April 26, 2011
Der Luftwaffle Haus - Navy Pier - Grand and Lake Shore
Old world Bavarian dining in a New world fast-food theme, Der Luftwaffle Haus bears 'unripe tomato' orange tones and faux wood-paneling along the furniture and walls, the floor underfoot a small square tile of a vaguely yellow hue. A row of small round tables, unable to seat more than two or three at a time, run along the window that overlooks Lake Michigan. Outside, fair weather clouds sail across the blue sky, propelled by light breezes from the northwest. It's warm in the sun, cool in the shade, and the air is clear and dry.
In the center of the room and along the door-side wall are booths that can accommodate six comfortably and eight if they're all good friends, the latter slightly more private than the former. A long self-serve dessert sauce and ice cream "bar" takes up a wall right-angle to the counter where the actual orders are placed. French toast, crepes, pancakes, waffles, and most all thicker pastries that started off flat and ended up flat are served here, fresh and piping hot. Other than the namesake, the menu also offers eggs, sausages, and at least a half dozen types of pop as well as hot cider, coffee, tea, milk (eggnog available in late autumn and winter).
Dylan is enjoying a late breakfast as dinner. Despite the too sweet odors of the waffle joint, Dylan likes the food here. And the perverse name and horrid decor match his sense of humor. He's working his way through a ham steak and short stack of pancakes. He's not using any syrup or jelly, but doesn't seem to mind. A cup of coffee is off to the side. There are a few other night owls in their booths, mostly alone, as Dylan is. His expression is cheerful and a bit distracted.
Lenore wonders in and looks around for a moment, chuckling to herself as she heads toward Dylan's table. Slipping into the booth and grinning as she watches the man eat, a waitress coming to take her order. "Oh, yeah a steak and eggs with hashbrowns a side of french toast and a cup of cocoa." She grins and looks back to you as the woman wonders off. "Hi."
Dylan blinks as Lenore comes in and seats herself. He nods to her, deeply, tilting his head a little to the side as he does so. "Evening." He takes sip of his coffee and says, "How're things?" He sniffs deeply, taking Lenore's scent and looking at her curiously.
"Same old same old… Taking in strays and trying not to get killed. How you been?" She looks up as the cocoa arrives and chuckles. "So, how have you been Dylan? I still get chills when I think about our match, your really good ya know?" She sips her drink and closes her eyes savoring the taste.
Dylan nods gravely and says, "I can smell that." He keeps his voice low, so it doesn't carry. "How are they doing?" His expression is neutral but curious. In answer to the question, he says, quietly, "Well enough. Things are tense. There are all kinds of crazy rumors floating around." He shrugs. "You know how these things go."
Lenore chuckles and nods. "Oh god tell me about it. They are scared shitless to be honest, well Crystal is at least. Ahikam is trying to be strong for her and Johnny boy? He's more upset and frustrated than anything else really." She sips on the cocoa and smiles sweetly. "Its bull shit just so you know, the biggest thing that pair know how to blow up is a balloon and thats even giving them credit." She tries to imagine them as terrorists and cant help but grin.
Dylan blinks and says, "Blow up…?" He makes a surprised noise and then shakes his head. "Not the rumor I heard. No offense to those under your protection but I can't imagine either of those two being able to do more than blow random sailors. Johnothan … maybe. But I doubt it. He didn't strike me as hard enough." He pauses and takes another bite of his food, chewing thoughtfully, "What I've heard is more grounded. And thus more scary."
Lenore chuckles and nods. "Well like you said, know how these things go." She chuckles and shakes her head. "I take no offense, Ahikam is like a little brother and Crystal? well she's whinny but harmless." She seems interested now. "What did you hear?"
Dylan considers for a long moment and then says, "I was lead to understand that they are living with humans. Humans who know far too much about our business. Humans who have been given pard secrets and the identities of various leopards. Given their lack of self control and maturity…." He shrugs. "Can't imagine that's going to end well." He watches Lenore carefully as he speaks, perhaps trying to see how much /she/ knows.
Lenore listens and nods. "Ahikams boyfriend? Yeah I had him over for diner one night. Seems sweet enough and as for secrets? I think they are smart enough not to piss anyone off so bad… Arent they?"
Dylan shrugs and says, "Not that I've noticed, no. I /hope/ I'm wrong but …." He pauses a moment and says, "I doubt I am, all things considered. All above my pay grade, at this point. Can't say that I honestly wish them well, if they've done what they've been rumored to do. But hopefully they'll have the good sense to shut up and move on and not cause the rest of us trouble because they couldn't live under Forest's rule."
"To be honest it sounds like Forest lost his mind. I mean I can only go on what they told me but I hate that, there is two sides to every story after all." She smiles as her food arrives and wiggles a bit in her seat. "I know my Mate hates Johnothan… Thinks Crys is a whinny bitch and so far thinks Ahi is just ok." She's not the dishonest sort and finds it brings a lot of trouble.
Dylan tilts his head at that. "How so? With Forest I mean?" He pauses a second and then adds, "As for the character assessments, I don't know Johnothan well enough to venture an opinion. I'd surprised, mostly. I thought he was too functional to tie his wagon to those two. Crystal … conniving. Lack of character, in my opinion. And Ahikam strikes me as a man trying desperately to get everybody to treat him like a child, using excuses to avoid responsibility. Don't really have much use for either of them. I don't really wish them ill, unless they hurt us or try to, but I'd be lying if I said I thought we weren't better off without those two."
"I really dont know Johhny all that well but when I got the call in the middle of the night to get them? I'd be lying if I didnt say I was flattered. I was Pard and some bad stuff lead to… badder, stuff?" She knows that is grammatically fubar but oh well. "Anyway, Ahikam has been through a lot and so has Crystal. Funny thing I learned about the human condition is the body and mind have amazing ways to deal with things. Shutting down when things become too much. Working with that is frustrating and insanely hard."
Dylan shrugs and says, "And it's unreasonable to expect everybody else to /want/ to deal with that. The pair of them presume on bonds that they don't bother to build first. They just expect to bleed on you and generally act in ways that are inappropriate and get a free pass for it. And as far as I can see, there's no attempt to get better. At all. I mean, the whole thing with /why/ Crystal got tossed is just stupid. Why would an adult think that some kind of 'gotcha' was going to work as a magical 'get out of jail free' card?"
Lenore chuckles and listens to you. "Your right than. If they are not trying to change and acting like permanent children they should be treated as such. Part of that is being punished and obeying that punishment." She shrugs, she loves Ahikam and that much is easy to pick up on when she talks about him, the rest? she wishes no ill will but has no stock in. "I want them safe, but they have to do things for themselves. I cant change anyone unless they want to change." She shrugs and looks at you with a grin. "I like you… your honest and have a mind of your own, its refreshing."
Dylan grins and says, "Hard to lie to people who can smell it when you try to get crafty. And lying by implication is too much work." He nods at Lenore and says, "And you're pretty honest yourself. I like it. It tends to cut through a lot of crap." He pauses for a moment and says, "I wish things had worked out a little differently with a few things. With the threat to the pard, I can't imagine them ever coming back. How can we trust them now? And we have to trust complete strangers with our secrets? Ones who aren't bound to us in any way?" He shakes his head. "Frustrating. They should have never been allowed out in public, in my opinion. Forest should have just stuck them in a cabin in the back of the woods and forbid them to interact with anybody but pard members who wanted to put up with their foolishness." His grin gets a little wider, "And shoulda/woulda/coulda is an easy game to play. When you get right down to it, I shouldn't /have/ an opinion."
"I know he sent Aura out with a body guard slash baby sitter for a while, maybe he should have done that with them? Their not bad, and they love the pard like mad. Well at least some of the cats, Your right about them being babies though. Like children in a lot of ways, pretty sad really. I pity them in a lot of ways." She sounds considerate as she thinks about it. "Your allowed your opinions, keeps us from falling fully to the beast."
Dylan nods and says, "Yea. Just … the stakes are so much higher in our world, you know? When your 'baby' can flip over a small car, tear a person's arm off or infect a hundred people in a single rampage…." He sighs. "No room for people who won't learn to get their stuff together." At the second part he grins widely, laughing a little. "No, I'm allowed to have opinions when I'm /not/ annoying anybody who can beat the snot out of me. And you know, I'm fine with that. To be honest, I'm comfortable where I am in life, present wackiness aside."
Lenore laughs and covers her mouth. "Sorry, picturing babies toppling cars is kind of funny. I, I have a very active imagination which is why I took up acting…" She sighs and bites her lip. "Ever think about voicing your opinion in a neutral way? not as the strong and the weak but as you and them? What you have to say is solid and voicing your concern is not a bad thing. Not everyone will agree but offering your words in a calm this is what I think rather than a I'm right your wrong manner might appeal to a wider audience, make sense?"
Dylan grins and says, "What, allow for the possibility that I might be wrong? What am I? Old? A woman?" His eyes glitter with wicked humor at that and he shrugs, "I try to only venture an opinion to people above me when I'm pretty sure I'm right. Otherwise it's not worth speaking up and risking the trouble, you know?" He pauses and says, "On the other hand, I have to admit that this group has a different …culture… than what I'm used to. More diffident. Almost prissy. Like we should be having tea. With doilies. Still getting used to that."
"Oh god, your telling me… I joined and I was confused that there wasn't a straight male in the lot. You think its bad now you should have seen it before. I mean I was expecting a kitty pile orgy, could be the porn pard like the Pride seems to be leaning." She smirks. "Though I like them, dont get me wrong. I'm just very one on one. Jacobi will be my only until he dies or leaves me."
Dylan nods thoughtfully at that. "I don't mind who sleeps with whom. Just a little surprised by how open it is. I just mean things are delicate. You know, civilized. I'm still learning that part. Getting okay at it but it's not my first nature." He laughs and says, "And finding one partner is a good thing, I'd think. All that 'poly' and 'open' stuff is way too much work." He pauses a moment and then tilts his head towards Lenore and asks, cautiously, "What do you think of the pride? And the Rex?"
"Having to keep up with pleasing one person is hard enough, juggling two is hard and any more than that? spread too thin." She rolls her eyes, obviously not a fan of poly herself. "To each their own though." She finishes her steak and works on the potatoes. "Strong, the Rex I mean, and a fair person in his own right. Only met him once or twice but if there is a poster family for the BDSM life they would be it, they have a human pet I think… at least I think she's human?" She shrugs and finishes her food.
Dylan nods at that first bit. "Yea, amen." He pauses and shakes his head. "I've, ah, heard the evidence of that. Not my thing. And a human? Too fragile." Dylan says, carefully, "And I don't doubt the Rex's strength. I do wonder at his demeanor a little though." He finishes off his cup of coffee and wipes his mouth with a napkin. "Hm. I'm surprised we're having this conversation." That last seemingly comes out of nowhere.
"Humans are not as fragile as most of us think… Ask Keith about Elizza sometime. That kid will surprise you if you haven't met him yet, Keith really loves him too." She chuckles as she thinks about the rings the Leopard wears around his neck. "Why do you wonder about his demeanor? What is it you wonder about it?" She sips her cocoa and leans back on her side of the booth. "Oh, I'm not surprised in the least we are talking. You seem like a good kid and your not blind or stupid and like I said before… You have a mind of your own, that's a good thing in my opinion. But cougars are pretty solitary and so far Every Pard I have been in does group think, pretty much a waste if ya ask me."
Dylan shrugs and says, "Risky. Humans that is." He pauses and says, "Javier is, hm, friendly. A little too friendly for an alpha and a leader of another faction." He grins a bit at that of character assessment. "Well, I think that you can give your opinions and ideas in a pard. As long as you're willing to take a hit for doing it. And there is a place for a 'group think'." He says, "You're an alpha. It's different for us."
Lenore considers and smiles. "I've been an Alpha for almost 10 years, funny to think about that." She smirks and then looks at you with a sweetness in her eyes. "Being an alpha is not always about being the biggest and baddest. For me its protecting the ones I care for and growing in myself. Might sound retarded to most but I welcome all opinions, can learn a lot from others." She slips out of the booth and looks you over. "Might be a dumb question… But, can I call you my Friend Dylan? You can call me one if you wish." She starts to take the money out of her wallet and let her blue eyes play over your features.
Dylan considers that for a moment and then extends his hand. "Within the limits of our respective places and duties, yea, I'd like that." He shrugs and says, seriously, "Which are pretty big walls, you have to admit. But nothing insurmountable." His expression is careful but faintly pleased and flattered.
Lenore takes the offered hand and pulls you close for a hug if allowed. Rubbing her cheek to yours and chuckling. "I have a nasty habit of tearing down walls. I still love forest as a person, he has gone through so much. If he ever needed anything from me all he would have to do is say the word. I don't hold grudges ever and keep myself open to anyone willing." She looks at the door and puts a $50 on the table. "That should cover it, Talk to you later scout." She winks and heads to the door. She really likes you and so far her energy has always gotten lighter when she was with you.
Dylan grins at that cheek rub and hug and returns it with the light kiss of a lesser to greater shifter. He says, "Well, I can't say much about that, obviously. But I think in time, a man comes to know who his real friends are." He lets Lenore pay and nods his thanks to her, accepting the implications there as well. "Good luck with your problem children. See you later."
Lenore stops and turns to look your way. "They want to come home Dylan… more than anything they want a family." She smiles and blows you a kiss before the night steals her away.
Dylan sighs as Lenore walks out and shakes his head once. "Probably not my smartest move." He laughs quietly and stands himself, figuring the tip Lenore is leaving is already princely enough. And with that he walks out himself.