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March 15th: Just Tonight

 
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Jackie Sullivan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:16 pm    Post subject: March 15th: Just Tonight Reply with quote

Friday, March 15th, 2013 - Late Evening

And just like he'd said he'd be, he was in some little dive, right on the border of where the city started to get kind of sketchy. He must have changed clothes at some point, because Ben usually won't go to work, not even on Friday, in jeans and a tee, but that's what he's wearing now -- then again, it's not Ben, because Ben also wouldn't be leaned up against the bar with some brunette floozy draped against his side. Wouldn't be waving, over-emphatically (but still goodnatured, because he's laughing, too openly), to the bartender, signalling to mix the girl another of whatever it was she had. Ben probably wouldn't be working through an entire bottle of bourbon on his own, either. Jackie must know full well, though, even just from the brief text messages exchanged earlier, that this isn't Ben at all.

Jackie was, rather unfortunately, mastering the art of knowing when she was dealing with Harry rather than Ben. Not picking up Adam was one thing, not returning her text messages for so long when she was worried was another. But once he replied in that broken English? Spelling so bad that even Jackie, who was by no means a text master, had to cringe? Yep, it was going to be one of those nights. She was ready for it the moment she stepped through the door. Jeans, boots, and a shirt that said "Kiss My Country A*s" beneath her tried and true brown leather jacket. Hell, if she was going to be at bars for the evening she might as well enjoy it. That was how she viewed it all, fun while babysitting a grown man. That might explain the small video camera that was in her hand held at her side, turned off for now at least.

"Haaaarry." A call across the room as she approached. "I can't believe y'started the party without me. You said I was your favorite. How could y'? I'm hurt!" But she manages a laugh even though she's eyeballing daggers at the brunette from head to toe. "Kind of you to keep him company for me considerin' I was runnin' late, but you can move along now." This was a demand, not a suggestion. The bartender placed the drink down in front of the trio and Jackie's smile widened. "Drink's still on us though. Consider it a job well done."

The brunette doesn't even realize at first that Jackie's talking to the man she's with, but eventually his wide-eyed attempt (and failure -- the stupidly easy grin didn't help) at a 'who, me?' look got her to look in Jackie's direction, figuring out quickly that the situation wasn't as advertised. "What, you didn't tell me... ugh!" She shoves Harry as she straightens out of her lean against him, picks up the drink, looks, for one second, like she's going to throw it at him, but instead she just makes another disgusted sound and her heels click-click-carry her away.

Harry, for his part, looks a little hurt (but laughably so, considering it's mild, and he'd brought it on himself, besides), and he even tries to stop the girl from leaving with a quick 'heyheyhey' -- but he knows it's futile. When Jackie's around, he never ends up getting any action. Dramatic, he slumps against the bar again, giving the blonde another wide-eyed look, this one sort of pleading. "Why'd y'hafta scare her off?" And all at once his expression shifts, the grin stupid-sly. "What, you jealous? I knew you had a thing for me. Hey, hey--" The last, to the bartender. "Get her something." Pointing, unnecessarily, at Jackie.

Jackie's expression never faltered while it took those few extra moments for the brunette to piece it all together. It would make sense soon. Three... Two... And there it was, the sweet sound of retreating heels. Even better was that the brunette was smart enough to not waste her booze by tossing it at Harry. Jackie took up a lean against the counter and lifted the camera, poking at buttons while Harry went on about his theories of her being jealous. "I think she was an undercover cop." A knowing sidelong look tossed his way, her tone matter-of-fact. "I'm a bartender. I can pick 'em out easy. They're always trying to pop guys in the bar for one reason or another. You should be thankin' me." A glance was cast over her shoulder to the bartender. "Badsider, please an' thank you." Then back to Harry with a low whistle. "Thanks for springin' for the drink, big spender. You sure you got this? I could always grab this round if you're low on cash? Probably broke tonight, right?"

He's actually about to ask about the camera -- and from the look on his face, whatever he's about to say about it probably comes with a decent chance of getting slapped -- but he's distracted by her assessment of the girl she'd scared off. "Really?" Eyes wide, he twists to try to catch sight of the girl again; he turns a little too far, and he nearly looses his balance, stumbling before catching at the edge of the bar, laughing when he turns toward Jackie again. "She wouldn't have anything to bust me on. Not right now!"

Cheerful, he picks up his bottle to take a swig, and that's about when she's poking him about money. "Well, that wouldn't be very gentlemanly of me, would it?" He's slipping his wallet -- Ben's wallet, of course -- out of his jacket pocket, pulling several bills from the billfold to set down on the counter for the bartender. One nice thing about Harry was that he was an extremely good tipper. It helped that the money he spent wasn't his, and there weren't any consequences he suffered from blowing the money he did find on whatever it was he wanted. "So, hey--" Finally, his attention bounces to the camera again. "How many do I gotta buy you before we can put that thing to use?" The look he gives her is a clumsy attempt at sly and coy, and before long he's laughing, the maybe-infectious kind.

"Really." Without missing a beat as his inquiry about Officer Brunette. There were so many times when Jackie felt slightly inferior to those around her because she wasn't always the brightest bulb. But with Harry? She constantly felt like the goddamn sun. Especially when he was almost falling over like that. Not right now, he says! Oh good, she found him just in time. No laws had been broken... yet. And that's what she wanted with all of her poking and prodding about money. Harry made it too easy sometimes. Jackie gave a low whistle when he presented Ben's wallet. "Look at you, all set for the night." She waited for him to pay the bartender before reaching out to snag the wallet from him and quickly tuck it into her back pocket. Maybe he would forget about it if she started talking about the camera loudly enough. She's even smiling, too. Harry loves smiling. "Well, you an' I had so much fun last time that I thought it would be cool for us to record our night out on the town. Somethin' we can look back on an' laaaaugh." Something she can show Ben in his moments of doubt and say seeeeee. The camera was lifted, pointed in his direction, the red record light on. "Say somethin' sweet to the camera, Harry."
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Jackie Sullivan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or the laws had already been broken, and the physical evidence had already been ingested and/or smoked and/or snorted. With Harry, you never really know. For just a second after Jackie snags his -- Ben's -- wallet, he looks like he's about to protest, mouth shaped into a little 'o' of surprise, but the distraction works. The camera is one thing, but smiling is another. Talking about having fun together -- well, that's all Harry really wants, when it comes down to it. So he forgets all about the wallet, shoots Jackie a grin in return. "Hey, that's cool. You could show your friends. After they see how much fun we have, they'll want to come party next time too, and I could totally have a harem." Incredibly amused by this, he laughs as openly as always, winks at the camera before lifting the bottle of bourbon for another swig. His expression turns serious then (well, as serious as he can get, which isn't very, always seeming like he's on the verge of laughter or a smile), and he looks right at the camera. "So, future self, the question I wanna know the answer to is -- do I ever get to hit that?" Right away, his focus shifts to Jackie's face, and while his eyes widen in another approximation of innocence, the grin? He doesn't even bother trying to clean that up.

It was all about looking on the brightside and viewing it like that riddle, if Harry does coke in the woods by himself and Jackie isn't around to see it then does Ben have drugs in his system? Makes you wonder! "Man, I didn't even think about that. I bet I do got some friends who would jus' love to meet you. Too bad they ain't around tonight. It's just you an' me, buddy." As many problems as Harry has caused in her life since the day she met Ben, these were the times when Jackie figured under different circumstances that the pair could actually be friends. He wasn't so bad for a giddy piggish guy. She had seen much worse. "Oooh, good question. All that mystery! Only time will tell!" She's automatically swinging the camera around to point the lens at herself, a very serious expression directed that way while she mouths the words 'hell no' and shakes her head curtly. That done, the camera is still pointed her way but her hand is stretched out to hold it at arm's length. A turn on her heels and she's attempting to get both her and Harry in the frame at the same time with him standing right behind her. "Hey, Harry. I'm gonna get y'sh*t faced tonight an' play DD. You got keys so we can use your car?" Free hand held up over her shoulder to him expectantly.

"That's okay. You an' me can still have a lot of fun. More fun if there was more girls, but..." He shrugs, smiling, and it really is dismissive. He doesn't seem put out at all that he's got Jackie for a babysitter for the night, and maybe it's finally, finally getting through to him that no, he's never going to hit that. And whether he's starting to get that or not, he still laughs when he catches sight of Jackie's serious reaction for the camera. By the time she's repositioned herself and the camera, he's taking another long pull from his bottle of bourbon; he sets it down on the bar after her question. "Yeah, I do. You didn't drive?" He starts going through his pockets for the set of keys -- four of them on the keyring, one for the car, the others looking like standard housekeys -- eventually finding them in an inner coat pocket. "You do this for all good lookin' guys, or just me?" He actually dangles the set of keys a little above her hand, and, hoping that distracts her, casually puts his other hand on her hip.

"I drove, but your car has a backseat. I'm gonna get y'so drunk you're gonna be curled up there sleepin' like a baby when the night is over. In the summertime we can party in my truck. You ain't lived 'til you've been' driven home while you're drunk off your a*s layin' in the bed of a pick-up." Those were the words of someone who sounded as if they knew all too well what they were talking about.

While Harry is busying himself with searching for his keys, Jackie is amusing herself with making faces into the camera. She has the little view finder turned so she can see herself and Harry in it, but it's somewhat disorienting when she's reaching up to grab the keys. It doesn't help that he's not dropping them into her palm. "Just the good lookin' ones. Sometimes your personality gets on my nerves, but I'd be lyin' if I denied that you somehow always manage to look handsome as hell." This was said more for the camera than Harry's benefit and she's finally able to snatch the keys from him. His hand on her hip had a good run, but with the keys in her possession she's sliding away and turning the camera back on him. "So, Harry. What were your plans for tonight before I invaded 'em?"

Harry's face brightens even more when Jackie mentions the summer and partying in her truck. If he remembered, he'd probably remind her of it when it got warmer, but that's a big 'if.' The compliment -- sort of -- gets a wide, lazy grin out of him, and he's so flattered and encouraged by it that he even lets her step away from him without a fight or any complaint. "Plans?" He picks up the bottle of Maker's Mark that he'd been working on, gestures grandly to it for the camera. "Bottle of bourbon. Maybe already did a little somethin' else to get me perked up. Mayyyybe I was plannin' on gettin' a little more? And maybe I was hopin' to find some pretty, classy girl to spend some time with this good evening." He can't even keep a straight face though -- a classy girl, right. Through the tail end of his laughter, "This ain't the right bar for that, though. --oh, except then you showed up! Plans're comin' together already!"

While Harry is contemplating her offer of summer partying she's actually taking the time to look over the keys in her hand. "Jesus, someone's afraid of losin' his house key." The lens flickered to the keys even if Jackie wasn't paying attention to whether all of them were the same or not. "Doesn't help if they're all on the same keyring, sweetheart." The keys are being shoved into her pocket and the camera pans back up to Harry. "Why do you need that sh*t to perk you up? If you're so borin' that you gotta do that stuff it just means you're over your head with partyin'. I got a blanket in the back of my truck if y'wanna catch a quick nap in the corner or somethin'?" This was how the guys at the bar needled each other into doing what they wanted, taunting one another. Sadly, it always seemed to work when she used this tactic on Harry and she hoped this time would be no different. The last thing Ben needed was another head cold. "Right, right. I made this bar classy as hell." Her hand could be seen coming from off screen to capture her beer and pull it to her lips for a long draw. "So, that mean we're stayin' here for the night?" He would get no complaints from Jackie. If she could keep him occupied in one spot it would make her night so much easier.

They're actually all different, but even if Harry knew what they were for (and it's unlikely he did), he probably didn't get the joke anyway. "I don't need it," and he makes a face. As many vices as Harry indulged in -- usually as many as he could manage to get his hands on -- he never thought of himself as dependent on any of them. Take it or leave it, if he wanted. But why would he want to leave it? "It's just fun. And really, me? Boring?" At least he's not offended, just chuckling, grabbing her by the elbow and heading for the door. He's bringing his own bottle with him. "Stay here? No way. Bor-ing." Sort of singsong on that last word. "And if you're not gonna let me f*ck anybody tonight," so maybe he wasn't quite as clueless as he always seemed, though he's cheery as ever, apparently not bothered by Jackie's chastity-belt-affect she cast on him, "then I at least wanna go f*ck some sh*t up!"

"That's not fun. Booze is fun. So, we'll stick to booze." Making a face back at him. It consisted of her tongue poking out at him because she was the adult in this situation. Or was she? It was possibly the blind leading the blind. She's smiling sweetly behind the camera but there's a laugh of surprise when she's getting steered towards the door by her elbow. "Alright, alright!" It took a moment for her to fall into pace with him and deposit her beer on a passing table. The camera was extended at arm's length again, bouncing enough to make anyone unfortunate to watch this video later on run the risk of getting sea sick. The lens swept side to side rapidly between him and her and Jackie replied with as much cheer in her tone. "No, I'm not gonna let you f*ck anyone tonight." If Harry was going to have a moment of clarity she was going to reward him by being honest. "But fine, we can f*ck somethin' up. You seem like you know where you wanna go." The camera swung around, trotting steps taken towards Ben's beater of a car.

He points upward, at an angle, dramatically, just as they get through the door. "To the docks!" The drama is ruined, of course, by the laughter that seemed to always be escaping him, this time brought on specifically by his own dramatic presentation. He knows which car to go to, that much is obvious, because he heads right to it, letting go of Jackie's arm and piling into the passenger's seat with his bourbon.

"The... docks?" There's obvious disappointment in her tone. If she had it her way she would be at home with Ben curled up on the couch watching a movie. Since that obviously wasn't going to happen she would at least like to have a good night. "What in the hell happens at the docks?" While Harry is excitedly pouring himself into the car she's stopping by the driver's side to aim the camera at herself. Big eyeroll. "To the docks." No where near the same delivery as Harry and with that she ends the recording. Sliding into the driver's seat the door is swung shut behind her, the engine started, and she's making her way in the direction of the docks. "This better be good, Harry."
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Jackie Sullivan
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"F*cking sh*t up!" Jackie might be rolling her eyes, but Harry's as excitable as ever. "It's good, it's good! Promise, pinky swear." He's chatty on the way, but it's about stupid things, inconsequential -- girls, very, very thinly veiled references to drugs, the weather. It's not until they get to the docks -- the somewhat regular hide-and-seek grounds for Ben's poor car -- that Harry asks Jackie an even somewhat serious question. "So, hey, what did you have planned for the night?" It's a bit of a struggle to get out of the car without swaying so badly that he falls, but he manages. Even remembers to take the bottle with him, though it's getting close to the point of being finished.

Jackie has no problem keeping up in the conversation with Harry and it almost sounds like she's relaxing somewhat. It helps he already realizes that while he can ramble on about girls all he wants, picking them up wasn't going to be an option tonight. That was always her biggest worry when it came to Harry coming out to play and with that out of the way it felt as if she could actually take a breath and not keep him on such a short leash. Maybe. The engine is killed and Jackie's furrowing her brows at Harry's oh-so-serious question. "Well, I was gonna pick up chicks, do blow, and down a bottle of tequila, but since those were your plans I feel like I'm copyin'." A dry laugh, at least she amused herself. The camera was picked up and she slid out of the car making sure to lock the doors behind her and stow the keys in her pocket. The last thing she wanted to do was join the Lose Ben's Car At The Docks Club. The record button was pressed, a panning view of the docks and the lens settled on the trailing Harry. "So, what in the hell does someone do at the docks for fun?"

He actually gasps. "Those were your plans too? No sh*t -- we're, like, meant to be!" Sarcasm, apparently, is usually completely lost on him. It helps that Jackie's question distracts him too. "Hookers?" But he laughs, glances over at her; when he realizes that she's recording again, he makes a lewd little gesture with his tongue, but then he's grinning. "Joking. The hookers here are nasty, like if you look at them you might catch something nasty." He takes a few more steps, slowing his pace, mostly so he can chug down the remainder of his bourbon. A deeper breath when the bottle's finished off, and he shakes his head a little, quickly, fighting off the haze before laughing again. "So..." He leans his weight back, shifts it all forward when he pitches the empty bottle into a high arc into the air, pausing until he hears the satisfying shatter of glass. "Like I said. Find sh*t to break." And just to be prepared for when he finds something, he leans over, grabs up a piece of wood -- it's solid, looks like it was part of a railing or bannister at some point in time.

She had some sort of stock smarta*s answer ready to go about how they were meant to be, but his answer of 'hookers' gets all of her attention. "Oh, groooooss!" The word is dragged out and the camera bounces violently, probably because Jackie is squirming in an attempt to get rid of the heebie jeebies she just got. "That was not funny. I haven't even touched anythin' here an' I feel like I need an hour long shower. Mind you, I go muddin' for fun so it's not like dirt grosses me out." A slow pan around the docks. "But fleas, herpes, an' the plague do gross me out an' I think you can catch all three here in no time." She's following along after him, actually wishing she had brought something to drink for the road even if only a beer. She's watching him get ready then the lens follows the rise and crashing fall of the bottle. "I didn't think you meant literally breakin' stuff." He was so simple, no need to look any deeper into what he said. "Oh, and now you're touchin' things and you're goin' to put your fingers in your mouth." Said with the whine of a teenage babysitter her first day on the job. There was a bounce of the camera as she jogged after him to catch up and she was looking around for anything he could break with his make-shift bat. Might as well go with it. "So you come here and break stuff? That's it?" Her steps picked up and she turned so she was walking backwards and pointing the camera at him. She was too intrigued to worry about tripping on anything. "Why do you do that?"

"If you go take an hour long shower, I can join you, right?" A lift of his brows, and as always, that dumb grin, but he isn't serious. He's never really serious. "I don't have any of those! Maybe I just lucked out so far?" But he's laughing, even when she tells him she didn't think he'd meant it literally, and even more when she whines. "Ew, no. Besides, this thing looks safe," though then he holds his makeshift bat out in front of him, squinting at it, like he can actually tell if it's going to transmit disease just by looking at it. He shrugs though, apparently forgetting about the possible danger, especially when Jackie's in front of him a few paces, facing him. At first, he'd sort of seemed to put on a show for the camera, really ham it up, but he's a lot more natural now, so he just shrugs. "Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes there's other guys here and we all break stuff. Get drunk, do whatever." He leans the bat back on one shoulder. "Why?" He actually looks like he's thinking it over which... is sort of strange to see, Harry thinking. He spies an abandoned takeout coffee cup on a packing crate, takes aim, swings; the thing gets pretty obliterated, but doesn't fly very far, and it's not too satisfying, but he just continues on. "I dunno. It's fun. I mean, I'd rather get with a girl, but that doesn't always work out. This's fun too."

"If you join me I'm going to take a bath instead an' hold your head under the water." Just as his passes had become so second nature, barely anything to bat a lash at, so did her non-threats of violence. It's not like she could actually hurt Ben... Harry... whatever. Jackie's nodding along with his explanation of drinking with guys and breaking things, but she paused and practically looks impressed that Harry turned it back around on her. "I don't know, I was wonderin' what the hell you do with your time. Why you hang out here. Why you can't seem to hang onto a car to save your life." The camera swishes aside to watch the anti-climatic end of the coffee cup, but there isn't even enough time to swing the lens back on Harry before he's going on. It comes back to girls and Jackie lowers the camera to her side with a heavy sigh. Even if it's only catching a random shot of some abstract trailers in the distance the voices could still distinctly be heard from off screen. "And there it is, always comin' back to girls. Can you just, like... I don't know, man. Find it in your heart to just shut up about doin' girls for a couple hours or somethin'? I'm f*ckin' beggin' you." Jackie doesn't seem to be having fun anymore and she's turning on her heels to continue walking ahead of him. Not a quick pace, but enough to put some distance between them.

He's snickering at her threat, so obviously he didn't take it seriously. He's thinking over her explanation, but the last bit of it gets another laugh out of him, along with a helpless shrug. "I dunno, I guess I just forget where I leave it." Was that surprising? Considering the car was always ready for him when he surfaced again, it wasn't a very good incentive to try to be more responsible with it. "Aw, hey." Jackie might be trying to put some distance between them, but Harry actually jogs to catch up to her. There's actual, real concern on his face, but it's mostly just acknowledgement that she's upset -- he doesn't want to dwell on it, preferring instead to move on, make it better. "What's the matter? I don't get why it bugs you. Y'really jealous, babycakes?" He bumps his hip against hers, leans the bat against his far shoulder so he can reach over and put his hand on her shoulder. "Tell you what. Let's do what you wanna do, 'kay? Like you better when you're smilin', sweetcheeks."

When he jogs to catch up she doesn't quicken her pace, but she's still staring straight ahead almost as if she didn't hear him at all. "Don't call me babycakes." That was the first thing he got after bumping her hip with his. "I jus' don't want to hear it an' you're an a*shole for always bringin' it up even when I tell you not to. Why do y'always have to rub it in my face?" It's when he says that they can do what she wants to do that she actually halts and turns to face him. All the joking and dry humor she possessed throughout the night was gone for now, replaced with a tinge of desperation. "I want to be with Ben. I want to talk to Ben an' I want to go home with Ben. It'll make me smile. Can you do that right now?" A hand lifted, snapping repeatedly in the air between. "Ben. Ben. Ben. Ben. Ben. Is that doin' anythin' for you?" Throughout the few and far between times that Jackie had actually hung around with Harry, she could never really be sure of how aware he was of the system he was attached to. Sometimes she felt as if pulling back that curtain for him was in bad taste, but right now she didn't care.

Maybe it is in bad taste. But even confronted this directly with Ben's name -- with Jackie's request that he come back -- it's hard to tell if Harry really understands the situation. His expression goes sort of blank by the time she's repeating Ben's name over and over, though it's not the short total stupor that usually signals a switch in personality. He just looks sort of perplexed, confused, his brows drawn together, and it takes him a moment to answer her. "Not doin' a thing. Not my name." He'd stopped in his tracks when she had, but now he nudges her in the arm with his elbow, continuing on aimlessly, closer to the water now. "Sorry, I didn't know I was rubbin' it in your face. It's just like... I dunno." A vague little gesture in front of his face. "I don't always think before I open my mouth." He doesn't really sound sorry though; it was just the simple truth. "Now c'mon, I'm not that bad." He stops again, flips the bat around in his hand (maybe surprisingly agile still, considering how intoxicated he had to be), and offers the end he'd been using as a handle to Jackie. "It'll make you feel betterrrr.." Drawn out, singsong, trying to tempt. To cheer her up.

She's staring at him so intently, her hand still dangling between them even if she stopped snapping her fingers. Waiting for something, anything, a sign as to whether it worked or not. There's the smallest ounce of hope when his expression goes blank. No, it's not the same as when it happens to Ben, but some part of her wants to believe that she had managed to call him back to her. She had done it once before, why not now? Then he speaks and it all comes crashing down along with her hand sinking to her side. "Fine." Gruff, but she knows that nothing has changed tonight. Either she continues along with him or he runs wild on his own doing who knows what. One hand was shoved into the pocket of her jacket while the other still dangled at her side holding the forgotten recording camera, a small grey cloud lingering above her head as she followed him. "I know you don't, but you could open your mouth about anythin' in the whole wide world an' I wouldn't care. That's the one thing I don't want to hear about." His statement that he wasn't that bad gets another sigh. "I'm too irritated to agree right now." Which, in Jackie speak, means give her a little while to calm down again and she'll stop hating you. She stares at him, down to the bat, him, to the bat again. Finally, her hand is sliding from her jacket to take the handle from him. "I'm pissed at you an' you're giving me a blunt weapon?" Low whistle. "I don't know if you're confident or dumb as hell."
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Jackie Sullivan
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Maybe some of both." Grinning at her. "C'mon, you're not even mad at me. How could you stay mad at this?" His smile goes a little more crooked, and he reaches out to touch a fingertip to her cheek. Smile. "We gotta find somethin' good for you." Without really waiting for her, he starts off, first just wandering off, just a little bit of a sway in his step, but pretty soon, he takes off at a jog, skids around a stack of a couple of shipping crates-- "Jackie, Jackie, looklook!" He peeks back around at the crates at her, but once she catches up, he spreads his arms, presents the junkheap of a car he'd found there, abandoned. "Ta-daaaa! Don't say I never gotcha nothin'. Perfect, right?" Chuckling, he steps back to give her room to get to the car. He's already so pumped that he jumps up and down a couple of times, more like a twenty-something year old punk than a forty-nine year old detective.

"I think that's the most self-aware thing you've ever said." Her head tilted aside when he poked his finger into her cheek. "Yeah, yeah. Smile." Jackie watches him take off and there's a final sigh at his retreating back. The makeshift bat was rested on her shoulder and her other hand lifted to begin properly filming again. "Harry, Harry, whatwhat?" Repeating him without the same excitement. There's no speed in her pace and she eventually arrives to catch a glimpse of what he's so geeked about. The camera pans from Harry to the car and back again. "Is this one of the cars you left here before?" At least her sense of humor was returning. She seemed to be thinking it over, was she really going to go through with this and smash a car with Harry? Well, she did have some frustration to get out. The camera was extended towards him. "Think you can point and shoot without dropping that? If you break it I'm going to be pissed."

He snorts back a laugh at her question; it manages to sort of make him sound offended. "No." And then he pauses, head canted slightly to one side, before shrugging. "Well, maybe. Probably not?" That's not reassuring, that not even Harry knows exactly what he does some nights. But he's cheery about not remembering, like that's normal for him (and it probably is), and he makes gimme fingers for the video camera when Jackie holds it out to him. "Yeahyeah, I'm not gonna drop it." He actually is careful with it when he takes it from her, and he aims it on her right away. "You should flash the camera before you get started, though. You'll laugh about it later. I won't even look." Probably not the best idea to be trying to encourage something trashy like that when he should know by now that Jackie doesn't have any interest in him, but Harry isn't really good at not following through on bad ideas. Besides, could Jackie really be upset with that smile of his?

His uncertainty makes her laugh, she can't even stop herself. It was the same sort of comedy one would find in a puppy trapping himself in a paper bag and attempting to fight his way out. You know he's not in any sort of danger, so you take a moment to enjoy the stupidity. She's staring at him for a short while to make sure he does have a firm grip on the camera without his fingers being over the lens. "I'm not flashin' the camera. There are more than enough nudes of me floatin' around RhyDin without another one bein' added to the list." It was a blatant lie, but it would be funny to make Harry sweat. She turned on her heels and trudged towards the car, then surprisingly and without pause she's smoothly stepping up onto the bumper of it then right onto the hood. It would almost appear this wasn't the first time Jackie had gone above and beyond when trashing randomly found property. She walks across the hood of the car and grasps the makeshift bat in both hands, adjusting her grip here and there to get a solid hold on it. With one last glance over the Harry and the camera, her attention is on the windshield of the car. "Foooore!" That was all the warning there was before the piece of railing was swung down to hit the windshield. There was a loud crack, a spiderweb pattern emerging through the glass after the first hit. That was the kicker, the fact that she automatically wound the bat backwards and swung again. This time the cracks spread, pieces started falling into the driver's side seat. Wind back, another strike and this time the bannister piece went through the windshield. It took some tugging for Jackie to free it from the hole she had created. Once it was out she was silently observing her handy work.

He's got a firm grip on the camera until Jackie lies about the non-existent nudes. "Wait, what?" So distracted by the news (and the mental image) that he actually almost drops the camera, but he just bobbles it before regaining his hold on it. "Why haven't I seen these? Full or just topless?" But they're just automatic followups, and he won't even pursue them if she just ignores them. Way too scatterbrained to press, especially when Jackie is stepping up onto the car. He gives her a thumbs up and a wide grin when she gives him that last glance, and after the first blow of the wood against the windshield, he pumps his fist in the air. "Whoo!" Racing over to get a better shot of the destruction, he's cheering her on the whole time. When she pauses, he holds a hand out to her -- whether it's for the bat or to help her down, it's unclear -- but it's just for a second, because then he's clambering up onto the hood of the car too. "Get the headlights!" And he climbs up onto the roof. Slips a little when he first gets up there, but manages to catch himself without falling or without dropping the camera, which he's maybe surprisingly conscious of. "See if you can get the airbag to go off!"

Luckily for Harry, Jackie was far too into bashing the car with the piece of railing to stop and roll her eyes when he asked for more details on the nudes. Though, more than likely he would open his mouth in a few short minutes and say something else eyeroll worthy so there was no huge loss. After her third and final hit to the windshield she's eyeing his offered hand, not sure what he wants, and then he's up on the car with her anyway. She watches him make his way to the roof of the car and winces when he slips. "Hey, hey. Be a little careful, alright? Last thing I want is you fallin' on your head and hurtin' yourself." The moment the words left her mouth she realized Harry might take it as concern for him. Really, it was her concern over the body he was currently hijacking, but it was all a package deal. Once she was positive he was steady on his feet she moved to the edge of the hood. The piece of wood was lifted up, stretching back over her head, then it was brought down firmly against the headlight. There was a satisfying crack of plastic and shattering of glass. Another three shots with the same exciting sound effects, but no airbag deployed. "I can't do it, give me the camera and you try." The piece of wood was stretched his way and waggled for him to take.

"Aw, y'worried about me? That's sweet." But it's a little mocking -- self-mocking, probably -- and he's laughing that same dry laugh afterward. The first time Jackie hits the headlight, he cheers again, and even on the repetitions, there are little noises, repressed overenthusiastic encouragement. "Okay, yeahyeahyeah," he jumps back down onto the hood, hands off the camera to her, takes the makeshift weapon from her. "Ready?" He squares up at the end of the car's hood, glances back over his shoulder at Jackie, winking. "Get my good side!" He's facing away from her, so that's probably a bad joke. He's still chuckling at it when he brings the wood up over his head, brings it down, hard, against the front bumper. More than once.

It was after she passed off the piece of wood that she actually answered his original question. "I'm more worried about having to drag your unconscious body back to the car if y'knock yourself out. Y'look heavy." The sweetest of smiles into the lens when she takes the camera from him then she's bounding her way up the hood of the car and onto the roof so there's more than enough distance between him and her while he goes to town. The camera is pointed at him and she gives a thumbs up like he did before. "Ready!" His joke about getting his good side actually gets a laugh and when he starts crunching at the headlights she whistles encouragement. "C'mon! Y'can do it!"

Jackie knows how physical Ben is. She knows he's in shape, knows he dabbles in boxing -- knows firsthand how strong he is. And yet, Harry's still not able to get the airbags to go off. "Sh*t." He hops down from the hood of the car, saunters toward the back of the car -- pauses after a few paces, winds up, swings for the sidemirror, which cracks off completely and soars a distance before clattering to the ground. The side windows are next; and he's casual about the destruction now, even if he is grinning like an idiot the entire time he's swinging at the glass until it shatters.

He has to be able to get it. Or at least she assumes he can and there's an groan of disappointment when the task seems like even too much for Harry. "Aww, I thought y'were a professional." But there's a sound of surprise from her when he swings at the sidemirror. She hadn't been expecting that! When he winds back for the windows she's giggling like a child and running along the roof of the car to the trunk so she can hop down off it and get a safe distance away from the mayhem. She's turning around again to zoom in on him. "Looks like you got some pent up aggression, Harry!"

"A little bit!" He moves on to smashing out both taillights casually before climbing up onto the trunk to beat the rear window in. It takes a few solid hits before it collapses inward. "You know why?" He hops down from the trunk, gives the windows on the other side of the car the same treatment. "I haven't gotten laid in, like, forever!" This time when he swings at the remaining sidemirror, he's facing the water; it sails easily through the air, splooshes into the murky black. "But y'know what?" One last solid swing for one of the busted out headlights -- and there's the satisfying, ridiculously loud gunshot-pop of the airbag going off. He drops the bat, pumps his fist into the air. "Next best thing? Next stop!" Heading over to Jackie and grabbing her by the elbow, meandering in what he is pretty sure is the direction of where she'd parked.

At first she's laughing at his destruction of the taillights, but the sound eventually fades off. Harry was so different than Ben that it was sometimes far too easy for Jackie to view them as separate people even if it was Ben staring her directly in the face. She had attempted explaining it to Ben before and he didn't seem able to believe her. How Harry held himself differently, spoke differently, laughed differently, looked at her differently. As a whole it wasn't Ben. But watching Harry now as he goes to town on the rest of the car, it gives her one of those weird moments when it all sinks in just a little too much what her night had become. Watching someone who looked like Ben with such a taste for mayhem having the time of his life. She had barely heard anything he had been saying, but the pop of the airbag causes her to jerk to attention and blink in his direction. "Next best- Wait, where are we goin'?" He was already guiding her along to the car- Wait, no, what was he doing? Jackie shook his grasp free of her elbow, took his elbow in return, and started guiding him in the other direction to where the car was parked.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What--oh." He just laughs when she turns them around to go in the actual right direction. "It's a surpriiise. You'll love it. I hope you love it." Yeah, he probably would hope she'd love it. "Just follow my directions. It's not far." It's not far to the car, either, though on the way he finds the pack of cigarettes in his coat pocket, taps one out, lights it up. He'll smoke in the car, too, if Jackie lets him -- if not, he'll put it out with only the slightest bit of pouting. It really isn't far, the place he directs them to -- could be a bar, from the outside, with a sign declaring the stairs down to the basement entrance "The Fox Hole." Knowing Harry, though, it was not going to be a bar. He eyes Jackie as they roll up to the building. "..we can probably still bring the camera? I hope we can." Which was sort of cryptic, but not really; before Jackie can ask him to explain, he's getting out of the car and heading for the stairs downward, the door at the bottom.

Harry plotting a surprise, nothing about this was going to be good. Once they reach the car the camera is paused so she can properly pay attention to following Harry's directions. Surprisingly, Jackie doesn't bust his chops about smoking in the car. She figures Ben probably smokes in it so who was she to say no? When they pull up in the parking lot an Jackie catches sight of that sign, The Fox Hole, her shoulders sink. "Oh good Lord. That doesn't sound good. Nothin' with the word 'hole' in it sounds good!" She's shouting after him since he was already on the move but there's no point in simply sitting in the car. She grabs the camera when she gets out, presses the record button, then tucks it into her pocket with the lens facing outward. Sure, it wasn't going to catch the best picture but she was pretty sure she was thankful for that. And it was the only way to continue her video essay titled "My Night With Harry." She picked up into a jog to catch up with Harry and mumbled under her breath while they stepped in through the door. "Don't you dare lose me in this place."

"Right, doesn't sound good -- sounds fantastic!" Hilarious. As usual, he thinks he is, and he's still laughing when Jackie catches up to him. Inside, it's probably what Jackie might've guessed -- dimly lit with a bar and a stage, and girls, lots of them, in various stages of undress in the crowd (but they all had heels on, and they were all ridiculously high). A couple of poles up on the stage; currently a redhead was grinding on one of them. That's where Harry's eyes stay, and it must be by instinct, he's heading for a seat up close. He doesn't forget about Jackie, though, and he's holding a hand out to her, palm up. "Moneyyyy. I need my wallet."

Jackie is cutting a slow trail through the sea of leggy half clothed women after Harry with a roll of her eyes. It wasn't that strip clubs bothered her. Hell, she happily had a girl's night out at a club no different than this with Peaches and Jane. Also, there was that whole thing about taking pole dancing classes. No, it wasn't really being here that bothered her, it was being here with Harry that made her nervous. She was constantly in a battle with him for him to keep it in his pants and this seemed like it would quickly undo her attempts of the night. Might as well walk a starving man into a buffet and tell him he could only enjoy the aromas. Once she reached the tip bar where Harry was her jacket was slid off and draped over the back of the chair. She was positive the camera wasn't getting any sort of picture, but she hoped it would at least pick up the conversation between the pair. Maybe it was better to not document all of this anyway.

Jackie sank down into the chair and reached into her back pocket to pull out Ben's wallet she had snagged from Harry earlier. "We're not blowin' through all of the money in here, alright? A couple dances, a few drinks, we'll make one of the girls call y'Big Poppa and then we'll head home. Alright?" The wallet was flipped open and although Jackie had managed cool and collected the entire time they were in the club, it was the stash of cash in Ben's wallet that made her jaw drop. Her thumb brushed over a mess of hundreds and a slew of smaller bills, her gaze lifting to Harry. "Didja win at poker tonight or what, Harry?" That was the most logical explanation she could come up with when she fished out some of the smaller bills and handed them over to him.

"Alright, okay, yeahyeah." It's impossible to tell if he's really listening. Then again, even if he is, it's uncertain how long he'd even retain that plan for. He's still holding his hand out toward Jackie, though it's really just where he guesses she is based on his periphery, because his eyes are glued to the redhead. "Poker? Nah, didn't play tonight. Why?" But it's an idle question, and one that he doesn't really care if he gets an answer to or not, especially because right after he asks it, he's got money in his hand. He's immediately folding up one of the bills without even checking to see how much it's for, and, while he'd avoided putting his fingers in his mouth at the docks earlier like Jackie had squeamishly predicted, he doesn't show any qualms about holding the end of the folded bill in his teeth when he leans up close to the stage. The redhead actually gives Jackie a look, one that says, really?, before she saunters over to Harry, leans down, plucks the cash from his mouth with her fingers. Whatever she says to him is too quiet for Jackie to hear over the music, but Harry must've heard it because he laughs -- of course -- and calls after her as she struts on to the next (much better behaved) patron, "I'm into it if you are!"

It was Jackie's turn to give a distant answer when Harry said he hadn't played poker tonight. "Ugh, nothin'." The wallet was flipped closed and she was about to rise from her seat to go make some change when Harry stuck the money between his teeth. When the redhead gives Jackie a look she's giving a wrinkled nose expression in return then shrugging. Her answer was called over the music, "He ain't mine." Ben she would claim through thick and thin. Harry? No way, no how. Once the redhead is walking away Jackie is rising to her feet and poking Harry in the side. "Be nice to the dancers or I'm gonna hold you down an' let 'em hit you." Pause. "No, wait, probably not. You would consider that a successful evenin' wouldn't you?" Flat but a smirk played at her lips. "I'm gonna go break up some money, grab a couple drinks. What do you want an' more importantly can I trust you alone by yourself for ten minutes without makin' trouble?"

Harry actually leans away from the poke to his side -- there's a little jump to it, automatic reaction -- and he's swatting her hand away. But, predictably, he laughs. "Be nice?! I'm always nice. You know what she said to me? That I should be on a leash. Kinky, right? And yeah, that'd be successful, as long as none of 'em hit me in the junk." He gives the redhead one last look, and then he turns to Jackie -- and it's his turn; he gives her a little prod at the side of her hip. "Bourbon, neat? And you can trust me," though that innocent look, blue eyes wide and all, is not very convincing, "but can you trust her?" With a little tilt of his head toward the redhead, a few patrons down, currently accepting bills in the skinny strap of her thong.

It's her turn to laugh when he swats her hand away. So often it was the other way around, with him poking his fingers into her cheeks in a failed attempt to get her to smile. "I'm not sure she meant it as a compliment, but it's not a half bad idea, really." Her gaze shifts to the redhead as well so when his prod lands she's jumping as well. "What? Oh, yeah, Bourbon neat. Fine." Lips thinned at his so-called innocent expression. "I will be back in five minutes." Ten minutes with an unsupervised Harry suddenly felt too long. Another flicker of her gaze to the redhead then a nod to Harry. "I trust the polite stripper more than I trust you, hell yeah I do." Point. "Be good." In a strip club, sure, why not?

"Jesus, I didn't think you were the kinky type too!" Hard to tell if he's really that dense or if the whole thing's a joke, but that's pretty standard when dealing with Harry. "I'm always good!" Calling after her.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jackie turns on her heels and makes her way for the bar. It takes her a little longer than the five minutes that she wanted, but she eventually returns to where she last saw Harry. One hand held a bourbon neat, the other held a glass of whiskey and a bottle of beer. She only wished she had a few fingers open to cross them in hopes that Harry followed her directions to not cause trouble while she was away.

Lucky for Jackie, Harry isn't really causing trouble when she gets back. He has managed to snare the redhead's attention though, but she's down off the stage (where a pretty blonde was currently upside-down on the pole, hanging from one knee). "He said you'd be fine with it if I took him into one of the rooms for a lapdance, and I know you said he's not yours, but..." She gives Jackie another look; it's an amused mix of help me and is this guy for real? "I just like to double check when girls and guys come in together. I don't like to cause screaming matches." Harry, for his part, is doing his best to maintain his composure, and he fails utterly, making gimme fingers for the bourbon while giving Jackie a hopeful look. Like a dumb puppy.

Brows rose at the redhead's question and a smile stretched across her features at the woman's expression. Jackie was convinced that was exactly how she looked when she was dealing with Harry. "That's nice of y'to ask." It was an odd sort of sight, Jackie pulling out Ben's wallet to dole out a small stack of newly acquired singles to Harry after he greedily snagged his glass. The first cut of his allowance for the night. It only made the reluctant babysitter vibe Jackie was giving off that much more. "He's not mine. He belongs to a dear friend of mine. Him an' his wife got into a big fight and the poor sack is so upset he's been goin' on like, 'I don't have a wife, I'm not married, this blonde lady is a liar'. Real sad stuff, y'know? So," She's peeling a few more generous bills out of the wallet and holding them out to redhead. "Give him a dance, sure, just try to cut him off if he gets too stupid. I really don't want him feelin' too guilty 'bout his Missus when he sobers up tomorrow mornin'. I appreciate it."

Harry takes the singles without comment, mostly because he's gulping his bourbon. Usually he'd at least say thank you, or probably ask Jackie if she was interested in getting any back from him. He almost chokes on his drink when Jackie actually tells the redhead to give him a dance. He's still coughing when the dancer pats him lightly on the back, though more of her attention is on Jackie at this point. "Nice of you to babysit." She takes the offered bills from Jackie with a smile of thanks, though it's followed by a barely-there eyeroll, and what seems like a little bit of suppressed laughter. "Don't worry, I'll be sure to stop him if he gets..." Too stupid? Wasn't he already? "To be a handful," she finishes. "Ten minutes and you get him back. C'mon, Rover," the last, to Harry, and she tugs lightly on the sleeve of his jacket before sauntering away, her hips tick-tocking. Harry's eyes are, predictably, drawn right there for a few seconds, and then he grabs Jackie in a quick, abrupt hug. "You're great. Still behaving!" He flashes her a grin before racing off to catch up with the dancer. The two of them disappear into one of a few little private rooms off to one side.

Harry choking? Oh, the conflict. She was enjoying it and yet at the same time watching him carefully considering she was a fan of the body he was riding shotgun in. Thankfully, she didn't have to step in and the night could carry on. Oh joy. "He's a man child and would likely be face down in the gutter without me." A sweet smile and a shrug. Just doing her part. "Ten minutes of peace. Thank y', darlin'." A nod to the redhead and she was blinking when Harry suddenly grabbed her in a hug. There was a quick, awkward pat to his arm and thankfully it was a moment later that he was releasing her and darting off after his dance.

With a soft sigh Jackie sinks down into her chair and lifts her whiskey for a long draw. It's only a few bored seconds that she's sitting there quietly when she reached back to lift her coat off the back of her seat and drape it on the tip rail in front of her. "Y'know, Ben," The camera was probably still probably picking up majority of the pocket it was in visually, but sound wise she figured this would work. "I tried explainin' this before and it's hard the mornin' after when I'm hungover an' I jus' wanna forget about it all. But I wish y'could have seen it so y'understood a lil' better. Harry jus' gave me a hug and it was like huggin' a stranger. Jarrin' an' a little uncomfortable even if he meant well. He really is bein' good tonight. But even though I'm lookin' at him, lookin' at you, it's impossible t' feel any sort of anythin' at all. Maybe this is what it feels like for girls who date a guy with a twin? Y'got a thing for your man, but his brother don't do nothin' for y'. Yeah, maybe that's a good way of sayin' it."

There was a pause when she finished off the whiskey in her glass, wanting to get to the point of feeling comfortably buzzed as quickly as possible. "I don't know what the point of tonight is with the camera. It all started off sort of funny, figured I'd show it t'you an' have a lil' eyeroll when y'see what a night with Harry is like. But... it's gettin' late an' it ain't so funny anymore. I miss y' an' I somehow feel more connected talkin' to a future you through a camera than Harry. Just... thought it was interestin'." Sad was more like it but she left it at that. Her beer bottle was lifted and steadily drained while she lapsed into silence watching the show switch from a blonde to a tanned brunette.

True to the redhead's word (and true to his -- he must have behaved!), just about ten minutes later, the pair emerges. They're both laughing, and the redhead looks a little less woe-is-me now, though she's clearly not attached, heading right into the crowd to chat up another patron. Harry's searching Jackie out after a detour to the bar, and when he finds her, he sidles up to her, nudges her in the arm with his elbow. "Miss me?"

Her smile spreads at the nudge and Harry's voice. Jackie is still comfortably reclining in her seat and her gaze is lifted to meet his face. "Sure did. I see y'still got both your hands and y'didn't drive that nice woman t'bite 'em off." He was given a quick once over for no real reason. "Didja cram all the money I gave y'down her panties?" She was moving out of babysitter territory into Mom territory. Did you do your homework? Did you tell the stripper thank you for the dance?

Harry holds up his hands, sort of like surrender, even though Jackie already noted that she saw he still had both of them. He's got another glass of probably-bourbon in one hand, though it's already mostly empty. "Yep. --well, most of it. Had to save some for a drink." Grinning, it's even lazier than usual -- finally, he might be getting to the point of too drunk to continue functioning. "Y'should get a dance too. Maybe from Roxy -- she was reaaaally good. How much more do I get?" He holds a hand out toward Jackie, palm up, and just that is enough to make him lose his balance; he sways, stumbles, catches himself on the tip rail. At least he's laughing, though he pauses in that for long enough to throw his head back, finish off the rest of what's in his glass.

"Roxy?" Said with an impressed lift of her brows. "Y'took the time to learn her name and you remembered it? Such a gentleman." Poor Ben's wallet was flipped open again and she was thumbing through it. "How 'bout I give y'the last cut of it now an' when y'finish this round we head out?" She was going to explain that she thinks they've had enough fun for one night, but she was interrupted by having to reach out and grab him by the shirt in an attempt to help keep him standing. She held that pose for a little while longer to make sure he was steady on his feet, as steady as Harry could be right now, before she slowly released him and continued. "I don't much feel like gettin' a dance tonight so I'll just give you my cut of singles. Consider it a gift from one friend to another, huh?" The next neat stack of singles was tugged from the wallet, held out to him with a slow tempting waggle.

It takes him three attempts to snatch the singles from her hand. He does it quickly (or as quickly as he can manage), like he's afraid she might change her mind, or maybe he thinks she's going to pull it out of reach at the last second. "Friends, really? --I mean, I knew you had a thing for me." He tries to look smug, but it doesn't work so well; he's grinning too widely. "Imma get a drink. You want one too? An' then one more dance for me, and then we'll go. We'll go." He puts a hand on her shoulder, looks at her seriously -- for a few seconds. Then he just looks curious, sort of, as curious as he can manage in his intoxication. "Where are we going?"
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No tricks from Jackie and the money is released into his grasp once he manages to find it. "What's wrong? Y'don't like the word friends? It too squishy for you? You prefer reluctant pals? Chummy foes? I been havin' the term frenemies on my mind a lot lately if y'wanna go with that." Her beer was lifted to show she was set. "I'm good. You drink mine for me, too." Harry was always so much easier to corral when he was plastered. She wasn't expecting him to put his hand on her shoulder, to look at her so intently like that. It made brows rise slowly because she wasn't sure what was coming next, but his question made her chuckle. "Home, Harry. After this we're gonna go home." A slow tilt of her head. She really just wanted him to pass out safely in Ben's bed so she could sleep peacefully, but it was going to need that usual spin. "I want to drink but I ain't much for gettin' behind the wheel wasted. Bad form, y'know? So I say after this we go back t'your place and tip back a few so I can get properly lit." Little shrug. "Alright?"

"Nono, I like friends. I just didn't think you did." One of his rare moments of perception? He listens attentively to her plan (a rarity indeed), and then he's nodding, a little too emphatically for the context. "Yeah, yeah. I'll be quick, 'kay? So you can get drinkin'. And then me 'n you..." He gestures back and forth between them, winks, clicks his tongue. "You don't gotta deny it." He finally drops his hand from her shoulder, takes a step back, toward the bar. "You're gonna say no if I tell you we can' jus' go home now and you can earn these singles from me, right?"

How was this possible? After everything that Harry had done since the first day she met him, the strife that he so often causes between her and Ben, the problems that he creates for Ben alone, how did he manage to make her feel guilty because he thought a simple thing like calling them friends was out of the question? She gave a gruff, incoherent mumble and shrug before actually saying something he could hear. "You haven't been a total as*hole tonight. Tonight we're friends." Oh, but then he continues on and there's that gesture, that wink and tongue click. The guilt lessened dramatically. "I'm not even gonna waste my time denyin' it because y'know better." She's ready to turn her attention back on her beer, but his final question steals it all away again while leaving her laughing. "I'm not gonna say no." She drew out a silence to make the finish that much better. "I'm gonna say f*ck no. Go get your drink an' whatever the hell else you're doin'." Now her beer was lifted, brought to her lips for a long sip and her gaze lifted to the girl performing on stage.

He laughs, as good-natured and easily as always, when she tells him the answer isn't only 'no,' but 'f*ck no.' Definitely wasn't offended. "Fine, fine. I'd rather give 'em to someone more enthusiastic about my company, anyway." Mock-hurt, but he can't even hold that face for long. "Be back in a few, babycakes." Another grin and a wink, and then he's weaving his way back through the crowd to the bar.

If Jackie's watching, it's just about what she might expect: he orders a drink, and while he's waiting, a pretty, bra-and-panty clad blonde starts chatting him up. It doesn't take long for him to get his drink, and shortly after that, he follows the dancer off to one of the semi-private booths, bringing his drink with him.

The departing use of the term 'babycakes' is enough to draw her gaze from the current girl on stage and her attention lingers after Harry a while after that. While he's getting his drink and the blonde talking him up. From a distance, without hearing him speak, just watching him sway because of the booze, it's easier to imagine him as an overserved Ben. This was her night, babysitting Harry and grasping onto any moments that reminded her of Ben even if Harry's actions that followed when she caught a glimmer of them often made her enraged or pointlessly jealous. Exactly how she was right now when he followed the blonde off into the much more private room. Why did it make her so mad when she could come here with Ben without batting a lash if he did something similar? Maybe because Ben had boundaries that he wouldn't cross. He had a stake in what they had. Harry on the other hand only had one thing on his mind and it was hard to tell how long his self control could hold up.

He's gone a little longer this time, maybe fifteen minutes, but just as before, the two are laughing when they're back in the public area of the bar, and the dancer actually gives him a cutesy little wave and purses her lips in an air kiss before turning and sauntering off into the crowd. Harry's laughing, of course, and he makes like he's catching the kiss in one hand before wobbling back to where he'd left Jackie before.

She had fallen into another bout of silence with her empty beer bottle sitting between her and the girl on stage. There was relief when she saw Harry on his approach, though it was quickly replaced by guilt when she noticed just how hard it was for him to walk a straight line. He was still a few paces off when she rose to her feet, gathered up her jacket to slide it on, and moved quickly to meet him. "Think it's time t'head on out, Harry." This was only confirmed when he didn't even give any protest. His hands were lifted in surrender and he was taken by the elbow so he could be turned around and walked right back out the door.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wrangling drunks wasn't something Jackie was new at and she had played this game with Harry before. He was gathered into the passenger seat of the car with the window cracked just enough to give him some fresh air before Jackie climbed into the driver's seat and tried to make quick work of getting him home. She was extremely thankful now that she made the call to take Adam to her house to stay rather than having Hayley watch him at Ben's since the last thing Jackie wanted was for Adam to see his Dad this way. The idea was only driven home when the quiet of the ride was interrupted by a few gurgling sounds of protest from Harry followed by the directions to pull over.

It was with the solid splash of Harry emptying his stomach contents onto the side of the road while still buckled into his seat that the feeling of guilt Jackie had been experiencing only grew. She had taken friends out to the bars plenty of times with the promise of giving them a lost night. The goal was to get them plastered, but she rarely would have let anyone reach this point. More importantly? Those nights were done out of fun and not with a secondary agenda of dulling someone to the point where they would be easier to manage and drag home for the night. Had he really been bad enough to deserve that? Breaking the windshield of the car had been entertaining. But if she didn't do this then what other plans would Harry have for the night? How far would he take it with the drugs and girls? Those were the thoughts that soothed Jackie somewhat.

Once in the driveway of Ben's house Harry seemed to be even more gone than before. All those drinks he had pounded so fast were catching up to him at once. It was with a lot of work that Jackie managed to walk him into the house and straight to Ben's bedroom where he was unceremoniously dumped onto the bed. She would have preferred to be a bit more gentle with him, but it seemed like his legs weren't going to be cooperating any longer. He was only awake, though just barely, long enough for her to pull his boots and jacket off and drop them onto the floor. His keys, wallet, and cellphone along with a few Tylenol and a glass of water were placed on the bedside table. It was after Harry had the blanket draped over his sleeping form that Jackie allowed herself to breathe a heavy sigh. The night was over and her nerves survived. This was a victory, right?

It was when she was peeling off her jacket to drop it onto the floor that she realized the camera had still been recording. It was lifted, just enough to catch a glimpse of the slumbering form beneath the blanket. "Goodnight, Harry." A barely there whisper and the button was pressed to end the recording. The camera was shoved back into her pocket and with much more care the jacket was draped over the bench at the foot of the bed. Her boots were slid off as well before she moved over to the bed to sink down onto the edge of it. She wouldn't sleep here. Couldn't sleep here, right? She was going to banish herself to the couch like the other night with Harry. It was the principal of the thing. Or something.

Though, with a glance aside to the now snoring Harry she realized there was probably no possibility of him waking up before morning. There was that pang of guilt one last time for the evening. She thought that she handled the night well enough. Harry... Ben... they were here safe. Nothing lost or missing. No indecent sessions in bathrooms with strange women. That was a success, wasn't it? But if it was such a good night then why didn't she feel that way? She had told Harry somewhat reluctantly earlier in the night that they were friends. The sad part was that she couldn't see herself doing this to anyone else that she knew, plying them with alcohol to keep them under control. She wouldn't call anyone that did that a friend. What did it matter? She wasn't sure.

Jackie was too tired to think about it now and the bed beneath her felt far too good to leave. She sank back into the pillow with a content sigh. For now it was peaceful. The morning would be hell when Ben had to deal with the hangover she so lovingly gave him, but she had done the right thing. Or at least that's what she told herself as she steadily drifted off to sleep.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Next Morning...

By the time Ben wakes up the next morning, light is already filtering in around the curtains that block the windows in his bedroom. It isn't much, but it's bright enough to hurt, and he goes to pull the blanket up over his head, groaning pitifully -- but that's when he realizes that someone is in bed with him. He'd already felt nauseated, horribly, from the hangover, but there's a more sickening lurch in his stomach when he sees the tangled mess of blonde next to him, the form of a girl curled up on her side, turned away from him, under the blanket next to him. "Sh*t," under his breath, and he ducks his head for a moment, pinches the bridge of his nose, tries to get it together.

He wasn't sure what was worse: waking up next to some blonde that had spent the night with him -- well, with his body, anyway -- and waking up with her still there the day that Ben was planning to ask Jackie to move in with him, share a home with him, share his bed -- or that Adam might have witnessed all this the night before. He moves from pinching the bridge of his nose to covering his face with his hands, just briefly, though a "Jesus Christ" is muffled behind his hands before he drops them. Usually, his protocol in situations like these -- waking up next to some girl with no memory of the night before -- is to just leave without waking her, but usually, he's not in his own bed. He debates between finding Adam first or waking up the girl, but eventually he decides on the latter, just so she doesn't wander downstairs while Ben's trying to get Adam to go play outside or something, so he puts a hand on her shoulder, shakes her gently. "Uh.. hey. Hey, wake up." His voice is quiet to match the slight movement when he shakes her; his head is killing him.

Jackie hadn't drank close to enough to earn herself a hangover from the night before, but it had been a long and hard enough night for her to want to sleep far into the afternoon without being interrupted. She was only faintly aware of the stirring beside her, but she assumed it would end with Harry passing back out in his stupor. It had to be Harry. Ben would have greeted her a lot differently than the words that trailed into her ears, like someone talking to a stranger. That was what triggered in her brain to slap at the hand on her shoulder. "There's enough room for y'to stay on your side of the bed, Harry. Unless you're about to vomit up a lung an' need a bucket you touch me again an' you're losin' that hand."

He's not completely surprised when she slaps his hand -- she was probably hungover too -- but the level of relief he feels when he hears the familiar voice is a surprise, albeit a welcome one. "Oh, thank god. Not Harry, sweetheart. Ben." Making the correction leaves him grimacing a little, but it doesn't last too long -- or, it does, but the reason for it changes mostly to just feeling ill. That crisis averted, he's taking better stock of his surroundings now. Maybe he should have known that this wasn't a normal waking-up-with-someone-else's-hangover morning, considering he still had clothes on. The tylenol and glass of water on the nightstand should have been a giveaway too.

A soft cuss is sighed out with Ben's correction and she's automatically rolling over to face his way. "Sorry, sorry. Not the good mornin' greeting y'wanted, I'm sure. I was sorta on guard all night, but the bed was too comfortable t'go sleep on the couch." She had noted his relief and it made her stomach turn a little though she didn't say anything. Did he not realize it was her just like she didn't realize it was him? Just another reason why she found it hard to feel too bad about the night before considering Harry's track record.

With Jackie there, his level of panic decreases considerably, so he takes a moment to pop a couple of the pills, drink about half the glass of water before laying back down and pulling the covers up to his chin. "What happened? Where's Adam?" His voice was torn up, standard after a night with Harry.

She waits for him to take some of the Tylenol and get settled in before she's shifting the rest of the way across the bed to press herself against him, an arm draping over his chest and her head tipping back to press a kiss along his jaw. She had been wanting to do that all night. That out of the way she settled herself against him, burrowing her face into his shoulder. It was nice to have Ben back along with the feeling that Jackie could let go and not be in control of the situation any longer. "Adam is at my house with Hayley. He gave me a call yesterday after y'didn't pick him up from school so he walked home. I picked him up, took him over there, and blew up your phone 'til Harry told me where t'find him. After that? It was a night out." That nightmare of a night summarized into five words. There was a small hesitation before she added on softly. "Y'remember anythin' before Harry took over?"

He figured Adam had to be safe somewhere -- he realizes, all at once, that he trusts Jackie completely with his son -- but he still looks relieved when Jackie confirms it. He ducks his head, hides his face in her hair when she tucks herself in against his shoulder, closes his eyes and notes that at least the room isn't spinning. Small victories. "Thanks for doing that, sunshine. Owe you." Even though he knew she'd say that he didn't. "A night out. Sounds... Well, at least you were able to keep track of him." He assumes. Maybe he shouldn't.

When he actually thinks about her question, he actually can remember, quite a bit, too much -- so, "No," he lies. "I was just in my office." He shifts a little, maybe just to get more comfortable, but he ends up pulling her in a little closer. "Nothing I can remember that should have set me off."
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Majority of the time she would have blown off the thanks, she was about to actually, but she remembered something and this seemed a good moment to drop one little unavoidable snag from the previous night. "You're welcome. Though, the pro an' con to the evenin' is that I managed to get your wallet from Harry early on in the night. The downside is that... well, he's sort of an expensive date. So, maybe if I don't have to pay y'back for the allowances I gave him throughout the night we can call it even?" A sweet smile to make that a little easier to take. "We didn't spend it all, I promise. It was no worse than any other of my nights out... that involves a stack of singles." That wasn't a helpful thought and probably only managed to raise more questions, but she carried on. "Yeah, I kept an eye on him. We hit a few spots before he was overserved an' I brought him home." Another pause. "Sorry 'bout your hangover."

When he draws her in closer and says he doesn't remember, she doesn't put much more thought into it then that. He wouldn't lie to her about something so simple so she assumes the tighter grasp is only his discomfort about not knowing. The arm draped across his chest gives him a small squeeze. "It's alright. All that matters is you're safe. Adam is safe. Everythin' is alright. We can go back t'sleep for a little while before we go pick up Adam. Sleep some of this off so you're not achin' durin' our date tonight." A smile was shined up at him. "Somethin' similar to this happened before your birthday dinner and that ended up bein' a good night. I think tonight will be real good, too."

That definitely raised more questions, but Ben decided, wisely, not to ask them. If he was still in one piece, he figures Jackie must have had a handle on Harry, no matter where it was they'd ended up. "If you didn't spend it all, then you came out ahead of how nights usually go with him, so..." He trails off, even lets out a little rush of a hoarsevoiced laugh, a quiet, subdued one. He sobers some when she apologizes, but he's still not in a bad mood, all things considered. "It's alright. Could be worse." Could be a lot worse.

He sighs a little when she goes on to say that everything is alright; again, it's just mild relief. "Sleep sounds good. Sounds amazing." He smiles back at her, and he manages to not have it look so weak. What she says helps immensely with that. "You're right. That night ended up being a good one. I think you're right." Pausing to press a kiss to her forehead before settling down again. "I think tonight's going to be really, really good." He reaches up, lays his hand gently against her cheek. "You don't have to stay with me if you don't want, you know. If there are other things you need to do. --not that I want you to go," backpedaling. "I just don't want you to feel like I need you to take care of me. I can handle the hangover, promise."

"That's what I figure, right? Plus the car keys and your phone? That's like the trifecta of comin' out ahead." She gave a pleased smile when he said it could be worse. Through all of her doubts at least it managed to make her feel somewhat more confident about the choices she made the night before. At least for a little while.

Her eyes sank shut when he pressed a kiss to her forehead and she wriggled about just enough to piece herself against him further. "You have done lost it if you think there is anywhere else that I want to be right now. This..." Jackie's head lifted enough to peer up at him, her expression a little more serious and thoughtful as she worked it out while she spoke. "I want to take care of you an' make sure you're okay, but at the same time this is just as much for me as it is for you. I need this, too. Havin' you here to myself for a little while. Gettin' to hold you, kiss you, touch you, talk to you." Her head sank back down to his shoulder, her eyes shutting again as well. "I know it sounds selfish, but... it's the truth."

He stifles a little laugh when she says he must've lost it (and instantly regrets it, because it sets his head pounding even worse for a moment, though it fades into the duller ache before too long), but he goes serious when she does. Almost right away, though, there's a little smile tugging at one side of his mouth. "I don't mind when you're selfish like this, sweetheart." His hand moves from her cheek, tangles his fingers in her hair instead. "You can be selfish like this whenever you want." As long as she was satisfied with him sleeping next to her, because he was already half out again.

"Yeah?" The word was quiet and she didn't even bother to open her eyes. She was fading out just as quickly as he was, soothed by the comforting familiarity of his fingers in her hair. "That's good then. This is a selfish thing I really like." Even her smile was sleepy, barely there. "Love y', sweetheart." The words were sighed out and it didn't take long for her to succumb to sleep once more.
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