Introducing Bernard


1001 Nights: Courtyard — Clarke Street: South

Following the decadently Persian theme of the club, the lighted courtyard draws attention whenever the weather allows its doors to open. The floor is tiled with ceramic in ivory and gold, a large mosaic in the center of the area depicts a group of women moving seductively over a bare-chested man completely at their mercy. The walls are adobe and high, preventing anyone within from seeing the street beyond and vice versa. Strings of golden lights brighten the area, assisting the many brass torches that flicker in even the faintest breeze. Brass-trimmed tables with ceramic tile tops in mosaics depicting seductive scenes reminiscent of the Kama Sutra. Fair weather clouds sail across the blue sky, propelled by light breezes from the northwest. It's warm in the sun, cool in the shade, and the air is clear and dry.
Speakers are hidden carefully throughout the courtyard and pipe in the heavy beat of the Arabian-based music that plays inside. Four large brass braziers are carefully arranged throughout the area, providing tantalizing hints of warmth on chill nights, and the heady scents of frankincense, myrrh, and labdanum. The mixture is pungent but not at all unpleasant, and at times can be almost dizzying to those near enough to seek the heat of the braziers.

GAME> Tuesday, Apr 05 13:07:52 2011 - Spring Afternoon < Fair >



When one is in a position of power in a big city, and runs a club, one tends to make connections. And sometimes those connections work out as informants. So having heard from one little birdie or another that there was an unfamiliar fox in town, Lexine took the opportunity to …extend an invitation to meet. As such, she's waiting in the Courtyard of the Nights, the afternoon sun, soaking up some rays after a too-long winter. Waiting for her 'guest' to arrive, a glass of deep red wine in her hand. Presently, she's the only one in the courtyard.

A quiet shuffle of feet announces a new entrant from the club, and there's a pause there to the right of the door. A musk of sweat, cinnamon, and something familiar underneath might be caught on the air. Adrenaline. Something nervous. Though the character leaned against the rear of the courtyard appears anything but. At least as solid as the wall he stands against, Bernard has thick arms folded across his broad chest as he peruses the exits, the line of those adobe walls, and the lone occupant of the courtyard from behind a pair of round crimson shades that hide his eyes when they flash in the light.

Lexine's nostrils flare slightly, taking in the scents that are added to those already naturally present within the space. Her eyes are faintly rimmed with amber, a touch of her beast that seems perfectly at home here. Standing by one of the tables, she draws up to a fuller height—one that has nothing to do with her mere five and a half foot frame. She watches Bernard with mild intensity, as if waiting to see what he'll do now that he's arrived. All she offers verbally, for the moment, is, "I am Lexine."

"I know," comes the voice from across the room. Deep, direct, with just a hint of a southern twang. A small smile touches his lips, and Bernard eyes the fresca in the center of the room. "A curious thing happened to me," he notes, while brushing off the wall. "My boss called me into the head office at Lumis, told me I was off the roster until I squared something away in my personal life. Something about an ex-wife. I've never married." Bernard trods heavily, in a very human way, his arms hanging out to the sides as he peers at Lexine. "Then I went to DJ's to ask for more hours and heard there was a squirrly fellow come looking for me. Wanted to know when my days off were. Around the full moon." He reaches a hand to trail along a table's mural, fingers playing with the small lusty figures as he draws nearer the small proprietress. "And then I had a phone call from an old friend out west. Said I had to meet a woman at a club. Not should. He wasn't setting me up. Had." Bernard stops before Lexine, broad shoulders eclipsing her as he reaches for her hand to offer a shake. "I'm Bernard, but you knew that too."

There is a flutter of lashes from Lexine, something that would fool a normal human into thinking that she didn't have a clue about what could've caused all of Bernard's problems. But another fox would know that keen gleam in bright eyes. Troublemakers. "I'm sure that they'll be glad to know, once you've straightened out your personal matters," she muses, her voice holding hints of an accent, straight from London's East End. "And let Johnathan know I send my regards, as well." She smiles then, a brilliant flash of perfect white teeth as she accepts the hand into her own. "I had a first name, but not a last until a day or three ago."

"Congratulations," Bernard replies, kneeling as he takes her hand in his own. On one knee he's about her height, and instead of giving the woman a firm shake he runs his nose against her hand and dips his cheek, nostrils flaring as he drinks in her scent. His nose turns upwards, lips turning inward to brush the inside of the smaller woman's wrist as he asks, "So that makes you the Mistress formerly known as Lexine an' now associated with the symbol..?" He grins against her, pale brown eyes peering at her with his nose and grin shielded by the woman's hand.

Lexine's hand stays in place for the rubbing of his nose and the kiss of her perfumed wrist. Her hands are smooth, for the most part, not a woman that works overly much with her hands, but the tips of her fingers have the tell-tale caluses of a stringed-instrument player. She laughs at his words and offers, "I'm cruel enough that I'd make the symbol impossible to draw, too. But I meant /your/ last name, Bernard Donnelly." She grins as she looks down at him. Or at least slightly down. One of these days, the Fox Queen was going to invest in a pair of spike heels.

Bernard fiddles some moments with those callouses, face closing a moment in thought, and he releases her with his grin slightly blunted. He, however, remains on his knee a moment longer to stare across at the woman, before bursting out with a quiet laugh. "What *is* this room? It's like … the set of a porno. But made sturdier. I dunno what you had in mind, but I can't decide if I should be aroused or if the room scares the hell out of me."

The laughter that comes from Lexine is both warm and amused, and it comes with a slight waver of her power—nothing demanding and oppressive, but just a touch of it slipping through the proverbal cracks. "I run a burlesque club," she notes with a lopsided grin. "At the least we do not play porno music, or permit our patrons to endulge their desires on the tables, despite their sturdy nature." She glances to the mosaic on the ground and admits, "I -have- considered a less obvious choice in flooring than the original owner."

"Halfway thought that was you down there," Bernard admits, tilting his head to the side to peer obviously between the mosiac and the proprietress. "But, then that's why it's good to be the Queen. You have people for that." Bernard rocks back a touch, adjusting how he sits as he tries to get more comfortable. He sways his head towards the door without letting Lexine from his sight, wondering, "They're not all us. How large *is* your skulk?"

In all truth, Lexine does look a touch like one of the women in the mosaic. Maybe a younger Lex, at the least. The vixen's hands settle comfortably upon her hips, and she taps her fingers against them as if she's counting off something. "There are about…twenty of us, currently," she does after finishing the quick bout of mental math. "Numbers can be a little more or less at times. But we seem to hover around there. Not everyone that works here is a fox, and not every fox works here."

Bernard blinks at that, murmuring, "Large." He falls silent a moment, peering at the floor mosiac a moment longer before clearing his throat. "I'm not sure how to ask this, but … how would one apply?" A touch of color rises along his neck, but the large man presses on, "I thought I could go it alone, and out in the 'burbs I did alright, but for someone who was always the biggest guy in the room, suddenly size doesn't —." He cuts off, smiling at Lexine to collect his thoughts. "I can feel your power. It's like standing in front of a fire, basking in the warm glow. I don't have that. What does it take to enter the fold?"

There's a sudden edge of gentleness to Lexine's smile as Bernard talks, especially of size and going it alone. "We're meant to be family," she says quietly, "We are none of us solitary creatures. Like calls to like." Her power moves out further, and while it is strong, it is not a fire that unwelcomely burns and flares, but stays that comfortable feeling of heat that he spoke of. A warm, safe place on a cold night, a den to hide within. Lexine reaches out, to lightly press her fingertips to his cheek. "All you need to do is ask, Bernard, and you will be welcomed into my family, my Skulk."

Bernard's eyes close at that warm rush of power, his head dipping a touch as he feels it flow over his skin, body swaying a touch as if in a warm current until she finishes her invitation, and he stills suddenly. When his eyes open, he's smirking a touch and very awake. "Wait," he utters. "No hazing? No midnight streaking or paddles? I'm a little disappointed!" He grins at Lexine, and the larger man's suddenly in motion, uncoiling like a spring to wrap strong arms around the smaller woman and heft her into the air as if she weighed nothing, twirling her once in almost a dance move before resting the brunette lightly back on her feet to tower over her. "Well then I ask, Mistress formerly known as Lexine and now associated with the symbol I can't draw!" He winks and leans back a touch, peering at her from above.

"Oh, I never said that there wouldn't be hazing involved. Midnight streaking isn't unusual. But the majority of the hazing will be done by your new siblings." There's a gleam in Lexine's eye that assures the truth of her words. At least until she's sprung at and lifted, a sound of surprise coming from the woman before it's replaced by another rich laugh. "You're going to fit in just fine," she decides, grinning, as she's placed down on her feet. She looks up, and up, until she can meet his eyes. "I accept your request, Bernard. Welcome to the Skulk, welcome to the family."

"Good," Bernard decides. His voice felt as much as heard, down there against his chest. He doesn't let Lexine go immediately, eyes raising as he shifts his hips and lifts a hand to brush the woman's hair from her eyes, musing, "Now, there was the small matter of 'getting my house in order' before I could go back to work." Bernard's forefinger touches Lexine's forehead, running down the bridge of her nose and over her lips, as he wonders, "You wouldn't know how I might get that sorted out, now would you?"

Lexine's nose scrunches a tiny bit as a finger is run over it, though once that digit reaches her lips she is quick to nip at it, playful and grinning. The woman doesn't seem uncomfortable at the least with having the larger man's arms about her, "Hmmm," she intones, thoughtfully, tilting her head this way and that as she walks her fingertips up his sides. "I -may- be able to make a few calls. Sweet-talk your boss or sommat into letting you go back to work. Speaking of houses in order, however…you have permanent living arrangements, yet?"

The larger man's finger doesn't quite escape in time, and his breath comes in a little gasp as she nips him. His hand sneaks under her chin, lifting it so that he might peer down into the Queen's golden eyes with his pale browns, and the redhead above releases her with his lower arm. There's a faint smack of a playful swat at her rear for the bite, and the arm returns safely to just below her shoulders. "Commuting," Bernard reveals. "The bus from Aurora every morning for school."

There's a mock-offended gasp from Lexine as her rear is swatted, and the woman puffs out her chest in a show of defiance. "No one spanks the Fox Queen!," she declares, the inner smile showing in her eyes. A pause for consideration, as she continues to look up into his eyes. "I have a very large house, and those of the Skulk that wish to stay there are welcome to. I don't charge rent or anything like that, but you'd be expected to help with food, basic upkeep. Some of the others live here, or on their own. I just like to make the two options available."

Bernard ducks his chin at her defiance, which might be to get a better angle at peeking at the puffed chest or might be to lower his eyes in a show of deference. It's up in the air. "Until I know how I like the other members," the larger man speaks, "commuting is probably for the best." He winks and releases her, kneeling once again to rub his head into her hand. After a moment of that, he backs away a touch, clearing his throat with a touch of a blush again. "Well. I should be on my way. Work in …" he glances at his wrist, face scrunching slightly, "an hour. And I need a shower." Probably a cold one! The larger man rises then, taking one step backwards as he gives the Queen one last playful grin.

Lexine may not be /over/ endowed when it comes to her chest, but what she does have fits nicely on her frame. And she doesn't seem shy about this fact at all. Then again, she does take most of her clothing off for a living. "I'm sure that you'll meet the crew soon," she says with a wink. Troublemaker. It's all over her face, again. Her hand turns during his rubbing, fingers caressing briefly against his jawline. "Take care, Bernard. I look forward to seeing you again, soon."

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