Magic Is Real

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Brief Title:

Showstopper and Topaz

Scene Runner/Watcher:

IC Date:


But you don't have to take Topaz's word for it.

Social or Plot:


-----==[ Voodoo Lounge - Greenwich Village ]==--------------------------------
One must descend a flight of black slate stairs flanked by walls papered in rock concert programs before discovering...
This is no ordinary urban mecca. This is no sports bar, no yuppie hipster watering hole. This... is the famed Voodoo Lounge.The lights are recessed into the wall, and of a golden hue, dimmed low enough that one can see where one is going, but still be able to consider the atmosphere intimate. People more than a dozen feet away will appear as mere shadows until one is right up on them. The walls are paneled in mahogany wood. The bar, that travels down the left side of the room is teak with a black marble top, polished to a fare-thee-well. Taps are visible just past the lip of the countertop. There's a recess in it so that a bartender can slide drinks to the waiting patrons. Behind the bar, the expected mirror -- this one beveled on the edges. Glasses and more elaborate drinkware hangs upside down from a wooden rack above.
The barstools appear to be leather and wood, but they are reinforced to handle patrons of superhuman size. The floor is carpeted in plush brown carpet, thick enough to sink into, though nothing seems to ever reach it if anything is spilled. There are cozy tables and booths clustered at the front and back of the room. A long, thickly stuffed leather sofa, also in brown, is along the entire front wall and side wall. A hidden moving light casts random shapes and sigils around the room in muted hues -- slowly enough so it's ambience-enhancing rather than disorienting. Potted palms flank the door and stand in the corners. There are hanging plants above the tables, leaves dripping lazily down toward the floor, but not enough to impede anyone there. Carefully hidden speakers pipe music into the room that varies from the contemporary to the exotic. There is no television behind the bar. The back wall has a floor-to-ceiling fountain that trickles away serenely. A few feet in front of the back wall is a modest stage, also set with small tables if there's no one performing.The entire vibe is like someone set a bar in a cozy little alcove in some exotic place far removed from New York City.
Late-afternoon on a Sunday finds the Voodoo Lounge relatively empty. There are a few locals at a table enjoying a game of cards. It's nothing that one person can't handle, that person being the owner of the place. She is behind the bar, leaning forward against it, a local paper spread out on the bar in front of her that she is flipping through.

There comes a time when an invitation begs to be taken. Most of the time, it's just a matter of curiosity getting too strong to ignore. This time, it's because the place in question is a great way to get out of the unexpected drizzle outside. Caught without an umbrella, Chenda Gray slips through the door, pausing to wipe off the soles of her shoes before she steps into the Lounge proper. And there, she pauses, blinking in the dim light. She hadn't quite expected /this/, especially not the impressve carpet. And here she is, damp and with dirty shoes. She hastily slips off her high-tops, holding them in her hand as she makes her careful way to the bar. Even with her usual sangfroid, and her determination never to stare, she can't help it: She's gawking like Laura Bow. At least she doesn't have a suitcase somebody could walk off with. It's a surprisingly long trip to the bar. And it looks like she knows the bartender, who is about her own height. "Um, hi again... does your ladies' room have hand dryers?" she asks with an rather sheepish smile.

It's not the sound of the door opening that makes Topaz lift her head from her paper when the young woman enters. It is the feelings the eminates, those of curiousty mingled with agitation (at the rain) and slight embarassment at the situation she is now in. "Oh my poor laadla." which is the equivalent of dear in her native language "You are all wet, Richenda, was it?" lifting the divider between the two sections of the bar she hurries from behind the bar, with a clean dish towel which she will hand over "That's spring for you. Randon weather, hitting at random and the most inoprotune times." she shakes her head, "No dryers, but that is no problem."

Chenda, of course, has no idea that Topaz can pick up on her feelings, but they now include gratitude, if faint bemusement: One towel can't do much more than dry her hair and face, and she can't really dry much more here even with more towels. "Oh... thank you. And it's Richenda, yes, but Chenda's fine," she replies, her smile a bit flummoxxed as well as gratefully embarrassed. She dabs off her face and hands, then begins drying her hair. "/Very/ random. There wasn't a cloud in the sky a half hour ago! Thank goodness for your location, Miss Topaz. It would've been a long run to the record store, and they don't even have a bathroom!"

"Not for the public no." Topaz readily agrees about the record store. She sweeps a gesture to a barstool and she mutters something uninteligible under her breath as she puts the flat of the other palm on Chenda's shoulder. A flash of warmth would be felt and all of Chenda's clothes are suddenly dry, including the shoes in her hand "Would you like a soda?

"Huh?" Chenda blinks at Topaz as the woman lays a hand on her shoulder, speaking something quick and low. "What are... whoa!" The gypsy girl looks down at herself, her hand flexing on the suddenly-dry towel. She holds it up, astonished, and glances at the shoes in her hand. Hesitantly, she sets both on the bartop and runs her hands over her formerly-soaked hoodie and jeans. "Whoa." Her hands slip to the collar of her longsleeved tee, fingertips brushing something just beneath. Then they drop to her jeans, opening a few buttons and brushing against her hips. "I'm /dry/. Wow, how did you do that?" It's a few seconds before the question penetrates her amazed brain. Sure, she's around people who regularly break the laws of physics, but that seemed like a spell. A /real/ spell, like the ones her mother used to speak of. "A soda? Sure, a root beer'd be great, thank you... I'm sorry, I must be really out of it. This shouldn't be so surprising..."

Topaz smiles at the girls surprise as she heads back behind the bar, through the divider, which for the moment she leaves open. "One root beer coming up." a pilsner glass is grabbed and she fills it from one of the taps that are a bit separate from the ones that dispense the beer. "How do you think I did it?" she is an expereinced bartender so knows how to hold the glass when filling it to get the proper amount of foam on the top. She'll then set it on the bar in front of Chenda. It's not your standard store bought root beer either, but one from a local microbrew, "Why should it not be surprising?

"Oh, that is /so/ not fair. You're answering questions with questions!" Chenda ripostes, trying not to laugh. Faint exasperation now mingles with the amazement and the lingering touches of embarrassment. "But, okay. We can trade questions. Maybe some'll even get answered." The tap catches her eye and she braces her hands on the bar, hopping up and lifting herself so she can get a better look. But it looks like an ordinary tap, even if it's dispensing root beer. "This is a very unusual lounge," she murmurs, shimmying sideways with her hands and then lowering herself onto the barstool behind her. Acrobats... always showing off. Possibly more than she intends in this case, considering the black and white stripes showing above and through her still-open jeans. Topaz is back about then with the root beer. Chenda gives her a faint smile of gratitude, her mind still on those questions. "Was that a spell? It really seemed like a spell..."

While Chenda is talking and showing off more than her acrobatics skills, Topaz is scooping some popcorn into a basket like bowl which she also sets near where Chenda has parked herself, "How could it be a spell. Magic isn't real." she glances to the table where the card players are, but their pitcher of beer is still near full so she can ignore them for a bit longer "Isn't it?" she folds the paper up and puts it under the bar.

"I don't know... I know people who can heat things up, but they can't dry my clothes without seriously scorching me in the bargain," Chenda replies, frowning thoughtfully. "And my mother used to talk about magic. She was a Spanish Gypsy. I don't know if she could do spells, but I know she saw things in her dreams, and they came true. Dad would tease her about it, but I think he believed her. I know I did."

"Magic runs deep in the blood of the Romany. As does the gift to telling the future." topaz explains, "But one does not have to be gifted with one to have the other." she grabs another pilsner glass and fills it from the same tap that the root beer came from, but instead of the foamy black root beer out comes a light red bubbly liquid, like some kind of cherry soda, perhaps. "You were right to beleive. It was magic that dried your clothes, magic that keep you from falling at the record store and magic that healed you that day on Staten Island when you faced a vengeful god." Chenda might not have known Topaz was there, but Topaz knows Chenda was.

Chenda, with those sharp eyes of hers, sees what's going into Topaz's glass as she pulls that tap. The /same/ tap that just gave /her/ root beet! "Whoa. Talk about /everything/ on tap," she murmurs, staring for a moment at the glass. "I /knew/ there was something unusual about this lounge!" She turns a faintly sheepish smile on Topaz. "Aside from the owner, I mean. So, you've helped me twice with magic... and once more during that mess on Staten Island." She shivers at the memory. That was /not/ a pleasant experience. "I owe you my life, Miss Topaz. I don't know what I could do to repay you for that. I've just got no idea at all."

Sipping her own soda Topaz "Not quite everything, just what is wanted," she reaches for a handful of popcorn, "Or in some cases what is needed." she grins setting her glass down and pointing to the tap "That is not magic, just clever mechanics." a few kernels of popcorn are eaten "My bartender Six, came up with the idea. Move the handle forward you get one drink, move the handle backward you get another. Water is automatically flushed through for a few seconds when the handle is moved back to its neutral position. Remember, not everything that looks like magic is.

"Oh..." Chenda blushes, looking down. And realizing that her absent-mindedness is working against her again. "I guess I'll have to pay more attention next time," she murmurs, taking a sip of root beer, then lowering her hands as surreptitiously as she can to fasten her jeans, hopefully without Topaz taking note. "It sounds like you have a very clever bartender. But I don't know much about what her boss is like, aside from being pretty generous. And humanitarian. And magical. And calling me a waif," she adds, giving the Indian woman a teasing smile. Granted, it'd be hard to argue with that last point, especially for Chenda.

"His boss, Six is male. His real name is Nelson, here though he is called Six, he is my sixth bartender and the sixth person I interviewed for the position." Topaz waves a dismissived hand "There are other instances of six in his life, but those are the only ones that pertain to me or this bar." she gives a slight smile, but she doesn't seem embarrased by the adjectives "I am also humble, but thank you for the kind words. What brings you to the city today? Shopping or just a bit of boredom?"

"Oh. This seems to be my day for guessing wrong," Chenda says, blushing faintly. "Nelson't pretty clever, to figure out a trick like that. Saves space above the counter." She smiles a little at the mention of humility. "You don't talk about yourself much, do you, Miss Topaz? Okay, I won't pry. Goodness knows I've got my own Don't Ask subjects. But that's not one of them. I came to see a friend in the neighborhood, but the rain caught me coming back." She grins. "Why? Do you want to go shopping sometime?"

A nod is given "He is clever, sometimes to much, others not enough." the nod though is in answer to both questions, "I do not share a lot no, not because I have anything to hide, its just a lot of past is either unknown to even myself or to fantastical for most to beleive." she glances to the card players and noting they need a refill grabs a pitcher, fills it and delivers it to them. "I am not much for shopping, at least not at your normal places. To many people, feeling to many things.

"We're all like that sometimes, though," Chenda observes. "Too clever for one thing, not enough for another. I guess it's part of being human." She takes a sip of that very good root beer, nodding in approval once more, and nudges the glass a little closer to her, so Topaz can get out without bumping it.The woman's reply as she come back brings a hint of curiosity into the gypsy girl's eyes. "How do you mean? Too many people, feeling too many things?"

"Yes, it is a trait we all share, crossing races, creeds and what have you." Topaz doesn't go back behind the bar, but instead takes a seat at the barstool next to Chenda. Her brow furrows slightly, as she mulls over the question, trying to determine how much she should tell "Exactly that. I am not much for crowds." yet she owns a popular bar "Here it is different." she waves a finger to indicate the lounge "It's an environment I can control. I'm in charge of it. That's not so anywhere else.

"I guess I could see that being a problem," Chenda says, frowning in consternation. She's heard similar complaints from the telepaths in her life, but nothing she's seen about Topaz points at her being one. "Though it must make grocery shopping a pain, unless you know a really great, uncrowded store. Maybe we could pick a good day and go to SoHo. The shops aren't crowded on weekdays, especially in the mornings."

Topaz chuckles "I don't grocery shop at all. I'll occassionally go to Chinatown or Chelsea Market if I am craving something particular, but I get most everything delivered and eat quite a lot of take out from the local places." her head cants to the side "Soho is nice, they have a few really good vintage clothing stores. Perhaps during the summer we could do that."

"Wish I could afford that," Chenda admits, giggling. "The school has a fantastic cook, but sometimes I miss good Chinese food, the kind you can only get in Chinatown." She nods emphatically as the subject of Soho's stores comes up. "Fantastic. I can't get there as often as I'd like." She looks Topaz up and down and grins enthusiastically. "And much as I love your style, Miss Topaz, I have to wonder how a silk poet blouse, jeans, and a fringed shawl would look on you."

"You should have come yesterday, than you would know." Topaz grabs another handful of popcorn from the bowl "Maybe I will wear them if and when we go shopping together." the card players at the table let out a groan while one chuckles as he rakes in the pile of small bills and coins from the center of the table "I can not beleive you feel for that bluff, again." she calls over to them. "They play here every Sunday. I have lost track of how many times those guys let him trick them." she says to Chenda with a chuckle.

"Poor timing on my part," Chenda agrees. "But that does sound like a good going-shopping outfit, especially with the sudden gusts of wind in this town."She glances up, seeing the table and stifling giggles at the catcalls and groans. "He /should/ be getting a little predictable by now," she agrees. "I guess you just get used to the tells."She blinks again, then looks more closely at Topaz, lowering her voice. "Wait, how'd you know it was the same bluff? You can't see the cards from here, and they're not /that/ loud."

A shoulder lifts in a shrug "I can hardly give up all my secrets at once now. Can I?" she takes note that Chenda's glass is nearly empty "Would you like a top off?" she slides off the barstool and heads back behind the bar.

"Oh, keep your old secrets then, Little Miss Mysterious," Chenda teases, faint exasperation tinging her good humor. "I'm a waif, right? We're used to being tortured." But torture or no, she takes another pull from her glass, then slides it across the bar. "Fill 'er up. 'Til it stops raining, I won't be going anyplace. So, what can you tell me about this impressive lounge, since you won't tell me about yourself?"

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