Clubs and Recreations
There she was. One of the many passers-by eyeing suspicioulsy at the blackened ruins, keeping a few steps away as if their wreckedness were contagious - or as if they were, you know, ruins, not something all that safe to walk by. What the hell was she doing there? Hoping to solve the case, like in a poor excuse of a mystery novel? Where sleuthing took no sort of skill, just being quirky and charmingly flawed? Or, was she just torturing herself - because when you're a vampire you're supposed to brood, and when you lost someone you're supposed to brood, too, which made for a special case of squared brooding?

She hadn't gone out for that. She hadn't headed to Midtown all dressed up to go there once again. It was nearby, however, and then she'd walked out of habit, out of obsession. She had got high hopes on that place. Not that it mattered now.

What if Inspector Frogface had seen her now? Criminals always return to the scene as they say, and he was kind of set on her being the culprit somehow. Not that Frogface was his name, it felt right, though, and she made a point to forget all that she could about especially repulsive types.

No, she had got no beef with Andre. The other two, she barely knew them. Yes, she had it insured. Of course she had, who's the idiot who doesn't? What? No, it did not double as an hotel. Yeah, the staff had let them crash at the club. You don't kick a vampire out in the daylight, not unless you're a special type of sociopath. Andre was the deejay, as for the other two, they were guys who'd just lost track of times, and no she had no grudges with any of them, for fuck sake. At noon? She'd been at home fast asleep, how's that even a question?

In the end, she had to charm him a bit. That wasn't cheating, that was evening the playing field. So thanks to vampire magick she had walked away all free and unarrested after her club had been burnt down. Did it count as a success? In the end, it had been an 'accident', they said; furniture was quite flammable especially if you poured alcohol over it and set it on fire. Flawless.

The terms of comparison being that low, the prospect of some unskilled amateur-sleuthing almost sounded like a good idea. Even though the smartest thing she was doing at the moment was staring at the signboard, silently snarking on the chances one could accidentally pour alcohol over there.

But then, not there for that. Colton's was at a walking distance. That was why she was there, why she was wearing a dark purple slip dress with a headband to match. Not something to skulk around ruined buildings, indeed. Then, if she had got the chance to grab some rumors, why not? But, visiting other clubs was a part of her job; both duty and pleasure. If you think there are people whose professional learning is sitting though tedious lectures on, say, numbers or law cases.

She sat at the bar, perused the menu; design wasn't terrible, but could have used some improvement. All blood-based drinks had insipid names - their brand, a number, such things. They could have called them "chicken factory byproduct" and be done with it. She always gave them fancy names, even though they were shit out of the bottle. One knew they were shit, but cool words had their value. She picked a random one, it didn't really matter.

But, Lilah was singing! Now that was a lot of points for Colton's! Well, no greetings by now, but there would have been time later. At that hour, wasn't the show almost over? Which was sort of a shame. It was so much better than staring at carbonized signboards; not that it was hard to beat that.
Lilah had been on stage for her second set of the night. It wasn't yet that late, but it had been a typical week night. Too busy to warrant a no-show, but not busy enough to do a full night's show, either. As she did a chilling rendition of Anything Goes, she eyed the audience, as she was want to do at times. Sometimes, it was to eye a 'catch-of-the-night', other times just to see how they reacted to her show. She liked attention. She should, it had always been her dream to be in the limelight like this. But these nights, it was more than that. It meant people actually liked her enough to come here, and listen to her. It validated her beyond merely as a singer.

She had also noted a familiar face at the bar. Before, Lilah had strained to see anything beyond the first few rows or so, but she had asked Joe for a little more light in the audience, and a little less on the stage. She liked seeing the people coming to see her, and connect with them.. She was a looker, and a watcher it seemed. She also set off a familiar feeling in the back of her mind. Something no human could ever do. Perusing the menu... Lilah just smiled ever so lightly, which apparently made some people near the stage a tad flushed. She sought eye contact with Joe, trying to let him know he could send this particular guest to her little slice of normalcy: the artist's lounge. She had had her fill last round, so there was no need to indulge in the audience at this time.

After she had wrapped up her show, finishing with a duet with a life-sized cut-out of herself, she thanked the lovely audience for their attention, expressing hope they would visit again, and that they would stay a little longer. Then, the house band took over again, playing instrumentals to contribute to the right ambiance. Meanwhile, Lilah went backstage, and headed for "her" lounge. She hoped Monica had accepted the more-or-less invitation. She was curious what brought her here, but she had the feeling it wasn't entirely due to wanting a relaxing time. Not with what had happened to her club down the street.
Now that was an interesting twist. That trick, it had seemed so obvious. Oh, not that it was shameless, sure most guests would likely have missed it, but to her? First Circle was home to such transactions, from the subtlest to the most ostentatious. Salient too, although supposedly in a classier fashion. For what little it had lasted. At least, it had seemed obvious all other times. People slipping into the backroom, the one where the vampiric siren dwelt. You could see why one would accept without a question.

This time, however, Monica was quite sure she was not on the menu. Or had she'd forgotten? - Nah, you don't forget who's alive and who's not so much, do you? Unless she was on yet another kind of menu! Which was unexpected. Not that'd she'd really ever questioned her tastes, but for some reason you do expect the default ones, no matter what your own are.

Okay, well, that was intriguing, even though perhaps she was just up for a talk or something, and that was the point of the whole thingy. Since always. But still, intriguing it was, and she could do with being intrigued by something or someone, that night.

Just as a thought experiment.

So, sure, she followed Joe, she walked past the door and inside a side of Lilah's world she hadn't seen yet. A small sort-of-ironic bow. "'Evening. How come such an honor?"
As soon as she had been out of sight of the audience Lilah had kicked off her heels, and as she hummed a tune, strolled over to the "pitt", a depression in the main lounge area, lined with cushioned benches and a coffee table in the middle. On it was a half-emptied glass of what looked like whiskey. Lilah took a whiff of it. Definitely whiskey Shame, really One of her ..."Meet and Greet" participants had shelled out for the good stuff, and yet left it there. She'd have to remember to give it to Joe. He would love to "take care" of that little 'problem'.

She dropped into the pillow pile on the bench, and put her feet up on the table. She basically did what she thought normal people would do after work, really. She didn't hear the door to the bar open, really. It wasn't until movement started catching her eye that she looked up and to the side. As she saw Monica, a soft smile came across her lips. She didn't really want to full on be happy, what with what had happened and all, but still she was happy she had accepted her invite.

Welcome to my abode, Monica. As for the 'honor', well if we'd talk in the bar, we'd have no time to actually, you know, talk. Fans are great, but most of them have very little sense of propriety, especially with some alcohol involved... Please, have a seat. She gestured at the circular bench she was on, that encompassed the whole depression.Joe, meanwhile, had already gone back to the bar. It might not have been THAT busy, but he wasn't about to lose any revenue either. I heard what happened. So sorry. And three casualties, too. Such a tragedy. Lilah had an almost sing-y quality to her speech. Now, she didn't really notice it, herself, but it was there. And the "song" it followed seem to change from night to night, but usually only ever so slightly.

So, I venture you visited the site? It would be hard to miss it on your way over, really. Lilah wasn't outside all that much, really. But after it had happened, she had gone there, to see the devastation, and to pay some form of respect to the victims. She had no idea if she was supposed to, but she felt she needed to.
Oh. So that was it. Just when she was hoping for pretty sexy distractions! She took a seat on the bench. Not too close, not too distant.

"Yeah, I did. Just in case I was forgetting some detail of the ambience. I reckon you hadn't missed it either, ain't you?"

Condolences. Lately she had got her good share of those, and then some more. They all meant well. She'd done the same, in anyone else's place. You feel dirty if you don't show your regret, if you walk around things as if they hadn't been there, as if they didn't matter. So really, she had no escape.

"An accident, they said, you know? Not that I expected anything better; still drives me nuts, though. Do you know what the other option was? Apparently, the first idea was that of a vampire feud or vampire plot or vampire something. Because, sure, it's what we do all the time".

Well, for what little she could understand back then, she remembered her sire had always something going on, something that rarely implied amicable feelings. However, not even then one would've been so demented to burn down their own business like that.

"Any trouble here? I mean, I bet peope've been talking".

They were so close. They employed a vampire as a main attraction. Sure people was talking, talking gossip if nothing else. Tragedies were great material for chatter, much better than love affairs.
Lilah sighed softly. More out of habit, really, as with like most physical things, it had no biological use any longer. Pretty hard to miss it when you go outside, really. I don't think there has been a night that there haven't been people gawking over there. She said it with a hint of disdain for the people looking. She had picked up on what seemed a slight ... disappointment? Right after she had given her reasons for wanting to meet back here, in her home. Had she thought that...?

At Monica's mention that it had been ruled an accident, Lilah's eyes narrowed. If that was an accident, I'm "Weird" Al Yankovic. And she wasn't. She wasn't male, or white. Or still breathing.... Even Joe wouldn't buy that, but then again, Joe doesn't trust the cops anyway.

Lilah leaned back into the big pile of soft pillows, more so for the comfort it brought than to recuperate. People always talk. You know that probably better than I did before all of this happened. And as for trouble, not when our Joe's around. You can take a bouncer away from the door, but he'll always be one at heart. He might be ageing, but he's still got the moves. And the intimidating looks. They work best. But between that, and us being lucky I guess, there's been no shit just yet. But who knows. Not that I'm liking the idea, though.

Lilah looked over at Monica, a slight smile on her face. But unless you wanted to wallow a bit more, or to discuss some other terribly practical matters, why not relax a little? She wiggled her toes, feet still propped up on the low table. The table won't mind, and neither will I. Just take a load off, hang a little. Maybe even forget for a while why we're only about after dark....
She giggled. Lilah being Weird Al was wrong on so many levels. She stopped abruptly - was it wrong? Was she supposed to giggle, to find things amusing?

She got rid of her glitter sandals, accepting Lilah's invitation.

Was it okay to relax? Yeah, okay, she'd read all those inspirational stories and wise advices. There was no guilt in fun or pleasure, no use in wallowing in misery. It still felt awkward, like going out with ridiculously wrong clothes, except clothing wasn't all that emotional.

"You know what? It's that... it kinda sucks away all your other thoughts. Talking about anything else, simply making small talk... Even casual conversation brings you back there. How was your night? What about your work, your friends? Either that, or you're tiptoeing around a giant pink elephant... which was never supposed to be pink, I mean, having an elephant in the room is kinda hard to miss on it's own, but I've always imagined it ask pink, you know? Even harder to ignore. At work it's different, but then it's not like I'm here to sell you stuff".

She missed the good old way of getting drunk. A gulp of something very strong would have been right at that point. But going out, finding some hard drinking type, inviting them to their convo, then feeding cautiously for obvious reasons, all this having a drunk stranger listen to all you said? That made sobriety appealing by comparison.

"Actually, I'd like to find out what happened. Not to "find peace" or anything stupid, nor because I have any plan... I just think I should know who to be afraid of. Well, maybe that's just as useless, I could indeed relax, instead".
Lilah couldn't NOT pick up on the abrupt ending of the little giggle. It seemed like the conflicting thoughts were stronger than Monica was letting on. It wasn't that surprising, that club had been a great new idea. And someone, of several ones, most likely, had taken that away. She was almost certain it was multiple people, as cowards rarely did things alone, and going after a vampire after sunrise was very much a coward's move in her eyes. Sure, it was sort of a smart thing to do, too. But mostly it reeked of cowardice.

Monica's explanation on how this thing was getting to her, elicited some empathic nods and hums from Lilah. She hadn't known a loss like this, really, but at least she still knew how to sympathize with someone. At least, she thought she still did. She wasn't at all sure it was really so. I can imagine how that shit goes. It must suck. She might be dressed sharply, she might have a voice like a nightingale, at times her language was still very much 'street', as befitted her origins. But if trying to sell me stuff will keep your mind occupied, feel free to do that. Shit, I might even be tempted to buy.... Lilah gave her guest a small smile. It was, basically, a stage smile. But she gave so many of those over the years, that she at least was good enough at them to look as genuine as she could get them.

Well, if that would help you relax, I'd say go for it. You can have both, then: getting to relax, and knowing who's gunning for you. Or even if it was just random. Which would scare me even more. That would mean it'd be even harder to predict who, or what, would be next. Lilah sat up a little straighter. And before you feel like asking: yeah, I'd help if you think you can use a walking, humming jukebox....
"Thanks! Don't get in any trouble for me, though, it's not worth, really". She shrugged. What was she looking for? Predictability? Things had never been predictable, they've never been safe. Except, before the accident, she had got a chance to ignore it. She had a few lucky years, and good luck can mess with your head much more than it's credited for. You could even start believing a second club, a stylish shiny place in Midtown, no less, was a perfectly sound idea and in no way overreaching. "Just... tell me if you hear something strange; that'd be good for everyone, I guess".

Playing detective was looking for troubles, but keeping their eyes open? Not shutting them close on purpose, at least? Now, that was something they could do. "There had been signs, you know? Anonymous letters, such things... Before the opening some dumbass nailed a braid of garlic to the door. Yeah, a braid of freakin' garlic. It looked like an old timey grocey shop". It had been almost hilarious, back then. People watched too many movies and didn't lose a chance to be idiots. "But I knew better than bothering with trolls, so...".

Something buzzing, her phone calling for her attention. "Would you excuse me...".

It was an email. She was about to delete it straight away, it came from one of those ridiculous addressess that are obviously spambots. She always got too much spam, she had to do something about it sometimes.

Except, "A Call to all Kindred Spirits". Now that one bit was ringing a bell.

If you're reading this, you're one of the chosen. It's time we take the future of vampiredom into our own hands, lest we'll be all ashes before we can notice. Further information will follow.

"What kind of joke is this?! Here, look...".

She showed Lilah the message. Since when was it so cold?
Lilah giggled at Monica's 'warning'. Trouble? She was in trouble ever since that one particular night.... Girl, I'm always "in trouble". As long as I do enough shows here, Joe's very easy-going on what I get up to. Not thast I'd need his approval, but you know, this IS his place and all.... So yeah, my offer will stand. If you think you need me, just let me know. I still have my old cell phone, I think I gave you the number a while back, right? Lilah was genuinely wondering. She had a slight tendency to get lost in the ever-sounding, never-ending music in her head., Which brought her to the next thing: as for hearing strange things, I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say you're not really interested in what my silly mind feels is appropriate music for any given night.... Lilah was pretty sure she wan't interested in all that, really.

When Monica related the threats, and the braid of garlic, Lilah's eyes widened: For real? A whole fuckin' braid? What'd you do with it? Make ailoi for the whole frigging neigborhood? Though, it was a slight hint that you weren't really dealing with a troll. Most of those have a sense of intelligence over them. When the phone buzzed, Lilah just nodded that she understood, and let Monica deal with whatever it was that needed to be dealt with.

When her guest had expressed her wonder over something, and showed her what it was, Lilah just smirked: See. That's more like a good trolling. Sounds intelligent and thought-out on first glance. Might be something, could be nothing. Good one. Then, she realized something: You are going to want to see what it's all about, am I right? Need some backing vocals on that endeavour?

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