A Flare for the Truth

Flare Restaurant

Flare advertises itself as fine dining in an elegant atmosphere, and it's not false advertising. The foyer, the dining room and even the bar are done in creams and neutrals, teak woods and ash, with the occasional dark panel for contrast. Etched glass panels hang from the ceiling and disappear into the taupe carpeted floor; some separate the tables, some are merely decorative, reflecting the white recessed lights that shine through them from the ceiling. There are splashes of Egyptian blue color throughout to break up the possibility of monotony: sprinkled in the carpet, accenting the wood panels, decorating the tables as glass candle holders.

The foyer has an elaborate mosaic pattern of dark and light browns highlighted with blacks and darker blues swirled into the floor tiles. The seats are eggshell white leather. The accent wall has a vertical waterfall, the water streaming down etched panes of glass into the marble pool to be recycled and begin the cycle anew.

The bar holds the motif, but fetches in more colors to the palette. The recessed lights behind the bar are a mixture of blue and red, white and yellow. Colorful bottles line the bar shelf, and a huge mirror hangs at angle over the bar, reflecting the marbleized bar top and the bar area, depending on where one stands to look into the mirror. There is seating here too, and starters as well as drinks are provided in the bar.

The wait staff dresses formally: servers in crisp white shirts with Egyptian blue bow ties, and slacks (or skirts) to match. Flare does not require reservations, but they are suggested to avoid long wait times. However, given its location, clients without reservations are as common as though with and the staff is able to juggle both magnificently.


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Aidan Jacintha Remy

There is always a lull after the rush-rush of a passing holiday. Valentine's Day kept them busy all through the weekend, and on the big day too. Days later, though, the crowds have thinned. Aidan's pretty sure that the crowd is no lighter than it is on a typical Friday, but relatively speaking it seems thinner than normal. The lull, however, is appreciated by everyone. It gives them time to slow down and regroup.

Still, not even the best ships run seamlessly all the time and Flare is no different. They lost a bartender — no fault of Aidan's and he's pleasantly smug about that. The boy's far-too-conservative future in-laws felt that tending bar wasn't the best way of making money and supporting their daughter, and he demonstrated that he will spend the rest of his life being dominated by the parents of his future wife.

It's no loss as far as Aidan's concerned. Bartenders are easy to replace, but until they get Friday night's backup in here, someone has to mix the drinks. That someone is Aidan, but it's not a job that he minds. It's a change from the kitchens and a chance to watch the crowds. He keeps business and pleasure separate, but that doesn't stop him from watching and observing. Every so often it pays off better than he can imagine too. It comes as no surprise to him how many people have a little bit of darkness and craving inside of them, and he always counts it as a bonus when he finds a new mark.

Tonight the most amusing and interesting bit so far, though, has been the group of five twenty-something young women. One of the lot is turning twenty-five and it's a "Girls Night Out." They've happily explained to him that they dressed to the nines and are celebrating in style, and have been ever so solicitous in their flirtation. But it's work, and though Aidan is charming in return, he keeps it innocent. He does have some self-control after all.


It is a Friday night, this is true. And, traditionally, that tends to be the time people let their hair down and go out for a good time. Though the weather outside is temperate for the time of year, it's still cold. But, the coat check is secure, and so, leaving her own coat and ensuring that the charges for the rest of her party are adequately covered, one Jacintha Westlake makes her way toward the maitre d'hôtel. "Party of six under Alexander," she tells him, giving a remarkably warm and congenial smile.

Indeed, she's hardly recognizable as the woman that appeared in the Vortex Underground back at the beginning of the month. Her long hair is down, styled in loose curls for the evening and cascading down to mid-back. Her blue eyes and high cheekbones are made up in a natural fashion that nonetheless lends her a look of youth and vitality. Small diamonds sparkle on her ears and at her throat. More than that, she's not covered from throat to toes in concealing clothing. No, indeed. Her gloves are left with her coat, so her finely manicured hands are free of restriction. The little black dress she wears is chic and sexy, and yet still tasteful. Black hosiery and a pair of stylish black pumps complete an ensemble. Under one arm is tucked a small black purse, but that's all she carries.

She waits for the rest of the party before following the maitre d' to the table that had been reserved for them, waiting until the Foundation's guests have seated themselves before doing so herself.


One Remy White is at Jacintha's elbow, handing over his overcoat, revealing a dark, tasteful suit beneath. A splash of colour, blue oxford with a dark crimson skinny tie, is worn; his nod to the holiday. Upon his hands, however, remains a pair of light-weight leather gloves, tight enough to almost be a second skin.

Taking the tickets for the coatcheck, he tips the jar, and follows in the path the lady has taken, coming up to her elbow.

~I think that should be your standard working outfit from now on. I think I'll speak to Mr. Alexander about it.~ The thought is placed oh-so-carefully, with a hint of amusement… and appreciation. ~With the gloves, however. Afford you a little protection, anyway.~

Waiting to be seated with his compatriot, Remy scans the room with a brown-eyed gaze, his lips quirked with the same humour as he'd sent.

Most of the men in this room aren't going to be as 'lucky' as they think… It's good to be a telepath, sometimes! It's easy to find something amusing.


From his place behind the bar, Aidan can see the groups led past and through to the dining room. He can also see a small area of the dining room, just around one of the elaborate panels of etched glass. His blue eyes watch them with detached interest, after all these are his clients, the bread and butter that pay for Flare. It doesn't mean that his eyes don't temporarily lock on the slight form in the tasteful little black dress as she strolls past. He doesn't recognize her, not from this distance; not when he's not expecting to see her and not when he hasn't been plagued by a thought of her in days. Aidan watches because the form is pleasing to the eye, the sweep of curls teasingly hiding the curve of her neck.

Aidan too, is in a different element tonight. Gone is the scoundrel and rogue, prowling the night for entertainment. In his stead is a professional businessman, who still radiates charm, but on a much more sedate and restrained level. The dark blue shirt and grayish-silver tie — Kim's idea, not his — do make him stand out among the staff, whispering that he is somehow apart from the ones in the white shirts and bow ties, as much as Kim's dark red dress does. It's purposeful, another one of Kim's strategies, and Aidan doesn't mind going along with it. Her strategies haven't hurt business thus far.

"Hiya boss," Mary, one of the servers sweeps up to the bar and rattles off her order. As she does, Aidan transfers the order from earlier to her tray. "That's from the birthday girl's party, and by the way they like you. A lot."

Aidan grins charmingly, "What's not to like?"

Mary laughs, "Yes, well don't say I didn't warn you that there's talk of you being the birthday present tonight."

Aidan lifts a brow at that, "Let's just not encourage them, a'right?"

Mary takes the last drink, "C'mon, Aidan. I'm nothing if not able to run a bit of discouraging interference."

As she deftly turns away, balancing the drinks carefully, Aidan can't help but laugh.


Jacintha spares Remy the most casual of glances, in response to his thoughts. ~Oh, well, thank you so very much for that concession, Remy. I do so appreciate it.~ Gloves, indeed. Still, she is female. And, she's never objected to Remy enjoying the view before now. It seems only fair, after all, since she's had her fair share of views to enjoy. The two are very old friends, after all. ~You just like the fact it distracts everyone from watching you… so you can peek more effectively.~ She knows how the game is played.

She takes her seat beside one of their guests — a well-dressed man with almost severely short blonde hair and ice blue eyes. A real Daniel Craig type. His grey suit is a contrast to Remy's dark suit and Jacintha's black dress, but it's well-tailored and he wears it well. His companion is a woman younger than he with mousy brown hair that's seen a few artful gold highlights and copper lowlights added in an attempt to disguise it. She doesn't stand out nearly so well as Jacintha, but she's not trying to, either. Indeed, she seems on the quiet side. The other two seats at the table remain empty.

"I am sorry," Jacintha says aloud to the couple, "that Mr. Alexander can't be here with us for dinner. But, he has promised that he and Ms. Dexter will join us for dessert."


And it's off to the table. Remy's gaze continues to flicker around the room, along with helping guide the guests to the table that's been set aside. It's not too long after their steps into the main dining hall that his attention sweeps along the bar area and … for a lingering heartbeat, stops. The face looks familiar, and he has to dredge it up from memory.

It doesn't take long however, and that touch of a smirk hints upon the edges of his lips even as the same emotion is sent over in a private conversation, ~Oh, this will be interesting… Is that your 'friend' over there?~

Pulling the seat out for the ladies at the same time as the question, Remy easily masks his expression with one of solicitude, his tones holding that balance of courtesy and authority. "I assure you he has instructed us to answer any questions you may have."


"It's time to make nice with your patrons." Kim sweeps regally up to the bar, a veritable Queen Bee in his domain. There's a subtle set of her shoulders and tilt of her head that tells Aidan that she expects him to argue. Who is he to deny her expectations?

"Backup here yet?" Aidan smoothly plucks a bottle from the shelf behind him and twirls it with a flourish before neatly adding the liquor to the glass before him. "Because we all know that while you are brilliant in so many arenas, Kimmy, bar tending just isn't your thing."

"Asher's going to cover the bar," Kim tells him smugly and he knows that she was just waiting to counter his argument. "Sure you aren't hiding from the lovely birthday ladies?"

"Have you ever known me to hide from anything?" Aidan challenges, but the words are light and teasing. He flips a new glass off the bar and into the air, smirking at the way her breathing hitches just a hair and her heart increases. Aidan catches the glass easily out of the air, setting it lightly on the counter top.

"Show off," Kim accuses, but there's no heat and a hint of amusement.

"Oooh, now there's a surprise." The words are delivered with a saucy grin, as Aidan pours a very neat glass of scotch. He can see Asher making his way toward the bar, and begins to add the drinks to a tray. "This one's for Mary's table."

Truthfully, Aidan doesn't mind the 'making nice' part of the business. It's good for business and anything that's good for business, he whole heartedly approves of.


Friend? What friend?

Jacintha's mind conjures up the sense of a quirked brow, though her outward expression remains open and warm. She does, however, glance away from the man beside her, to follow Remy's gaze toward the bar where the well-dressed 'tender and the elegant Asian woman converse.

Her brows rise openly for a brief moment, as surprise flits across her face. It couldn't be. Here? Behind the bar?!?

Smoothly, as he catches the glass and sets it down, she turns back to the table and their dinner companions. But, underneath her light and social façade, there's a single, teeny-tiny thought that barely breaches its way into her surface thoughts where the ever-sensitive Remy might pick it up.


"Have either of you ever been here before, Mr. Harrington? Miss Wyndham? I have to admit, I never have — but I'm assured it's one of the very best restaurants in the city."

Harrington gives a brief shake of his head. "I cannot say I have, Ms Westlake," he says, smiling nonetheless as he glances around at the decor and the efficiency of the staff. "But, I do like what I see. I have to admit, though, I'm somewhat surprised that the Foundation is willing to spend the money on a dinner at an establishment such as this, and not one a little less upscale. After all, it is non-profit, is it not?"

Jacintha laughs lightly at that. "Jacintha. Please. We're all friends here." Her blue eyes sparkle and she adopts a relaxed but still formal pose with a straight back and hand that reaches out to gently touch the back of Harrington's own hand briefly. "But, you're right. This place is a little upscale. However, we are not the Foundation taking you out, tonight. We are merely Mr. Alexander — Kevin's — representatives. He's made arrangements to personally see to the tab tonight. So, not to worry. You won't be siphoning off any of the funds the Foundation works so terribly hard to deserve."


Aaaaand, there it is.

The single outburst from a usually controlled mind causes Remy's lips to curl just a little more. ~Tsk, tsk…~ is all that is given in response, even if he is clearly enjoying it now. It isn't so much that he likes the idea of a vampire putting his sights on 'Cin, no… it's her reactions. Hours of amusement-factor there.

Remy catches the flying bottles out of the corner of his eye, but his attention is now mainly upon the guests of the evening. He nods in Jacintha's direction, adding weight to her words.

"As you see, we're not averse to spending personal funds for the organization as well. After all, how can we expect others to donate when we ourselves don't… put our money where our mouth is as well?" Even if it's not coming out of their pockets but rather Kevin's… "And the dedication runs through on every level."

Casting his eyes around again, now that he's seated and the napkin is settled on his lap, he gestures with gloved hand towards the wine glasses, "They serve an excellent Reisling, which works quite well with their menu."


This is perhaps the easiest part of the restaurant business. Aidan is nothing if not skilled at being charming and friendly. His guests feel welcome and wanted, and with each stop at each table there is something of a personal touch: a welcome to those who haven't visited before, a suggestion for those torn between two or three dishes, a greeting to the regulars. He's slid into a different skin, one that's just as comfortable as the hunter/predator, and fits him just as well.

He's leaning forward to greet the Archibalds, a retired couple who come in once a month, pressing a light, polite kiss to Mrs. Archibald's hand — it makes the woman beam and twitter, and she'll tip well which will make Mary very happy. Aidan likes happy workers. But that's the moment when he sees Little Black Dress again, only this time it isn't her back that he's looking at. Her attention is diverted, but it's enough for him to see her smile, the light warmth in her eyes.

Warmth? Aidan goes through the motions with Mrs. Archibald, but his mind is already racing ahead. There is nothing warm about that woman. Clearly, though, he's wrong on that front, and it needles at him more than he would care to admit.

She does look incredible, he has to admit, but then again he has always had good taste. Grace — and no, he hasn't forgotten her name — cleans up beautifully and there's the briefest quirk of his mouth in appreciation before he schools his face to something more professional.

Aidan lingers with the Archibalds; it's not difficult to do. Mr. Archibald loves to talk about anything that anyone is willing to listen to, but Aidan is only listening with half an ear. He's waiting for that inevitable moment when she looks his way… and then the game shall be afoot.


It's not so much Aidan's stare that causes Jacintha to meet his gaze for just a moment, it's the thought-pause in Mr. Archibald's stream-of-consciousness word-drivel. He may be talkative, but he can see the restaurateur has his eye on another table. And, one quick twist around is enough for him to identify the young woman that has his host's attention. He interjects a knowning 'oh-ho!' into his diatribe, along with a knowing chuckle, a knowing wink, and a knowing comment — all usually the sort Jacintha would ignore.

Save, of course, for Mr. Alexander's instruction: Be nice, Jacintha.

Thus, meeting Aidan's gaze momentarily, Jacintha gives a courteous smile of recognition and the briefest nod of her head in acknowledgement before returning her attention to Harrington. Being nice to Aidan does not include being rude to her guests.

Harrington, meanwhile, nods to Remy's choice of wine. "I can't say I've ever been here, before. So, I'll take your recommendation."


Remy can hear the same admonition in the same easy tones; Be nice, but for him, it's more a play nice because I won't get in the middle. Mr. Alexander prefers his more … experienced people work out their own differences. And the fact that the two were, for all practical purposes, raised together? What parent gets in the middle of harmless child squabbles?

His attention flits between Jacintha and her silent acknowledgment, and Mr. Harrington, a smile easily settled upon his face. "The food here is perfectly suited to it. Really, I don't know why they'd serve any other."

Moving on, Remy points to the menu, brown eyes flickering towards his partner once again. "The salmon is quite good, as is the beef and lamb. I understand they're fresh from Kent."


Either Mr. Archibald is more perceptive than Aidan has ever given the man credit for, or Aidan is not being nearly as subtle as he thinks. Neither option sits very well with him, and only centuries of practice keep his smooth smile from morphing into a scowl when the old man twists around and looks toward Grace. That's the moment that Aidan decides that there is a rare planetary alignment or that he is completely off his game because the woman actually turns and meets his gaze. Her smile is courteous the nod of her head is… while not entirely encouraging, not dismissive either.

Aidan does not like surprises, nor is he fond of being caught off his game. It takes him only a micro-second to recover his composure, and by then his attention is back on Mr. Archibald, who is uttering inane encouragement. "She's a lovely one, she is. Quite so, if I do say so, Aidan. Certainly more eye catching that the missus and I. Well, go on then, we wouldn't want to keep you from the rest of your patronage." The man's wink and nudge could not be anymore insulting or annoying, and still Aidan manages to keep his charm in place.

"You two have a lovely dinner," Aidan says, and the professional in him means the words. He gives them a pleasant smile and nod, "Don't forget, if you need anything at all, just ask for me."

Turning away from them, here then is the moment of truth. Aidan has to rethink this, but he's nothing if not adaptable and quick on his feet. He falls into step with Mary, his voice canted low to her ear. "Number 28 your table?"

She's worked with him long enough that the inquiry doesn't seem to phase her at all. She nods, "Yes. Business party, I think. I'm getting drink orders."

Aidan keeps pace with her, and it's normal enough that Mary doesn't even slow a beat, stepping up to the table with her usual bright, warm smile. She does however, defer to him, allowing him to speak first.

Aidan's smile is pure warmth and professionalism, "Good evening and welcome to Flare. I'm Aidan, and this Mary who is going to be your server tonight. Have any of you ever been here before?" His eyes cast to Grace, watching her for an extra beat.


Jacintha hasn't actually been here before, though it does seem Remy has. Both Harrington and Ms Wyndham indicate they have not had the pleasure of Flare before now. "I can't say I've ever been here," Jacintha admits. "Is it yours, then?" She doesn't avoid Aidan's gaze, though Remy might note that she tamps right down tight on any spare thoughts or leaking emotions. A beat. "It's lovely."

And somehow, she doesn't lose any of the warmth and openness — at least not on the surface — that she'd been showing to the Foundation's guests.

"Ms. Westlake — Jacintha," Harrington corrects himself, "is right. It is indeed a lovely place. I can't say I've been here before either."

Remarkably, Jacintha doesn't wince as her true identity is revealed. But it's a very near thing.


Remy watches as the man begins to make his way over… no, nix that. Not a man. As he approaches, Remy can actually feel the void that is the vampire. It gives him a momentary pause as the hair on the back of his neck rises. It's not like another telepath's mind, no… a telepath, a psychic… their minds are there, but simply behind closed doors. It's like… knowing there is someone there; one can feel the presence. But here?

Nothingness. Void.

The smile slips a moment but is quickly regained, "I have… at least a couple of times before. Never at this hour, however." He keeps his voice level, casual.

~Nothing. Like… a black hole.~ Remy doesn't like the feeling by any stretch of the imagination. The mockery is all but gone, and as there comes a reaction that he doesn't quite know the reason for, there is no question that the telepath begins to close ranks, and quickly. His tones are light, but for the discerning, there is something of an undertone, "Ms. Westlake is rarely wrong in her evaluations of locations and people, Mr. Harrington. You'll find that you will grow to trust her opinion on matters that apply to the Foundation."


Aidan takes a moment to wonder what game they're playing. In the span of just a few minutes, she has managed to both flummox and intrigue him… again. He wonders if there isn't something to the whole idea of karma after all, because it appears that his has come back to bite him on the ass.

He smiles, amicable and inviting, a curious and challenging spark in his eye as he holds her gaze for a moment longer, answering her question. "Yes, as a matter of fact, I am the owner." A beat, before answering, "Thank you." In deference to her compliment, naturally.

Aidan pulls his attention away from her, ever the consummate professional, including her entire table in his warm gaze and with his words. The boyish charm is firmly in place, though he again barely restrains himself from reacting to learning that her name is not what she told him it was. There's a twitch of annoyance and then a twinge of grudging respect. Well played, Aidan thinks, and even though he knows he should let the annoyance settle in, he can't help but feel a bit smug about this turn of events. He knows whom she is now, and there are so many ways to use that knowledge in the future.

"Then I'm very pleased to take the opportunity to welcome you all this evening." He includes them each with the polite inclination of his head, and adds to Jacintha's companion, "And to welcome you back sir."

Aidan turns to Mary, hosting and professional mingling now stretched as far as they can be. With a polite touch to her shoulder, he smiles broadly, "I'm going to leave you in Mary's very capable hands now, but if you have any questions or need anything at all, feel free to ask for me." He makes a point to speak to and address everyone at the table with his gaze, affording Jacintha no more attention than he does those with her. It's partly professionalism, partly because while he might have the "home court advantage," he's still unsure of what the game is… and partly because he suspects that she is expecting something more from him — no matter how subtly and carefully couched — and he thinks it will be more fun to make her wait and wonder when — and if — he will spring next.


Jacintha hears Remy's thought, senses how startled he is at the Void that is Aidan. ~And you wondered why I wanted to avoid him,~ she returns, an underlying sense of reproach in her tone, even though she clearly appreciates the fact he's more willing to hold the line with her, now. See? Not crazy to want to leave the creepy creature well enough alone.

However, none of that shows at all on her face or in her body language. Indeed, she's played this sort of operating-on-multi-levels all her life. She's a pro at concealing such things from non-telepaths — non-high-level telepaths, even.

Only able to read Aidan's body language, and the challenging look in his eye, Jacintha allows herself the faintest arch of an eye brow she's sure he'll notice — one that basically reciprocates the challenge, if not the curiosity. It occurs to her, in that moment, that the only real difference between playing this game with a Vampire and playing it with one of her own people is that the Vampire is remarkably adept at concealing his thoughts. Well, that and he might be considered marginally more dangerous from a physical point of view. But, then, so's a bio- or telekinetic. If the game goes to the end zone, there's no doubt that one of them will breach the other's mental barriers. Which it will be, however, remains to be seen. So be it, then. There's a moment's mental readjustment as she girds herself for the game. No doubt Remy will sense the subtle shift in her awareness from closed and defensive to sharp and enterprising. There's a reason she's considered one of the best at what she does.

She watches as, gauntlet thrown down, he switches his attention from her to the rest of the table. This actually suits her fine. In present company, the last thing she wants is an open fencing match. Yes, she is subtly curious about just what his next play will be, but she's also content to let it ride for the moment. It is, after all, his court.

But that could work to her advantage, too. After all, though she can't read his mind… his employees are all human. Their minds — except possibly, curiously, the Asian woman who was with him at the bar — are open books to someone like her.

Harrington is evidently a perceptive sort as well, however. Of course, that's not entirely a surprise. While he doesn't appear to have any telepathic ability, there must be something about him that's friendly to the Foundation's aims and objectives if Mr. Alexander wants him courted by two of his best. And Miss Wyndham may indeed have a trace of Talent, though not to the same level as either Remy or Jacintha's… which is what allows their private exchanges to remain just that. Regardless, Harrington glances briefly between Jacintha and Remy. Perhaps it's the undertone in Remy's voice. Nonetheless, his first words are to Aidan. "Thank you very much, sir. I'm sure we will." He doesn't respond immediately to Remy; not while Mary is there to take their drink orders.


The underlying posture that Remy discerns is certainly one of predator, even with all the effort placed in making Aidan seem 'normal'. Undoubtedly, the telepath's perception is mainly fueled by the lack of psychic presence, and once that alarm is tripped, everything is under the glare of the searchlight.

Those thoughs run deeply, however; there is nothing that would even begin to reflect on his face, or his manner. He is master of his emotions. How many times has he ridden the wave into a mind via emotions?

"Thank you," Remy nods his acknowledgment, "I was remarking about the wine list just a moment ago. I will wait, however, to ask Mary what the Chef's special is this evening."

Remy watches the interplay between Jacintha and Aidan… a touch of pride there as well as the continuing undercurrent of support and concern. Dangerous game, and now he'll be able to go back to Mr. Alexander; for the rest of the evening, he's going to be working on exactly how this could work for the Foundation. He's on the same wavelength, as it were, as his partner in crime. He'll be checking on the staff as well, in order to be able to compare notes later. Over bottled water.

"Mary, do you have Ockfener Bockstein Riesling from 2007? If so, I think one bottle to start, then another with dinner."


Sadly, it is time for Aidan to make his departure. He didn't lie when he said that he would be leaving them in Mary's very capable hands. She's been with him at Flare for two years, and she is the best of the best as far as his servers are concerned. He hates it though that he had to encounter Jacintha again in this venue, when the… publicness afforded to the situation truly limits anything that can be said or done.

The arched eyebrow, light and subtle, encourages him far more than the thinks the woman realizes. She's a puzzle; she should have only been a blip on the radar that came and faded, but that didn't happen. If Aidan should chose to be honest with himself, he might see between the shadows and recognize that this particular need to assuage his bruised ego has the distinct — and dangerous — possibility of becoming a game just a side-step away from obsession. However, Aidan is not particularly fond of examining his motives or analyzing himself, and tonight is no different.

"Please, enjoy your meal," Aidan tells them before turning the floor over to Mary. He hears the request for wine as he begins to walk away, and Mary's prompt affirmative response. She then launches into her listing of the specials tonight, and he does wish he had a reason to turn back and watch Jacintha's face, or could have remained a bit longer.

"The specials tonight are a potato crusted halibut with latin creamed corn, a flank steak marinated in wasabi, with pickled ginger and soy sauce. The flank steak is particularly good, it's one of our signature dishes and Aidan's personal recipe, and personal favourite of mine… " Mary is saying as Aidan continues on his way.


With the Vampire's retreat, Jacintha redirects her focus away from him, returning it to Harrington and Wyndham. Whatever else there may be to learn about Aidan Boyle — the name is there in Mary's mind — it can be gleaned slowly, in between moments of conversation with the wealthy philanthropist and timid latent talent she and Remy have been sent here to woo. And, in fact, the meal proves most profitable, from that point of view. By the time Kevin Alexander arrives to join them for dessert, Harrington has become quite relaxed with the two Foundation psychics. (No doubt Jacintha's occasional touch to his hand and the gentle 'nudge' of her mind had something to do with it.)

Indeed, she no way resembles the woman from the Vortex, here in the midst of Flare. Warm, personable, and out-going, she still carries a sense of class and graciousness about her. And she plays it off of Remy's urbane good-humour well.

Still, it doesn't mean some part of her mind isn't working hard beneath the surface. In those moments when Remy takes command of the conversation, Jacintha's mind wanders briefly. Wait staff are casually scanned as they pass by, as are those patrons that show indication of being 'regulars'. Occasionally riding along with the senses of someone or other that passes by the bar, she even keeps a peripheral eye on Aidan… just to observe.

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