The Basement: Bar/Pub - Grand Street: East
A place of casual hanging out, the room has an 'L'-shaped layout. Dark wood is the predominate theme, with hardwood floors, wall paneling, bar, and matching tables and chairs. The long and straight bar takes up the majority of the right wall, lighted by hidden bulbs and neon signs advertising various alcoholic beverages, these reflected in its smooth polished surface. Two to three bartenders serve ID-bearing customers seated on stools, from walls lined with about any drink imaginable, and a waitress will appear from the kitchen now and again to cover small 'pub food' orders. Taking up the back wall are four pool tables and dart boards, set off from a few booths and small round tables.
One section of the interior wall almost opens to the dancefloor below. A fine polarized black mesh set about a high railing cuts out much of the flashing lights and rhythmic beats from drifting upwards, and also prevents folks from falling downwards. The opposite wall bears short but wide windows high up by the ceiling, looking out to 'foot level' of the outside street.
Sunday lunchtime and the living is easy. At least, it is if the best thing you can find to do is hang out in the bar, drinking coffee and slowly eating breakfast. Jandra is one of the ones who can do this, and she is settled in one of the booths. Her attention is divided between the nearly empty plate of breakfast goods, a coffee and a newspaper. She is holding a red pen, marking likely advertisements in the jobs section, her face serious.
Forest saunters into the bar, an easy smile upon his face. He wears a pair of tight-fitting blue jeans and a simple black t-shirt stretched tight over his chest. His long hair has been pulled back into a ponytail at the base of his neck, the ends brushing over the middle of his back as he moves with a sense of languid confidence towards the bar. He leans against it as he speaks to the bartender, ordering himself a burger and fries with a beer.
Jandra pauses in the movement of reaching for her coffee, turning her head. Her grey eyes widen slightly, and her shoulders tense as she turns to look at him properly. A nervous gesture, moistening her lips, gives away as much as the tightened grip on the pen, or the other minor alternations to her body posture. Then, she ducks her head, staring at the newspaper, pretending to return to the job hunt, tension vibrating off her in waves.
Forest grins at the bartender after sharing a few jokes with him, then turns to look over the room, his eyes easily going to you. He nods a little to himself then walks over to your booth, his beer in his hand. He gives you a friendly smile, "Good day to you, mind if I join you?"
Her head jerks up and she stares at him for a moment, her grey eyes widening before she nods silently. Jandra clears her throat, her lips curving slightly at the corners, a good attempt at a smile. "Uh, sorry, sure." She reaches out and begins clearing things to make a space for him, as she speaks, her words rapid, low toned. "Sorry, I'm new in town, I know I haven't been in touch."
Forest slides into the booth across from you, that easy smile upon his lips. He chuckles softly, "No worries, I know what it's like to be the new kid on the block." He reaches his hand across the table to you, "I'm Forest."
Jandra hesitates, putting down her coffee mug before she takes his hand cautiously. She manages a nearly real smile, the tension dropping a small amount. "Jandra Ramos." She offers her name, and gestures towards the paper. "Job hunting. April and I are perhaps going to share a place…" She speaks the last bit with uncertainty, her teeth catching at her lower lip as she finishes.
Forest eyes carry his smile as he looks down to the paper, "Better watch out, she's an awful roommate, snores something terrible." Amusement colors his voice as he speaks.
A flash of interest crosses her face, with a sharp glance upwards. "You shared before?" The question is phrased with care, Jandra obviously wary of causing offense. She folds the paper carefully, too slowly to hide the circled teaching jobs. "I sleep like the…" She hesitates, rephrasing, "I sleep too deeply to care."
Forest chuckles softly, "Oh, we've definitely shared before." He shakes his head a bit, "She's an awful housekeeper as well, but one hell of a cook." He watches as you fold the paper, "Find anything that looks worthwhile?" The waitress shows up with his food and sets it in front of him, he gives her a smile of thanks and picks up his burger to start eating while waiting for you.
Jandra pushes the newspaper into her back, giving a quick shake of her head, a rueful curve to her lips. "Not so much. I didn't expect to find a job quickly, really." She reaches for her breakfast, idly pulling pieces of toast apart and eating them slowly. "She cooks?" She brushes past the admission of sharing, choosing to step cautiously. "You're…" Another hesitation, before another flicker of a smile curves her lips. "Family, someone called it the other day."
His eyes study you, but they have kindness to them. He slowly nods his head, "Yes, we are pard." He smiles as he reaches across the table and if you allow, rubs his fingers lightly across your cheek, a brief touch. "But April and I are more than just that, if that wasn't enough to begin with." He picks up a fry and pops it into his mouth, "How long have you been…. pard?"
Ajelandra startles but allows the movement, watching him with her eyes widening. "Uh, not so long. Not a year." She hesitates before lowering her mug to the table, her hands curled around it tightly. "I don't know the …" A careful choice of words is made before she continues. "Manners, behaviour. I know there is some, like your touch then." The words are a rush, an explanation spoken before she can change her mind, her gaze fixed on his face.
Forest smiles and nods, "I thought not." He studies you quietly for a bit as he eats before speaking, "You've not been around others then? Have you had any training?"
Jandra's gaze drops down to her hands, and she replies slowly. "I was trying to be with the pard from home, but I …" She tightens her lips, glancing up, apologetically. "I couldn't stay, couldn't focus. I don't lose it, but …"
Forest nods, finishing off his burger he pushes the empty plate to the side and leans forward to rest his arms on the table and look at you more intently, "It is vitally important that you learn complete control Jandra."
Jandra's gaze drops again, her cheeks flushing. "I realise that." She replies slowly, her fingers tightening around the mug. "I'm…" A hesitation, and an almost lie, "Not bad. Not great but…" She looks up then, her jawline tensing. "I get by."
Forest nods slowly, "You are welcome to join the pard here Jandra, you are one of us now." He smiles as he leans back in the booth and starts to drink his beer, his eyes jovial and friendly. "You can do much of your training with April."
She releases the mug, flexing her hands, releasing the tension in her fingers. Jandra's reply is slow in coming, her expression thoughtful, the colour raised across her cheeks. "Thank you." The two words are soft, her gaze resting on the table rather than meeting his. "April was nice…"
Forest smiles and nods, "That she is, and she's new to the pard as well, it will be good for you to have someone to share your training with." He gestures to the waitress and asks for another beer after looking to you to see if you want a refill on anything.
Jandra nods slowly, her smile flickering into view as she glances up at the waitress. "Uh, coffee refill please." Her voice is low, and she offers the cleared plate and emptied mug to the woman. "Yeah." She leans back in the bench seat, giving Forest a thoughtful look. "How long does it take?"
Forest and Jandra are sitting at a booth, empty plates before them after having finished a meal. He shrugs his shoulders to the woman with him, "It's different for everyone, but it can take years to have complete control, even then there are some stresses that are too difficult to resist. But you learn to avoid those as well."
Memory moves into the bar area of the basement. She streches out a little, the night is still young, but when you rest your lazy bones all day long, they can get kind of stiff. She moves up to the bar and takes a menu, leaning over to chew on the top as she stares at Jandra for a few moments, then at Forest.
"It was one of the reasons I moved." Jandra's voice is soft, her gaze resting on Forest's face, the tension beginning to fade from her body. "Whenever I fought with someone, I lost it. I fought with him a lot." She shrugs, the movement almost a hunch of her shoulders. The stare of the woman draws her attention and she straightens, but keeps her gaze away from her. "Uh, we have company."
His expression softens with a sense of understanding and Forest nods at Jandra, "It was right for you to do that, no matter how hard it was to do." His eyes move over to rest on Memory and he gives her the same friendly smile he seems to give everyone before looking back to the woman at his table. "If you ever wish to speak of it, I'm here, but I won't press you."
Memory peers over at the two, then feels compelled to walk over. "You shouldn't let someone push you around. It's good to get away from a bad situation though. It takes a lot of courage to stand up and walk away from a situation like that. I didn't have that kind of strength before, and my ex-husband used to use me as Mr. Punchie-bag. He wasn't very nice after coming home from afghanastan. You know…" she scratches at her cheek with a finger absent-mindedly. "I should've known he'd be the death of me."
"Thank you. It wasn't…" She stops the words, mid-sentence, as Memory walks over. Jandra's body tenses, her words bringing a rush of colour to her cheeks. "He wasn't pushing me around, and he wasn't like that." She speaks in a rush, a hint of temper showing in her eyes, her chin lifting and the corner of her mouth curls up slightly, a tiny snarl. "It wasn't like that at all."
Forest reaches a hand across the table to Jandra, gently resting on her hand, "It's alright, nothing to get worked up over." His eyes meet hers as he tries to be a calming influence for her. He says to Memory without taking his eyes from Jandra, "I'm sorry for what happened to you, not all men are such… bastards."
Memory nods with a giggle. "Oh, I know. But it's still kind of hard to get over. But there's some pretty nice guys out there. Hmm, I should set you up since you sound like your new in town! Let's see, you could go out with…" she peers at Jandra "No..well, no he's not very nice…he's kind of mean…Not him…hmmn, maybe I don't know anyone you should go out with. But like a fish out of water you should get back on the horse and try again, or you won't catch the spaceship to your destination, right?"
Jandra turns her face towards Forest, closing her eyes for a moment, her control not as well established as it could be. She leaves her hand where it is, turning it upwards to grip Forest's tightly. She opens her eyes slowly, speaking steadily, "No, I don't want to meet anyone." The words are soft enough, "No. Thank you." Firmer, and she risks a brief glance towards the vampire.
His hands are surprisingly soft for a man's as he wraps his fingers around Jandra's, lending her his strength in a way. "I think it's best for now that Jandra learn more about herself before she begins dating again." He turns a polite smile up to Memory, "I'm Forest, nice to meet you…..?"
Memory nods. "Yeah, I know how that goes. It's not easy to date again after you get all un-normal.". She peers over at Jandra "Are you okay?" Then her attention is drawn over to Forest "Oh, Hello Forest, my name is Memory! It's nice to meet you."
Jandra gives Forest a small smile, mouthing silently, "Thanks…" The glance she gives Memory is less friendly, cooler. "Fine thanks." The reply is brief, and she doesn't pull her hand from Forest's, keeping that link. Belatedly, she joins the introductions, clearing her throat before she gives her name. "Jandra."
Forest smiles to Memory, though it's merely a polite one, "Are you new to town as well Memory? I don't believe I've seen you around before."
Memory shakes her head. "Not really, I decided to go travelling for a while. Apparently certain people don't really like to see a cheery person in thier particular circles. But really, everyone doesn't have to be so glum all the time. It's like, oh, I'm going to wear black and be all doom & gloom all the time. Well that's silly. I like pink. So I'm going to wear pink. And that's just that. It's kind of fun being back in town again. But it seems like all my freinds have scattered to the wind. Dani's gone, she was kind of like you. Well, more like you than I am at least. I don't suppose you've seen her? She was one of those rare types of people. Let's see…she was like a snow-something…"
Jandra's caution shows, her gaze kept firmly away from Memory's eyes. She doesn't speak, but her tension levels drop as she sits quietly, listening to the conversation.
Forest continues to speak in friendly terms for the time, his eyes also seem to never meet Memory's though not quite so obviously. His thumb rubs gently over the back of Jandra's hand as he speaks, "I'm afraid I've not met Dani, but I'm new here as well." He chuckles, "Or maybe not, seems I've been here longer than I think.
Memory gives a little giggle. "So your practically an old man?". She leans against the table with her rear, percing slightly. "Well, Dani was this really nice girl. She was going out with the…oh, I probably shouldn't talk about that actually. Let's see…well, she had some difficulties with my people, and I'm pretty sure she left town. She was all googly-eyed for a boy named Gunthor, and I think they up and skiddatled.". She hmmns. "I'm glad for her if she's happy, she seemed really like, super-duper-gaga for that boy. But I kinda miss her too. Now there's noone to play monopoly with. You know, it's kinda neat in here. The people are much freindlier here. Much better than that place called Dick's. They were jerks. And it seems pretty seedy in there. There was this girl..Rachel I think her name was. She was crying and drunk, and snuggling the chest of some guy who didn't seem like he really wanted to be there. He said he'd never met her before. Gee…I hope he doesn't date-rape her. She did get into a taxi alone, so that's good.".
Jandra absently touches Forest, her thumb rubbing against his skin, the movement reassuring. Unconsciously, she moves, changing the position of her other hand to be touching his skin, if he doesn't move to avoid it. Memory's long explanation does draw her gaze, but she is wary, keeping it focussed away from the other woman's eyes. "I think I see why you are so hard on men…" Her voice is low, and the corners of her mouth tug in what might be a smile, if it has a little more juice to it.
Forest chuckles softly as he listens to Memory's explanation of who Dani is. He doesn't pull his hand back from Jandra, letting her hold it as much as she needs. "I believe I've met Rachel before, quirky kinda gal but nice enough. I hope she didn't get herself into any trouble." He looks over to Jandra, "You feeling alright? Do you need some fresh air or water?"
Memory sits down at the table, pulling up a chair. "Oh, are you going to drink? Can I watch? I can't really eat or drink anymore, so I like to watch other people enjoy thier food. Makes me feel good.". She peers at Jandra, tilting her head "You do know why? Well, I tried women once. I mean I'm just as straight or unstraight as the next girl, but I don't think being a lesbian is for me. It's just kinda like..okay, I've got one of those. And..well, well it's nice and all, it's kinda like staring at yourself. I've got boobs. You do too. So..what're we gonna do with them? If you ask me, four boobs is just too much boob. I'm quite happy with my two. I thought, you know? I should diversify my portfolio. Nope, not for me! I'm just sticking to cocks and bonds.". She hmmns, then smiles brightly "Do you two want to play Uno? I've got a deck…."
Jandra glances up, meeting Forest's gaze with a shake of her head and a rueful smile as she realises what she is doing. "No, I'm fine." She replies, hesitating, obviously torn between the need to touch, and the oddness of touching someone she just met. Memory's explanation breaks that moment for her, and she leaves her hands where they are, idly rubbing her thumb across his skin. "I've never tried it…" She replies slowly, her forehead wrinkling slightly, as she turns to look at the other woman. "Uno…?" She repeats, perplexed.
Forest can't help but chuckle at Memory and grin, "Women's breasts have never quite done it for me either." He offers up a playful wink before he slides out of the booth, "I need to be getting back upstairs, there's a little puppy up there that likely needs some attention before he chews up my best shoes." He grins as he looks to Jandra, "Would you care to come up and visit? April still lives there, she might show up sometime."
Memory nods gently to Jandra. "Well, maybe you should try it sometime? Ask a freind or something, give it a go. Who knows? Might be for you? I don't think you really know till you try it though. There's like these rubbery penises you can get at the dirty movie store. You know, like in the dirty movies? You strap them right on, and it's like..hello latexity penis! I suppose that would be awesome for lesbians! But..not really anyone else. I guess it's kind of a niche market come to think of it.". She blinks "Oh! Your gay? That's awesome! I'm told everyone needs a gay friend, because then your like so popular. Oh oh, we could go around, and you could make like snarky snide comments like the gay people on TV! That would be awesome, I'd like that!". She tilts her head to the side "Oh, you have a dog? Can I see him? Does he like to be petted?"
Jandra's hands release Forest, but she draws them back slowly, moving cautiously. "Would you mind if I did? I need to see April about the place…" Her reply is slow, thought out as she moves from the bench seat. She gives Memory a wide berth, cautious in movement. "I don't think I'm…um… made that way." Her reply to Memory is stumbling, the bemusement showing clearly on her face as the flow of words escapes the other woman. She moves to Forest's side, standing slightly behind him, watching Memory cautiously.
Forest reaches his hand out to take Jandra's hand back in his, giving hers a gentle, reassuring squeeze as he speaks to Memory. His eyes have grown a bit cooler as the vampire speaks of gay men so crudly, "If you'll excuse us Memory, but my apartment isn't very big and the puppy seems to take up most of it." He gives one last polite smile before turning and heading to the stairs, his arm sliding around Jandra's shoulders in a protective manner.
Memory waves after "Okay, you'll have to let me see the dog sometime, next time guys, we'll play Uno!" Then as they move away, she gets louder so she can be heard "OH! AND DON'T WORRY ABOUT BEING A LESBIAN, IT'S OKAY! THERE'S ENOUGH GAY OUT THERE FOR EVERYONE!"
Jandra leans into his touch easily, trustingly, seeking reassurance. "Uh, nice to meet you, Memory." She glances up at Forest, but Memory's last comment brings a flush to her cheeks, and her step stumbles slightly, her grip tightening on Forest's hand.
Forest chuckles as he keeps his arm around Jandra and leads her up the stairs and out of the bar
This apartment is one of those studio rooms. One wall is taken up with nothing but windows that give a view out over the city and let light in all through the day. While a line of dark drapes can cover the windows, they are regularly left open to the sky. To one side of this bank of windows, a small bathroom space is walled off and the other side has a kitchenette area set apart by a simple bar with two stools by it. The rest of the room is open space, with standing screens and throw rugs helping separate it into areas. One of them, done in bright reds and warm colors has a couch and some beanbag chairs. Another in darker blues and cooler accents has a dark wood dresser and a collapsible bed. The screens here are set to block the light from the windows at all times. a fair portion of the room is still bare, with room to add more stuff as the owner gathers it.
Forest leads you up to his place, opening the door to the apartment to let you inside. A small furball comes running out at full speed, jumping up excitedly at your feet. "Hey there furball…" he chuckles, "No worries, she won't hurt you."
Jandra only hesitates for a moment before she kneels, offering affection and strokes to the excited furball. Her face relaxes, her mouth curving into a natural smile, as she leans forward to make a fuss of it. "Me or her?" She comments, the irony heavy in her words as she glances up, the smile fading. "Sorry about that."
Forest chuckles and shakes his head as he moves further into the room. There's a large black leather couch up against the wall, an entertainment center with a big screen tv, and just further in is the kitchen with a small table and three chairs, the kitchen opening onto the living room. "Tal's been outa town so I've been taking care of her on my own. Well, me and April.
Jandra remains with the furball, making a true fuss of it, her head bent down. "Tal is your boyfriend?" She asks, glancing up at him, her expression reflecting the warmth of dog-fussing. "Your place is lovely…" Slowly, she gets up, reluctant to release the dog as she follows him. "She is a cutie." Her gaze follows the puppy, her smile softening.
Forest opens up the fridge and pulls out a couple of beers, turning to you, "Want one?" He grins and nods, "Yeah, Tal's my boyfriend." His eyes seem to sparkle when he speaks of the little guy. He pops open one of the beers and starts to drink it, "And if you havn't guessed, April's my sister."
Jandra shakes her head, the rueful smile reappearing as she moves closer, hesitating close by. "Uh no, I gave up drinking. Seemed like a bad idea right now." She absently rubs her hand up her forearm, a self comforting gesture, even as her eyes widen with surprise. "Oh! I thought…" A flare of colour warms her cheeks and she shakes her head. "Obviously, I thought something else."
Forest chuckles as he brings both beers over to the table and sets them there, "I've got soft drinks and juice as well if you like. You're welcome to help yourself." He gives you a friendly grin and gestures to the table, "Sit and be comfortable, tell me about yourself and how I can help you out."
She hesitates only a moment before she turns to the fridge, grabbing a juice. She turns slowly, nodding as Jandra takes a seat. She puts the drink down on the table, resting her elbow beside it. "About me, huh?" She gives him a wry smile, shaking her head. "Not sure what to say. Obviously, my control isn't as good as I hoped."
Forest smiles and nods his head, "It takes time, don't try to rush it or it'll only be harder." He scoots his chair back as the puppy jumps up onto his lap, chuckling as he rubs at her ears and encourages her to lay down, "There are lots of things you'll need to know, to learn, it's much easier if you do them with others of your kind.
Jandra nods, her fingers moving to twist a strand of hair around itself, her gaze following the puppy, rather than meet his gaze. "I figured so." She reaches for the drink, straightening and lifting her gaze to his face, "I don't know how much to say, or not to say. I don't know the …" She searches for the word to express herself, "Protocols, for greeting, or for admitting someone is more…" She trails off.
Forest nods as he listens to you, his hand reaching across the table to you, resting on your arm for a moment, "It's ok, it takes time to learn, and I'm not so formal as others might be. But you'll probably feel a certain… need… to be close to others, physically. Like the way you were rubbing your thumb on my hand earlier. It's natural, and acceptable among the pard."
She hesitates before smiling, the movement drawn from her almost reluctantly. "Yeah, that helped. Honestly, I thought…" She shakes her head, biting down on the sentence, "I should know formal greetings, I think. Limits and the like." She gives him a steady look, her eyes searching his face. "I did try and learn it but he and I fought all the time, didn't help much."
Forest nods as he gives you a soft smile, "It's alright Jandra, we will teach you what you need to know, and if anyone gives you any trouble, just let me know." He finishes off his first beer as he studies you for a few moments, "The first thing to know, is to always show respect to other members of the pard. We are all your family and you respect your family."
She nods slowly, listening and considering the words. Her gaze drops to her hands at the studying look, a faint flush rising in her cheeks. "I can remember that." The words are soft, subdued as Jandra finally looks up, offering a smile that fails to warm her eyes. "That one I did learn. Even if you don't get along."
Forest nods, "But just because you are respectful to others, doesn't mean you let any of them walk all over you." He smiles and leans forward, hand reaching across the table to rest in front of you, "We are still people, even if we are a little different."
Jandra hesitates for a moment before she reaches out, touching his hand, if he doesn't move it. She gives him a tight smile, lacking humour before she speaks. "Yeah." The single word reply is spoken slowly, almost as if it were a placeholder, waiting for other words as she frames them. She keeps her gaze down, considering their hands as she speaks slowly, picking her words cautiously. "I was dating him. Stupid accident, really. This guy tried to mug us, and he cut me in the scrap." She glances up briefly, before dropping her gaze again.
Forest nods and turns his hand in yours to give you a gentle squeeze, letting you hold it as long as you need, "We all have our stories on how it happened, some more tragic than others. But we have to be strong and put that behind us." He smiles in that friendly manner, seeming completely sincere at all times. "You are here with us now, if you wish it you will be a part of the pard, safe, protected, cared for, a member of the family."
Jandra returns the squeeze, nodding slowly, returning his smile. "That sounds good." She lifts her gaze to meet the friendly expression with one of her own, some of the wariness fading from her eyes. "Yeah, I guess it isn't something that people ask for." There is a dry humour in those words, showing in her eyes, before she hides them, taking a swig of her drink. "I need to sort out a place to live, a job, you know, basics."
Forest nods, "Where you staying at now?
"I've got a hotel room." Jandra gives him a wry smile, idly rubbing her thumb over his skin, the movement absent. "I didn't budget too well when I hit town. Someone helped me out a piece."
Forest nods, letting you rub his hand as much as you need, "Well, if you need a place to stay you're always welcome here, or out at the sanctuary." He chuckles a little as he looks around, "It's a little crowded here, you'd have to share the couch with April if she's sleeping over, but you're welcome to stay if you need a place.
Jandra hesitates only for a moment before offering a real, if small, smile, her grey eyes warming a touch. "Thank you. It'd help, keep some of the funds I have for …" She hesitates, before the smile becomes a slightly wider one, almost a grin. "Emergencies I guess. It isn't like I haven't crashed on someone's floor before." She frowns then, a thoughtful expression, "Sanctuary?"
Forest nods, "The pard has a place outside the city where we go during the full moon. We hunt and have a great time, we're safe out there." He looks at you seriously now, "Its location is kept safe from others, none but the pard go there."
Jandra nods, her expression as serious as his, the grey eyes darkening slightly. "I shan't tell anyone." She replies. "I …Uh. Thank you." She adds the words simply.
Forest nods, "I'll take you out there soon, we got a little bit before the next full moon. We can help you find a job as well, but… are you… out?" he gives the last word a certain significance.
"I registered." The two simple words bring a tension into her hands, and she grimaces. "Makes it a little harder to get a job as a teacher really." Jandra's thumb moves over his skin, the movements increasing with her tension level.
Forest nods, "It does, what grade do you teach? It might be easier to teach at the University, parents seem to be a bit leery of us." He moves his other hand over to rest his fingertips on top of your hand, lightly running his fingertips over your skin in a soothing gesture.
"Under-Grads, so yeah. It might be okay." Jandra looks up, giving him a look of appreciation. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be quite so …angst." She wrinkles her nose, pulling a face, even as she returns the gesture, touching casually.
Forest chuckles softly and shakes his head, dismissing it, "I know it's tough to find a job now. I was lucky to find one myself, but I managed, and you will as well." The puppy, who had fall asleep on his lap, yawns and stretches before yipping happily and jumping up to put her feet on Forest's chest and start licking his face. Forest chuckles and lets go of your hand so he can scoop the puppy up into his arms, nuzzle his cheek against hers then set her on the floor.
Jandra laughs, her face warming with affection as the puppy gets a cuddle. "It'll happen." She comments softly, bending to offer her fingers towards the puppy, making a soft noise in her throat as encouragement. "Thanks, Forest…" The words are soft enough to avoid being caught, and her face is turned towards the puppy.
Forest has the sensitive hearing of all were's and hears the words but doesn't comment. He stands and moves over to the trash, dropping the empty beer bottles inside, "So, where are you from Jandra?"
Jandra stays put, making a fuss of the puppy, her smile widening as she whispers to it. His question brings her gaze back to his face, and she twists in the chair, resting her arm across it's back. "Monterre…Well, I was at university there, and we lived outside it."
Forest frowns a little in puzzlement, "Is that down in Georgia?" He shakes his head a bit "Naw, you don't have the accent for that." He grins as he leans back against the counter, "I'm from Utah, so we've both come a long way, but it's not bad here."
The puppy reclaims Jandra's attention, and she laughs, sliding from the chair to settle on the floor with the creature in her lap. She tilts her head back to look up at him, "Mexico. Up the northeast of Nuevo León…" Her accent does briefly rear its head at her use of the names, but the squirming lapful distracts her and she returns to cuddling it, petting and making a fuss.
Forest can't help but laugh happily as he watches you with the puppy, "She's cute as hell isn't she. I don't know how Tal talked me into her, I thought maybe a cat would suit us better…" he gives a slight shrug, "But she seems to like us well enough, doesn't seem to understand that we shouldn't like each other."
"She is gorgeous." The words are heartfelt, and Jandra's expression shows it when she looks up. The tension is gone entirely and her face is relaxed and warm. "Guess not all dogs and cats fight." She pushes the puppy down from her face, where it is insisting she needs a wash. "Aeryune told me to keep an eye out for the vampires around here…?"
Forest chuckles as he watches you get a tongue bath, "I wanted to name her Princess…." his smile fades a bit and he nods, "I only know a few, and none well." He sighs a bit, "They are dangerous, all of them, each in their own way. But some wish to be our friends." He seems to be a bit troubled as he thinks, careful of what he says, "They like to feed on us."
Jandra keeps a hand on the puppy's neck, keeping it from helping her with her hygiene. The last statement brings a startled look from her, and then a yelp as the puppy takes advantage of the distraction to leap up. Once she has fended it off, she returns to the topic. "I don't think I'd… I mean, I don't want to do that." Uncertainty shows in her eyes, some measure of wariness returning.
Forest nods, "You don't have to. Some… enjoy it." He gives a shake of his head, "But enough of that." He smiles again, though perhaps not as much as before, "Do you need a ride to the hotel to get your things?"
The rueful look she shoots him is tinged with humour before Jandra speaks, wrapping arms around the wiggling puppy. "You sure?" A brief hesitation, "I mean, about the ride. I'm guessing you are sure about having choice about vampires."
Forest grins and nods, "I'm sure Jandra. It's no problem at all." He moves over to hold his hand out to you, an offer to help you up, "And if anyone, vampire, shifter, or other, bothers you, you let me know right away. You hear me?"
She pushes the puppy off her lap, reaching up to take his hand to pull herself up. "Thank you. I mean it, you guys are being …" She shakes her head, giving him a flicker of a smile before she turns abruptly away. She picks up her glass, moving to the sink to wash it.
Forest smiles and leans down to scoop little 'princess' up in his arms, rubbing his cheek against the top of her head, "You wanna come with us?" He teases her softly, moving to pick up a leash from where it hangs by the door. He clasps it to her collar but carries her as he heads to the door.
Jandra laughs, turning from the sink to follow him, rubbing her hands onto her jeans. "She is so cute." The comment is casual, a turn from the previous topic, deliberately towards the lightness.
Forest grins as he leads the way out of the apartment and down to his truck.