Logs:Cards On The Table

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Cards On The Table
Dramatis Personae

Victor, Raya, Cricket, Gerry, Peter

16 January, 2006

Victor and Raya meet up at The Circle to speak plainly. And after Vic does some glad handing with Cricket and Gerry, with a visit from Peter.


The Full Circle - Main Room


Saturday night. It’s a good time to get out there if you’re looking for energy and people. And The Circle is one of those spots to go for people. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming. From the quick staff to the people enjoying for and drink at the bar and tables. There aren’t very many places to sit and that might be why Victor is up on the second level, in one of the curtained booths. Though the curtains have been drawn back and he’s leaned forward a little, scanning the floor quietly from above. Content in the moment for the feel and flow of his place.

Amidst the crowd and bustle of the Saturday evening at the Circle, something of the Night enters. The Blonde is tall, slender and so leggy. A fact emphasized by the sleek black dress and the long, revealing slit up the left side, a flash of so-pale skin as she walks. Cheong-Sam, that is the style. With the high neck and long black coat covering her otherwise bare shoulders, the only skin Raya shows is that leg, and her ivory skinned face. So-Red lips, a banner of blonde hair, fine dark brows and long lashes framing those eyes. Grey pale almost to silver. She slips through the crowd, graceful on tall heels, coat flaring out like wings as she does.

Stepping into the Establishment Cricket takes offer her gloves, red scarf and slips off her long heavy grey wool pea-coat. Beneath the coat, she is dressed in a red vintage dress that has a very distinct 1940's style. The dress falls just a little past her knees and shows off the curve of her legs and the seams of her stockings that go up the back of her legs. Her long legs look longer due to the vintage heels she is wearing. Her silver hair has been swept back with silver combs and its style matches that of her outfit. Her lips and finger nails have been painted and she is wearing makeup. She blinks allowing her blue eyes to adjust to the light. Looking over her shoulder towards the door she waits for another to arrive.

That "other" follows closely behind her, pausing only long enough to ensure that the door has closed fully behind him. He stoops to see a battered leather satchel and a slender ebony cane at his feet. Then he shrugs his way out of a heavy gray great-coat that he drapes over his left arm before picking up the satchel and cane in his right hand. Next, he doffs a dark gray bowler to reveal a head of dove-gray hair and neatly trimmed beard. Beneath the coat, he wears a crisp, navy blue suit with a bow-tie that is the color of salmon with tiny silver dots. Striding quickly, he slows beside the silver-haired woman and offers his left arm to her. After craning his neck to scan the upper balconies, he looks to Cricket and guesses, "They might clear that floor at times for dances. It looks like a good place for that sort of thing."

Victor spots Raya pretty much on arrival, his attention narrowing pretty quickly on the woman. Though where most might do so with interest, his expression is cautious. His eyes tracking her with faint concern. And, for the moment, he’s content to observe her. In the matter of one who is trying to figure someone out. The older woman at the front will quickly find herself approached by one of the service personnel. "May I help you find a seat?" he offers. Raya, striking through the place, is allowed to find her own way for the moment.

Silver eyes flick once about the lower floor as Raya stalks to the bar, moving like a runway model, or perhaps a great cat, drawing long glances as she does. The couple entering the establishment in her wake might catch her scent; something delicate and floral, with undertones of something darker, more feral. She reaches the bar, somehow finding an opening without effort. She leans close to the barman, in moment she is offered a tall glass of a amber liquid, gleaming like the Sun against her Night, he nods to there upper in Victors direction. She pays for her drink, tipping well and turns, that argent gaze meets Victor's narrow one. Fine brows lift as she raises her glass to him. A group of patrons pass and she is gone, as if never there. Of course she likely heads to the stairs, must have in fact as soon she appears before him. "Good Evening Herr Burges...." She inclines her head to him as that faint accent bites..

"Ger-Bear, that would be lovely." Cricket comments back to the older gentleman with her. She turns her head toward the maitre 'd or host. "Yes, place for two would be lovely." She says warmly and politely. Her accent is not British but it does have a soft lilt to it and speak of North America. Her gaze though is not on the host or even her companion instead it has followed the path of the blonde bombshell.

Gerry inclines his head to the host. When the silver-eyed woman passes and heads for the balcony, his eyebrows flicker once, but his attention remains on the business of waiting patiently beside his wife for a table. "Even if dancing isn't part of the repertoire here, it makes an interesting change, and we'll have other opportunities to cut a rug."

You might expect Victor would be more interested in a beautiful woman coming right over to him. But in this instant, as Raya nears his booth, the man studies her quietly for a moment, but only for a moment before he responds. “Raya.” After a moment he seems to think better of things and slips from the both. A hint of civility as he adds, “Join me.” His tone kept, for now, carefully neutral. It wouldn’t be hard to spot them up there. The staff member turns, scanning the place before looking at the table listing he has. “I have a good spot,” he says after a moment, smiling broadly. “As long as you don’t mind a view. We do have an open booth upstairs. Some couples like them for some privacy. They have curtains.”

At that pause, however brief, fine brows rise, falling only when the man stands. One gains the impression not of offense taken, but perhaps, the most fleeting shadow of regret. But he does offer the courtesy finally and Raya offers a brilliant smile, white teeth framed in red. "Thank you, I should be glad to..." If she notes he does not take he coat, she gives no sign, rather shedding it with a graceful slip of slim shoulders from fine wool. Her dress is black as night, velvet, with a pattern of matching lace and jet beads catching the light. She places the tall glass before her, the tinny bubbles swimming to the top of the drink. "Well then..." she angles her head, watching him with that pale gaze, smiling now with closed lips, a gentle expression.

Cricket turns her gaze away from the woman. She looks to Gerry and nods her head. "That is true, if we do not, we will just have dessert at home and enjoy a quiet evening. I think our little ones can live without our company while we eat dessert." She nods her head. Her attention is draw back to the host. "That would be fine dear we appreciate any seat you can find us." A bright smile is offered. Looking over her shoulder at Gerry she offers him a wink. "Ready my dear Bear?"

Gerry nods first to the host. "We would enjoy the view," he confirms. Then he tilts his head to Cricket and smiles. "If the food is as fine as the atmosphere, we should not be disappointed." Following the host, he leads her across the ground level and toward the stairs. He glances at her right arm before she comes to the first step, to be sure that she has a good hold and won't fall disasterously whle wearing those trecherous high heels.

Victor does take note of that dress as she sheds her coat. His lips purse briefly, but that moment passes without being further expressed. He sits after she has, ending up with a straight posture and his arms crossed against the edge of the table. “I’ll be frank,” Victor starts off immediately. “I’ve had bad experiences with your kind. Deeply personal experiences. I know what you’re capable of, because of what you are. And being reminded of that suddenly was.. unpleasant.” His tone is two things. Firstly, it’s discreet. Not just in how he words things, but the level of his voice. He is also measured. Not too hard, not too gentle. Straightforward and frank. “And despite knowing you can’t just randomly tell people what you are logically, it’s hard not to be.. suspicious. If you follow, so far.” A pause, to see that she does indeed. His tone inviting questions if she is not.

Meanwhile, Cricket and Gerry will be escorted to the nearest set of spiral stairs, leading up to the balcony. They will be led with care, an eye kept back towards them to make sure both are doing well. The stairs are stable, with a good handrail. Solid, well cared for iron. Up the stairs, only a few of the booths are filled currently. And as they’re lead up to theirs, it will be within easy eyeshot of Vic’s, the man still having elected to keep the curtains open. Given there aren’t many people very near and those that are are more intent on their own night’s than eyeing the owner and his tense little meeting. At least, tense on his part.

Raya blinks slowly at such...frankness. Papa would be shocked at such straightforwardness. So. Not a time to dance about, really. But still. "And what experiences have you with...me?" She takes the glass in slim fingers nails a deep, polished black. She sips, yes closing in pleasure. "Ahhhh." Those eyes, meet his now. "You were present when that..riff-raff decided to...inflict themselves on others, not caring who....was hurt." A frown down-curves those lips, a coldness touches her eyes. "Fortunately for all, there were those present that could contest their actions. Myself being one. Tell me, Victor, did I hurt any that were innocent?" She leans closer now, voice falling just above a whisper. "You say my Kind have...offended you. But me, have I done such?" The chill leaves her gaze now.

Taking his arm Cricket walks to with Gerry. Up the stairs they go following. Her eyes catch sight of Victor and his companion. She offers a nod of head towards him recognizing him from the Blues Club. When they reach the seat. Placing her coat down before she goes to take a seat, "Thank you," she says to Gerry. Her gaze then goes to the Host eyes careful never to meet his. "Champagne please and a tonic with lime." She places the order for them. Her skirts are arranged around her. She cannot help look back over at the table with the very intimate couple.

When they come to their table, Gerry bows slightly to the host. "Thank you, sir," he acknowledges with a courteous, quiet tone and an accent that is as distinctly American as Cricket's. He holds the chair for Cricket until she has settled, and then he claims the seat across from him. Their table are at an angle from which Gerry and Cricket have a discrete but unobstructed view of the table where Victor and his guest sit. Gerry inclines his head to the proprietor, but he focuses his attenton on the menu that the host has placed before him.

“Nothing yet,” Victor states, unable to keep from throwing that second word in. Even if there is a hint of pause after, perhaps noting it himself. But he doesn’t correct himself. “It’s not that simple and you should know it. The life of Whites is controlling what’s inside.” A pause as he notes Cricket and Gerry’s attention. He nods his head once towards them a moment before his eyes fix on Raya again. “Correct me if I’m wrong.” Ever the host, even in a moment like this.

"Our needs..." Raya shrugs eloquently. She raises the glass, sips again, eyes closing again in pleasure. "Like all beings life is a question of balance. Needs versus costs. For some the needs are so much greater and the costs are commensurate. I have known you for some little while now, and neither you nor your staff or patrons have ever had cause to be concerned. Because I Chose to not to be Ruled by my...Needs." Her gaze is full on his now, eyes pale grey...."I know not who you knew before or what they did to you. But that was them. Not me."

A glance at the menu and Cricket sets it aside, "My sweet bear would you mind ordering for both of us?" She stretches her legs out a little under the table. Toe of her shoe touches his foot. Another smile, "There is another research paper that I am going to get published, the question is the name to use, C. Horton, Phd or Cricket Horton, Phd." She shrugs her shoulder. "We need to get more typewriter ribbon and ink." She says, chatting as she half listens to the conversation that is happening in the booth across from them. "Also I think that lady over there sings at the Blues Club we enjoy going to."

A glance at the menu and Cricket sets it aside, "My sweet bear would you mind ordering for both of us?" She stretches her legs out a little under the table. Toe of her shoe touches his foot. Another smile, "There is another research paper that I am going to get published, the question is the name to use, C. Horton, Phd or Cricket Horton, Phd." She shrugs her shoulder. "We need to get more typewriter ribbon and ink. "Also I think that lady over there sings at the Blues Club we enjoy going to."

A server brings water and Gerry accepts it with a grateful nod. Taking the delicately carved crystal, he sips while Gerry peruses the menu. At Cricket's question, he purses his lips. "That depends on the publication. If it is for a journal with few readers, and you're a regular contributor, I'd suggest the initial. If it's one that sees circulation of more than a dozen, use 'Cricket," he suggests with a chuckle and a teasing glint in his eyes. He taps the closed folder before him. They have quite a selection. I should think about that in light of other prospects for the evening. Perhaps I should use an appetizer as a delaying action so that I can decide which entree to reply as my main weapon against your hunger."

Victor studies Raya for a few moments before he murmurs, “I’m speaking with you so that you understand. Not accusing you, but being up front. I’m not going to go into the past.. it’s not something I like to think about. It was a time of personal implosion. Hence my caution. And my reaction. Logic and emotion like to fight and despite it all, the subject of White’s remains a spot of personal conflict. Given what’s happened, I thought it appropriate to be frank and honest. Given that it’s something I prefer on a personal level.”

Raya nods, blinking slowly. "And I do so appreciate the Honesty, Victor. And I, of all people, do understand very well the warring of intellect and passion." One slim finger toys with the rim of her glass, bubbles rising to the foam at the top. "I make no apologies for who and what I am, but I can understand and respect your feelings on the matter." She lifts the glass, burning amber of the beer catching light as she does. "Und so, where now from here?" She sips..

A soft laugh from Cricket, her blue eyes meet his green. "It is for the university; most likely only other historians and students of history will be reading it. C.Horton, does not give away my gender, whereas Cricket gives it away. Then again this is a different time." She leans forward there is a brightness in her eyes. "I think you are up to the task Doctor Horton, you know my hunger, furthermore only you know how to satiate it." She points out and her focus is now on the conversation at hand. The rest of the world has slipped away. "I have been thinking about that trip, we should go. Portugal would be good for both of us, I was also hoping we could stop and investigate their archives at a few of the libraries. There are a few sites we would enjoy. They are Celtic sites." She says warmly.

"Since you are still conscious about that, after all of these years, love, go with C. Horton," Gerry concludes. He smiles and opens the menu again. "Celtic?" he queries. "Very interesting. I had no idea that the Celts wandered that far from the north," he marvels. "This prompts me to wonder what other mysteries you have kept from me through the decades." His finger wanders over the laminated pages. He finally comes to an item and nods. He glances to the other table, sees Raya's fingers toying with the top the glass, and the reserved experessions. Again, his eyebrows twitch, but only once.

“I don’t know,” Victor answers without equivocation. “Except that this won’t effect your job. But.. I will be vigilant. As is appropriate for someone in my position. I know, treating you poorly. But trust is hard for me on this. But I am not tossing you out. So.. good and bad.” His hands lifted one for each, as if to weigh them against one another. “Beyond that, I don’t exactly have a plan, so to speak. Given our current relationship, that seems the most pertinent thing to iron out. If you believe something else needs to be addressed, you're free to bring it up.”

"Ah, that is a relief." Raya laughs, softly, musically, a sound more felt than heard. "You ask about passions, needs. My Music is the one that I can truly indulge, without harm or cost to any." Now the light in that argent gaze is antic, almost playful. Almost. "As to the rest, indeed we shall play it by ear..." She raises her glass, drinks deeply, lowers the drink, licking her lips clean of the foam, tongue pale against the red. She sets the glass down, it clinks lights, but with a finality. "Unless there is anything else you wish to..ask?" She shrugs the fine black wool of the coat over her shoulders, the movement wafting her scent over the table. soft and feral at once, teasing.

"Not many, you know all of the important ones." There is a glint in her eye as she teases him. "The Celtic sites have been found all over Europe. Our next trip should be to Spain. I think you would enjoy the Moorish influences." She cannot help but point out. Then a poem spills from her lips, "Beneath the cypress trees, my heart did sing and tears were shed. Beneath the Cypress trees, I blossomed for you." She murmurs to him. "Beneath the Cypress trees I did bleed and our hearts did mourn." Leaning forward still she continues to whisper. "Perhaps it is time again."

"Then we should spend the spring break there," Gerry suggests. "I'm sure that we could lose ourselves in the libraries alone. One advantage is that most of the students will head for other attractions, like the beeches or the Alps." When the server returns, he nods to the man. "Two ribeye steaks, please, well done, wth baked potatoes and side salads." He looks across the table to Cricket, and then to the couple nearby, in time to see the woman insulation herself in her coat to prepare for her exit. His eyes return to Cricket and he answers, "Perhaps it is time again."

Saturday night at The Circle! It’s all kinds of good, warm atmosphere and the smell of good food. Tables are at a premium, but there is always room for one more on a good night like tonight. Though for the moment most of the clear spots are up on the balcony, where the booths are. And that’s where Victor, Raya, Cricket and Gerry are. The first two at one booth, the others lingering at another nearby.

Victor shakes his head slightly and stands, stepping out of the both, but just to stand next to it. “That will do for now, I think. There isn’t any point on belaboring things. I’m not sure of your nightly plans, but may they go well. Our business relationship stays the same, so don’t hesitate to contact me if anything requires my attention.”

Raya flows to her feet, once again a study in shadow and light. "Thank you Victor, may yours go as well..." She smiles, inclining her head ever so slightly. Not a bow, more..a salute. Those eyes...catching the light as she does. Level with his, so tall is she, especially in her heels. Something...teasing in their depths. Then she turns, coat flaring, scent washing over him and she is gone, slipping round the server at the couple's table nearby. One never sees her on the stairs, just might catch a glimpse of the shadow moving through the crowd below...gone.....

"It is, time." Cricket leans back against her chair. She studies Gerry for a long time letting the silence grow between them. She nods her head. "I will make the plans. It has been a while, it will be good for us. Very good for us. 10 years has it been?" she asks him.

Peter slips into the Circle, pausing just inside the door to shiver for a few moments. He glances back out the way he came, staring, before making his way towards the bar, seeming glad for the warmth.

Gerry nods and waits until the waiter moves away from their table. His own eyes follow the vanishing siren, but only for a moment before he returns his attention to Cricket. "I'll admit that your students and my patients need some time away from us," he teases. "Now, which paper have you arranged to publish, and whne will we see it in the jounrals? You know that I enjoy learning about your field almost as much as you do by now."

Victor lingers at the booth after Raya has gone, his expression shifting for a moment. Thoughtful. focused on some discreet thought. But that moment passes relatively quickly before he focuses on the moment and his place. His head turns and he notes the couple in the booth nearby. Given they don’t seem to have anything on their table but water for the moment and his prior distraction so as not to have noticed the orders being taken, he approaches and wonders, “Can I do anything for you folks?”

Cricket is about to answer Gerry. She blinks as her focus is broken, there is a moment of confusion, but only a moment. A warm smile touches her lips as she looks in the direction of Victor. "Aww good evening," she says politely. "We have an order in already for both food and drink. Champagne and tonic with lime. The old boy over here needs a little bit more than water." She teases Gerry. She has not noticed Peter coming in yet.

Peter drops his pack to the floor, and slips slowly onto a stool. Leaning heavily on his elbows, he mumbles something to the bartender, receiving a mug of something a short time later. Gulping at it, the young man closes his eyes.

With the menus now gone, Gerry now unwraps the napkin from around the silverware and carefully places it in his lap. In the process, he glances beneath his chair to reassure himself that his leather satchel and cane have not moved. Raising his eyes almost to meet Victor's but stoping just below the man's chin, Gerry nods. "We are well, and if I recall correctly, I believe that we have seen you elsewhere, under some ... less than pleasant circumstances. "I"m glad to find that these are not like that." He waves his hand to indicate the surrounding restaurant. "You are the owner of this establishment?" he guesses. Like Cricket, he has missed the arrival of Peter becuase they are on the balcony level, above the bar.

Victor grins and bobs his head towards the two, glancing between them. "Good good." He seems pleased that his staff is on the ball. "And it's entirely possible. You two do seem a little familiar to me. And yes, I am the owner of this little slice of heaven. Victor Burges." He offers his hand to Gerry. "I have a few business interests in the city, but the first is always the one you love the most."

"You and I met at the Blues Club, just as I have seen your table companion there before." Cricket chimes in. "Pleasure to meet you again." She offers. She looks to Gerry then back in Victor's direction. "Care to join us for a bit, have more relaxing and less intense conversation if you are able to?" She looks towards the bar for their drinks and she sees Peter. "My dear Ger-Bear, I will be right back." she goes to rise from her seat.

"Another coffee, please, mate. And I could do with a basket of fish and chips.", the stripey-haired young man says to the bartender. Peter goes back to leaning heavily on his arms, shivering slightly still despite the warmth.

Gerry stands and shakes Victor's hand before reclaiming his seat. "Well met, then," he answers, using a somewhat archaic greeting that might allude to dwelling with his wife in history rather than in the present. "It is a fine place, as your menu well attests," he compliments. He inclines his head to Cricket, and then waves his hand to the empty seats. "Please, do join us of you can spare a moment from managing this marvel. Even the prime minister needs a moment to rest."

Victor arches a brow slightly at the mention of his prior conversation, the man smiling slowly at Cricket. “Easily, unless you have some dire topics to bring up. But I’ll keep the shop talk for another time, as I’m not too keen to ruin a customer’s evening with that sort of stuff.” He glances from Cricket to Gerry, thoughtful before he smiles and nods, stepping back as Cricket rises up. “Alright. Though I’ve only casually considered political office. But that was back in the US. Not sure how that works here.” Though that's only a casual muse.

Moving towards the Bar, Cricket makes her way down the stairs and towards Peter. "Peter it has been a while, comes and join me and my husband?" She says to him. The server who took their drink orders is flagged down as is the Bartender. "Put anything that he gets on our tab." She tells the tender.

Peter turns and blinks at Cricket for a few moments, before a smile spreads across his face. "Oh, hello Cricket. It's been a while, hasn't it? Uh, well, you don't need to do that. I've got a full time job, eh?" He stands though, and grabs his backpack. "But umh, sure, I'd like that. I could use come company." He waits a moment to snag his food, and waits for her to lead the way. "So how're you and Gerry doing?"

Gerry smiles. 'We are far from complaints," he assures. "In fact, we're glad to have found a place that caters so well to the community." Again, he nods to the chairs. "Please, do join us." He looks toward the stairs. "Unless I've mistaken, my wife spotted another of your customers and wants to enlarge our table, for which I am quite glad. I'm sure that we'll have time to ourselves later in the evening. Sharing some of our time with others is often a benefit to them and to us."

Victor nods his head and takes a seat. “Alright then, you’ve convinced me,” Victor replies. “And I’m quite good about the community. But to be honest, part of that is for myself as well. After all, a healthy and happy community has the money to visit their local businesses. A nice, symbiotic relationship, yeah?” He turns his head to glance towards the bar, though the angle keeps him from seeing what’s up. “So what is it you both do?” A casual curiosity offered.

The bartender hands her the drinks. A smile and a Thank you is offered to him. "We are doing well," Cricket tells Peter. "That is good to know, I was worried for a bit for you." She motions for him to follow her up the stairs. "It is has been a while since I have seen you, I hope you do not mind. I told Ger-Bear about you." She moves quickly up the stairs despite her heels.

Peter follows along behind Cricket, grinning a bit more brightly now. "That's fine I suppose. Shouldn't keep too many secrets from your husband. How are things in your end of town, then? Quiet, I hope?"

When Gerry spots Cricket ascending the stairs, he waves to her and asks, "Another to join us, love?" He reaches for the drinks when they come into range, so that he can set them on the table and then hold her chair for her. He studies Peter for a moment with welcoming eyes and a warm smile. "My wife works at the university," he answers Victor. "She is rather prominent in the department of history, and teaches a popular class on historical reenactment, focuses on smithing of various types." Turning to Cricket, he introduces, "Love, this is Victor Burges, owner of this fine restaurant." Looking to Victor, he adds, "My wife, Cricket Horton."

Victor glances over as the new arrival is indicated and lifts a hand. “Peter. Good evening, kid.” He smiles causally and looks back to Gerry, nodding slightly to his description of his other half. “A good vocation. Never had a lot of formal schooling myself. Parents were go getters, didn’t hesitate to give me everything I needed to make my way when it comes to people and money. Though I’ve wondered what college might be like. From what I hear from the kids who come around here, it can go from wild to terribly boring.”

"Thank you Ger-Bear." Cricket says to him when the drinks are taken from her and he settles her into her seat. Reaching up she touches his hand. "Pleasure to meet you Mr. Burges, it is good that you know peter." Her voice still has a warm tone, a smile plays on her lips. "College is a time of learning, there was a time when it was a distinction and no matter the class. My mother was doctor her father was cattle rancher, when he sent to her to school she had but one choice and that was prove herself. She had a gift and a chance to learn. School today regrettably is a lot different. The hallowed ivory tower still stands though the disciplines are changing and its walls dingy. You have done well indeed and the go getter mentality is wonderful. Not enough young people today have it." She looks to Gerry. Then back to Victor. "Did Ger-Bear tell you what he did?" Her gaze goes to Peter. "Peter, where are you working and how have you been doing?" She picks up her glass of champagne and takes a sip.

Peter makes a face at Victor, sticking his tongue out. "Kid? I'm no kid, old man." He sets his basket of fish and chips down on the table, and slips into a chair opposite Gerry. "How's business, Victor? Seems good on a Saturday night, at least." The young man nods to Gerry, "Hey, good to see you again, Gerry. And you as well, Cricket. Cricket says you are both doing well. Still uh taking in stray animals? Had any tigers recently?" He takes up one of the fish fillets, and quickly scarfs it down, as if tomorrow were in doubt. Glancing at Cricket a moment, he grins cheekily. "I work at a butcher's shop. Well, a fancy one. The Cat's Charcuterie. Alongside regular cuts of meat, we've got a variety of fancy cuts and meats, as well as stuff meeting the different religious standards. Halal and kosher approved and all that. And a small cafe and eating area. Sandwiches and such. And we have our own slaughterhouse, so we have control over the whole butcher process. Hard work but satisfying. Kess doesn't actually have to pay me, I'd just eat myself silly every day and be happy about it."

Gerry nods to Peter and reaches for his glass of seltzer water and lime. "We're fine, and I'm glad to see that Cricket brought you to our table," he answers, lifting the glass in a toast. "As for strays, I've had a few short-term tenants, but no tigers at home. We are expecting a litter at the zoo, however. They're white Bengals - very rare and magnificent animals. Their mum is doing well, although she's a bit cranky by this point in her term. I'm looking forward to seeing the cubs." Shifting his attention to Victor, he explains, "I'm a veterinarian. I had a local practice with work at the zoo as my 'side job.' My partner decided to sell the surgery, and the zoo made a decent offer. So, I'm tending a wilder crowd now." He looks to Cricket and repeats, "Cat's Charcuterie. We'll need to remember that one and pay a visit. I'm especially keen to support local businesses that support their communities."

Victor turns a bit to take Cricket’s hand lightly and briefly. His head bobbing as he listens. “Oh, it’s a must tin my business,” Victor answers. “Especially when you’re the boss. Not a role for waiting around.” His eyes return to Gerry as he adds, “He did not mention it.” He nods as he considers the vet. “Interesting. Well, if you ever need any exotic items..” He glances to Cricket as well as he adds, “..just think of me. I have a sideline that deals in finding the things. The more exotic the better. Because it’s more challenging.” He nods to Cricket. “You as well. I’m sure that historical reenactments sometimes need interesting resources.”

"Pleasure Mr. Burges," with her hand taken, she cannot help but offer a proper bow of her head. "Ger-Bear, you are too modest and I am too biased. He is known for working with wild animals. He is good with domestics but better with the others." She turns to look at Gerry. She looks towards Victor. "Less of a reenactment and more along the lines of lab for a class. They learn how to use ancient forging techniques." She explains. Her gaze moves towards Gerry. Her eyes meet his. She smiles softly. He nods her head to Peter. "Peter, you will be seeing us there, and it is a fair trade. Did you find a new place to live?"

Peter grins at Gerry a moment. "White bengals? I have to see them.", he says, excitement tinging his voice. "And it's awesome that there are going to be more. Their population has dwindled quite far. My mother was concerned for them, over a decade ago. Not just white ones, but all large cats in general are in danger." The young man nods at what Victor says, "He is good at finding things, I can say as a previous customer of his." Peter grins again at what Cricket says, and nods. "I look forward to it. Try Wednesday's at lunch. It's fairly quiet then, so I can offer you my best, undivided attention for a while." At mention of a place to live, his facial expression changes ever so slightly. "Well, I'm kind of staying at a few places, with folks. No place of my own yet."

Gerry grins at Peter's interest in the promise of cubs. "They won't appear for a few months, but when they do, if all goes well with them, I'd be happy to introduce you. Also, if your employer might consider a contract to supply us with meat for our big cats, I'll mention that to our management. They're always looking for reliable suppliers, and local is better for that." he looks to Victor and nods. "If you enjoy chasing wild rabbits, Mr. Burgess, my wife might be of assistance to you when it comes to authenticating objects. I know that for centuries, certain unscrupulous dealers have attempted to sell forgeries of antiques." He glances from Victor to Cricket.Going back to Peter, he offers, "If you need help in finding a suitably permanent place, lad, please call on my wife or me. I'm sure that between us, we might be able to help you. We have taken in borders in the past."

Victor nods to Cricket’s clarification. “Even so, you never know when you might need something special. And for that, I’m your guy.” He grins lightly. Gerry’s note on authentication gets a nod and he says, “I deal in antiques of all sorts now and then. Pays to have trusted people to eyeball things. And I’m careful about who I consider a trusted source. And I’m always willing to give them a new test.” His attention shifts to Peter and he nods. “Couch surfing isn’t the best way to go. If you need help with something lasting, let me know. Depending on what you make, we could find something cozy. Though having some friends might be a good path too.” He nods towards Cricket and Gerry.

"What Antiques do you deal in Victor? You said you had a public office in the United States?" There is curisoity in Cricket's voice. She turns her head slightly in Peter's direction. "Peter, do call or at least talk to Victor. How is your family Peter?" She continues to sip her champange. Enjoying the flavor of the drink. Her eyes are are bright. She looks like she is relaxed.

Peter slowly rolls his shoulders in a lengthy shrug. "I'm alright with my current housing conditions. I eat regularly and stay warm. But I thank all of you for your offers, yeah? Eventually I'll have enough saved up to get a place of my own. It's one of my longer term goals." He chuckles then and runs a hand through his multi-coloured hair. "The other half doesn't mind the cold, really." He looks to Gerry a moment and nods, "I can actually make that decision, sir, we could arrange for fresh meat to be delivered on a regular basis. I even know how much a large cat should eat, I've personal experience with it." His grin is almost too much teeth at this point. "And I don't just mean the cubs, I'd love to see the adults too." To Victor, Peter shrugs. "Couch surfing isn't all that bad. And if you have an in on a long lease or even some property for sale, I could consider it." He swallows visibly at Cricket's question to him. "I don't know.", he says softly.

"I thought that you might like to see the mother and others at the zoo," Gerry answers Peter. "We're very careful, even with the cubs, much to the annoyance of some patrons. Still, I should be able to arrange something, and the cats might enjoy meeting someone who understand them as more than larger versions of common house-cats. As for the feeding business, I'll be glad to urge my managers to consider your shop." When Victor mentions testing prospective assessors, Gerry nods to the man. "Reliability is important in all of our fields," he agrees. "Tests are good, and second opinions never hurt." Although he doesn't add to Cricket's question, he does nod to her slightly and drops both hands into his lap for a moment before he reaches again for his glass of limed water.

“This is my office,” Victor answers Cricket, arms lifted to present The Circle. “My parents maintain their home in American. California. They do the same sort of thing I do. Work with people, get them what they need, wherever they can find it. taught me all I know. As to what I deal in, anything. I like to think I can get anyone, anything given enough time and money. Though if it doesn’t exist anymore, that makes it a bit harder. But my track record is pretty good so far.” Peter gets a nod and Victor answers, “We can talk numbers later, see if anything matches up for you. If not, we can keep an eye and ear out.” He then smiles at Gerry, “And I’ll be frank, you can come to me for anything.” He glances between the three. “I’m pretty knowledgeable. Work with some interesting, special customers. Anything means anything if you catch my drift.”

"Interesting, I have a feeling you get a lot of clients from various museums and private collectors." Cricket looks thoughtful, finishing her glass she flags a sever and then waits. "Peter more coffee? Gerry more Tonic?" She looks to Victor. "Very interesting, we should talk sometime more." She glances at Peter and her expression softens. "Hold on to hope sweet boy." Her tone is grandmotherly. Her blue meet Gerry's. When the server appears she smiles brightly.

Peter laughs and shakes his head to Gerry. "Oh, the large cats are more than big house cats, but, have you ever tried putting a big box out for one of your large cats? You'll see that they've not strayed /that/ far from being large house cats." Grinning, he nods. "If I could meet them face to face, I would be incredibly happy." He pats his jacket, and reaches into the inside pocket, wiggling free a small white card. Offering it to Gerry, Peter nods at it. "If they are interested, have them call that number. We do mostly local animals, but we have associates who can get other animals." The young man looks to Victor and nods. "It's no huge rush, but thank you for that. And for services rendered previously." Peter nods then to Cricket. "I've been holding on for some time, I can manage a bit more."

Gerry nods at Cricket's guess about museums and collectors. "Some collectors become amazingly obsessive, and for them, price is no object. So, I can see how a good man for acquisitions might succeed handsomely." He finishes his tonic and offers the glass to the server. "That was delightful, but I should like a cup of coffee, please," he orders. He takes the card from Peter and glances at it before tucking it into the pocket of his suit-coat. "I think that they should be quite pleased to do business with you, particularly because you understand the needs off our furry friends," he assures. "Cardboard boxes are another item in regular demand," he notes with a nod and a grin. "We use them regularly to provide exercise and entertainment for the big cats. Some of them also enjoy catnip, as I'm sure you know. The Bengal mother is one of those, and I'm curious to see how many of the cubs inherit the addiction. We buy catnip by the truck-load." He laughs and looks to Cricket, meeting her gaze for an instant. Then he asks, "Do you have an early lecture in the morning?"

“On occasion,” Victor responds to Cricket. “Though they usually have their own official channels they go through. But some smaller museums and collectors have contacted me before. And the rare bigger fish. I actually prefer working with smaller museums. They need the help more and tend to be far more.. grateful.” He lifts a hand slightly to Peter. “It as an investment, which has paid off. You’re gainfully employed and no a regular customer. Happy and making your life. It worked out well so far.” He smiles and then pauses, taking a moment to consider. “It’s getting a bit late,” he muses, looking at those at the table. “I should move along. Good to have a sit down for a bit, but work calls. And the bosses hours are always in flux. There are a few things I should get done before midnight.” He rises from his seat. “But it was a pleasure to speak with you fine folk.” He nods to Peter. “And to see you again. Drop by if you want to play the field and look for something that fits you.”

"No but we do have church and you are doing a reading at the sunrise service, perhaps we can switch the order to a to go order. I would like dessert tonight before bed. We will barely have time for coffee in the morning." Cricket responds back to Gerry. She offers a bow of her head to Victor. "May you have a lovely evening, thank you for the enlightening conversation." Her gaze goes to Peter. "If you need a place to stay you are more than welcome to use our guest room. You also can raid our icebox in the morning."

Peter looks to Cricket with a mischievous grin. "You may come to regret letting me raid your icebox some day." He grins, and looks to start into the rest of his meal. Pausing, he looks to those readying to depart. "Ah, well, thank you for your company, yeah? I'll see you all 'round sometime. And thanks once more, Victor, I'll set this stuff on the bar before I go." The young man offers a quick wave to Cricket and Gerry. "You two have a good night and a great morning, yeah?"