertwined, clasping together like a closed shell as she rested her arms on the bar. "Is your partner like you?" Business partner or otherwise it was a promising venture, one that was sure to become a localized institution given Portland's enormous appetite for original thought.

 Roslyn took note of the man's beast again, having gotten a good look at the cat only once. He was an impressive specimen, that much was undeniable, elegantly lethal.
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#16
 “What? Charming and ruggedly handsome?” Rich asked, completely sincere. “Yep. But he’s more a scrapper than a brawler.” This seemed the most sensible way to describe their many differences. “But if you mean the other way, no.” Rich chuckled darkly at the thought. “I’d say he’s more like you. Both you have that same cold intensity that I can’t seem to muster.” That was true, despite the smoke-screen jargon. Plus, had he been here, he’d’ve picked this one out of a crowd, no problem.

 It still seemed unfair after so many years. They could name each other and him, but he could only find other shifters.
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#17
 "Cold intensity." Not many would take that as a compliment, but that description suited her just fine. Straightening on her stool, a hint of a smile played at the corner of her lips. "I'd like to meet him, if he's available. If not tonight then some other time." Spinning silk, she cast out her networking web, hoping to snag something of substance.
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#18
 Rich nodded as Rosalyn echoed him. He just called it as he saw it. You didn’t make a living in this industry and not learn a thing or two about people—though uptake speed seemed unaffected. Unfortunately. “He’s not here tonight. Usually, I see him towards the end of the week. We have shows on the stage tomorrow night through Saturday. Best catch him then,” Rich told her honestly. He wasn’t sure what her gambit was...or if she even had one. “Why the interest? Can’t imagine what a lady like you’d want with a bunch of irreverent assholes.”
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#19
 Her eyes bled at the idea of visiting again so soon and drinking in all that harsh neon, but if that was the price to pay. Whether it was some kind of defense or pure curiosity, Roslyn smiled at Rich's probing question and gave a casual shrug of her shoulders. "If he's so much like me than we should have a lot to talk about, don't you think? And I'll weather plenty of irreverent assholes for that kind of commonality."

 It was a path that might lead to a dead end, but a lead unchecked would guarantee empty hands.
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#20
 Rich raised a bushy eyebrow, and his mouth twisted in the opposite direction, skeptical despite the evidence. Standing to his full height, he pulled the towel from his pocket and wiped his hands. She wasn’t his type, but Leon...maybe. “Maybe so,” He told her, echoing his thoughts. “He’ll be on the other side. With the stage. Did you see it?” The two halves were connected, but not obviously. “Sometimes, he acts as master of ceremonies if we haven’t found anyone else.”
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