Who Is This Woman, Anyway?

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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Jacintha KIm
(Spoofed by Aidan)

Saturday afternoons tend to be one of the quieter times of the week amazingly enough. Certainly, if Flare was a more family oriented restaurant, there would probably be a lunch rush leading well into the afternoon, accompanied by screaming infants and crabby parents. As it, Flare's status as a more refined dining experience puts it above all that, and that means that Kim doesn't have to worry about the place truly picking up and getting busy until the early evening.

The late afternoon lull allows her to go over the books and billing, to order restocks when needed, to make certain that there is enough coverage for the evening. Aidan's not on the schedule, but he promised to stopped flitting around the city doing whatever it is that he's doing and actually pick and be responsible tomorrow night. Fortunately, she's past being annoyed with him for his extended absence the past few nights; Flare runs like a well-oiled machine even when he isn't present. It's how he designed it, it's why they collectively — and separately — hired those people that they did.

Currently, she sits at the bar, off to a far corner, an appointment book spread open in front of her, a small stack of message notes beside it. There are a number of messages to be returned; there are requests for catering, requests for large wedding parties and birthday dinners, and at least two requests for booking out nearly the entire restaurant for a whole night. As always, Kim will handle the preliminaries, and Aidan will stick his nose in whenever and wherever he deems appropriate. Or when something catches his fancy.


Oh, then the request that walks through the door this fine afternoon is quite likely to distract him… At least, it is after he's gotten over his pique.

Choosing the quietest time during the week she could think of — the quietest day time during the week, that is — Jacintha decides a Saturday afternoon may, in fact, be just the time to scope out Flare, to get a feel for its staff and what they know of their employer, without the press of a lot of extra minds… or the damnable creature himself… interfering. Thus, there are still a few hours before sunset when she wanders in, dressed this day in a more casual, but still upscale pant suit, rather than the little black dress she wore the last time she was here. Indeed, coming in out of the damp cold outside, she has on a light muffler and her gloves, in addition to the expected overcoat. As she's greeted by the mâitre d', she begins removing her muffler and gloves. "Yes," she says in response to his offer of service, "I rather hope you can help me." She gives him a winning smile. "I'd like to speak to someone about the possibility catering a fund-raiser on behalf of the organization I represent."


The message is quickly relayed to Kim, and she departs the bar in favor of the bar and foyer. It is, after all, Kim's job to handle this sort of thing when Aidan is absent. And sometimes even when he's present. It's nothing out of the ordinary, although she is always much more interested and patient with those who make an effort to come in person with their request. It only makes sense to get a proper feel for those with whom one will be doing business.

Marcus, the maitre'd indicates the woman and Kim makes her way to the woman's side. A pleasant, friendly and openly welcoming smile is presented to the prospective client as Kim presents her hand in greeting, "Hello, I'm Kim Dae. Sorry to have kept you waiting. I'm the manager here at Flare. Marcus tells me that you're interested in discussing catering? I'd be happy to answer any questions that you might have about our establishment and catering services."

Kim nods to Marcus, "Marcus would be happy to take your coat to the coat check, if you would like. We can talk in the bar."


Jacintha slides out of her coat, passing it to Marcus as he offers to take it. "Thank you very much," she says, giving him a smile. He returns it, of course, before retreating, and she turns to make proper introduction to Kim. "Jacintha Westlake," she says, now, extending her hand to her. "I'm with Alexander Foundation. It's a pleasure to meet you Ms Dae."

Skin on skin contact cannot help but telegraph surface thoughts to Jacintha. It's not an active scan, nothing that would trigger. But, what does give the telepath internal pause is the realization that the woman's deeper thoughts are clouded differently than anything she's encountered before.

Refraining from an active scan, for the moment, anyway, Jacintha steps with Kim toward the bar.


The moment the woman's name crosses her lips, Kim can't stop the thoughts that immediately flutter across her mind. The first is, Well, so this is Aidan's big deal, and the second is He's going to be sorry he missed this. She's been working with Aidan long enough, however, that she thinks she kept a straight face, her smile nothing more than businesslike and encouraging.

"Please, call me Kim," is said in response.

Still, it does cause Kim to give the woman a discreet second and third once over. She's curious to know about anyone who can get to Aidan the way this woman clearly has. In fact, though the Vampire would be hard pressed to admit it, she's nearly positive that it's the lack of response to his flowers that has sent him out doing whatever it is he's been doing the past few nights.

Kim motions toward the bar, indicating that Ms Westlake should follow her. "Tell me, what makes you interested in Flare? Were we a referral?"

It's all polite surface questions, naturally. Kim knows the woman has dined here, knows that she's crossed paths with Flare's owner. Of course, it's not a given that Ms Westlake has any idea what Kim knows, and the questions are no different than what she would ask any person making a catering inquiry.


The familiarity in Kim's surface thoughts when she thinks of Aidan is telling to a Talent as experienced as Jacintha. As is the sense of long-term relationship, there. In fact, compared to the casual scans she's gotten from any of the other staff, it becomes readily apparent to Jacintha that Kim has a much more in-depth relationship with her employer than the other employees do. That's not particularly a surprise, however, since logic tells Jacintha that the chances are good the Vampire wouldn't trust the well-being of his business to just anyone.

Even so, it does make Kim the woman to watch in the place.

As it is, however, Jacintha mirrors Kim's pleasant-but-neutral expression without a blink. "Jacintha, please," she says by way of return courtesy. As she slides onto a stool, she lays her hand lightly on the countertop and begins to answer Kim's questions.

"Honestly, I enjoyed my first meal here a couple of weeks ago. A colleague and I brought a potential donor we wanted to impress here. Suffice it to say, we were quite successful — so, successful, in fact, that he's promised substantial backing for a fund-raiser. My employer suggested that, since our donor was so well-impressed by the food and service here, it might be an idea to speak with you about the possibility of catering the affair."


"High praise indeed. I'm very pleased to hear that we were a memorable experience, and in a good way," Kim smiles easily. She mirrors Jacintha, sliding onto a stool. Kim catches the eye of the bartender on duty, Desmond, and motions him their way with a slight tilt of her head. "Could I interest you in something to drink, Jacintha?"

Prelimary pleasantries taken care of, Kim once again takes a moment to size up the woman sitting before her. She's attractive, pleasant and well-mannered, and on the surface would be so easy to dismiss as 'not Aidan's type,' lacking those features that tend to make for good prey — the naivete, the reeking desire to be accepted, to be seen as beautiful and desireable; or alternately, simply being a drunken slut. If Kim hadn't sensed it before the meeting the woman, she knows now that whatever is going on in the absent Vampire's head, this is no mere hunt for food and a shag. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

"Why don't you tell me about the fund-raiser that you're envisioning to give me a better idea of your wants and needs. Then I can tell you if and how Flare can best meet them." A beat, a softer smile and a hint of light, confident laughter. "Although I'm quite positive that it won't be any problem."


"Water would be fine, actually," Jacintha says, when offered a drink. She's not actually a big drinker. Especially not when 'working'.

"The fund-raiser is to be a black-tie affair, likely sometime in May — which doesn't give us a lot of time. It will be a combination of dinner, dancing, and a charity auction." She chuckles dryly. "We'll no doubt be calling in several favours to secure the entertainment and auction items. Regardless, the meal should be three courses — appetizers, main entry, and dessert — with assorted hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar also available. Of course, we're still working on the venue, as well. But, we're looking at a size of about one-hundred-and-fifty people."

Those details give enough to start, no doubt.

She takes a moment, to continue her light scans of the other employees, but the clouding beneath Kim's surface thoughts makes her leary of pushing too far there. Better, perhaps, to retreat and do a little research into what that might mean before she launches any sort of real probe. Particularly since the knowledge contains in the others' minds makes it clear that Kim's relationship with Aidan, while professional, is much closer than anyone else's.


"I understand the stress and pressure of a short-term looming deadline," Kim gives a warm, empathic laugh. "Trust me, as far as catering is concerned, the deadline won't be a problem." She stops for a moment, giving Desmond a quiet, "Thank you, Desmond," as he deposits two glasses of water on the bar; one for Jacintha and the other for Kim.

"I do wish that Aidan was here to meet with you. He's the owner of Flare and our executive chef." She says the words simply, fact and nothing more, though she does watch the other woman's face for any sign of a reaction. Kim knows that Aidan, once he gets over himself, will want a full recounting of the conversation, and sometimes it's just easier to give into his whims and petulant demands than to fight against them. "He oversees all of the catering, so I'm certain that if you should decide to go with us, you'll be meeting with him eventually." I'm sure the insufferable Vampire won't have it any other way. The words of the thought are uncharitable, but there is a level of resignation tinged with affection to it.

"I've already gathered a few ideas based on what you've given me. Why don't I go over some of our packages and menu options, and of course, pricing as well?" Kim offers. The client always wants to know cost, and Kim understands that completely.

She can't help but wonder, however, if Jacintha being here is truly because of her employer's request or a response to Aidan's overture with the flowers. A belated response, to be sure, but a response nevertheless. It's hard for Kim to fathom a woman not being won over by the charms and wiles of the Irishman … unless that woman knows what he is, and then, really, it's not quite so surprising at all.

It's time to go fishing.


Only years of training keep the wry smile from touching Jacintha's lips as she overhears Kim's resigned affection. Insufferable, indeed. The damnable creature, more like. Nevertheless, the telepath is careful not to betray herself. Instead, she smiles simply and gives a nod of acknowledgement. "Yes, I've had the opportunity to meet Mr. Boyle, already," she says easily. "He was kind enough to stop by the table when we were here." She's not fool enough to add any sort of affectation that suggests she either would or wouldn't expect him to recall her. She simply leaves it as is. Let Kim interpret it how she will. "Of course, at the time, we'd given no thought to this sort of business. But, there you have it; here we are. I'd certainly appreciate hearing your ideas. It would be beneficial for me to be able to return to the office on Monday with an initial concept to review."

She reaches out to take a sip of the water, appreciating its coolness. As she sets it down, she regards Kim again. Sensing the scrutiny, she lets her shoulders relax and keeps her posture neutral, but open, as a business acquaintance should.


Jacintha Westlake is a more challenging read than Kim expected. Which paves the way to beginning to explain Aidan's interest in the woman. Jacintha gives nothing away in either actions or words, or those slight facial and body tics that so many people don't realize betray them. She's certainly an interesting puzzle and the sort of challenge Aidan would relish if he's begun to feel a bit bored. There's still no tell-tale signs of what caught his attention in the first place, but Kim knows it's just a matter of time.

She manages not to smirk as Jacintha addresses the Vampire as 'Mr Boyle,' putting a professional distance between them. There are tons of questions that Kim has not asked, but she decides she won't be holding her tongue for much longer where Aidan is concerned. He's always chided her for her lack of patience, but as things stand, Kim isn't the one who's going to live for centuries.

"Yes, Aidan does tend to be very personable and hands on," Kim says. It's true on so many levels, not just with regards to the restaurant. However, her job isn't to sell the woman on the Vampire, but on the catering. After taking a small drink from her own glass of water, Kim turns to the more mundane matters, spelling out and highlighting the various options for the catering request. "We're very professional," Kim adds as her suggestions and selling points wind down. "The catering staff will dress appropriately for the event or as requested by the client."


Jacintha listens attentively to Kim's rundown of the restaurant's catering services, options, and prices. She doesn't take much in the way of notes just now, however. She watches Kim a closely, throughout the conversation, though, as Kim watches her. It occurs to her, partly because of just how sharp the woman's surface thoughts are, and how meticulous her highlighting of each detail is, that there's a good reason the Vampire has picked her to be his business representative.

Taking a moment to nod in response to Kim's final words, Jacintha smiles. "That's good to know, thank you." She reaches out for her water and, under the pretense of drinking once more, relaxes that part of her mind best able to sense the presence of other Talents. She's not nearly as skilled at is as some, but she's skilled enough to know the 'scent' of a latent when she comes across it.

Kim displays none of the tell-tale mental signs of latent or even low-level active Talent. Nothing but the clouding of her thoughts. Considering it for a moment, appearing to simply be considering the options presented to her, Jacintha decides that her first instinct — to withdraw and do a little research before continuing her reconnaissance — was the best one.

That settled, she smiles and reaches for her purse. "Let me give you my card," she says pleasantly, fishing one out of a small card holder in a side pocket. "My email address is on it. If you could possibly summarize these options for me and provide me with a comprehensive price-list, I'd greatly appreciate it. By Monday would be ideal, but I certainly understand if Tuesday or Wednesday would be better for you. Is that alright?"


"Monday shouldn't be a problem, but I'll promise Tuesday, just in case." Kim decides in that moment that she's going to put Aidan to work on the request. He's been off playing hookey for the past few days and it's the least he can do. Given the identity of the requestor, she knows that any argument he gives will be for appearances sake only.

Kim accepts the business card graciously, "Allow me to do the same." Her cards are in the planner on the bar, and Kim hands Jacintha two of them: one is Kim's and the other is Aidan's. There is little difference between the two, with the exception of their email addresses and Aidan's office number. It's standard business practice to give out both, though Kim will confess to an ulterior motive: a part of her is bubbling over with curiosity to see how the Vampire's interest in Jacintha plays out. "My card, and Aidan's. Please feel free to call or email if you have any questions at all in the interim, Jacintha."


Jacintha gives both cards a cursory glance, spending no more time on one than the other, before placing them into her wallet for safe keeping. "Thank you, Kim," she smiles. "As I said, I appreciate it. I know Saturdays are somewhat unconventional for discussions like this, but I do appreciate you taking the time to speak with me. The sooner I can get these details settled, the better."

Actually, the sooner she can get the whole affair settled, the better… but she knows better than to say or otherwise reveal that. Her game with the Vampire, she knows, has hardly begun. No sense rushing the plays. Vampires live an awfully long time. So, there's just no rush.

And Jacintha, mortal as she is, is in no hurry.

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