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z-August Turner

World of Darkness: Attrition - Boot-Scooting Boogie

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August yelped as the hand clapped to her ass. For a second, she glared at Lucien, a little annoyed by the action. Then she decided to let it go; this was a party and it was supposed to be fun. Besides, there were far worse things than getting ass-grabbed by Lucien.

"Yeah!" she said to the newcomer as she took her seat. "More the merrier. What's your name?"

August took her seat at the table, pulling cards and drinking as required. August made sure to sit by the wealthy billionaire/underwear model, just in case someone instituted a ‘kiss your neighbor’ rule. She was willing to let Oneca have him, if she really wanted him, but August was going to take advantage of the moment if fate gave her a chance. The alcohol might give her a chance too, if she got drunk enough.

Her eyes flicked across the room, watching Dec and Aradia talk. She wondered about him, about doing more than kissing him and what that would be like – but then Lucien put his arm over her shoulders and August was distracted.

The Rules:

Aces: "Waterfall" The Player Who drew this card begins to chug or sip, so then does everybody else. When the person who picked up the card stops drinking the person to their right can stop drinking. When that person stops drinking the person to their right can stop drinking. This goes to the end of the circle. In this version kings is commonly named "waterfall"

2: "You" The Player who drew this card selects someone who then must drink.

3: "Me" The Player who drew this card must drink.

4: "Whores" Ladies or women drink.

5: "Beer Bitch" The Player who drew this card is responsible for getting up to get people beer until another player picks up a five where that player then becomes the "Beer Bitch."

6: "Dicks" Gentlemen or men drink.

7: "Heaven" The last player to point at the ceiling must drink.

8: "Mate" Pick a person to drink with you for the rest of the game.

9: "Rhyme" The player who drew the 9 says a phrase, then the players go around in the circle saying phrases that rhyme with the original. No phrase may be said twice, the first player who can not come up with a phrase, or says a phrase that doesn't rhyme must drink. Shot judio.

10: "Categories" The player who drew the 10 picks a category such as "sports teams" or "bands from the '90s," the players then go around in the circle saying items from that category, the first player who can not think of an item or says something not in the category (or if all items have been exhausted) must drink.

Jacks: "Social" Everyone Drinks

Queens: "Question Master" Whoever draws this card becomes the "Question Master". Whenever they ask you a question, you are not allowed to answer them. You can still talk to them as long as you're not answering a question they asked you. If tricked into answering a "Question Master" you must take one drink. This person is the "Question Master" until someone else draws a queen.

King: "Rulemaster" This person makes a rule when he draws the King and everyone else must follow this rule for the remainder of the game."

Joker: "Wild Card" House rule.

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"I tend to go by Icarus in general, though but Karus is fine too, if Icarus a bit too pretentious" He chose to give his shadow name, as he looked for a spot between two of the girls, sense he knew some things about this game, and would prefer not to be kissing one of the guys next to him if certain rules were invoked, sense he was quite hetero in his tastes. If he could arrange it next to one of the female mages as well, though he hesitated a moment, several of the ladies here were quite attractive, but the one who had invited him was the most friendly at the moment.

"So, what are the rules we're playing by? I think I know the game, but everyone has different rules, so the particulars would be nice to know." He sat down in a seat that more or less where he wanted, between two of the girls present, have decided midway into the his choice that it didn't really matter who they were, as long as he didn't have to kiss another one of the men playing the game. Besides, all of the girls here were lovely, and would be a joy to sit beside, just because he'd been searching for information didn't mean he couldn't enjoy himself in other ways.

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"Hi." She responded flatly. This was shaping up to be one messed up night. Between the variety of things that had her inner pooch growling and snarling, to the bird man and a vampire attack... now there was this: a shadow saturated 'something' who was simply too yummy. Why'd they always have to be yummy? It wasn't fair. Declan was yummy, this guy was yummy, even the bird guy was yummy in his own 'bad boy' mysterious brooding sort of way. Swara-Ann inhaled deeply and tried not to say something stupid (which was a stretch).

"I know where you've been," she started softly, cutting to the chase. "I smell it on you. I don't know what you are, but tonight, I'm guessing you're not like me. These are good people so if you're here to mess up their lives, we're going to have a problem."

With the Wolf circling so closely on the edge of her instincts, Swara's normally ditzy intellect was subdued. She could think clearer when the Wolf was near. Deep down she knew the responsibilities of her people, and the oaths she'd sworn. "It's been messed up already, the night I mean, I just hope things are going to be cool you, me, and them."

Finn's reaction to Swara-Ann's words was immediate and obvious, whether he wanted it to be or not. After a brief moment, during which his face was a study in mildly amused confusion, Finn's mouth actually dropped open a little and his eyebrows shot up as he realized what the gorgeous young woman meant.

"Smell it on me, she says", the huge feral muttered to himself in quiet amazement, fighting the irrational urge to sniff under his armpits or do something equally ridiculous. Unlike his fellow 'shifters, Finn's sense of smell wasn't enhanced at all - in fact, his sense of smell was, if anything, less acute than a normal person's. His other senses - most especially his hearing - were all much sharper, but the subtle world of smells and scents that those like Swara-Ann and Declan lived in was as alien to him as it was to any mundane human. So while he'd certainly picked up on the noticeably more 'feral' aura surrounding both of them, and could tell that there was something just a little different about them, it wasn't like he could 'hear the wolf' in their voices or anything.

"Uhm...", he started to say, then stalled out for another second, "huh." Reaching behind his head with one massive arm, Finn scratched at the back of his scalp as he regarded the pretty Uratha looking back up at him, took a deep breath, sighed, and then tried again. "Well," he said, "if I knew what you were 'like' I might be able to answer you better, but for now all I can say is that you obviously know more than me, sister. And that you look really cute in that hoodie."

Finn stopped again for a moment and smiled in a way that he hoped would ease, if not break, the tension between them (he kinda hoped maybe she'd think it was charming, too - the girl was sort of hot, after all), and then looked over his shoulder at the other party guests before turning back to Swara-Ann and continuing, "As for them? I didn't come here to mess up theirs or anyone else's life. I promise. I came for the party, just like everyone else. OK?"

The big Xa'aidlatha took another step closer to Swara-Ann and stuck one large hand out at her, opened in an obvious offer of a handshake. "Friends?", Finn asked her simply.

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“I don’t?” Imriel asked with a roguish grin. He leaned close to Kaitlin and murmured in her ear, “Devils are just angels willing to have fun.”

Kaitlin laughed as he straightened, her gaze appraising. “You’re avoiding my question,” she accused, running her tongue over her lower lip. “Angel, devil – doesn’t tell me how you got that name.”

“It’s Hab- hm, Hebrew,” he told her. “It means ‘eloquence of God’. I thought it fit me well.”

“You think you have a silver tongue?” the beauty asked.

Wakiki smiled at her, his dark eyes telling her she’d find out how silver soon enough. He let the moment linger a beat or two, long enough for her mind to delve really deeply into the possibilities, before he answered, “I have a way with words.”

When the girly-looking scholar sat down at the table, Imriel nodded to him. The man was another mage; that much Wakiki could see. Icarus was a shadow name; that much Imriel could guess. “Rules are easy enough,” he said and laid them out for the other man. “You should get yourself a drink. You’re going to need it,” he added as gentle advisement. At that moment, someone drew a six - dicks, men drink - and Imriel raised his glass to Icarus in a ‘See what I mean?’ gesture before taking a drink.

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"The circus gal?" Declan asked, then chuckle. "Apparently you're nice and a bit eccentric." His wolfish grin was playful, as was the mischievous gleam in his odd eyes. "How plead you?"

Aradia grinned, and shrugged nonchalantly. Unlike the other Awakened present, she hadn't tuned herself into the spiritual side of the evening yet, and was unaware for now of the strange connections or surprising number of mystical forces at play.. though those silver eyes were giving her fits of curiosity. It had become habit, in a way - her gift had been something special that she shared only with her mentor, with the spirits, and that she used in solitude. Aradia was a people person, but magic was her hidden gift, her own private secret. The only thing she'd ever really had to herself. If nothing else, the sheer sensory overload had taught her to avoid using her gifts in larger crowds, and this party was just now winding down to a manageable amount. Most of all, she was here to have fun, and hadn't quite accepted the fact that her mentor had pushed her away from her comfort zone in order to begin connecting with people in a magical manner. The life of a circus performer had, ironically, allowed her to be quite insular - always interacting with strangers in a peripheral manner, and surrounding herself constantly with the same people she'd known her entire life.

"Guilty as charged. Those I usually prefer 'kick ass awesome, and kind of crazy'. After all, I'm only nice to the people that haven't pissed me off too bad, and I think you have to be richer than me to be considered 'eccentric'."

As they spoke, they made their way to the kitchen. Aradia wasn't a big drinker, and as always, the smell of the hard liquor took her back to angry screams in a dingy trailer, or the smell of sickness and sweat as she struggled to help her mother into bed so that she could sleep it off and do it all over again tomorrow. By the time she was thirteen, she'd stopped caring, and started letting the bitch sleep in her own vomit. But because she refused to let her Mom's alcohol and drug abuse run her life, she'd made herself get over it and learn to enjoy a drink now and again. The first time she'd actually gotten drunk, she'd woken up more afraid of sickness than she was actually sick. So she grabbed something simple - a Bud Light flavored with lime - and told herself that she'd play long enough to get a good buzz, then sit back and enjoy watching everyone else make fools out of themselves as they got smashed.

"For the record, what happens at Neca's, stays at Neca's." He announced with a party grin and his toxin of choice in hand. "I don't wanna here any shit from the lot of you if I wake up to Finny MacPecs over there nuzzling me lovingly down by the pool."

"Lucien, right? As long as you boys don't mind if we girls take some pictures for our private collections, I think you've got yourself a deal there."

She grinned at him wickedly, but once Dec had grabbed his drink, they made their way back to the table and sat down in two of the remaining seats, Aradia flipping hers around and straddling it, with her arms crossed over the back. Oneca and August had long learned that she almost never sat down in a chair normally. She glanced briefly around the table, noting the new faces, watching Kaitlin flirt with the hot Asian DJ, and glancing at the latest arrival with smothered amusement in her eyes.

The boys would have chewed that one up and spit him out for dinner. He looks like someone tried to dress a Shakespeare lead up in a John Wayne outfit.

"Alright Dec, looks like you're sitting next to me. That makes you one lucky son of a bitch if you ask me, but I'm probably biased. Whose turn is it, anyway?"

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"Wow. We only just met, and you already figured out my secret." Declan said as he pulled up a chair and sat beside Aradia. She looked at him and he shrugged. "About bein' a lucky son of a bitch." he supplied with a grin tugging at one corner of his mouth as though he found something really amusing but was trying not to let on, before he shrugged again. "Okay, so maybe it wasn't a great joke." he muttered, glancing around at the others before giving Aradia an apologetic look and a smile. Kind of like Aradia, he was avoiding the hard liquor, having grabbed himself an interesting looking beer import from the fridge, but Dec's reasons had little to do with childhood aversion. Before his Change he'd been a hell-raising Ranger who could, and did, get screaming drunk the night before a ten mile run, sometimes still being drunk through morning PT, and not letting the hangover slow him down. After the Change, though...

Well, quite apart from being able to drink a fuckload more than one man ought, he had to be careful. Declan had formulated a rule for himself - don't get blind drunk in company. Especially if some of that company he might want to see again. Booze lowered the inhibitions, and as a Vargr, Dec's inhibitions were already pretty damn low. He really didn't want to start sniffing, say, Aradia's hair and growling appreciatively. Or taking offence at some minor bullshit and snarling. That sort of thing didn't get you laid, or invited to the next party. It got the cops called out instead.

So he was going to get a buzz on, drink some good beer, and have some laughs. And not growl at anyone. Else, he amended, remembering that Jeremy dude.

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“I have a way with words.”

I hope you have a way with that silver tongue, Kaitlin's smirk countered. She gave the new arrival a small wave and a casual, uninterested glance, hardly attracted to the scholarly type. "Hey."

It wasn't that she was opposed to book learning or introspection - there was a solid philosophy around the practice of freerunning, still fluid in its youth, and Kaitlin read what she could about it with a voracious appetite and watched documentaries showing the rise of parkour, its founders, and its current stars. She had even studied Jeet Kun Do, since freerunning shared many of the same principles: being an unbound framework rather than a rigid style that one developed for one's own style and strength, the economy of motion, 'be like water,' 'form without form,' and more.

But it seemed like to her, academics spent more time thinking and talking rather than doing, and that seemed like a waste to her. Life was motion and as far back as she could remember, she had lived by that. Not without mishaps along the way, but she had always gotten back up. Wakiki caught a faint frown on her lips as she turned back to him. Finding out Vampires and Werewolves existed was a bigger pothole than most, but she'd climb out of this one too.

"Did I miss something in the 'Welcome to LA brochure'?" Kaitlin mused aloud with an amused grin and a puzzled furrow to her brow. The Circle of Death circled the table and it was Kaitlin's turn again. She plucked a card between her thumb and middle-finger and flipped it over with a snap. "Does everyone need a - Social Jack! Everybody drinks!" The athletic girl downed a large gulp of her VRB, which barely seemed to stop her from talking. "- a fancy - I mean chic - name or something? Imriel, Icarus-Karus, Aradia, Declan, Oneca. Where're the Peters and Johns and Dans, Ashleys and Jennifers and Janes. Hell, even Mercedes..es? And Dakotas?"

She grinned around the table, eyes bright with curiosity and a growing buzz the caffeine in the Red Bull didn't let her notice. She didn't intend to be rude, but she was definitely intrigued by all the unconventional - to her - names. "Maybe I should pick one, hmm? Since I'm staying in LA for a while. How does Ilabaca sound?" Her smile turned challenging. "Gold star if any of you get the reference."

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Imriel had a curious mind, so he was wondering what put the frown on her lips. But to find out would cause more trouble than it was worth, even if the result would be a night with this lovely woman. So he didn't use any of his magic to pry into her head. He rather wanted to, but that was only because he'd been raised to believe that all information was available.

Her challenge to the group caused him to raise an eyebrow. Taking a second social drink, he said, "Ilabaca? Really? Are you sure that fits you?" The vague reply was designed to draw a response from her, to have her answer her own question or drop enough hints that he could guess. He kept his tone light as he asked, but there was an edge of challenge to it. Hopefully that would draw her out.

Her answer was only moderately helpful. "I hope one day I could say I'm as good as he is," she said with a dreamy sigh. "It's something... I aspire to." She shrugged and added, "If you have a better suggestion, I'd like to hear it."

Imriel smiled. "I'll have a suggestion for you before we end here," he vowed, knowing that he'd have a better sense of her by then. "You know, my real name isn't Peter, John or Dan," Imriel said softly. "It's Japanese, and would sound just as odd as Imriel."

"What is it then?" Kaitlin asked.

Imriel was very aware of the other people at the table; he could feel the other mages in the room like a pressure on him. "I'll tell you later," he said with an evasive smile.

"Aren't we being secretive," Kaitlin teased.

The attractive Japanese man winked. "It's not secretive - it's mysterious."

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"Nothin' wrong with Declan." the silver-eyed man said with a grin at Kaitlin. "It's a good Irish name, just like yours." He reached out as the Circle came his way and pulled out a card with one finger before flipping it over. "Dicks - down the hatch fellas." He raised his brew to the room and took a long pull. "Mind you, only found that out from a Brit out East a few years back who had the same damn name."

"Nuh-uh." Kaitlin said, struggling with her instinctive dislike of the large man in the spirit of playfulness. "If it's Irish, what's it mean?" she challenged with a grin of her own as Aradia took her turn to flip a card. Declan smiled a slow smile.

"Full of goodness." he said with a wicked gleam in his eye.

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Oneca arched an amused brow at Tree's antics and her former DJ-now drinking game participant's abrupt name change. Then again, she knew enough pagans in the Chantry that had gone through entire baby name books worth of names until they finally settled on something they liked (and usually more importantly wasn't the name they'd been teased or bullied under before they'd become pagan). She waved good-naturedly at the late arrival, tipsy enough already to wonder if they were a girl or a guy, and made room for them to sit between her and Aradia. Eh, cute, either way.

At Delan's declaration of his name's meaning, she snorted. She couldn't help it. "Uh-huh. Your parent's were hopeful, weren't they?" she teased, grinning at the silver-eyed man.

She snaked a hand out for her turn and picked a card, nearly breaking the ring at a tight spot. "King of Hearts! Mmm....that means I get to make a rule!" She seemed to think deeply for a moment, then winked at "Imriel" and declared, "No more proper nouns." After a slight pause and a look of confusion from those more into their drinks, she clarified, "No names, people! Too many names. I can't remember them all while I'm drunk! You say a name, you have to take a drink. A long drink."

Her personal momentary victory of Circle of Death concluded, she called out, "Next!"

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"Can we make names up for each other then?" Triessa asked. "Based on physical appearance, maybe? It'll be weird going all night saying, "Hey You" to everyone."

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Oneca shook her head, "Nope. That's just the same as a name. You've got 'hey you', 'hot chick' and 'hot dude', neither of which are that helpful, and 'Oh shit, I just said your name!'. Those are your choices, me harties!"

At some point Oneca had apparently gone from cowgirl to pirate. She blamed the rum.

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Of course a drink was in order, so he went to the bar and looked for something he thought he would like, finally settling on a bottle of scotch and some ice in a glass, he poured the drink and rejoined the table, just about when it was his turn to take a card, just as he took a drink from the last card played. He reached out and pulled an ace, and blinked as everyone said.

"Waterfall.. " Well, that was an interesting way to begin his first draw, at least he was beginning of the circle and not the end for this particular set, and he began to drink from his glass, deciding to go with the spirit of the game, sense the others would have to keep drinking tell he stopped, he tried to go slow with it, starting with a slow sip, taking his time to try and down as much of the glass as possible, though he suspected others here had more tolerance then he did, they had been drinking longer. Eventually, though he finished his glass, and put it down, leaving the girl next to him to continue the waterfall, around the circle, as he put down the empty glass and began to cough, that had been a bit rougher then he expected.

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Oneca patted the newcomer on the back, trying to help them through their coughing fit. She'd been on the tail end of the waterfall, but was already in that 'drunk enough to keep drinking' state, so she'd weathered the wicked pauses from friends (and family!) as the waterfall went around the circle without inducing a fit of her own. "E..easy now, you just sstarted," she smiled encouragingly. "There'll...'ll be plenty more drinksh to down in a sh-single shot, trust me."

Okay....maybe it was time for some wine coolers or something; the rum was definitely getting to her. She smiled around the table and motioned the next person to take their card. There weren't that many safe places left, so someone would be drinking the 'death' shot soon.

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August was a little too drunk now. She knew it, in that vague way that was a setting off warning bells in her mind. She listed to one side, her lean stopped by the curve of Lucien's shoulder. Her face was already flushed from alcohol, so additional rosiness wasn't noticeable. As her dark hair fell over his shoulder, she decided that she was drunk enough for this to be acceptable.

"Your turn," Lucien told her after he had finished his hand. He had to turn his head to look at her and August felt his warm breath across her forehead.

August twisted her head enough to roll her eyes up at him. He was so handsome... so perfect. "I love you," she whispered, her green eyes on his. A second later her brain caught up to her mouth. Oh FUCK ME! "I mean... that in a... uh, party way," August mumbled. She left her head where it was as she added, "You know, like I love you for your parties? You throw the best parties. You are the Party King. You are awesome."

Her verbal vomiting complete, August reached out and snagged a card. "Two!" she crowed, flicking the card across the table at Oneca. "You!" she ordered her roommate, her green eyes shining with drunken glee.

The Rules:

Aces: "Waterfall" The Player Who drew this card begins to chug or sip, so then does everybody else. When the person who picked up the card stops drinking the person to their right can stop drinking. When that person stops drinking the person to their right can stop drinking. This goes to the end of the circle. In this version kings is commonly named "waterfall"

2: "You" The Player who drew this card selects someone who then must drink.

3: "Me" The Player who drew this card must drink.

4: "Whores" Ladies or women drink.

5: "Beer Bitch" The Player who drew this card is responsible for getting up to get people beer until another player picks up a five where that player then becomes the "Beer Bitch."

6: "Dicks" Gentlemen or men drink.

7: "Heaven" The last player to point at the ceiling must drink.

8: "Mate" Pick a person to drink with you for the rest of the game.

9: "Rhyme" The player who drew the 9 says a phrase, then the players go around in the circle saying phrases that rhyme with the original. No phrase may be said twice, the first player who can not come up with a phrase, or says a phrase that doesn't rhyme must drink. Shot judio.

10: "Categories" The player who drew the 10 picks a category such as "sports teams" or "bands from the '90s," the players then go around in the circle saying items from that category, the first player who can not think of an item or says something not in the category (or if all items have been exhausted) must drink.

Jacks: "Social" Everyone Drinks

Queens: "Question Master" Whoever draws this card becomes the "Question Master". Whenever they ask you a question, you are not allowed to answer them. You can still talk to them as long as you're not answering a question they asked you. If tricked into answering a "Question Master" you must take one drink. This person is the "Question Master" until someone else draws a queen.

King: "Rulemaster" This person makes a rule when he draws the King and everyone else must follow this rule for the remainder of the game."

Joker: "Wild Card" House rule.

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Triessa laughed in her bubbly way, and it was hard to tell if it was a drunk laugh or not, but she seemed to be doing a lot more of it since drinking than before. She reached into the ring of cards and withdrew a nine of hearts. For a second she stared at the card, trying to remember what that was, then she grinned. "Oh man, oh no...okay. Let me think."

Oneca, flush from the drink she'd had at the hands of August clapped and pointed, "Nope! That's it, that's what everyone has to rhyme with!"

"What, 'let me think?'" asked Triessa with some dismay, denied her moment of drunken poetry.

Oneca nodded though, so Tree just shrugged and looked to her left, wondering what the next person would think of.

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"It's not secretive - it's mysterious."

Kaitlin's green eyes narrowed, but she her smile was wide and inviting. "I like mysteries." These kind of mysteries, the mystery of whether you're gonna get inside my pants or if I'm gonna get in yours. Not the kind about mythical things being real. She licked her lips. "And you've pricked my curiosity with your coyness."

"Full of goodness."

Kaitlin almost choked on her drink as she giggled-snorted. "You're full of something, and it ain't goodness." Oneca made drew a King, banning names and Kaitlin stuck her tongue out at Imriel. "That's, like, totally cheating, y'know."

The vivacious blonde had just sat down with her first Bloody Matador - which she had mixed herself with the help of Lucien's hollered directions - when the Waterfall was called. Down the Bloody Matador went. "Wow!" she exclaimed, smacking her lips and giving her head a shake. Far tastier than the VRB, but the tequila kicked way harder than the vodka. "That's good stuff!"

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, the caffeine in her drinks masking her growing drunk, Kaitlin grew more frisky. During the next few rounds, Imriel felt a foot running up and down his leg, a set of strong and agile toes teasing. At least, Kaitlin thought it was Imriel's leg - he didn't give a start in surprise, and his enigmatic grin never wavered. Her brow crinkled, starting to doubt herself - his legs did feel rather smooth for a guys...

"What, 'let me think?'"

"Time to drink!" Kaitlin proclaimed, taking a drink of her Bloody Matador.

Several others followed suit, even through that wasn't part of rules. Kaitlin turned to Imriel, her footplay getting a little more energetic. "I drinked, drunkeded...? I had a drink, so you have to drink too, 'cause you're my mate, Im-ri-el."

Belatedly, Kaitlin blinked, then giggled. God, tequila makes me so silly and horny. The cups of her bikini were tented visibly. "Oops! I said you name, Imriel. So I gotta drink again, which means you have to drink again, which means I drink, then you drink." She pursed her lips and looked intently at her fingers as she tried to count that out. If felt like she was missing something, skipped a step in there or added one. Oh, well, it'll work out.

"Oh, well, it'll work out!" Kaitlin repeated out loud, taking a drink.

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At Delan's declaration of his name's meaning, she snorted. She couldn't help it. "Uh-huh. Your parent's were hopeful, weren't they?" she teased, grinning at the silver-eyed man.

Dec shrugged, smiling a little at the teasing. All he knew about his name was that it had been his mother's choice, according to his uncle. Later on, after talking to Lise, he'd learned that Mom must have chosen it in a damn hurry, as in 'before the baby was even dry' style of hurry... and then she'd died alongside his father. But that wasn't any of these folks business, so he just smiled and started to shake his head...

Kaitlin almost choked on her drink as she giggled-snorted. "You're full of something, and it ain't goodness."

Well fuck you too.

"Funny," he drawled, a nasty glint entering his pale eyes as he glanced at Kaitlin, then smiled at Oneca. "I never got a chance to ask 'em. They died before my eyes first opened." It wasn't a sympathy card. Dec didn't want sympathy - what he wanted was to smack certain mouthy, pretentious blondes upside the head with the crowbar of awkward. Oneca probably didn't deserve it, but the crowbar was hardly a discerning precision weapon. That same crowbar made a metaphorical clanging noise as it lay across the silence the eerie rumble in his voice created. "I've been told it weren't too pleasant for 'em. Then my uncle raised me, till he died of pneumonia when I was twelve. Then I was a lucky ward of the great state of Montana." He pushed his chair back with his legs as he stood, collecting his beer in one hand and placing the other, palm spread, on the table and leaning over it slightly.

"Ain't you fuckin' fortunate you can handle yer booze and knew so much about me before openin' yer mouths?" he asked matter-of-factly, trying to contain the faint growl in his chest before turning and leaving the table. "Thanks for the game. Gonna take a walk." he said over his shoulder as he headed out to the garden.

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August blinked, her drunken stupor trying to tell her something important was happening. "Wow," she slurred into the silence that followed Dec's departure. "Awkward.

"Someone shoul' make sure he's okay," August said somberly from where her head rested on Lucien, then destroyed the solemn moment by added with a giggle, "I woul' but I can't feel my legs." She continued to giggle as if this was the most hilarious thing she'd ever said. Oneca knew this wasn't unusual; August was prone to giggle-fits when in her cups.

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Lucien was in the same boat as August at the moment, else he'd have been the first one up and out the door after the guy. He was usually the diplomat for parties like these where new guests were sometimes insulted by what others meant as harmless humor. Lucien reached down and rubbed August's leg, heedless of the fact that she was the shortest shorts at the party. His smooth hands rubbed the softness of her thigh. "Don't worry beautiful, they're still there.

"Alright, let's see..." He leaned in, taking care not to let August tumble to the floor as he moved and drew a card.

"You are the Party King." it was odd the way Fate worked sometimes. Had Lucien not recently been indoctrinated into the forces of the cosmos he'd not had given his next pull of the card so much thought when he looked at it. The color was almost flushed from his face as he gazed at the card with a million thoughts suddenly tumbling through his mind. Was it Fate? Was it just Luck? Was he supposed to draw that card, or was it some message? Why did August say that and then suddenly he pull that card?!?

"How right you are," He smirked at August, showing her the card he drew: A King. "New rule: anyone who pulls a numerical card must do a shot. The person to their left chooses the shot."

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Triessa sighed and managed to get to her feet. "I'm gonna check on Dec," she said. "Make sure he's not angry enough to..." With a shake of her head, she stopped herself. She'd forgotten how things could just slip out when she was drunk. Very dangerous in a group with Sleepers. "Anyway...save my glass."

She turned and headed out towards where Declan had gone. The tall green leafery of the garden.

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"Uhm...", he started to say, then stalled out for another second, "huh." Reaching behind his head with one massive arm, Finn scratched at the back of his scalp as he regarded the pretty Uratha looking back up at him, took a deep breath, sighed, and then tried again. "Well," he said, "if I knew what you were 'like' I might be able to answer you better, but for now all I can say is that you obviously know more than me, sister. And that you look really cute in that hoodie."

"Thanks." She blushed and smiled bashfully, looking away from the large guy fearful that she'd be embarrassed more if she met his gaze. "I didn't know it was a themed party so I kinda just threw something on. The last party I went to had a pool and I remember I really wanted to go swimming, but I didn't wear my suit so this time I brought my suit but didn't know it was themes and then..." She paused as Finn's eyes glossed over from the sudden barrage of swift speaking.

Finn stopped again for a moment and smiled in a way that he hoped would ease, if not break, the tension between them (he kinda hoped maybe she'd think it was charming, too - the girl was sort of hot, after all), and then looked over his shoulder at the other party guests before turning back to Swara-Ann and continuing, "As for them? I didn't come here to mess up theirs or anyone else's life. I promise. I came for the party, just like everyone else. OK?"

The big Xa'aidlatha took another step closer to Swara-Ann and stuck one large hand out at her, opened in an obvious offer of a handshake. "Friends?", Finn asked her simply.

Swara-Ann took a deep breath. She was never good at reading people and being on the low end of mental acuity she tended to be rather easy to fool at times, and she knew this...

But Finn seemed okay! Even thought she was cute. "Not yet." she said, looking him in the eyes. She took his hand and managed a slight smirk, still rather impressed wit how handsome and 'cool' Finn seemed to be. "But as long as what you said is true, it's a start. Oh, and we can talk sometime, if you want, of course. Y'know, to kinda get on the same page n' stuff."

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"Thank you." He responded to Onica's patting him on the back as he finished coughing. "Perhaps downing a entire glass of scotch in one go was a bit ambitious of me." Not being drunk yet, like most of the girls at the table, and maybe most of the guys, from what he was getting, he at least managed to keep from taking another drink with the last round, and he refilled his glass as the draws went around the table, then reached out and pulled out another card. "10, I take a drink, following the rule of the last draw of the king, and the category is classic books and their authors, I start with Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne." He decided to chose something that was rather easy for him to keep up with, knowing literature as he did, but might not be so easy for others, but there was another aspect of it too, everyone would take a drink until someone couldn't continue or chose to end it

"Of course, with the no names rule, I drink again.. but without the name, you have to drink anyway." He smiled slightly as he took a less generous swallow of his drink from when he downed it for the waterfall ace draw, of his drink and looked to the next person in the circle.

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Astra didn't bat an eyelash as August did her level-best to keep Lucien to herself; after all, hot as he was, she barely knew the guy. What did annoy her a little bit was that the doe-eyed girl had spent so much energy physically plastering herself all over every attractive guy that came within pheromone-sniffing range: the silver-eyed guy with the rowr good looks, model-gorgeous Lucien, and the huge, delicious-looking guy who'd wandered off to talk to some blonde.

Fuck that, and the way it walks, she thought defiantly. The tattooed young enchantress wasn't mean-spirited enough to call the other woman out in front of everyone and ruin the party, but no way in hell was it fair for every female there to get muff-blocked to appease some girl's daddy issues, or whatever her problem was. As she squeezed out a lime for the one drink she could reliably make, the young Arrow mulled over her options. Was one of those guys her boyfriend? Not the big guy with the amazing body, since they'd apparently just met, but what about the other two? Unless there were some weird sexual dynamics going on, it didn't seem like it.

Normally, she'd just walk right up and ask August what the deal was, but this was a party, and people were supposed to play nice. Since that wasn't one of Astra's most practiced skills, and picking a fight wouldn't accomplish anything but chaos and bruised egos, she was left with something of a dilemma: this wasn't her place, wasn't her party, and she wasn’t sure if she had the right to put one of the hostesses in check. No, for now, she'd see what cards were dealt, and play her hand to best possible effect. She topped off the rum and lime juice with a generous splash of coke, the cracking of the ice cubes barely audible over the sound of music and chatter.

She slipped out of the kitchen, giving the newcomers a long glance. Where the hell were these people all coming from? The tiny green feathers in her lone hoop earring danced as she flipped her long braids back over her shoulders, Cuba Libre in hand. She’d managed to miss the bulk of the rapid-fire drinking game, and thus the entrance of the willowy, androgynous addition to the party, but the time she’d spent in Arcadia had left an indelible mark on the pattern of her soul; nothing, she knew, was ever as it seemed. Magic was fairly crackling in the air, gathering like a late summer storm, and not one of the people drinking showed any sign they were aware of it.

As Declan strode out, fairly seething with anger, and Triessa followed, Astra watched them leave, and made her way over to the table. Apparently, the stacked little blonde had said something to piss him off. With a mental shrug, she eyed the feminine-looking youth in the trenchcoat, considering his challenge with all the seriousness of sobriety. “is 5,” she stated, apparently apropos of nothing, with an impish smirk at Thomas, her glass held aloft briefly in salute. “e.e. cummings. One of the few poets I ever liked.” Never play fair, her mischievous grin seemed to say, if you play to win.

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The garden was quiet now, with the party having finished but for the dozen or so people playing the game inside. Declan breathed in the night air and let it out with a sigh as he paced through the bushes and flowering trees that, artfully arranged, made a large garden seem even bigger by dint of mystery - of not being able to clearly see the edges. An illusion, but a welcome one for the Vargr as he prowled through this man-made forest, ill at ease.

What the hell was he doing here, anyway? Okay, that part was easy to answer - he came to drink, party and get laid, in no specific order. But it had been a mistake, hadn't it? He'd snarled at one guest, taken offence at some dumbass jailbait's drunken attempt at humor, and felt most at peace out here, away from the smells of booze and people. He was not a party person, plainly. Hell, even before his Change he'd have been a fish out of water around these Cali kids, with their mansions and degrees and family issues. Not that he felt particularly bitter towards them - he'd met enough people with screwed up family lives to not be overly envious - but his parents were different.

"Your mother was the prize of her generation." Lise had told him with a smile. "At least, that's how my father tells it. The apple of her great-grandad's eye, and one of the best Vargr ever to shed two legs for four. It damn near broke the Old Wolf's heart when she took up with your father."

"Why?" he'd asked, but Lise had shrugged and looked up at the moon.

"I dunno. They wouldn't tell me. Nobody really talks about him, just about how a bunch of the 'other' werewolves killed them both. No-one even knew you were born, or handed off to your dad's brother. All we knew was that the Alpha was pissed with a capital P. The Old Wolf led the hunt himself, fifteen Vargr got together, found every single one of those Moon Calling sonsofbitches and ripped them apart. Twenty-strong, that pack was, and some of us didn't come home either." She looked him in the eye. "You watch out for them, Declan. I mean it. I've spoken to a couple, and they seem okay, but when they get into their packs they're like mad dogs, frothing and killing everything that's different to them. Like fucking neo-nazi's with claws, with their tribes and weird ways. We're lone wolves, usually."

"Lone wolves." Declan sighed and took another drink, looking up at the moon as he remembered that conversation. "Yup." Hearing the faint 'splish' of water and following it, he found the deserted pool. The lights were off, letting the moonlight reflect from the still surface as the werewolf sat down with a grunt, pulling off his cowboy boots and socks and wriggling his toes in the night air before letting his feet dangle over the edge into the cool water. He sat like that for a few minutes before hearing a light step on the grass a little way behind him. His nostrils twitched.

"I'm fine." he said out loud to Triessa. He looked over one shoulder at her, his silver eyes gleaming in the dim light from the house behind her. "Not mopin', and not plannin' revenge on the airhead." He went back to staring at the moon's reflection in the water. "Helluva party, ain't it?"

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"Of course you're not planning revenge," Triessa said, her smile plainly audible. "You know as well as I do she didn't mean any harm. And no one there felt threatened or anything, so there's no funny awkwardness if you decide to go back later."

She artfully didn't stand behind him, reasoning that it would probably bug him. Instead she orbited around his side to the edge of the pool so she could look into it as well.

For a moment she was quiet, considering her next words. "It is a hell of a party. I'm kind of glad you jumped out like that, to be honest. I needed an excuse to break away for a few minutes. I like them, they're fun people, but they're loud and young and...it's very intense being around them. Especially when they're drunk. It's good to have a quiet moment to find my balance again. Don't you think?"

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"Preachin' to the choir." the large man replied as he cast her a wry, but warm smile. "Though you ain't much older than most of them, if I'm right."

"Perhaps. Perhaps not." Triessa said with a smile of her own, a playful edge to the corners of her lips as she sat a few feet to his left, folding her legs with balletic grace. Her dark eyes met his, dancing merrily. "I'll leave you guessing."

"Pff." Dec snorted, but the snort became a low chuckle as he looked up at the sky, then back at her. He was silent for a long moment, regarding Triessa as intently as she regarded him. "You're right. They seem like fun people in there. Was a time I'd have been just as fun, probably. Now...?" Broad shoulders shrugged and he rubbed the back of his neck. "These days I'm a prickly son of a bitch, and no mistake. I don't handle groups well, especially when people let their lips flap... Aww, hell." He sighed. "She was just being a dumb kid. I coulda handled Oneca's teasin', or hers, but not both in a one-two-punch, you dig? It just... riled me up." He gestured with his bottle, indicating 'all of this' around him.

"So I came out her to take a breath. Find my balance, like you said." he finished with another wry smile. The attentive Triessa noticed that when Dec smiled, he rarely showed teeth and never for long. Apart from when he'd 'smiled' at Jeremy - which hadn't been a smile at all. "I'm used to quiet moments. Had a lot of them, perhaps too many to be good at parties."

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Triessa smiled wider. She had a way of managing to always seem like she was commiserating, not smiling at the expense of. "Declan," she chided gently, "A party isn't something someone can be good or bad at. It's just people, doing what comes naturally. By that measure, everything that you've done has been spot on perfect."

She studied him for a second longer, then looked away, though he noticed that she was still watching his reflection in the water.

"I knew someone once who was very used to being sure of things. The few times I've ever seen him unsure, he got a bit more temperamental than usual. I think it must be uncomfortable for him, but I've never actually asked. I figure admitting it would just make it all worse."

Triessa scooped up a pebble and tossed it into the pond, obscuring the reflections with undulating ripples.

"The way I could tell, was that when he was unsure was when he'd question himself...what he should be feeling. What he should be doing. Any other time, he'd just feel, and do, and deal with the consequences as best he could. Not the most introspective man, but that utter trust he had in himself was one of the things that made him so intriguing."

She looked up from the pool to peek at Dec sidelong from the corners of her eyes. "And he was never unsure for long. He adapted pretty fast to new situations."

Apparently satisfied, Triessa stood up and stretched, popping her elbows and knees unashamedly. "Okay...I've cheated and skipped enough drinks. I'll be lucky if they don't disqualify me."

With a pat on his shoulder she added, "I'll see you in a little while...or if you don't come back, I'll see you around sometime."

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Aradia kept up with the drinking game and the banter, pulling a "Heaven" on her first round (resulting in a drink for August, who at this point was drunk enough for her reflexes to be a bit on the sluggish side). She was quieter than Oneca and August might have expected her to be, had they been sober enough to really notice. After all, these people were new to her, and she was quickly realizing that the upper-class L.A. threw a far different party than she was used to. Aradia was used to a grittier crowd, she began to realize.. probably because she was used to an older one. She had never really thought of herself as "mature" before, but the way the "pretty people" partied was certainly different - and much more youthful than she was used to. She tried her best to keep the smirk off of her face, but was a little too tipsy to keep a totally straight expression. It was particularly hard to hide the amusement she felt at Kaitlin, who was throwing herself at the DJ like a bitch in heat. At one point, she caught the hot Asian guy's gaze with a wickedly amused smirk, before turning her attention to Kaitlin.

"Not that I'm complaining, but I think you'll get farther playing footsie with someone else, Kait. I don't swing very far in that direction."

She went through her first beer by the end of the waterfall, and played a little longer with a glass of rum and coke someone passed to her. But by the third (or fourth?) round, that was running low too, and she was starting to feel a bit flushed. She pulled another card - a 3 of spades - and tossed it onto the table before knocking back the rest of her drink in one gulp.

"Me. Time for a refill, since no one's beer bitch yet. I'll be right back."

With that, she stood up and made her way to the kitchen. After surveying the drinks for a few moments, she chose to pick up a hard lemonade this time, and twisted the cap off easily. A quick glance into the other room showed her that the game party was still going, and the girl that had gone after Dec had made her way back to the action. Assuming that either Dec would be headed in after her, or that maybe he had decided to take off, she decided to step outside herself for a minute. Hopefully a little fresh air and some quiet would help clear her head a little. She settled in on one of the lawn chairs, and after a few moments, she felt the presence of her familiar as he padded silently up to her. She held out a hand of invitation, and he took it, leaping gracefully up into her lap and laying down, stretched out comfortably across the attractive acrobat's legs. She began to stroke the creature slowly, fingers starting gently at it's cheeks and moving slowly down it's back like one would a lap cat.

"Been having fun, baby?"

The spirit familiar looked up at her, an annoyed expression that most people would interpret as nothing more than typical feline haughtiness. And indeed, they wouldn't be that far off.

"Don't look at me like that. If you don't want to be treated like a pet, don't act so much like one. You're a lucky bastard anyway.. humans have to pay for their massages."

It was quite a sight, this woman treating a small jungle creature like a house pet, were there anyone around to see it. As far as Aradia knew, there wasn't, and for a few minutes, she just sat there, savoring the company of her familiar, the light of the moon, and the soft ocean breeze drifting in from the nearby coasts.

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Swara-Ann took a deep breath. She was never good at reading people and being on the low end of mental acuity she tended to be rather easy to fool at times, and she knew this...

But Finn seemed okay! Even thought she was cute. "Not yet." she said, looking him in the eyes. She took his hand and managed a slight smirk, still rather impressed wit how handsome and 'cool' Finn seemed to be. "But as long as what you said is true, it's a start. Oh, and we can talk sometime, if you want, of course. Y'know, to kinda get on the same page n' stuff."

"Fair enough", Finn answered her as Swara-Ann shook his hand. The confidence was already creeping back into his grinning face as Swara suggested they talk and 'get on the same page n' stuff', and he replied simply and with apparent pleasure, "I'd like that."

His grin eased back into a charming half-smile and he glanced back over his shoulder towards the crowd still playing their card game. "So, uh, you wanna go get drunk?" Finn asked, looking back at Swara-Ann. "I know I wanna get drunk, and there's a whole crowd of people right over there getting drunk right now and that, to me, seems like a sign if ever I saw one." Finn's half-smile got a little bigger, letting Swara-Ann know that he wanted her to be in on his silly little joke, and then he shifted his position so that he was half turned back towards the group playing Circle of Death.

"So you wanna go get drunk?"

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Declan wasn't stupid. Okay, so he wasn't a genius either, but he was quicker on the uptake than some would give him credit for. Triessa's little story about the guy she knew didn't sound too unfamiliar, and it was with an unseen smile that he nodded in response to her pat on the shoulder, then listened to her move away.

"Thanks." was all he said aloud to her, as he went back to enjoying the night air alone. Okay, so the girl had a point. He was at his best when he wasn't navel-gazing and second-guessing himself - and unless he'd missed a cue, she thought so too. He spent some time pondering the strange, but cute, woman. It was pretty obvious she knew he was different. She'd also spotted Finn right off, so what did that make her? She wasn't Wild, that was for sure. She also wasn't a vampire, who he knew could sometimes tell if someone was different. A beast-kin, then: a human with Wild blood? Something else? Whatever she was, she didn't seem afraid or hostile, and had stood by him with August when the cop had been trying to earn some bonus donuts by busting Dec's balls. She also wasn't older than his own twenty-five years, he'd bet his forepaws on it. Maybe.

Regardless, it appeared that there was someone who wanted to be his friend despite feeling or knowing that there was a wolf in the fold. That was strange - Dec had pretty much relegated his true self to the 'humans don't wanna see that' category despite the number of Team Jacob t-shirts proclaiming that girls did, in fact, dig werewolves. That had amused the holy hell out of him, too. One of the guys at work had tried to explain why his teenage daughter was all into this 'Edward' freak, but he hadn't gotten it either, so they'd had a good laugh about that in the break room. Sparkling vampires! Was there anything less romantic than frenching a ninety-year old dead guy covered in glitter? "He'd be a pedophile, and she'd be a necrophile." one of the others had joked. "Good, so we can lock 'em both up." had been the reply.

With a chuckle, Dec pulled his feet out of the pool. He knew a couple of vampires enough not to kill them. And was willing to admit that there might be others he probably shouldn't kill. But he disliked them on general principles, and both vampires that haunted UCLA with his permission knew better than to imagine it made them his friends or peers. Not that he was an asshole about it, as such. Whatever conversation they had was to the point, cordial, and swiftly over. Oh and they were not to approach his house. Ever. They were not even to walk down the street he lived on, or he'd know, and the treaty would be over so fast they wouldn't have time to apologise. The Vargr was willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to rare individuals, but he wasn't willing to take chances with bloodsuckers of any stripe when it came to his den. Musing silently he got to his feet, leaving his boots by the pool to collect later, and wandered in the direction of the house.

Aradia's friend suddenly stiffened a little, ears flattening as he stared off into the darkness with a keen attentiveness that even a full-grown doberman wouldn't have warranted from the fey animal. His posture radiated caution and a little fear, and the mage was about to ask what had him so spooked when the large cat simply got up and dropped off her lap, padding under the lawn chair. Twisting, the agile young woman leaned over and regarded the beast from an upside-down position. It's eyes gleamed as it peered past her, and it was perfectly still.

"What's gotten into you?" she asked him with some concern cutting through the amount of booze she'd drunk. Something wicked this way comes she thought as she took in the cat's wariness. He wasn't hostile, though. Or terrified. Just... scared. Like a normal person would be if they saw a rattlesnake, or a bear or something.

"Guess he's a cat-person." The deep-toned, growly voice came from right next to her. She hadn't heard anyone coming, and the startling suddenness of that voice breaking the silence caused Aradia to jerk upright and look... straight at the front of a guy's jeans. Definitely a guy's. And with a belt buckle that had a relief of a standing wolf on it. Her eyes swivelled upwards and met a pair of silver ones framed by shaggy dark hair. "I'm more of a big canine guy, myself." Declan said conversationally, grinning.

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He looked at Astra a moment, then smiled slightly. "I could say that's cheating, but no one said you couldn't do it that way, the basic foundation of the game doesn't forbid it, so be evasive and mysterious in your response. " He lifted his glass in a toasting gesture in her direction, and having made an oblique reference that a mage belonging to the mysterium would know. For that matter, some mages amoung the other orders might recognize the sliding the words foundation into his response as a indication of some connection to the mysterium, adding the words about her being mysterious to it was his way of acknowledging that he knew she was initiated into the mysteries in her own way. And while his words were directed at her, they were also indirectly made to the other mages around the circle.

It was possible he was being too subtle, and they would miss it completely, he thought to himself, as he left it to her if she would respond to his toast with anything of her own, in all of the mages belonged to other orders, they might not even recognize the basis of his words. But he was letting himself get a bit distracted from the game, his thoughts were begining to wander a bit, his head was almost buzzing and he thought that perhaps it was time to change from the scotch to something lighter.

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"Not that I'm complaining, but I think you'll get farther playing footsie with someone else, Kait. I don't swing very far in that direction."

"Huh?" Kaitlin turned from giving Declan a hurt frown to look Aradia with wide, puzzled eyes, then at Wakiki, and then down at the table, as if could pierce its surface with her alcohol-glazed gaze so see what her confused foot was up to, then back to Aradia. She tested another tentative stroke, which caused Aradia to raise a brow and smirk. Kaitlin's eyes brightened in sudden understanding, and she giggled. "Oh. Oh! I get it! I got mixed up when I spun the chair 'round - made my right foot seem like my left foot... or some'fing."

Kaitlin swayed up to her feet with drunken grace, leaning into Wakiki for support as she righted her chair. "I was gonna say, Im - Nope! No names - your legs arrrs as smooth as girls legs," she chuckled, watching Aradia walk away, specifically at her ass and legs, and pointing at them. "But your legs were as sexy as girls legs because they are girls legs."

Apparently finding that hilarious, she chuckled, playing footsie with Wakiki this time with the right footsie - she thought, it felt like he was wearing jeans - barely catching the category the girly-man teacher had called out. At least, he sounded like a teacher, trying sound like he was making sense without really making sense. Did someone say he was a teacher?

Kaitlin leaned the other in her chair - and may have fallen off if Wakiki hadn't got a hand around her - trying to get a better look at the pretty dark-haired woman's tattoos, though her eyes kept being drawn to the bright green feathers of her hoop-earring.

"Fuckleberry Hinn!" Kaitlin proclaimed forcefully after Astra gave her answer to the Teacher, whether it was her turn or not. It felt like her turn, so it must've been. "By that guy who looks like that guy from KFC." With one hand holding her drink and the other holding the table to stop from moving around, Kaitlin butted her head against Wakiki's shoulder. "Your turn, you."

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"Genji Monogatari. The Tale of Genji," Wakiki said when it came his turn to list a classical story and its author. "Murasaki Shikibu." He smiled at the professor, wondering if he'd thrown Thomas a curve ball. He had some vague idea that the other mage was talking about Awakened business, but Thomas's oblique references were lost on the fledgling Arrow. Instead, Wakiki merely arched an eyebrow at the man as he drew another card. "Question Master!" he announced, holding up the Queen of Hearts.

"So no one can answer your questions until someone else draws a queen," Oneca said, grinning. "Unless you trick them."

"Fortunately, I have my ways," Wakiki replied, smiling. His hand moved down to rest on Kaitlin's leg, his fingers lightly stroking her smooth skin. Kaitlin smiled at him, all coy, drunken flirtation. He leaned in closer and murmured in her ear, "Do you like this?"

"Nice try," Kaitlin told him bemusedly, but didn't move his hand.

"What?" he asked innocently.

"You're my mate, remember?" Kaitlin said, quirking an eyebrow. "If I drink, you drink."

"How could a man forget if you are his mate?" Wakiki asked in a low voice. His tone was light but his eyes were intense as he added, "All I want to know is, are you enjoying this, or should I stop?"

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Under his teasing touch, Wakiki could feel firm muscle dancing beneath the smooth skin of Kaitlin's solid thigh. Her chin jutted stubbornly, lips pursed, but an arouse grin tugged at her lips and her deep breaths strained at the borrowed bikini. Gold-green eyes gleamed.

"No, I don't want you to stop," Kaitlin purred with a smirk, toes pushing against the floor as she pressed her thigh against Wakiki's hand. Keeping her eyes on him, she finished the last sip of her drink, then slammed the glass down on the table. "Who's the beer-bitch? I need a refill," she asked, reaching out and pulling a card... A Five!

Kaitlin sighed dramatically, reluctantly standing up. "Dammit! I deserve that. Gimme your orders and yeah, okay, a numbered card - so what poison am I drinking? Remember, my mate drinks too." She stuck her tongue out at Wakiki. The pleasant, intoxicated haze had completely obscured any thoughts of monsters. "Still wanna ask me any questions?

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His two mate drinks finished off his glass. Wakiki handed Kaitlin his glass and said, "There is a nice Chianti in the fridge," he told her, giving her a roguish grin. "And yes," he told her, hanging onto the glass and enjoying that her fingers lingered on his, "I have many, many more questions for you."

"Like?" she asked.

"Like," he murmured softly as he ran a finger over the smooth curve of her hip, "would you like to be on top first?" Not his best line, but he was no life mage - the alcohol was affecting him just as it would any mortal.

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"Yeah, I um..."

Aradia's gaze lingered for a moment on their initial view before flickering up to meet his own. She had the humility to blush a little at being caught ogling him, while still being audacious enough to flash him a wicked grin.

"..noticed that."

She straightened up a little, putting herself more at shoulder-level to the larger man in front of her from her position on the lawn chair, and ran a hand through her streaked hair, trying to smooth it out a little. She didn't succeed totally, but it gave her more of a tousled appearance, as opposed to the 'I've been twisted upside down' look she'd started with.

"Don't worry.. I'm what I guess you'd call an equal-opportunity animal lover."

Dec couldn't help himself - he grinned, and the petite acrobat arched a curious eyebrow at him in response. He coughed slightly, clearing his throat, and she shrugged, writing off the odd exchange to the booze they'd both been drinking.

"So.. you planning on heading back to the game? You aren't gonna let that little blonde skater punk ruin your evening, are you? She's just a kid."

In truth, Aradia didn't look much older than the skater punk in question, but she had an amused look on her face, the type typically reserved for a slightly more mature version of condescension.

"I don't think she knows half of what she's saying anyway - she's completely trashed. Spent a good two rounds stroking my leg with her foot, thinking it was that Asian dude's - the DJ."

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"Yeah, well I decided to get some air, seein' as I was drinking myself and had to fight the temptation to bite her head off." Inwardly, he groaned. Enough with the werewolf humor, already. Sheesh, Dec. "I'm all aired out now, but I ain't in too much of a hurry to slink back like I was just sulkin'." He paused, then grinned self-deprecatingly. "'specially since I was. A bit, anyway."

"That's fair." Aradia tilted her head a little as she smiled up at him. "Sulking doesn't suit you, but a bit of sulking's good for anyone." She noticed he was appraising her again, the silver eyes oddly open and frank in an equally unguarded face. It wasn't a leer... well, okay it was a bit, but it was a good leer, suggestive without being sleazy. Aradia decided she liked that look from this guy, but still, there were standards to maintain. It didn't do to let hot, vital and animal-attractive guys have it all their way. She raised an eyebrow, putting a hand on one hip in a silent communication that said 'yes, I see you there, looking that look'.

"Sorry." he grinned, not looking or sounding sorry at all. "I was just thinkin' about those legs you said skater-girl was rubbin' on." he drew out the pause for a second or two, his eyes meeting hers. Aradia felt a tingle of something run down her spine - something exciting in a way that was almost fear, and she wondered where August had found this guy. A gardener, she'd said when discussing the invitation she'd made with Oneca and Aradia. But gardeners didn't look or make her feel like this. Hell, she'd flirted with some 'bad boys' before: you got all sorts running with the circus crowd, and they'd not been a patch on Declan. It was the eyes. Had to be. "So... How about you?" he asked.

"How about me, what?" Aradia smiled playfully, not looking away from those eyes. Dec grinned, thinking that she looked good with tousled hair, and took a deep breath, letting it out again in a heavy mock sigh as he looked up at the sky, then smiled at her. She smelled of alcohol, but not much, and a little sweat and female.

"How about you, are you going back in to the game?" he clarified, grinning lopsidedly.

"I might... Unless I lose for stepping outside long enough for the room to tilt back into place." she bantered, gracefully stepping down from where she knelt on the chair. Dec snorted.

"You kiddin'? At worst, that just means you have to down a drink as a forfeit. Same as me." he shrugged. "I can handle that... if you can." This time there was a hint of challenge with the flirtatious eyemeet, and the smile playing around his lips was mischievous.

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"I can handle that just.. fine."

She matched challenge with innuendo, and turned towards the house, taking a few steps away from him on the previously-mentioned legs (and my, weren't they just as smooth and toned as Dec could have imagined an acrobats legs would be?). Then she paused and glanced back at him, a flirtatious smirk playing at the corners of her lips.

"You're coming, right?"

_________________

The two stepped back inside the room where the game was still going strong. Sure enough, someone immediately called out for penalty shots. So Aradia walked over to the table, picking up someone's bottle of liquor - at a glance it was Jack Daniels. Then she picked up two of the small plastic glasses, and poured a finger's worth of the whiskey in each of them. She passed one to Dec, and winked playfully at the silver-eyed feral before knocking hers back smoothly, only wincing a little at the burn of the alcohol as it ran down her throat. Then she picked up her cards and sat back down, waiting for it to be her turn again.

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"So you wanna go get drunk?"

Finn seemed like a really great guy, which Swara knew meant that he kept a handlebar mustache and a pointy goatee in his closet and was probably holding in a maniacal laugh deep in his belly. That's usually how it went in her line of work. She'd always been one of those girls who didn't realize how pretty she actually was and while she entertained several crushes in her lifetime, she was never really the type to ever assume that any of the men she found attractive were, in turn, attracted to her. It just didn't register. Every moment his smile grew wider she grew a bit more flushed but when she continued holding his hand and offered him a bashful smile that did a bit of the flirting she wasn't skilled enough for, Fin came to realize that tough girl act might have been a bit forced.

"I, uhh..." She stammered trying to find the right words and trying not to focus on his smile and that body and those eyes and that body and that charm and that body... "Re-really shouldn't." She managed to reclaim her hand and thrust them both deep in her cut-offs pockets. As short as they were cut the large man could see her fists balled up in the little white pouches that peeked out from below the frayed denim.

"It's um, un-good for me." She tensed up, shrugging her shoulders nearly to her ears as she tried to not to sound like a complete moron (which was a stretch). "Loss of control n' stuff. I might do something stupid like make out with a girl and it ends up the internet, or start nosing around in the trash, or totally end up having lots of really great sex with you."

They both suddenly seemed off balance. Finn by the sudden awkwardness of the comment and Swara-Ann from the sheer embarrassment at the failure of the filter twixt her mouth and brain. With her eyes wide and mouth agape she was like a deer caught in the headlights of a very tanned, luscious, and totally yummy truck on the downward spiral of her own personal freeway to Loserdom (population: Swara).

"Kay, leavingnowbye." Eyes still wide and jaw still nearly on the floor she rigidly spun on her heel, managing a one-eighty, and just walked away from the scene of the crime towards the back exit that her, Declan, and Lucien had used just moments before.

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