I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

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I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

Post by Kenna McBain on Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:48 am

Kenna McBain had planned on a nice evening out. She wasn't sure what the plan was, but she had hoped to contact Maude or Anne or another friend to see if anyone wanted to do... something. Anything. She didn't care what it was. In fact, the idea of a glass of wine and some really bad telly was almost heavenly. It was a disruption from the day-in, day-out business of busing tables, making drinks, pouring over bookeeping, pep talking waitresses, throwing out drunkards. Her bones were heavy with exhaustion, her head hollowed from headaches, and the idea of an escape was almost too good to be true.

That it was.

As she left, a waiter approached her to inform her he had just vomited. She decided to take over the end of his shift, but the time came for the next bartender to come in, and he didn't, and Kenna found herself behind the bar, allowing one of her own pep talks to begin to run through her mind, reaching deep into her soul in an attempt to find some semblance of enthusiasm for the job. As soon as she found her rhythm, she found the pessimism begin to leak from her because... what better choice was there? To be angry and bitter was not healthy nor helpful. She loved her job, and loved this bar. She had to be honored to sacrifice time for it.

Kip was the first one in, ushering his raucous group of companions onto the magical side of the bar. She waved a hand and pointed them towards the far end of the bar, where enough barstools had just been cleared. Kip slipped behind the bar and began making his friends drinks in an attempt to aide his friend.

"What happened to Mikey?"

"Never came in."

"You look nice."

"Thanks. I had hoped to put it to some use but - what can you do?" She heaved a shrug and offered a quiet smile as she poured another mug. She glanced at Kip who was now peering curiously at her. "What?"

"Nothing. Um. I've got drinks for most of my crew. Could you get Hayes order?"

"Sure- oh, Kieran Hayes? From the Ministry- and the law-"

"Yeah. Pal of mine. Goes by Kevin on occasion. Thank you!"

He slipped past the bar and handed Jack and Gabby their drinks, while Kenna wiped her hands, passing the mug to the drunken wizard who had ordered it.

She approached Keiran, a man she knew of because her own friend group has made her into the sort of person who had tons of local news crammed into her head. She couldn't help but be struck by his striking eyes and wonder at the idea that all these great names still had very real people behind them.

Her elbows settled on the bar and she leaned forward. "Right-o, love, what can I get you? It's on us. A friend of Kip's and all."
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Re: I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

Post by Keiran Hayes on Wed Oct 05, 2016 5:42 am

Behind each very real person there was a very real story, often leading to sadness whether or not there was a great deal of happiness mixed in somewhere as well. For Keiran, it had been more of the latter until three years ago, when his life had become anything but, mainly. Sure, he had bright moments of lights, brilliant lines from brilliant people drawn on the pages here and there. But a lot - a lot - of sadness.

And regardless of the fact that he had once been astoundingly good at hiding that sadness, it was all catching up to him, interrupting his ability to focus like the redhead interrupted his attempts to.

Keiran had been staring off at nothing, his gaze glossing over as he let the world blur before him. But then a stranger was there, clearly talking to him, and he had to remind himself not to be taken aback by the endearment. It wasn't one that meant anything, most of the time, but for three years it had defined him, that word. His perceived failure to deserve it, created by the one person he thought had given it to him, meant that his eyes snapped back into focus, landing directly on her.

He imagined that he could come off as quite cold and hard, particularly when he was struggling internally. And this woman undoubtedly had no idea about that, so he tried to temper how sharp his gaze probably seemed. In fact, he glanced down at his hand where it rested - perhaps foolishly - on the top of the bar. Then he frowned, realizing suddenly that his friends had already gotten drinks and were apparently talking amongst themselves. Weird. He wasn't sure when that had happened, but perhaps that was why they were drinking already and he was talking to this Scot.

Or, well, she was talking, and he was still five steps behind.

"I don't know," he confessed after a moment, shaking his head. "I haven't lately cared much for what drink it is."

It would have been easier for Keiran if he'd walked into a pub in the middle of nowhere. He could've admitted that as long as it dulled, he hardly cared what it tasted like. And he genuinely, truly wasn't a man verging on alcoholism. But that didn't mean he wanted to actually think about the sort of man he had become. It was too soon after her leaving for him not to. And it wasn't that he wanted her back, or loved her in the correct way only to have her reject him. It was that neither of them loved each other enough, and he felt guilty because he could've been better and he had failed.

When they'd met, she had been crazy, yes, but she had been genuine and herself unabashedly. Now she was a shadow of a shell of the version of herself that he had come to love. It wasn't enough, it wasn't the same, and it wasn't fair to her.

"Why don't you pick something for me, instead?"

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Re: I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

Post by Kenna McBain on Thu Oct 06, 2016 1:48 am

Part of being a bartender meant doctoring pained emotions and Kenna had become a near expert at spotting a wounded spirit. Sometimes, she played a little game with herself trying to see if she could guess the problem before they spilled the secret - because they almost always did - though she would never embarrass them by participating in it aloud, like Rory would prefer. She truly cared for her patrons and wanted their privacy protected just as much as she sought to protect their fragile hearts.

As for Kenna... There was no time to be steeped in sadness. It didn't help anyone, anyway. It certainly didn't help her. After she lost Jamie, she had been steeped in sadness, completely incapable of finding comfort, because finding comfort would mean admitting just what she had done. She had buried herself in work and in the great task of caring for her brother's friends, and she found this much more productive than steeping in sadness. So when it knocked on her door, she let it in before quickly banishing it to its place in the guest bedroom, refusing to let it extend its stay.

His eyes met hers, and they were sharp, cool, prepared for disappointment. The kind of eyes that had been disappointed time and time again and would long refuse to hope for anything different. So she kept her own face soft and patient, waiting for the order which should come quickly. Alcohol was a close companion to misery.

But it didn't. Something struggled within him, and she couldn't help but tilt her head. All around her, the activity of the bar continued. Jack was taunting Frank for something or other, and Gabby had already finished his drink. A waitress was laughing way too loud about a joke in the hopes of a tip, and her other bartender was prepping a line of shots for a few friends who had come in. Kenna was sorely needed elsewhere.

But she remained rooted to the spot, because her job was really a job of healing, and it didn't come quickly. It was with sincerity, a displeased certainty, that Keiran Hayes, a man whose stature in society absolutely demanded decisiveness, confessed how at a loss he was. He could not even pick his poison.

And then he asked the question that was so greatly contended amongst her tradesmen. Some bartenders loved the freedom to make a drink based only on what they knew of their patron from their attitude and presentation; others absolutely loathed the task. Kenna was of the former. It allowed a personalization to her care and handling that she preferred, and she typically had a list of go-tos, but she found herself abandoning all of them. An instinct poured into her and she batted it away, reminding herself of the clear signs of someone who wanted (maybe needed) alcohol. But her brain dug its heels in and left her no choice.

"Okay stay with me," she said, her face betraying slight amusement at her own ability to prevent this. "But how do you like milkshakes?"
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Re: I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

Post by Keiran Hayes on Fri Oct 07, 2016 4:41 am

For a moment, he thought she might pass him off to someone else, which was fair enough, he realized. He wasn't being particularly useful or decisive, as his friends had probably anticipated him being. But they didn't seem to be paying much attention, so he wasn't at all sure that was relevant. Kip should've let him go home, really.

Her start worried him slightly, but as soon as the question dropped, his face became one of genuine disbelief. Not disdain or confusion, but just shock. Blinking and lips-parting included.

After a moment, he recovered. And recovering for Keiran Hayes meant looking as put together as he could manage despite it being painfully obvious to the others that he was uncomfortable and off-kilter.

"Is this because you want whatever doesn't fit in the glass for yourself? Because if so, that's actually quite clever. But I'm pretty sure I haven't had a shake since I was... well, I'm not sure. I can't imagine you really think that that lot," he gestured towards them with his chin, "would find that fitting."

He turned his shoulders to face the bar properly, one hand resting on the stool beside him as he looked at her curiously. He had a theory that giving his children milkshakes would absolutely help, and he filed that away for later. But he was not at all convinced that such things would work for a man due to turn thirty in nearly less than a year.

Oddly, the thing that struck him even more than the suggestion? This girl was actually being quite casual although Keiran knew full well that she had read him correctly. Perhaps he had met some rubbish bartenders, but perhaps it was also nice to actually talk to people who were over two years old, or who were uninvolved in meticulous planning and secret missions. Maybe that was why his reaction was less sarcastic than he expected.

"If alcohol is meant to dull and make things easier, I'm interested in what you think the benefits of a milkshake would be. This place seems quite popular so I take it you know what you're doing. I'll actually be surprised if you tell me you haven't combined the two by now."

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Re: I don't need a smile, or a mannequin

Post by Kenna McBain on Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:17 pm

Part of her wouldn't have blamed him for calling her mental and demanding, once again, something alcoholic. Besides the obvious, that he had come to her rowdy pub rather than a family-friendly cafe, he had made it exceedingly clear that his mood was that of a man in desperate need for escape. Any number of rough answers would usually have greeted her for such a question, but she also wasn't likely to offer such a suggestion to someone who would have such a reaction. Part of that bartender life was being able to see the difference between what people wanted and what people needed, and then splitting the difference, typically in favor of the former. This was not one of those occasions.

His surprise, though it wasn't violent it was certainly obvious, smoothed over and she grinned at his accusation. Her forehead fell comfortably in the space between her thumb and forefinger, body swaying a bit as her elbows kept her anchored to the bar, grinning back the laugh that wanted to bubble up. "Nooo," she said, her voice not only an assurance that it had not been her plan, but a quiet concession that she might pose such a drink for that very reason.

His question was the obvious one. Why a milkshake, when alcohol was at hand. She lifted her head and straightened up a bit, her eyes bright with the ingenuity of her idea, with the eager spirit to be understood. "Well, alcohol, as great as it is, doesn't make things easier. It makes the contrast between good and bad seem less stark. Which sounds like a good thing, and sometimes it is..." She folded her hands together, still rocking forward on the bar as she tilted her head. "But a milkshake... it doesn't take you to a place of numbness or indifference. It takes you back to when you were a kid, when even a milkshake could draw you into the present and make things sweet for the time." Her hands loosened and she shrugged. "Plus, try to drink a milkshake with a frown. Impossible."
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