15 Feb 2010 : Reunion
Summary: Abilene returns to Blue Earth and reunites with friends at the Rock Bottom Saloon. Haven discovers her bar tab isn't quite what she was expecting.
Date: 15 Feb 2010
Related Logs: None

The Saloon is having one of it's quiet nights. There's a few regulars at the bar, Dobson included. There are several empty shot glasses in front of him and a mostly drained beer. Oddly, he doesn't look as greasy as he usually does. He might have washed his hair and clothes real good for once. They seem to have less of an oily sheen.

Nora, on the other hand, looks about as put-together as she always does. Compared to Dobson? That's saying a lot. As she slips into the bar, she rises up on her toes to take a peek around, obviously searching for someone. The look on her face suggests she hasn't found whomever she was looking for.

The man must not be so drunk as to be completely ignorant of the world around him. A glance is shot over his shoulder as the door opens and he gives Nora an overly long perusal before turning back to the bar. "The hell you doin' here Tidwell. You too lightweight to be here."

"Right now? I have no idea," Nora replies quite honestly as she tucks her hands into the pockets of her jacket, giving Dobson an appropriately wide-eyed, 'the hell AM I doing here?' look. "Supposed to be meetin' a friend of mine, only she ain't here yet."

"Well, you came on in, so you might as well set that perty ass of yours down on the stool next to me and partake in some brew," Dobson says, motioning over his shoulder for Nora to come on over. "Charlie, dos mas, por favor." The bartendress shakes her head, but starts pouring out some shots anyway.

A familiar face is a friendly face, at least for Nora, and she doesn't hesitate in taking Dobson up on his offer. She huffs with mock derision, giving him a sideways look. "All gussied-up and pretty-like, but still talkin' like you always do," she teases. "What're you doin' here, anyhow?"

"Celebratin' the anniversary of my comin' to Blue Earth oh so many years ago," Dobson states plainly (and loudly). "Careful on those stools girl, dunno if they was built to account for a derRIere with the mass yours has." He unapologetically leans out and has a look at said rear, smirking widely.

Shifting a little in her seat, Nora brushes her hair back over her shoulder and smiles sweetly back at Dobson. "My derriere's just fine here, thank you, and thank you to stop lookin' at it like that. Whole lotta people in this town bigger'n me who sit on these stools. You always get dressed up to celebrate your comin' here? Here I was thinkin' you were meetin' a girl."

Dobson rolls his eyes at the mild chastising and says, "You're too polite, Tidwell. Better grow some teeth or the world's gonna eat you whole." He nudges one of the two shots over towards Nora. "Tequila." The bit about his slightly cleaned up appearance goes unanswered.

"The world could try," Nora chirps in response, shrugging nonchalantly, "but I don't think it'd like the taste of me much." Glancing down at the shot glass, she cants her head and gives it a long look, her hand inching forward. "Tequila, huh? Alright." She raises the glass slowly.

"Bitch, you don't sip tequila." The man stares Nora in the face and raises the shot glass to his lips, downing it in one quick toss. Lips puckering, he adds, "To Blue Earth, may it stick around another couple hundred years. Or something." Dobson sets the glass down and reaches for his half-drunk beer. "So. Is your friend hot?"

Interesting question, because that friend finally makes her appearance. Abilene looks a little frazzled as if she somehow managed to get lost in the few blocks of downtown that Blue Earth has. It's been awhile since she's been back to this place and it takes a little getting used to how things have both changed and remained the same. Mostly the latter. Her red hair is pulled back into a pony tail and she's not exactly dressed up for meeting her friend in the bar, but her clothes are still identify her as a 'damned city girl' as her mother puts it. Scanning the room, the girl's eyes alight upon Nora and her face lights up. Quickly, she rushes to the bar and attempts to give the girl a squeezing hug - without even letting the other girl stand up. "Nora! It's so good to see you."

Taking that as her cue, Nora raises the glass just after he does and drinks it down. She may not look like the drinking type, but to her credit, she doesn't grimace much. She sets the glass down a little too hard, giving in only to a tiny cough. Before she can speak, Abilene is there and squeezing her, to which she lets out a little squeal of delight. "Abby!" A quick kiss on the other girl's cheek, and Nora looks back to Dobson with a grin. "She ain't your type, so you leave her alone."

Ab's greeting confirms what Dobson suspected and he gives the woman a thorough once over. "Mmmmhmmm, that's what I'm taaaaaaalking about. You guys friends or special friends?" At least he doesn't reach over and smack Abilene on the ass. Lifting his beer to his lips, he pauses and says, after half a moment, "Wait a second, youse the little Hodgens girl. And all growed up, I see. Ain't seen you in a dog's age. S'me, Johnny Dobson!" As if anyone can forget the resident big mouth/short order cook at the local diner.

The hug lasts for a little longer than a typical greeting hug - but not because of what may be in Dobson's dirty mind. These two haven't seen each other in quite awhile and now they can catch up. "How have you been? God, I'd forgotten what this town could be like. She's only been back in town a couple of days and already she's getting cabin fever. The man sitting next to Nora gets a suspiscous look. "We're—-well, we're friends. I mean, Nora's special and all, but we're just friends." The look at Dobson remains until she places him, then it turns into a dirty glare. "You!" The loud mouth at the diner, of course she remembers him. "Y'know, I didn't know what you were saying when I was younger, but I now realize that you have a very dirty mouth."

That's good enough for a belly laugh from the jeweller. "Like I said," Nora says as she settles down in her seat once more, eyeing him with a smirk, "she ain't your type. She knows all about you an' your ways." Turning around to face Abilene, she gives her friend a long once-over, frowning openly. "You look like you haven't eaten in weeks. Oughta see to that. You stayin' with your momma now that you're back?"

Dobson snorts at the line from Abilene, "And? You just realized that? Thought you citified folk were s'posed to have all the brains. Guess you left them there and filled your head with drugs instead, eh?" A beat and a look aside at Nora, "Tess Hodgens'll fatten her up again, don't you worry."

"See, I had the good fortune of not listening to you much when I was younger," Abilene all but huffs. "It just all came back to me like a bad dream." And then she turns her attention back to Nora. "Nah, I'm fine. You know momma, she's been trying to smother me in grits and gravy. It's her way of saying I should stay here till either she dies or I do." Then her smile turns a bit mischievous as she adds, "And with all the stuff she's cooking for me, I can't tell which it'll be."

"Well, you keep runnin' off to Las Vegas and I know it'll be you first." Raising her hand slightly, Nora tries to flag down the bartender. "Ain't nothin' in Blue Earth so dangerous as what those big cities have. You're safer here. Isn't that right, Dobby?" Without giving him a chance to respond, she adds: "And if you ever get sick of bein' at home with Mama Tess, you come stay at the farm."

"Little Miss Hodgens, you gotta have a shot. You're behind and all," Dobson insists, flagging down the bartenderess again, "Tres mas, por favor. And some salt and lemons, if you would, doll." Charlie, the erstwhile drink assembler behind the bar, just rolls her eyes at the man and goes about pouring some booze for him. "Big cities are for big city folk. You ain't big city folk, Abilene Hodgens."

Benny's been, well, rather scarce to tell the truth. She's even called in every favor in the book to switch shifts at the diner and when that didn't work, she just plain called in sick. Today was the first day she was back to work, covering the early morning breakfast and lunch crowd at the diner, and splitting without much small talk shortly there after. Now she makes her way into the bar quietly, slipping in with her hands shoved deep in the pockets of her old faded army jacket, the collar turned up against her ears.

"You're doing a fairly good impression of my mother, Dobson," Abilene snorts and then makes a face at the idea of having a shot. She's never really been good with alcohol. Even living in Las Vegas. That old rhyme about drinks and martinis really fit her: "I like to have a martini, two at the very most, three and I'm under the table, four and I'm under my host". In other words, she's a lightweight. "All you'd need is a shotgun and an apron." Her friendly demeanor is reserved for Nora. "It's not being safe I'm worried about, it's going crazy. At least in Vegas you could gamble, get in trouble with loan sharks and then run for your lives only to end up at the same diner on the strip together, and then call it evens over pancakes." After a pause she adds, "No no, I don't need a shot. I'm fine!"

"Oh." The description of what Nora takes to be Abilene's life in Vegas sets the naive little jeweller on edge, almost, as she shifts in her seat again. "I don't think I'd like that life much. Don't need no excitement to be happy." But she will take the second shot of tequila! Just as soon as the bartender has the shots poured, Nora is reaching for hers. "Y'know, Johnny, I don't think she likes you too much." She gestures at the bartender.

"If you thought that was good, you should see how good I am when I'm trying." The mullet-headed man gives Abilene yet another unapologetic grin. "Better drink that drink, I already bought it." Nora's words are the perfect opportunity for him to shrug his shoulders, "Not all women are capable of handling the Dobson. I won't hold it against her."

Benny bellies up to the bar some distance down from the shot-chugging townies. "Hey Charlie." She murmurs. "Just a club soda with lime, please." One boot gets hitched up on the little footrail and she slides onto a stool.

Bart saunters into the Rock Bottom, leather jack slung over one shoulder with lazy nonchalance. "Folks," he greets in his gravelly voice, tone managing to stay relatively neutral. It's his way of saying hi, without attaching any real meaning to it. He aims for one of those stools that hasn't already been claimed.

"That was only once. And, really, it wasn't Henry's fault. He has a problem." Most likely a gambling problem. But, she likes the idea of people thinking she's the kind of person who would fit well int he city. Hodgen's not included. The look that she gives the shot in front of her is a nervous and not very happy one. "I—I don't really drink," she tells the pair. She just agreed to meet Nora at a bar because that's what was suggested.

"Hahaha. All the Hodgens drink. What are you, some sort o' delicate flower?" Snorting some more and thinking himself quite funny, Dobson drops another shot of the tequila and sets the glass down. As Bart moves to the bar, he offers a nod and then spots his Preferred Target. Smiling Benny's way, he says, "You look like shit. Long shift, darlin'?"

"Ah, come on, Abby. One little shot ain't nothin' you can't handle." Raising her own glass, Nora gives her friend a bright smile. Before she downs the shot, she casts a cursory glance in Bart's direction, then a longer one in Benny's, giving both a quick nod if they should look her way before turning her attention back to her friend. "Alright, girl. Go for it." And with that, her own shot disappears in one gulp.

"I think you've got a mirror in front of you." Benny says flatly to Dobson, and she slips a few bills on the counter not leaving much of a tip for just a soda. "Folks." She flashes a quick but tempered smile to the others, then takes her drink and slips off towards the back room.

Abilene doesn't like to make a fuss over something like this, however, she doesn't look very happy when she picks up her shot and brings it up to her mouth. It's an awkward dance between almost downing it like the others and playing chicken with herself. Finally, she downs it and sticks her tongue out, almost gagging. Gross. Rubbing her mouth furious with the back of her arm, she just scoffs out, "Ugh, why do people do this?"

Bart slings his jacket towards the coatrack as he goes, pausing long enough to see it hits its mark. He knows it's safe there; anyone takes it, they're in trouble. He returns those nods, and settles onto the stool. "Charlie," he declares. "I'll take a bottle of the local." Good stuff, the local, tastes like home. He sideways glances to Abilene. "Reasons vary," he tells her.

"Peer pressure," Dobson gives Abilene as his own answer to her question. "It's a glorious thing… Now, since we've already come this far and in the spirit of Mardi Gras, I think you should take your shirt off." A look is shot to Nora, partly to deflect the barb he knows is coming, "Whaaaaat? It's worth trying, right?"

With a dramatic roll of her eyes, Nora reaches out to swat Dobson (gently) on the arm. "She already lost her head enough to go to Vegas, so don't you go puttin' ideas in her head, mister." Looping her arm around her friend's shoulders, she says, "Got no idea why most people do it. He's right, though." She nods towards Bart. "People got all kinds of reasons. I just don't know what they are."

"H-hey!" The tequila has already brought a rosy glow to Abilene's normally pale features. While she wouldn't admit it, she already feels a little tipsy. See, this is why she doesn't drink normally at all. "You are a very bad man, with very bad ideas. Plus, you don't have any beads." Right, because that's her main problem. "Those reasons are bad reasons," she asserts for drinking, slumping an elbow on the table. "There was nothin' wrong with Vegas. I liked it there."

Bart watches as Charlie fishes out a bottle of the local, nice and frosty, and serves it up sans mug. Bart pops it open, and takes a swig. "Find out why someone drinks, you're a step closer to knowing what makes him tick." He doesn't volunteer his own reasons, just wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and savors the taste. "I got a bag of beads in the store. Guy I won't name brought them back until he had to make space for something else stupid."

"Like I said, worth a shot," a sunshiney smile is given the ladies and heck, even Bart. Dobson asks, before taking a swig of the beer he has left in his bottle, "Any y'all hear about the ruckuss last week down at the Diner? I was talking to Deputy James the other day and he said it was some sorta coyote with the mange that ate Joe Bob."

"An' if you liked it there, how come you're back here? You still ain't told me yet." Nora is half-teasing her old friend, judging from the quick little smile she flashes Abilene's way before looking back to Dobson. "Hadn't heard," Nora replies to him with a shake of her head, though her countenance shifts dramatically at the news. "Don't surprise me none, seein' as I been hearing from some of the farmers who rent my land that they got problems with coyotes. But down at the diner? Really?"

"Y'know. Sacrificing rituals. It got complicated." Yes, Abilene is definitely feeling that shot as this is not something she'd normally tell Nora. She's make up something else to say. "Momma dragged me home at gunpoint." Pause. "Practically." There's a frown. "The diner? What happened to it?" No, she hadn't heard. She might not even have been in town yet.

Bart answers with a lazy shrug. "Then you know as much as I do. Can't say as how I'm not entirely rooting against the coyote. Resourceful buggers." Another swig punctuates his statement. "Though if they'd rather eat stringy old long pork rather'n the Diner's goodies, there's something mighty wrong indeed."

"That's what they said. 'course, by the time I got on shift, they'd cleaned up all the parts and drug the coyote off," Dobson says, a distinctly disappointed tone in his voice. "Bastard wouldn't even let me see the crime scene photographs. Asshole." Rubbing his face with his hand, he announces, "Gotta piss." Off his stool he slides and then meanders towards the restrooms.

Ducking her head and slipping off her stool, Nora lowers her voice to a whisper. "Now's our chance to escape. Let's get out of here before Johnny gets back," she says quickly, gesturing after the man as he leaves. "I like him and all, but if I gotta hear him talk any more I think I might slap him, only I ain't like that usually. So let's go. We'll go to the farm and you can tell me all about why you came back."

The doors to the saloon opens, and in walks Haven Kelly. She heads directly for the bar, boots crunching across the peanut strewn floor. Her keys remain in hand, doesn't look like she's staying (which is good for the property of the locals — something gets destroyed every time she gets drunk). She digs around in her pocket, and brings up a few crumpled bills. She flattens a few fives on the bar, and calls to the 'tender. "Just need to settle my tab from the other night." Casual-like.

"Oh thank God," Abilene leans in to hear the whisper. "I like this plan. Let's make this plan happen." She can't be forced to drink more tequila back at Nora's farm. At least she doesn't think she can. She gives a smile and a nod at Bart, who she sort of talked to, and then gathers her things. Following suit, she follows in Nora's wake to escape.

Bart drinks deep of his beer, settling the half-empty bottle down again. He nods to Dobson with a "You gotta sweet-talk them if you want that sort of help." A short shrug, like he knows these things. He eyes Nora and Abilene as they hastily confer. "Don't have to run. I figure my company balances out the asshole levels." But they're going anyway. Oh well.

"This here's a small town," Nora reminds Bart with a smile. "Figure we'll get a chance to enjoy sweeter company another night." Which is true enough, though she truthfully has no idea whether his company is an improvement or not. "Alright, Miss Abby." The cheerful blonde slips an arm through her friend's, leading her towards the door. "Let's get out of here."

When the figure is muttered in her direction, Haven coughs. " — it what?" Dark eyes lift to the bartender, and then she glances briefly around. "How? I know I was not that drunk." She slaps down a few more small bills. "I bought rounds? Plural? For the entire bar. Lord Jesus." A few more small bills. "Look, just… apply that and I'll have the rest sometime next week. And in the future, do not let me buy rounds for the entire bar." She glances over toward Bart. As the ladies are leaving, she only briefly glances at them. There's a nod to the man. "No," that's to the 'tender. "Nothing for me tonight. Last week's gift to myself was expensive enough."

Wrapping one of her arm around Nora, Abilene gives Haven a bit of a wary look. Luckily she has her friend to support her or she may have tripped once or twice on the way out. "We've got a couple things to talk about, I know." And then, they're out the door.

Bart glances over, eying Haven. "You know what they say," he says with his gravelly voice, "rich drunks are everyone's new best friend; poor drunks are no one's. Don't tell me you need parental controls on your boozing." He sounds amused, though his expression remains neutral.

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