Please forgive any formatting issues. I didn't know LJ would eat my formatting until I went to post this earlier, at which point I nearly lost my mind as I tried to sort it out. In the end, I decided to post the episode anyway and fix any formatting issues later.
The Xenon was fairly busy for a Thursday night. While not as packed as it would become on Friday and Saturday, there was still a decent sized crowd gathered both on the dance floor and around the bar. Andy found it difficult to work up any sort of joy in the success of this particular investment, instead finding himself brooding over a martini (extra dry, two olives) in a dark corner of the room at a graffiti-covered table while a steady stream of 80s music pulsed from the speakers.
His bid for mayor was going better than he imagined; it wasn’t difficult to dig up dirt on your opponents when you basically owned the entire town. He was still trying to work out what Mary McMally could possibly be up to, but he was certain he’d find out soon enough. In the mean time, she wasn’t hurting him in the least. He hadn’t seen more than a handful of hand-drawn posters from her campaign, let alone any sort of commercial spots on television or the radio. He wasn’t quite ready to believe she was anything less than serious, but he was beginning to have his doubts.
On top of everything else, he had to admit that Peterson’s sudden departure and subsequent absence from Deception Pass had him moderately concerned. He should have been relieved to have the slimy bastard out of his hair, but he didn’t like not knowing where he was. It was as if he could feel him lurking in shadows waiting to jump out like some sort of deranged Jack In The Box.
Just as Pat Benatar started accusing him of being a heartbreaker, a few words of a conversation came drifting to him from the bar and instantly caught his full attention.
Nate: “…Velvet Oblivion was going to be huge, man. Huge.”
Josh: “Yeah, I mean, it sucks they had to split up. Who knows, though, maybe they’ll do a reunion thing in a year or so.”
Nate: “I guess, but it just doesn’t seem very likely. They were the best.”
Josh: “I saw them once or twice; they seemed to have their shit together. I wonder what happened. I bet it was a clash of egos; you can’t have too many talented people in one place without that shit happening.”
Nate: “That might be part of it, but not all.”
Josh: “I bet it was a chick, then.”
Nate: “I’ll tell you what really happened. The real problem was the drummer.”
Josh: “I thought he was good.”
Nate: “Oh he is, probably the best in a hundred square miles. Listen, though. You know about Selwyn and Payne, right?”
Josh: “The other two dudes?”
Nate: “What? No, I don’t think so. They may swing both ways for all I know, but it’s not important. Do you know what they are?”
Josh: “Oh! Yeah! Basil was talking about how he saw one of them show up at one of the Order’s meetings not that long ago. ‘Course, Basil was tripping on Bliss at the time, and started talking about how Jesus had been there, too. What of it?”
Nate: “Thing is, Green’s not like them. He’s mortal, even has a day job. I think he’s the reason they had to split up. It really pisses me off.”
Josh: “That just su—“
Gigi: “Hey Josh! I thought I saw you in here!”
Josh: “Gigi, doll! How was California?”
Gigi: “Shallow as hell, but a nice change.
Gigi: “Did you guys want to dance? They’ve been playing the best stuff tonight!”
Josh: “I was just heading out to the dance floor. Nate, you coming?”
Nate: “Nah, I think I’m just going to go home.”
Josh: “Nate’s still stinging over the loss of his most favorite band.”
Gigi: “Aw, I’m sorry Nate. Are you sure you don’t want to join us? It’ll get your mind off it for a while.”
Andy finished his martini, never taking his eyes off the scene in front of him. He’d thought the young man had looked familiar, and now he had a good idea why. He’d been at almost all of This Velvet Oblivion’s shows over the last few years, always in the front row, and occasionally milling around after the fact.
It was only a few minutes before he was alone. With an idea already fully planned out, Andy made his way over to the bar.
Andy: “Excuse me, but I wondered if I might have a moment of your time.”
Andy: “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation, and I think we may be able to help one another out.”
Nate: “How so?”
Andy: “Come join me at my table and we can talk. What were you drinking?”
Nate: “Rum and coke.”
Andy smiled and ordered their drinks, then led the way back to his table.
Andy: “I’m Andy Stone.”
Andy: “Among other things, but that’s not what I want to talk to you about. I’m more interested in discussing a particular member of a band you seem quite fond of.”
Nate looked intently at Andy with bright interest. It was a good start.
Nate: “What about them?”
Andy: “They were quite the trio, weren’t they?”
Nate: “Oh man, they were phenomenal. It was like every one of their songs spoke to me, you know?”
Andy: “I can relate.”
Andy: “Looks can be deceiving.”
Nate: “Can you believe they broke up? And for such a bullshit reason, too!”
Andy: “Because of Markus Green?”
Nate: “Exactly. I bet they figured he’d end up dying and ruin everything or something.”
Andy: “That would put a bit of a damper on any tour plans they might have.”
Andy smiled as Nate let out a bitter laugh before taking a long drink.
Nate: “You might think I’m crazy, but I’d love to get my hands on that guy. I mean, just give me a few hours alone with him and there’d be no reason for TVO to stay disbanded.”
Andy: “Are you saying that you’re—“
Nate: “For five years now. It was this chick I was totally into back when I was a freshman at DPH; she used to hang out at the Viper Club before it burnt down. It was right after my kid brother was killed.”
Andy tried to look at interested as possible; one thing he couldn’t stand was having to hear a whiny vampire’s life story. He gently steered the conversation back on track.
Andy: “What’s stopping you from having your little chat with Mr. Green?”
Nate: “Well it’s not the law, that’s for sure. Dunno, really. Now that you mention it, I guess it wasn’t something I thought about in any real way ‘til now.”
Andy: “I’m surprised. Not because I think you’re unstable or anything, but because you seem to care about this so much and have a real way to solve it.”
Nate: “If I just knew where to begin…”
Andy: “I think we can help each other out.”
Nate: “How so?”
Andy: “I’ve got information, you’ve got the determination to put it to use.”
Nate: “What sort of information?”
Andy: “Schedules, addresses, things like that. Information I believe you could find invaluable.”
Nate: “What’d Green do to you?”
Andy: “Let me get one thing straight with you up front: in order to get the information I have, there’ll be no questions. Got it?”
Nate: “Sure, sure.”
Andy: “Good boy. I’ll have everything you need delivered to you before the end of the night.”
Nate: “How do you even know where to send it?”
Andy: “No questions, Nathan. What you do with the information is entirely up to you; I would never even think about telling you what you should or shouldn’t do with it. Hell, as far as I’m concerned, you can choose to do absolutely nothing at all.”
Nate: “Right, gotcha.”
Andy stood up, indicating the end of their impromptu meeting.
Andy: “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Holt. I wish you the very best of luck in your endeavors.”
Nate: “How will you know… right, no questions.”
Andy: “It was nice to meet a fellow fan.”
Nate: “Yeah, seriously.”
Andy smiled, then made his way out of the bar and to the parking lot. He slid into the plush comfort of his car, but didn’t leave right away.
Talking to Nathan Holt had been a risk, and he knew this. However, it was far too tempting to bring chaos into the life not only of Markus Green, but also that of his friends. While he’d already set several traps for Selwyn and Payne, he hadn’t been able to really get to Green. Andy wasn’t looking to get him killed, though he couldn’t say it would necessarily cause him any loss of sleep. As a vampire, he’d be easier to deal with than as a human. Most of the vampire population of Deception Pass existed in within their own subculture, almost completely separate from living society. There were a few grey areas, but for the most part, the undead were more or less nonexistent as far as the living were concerned. Either way, he could deal with whatever the outcome of tonight’s discussion was.
In the mean time, he had work to do.