Breaking the Ice

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

They're overstaffed tonight, and Aidan and Kim have already gone round and round about whether or not to send anyone home and if so, whom it should be. Aidan prefers to run skeletal, but Kim is convinced that it might pick up, though history shows that the unexpected but much anticipated seasonal upswings will cut into business at least until the weather levels out. Aidan admits that it's not impossible, and as the evening grows later, there might be an influx of clientel, so for once he defers to her judgment. He still thinks he's right, but it means that he can relax and let her handle all the 'heavy lifting.' Besides, there's a catering appointment penciled in, though he can't make sense of whatever notation Kim made there, she seemed almost eager that he take this one.
Aidan thinks he should be worried.

Actually, he is a bit worried. Kim does love to give him the difficult ones.

He has the standard contracts and paperwork in a Flare personalized folder, and he heads for the bar seating area to meet the client.

Jacintha actually had to psych herself up for the appointment this evening. Though everything has settled, at least for now, into an even-keeled business relationship… such as it is, it's still a chore. And she still feels mildly put-upon by her colleagues at work, though all but Remy have, upon seeing the steely look in her eye, backed off.

But, she's got her game-face on tonight.

Garbed in a light pant suit, her gloves left in her jacket pocket — not like she'll need them with the Vampire, anyway, she enters the restaurant and moves toward the bar to meet the proprietor.

He's hard to miss, really.

"Mr. Boyle," she says with a smile as she enters. "Good evening."

The moment that Aidan sees Jacintha he decides that he will score Kim a point … and that he owes her at a later date. He has no idea why she didn't at least tell him, but knows that his assistant likely finds pulling one on him terribly amusing.

His smile is truly cordial and welcoming, and he allows a bit of surprise to filter in as well. "Hello, I have to confess, I wasn't expecting you. I'm having a bit of trouble making heads or tails of Kim's notations. But I am pleased you could make it." In the few moments that he's taken to speak, Aidan has been sizing the woman up. He's still categorizing her as a challenge, and one that he's determined to conquer. "And please, it's Aidan. Mr. Boyle was my father." Technically, that's a lie because Boyle was never his given birth name.

"Was it?" Jacintha replies. It's not so much that she's sensing the lie as it is that she's deducing it. She still finds the void he represents sitting before her unnerving. But she'll be damned before she shows it.

Keeping it cool, and professional, she smiles with practiced warmth. The fact that Kim allowed her to catch him at least somewhat off-guard is interesting to her. She just doesn't know how genuine it is.
Frankly, she just doesn't trust very much of what comes out of his mouth.

"Aidan, then," she concedes, keeping the grudgingness out of her tone. He'll get her to call him by his first name by hook or by crook, it seems. But, in the interests of good business relations, she gives in. "I do appreciate you taking the time, in any case."

"You only need to ask. I'll always take time for you." One corner of Aidan's mouth quirks up in the briefest hint of a flirtatious smile before he schools himself back to professionalism. He's in a peculiar place that he doesn't like to be in, and that's standing on unfamiliar territory. Aidan really doesn't know where he stands with Jacintha Westlake. He can't decide if she dislikes him simply because she has misjudged him (though truthfully there probably isn't a lot of misjudging about it), or if it's because she's deduced his true nature. Aidan can handle the former, but he's getting truly annoyed with the latter.

"Shall we?" Aidan motions toward the seating area of the bar. He has to lead the way, but only in the sense that he walks beside her instead of behind her. Ever the gentleman, however, he does pause to pull out her chair when they reach the table.

Jacintha inclines her head lightly and walks beside the vampire as he leads the way to their table. She allows him his courteousness, sitting graciously when he holds the chair for her, even murmuring a polite thank you.

As they settle at the table, she glances over to him, careful to avoid his direct gaze but still willing to put up the front of polite interaction. "I must say, the preliminary contract you forwarded was quite thorough. And Mr. Alexander was quite pleased with it."

"I strive to be certain to cover all aspects as thoroughly as possible from the beginning. It saves time and headaches for everyone involved." Aidan has a duty to himself and his livelihood to be courteous and professional, and he will … for the moment. "Better to have the contract squared away when it comes time to handle the picking and planning of the meal. That actually tends to be a bit more challenging than the contract."

He's still watching her, however, careful to take the measure of the woman. She's more talented than others, and it takes him until now to confirm that yes, she does seem to be avoiding his gaze. Aidan almost sighs and rolls his eyes in frustration, but he has to play this out with proper decorum. "I'll procure a finalized contract for you to sign tonight before leaving, if there are no other changes. Now, however, comes the fun part." His eyes twinkle a bit and Aidan gives her a smile as he slides the catering menu across the table to her. "This is the catering menu. I prefer to go over it with clients, as I've found it helps with the planning."

He can be as distant and aloof as she is until this part of the evening is done. Then … well, Aidan's really tired of playing games, and thinks it might be time to put a few cracks in the ice.

Jacintha nods lightly to Aidan's words. "Our legal department has reviewed the contract, and we're happy with it." She takes the catering menu and glances down at it. As always, she's happy to keep the professional distance. Though, she knows, at some point, she'll have to warm up — if only to make Mr. Alexander happy.

"What are your recommendations?"

The menu discussion is easy and rote. Of course Aidan has no problems with it and answers all of her questions with ease. It's his restaurant and he designed the menu and a good portion of the dishes on it. He makes suggestions, she asks questions and makes counter selections and for a good while, there is nothing more than a professional tete-a-tete back and forth. In fact, one would be hard pressed to recognize that the man at the table is not exactly what he seems to be: a wealthy restuarateur with something of a knack for food and cooking.

All good things must come to an end, however, and as the conversation winds down and the business portion of the evening is concluded, Aidan tilts a pointedly crooked smile in her direction. "Since you're already here, you could do me the courtesy of having a drink? Finally?" He doesn't really expect her to say yes. Jacintha is bleeding good at rebuffing him, but Aidan's feeling daring and exceptionally persistent.

Jacintha regards Aidan for a moment. She blinks slowly, and then gives a small smile. "By all means, Aidan," she concedes… finally. "I'm sure a drink would be lovely."

Well, she had to bite, eventually. So to speak.

And Mr. Alexander will be happy.

The world has gone mad. That can be the only explanation for her quick and easy acceptance. Aidan keeps the surprise from his face, though it is possible that his smile lifts a bit more. "Thank you," Aidan says, a mischievous light flickering in his blue eyes. "I promise not to bite." A beat, and then, "What might I get you to drink?"

He promises not to bite… Oh, that's so kind.

Jacintha twists her head slightly, smiling wryly. If she happens to flash a little throat, it's not intentional. But, she lets her smile become more relaxed. It's as practiced a move for her as it is for him, truth be told. "A glass of wine would be lovely. The house white, perhaps?"

Aidan's starting to suspect that Jacintha Westlake is playing a game of her own. The woman has rebuffed him, insisted that she wasn't interested, and he doesn't think that it's his persistence that has finally won her over. He is, however, willing to see this through, just to see if he can figure out what her game is. It doesn't however, stop his gaze from flickering over her exposed throat, blue eyes lingering on the pulse point for a moment before Aidan's eyes find their way back to hers.

"One glass of the house white," Aidan agrees. "I'll be right back."

It only takes a few minutes before he returns with a glass of wine for her and glass of Scotch for him. The glass is placed on a cocktail napkin in front of Jacintha, and he circles around, not returning to his seat across the table, but rather sliding in the seat beside her.

The vampire lifts his glass for a drink, studying the woman over the rim of it. When he returns it to the table, he tips the question at her, "Why the change of heart? I was bracing myself for another rebuttal. Are you finally beginning to think that I may not be as horrible a playboy as you think I am?" The words are light, non-challenging, but he is curious to hear her answer.

"Mr. Boyle," Jacintha says, his proximity not lost on her as she twists her head around and flips some hair behind her ear as she looks at him, scrupulously avoiding his direct gaze — keeping just peripheral enough to be assumed to be meeting them without actually doing so, "we are now business partners. At least, for the time being. You asked for the courtesy. I can afford a drink with a colleague." A beat. "For the time being."

"Aaah," Aidan drags out the word, his mouth curling up in a familiar, somewhat smarmy smirk. "There's the Jacintha that I know." That could imply so many things, some of them good and some of them bad. He doesn't elaborate which way he is leaning one way or another.

The little mannerisms aren't lost on him, though for the moment, Aidan continues to 'play it cool' and keep his response to her light and teasing. "Well, your colleague appreciates it."
That said, he takes another drink, then leans forward, elbow on the table, chin on his hand. "Honestly, though, I'm not that bad of a bloke. I have references."

Jacintha actually laughs at that — at his casual pretense. He may have her measure, but she has his, as well. She's not traced a whole lot of Kim's background, just yet. There are more roadblocks there than she expected. Apparently they cover their tracks well. That, however, wasn't a surprise. She'll have to work harder at reading those on the periphery. See if there's something there.

"Oh, no," she says lightly. "I'm sure you're not at all that bad a bloke… After all, it would be bad for business."

"Indeed it would," Aidan nods his agreement. He's been trying to figure this woman out since he met her, starting with why he wants to unravel her so badly. It's not like he's in need of food, or bedtime companionship, or even a new toy. He can get all and any of it very easily, but maybe that's just it. He hasn't been able to get her easily. Of course, Aidan does have another trick up his sleeve, but she's adept at avoiding his gaze just so and he isn't ready to be heavy handed yet. She agreed to drink with him. It's a step in the right direction.

"I know it's a bit late to ask, but did you like the flowers?"

"They were lovely," Jacintha allows. Well, they were. She doesn't betray the fact she prefers the flowers he sent to any other kinds. No. He doesn't need that information. The fact that, apparently, they appear to share at least some of the same tastes is only mildly disconcerting — given the predator he is.

Of course, he's yet to see exactly how long she can nurse one single glass of wine. He won't be muddling her wits that way.

"Though I do wonder to what I owed the gift?"

Aidan twists the glass of scotch on the table, watching the liquid swirl inside of it. There are so many answers he can give. He can be coy, he can feign innocence, or …

"I like you." Sometimes he takes the direct route because it just makes more sense. And sometimes it's because it throws a curve ball. "No, I suppose I can't actually say that I like you because I don't know you. I would like to know you. I find you attractive and I am attempting to win you over so that you will, at the very least, have dinner with me."

Jacintha regards the vampire steadily for a moment, trying to determine just how she should respond. Were he a man, she'd be flattered. But… he's a monster, isn't he? So, she smiles instead, and inhales a slow breath, taking a sip to play for time. Alexander would not be happy if she turned down the offer. But, it occurs to her that playing this too easy isn't the way to handle the vampire. What instinct tells her that, she doesn't know. Perhaps it's the predator in her.

"Well," she says finally. "Continue to act more like a business man than the clubboy, and perhaps you'll be succesful." A beat. "Eventually."

The laugh that Aidan looses is one of genuine mirth and amusement. The humorous light reaches straight to his eyes which crinkle at the corners just a bit. "Is that a challenge or a promise? Because if it's a promise, I might just have to hold you to it and come collect some day." If she's genuinely receptive and not simply playing a game of her own, it could be well worth navigating this puzzle.

Aidan settles back in his seat, taking another drink from his glass. "How about we get acquainted?" And amazingly the words are not said with any leering lewdness.

Jacintha laughs in response. "I rarely make promises. If you choose to interpret it as a challenge, that's your choice. I, however, prefer to think of it as a statement of conditional fact: If. Maybe. Perhaps. I make no promise."

Promise a vampire?

Hell, no.

But, there's honesty in her words, at least. That much is clear. She's good at playing her game. And the truth, as Aidan himself knows, is often an effective tool.

"I do like challenges," Aidan replies easily enough. More rather, he likes winning them, and he intends to be certain that the woman before him is no exception. He does appreciate her candid honesty. It's refreshing, and charming. This particular chase might be more than well worth the effort he is going to have to put into it. Compared to the other things he's gotten drawn into lately, the uncomplicated simplicity of it has a certain appeal.

Aidan realizes he's looking forward to it.

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