Introducing Frank, Dominique, and Ruby

April 5, 2011


cafe://Polychrome v2.0 - Navy Pier - Grand and Lake Shore
The Polychrome 2.0 is a serious upgrade in both style and function. Gone is the soft-industrial warehouse look, the walls repainted from their worn brick color to a more warm rich red adobe. The walls are adorned with old Sci-Fi posters and paintings by independent local artists.

The entire cafe is situated around a circular bar-like counter in the very center of the room which, in turn, surrounds the chrome and copper homemade monstrosity Frankenchino machine the only surviving relic of the previous Polychrome. Frankenchino billows steam and froth from it's masses of pipes and valves, the temperature and levels of fluids measured by gleaming old fashioned pressure gages and controlled by a plethora of levers and turn-gaskets. Comfortable high backed chromed stools with leather upholstery orbit the counter, which through it's thick Plexiglas surface into it's refrigerated interior can be seen sandwiches and pastries and other snacks in refrigerated. Above the counter is an outfacing circle of LCD TVs showing various feeds off the Internet.

Circular segmented couches surround low black coffee tables around the cafe, each one having a computer monitor on a swivel in the center and a cordless keyboard and mouse and allowing the patrons full and free net access. In one corner there are more dedicated semi-private computer terminals at high-mounted and a kiosk where one can rent a laptop. Another corner sports an Internet jukebox which has been built into the body of a full sized Robby the Robot replica. Another corner has a small stage from which patrons can enjoy independent bands or poets on certain nights. The last corner is set up with merchandise such as books, magazines, shirts, mugs and gadgets.




"…well now that was easy, it was. Now all we 'ave t'do is move in." Even if Dominique's voice wasn't of the carrying sort - which it is - her accent could be straight out of any of the gangster films set in London's East End. She's gesturing somewhat eloquently with an envelope at her companion, who is built like a brick and big as Europe, in every sense of the word. "Now where's Ruby…"

Ruby is late, having taken a slight detour on the way and she breezes in to the cafe. Her energy speaks mostly of confidence and her step has a slight swagger to it, her chin lifting when she meets anyone's gaze. She heads directly for the table, giving Dominique a broad grin, her accent hard East End of London, with that edge that could cut glass. "Did he tell you we met her?" She drops into a chair as she speaks, dropping a shopping bag on the floor beside her feet, with a widening of her eyes. Mock innocence.

The companion that Dominique mentioned takes the envelope, eyeing it curiously as he opens it. "Nice work," Frank says to Dominique; he's got that same London accent, although his doesn't have the Jamaican edge. "You found it, so I know the kitchen's good. How's the bathroom, or am I using a giant footspa as usual?"

Kesslan for his own part is easily reclined in one of the couches with a cup of coffee and a muffin and reading a magazine. Anyone bothering to try and see what it is he's reading would note a fairly lengthy article surrounding the demolition of an old statium. Now and then he'll glance up as people enter, simply looking to see if there's a somewhat familar face about since he's come to know at least two others that seem to frequent the establishment.

Dominique snorts. "Think I'd let 'em get away with givin' me that? No giant footspa, it's got a proper -bath- it 'as. Solid one too, none of your new-fangled cheap plastic crap —ahh, there's Ruby." She waves at the other girl, striding over to the table and eyeing the shopping bag on the floor. "Already? Ahh well, might s'well celebrate eh? He mentioned, but not in detail. Come on, out wit' it. How did the meetin' go an' all?" She settles herself into a chair without ceremony, adding, "Seem pretty sturdy to me, Frank. Settle down an' tell me all about it."

"I needed it." The light defense is banter, offered to the other woman with affection in the accented voice. She is speaking casually, but her head lifts, her gaze sliding away from her friend towards Dylan, observing him without pretence that she isn't. Her eyes narrow, running over the man, assessing, interested before she turns, murmuring something softly to her companions. "More pard."

"Meeting went well," Frank says with a smile. "She hasn't changed much, and more than we have. Definite understanding. And a number. Ruby, want to try and get hold of the bloke?" He too glances over at Dylan; Kessler got a couple of looks, but since Kessler isn't doing anything interesting Frank's interest appears to have waned.

Kesslan takes a sideways glance at Dylan once he notices the other man's reaction to the three at the table, which leads him to give a currious glance their way. To him though, beyond some of the fancy clothing, he doesnt see anything terribly out of the ordinary. But such is the way of just another normal human in a world full of well… things and people that are not. And so, in blissful ignorance he simply turns back to his magazine and occasion glances to see what's going on. The man seeming to be in no paritcular rush this day to get anyhing of note done.

Dylan sips his coffee and glances back towards the three on hearing the word 'pard'. Preternatural hearing makes everybody an eavesdropper. That glance from Ruby gets one in return, also frankly appraising and interested but when Frank looks over, Dylan subtly slides down in his seat a little and looks back at his computer screen, not meeting the other man's eyes for more than a second or two. Purely instinctual but telling, none the less. He glances towards Kesslan and then away again, perhaps noting a non-preter witness of sorts.

Dominique has turned her attention to the rest of the cafe, eyes studying the layout and decoration. "Some place," she notes thoughtfully. Her gaze slides towards Dylan at Ruby's comment, a subtle, interested appraisal that's not overly intrusive. "Mmmm," is all she says in response, pursing her lips and nodding slowly, glancing at Frank as she does so. Kesslan gets scrutinised too, the magazine in particular getting squinted at as she tries to make out the title of it. "Hope there's somewhere what does good hair. Mine needs fixin'."

Ruby gives Frank a nod, drawing her cellphone out of her pocket, the instant obedience showing to the observant. But her gaze returns to Dylan, a flicker of a challenge in that steady stare, as she sends a text message, flipping it shut with a flourish. "Your wish is my command, brother." Her tone is mocking, treading a line of disrespect and teasing, but the brief dip of her gaze after the words leans it into teasing. "Your hair looks just fine, Dominique." Her reply is light, affectionate, the two women clearly on a nearly equal footing.

Frank grins. "If we can't find one decent hairdresser in the whole of Chicago, I'm worried," he reassures Dominique, then grins at Ruby. "My wish is your command. Yeah, right. That place we went to last night has been putting ideas in your head." He pauses, then gets to his feet. "Ladies, can I get you anything? Cuppa? Biscuits?" The big man speaks with a London accent, straight out of the East End, as do Ruby and Dominique.

Temina wals into the bar, and smiles as she looks around seeing if tehre's anyone she knows around. She glides over to the bar. "Turkish coffee" she asks the Barrista. She leans back, and looks over the bar, lingering here and there.

Kesslan is seated in one of the couches, a cup of half finished, but still warm coffee on the table nearby and a magazine in hand, which he seems to be paying the most attention to, oblivious to the various subtle social queues about him. Ignorance is bliss the saying goes, but it can also be dangerous. So far though he's not run into the latter and so continues on in 'bliss' as it were, cocooned in his little world. He folds the cover of the magazine over itself to help sturdy it while he reaches with his now freed hand to his cup of coffee. It seems to be some article about the demolition of an old stadium. Any further attention to detail would note some commentary about the use of explosives to bring it down in a controlled implosion. As Temina enters he glances up, hopeful of spotting a familar face, but instead sees another stranger. None the less his gaze lingers, brows shooting up a little in mild intrest at the new arrival, or more to the point her style of dress, some attention given to regarding the silk cloth about her head and the jade forehead piece. Not the sort of thing he sees every day as far as dress is concerned, but he makes no comment of it.

Dylan glances up in time to catch that hint of challenge from Ruby. He quirks an eyebrow, starts to grin sardonically at her and then glances to her companions again, his expression going back to neutral. He doesn't know enough about the power dynamic there yet to know if accepting a call to play any dominance games, no matter how subtle, might be fatal. On the other hand, pretending not to notice them is probably silly at this point, so he openly (if politely) gives them all a second look over. He glances up as Temina enters, eyebrows going up as he notices her height and mode of dress. He is sitting at a table by himself with a rented netbook. Kesslan is at his own table with a magazine, the three strange leopards have their table a bit away from both and Temina is at the bar.

Dominique, comfortably settled in a chair at a table with Ruby and Frank, probably matches the colour of a few shades of coffee in the Polychrome, given her dark skintone. As Frank stands, she grins up at him affectionately, lounging back in her seat with a contented sigh. "Cuppa, luv. Haven't had a good one since leavin', an' that eyewash on the plane was drainwater, not tea." As Dylan glances to their table once more, she sends a crooked smile his way, absently smoothing down one of her cornrows. Her accent is straight out of London's East End, touched with a hint of Jamaican patois on some of her words. Temina's arrival, though, results in her brows shooting up. "Blimey. What's this, walkin' exotic fashion parade day?"

"Cuppa and a biscuit would be grand." Ruby murmurs softly, giving her brother a look that is pure mock innocence. "Dominique, you have to see her club. She has all the staff dressed up like some harem. Some really fit bouncers too." That last comment is designed to provoke her brother and she slants him a glance, hazel eyes peeking at him. She glances at the newcomer, her gaze flickering over the clothes, and then away, back to regarding Dylan. The grin doesn't even bring a flicker of a smile to her lips, her hazel eyes narrowing at him. "Tea here is gross." She murmurs thoughtfully.

Frank eyes Ruby, then heads for the bar. Temina gets a second look; not many women are taller than he is, nor quite as striking as this one. After the second look he more-or-less ignores her, though, dealing with the barrista. When he returns to the table it's with a small tray, on which are three cups of coffee and a plate of cookies. "Coffee," he says. "Ruby's face earlier told me we don't want to bother with the tea. Americans still can't brew up."

Temina looks over at the Leopards, and smiles at the welcomingly. She looks at Dominique, raising an eyebrow. "Well, I like to make a statement. I can't tell if that's a good comment or ill, I'll just accept it as a complement" She turns to Kesslan, noticing his glance as well, and gives a nod and a smile in return. She gets her coffee, and settles down at the bar, sitting in a way that sems to indicate she wouldn't mind company. She looks over Frank as well, but seeing he doesn't seem interested, only gives a brief smile to him.

Zack walks into the coffeehouse to pick up the order of Rose's brownies that he had called in earlier. As the ashen-haired teen walks in, his nose twitches just slightly. His languid gate is halted as he catches the scent of others. He moves over to Dylan's side, with a friendly smile on his lips. He puts his hand on his shoulder, offering a light squeeze. "Hello Dylan. What's up?" His energy is rather calm, though curiosity is glistening in his silvery blue eyes, as he looks to the three new leopards.

Kesslan ponders Temina for a few moments, before deciding he might as well try his luck at getting to know yet another face around here, even if it's just potentially some one passing through. He had some social contact at work but.. that was always all buisiness. So in the end he gives himself a valid enough excuse by draining the last of his coffee and getting up with the excuse to order another cup. "Hey there, interesting head piece." he says to Temina, offering her a polite smile before glancing over at the Barrista to place an order for a fresh cup.

Tasha pushes one of the doors open from outside, the bell dingling as they enter the cafe.

Dylan blinks at that smile from Dominique and relaxes fractionally, apparently. Ruby's steady regard is returned this time and again, that faintly sardonic smirk appears. He arches his eyebrows slightly and tilts his head just a bit, inquiringly. For lack of a better word, he seems faintly playful and amused at something about the stranger or her behavior. He shakes his head at the remarks about American tea, but restrains himself from engaging in any nationalistic beverage wars. Especially since he prefers coffee anyway. He grins wider when Zack arrives and relaxes a bit more still. He looks up to Zack and says, quietly, "Hi, Zack. Good to see you." There's no particular emphasis on it but the sentiment is obviously heartfelt.

Dominique gives vent to a somewhat amused snort at Temina's comment. "Statement? More like a bloody screech for attention, but 'ave it as you will, lass. An' I thought Soho was bad enough." That said, Frank's arrival with the tray galvanises her into sitting up straight. "That's it. Right after this, I'm 'untin' me down a proper teapot so we all can get us a proper cuppa. Bloody 'ell, it's not that 'ard t'brew up!" Her 'th's become more like 'd's, the more animated she gets, the patois becoming just a bit more prominent. "Makes me wish I'd packed an entire tea set, it does. Ahh well. Maybe the biscuits'll be better eh?"

Ruby returns Frank's look with a sweet smile, sisterly, but on his return she takes a mug of coffee, pulling a face, and dunking a biscuit into it. "It really is like dishwater." She agrees cheerfully, sliding her gaze back to Dylan, returning Dylan's amused stare with narrowed eyes for a moment. Zack's arrival changes that and she glances over him, assessing, quick, before she nudges Frank lightly, jerking her head. She dips the biscuit again, taking a bite, with a glance between Dominique and Frank.

Tasha wanders through the door, letting it close behind the diminutive thing. A smile kept on her lips while she aims herself for the bar with a slow pace as she weaves past and through the other patrons around her.

Frank settles back into his seat, retrieving the third of the cups. His fingers don't fit through the handle, so he lifts it by the top and sets it down on the table before retrieving a cookie for himself. "Definitely, Dom," he replies to the Jamaican-English woman, then, "Wonder why they call 'em cookies," he says curiously, and then Ruby's nudge has him looking over at Dylan and Zack.

Grace enters the Poly. They had been taken over the coffee shop lately and is was as if she just knew where to find the others. Long fingers open then shut the door and the athletic red head stops just inside the door. She watches with those pale green eyes: Tasha moving in ahead of her, Zack greeting Dylan, the other three, the human, the fae. Subconsciously she sniffs at the air, testing all the different scents. Her soft power, that doesn't match her expression, brushes up lightly against all present. It's a test, just enough to sense the creatures about the area. The woman frowns then stalks forward to Zack, moving with an unconscious grace.

Temina smiles at Kesslan. "Well, hello there. I'm Temina, it's nice to meet you" she says in a way of introduction. "They make wonderful coffee, but I tend to agree with the others over there, they just don't make tea the right way. A good cuppa boston black just can't be beatan. But most of that leaf is on the bottom of the harbor, now. What brings you in?" She seems truly curious. "I come in for the True Turkish coffee they make, but they give SO much."

Maggie slips into the cafe and glances around. She slips the coat off her shoulders and drapes it over an arm as she glances around, smiling and giggling just a little.

Tasha moves slowly, offering apologetic smiles as she almost bumps into one person while snaking through the coffee house as she hunts for the counter. When she has the room a hand combs through her hair, fingers brushing it out of her eyes and back over her shoulder as she inches closer.

Ruby's biscuit eating is interrupted by her cell and she slides it from her pocket, opening it and reading the text. She turns it towards the others, showing them the text, before she closes it and puts her mug on the table. She reaches for her shopping bag, shooting Dylan a quick smile that holds more sarcasm that warmth, with a tilt of her head as she rises, glancing at the others to join her. If they do, she moves quickly to the door, her step holding a slight swagger, a hint of bravado.

Pushing open the door casually and enters the cafe, Riley passes a hand through his hair as he makes his way towards the bar. Idly sliding his car keys into his pocket he swaggers with a casual happenstance up to the barista and orders himself a Jacocino, one of the special blends they offer here. Stepping around Ruby as she makes her way out he offers a polite nod.

"Good tea? In the US?" Kesslan asks with a grin "Ahh you want good tea around the states, I find you have to import it. Not too unlike many parts of Canada to be honest. However I find some of the oriental restaurants serve some decent tea at least." he suggests "If you perhaps ever try one of those places, and I dont mean the cheap buffets either." he ponders the mention of turkish coffee "I've not actualy tried turkish coffee."

The presence of Frank, Dominique, and Ruby doesn't seem to have any effect on Zack's nerves. He grins at Dylan, whom he is standing beside, "Not getting into any trouble now, are ya?" His tone is more joking than asking, but there is also a slight bit seriousness. He was about to move towards the trio's table, when Grace arrives. He waits for her to come over to him, before he smiles to her. Then Ruby gets up. Perhaps this is a matter of luck stepping in as this could go really poorly or really well, either way, not really the opportune moment with the growing crowd for such introductions.

Frank catches Ruby's look; he rises to his feet, downs his coffee in one, and grabs a half-handful of cookies. He waits for Dominique to precede him, then follows the other two out of the cafe. Dylan, Zack and Grace get nodded to on the way out, but Frank isn't stopping until he's outside.

Navy Pier:Lower Pier - Grand and Lake Shore

Below the hustle and bustle of Navy Pier, numerous smaller piers and docks service the small watercraft of Lake Michigan. Tall support-beams stand along the beach, serving as a makeshift porch during low-tide and as something to cling to at high-tide. Buoyed out from the solid structure are the floating docks, raising and lowering with the water-level.
Cold driving rain pours down upon the streets in the dark from black clouds, propelled by a howling northwest wind. The tide is high and ebbing.

Dominique strides down the street after her exit from the Cafe, shaking her head. "Bloody 'ell an' strewth. More of a crowd than my 'ead can take on this bloody jet lag," she growls, then waves the three biscuits she grabbed on her way out at Frank and Ruby "The coffee's 'orrible but the biscuits aren't too bad. I'll make us some when we get settled, that'll be a treat. But first, I need a tea pot an' some decent tea…" Her glance goes behind her, as her nostrils flare slightly. "An' maybe some quiet'll make for some proper introductions too eh?" This last is quieter. "Looks like we got us some right company."

Ruby turns as the other two follow her, resting her bag over her shoulder, her face taking on a harder look. Her accent is strong enough to cut glass with, the East End of London clearly in the words. "I reckon it is to be expected. Hard to overlook Frank." The light mocking of her mountain of a brother treads carefully this side of disrespect, but only just as she offers him a quick glance, her energy showing her tension and anticipation.

Ruby turns as the other two follow her, resting her bag over her shoulder, her face taking on a harder look. Her accent is strong enough to cut glass with, the East End of London clearly in the words. "I reckon it is to be expected. Hard to overlook Frank." The light mocking of her mountain of a brother treads carefully this side of disrespect, but only just as she offers him a quick glance, her energy showing her tension and anticipation.'

Frank follows the ladies out of the cafe. He makes absolutely no effort to hide either himself or where he's going; he offers half the cookies he grabbed to Ruby. "Here," he says, ignoring the jibe. "No sense wasting 'em." He takes enough time about heading for the lower pier that his scent should be easy to track. "Let's see who shows up to find out what they've got."

Grace stalks down the pier, looking about the water carefully with widened eyes. She doesn't like the water, never has. The red head smells like blood, meat and fur. There is probably a wound somewhere on her still, and indeed her face is bruised, nose still a little out of place. A light noise is rumbling in her chest, seems she doesn't care about hiding it when she's not in huge public places. This a sign that her beast is close, as one who's stayed in their shifted form for too long. But she seems to enjoy it, using the movements and the senses to her advantage. She moves behind Zack, but pokes a finger at Dylan's shoulder, giving him a toothy grin… "A beer?" She asks him with a raised eyebrow.

Zack smirks slightly at the conversation behind him. He shakes his head with an amused grin. The young blond man walks with a determined step as he follows behind the three. Like them, he thinks that a quiet location might be better. Once they are all well away from the crowds, he clears his throat, to make sure that they are aware that he is there. Well, he knows that they are there, but it is a gesture nonetheless.

Dylan follows Zack as the shifters all move by common consent to a slightly less public place. He doesn't speak to the strangers just yet, as it isn't his place but he tries to restrained readiness. Not itching for a fight but prepared, if things go wrong. He grins, looking sideways at Grace. "Oh, come on. It was /funny/." His tone is entirely amused, that harmonious blend to southern California coastal and Mexican Spanish accents faint but distinct in his quiet voice.

Dominique rotates a shoulder and polishes off one of the cookies. "Waste not, want not," she agrees, keeping pace with Frank easily enough. She makes no move to hide her scent either, her bearing confident and calm. In place of Ruby's faint swagger and bravado is a dignified regality; a tall queenly young woman who's definitely sure of herself and her place in the world. "At least we've got us a place t'move into, that's something."

Ruby takes the cookies, but she turns as she reaches the lower pier, deliberately placing herself behind Frank, to the side, turning to face the three that followed them. There is definitely swagger and bravado and her gaze flickers from Dylan to Grace, her eyes narrowing. "If we stay." She murmurs to Dominique, the volume not softening the hard accent, her gaze not moving from the others. Both prepared for confrontation and anticipating it with what might be relish.

Frank stops and turns, a little in front of Ruby and side-by-side with Dominique. The big man's arms fold over his chest as he waits for the other trio to arrive. He isn't projecting anything except utter neutrality; his posture is strong but neutral, and while he may look under thirty that is most definitely not his real age. He waits, solid and calm, for the youngsters.

Grace cuts her eyes towards the big man. Her frown returning at his look. That's the look that a grandpa gives naughty kids and she doesn't like it. Dylan can hear her low growl first, but soon they all can. She takes note of their positions, seeing the way they align themselves. Grace stays with Dylan, their tentative truce holding for now apparently as she doesn't push ahead or behind him in this display.

Zack continues walking towards the trio. His demeanor is rather relaxed, and he has a pleasant smile on his lips. While he himself may not look like he is anyone should be concerned with, the power that ebbs off of him speaks a different story. He stops about ten feet away from the trio, offering a slight nod to Frank, who seems to be the one in charge. "Hello there." He take a second to acknowledge Dominique then Ruby, "You must be new here." The tone on here could easily be ready as 'my territory'. "I'm Zack, the Nimir-Ra of Chicago." And yes, that was 'Ra' not 'Raj'.

Dylan gives the trio of newcomers a close-mouthed and faint smile. He's obviously trying to keep things polite, at least on his end. He glances over to Grace and shakes his head once, as though worried at her natural touchiness. He fights off a bit of a flinch as Zack identifies himself as Nimir-Ra but his expression just goes a bit more stoic.

Dominique is tall and broad-shouldered, but beside the solid brick wall that's Frank, she seems ridiculously willowy in comparison. Like him, she's projecting nothing but complete neutrality; her gaze however is razor-keen and appraising as she studies the three approaching them. It's the look that a sergeant might give while reconning a place, or a mother who's vetting an appropriate room for a particularly precocious teenage offspring - something that comes with experience, which hints that even her own apparent age might be far from the truth. If Ruby is the anticipation and Frank is the rock, she's the calm. Despite the fact that she seems to be evenly matched with Frank in terms of rank, given the way they're standing, she defers to him and lets him answer Zack.

Grace's low growl draws Ruby's attention and her gaze rests on the other woman, steady, undaunted and holding a faint trace of anticipation. Zack's identification doesn't change her expression, showing that the newcomers had heard already, and her gaze stays with the other two. She folds her arms, resting her weight through one leg, waiting in silence, as she too defers to Frank.

Frank meets Zack's pleasant smile with a pleasant smile of his own, or at least a smile as pleasant as his face can manage. Zack's nod is returned. "Frank," he introduces himself. "Alpha leopard, once of the Firm. We're thinking of moving into town, just texted your Nimir-Raj." He seems neither surprised nor bothered to meet a male Nimir-Ra. Grace's growling gets a good ignoring, as, for the moment, does Dylan; his attention's on Zack.

Grace 's tail would be flicking around right now in annoyance, if she had one that is. Obviously her natural instinct is aggression and stubbornness despite her level of power and the concerned look from Dylan isn't noticed. (brb work on the phone.)

OOC Agreed to Move to Home, since Forest lost connection

Small Victorian House: Living Room - 3958 Ashland Avenue(#4034RAM)

Through the front door is a small foyer. On the righthand side is an antique mirror. Its decorative metal border has a Mexican feel and complements the wrought iron on the narrow wooden table . Flowers have been placed upon the table as well as a small dish for keys or a wallet, and coats may be hung on the hooks that line both sides of the mirror. A small rug has been laid across the floor, while a door leads to a small mud room and possibly a basement.

Beyond the foyer is the living room, which has a masculine, but elegant feel— an air of cozy luxury. The ceilings are high, and the walls have been painted in a neutral, but warm, ivory. Wooden trim runs through the house. It is dark, like the hardwood floors, and both are polished to a high shine. One wall is lined with dark wooden bookcases, while the other contains a 40" flat screen plasma t.v. that sits above the mantle of a fireplace. Here and there, paintings by the house's owner, Dolan, add color and texture to the room in an understated fashion.

An oversized brown leather sofa sits in the center of the room, set atop a thick, cream berber rug. It is separated from a few matching chairs and an ottoman by a heavy, square wooden coffee table. A few books are laid out upon the table, as well as a decorative dish or two. Further back is an antique dining room table and eight chairs, and a chandalier of the same wrought-iron Mexican style provides an intimacy of low lighting.

A small corridor leading to a kitchen and a bedroom is off to one side, and a stairwell to the second floor is off to the other, while a set of French doors opens onto a bricked patio in the back yard.

The house has that smell of 'unused' that properties get after a little while empty. There's holes in the walls where mirrors and pictures hung, the furniture is sparse to the point that what remains is what couldn't be easily removed, and the decor hasn't had anything done to it yet. Frank, having invited the other two leopards back for a real cup of tea, opens the door and steps inside, holding it for the others to follow. "Come on in," he says, then points the way to the front room. "Excuse the deckchairs, decent furniture will be a while yet." And there are indeed deckchairs set up in the front room, three of them.

Grace moves into the room, that perpetual frown marring her strong features. She doesn't like it, but couldn't resist an invitation at possibly gaining more knowledge about these new comers. It wasn't that she was distrusting or anything…okay, well maybe a little. She stuck close to Dylan, though her posture was straight, not looking for anything from the taller man at her side.

Ruby follows her brother, keeping close to his side, her gaze flickering between the other two. She moves to take a seat, an abrupt statement as she curls her legs beneath her, "Dominique will have it sorted by tomorrow. She doesn't hang around." Her accent is still heavy enough to have left the city yesterday, and the hazel eyes move between the two of them, her face empty of expression.

Dylan follows Frank and Ruby, sniffing slightly as he tries to catch the scents of the house. He is also looking around curiously, that habitual faint grin on his lips. He glances back to the very large alpha and says, politely, "Thank you for inviting us." He's also not straying far from Grace. The decision to accept the invitation wasn't entirely a comfortable one but a combination of that same curiosity as Grace and a reluctance to just flatly deny somebody who will soon by a part of his social structure combined to get him here.

"You're welcome," Frank replies, almost reflexively. He closes the door behind them, then heads into the kitchen, leaving his hat on a handy picture hook on the way through. "Have a seat," he says on his way past the living room. "Won't be a moment." His accent is as strong as Ruby's - it's like they stepped straight out of some British gangster flick. There's the sound of rummaging in the kitchen, and then water and an electric kettle.

Grace crosses her arms under her chest, making the cotton t-shirt stretch and pull down a bit, though she doesn't notice this. The smaller woman flicks her gaze to Dylan, then to the sitting woman then towards the disappearing Frank…then around the house. It's a calculating gaze, she's not all just stubborn abandon. Grace doesn't sit, instinctively rebelling against something that could be construed as a command, instead she leans her shoulders back against the wall. A seemingly comfortable position for her.

Ruby's gaze rests on the pair of them, ignoring her brother as he goes to make a real cup of tea, her gaze ending on Grace as her lips curve into a smirk. She doesn't speak though, apparently feeling no need to offer pleasantries, as she settles in the deckchair. The hazel eyes are assessing the other woman, having apparently dismissed Dylan.

Dylan starts to sit at the invitation and then notices Grace doesn't. He frowns slightly and then shrugs, also leaning on the wall near her. Since Grace and Ruby are now involved in their own little dominance battle, he just shakes his head, faintly amused. Another prickly female. Oh joy. He looks after Frank, ears and nose trying to track the large leopard, even if he can't see him at the moment.

Frank isn't hard to track. There's the clanking of metal, then the rattle of a tray, then cupboards, drawers, and a, "Ruby? Where's Dom put the teaspoons, any idea?", followed by more kitchen movement. The kettle clicks, boiling water pours, and then there's more investigation of drawers and cupboards. "Never mind! Found 'em!" Stirring, discarding of teaspoons, fridge opening and closing, and then Frank appears with four enamel mugs on a tray with a saucer of sugar and a small bottle of milk.

Grace elbows Dylan and gives him a look. That faintly amused look upon his face telling it all. He was thinking about the fact that Grace and Ruby are sizing each other up. Her own eyes roll at Dylan in silent conversation as she finally resettles her pale green orbs back upon Ruby. "So what brings you around?" She asks, her voice edged with a base rumble growl. It's near the moon and she's always been really close the her beast. Her voice is one of the things that she can't hide anymore. She sniffs the air, her chin rising as the action happens; another thing she can't hide. "What kinda tea?"

Ruby returns the look Grace gives her with a tilt of her head and a faint smile that holds more saccharine than warmth. "This and that." She replies lightly, giving precisely nothing away, her voice a low purr, her accent dropping the middle word to a mere letter. "Depends what Frank wants." The deferment to his choice is made easily, as she lifts an eyebrow, tilting her head, giving Grace that steady look.

Dylan shrugs at Grace and tries not to laugh, which fades at that growl. He gives her a quelling, warning look. He looks back to Frank and scents the air again. "Well, that smells …different." There is a hint of a dubious quality in his tone. And then at that statement from Ruby he says, quietly, "Depends on what /Forest/ wants." He doesn't look towards the alpha as he says it, though.

Frank sets the tray down on a box set in the middle of the chairs. "Tetley's." He looks at the chairs, then at the other two, and shrugs a quiet, "Suit yourself." He dumps a spoon of sugar and a bit of milk in his cup - the one without a bottom to its handle - then stirs and takes one of the empty chairs. He lounges in the seat, tea resting on his knee.

"Forest isn't here, and he isn't making the tea. You Americans can't seem to do it right." Ruby's reply to Dylan is cocky, and she shoots him that quick smile. She uncurls and takes one of the mugs, pouring milk into it before she returns to her seat. She curls her hands around the mug, and gives Frank a look that manages to be sisterly, and speaking at once before returning her gaze to Grace.

Grace giggles at Dylan, "You missed the conversation Dylan. What Frank wants, was about the tea. And don't look at me like that. My voice is my fucking voice." She snaps a bit at her 'equal' Leopard pal. Their truce based around an ironic tension of trying to figure out how to deal with each other. She moves forward to get a cup of tea, no sugar or milk taken, and unless someone stops her from taking the second glass it obviously shows where she is in her own head, despite her agreement with Dylan.

"Forest isn't here, and he isn't making the tea. You Americans can't seem to do it right." Ruby's reply to Dylan is cocky, and she shoots him that quick smile. She uncurls at Grace's movement, reaching out to take the mug the woman aimed at, shooting her a look that holds a hint of warning to it. The movement itself is a challenge, the woman making it clear where she thinks she will stand.

Dylan blinks and shrugs. "Ah. Sorry. I was, um, distracted by the tea?" His voice is quizzical and amused at that. And then things start to trend towards the pear-shaped. He doesn't interfere, of course, but the tension level ratchets up significantly. His voice is a low, careful warning. "Grace. This is /their/ house." And the implication is 'and a long way from back up if things get out of hand'. "Might be better to play human until, ah, things are settled with folks higher up the food chain." He glances at Frank as he says it. For Dylan, it's an uncharacteristically careful and diplomatic thought. But then again, he's learned in past pards to give alphas little offense and less reason to find it.

"Play nice," Frank murmurs reprovingly; who he's reproving isn't made plain. "Your city, my house, and in this house there are Rules. I do *not* want to have to face an angry Dominique with blood all over the walls. Do I make myself clear?" His posture hasn't changed at all, the huge man still lounging in his seat with a cup of tea on his knee, though he gives Dylan a nod. "The world I grew up in runs on respect. You give it, you earn it. Now. Who wants to start a more civilised conversation?"

Grace nods at Frank, the two thought similarly…but hinged on different aspects. "This is their house, but our city. You, despite your strengths, are not Pard yet. You give respect where respect is due and it is given in return." Her voice remains that rumbly tenor, a lower voice than should come out of the small figure. Her views on duty and respect are fierce apparently. Her hand remains upon the cup, her eyes shift back on Ruby, waiting expectantly, poised as if holding her breath.

Ruby's gaze doesn't move, and her hand doesn't either. She lifts her chin, giving the woman a steady stare, with narrowed eyes, only backing down at her brother's words, and making it obvious that it is the single reason she is. She takes another mug, but takes a seat quickly, making a statement there. The flicker of her gaze towards her brother checks the response there, but otherwise, the hazel eyes regard Grace with a steady stare.

Dylan shakes his head again as he crosses over to Grace murmuring in passing, "I swear to god, if I end up having to climb over Mount Scary to get us out of here, I'm going to kick your ass /so/ hard." He tries to keep his voice low at that and then looks over the cups of tea, finally selecting the one comfortably opposite Ruby, glancing at Frank to make sure he's not aiming for that one. He says, in a conversation voice, "Ah, so. You guys aren't from here? Well, hardly anybody is."

Frank gazes calmly at Grace, the weight of his Beast surrounding him with warm energy. "Are you sure this is the conversation you want, right now?", he asks mildly, but there is an undercurrent of steel beneath the velvet of his voice. He's still lounging in the seat; rather than displaying dominance by getting his head higher than everyone else's, which is easy for him, he's displaying it by remaining seated and apparently unbothered instead. Grace isn't important enough to get up for.

Grace shrugs, there was no more conversation that needed to be done. Ruby backed off and Grace took the glass that she was aiming for. She moves back towards the wall again, leaning her shoulders up against the wall again. "I have no doubt that you can kick my ass, Mr. Mountain," stealing Dylan's line, "However," she gives him a cheshire grin, "You don't want blood on your walls." God she was such a moron sometimes, "So where are you from?" Moving conversations easily and placing a fake smile upon her face as she looks at Dylan. She can play, badly.

Ruby's gaze doesn't move, her voice low as she speaks, softly, "It is a rented house, and we can move." The threat is there, softly obvious as she tilts her head. The hard edge of her accent makes the words sound even harder than they are. But she glances at Frank and drops her gaze for a moment, moving on. "London." The brief piece of information is given to Dylan, as she moves to ignore Grace, blanking her.

Dylan sniffs at his cup of tea and takes a sip with no milk or sugar. His eyebrows raise and he says, "Hm." Apparently he doesn't taste that bad. And having taken the food (or close enough) from Frank, he relaxes a little. He finds himself a seat and looks towards Grace and Ruby, still trying to decide if he should laugh or get ready to die. "London. Cool. I'm a big fan of Doc… of, ah, British entertainment."

Frank nods agreement with Ruby. "I'm not *that* bothered about Dominique's wrath," he says, "And she'd understand." He nods approvingly as Dylan takes the seat, leaving Grace the only one standing. "If that's your first try with English tea, I'd suggest a bit of milk." He sips at his own tea. "Doctor Who? Yeah. Not sure about the modern Doctors, though. You can't beat the chap with the ludicrous scarf, and McCoy was just a bad idea."

Grace frowns a bit, let out of the conversatoin, not because she wanted to be but because she didn't know about the show they were talking about. She didn't do a lot of TV watching. Still she remains stubbornly standing, bringing the tea to her mouth and giving it a secret sniff before she downs it like a shot of espresso…

"I like the modern ones." Ruby's comment is soft, as she sips her tea, a glance cast towards Frank at his comment. She utterly ignores Grace, dismissing her entirely, her feet tucked up beneath her. Her gaze moves over Dylan for a moment, assessing him thoughtfully, the slightest tilt of her head showing interest of a sort.

Thanks to Cale coming and picking him up, as the truck refused to start after it stopped again, Zack follows the directions that he was given. He knocks on the door. While technically he may not have to, it is a pleasantry that is intended to confer respect not submission.

Cale comes up to the door as Zack is knocking, carrying his laptop case over one shoulder after he's seen to parking his car. He wears a casual grin as he waits a few steps behind him, casually glancing around for the wait before they're let in.

Dylan grins faintly, "Alright." He pours a little milk into the tea. A very little. And another sip. And another dollop of milk. He looks towards Frank and says, "Jon Pertwee. Venusian karate. And a sentient car. He was like James Bond with a perm." And then a look over at Ruby, "And I like the new ones too, but I dislike the veer into the idea of the Doctor as a mystical force rather than the scientific adventurer archetype of prev…." He cuts himself off, blushing faintly as his preternatural hearing catches the other pard members at the door and he catches himself geeking out. In front of a strange alpha too. Nice. He rolls his eyes at himself and sighs quietly.

"Too bloody Welsh, the new stuff," is Frank's considered opinion on modern Doctor Who. And then he's getting up to go and answer the door, mug in hand. "Welcome," he says to the two outside. "Come on in." His eyes flick to Cale and he nods. "Close the door behind you." He heads back through the lounge and into the kitchen, where the tea-making noises resume, this time with rather less hunting through cupboards.

Ruby's gaze lingers on Dylan, a spark of animation in her eyes as she nods quickly, "Yeah, he should be more of the wandering random bloke, rather than some mystical guy that…" The knock on the door draws her attention back and she too lapses into silence, glancing up at Frank, watching his lead with the newcomers. She doesn't move though, taking a sip of her tea, her eyes watchful over the brim.

They are all sitting, but Grace. There is a tray on the table and tea cups in all of their hands. Obviously Frank just went to make more. The red head seems unbothered with the fact that Ruby is ignoring her now, because Grace is doing the same thing. Pointedly not even letting her gaze fall on the woman. When Zack and Cale come in she nods her head. "Hey guys." Maybe she's the only woman in the Pard, maybe that's what's got her tail in a twist.

Zack enters the house, letting Cale get the door. His energy is calm and relaxed, well mostly. There is still and edge of uncertainty and caution. The small blond man moves to join the others, brushes just softly by Grace and then by Dylan. He looks at Ruby, offering a slight nod and a soft smile, as he waits for Frank and Cale to join them.

Dylan returns that brush of energy from Zack and takes a sip of tea. He arches an eyebrow and tilts his head towards Grace as he tries to catch Zack's eye, as though to say 'somebody may be losing it'. Other than, he's content to go back to being quiet for the moment, since the discussion will, no doubt, veer back into more serious topics.

Cale will greet Frank at the door with a subtle, but respectful dip of his head and the common sense directive will be followed, the door sealed once more before he follows along after Zack. Coming upon the others, he glances towards Ruby initially. But brief because he sticks near Zack for now as he makes his rounds, Dylan and Grace each getting a more casual and companionable nod. Once Zack has paused, he pauses a step or two behind and flicks his eyes towards Ruby. An amused smile coming to him without definable reason.

Frank emerges from the kitchen with two rather mismatched cups; one's a delicate china teacup, and the other's an enamelled tin mug. Both are set down on the tray in the middle of the room, with a saucer of sugar and a small bottle of milk on it. "Help yourself," he nods to Zack, indicating the single empty deckchair remaining, and then he disappears into the kitchen. When he returns it's with another enamel mug in his hand, and nudging a box across the floor. The box ends up next to Ruby's chair, and Frank sits on it. The house apparently hasn't been lived in for a few months, and small holes in the walls testify that whoever moved out did a thorough job. The seating is three deckchairs and now a box, and the tea-tray is sitting on another box in the middle of the three chairs.

Grace made a face, apparently the 'shot' of tea she took was finally getting to her. She coughs and pushing her tongue up against the roof of her mouth like a dog that has peanut butter on his tongue. "Milk indeed." She coughs out, oblivious to the internal power struggles for the moment.

Ruby returns Cale's glance but her gaze moves to Zack, acknowledging his smile with a nod of her own, cautiously polite to him. She flickers her gaze towards Cale, her hazel eyes narrowing on his face for a moment. Frank's returns draws her attention and she gives him a questioning look, offering to give up her deckchair to him, a clear sign to the others where she stands with him.

Zack looks at the tea and takes the piece of actual china. He pours enough tea to leave room for both sugar and milk. He stirs it lightly, but waits for the milk to likewise become infused with the tea. He sits down in the deckchair as he looks at each of the cats in the room, before his attention falls on Frank. "As I was saying before, I am Zack, Nimir-Ra of Chicago."

Dylan watches Frank return and Zack introduce himself again. He returns Cale's nod and then shakes his head once, trying to cover up a smile with a drink from his cup before he has to explain it. At Zack's look he shrugs faintly and looks back towards the strange alpha, albeit a bit obliquely.

Cale remains amused in expression, but he keeps it somewhat discreet and waits for Zack to tend to his tea needs as he wishes. Once that's done, he steps forward and tries out about the same, having watched, he pours in just about the same amount of tea, mil and sugar into the tin mug. And he steps back then, standing near to where Zack has settled. He listens, but it won't be uncommon for his eyes to slide towards Ruby now and then as he sips the tea.

Frank starts to shake his head in response to Ruby's question, but then he eyes the box and realises it probably won't take his weight. He offers her an apologetic smile, then takes the seat when it's vacated. Dylan and Grace will notice that he isn't lounging, as he was earlier. "Pleased to meet you," Frank says quietly, in an accent straight from London's East End. He still doesn't seem at all bothered by the idea of a male Nimir-Ra. "I'm Frank, Alpha leopard, once of the Firm." The capital letter is audible.

Grace clears her throat finally and moves to put the tea cup back in the sink, actually washing the glass out. Seems the woman has had enough of the beverage. The conversation is listened to with interest and she comes back out, but instead of leaning against the wall she moves to sit in Dylan's lap abruptly, smiling at him.

Ruby remains silent, but she uncurls, giving up her seat to Frank, taking the box. Still, there she tucks her feet beneath her, feline in the gesture, sipping her tea and watching the others over the brim of her mug. Her gaze moves from person to person, but Cale's repeated glances are noted and she narrows her eyes at him, the hazel darkening slightly as she tilts her head.

The expression in Zack's eyes clearly states that he has no idea of what 'the Firm' is. He nods, "Nice to meet Frank. Are you and yours planning on staying here?" His silvery blue eyes fix on Ruby for a second, especially when her eyes narrow over his shoulder at Cale. A thin brow raises just slightly with an obvious curious look, before he turns his attention back to Frank, as the man clearly merits the attention at the moment.

Dylan's expression in front of the strangers betrays nothing but pleasant and bland amusement as Grace sits down on his lap and he casually puts an arm around her waist, leaning in to murmur, "My, Auntie Grace, the deer hunting /has/ been good. Pound for pound. " His expression and tone are angelic enough that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He looks back to Frank, all polite inquiry and cheerful interest, at Zack's question.

Cale merely smiles at Ruby when she narrows her eyes at him. This one more simple and plainly friendly. Though Grace going to sit on Dylan's lap prompts him to look towards the two of them for a few moments. A thoughtful lean to his expression before he slowly lets his eyes slip back to Ruby. A questioning brow lifts before he tilts his head the two just slightly.

Frank shrugs his broad shoulders. "We haven't decided yet, but we're definitely thinking about it," he replies to Zack. "A lot'll depend on your Nimir-Raj. We sent him a text message asking to meet just before you arrived at the Cafe." The word 'cafe' sounds more like 'caff'. And then to Grace and Dylan, a gentle but firm, "Remember what I said about playing nice."

Grace blinked, stunned by Dylan's low voice and she smirks, sardonically, before putting one hand on the chair arm and the other in his groin region. She shifts herself, so that her entire weight now is being lifted by the palm that presses against Dylan's 'manliness'. "Pound for Pound, you don't match up." She mummers, chuckling softly as the 'kids play misbehave as the grownups speak'.

The raised brow from Zack is noted and Ruby's expression slides into neutral, her gaze moving to Frank. She ignores Cale entirely, letting Frank speak for them, her gaze resting on her brother. She sips her tea, the turn of her head making it clear that she is not looking at Cale, ignoring him. Ignoring the others.

Zack looks over at Dylan and Grace. After Frank issue his subtle warning to them, he likewise gives a mildly scolding glare at Dylan. He looks to Frank, "I see… Forest is at work currently. He doesn't always get to check his phone on days like this. I can welcome you into the territory, though of course Forest can revoke that welcome."

Dylan nods at Frank and does his level best to appear entirely innocent. He winces faintly for some reason and murmurs back, "Well, outside of the occasional Oba, so few do measure up to you, Auntie." And he shifts slightly, hefting Grace just a bit, as though reminding her that given his strength as a shifter and her weight, he could probably get in a pretty good 'Hail Mary' pass using her as the football. Were they not in polite company, at least. He winces at that look from Zack, shifting Grace over to sit on his thigh and looks down and away from both alphas.

If anything, Cale seems pleased by the reaction he gets from Ruby, his casual smile lingering as he sips at the tea. His eyes lowering to it as he considers the flavor. Though the antics do get a look and Cale's smile lingers. Delving into a more polite manner for at least a little while as he gives some attention to the talk that's going on. At least, more active attention.

At the invitation, Frank sends a questioning look Ruby's way, asking her opinion. He may be the more dominant of the two, but he apparently values his sister's input. "What do you reckon, Ruby?" And then a rather harder glare at Grace and Dylan, though Dylan's shifting of Grace and lowering of eyes mollifies him.

Grace lowers her gaze, to Zack, the two new comers in the room still ignored of any type of rank ,and can't help her smile. She fidgets a little in Dylan's lap as he shifts her around and leans her face into Dylan's neck to hid her laughter. She's really amused by all of this. No doubt their places would be set soon enough.

Ruby returns her brother's look steadily, her face thoughtful. She tilts her head, her gaze moving between Zack and Frank, an obvious cautiousness showing. "Thank you for the welcome, Nimir Ra. We appreciate the sentiment, and will look forward to meeting your Nimir Raj." Her words are respectful, walking that line with a neat, practiced ease, as she says a polite, if cautious, suggestion to wait for the leader. She gives Zack a look and then dips her gaze, a respectful gesture, acknowledging him. She is seated on a box beside Frank's chair, the livingroom furnished with three deckchairs and a box. Dylan is in one, Frank in another.

Zack takes a sip of the cup of tea. His lips pause on the edge of the cup, as he listens to her words, almost as a feudal Japanese courtier might use a fan. His gaze moves between Ruby and Frank for a moment as he leans back in his seat. A faint smile eases across his lips, as he accepts her refusal of his offer. "I can understand that. I hope that you will not be left waiting long to meet with our Nimir-Raj. In the meantime, I offer you freedom to move in our territory, so long as you do not bring violance against us. If you find yourself in trouble with any of the other groups, you will be acting on your own."

Dylan rolls his eyes at that laughing from Grace. /She's/ not the one getting death glares from the Nimir Ra. He blinks at Ruby's polite refusal and his expression is faintly annoyed as he looks towards her. And then with the elaborate disdain of a feline who believes his dignity to be insulted, he shifts slightly to exclude the stranger from his line of sight. If you can't see somebody, they obviously aren't there. Other than, he just listens to Zack and looks back to Frank for his reaction.

Cale lets his eyes rest on Ruby as she speaks her thoughts on the matter. A brow arched as he considers her with a more focused expression. An expression that hovers in a neutral territory, though there is perhaps an edge of respect that goes without precise focus, given the lack of explanation. His eyes will lingers, the young man studying her a bit closer now.

Frank's sister was asked her opinion and she's spoken, and apparently that's good enough for the near-giant. He nods to confirm what Ruby's said; in reply to Zack, he says, "Thank you, and of course. We won't start trouble, but we might finish it. Hopefully the Nimir-Raj will reply soon so we can sit down and sort things out."

Grace stops laughing and looks up as the Ra was refused. He might be a man, but Zack was Forest's chose and Grace respected that. A low growl started up again in her throat, but she kept it to just a point of aggravation. She wasn't about to jump into anything. To her it was black and white, there were no real grey area's to their life…expect of course in matters like Dylan. Oh hell it was just complicated and Grace had her own strict views upon it all.

The sound of a large truck pulling up outside can be heard and only a few moments later a tall man makes his way up to the front door of the establishment. A knock comes to the door, his presence felt in an amiable manner, familiar to those that know him.

Ruby nods, glancing at her brother for confirmation before she lapses into silence, her piece said. She glances briefly at the others, noting reactions, her gaze unflinching as it moves between the three, ending on Cale. It lingers there a moment before she returns to glancing between Zack and Frank. The sound of the truck makes her tense though, a slight movement and the merely shift brings her hand to brush against Frank's arm, a casual movement.

Zack notes Dylan and Grace's responses. His mouth poises to speak, then he stops suddenly. He turns, "Well, I believe that your wait will be blissfully brief. That is Forest, now." It is obvious that the red-head might need to take a breather. "Grace, go let the Nimir-Raj in." He calmly takes another sip of the tear.

Dylan blinks as he hears the familiar noises and senses that aura of power. He stands smoothly, keeping one arm under Grace and the other around her shoulder to keep her from being dumped unceremoniously on her backside, murmuring. "Top floor, ladies department: deportment, gentility and Grace. Don't worry, you haven't met the other two." He clears out of the chair and sets Grace down, obviously making way for Forest when he arrives.

Cale glances towards the sound of the truck. Familiar enough. He starts to look towards Zack questioningly, but as he fingers Grace for the job, he lifts his eyes and decides to set them on Ruby again. His expression has slid back into one more neutral as be finishes his tea and lightly holds the simple cup. He'll keep his place standing a few steps behind Zack.

Frank rises to his feet at the knock on the door, casually brushing Ruby's hand as he does so. These two seem to be quite good at making these things look casual. And then Grace is ordered to go tend to the door, so Frank heads for the kitchen instead, where the kettle gets refilled.

Grace lightly lands on her toes as Dylan 'helps' her up, though she gives him a confused look at his joke. This one flies over her head it seems, but she doesn't seem to mind. She moves with that easy fluidness, passing by Ruby on the way to the door, not even casting her a glance as she does what Zack asked. Long fingers close on the handle and it is opened. Forest is spotted and she quickly rubs her cheek against the Raj's in her aggitation.

When Frank rises, Ruby does, and her gaze follows him as he leaves for the kitchen. Despite that, she stands where she is, her gaze moving over the others, returning Cale's gaze for a moment, her expression empty, cautious of showing anything. Absently, her hold on her teamug presses it against her stomach, and she waits for the Nimir Raj to enter properly.

The door opens to admit Forest, casually dressed for the day, his long hair in a tight braid at the base of his neck. His eyes move to the one that opens and a smile is given as he brushes his cheek back against Grace's then enters the house. He moves towards where everyone is yet stops a short distance aways, eyes moving over those he knows, a warm smile and nod to Zack, then his eyes move to the kitchen where Frank disappeared to. "Hello." Is all that is said for the moment. His beast is calm and settled around himself like a loose glove.

Zack stands as Forest enters the room. He gives a respectful bow of his head. He smiles at the presence of his mate, "You have remarkable timing. Our newest arrivals had just politely declined my offer to welcome in the city, in favor, of waiting until they could speak to you directly." Yeah, there is faint hue of irritation in his voice, as well, but he doesn't really let it flavor his attitude too much.

Dylan shrugs faintly at Grace, seeing her blank expression. His humor is mostly a way to harmlessly channel nervous tension anyway. And besides, /he/ thought it was funny. When Forest enters, Dylan nods deeply to the Raj, tilting his head to the side a bit and taking another few steps away from the chair, as though making sure that Forest knows he's not claiming it. He fades into the background, as best he can.

Frank emerges from the kitchen with another fine china cup of tea, which he sets down carefully on the tray with the saucer of sugar and the small bottle of milk. "Nimir-Raj," the big Londoner greets Forest, with an inclination of his head. Not exactly deferential, but not challenging either, especially given the cup of tea. "Welcome to our humble abode. I'm afraid we only moved in this morning." Which might explain the lack of decor and furniture.

Cale watches Ruby quietly until Forest moves in, at which point his attention shifts at once. He dips his head low, eyes resting on the floor for a few moments before he steps to the side, moving a bit away from Zack with a few light steps before he pauses again.

Grace just moves to the wall, leaning her shoulders back in that relaxed position again, not sitting. She just watches the proceedings.

Forest turns to Frank when the man approaches, "It's quite alright, moving has never been one of my favorite activities." He moves to pick up the cup of tea, sipping at it briefly before he reaches his hand out to Frank for a shake in greeting. "Forest" is all he says in way of introduction as he's already known.

Frank's return gets him a glance from Ruby and her hands relax, but she leaves the greetings to him, remaining silent, cautiously keeping her gaze down, away from the Nimir Raj's face. She echoes Frank's nod of the head, hers slightly more deferential, but is silent.

Zack waits for Forest to sit, before he retakes his seat. Now, he has the opportunity to watch the two with a little more scrutiny now that he doesn't have to be the one doing the talking.

Cale is quietly watchful now. And though he does consider Ruby, spends a bit less time on it now that Forest is here. He does idly toy with his cup, perhaps why he holds on to it for now. And his attention drifts a bit more towards Frank, keeping a polite eye on him as well. Lighter than the looks Ruby gets.

Frank reaches out to take Forest's hand in his own. It's a greeting, a firm handshake and nothing more unless Forest chooses to make something of it. "Frank," he replies, in that strong London East End accent. "Formerly of the Firm." There's weighing and measuring in his gaze rather than his handshake, just as he expects to be weighed and measured in turn.

Grace just watches, arms crossing under her chest. She's the grumpy dwarf of the bunch.

His handshake is firm, yet it's just a handshake. It's Forest's eyes that consider the man before him, his beast held there yet there's no challenge, just its presence. He steps back from Frank, a nod given before he sips at his tea again, "I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the Firm." He moves to sit down on the place vacated by Dylan, close to Zack, his eyes moving to Ruby, seeming to weigh her as well.

Ruby watches Frank, her gaze peeking through her lashes, her expression empty. When Forest looks at her, she meets his gaze steadily for a moment before dropping hers, a signal of submission, politely done. She doesn't move to retake her seat, staying standing beside the box, the cautious glance towards Frank watching for his lead, the pair balancing each other's actions habitually.

Zack watches the interaction between Ruby and Frank, more than Forest. He retakes his seat now that the Raj has. He looks over at Grace, brushing his beast against her, trying to calm her nerves some. Not that he really expects it to have much effect on her.

Cale lets his eyes drift between Frank and Ruby, quietly thoughtful on the air. Though whatever thoughts pass through his head prompt a light smile. Grace he allows to her own, keeping his attention on the two currently under consideration.

Frank smiles faintly; his own beast is just as calm, not challenging Forest's. "Your lot need to watch more films," he says amiably, then gestures towards the chair Dylan vacated. "Please, take a seat and let's talk." He won't sit until Forest does - it's good manners, to him at least. He may look nearly thirty, but his mannerisms and quiet solidity hint at someone rather older than that.

Grace 's brings her annoyed gaze from the interactions to Zack, who she regards with that perpetual frown even if it isn't directed at him. The red head pushes off the wall and comes to move to Zack; no need for them to be separated. She moves to him and just hangs close to his side.

Forest settles back onto the couch comfortably, an arm moving around Zack's shoulder's, seeming fairly comfortable with himself even in a stranger's home. "Films?" He chuckles softly, "And do you have any in particular you believe would be good for them to watch?" He frowns a brief moment before adding, "I dont believe I caught your names."

Ruby's gaze flickers to Cale, sensing the look, but her eyes don't linger, returning to Frank and Forest quickly. She watches Forest take a seat, and she glances at Frank, her gaze questioning him silently. She waits though, letting him speak for them, the silent communication merely habit.

Okay, Zack is really beginning to wonder what the deal is with Ruby and Cale. He turns to look at Cale, suggesting that what ever he is doing over his shoulder he might want to stop.

Cale glances towards Grace as she moves towards Zack, tracking her casually before his eyes lift once more to the two. But for only a moment before he notes Zack's look towards him. He dips his head slightly in answer to it and turns and takes his cup into the kitchen. His expression vaguely thoughtful as he goes about his walking languidly.

"Sorry, first name's a bit like a statement. Frank Vaughan," Frank replies to the Nimir-Raj, taking a seat now that Forest's sat down. "This's my sister, Ruby. Dominique's getting some stuff sorted out at the moment or she'd be here - we weren't expectin' you. As for films, try The Krays. Bit old now, but it's not too far off." His voice and eyes are steady with those words; he's not ashamed.

Grace puts a hand on Zack's shoulder, as she stands at his side. She doesn't like the pleasant tension and her body gives a little shiver as if she were cold. The woman remains silent, hell, I think that's the longest she's ever been silent in one go.

A nod is given as Frank speaks, his eyes remaining on the man in a considering fashion. "What are your intentions here in Chicago?" He makes a small gesture to the house around him, "Are you wishing to join my Pard?" A tilt of his head is given, the words given in a friendly manner, though there is no doubt that it is -his- Pard, his gaze a bit more serious than before.

Ruby moves then, sitting down on the box where she was perched before, her hands around her empty mug. She balances on the edge of it, prepared to rise quickly if she needs to. Frank's reply gets a glance beneath her lashes, a faint trace of a sisterly touch to it. Zack's look to Cale draws her gaze and she watches Cale move, her face showing nothing of her thoughts.

Zack reaches his hand up, idly, to rest on Grace's. Actually, where the young Ra might get anxious with violence, this chess game of polite exchanges seem to not bother him at all. But then again, he spent most of his childhood being a fly on the wall of a room full of vampire politics. As Forest starts talking with Frank, he listens.

Cale pauses as he nears Ruby on his way, casually casting his eyes down towards her. There is a faint tug of smile as he lets his eyes drift towards her cup for a moment, considering before he lets his eyes move back to her own. No question in them, merely waiting.

Frank shrugs his massive shoulders again. "Depends, really," he says matter-of-factly. "Depends what kind of Pard you're running, and if you're strong enough to keep us. Two alphas and a strong beta, with more than fifty years of being leopards between us. We've dragged ourselves up from the gutter, survived the worst London could throw at us, and now we're looking for a new home for what's left of the Firm. If not here then somewhere else." He meets Forest's gaze directly, one eyebrow raised, his Beast observing calmly as he asks the final question. "Up to the challenge, Forest, Nimir-Raj of Chicago? Or are we movin' on?"

Grace squeezes Zack's shoulder a little under his own hand. She wasn't a diplomat. If you wanted the truth, brutal truth, she'd give that. But her view on pleasant conversation was like a book of lies. Two sides plucking away each other like the layers of an onion…they all burned your eyes. When Frank speaks Grace jerks her eyes to him, hearing the possible underlinning threat and the offense that COULD be taken. She doesn't jump in though, that would be rude, but also she wants to see Forest handle himself against someoen who isn't..well..up to par.

A tilt of his head is given, his brows raised a touch as Frank speaks, yet Forest remains calm. "Are you challenging me Frank? Because I'll tell you now that I -will- stand up for my Pard if needed." Once again the emphasis on -his- pard is given, his Beast moving out in a calm and yet protective manner over those with him. "I won't tolerate any who wish to come in here and cause trouble. If you wish to join us as part of the Pard, you and yours are more then welcome." His eyes never leave Frank's as he speaks, sipping at his tea once he's done.

Ruby keeps her gaze on Cale as he looks down at her, and she narrows her eyes, a tiny movement. Then she silently holds out her mug to him, returning the look steadily. Frank's words bring her gaze flying from Cale, back to her brother but the brief moment is covered by that empty expression before it even settles on him. She watches Forest, watching his reaction closely, as if it might tell her something. She listens, and then glances at her brother with a speaking look, the slightest movement of her head designed to tell him something.

Zack's gaze turns to Frank. The little blond leans forward just slightly, as his beast rises. He may not look like much, he looks like he is ready to raise to answer the challenge should it be required. There is no anger but more of a sense of guarding what is his. He watches with intense interest Forest and Frank.

Cale is another who looks at Frank, whatever interplay he had with Ruby forgotten for a moment as he considers the man with raised brows and a slight frown. Surprised, though he notes the lifted cup and dips his hand to take it. Fingers casually brushing Ruby's in the process. Innocent enough and after he seems content to move back into the kitchen with them, listening with subtly cocked head.

Frank shakes his head, meeting Ruby's gaze in the process. "I ain't cut out to be Nimir-Raj, or we'd still be in London," he says, focusing on Forest again. "Same with Dominique. Ruby's much smarter'n me, most of the time, but she ain't alpha. Which is kinda why I asked if we'd be moving on. I'm challengin' you to show me why we should stay and lend our strength to yours - not for your territory, or for your people." Solid, calm, unthreatening - just stating facts, the weight of his Beast lending authority to his words without threatening. "So what's it to be?"

Grace tilts her head, she blinks, realizing that Forest might think this is something physical and she decides to take it upon herself, just in case something goes wrong. Willing to sacrfice herself. "My Raj," pulling her hand away from Zack, "May I speak?" Her voice a rumble, calculating and curious.

Forest remains calm as he listens to Frank's answer, nodding a bit as he considers the man's words. He doesn't seem to be taking this as a physical fight, relaxing back on the chair, but he does seem very serious. When Grace asks permission to speak, he turns his eyes to the woman, and after a moment, he nods his consent.

Ruby nearly misses Cale taking the cup, letting her hand drop into her lap as he does to, seemingly missing his brush of her fingers. She watches her brother, and the Nimir Raj, the hazel eyes sharp and assessing, judging Forest on his reaction, and on the reaction of his people.

Zack sits back as he listens, watching the two strangers. He looks at Grace and silently hopes that she doesn't say something monumentally bluntly honest, cause that always goes well.

The light touch of the cups is heard towards the kitchen, laid down quietly. And a few moments later Cale emerges from the kitchen, though he seems content to pause near there, resting himself against the door frame with his arms crossing his chest lightly as he puts his attention on Grace with that thoughtful expression of his.

Frank relaxes just a little as Forest does; at Grace's request and it's granting, he looks to the red-head to see what she has to say.

Grace comes around Zack's shoulder to move to her Raj's shoulder. "We need help," she petitions to Frank, this being why she didn't want the Raj saying it. Oh and she is just as Zack hoped, blunt and honest, but sometimes that works better. "We have but a few Alphas, most of them you see in this room right now." Motioning to Zack and Forest. "The Pard has been broken, then broken again to the point that most of our Cats do not even know what it means to be what they are." Her voice going softer, thoughful. "You say you have a lot of experience, that is a good reason to stay. Forest and Zack are good leaders, they are even learning as they go sometimes too. Experience is what we need. However…I only speak for myself, so if you take offense to my words, any of you, then bring it to me and not to the Raj." Hopefully clearing out responsibility of her actions from Forest's acceptance of her talking. "If you want a place where your knowledge and your strength is needed, then take the Raj up on his offer."

It is difficult to discern how Forest feels about Grace laying out the Pard's weakness in front of the strangers. His lips press together, his Beast stirring briefly, then his eyes move from Grace back to Frank. He is silent as he studies the man, then finally nods in agreeance with the words spoken by the red-head. "If you are up to the challenge, you and yours are welcome to join my Pard."

Ruby glances at her brother, a moment of silent communication before she rises to her feet, facing Forest, her feet apart, her arms crossed. "Your pard needs experienced people who know how a healthy pard works. Fine, we know protocol, manners, rank. We know that better than anyone. We're none of us weak, and we're none of us needy." Her accent makes the words even harder, and it matches the expression on her face as she glances at her brother. "We'll stay." The decision from the beta, her gaze moving to her brother instead of the Nimir Raj for a moment. Then she moves, abruptly but gracefully, stepping up to Forest, bending to offer him a submissive greeting if he allows, her tongue brushing over his lower lip, the movement practiced, naturally given, her fingers lightly against his cheek to balance herself for it. Then she steps back, away, her glance at her brother done below the low sweep of her lashes.

Zack watches Ruby, once again, make the decision or at least verbalizing the decision. The young man seems pleased that the three will be staying, or at least, that they don't seem to be out to replace Forest.

Cale is surprised again as Grace speaks, his mouth opening slightly, then snapping closed a moment later. A subtle calculation slipping up behind his eyes. He cants his head, eyes flicking towards Forest. A subtle nod.. could have been a tilt of his head, really. Then his eyes flick to the two potentials. He watches Ruby closely, lips curling upward slightly in the midst of her decision and greeting. His eyes flick back to Frank once more then, waiting for his part in things.

Frank seems content to abide by Ruby's decision. When she's out of the way it's his turn to go down on one knee in front of the Nimir-Raj, bending his head to the side and back and offering Forest his throat in a rather less extreme but still unmistakeable submission.

Grace steps back as they seem to make their decision. Her words doing exactly what she needed them to do. Good. Forest will learn how to play even if she has to be his ghost constantly, willing to make those sacrifices for a healthy home. She moves back to Zack, eyeing Cale a little cocking an eyebrow at his look and mouthing a 'what?'

The submission of the two is accepted with ease, a hand moving out to rest on each of their shoulders briefly as he accepts them into the Pard. A smile is given, "Then welcome to the Chicago Pard, Frank, Ruby." He nods to each of them, a curious glint in his eyes. He reaches his hand out to brush his fingertips over Zack's hand. "Let me know if you need any help with moving your things, unpakcing or whatever. There are many who can help."

Dylan gives Grace a bit of a disapproving look when she lays out that bit, studies Frank (and to a lesser extent Ruby) for reactions and then glances towards Forest and Zack. When Ruby speaks up first, his eyebrows lift in surprise and then at Frank's submission he nods and grins faintly, looking away, because sometimes alphas can be prickly about doing that sort of thing in public and get ornery afterwards. And if he's mentally thanking God, Vishnu, Buddha and Dr. Strange that he doesn't have to strap on some climbing gear and help tackle 'Mt. Scary', he tries not to show it on his face. And his voice is a bit dry as he says, quietly, "Well, great. That's settled. Anybody else dying for a burger?"

Ruby moves back, her gaze moving to her brother before anything else, her expression hard. "We did not bring much." Her voice doesn't give any feelings away, nor reason for the lack of stuff before she turns away, her fingertips brushing against Frank's hand before she moves towards the kitchen. On her way, she takes empty cups where people have left them, and she takes her time in there.

Zack watches Frank offer his neck to Forest. As Ruby walks out of the room, he raises a brow. A soft growl can be heard, then he looks at Frank, "Your sister's insult intentional or did a Nimir-Ra not merit at least acknowledgement back in London?"

Cale smirks faintly at Grace and shakes his head, glancing over towards Frank and Ruby again. His expression easing into a more casual grin. "Yes, welcome," he offers then, now that Forest has made it official. "I can move a few things if you need it. Plenty of trunk space in my hatchback for moving some things. Even new things." AS Ruby approaches the kitchen, he takes a step back and to the side, just within to clear the doorway. He's been taking it up, after all. Though his head does can't to consider Zack as he speaks up.

Frank straightens once his submission has been accepted, turning to Zack at the question. "My apologies, Nimir-Ra, but Ruby ain't had to do that kind of submission in fifteen years. She'll be back out in a minute. It was a while back that our Ra last had a Raj." He offers his throat to Zack in turn.

Grace rolls her eyes a bit at Cale and she came to put her hand back on Zack shoulder once more. Pale green eyes looking down as Frank offered his submission to the Ra. She got a clear view of the massive man, and it brought a frown to her face.

Forest follows Ruby's movements into the kitchen with his eyes, a slight frown crossing his lips when he sees that she dismisses his Ra so easily. He let's Zack speak for himself though, and at Frank's words and subsequent submission to Zack he gives a nod, though it's obvious he's waiting for Ruby's return to do the same.

She brushes past Cale, her face averted and is, as her brother says, back in a moment, a plate of home made biscuits set on a box as she moves past the others. She steps up to Zack, "My apologies, Nimir Ra." She gives him his title, offering him the same greeting she gave Forest, before she steps away, turning towards her brother, the step past him brushing her fingertips against him, before she stands still, within touch range of him, quietly.

Zack nods to Frank. He moves to the mountain of a man and brushes his cheek across the man, and his mouth does not move over his "neck", showing his respect for the man's strength. He does put his hand on the man's shoulder and pushes himself up off of it, as a token demonstration of his dominance. He smiles, "Welcome to our family, Frank." As Ruby presents herself to him, Zack smiles, "All's forgiven." He moves and pushes his nose to her hair to taken in her scent. "And you too, Ruby. We're happy to have you." He steps back and moves slightly to Forest's side.

Cale arches a brow slightly as he watches Ruby pass. Something marked quietly in that moment, though he doesn't linger overlong this time and when she passes back out, he keeps his attention more general. The young man quietly thoughtful and a touch distracted as he resumes taking up the doorway to the kitchen.

Frank doesn't resist Zack pushing himself up using his shoulder; when Ruby's fingers touch his, his catch Ruby's for a moment, acknowledging the touch. And then the big man's positively beaming. "Damn does it feel good to be part of a proper outfit again," he says happily. The cool sternness has gone, and Frank's Beast is sauntering through the room to rub up against its new pardmates. "What're we gonna do with Dominique? Bring her to meet you, or somethin'?"

Grace post in, cause she's a moron. She sulks back to the back of the room again seeing Dylan waking back up and she playfully punches him in the arm…though the feel on Frank's beast calls her and she looks over her shoulder at the large man, her eyes sliding to the yellow green of her cat easily.

Forest rises to his feet as well, his hand moving out to rest on Zack's waist. He nods to the question, "That will be fine, I will look forward to meeting her as well." He looks to those around him, an easy smile upon his face as his Beast moves out to rub against each of them in turn. "I don't know about all of you, but I'm famished."

Her brother's exuberance isn't reflected in the quiet girl, but she glances at him when his beast takes that wander. She stays back, her arms crossed, watching all of them quietly, her hazel eyes empty of emotion. Ruby's gaze moves slowly, resting on each in turn, before it rests on her brother again.

Dylan blinks at the punch and then gives Grace a light (very light, all things considered) thwack to the back of the head. "Finish healing from your last beating. /Then/ invite me to play." He turns to Frank at the feel of the man's power and his own responds, low and cautious of the greater beast, but guardedly friendly.

Zack smiles as he feels Frank's beast pushing against him. Now that the tension has faded, from him at least, he pushes his own against those in the room. He grins up at Forest, "You know food sounds wonderful."

Cale flicks his eyes towards Frank, head tilting slightly. HIs own energy is usually kept low key, leashed firmly within. Now is no exception to that. His eyes move to Ruby again, watching her quietly, though lacking in the prior smiles and amusement that pervaded the majority of his attention. Now he's just thoughtful. "I'm alright," he says to Forest's self declaration. "But if anyone needs a lift somewhere, I can provide before I head home."

Frank nods. "Wouldn't say no to something to eat," he says; his Beast returns to settle beneath his skin, warm and generally friendly. "Been an interesting afternoon." He looks from person to person, finishing with Forest and Zack and a faint smile. "Very interesting."

Grace growls out when Dylan's large hand comes up to smack her in the back of her head and speaking of healing, the girl's nose finally pops back into place with an audible snap of bone. The eyes of her cat GLARE DAGGERS at Dylan. "Don't fucking hit me." Oh yes, the children are playing again. And she steps on his toe. Dylan and Grace are too similar to be anything but trouble to each other.

Ruby reaches out, touching her brother's hand lightly, another moment of silent communication between them before she glances at Forest and Zack, her voice quiet, "With your permission I'll not." The words are formal, and she gives both a quick nod, before she slips away, vanishing into the kitchen. Sounds of crockery being washed can be heard.

Dylan grins at Grace, "Look, maybe that last challenge and various interstate bathroom walls are wrong, but why should I be the only one not 'hitting Grace'. Good likeness on the Waukeegan I-95 one, by the way." He turns away, whistling, sticking his hands in his pockets and giving every impression being entirely satisfied with himself. "Did somebody mention food?"

Zack looks at Frank nodding. He then hears the two behind him. He turns to look at Dylan and Grace, "I believe that your host has already asked you twice to behave in his home. Dylan if you can't use a civil tongue, then stop wagging it, and stop disrespecting Frank's wishes in his own home."

Cale shifts aside as Ruby heads for the kitchen again. Making room for her to pass unmolested. His head turns, gazing after her for a moment before he looks towards the others. As none ask after his offer he turns and slips into the kitchen quietly.

Frank watches Ruby and then Cale depart; Zack gets an approving nod, and then the weight of his glare falls on Grace and Dylan. "Looks like those two need a room," he says to Zack, sounding more amused than anything else.

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