Steel Clover Record Launch Party

Brooklyn - Flanaghan's

It takes more than an Irish name and a shamrock in the window to be regarded as a true Irish pub. Flanaghan's has that real Irish, purchased from a third generation Irishman by an Irishman. The head manager is Irish born and bred, and the pub touts imperial pint glasses, Guinness and Harp, live Irish music, a fireplace, and authentic Irish food, including fish and chips, Shepard's pie and Guinness Pasty.

Flanaghan's has a warm and relaxing atmosphere. The music, when it's not a live band, is just loud enough to fill the space, but not so loud that it impedes conversation. Styled in the Victorian style which harkens back to Dublin, it's filled with beveled mirrors, elaborate tiling and decorative brass.

The counter is carved from highly-polished hardwood and the walls paneled with rich, dark timbers. The dark wood is off-set with dark greens and deep, rich golds for seating and trim. There is stained glass in the windows and stained glass decor throughout.


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Brooke Bishop Bryn Blackwell Sera Roche Kieran Collins Maeve Brennan

The night has finally arrived — the record launch party at Flannaghan's. Brooke has been working on it all week, right up until an hour before the launch party began, giving her just enough time to rush home, change, and put her hair up.

Brooke's dress isn't anything too fancy. She can't afford too fancy. It's still a beautiful dress though, and goes with her coloring so well. A sequined ring-neck mini-dress in gold, that shows off just enough skin to be tantalizing without being trashy. The Jimmy Choo's she bought at the consignment store for half the price she'd have gotten them elsewhere are gold, mirrored, metallic leather sandals. Since she didn't have a whole lot of time to prepare, she's thrown her hair back into an elegantly messy bun with curled tendrils tickling the sides of her face, and the back of her neck.

By the time the car has arrived for her, she's already running a little later than she'd like, but at least this way she can make an entrance before running back stage to see if Steel Clover is ready to play.


"You look lovely," Bryn murmurs as he helps Brooke into the vehicle. The ride to the party is done mostly in silence. It's difficult to break twelve years of awkwardness all in one evening.

As they approach the venue, the sorcerer raises his brow.

"Only you would see fit to invite me to an Irish pub in the midst of New York City, Brooke."


The car that Kieran sends around has Serafine arriving shortly before the festivities are scheduled to start. The dress he picked is perfect, the soft moss green makes her eyes pop, and she's piled her hair up on her head to show off the curve of her neck and what bits of shoulder the dress doesn't cover.

She makes an entrance, but she suspects that Kieran planned it that way. He does like to show off - whether it's his restuarant, his club, his pub or his date. The vampiress can't deny that she likes the attention, however, and she knows exactly how good they look beside each other when she takes his arm and admires him in his suit.

Even Maeve has done herself up for the evening, wearing a shimmering blue blouse, and if Sera's not mistaken, a bit of makeup as well. The woman waves and gives Sera a thumbs up from where she's already slinging drinks behind the bar, but then focuses on her customers.

"Let's mingle, Mr. Collins," Sera grins, squeezing Kieran's arm. "You have to be the gracious owner now."


Serafine really is the perfect adornment for Kieran's arm, but she usually is. His Child is bubbly and vivacious, laughing and waving at his side, greeting the regulars whom she knows with friendly hugs and the rare, but certainly coveted, chaste kiss to the cheek. Some try - and a few succeed - in stealing a bit more of a kiss, but it's in good fun, and Sera holds up with grace and poise.

It's one of those rare times when someone outshines Kieran, but he doesn't mind it in the least. He enjoys watching Sera in action, and her presentation as the 'date' of the proprietor does help his reputation as well.

"If I ever think of doing something like this with a little starlet again, kick me," Kieran murmurs, sliding behind her and placing his lips close to her ear. Sometimes, he forgets how much Sera shines, and there is no way Tiffany could have ever been more than a pretty bauble on his arm tonight.


"It happens to be the place where the boys played their first gig in university," she points out. She waits until the driver comes around and opens her door, flipping open a compact and checking her makeup once more before she takes the man's hand and steps out.

"Come along, Mr. Blackwell," she teases in a sing-song. "You've got about twelve years to make up to me, and since we're late, it's time we make an entrance."

Taking a deep breath, she waits until he joins her and offers his arm before she starts forward.

Please let tonight go off without a hitch.


Bryn knows who owns the establishment. His more than thorough background check on Serafine Roque was detailed and littered with documentation on her Maker as well. He briefly wonders if Brooke is aware that the establishment is run by a vampire, and if the Coven would care overly much. He makes a note to call Regina and ask the Coven's policies on such matters as a curious Priory member.

Chances are likely if he presents himself as a sorcerer, she'll simply hang the phone up on him.

Offering his arm is not a big deal. It's the proper thing to do. More to the point, he takes hold of her hand and tucks it tightly against his arm.

"Come, Miss Bishop, we can hardly keep the crowd waiting if you are meaning to introduce the band."

With that, he opens the door and walks inside Flanaghan's with Brooke in tow.


Their greetings have taken them to the bar, where Serafine has managed to secure a seat on a barstool without flashing the whole of the pub. It's a feat that takes some practice and skill, but she mastered such careful manuevers years ago. She's talking to Maeve when the woman isn't serving drinks or taking orders from the servers who move through the growing crowd, and flirting with the woman's oldest son, Brian, in between brief exchanges. Again, still all in good fun; Brian knows it and gives back just as equally as he takes.

The vampiress knows the door is going to open moments before it does. Even with the din of the pub, she can hear people outside, can hear the beginning creaks of the hinges and turns her gaze that way. Opportunity is presenting itself tonight. She well knows who is going to be here 'with the band' so to speak, and she did tell Brooke she'd introduce her to Kieran. All right, so yes, the woman declined, but now there's an actual excuse for the introduction.

"Oh, she's here!" Sera grins and gives Kieran's arm a squeeze as she watches Brooke enter the pub. She's wearing a secret little 'I know something you don't smile,' that slips a few notches when she spots the man walking behind her red haired fan.

There's an exclamation in French, her heart doing some sort of bizarre swan dive and she tosses back her drink in two large gulps.


Standing on Serafine's other side, leaning casually against the bar, Kieran is watching the crowd. It's busy tonight, a very good thing, though not rare on a Thursday. He should say instead that it's busier than usual tonight, and he's going to have give Maeve kudos for that. She saw an opportunity and she took it.

That is why you promoted her, Kieran reminds himself. Maeve is just one of those people who has a keen skill for business.

The squeeze to his arm has him glancing curiously over at Serafine. "Who's here?" The moment he says the words, he remembers. The fan whom she met, whom she prefaced the meeting with, "You'll like her. She's a red head. But you have to be nice. I like her." Which really takes all the fun out of it, but because Sera asked so nicely, Kieran will be … gentle. The vampire doesn't doubt that he'll at least find the woman appealing. Sera knows his type.

He's about to comment when he watches the change come over Serafine. The way her eyes go wide and she tosses back the drink, clearly faced with the unexpected. Following her gaze, Kieran watches the pair enter the pub, and though his attention wants to linger on the red head, or at least her legs, curiosity drives him to study the man with her. "Who's that, luv?"


Everything is in full swing, and she can hear a track from an older album coming through the speakers via the DJ. Brooke allows herself to look out over the pub, eyes lingering on the decorations, the patrons, the food and drink being carried around on trays.

It's perfect!

She's definitely going to have to think Brennan for her help and ideas, because it's really a mixture of upscale and Irish Pub atmosphere and it's sort of giving the boys in Steel Clover that perfect mix that she wants them to have.

Smiling softly, she squeezes Bryn's arm and smiles.

"We should go mingle before I have to introduce them."


Now that they're here, Bryn is torn between wanting to be proud of Brooke, and wishing for a call from Ashcroft or Kevin, telling him that they've found another body. He doesn't loathe the idea of escorting his ex to a function, especially as they both know that they're there as friends. He's just not been to an affair like this in about a year, thanks to his work eating up all of his time.

He spots Serafine just as Brooke leads him further into the pub. His eyes widen in surprise, and he offers the woman a pleasant tip of his head. He did tell her that he was spoken for on Thursday evening, and she said she was as well.

It takes him only a moment to realize that the man beside her is her Maker.


"Bryn Blackwell," Serafine tells Kieran in a low voice. No other details are necessary. He'll make the connection.

"It took you that long to decide to call him?" That from Maeve, teasing as she puts another drink in front of Serafine. "Go a little slower on this one, birdie."

She debates between getting up and going to greet Brooke and Bryn, and then decides to stay where she is. Brooke can make her rounds and Serafine doesn't want to monopolize her.

Bryn's nod earns him a bright smile and she takes a sip from her new drink.


"The new bloke," Kieran responds. Yes, he did make the connection. He also makes the connection of why Sera has been so enraptured with the man. He's precisely her type.

What he doesn't get is the exchange between the two women, but he can ask about it later.

Extending an arm to Serafine, he asks, "Shall we?"


"You did want to introduce me to the beautiful red head?"


"Mr. Blackwell, would you kindly pay attention," Brooke teases with a laugh. "You nearly tripped over your own feet there." She's got no clue what he's distracted by, but she carefully guides them through the crowd and begins to introduce him to people.

Brooke is very careful, just introducing him as an old friend back in the city. The last thing she wants to do is imply anything, because it's awkward enough for her.

As long as I don't run into Bridget, the night will go fine, she tells herself.

After a few introductions, she turns them toward the stage which is by the bar. "Come on. You can get a drink while I go up and introduce the band."


Rolling his eyes, Bryn chuckles. He knows full well that he didn't misstep that badly, and he's not about to tell Brooke what he was distracted by. He doesn't know her nearly well enough these days to know whether or not she'd be pissing mad jealous if he mentioned he was nodding hello to another woman.

"My apologies, Miss Bishop. I shall watch where I put my feet from now on." There's a boyish, mischievous grin on his face as he cocks his head to one side. "I believe it is still one foot in front of the other to walk, right?"


"On the prowl already, Kieran?" Maeve teases. "You've not been here an hour yet."

"If you've lost interest in Miss Sera, I'll take her off your hands," Brian chimes in, tossing a wink at Serafine.

The vampiress laughs and shakes her head, her attention briefly distracted from the dark haired sorcerer. "And what would we tell Lisa, Brian? That might be enough to make her cancel the wedding."

Swiveling on the stool, Serafine gently bats down Kieran's arm. "It's really her party. She'll make her rounds soon enough."


"Why on earth would I want to prowl when I have this loveliness on my arm?" Kieran motions to Serafine, flashing Maeve a look of mock contrition. "She promised me an introduction. Practically begged me to meet the lass who's just perfect for me."

He's playing it up because he can, and just to dig at Serafine a little. He has no idea why she's so keen on him meeting this woman, but Sera gets interested in and attached to humans very quickly. He tried to stop figuring out her little quirks in that arena long ago.

Though … giving another look over at the red head, Kieran has to admit that she is quite easy on the eyes.


"Yes, I do believe that we still walk that way, Bryn." Brooke gives off a soft, airy laugh, and shakes her head. She can be more at ease when he's got his relaxed, humorous persona on, rather than his stiff British one. They may not have seen each other for years, but this is the Bryn she remembers. The one who knows how to relax.

The song that the DJ is playing is coming to an end, so she gives Bryn's arm another squeeze. "Get me an Irish Cream on ice, please?" Hopefully he'll be done at the bar by the time she's done on stage.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. I do apologize for the wait, but the boys of Steel Clover actually wanted to be in tune for you tonight."


Chuckling, Bryn shakes his head and smiles. He's no clue what the band is about, but as he's simply here as a fill in date he really doesn't care. He waits long enough to ensure that she gets up onto the stage without any hassle, then he begins to make his way to the bar.

He knows he wants to say something to Serafine once he gets there, but he really isn't certain how to act around her Maker.

Placing an order for the Irish Cream, as well as two fingers of Cragganmore singlemalt for himself.


The noise and conversation dims as Brooke takes the stage. Sera watches the woman briefly, but she's far more interested in locating Brooke's date for the evening. While all eyes are on the woman on the stage, Sera's are scanning the crowd to see if she can locate Bryn in the flow of people. She doesn't have to look too hard because the man stands out, at least to her eyes. It's also not hard with Maeve giving her head a subtle jerk to indicate where the man is standing at the bar.

I'm going to have to stop drinking and spilling my guts to that woman, Serafine thinks.

She twists her glass in her hands and looks down the length of the bar, hoping to catch Bryn's eyes.


Kieran watches Brooke, sizing up the woman before he's introduced her. Attractive, confident. Those are the ones who can be a fun challenge or an exercise in masochism. He's not going to judge the full book based on its cover, and he's more than willing to meet her if Serafine thinks there's reason for it.

Speaking of … the wordless exchange between Serafine and Maeve doesn't go unnoticed. Kieran looks between the pair and lifts a brow, "What're you two on about?"


After receiving a few laughs, Brooke continues, "They're actually quite pleased that all of you could join them for the launch of their new album, and in just a few moments they'll be coming out on this stage to play a few of the new songs for you before mingling."


"But first, here they are with one of my favorite Irish ballads, The Fields of Athenry."

Brooke claps as she takes a few steps to the side, and then down the small stairs of the stage while the band takes their places and begins to play the somewhat cheerful, yet haunting melody.


Twisting so that he can rest against the bar and enjoy the band while he waits for drinks, Bryn catches Serafine's eyes. A smile is quirked in her direction, and he nods his head again.

"Miss Roque."

It's overly formal, and a use of her true name as opposed to the new one, but he refuses to be so informal while her Maker is standing right there.

"It is an unexpected pleasure to see you here."


As the band starts, Serafine grins over at Kieran and gives his arm a squeeze. "Oh. Perfect. This is one of your favorites."

"Mine too," Maeve says. The serving of drinks has slowed while the patrons stop and turn their attention toward the stage and the band. She listens for a moment or two, stepping down the few paces to put the two drinks in front of Bryn. "Enjoy." Moving onto the next patron she gives Serafine a less than subtle thumbs up and a wink.

Serafine curses the woman under her breath.

When Bryn does speak to her, she blinks, not sure how to respond to the formality. He's friendly enough, but after their recent conversation, the formality seems a bit out of place. She doesn't try to hide her confusion before giving him a friendly smile in return. There's a light laugh. "New York is a smaller city than people think, I guess, Mr. Blackwell."


Kieran is no idiot. Added to that the fact that he knows his Child and he knows Maeve, he can get a general idea of what the women are on about. And it has to do with The Priory's new sorcerer. Correction, it has to do with Sera's interest in the Priory's new sorcerer.

It's amusing how predictable Serafine is sometimes. She has always had an eye for sorcerers, and the dark haired light eyed ones.

He lifts a brow at the name, and takes a sip from his drink. "I haven't heard that name in a while." Kieran quietly studies the sorcerer for a moment before extending his hand, and giving the man a politely friendly smile. He's not going to be an ass in his place of business. "Kieran Collins. Hear you're working with the Colonel."


Brooke remains by the stage just long enough so that the band makes it to the first chorus. Taking a deep breath, she smiles, and then scans the crowd by the bar to find Bryn. When she hears a few of the voices in the crowd singing along, she smiles, and knows that it's going to be a great launch.

The crowd is enjoying the music, the boys are enjoying playing, and in a while they'll enjoy mingling as well. It's fairly low-key for an event like this, but it suits Steel Clover's style so much that she can't believe she didn't think of it before.

Finally spotting the man, she makes her way through the crowd toward the bar and beams a bright smile at him. "Aren't they great, Bryn?" It's sort of breathless, in both a 'see what you've missed' way, as well as just being proud of the boys.


"It does appear to be so," Bryn agrees. It is a rather small city. The fact that he is here with Brooke tonight just implies that all too much. With the witch beaming at him, he slips a hand out to steady her, and laughs. "They are a great deal more punk or metal than I had been assuming, but they play magnificently."


"Serafine Roche, Kieran Collins, may I introduce you to my friend Brooke Bishop. The promoter of the event, and apparent public relations guru if the band is any indication."

The introduction effectively means he's not answering Kieran's question, but that's fine. He simply gives the vampire a slightly imperceptible nod in a non-verbal response.


"They're fabulous," Serafine says with a wide grin, waiting to for the recognition to set in for Brooke. "Aren't they, Kier?"


The vampire turns his attention from the sorcerer to the gushing red head. "They are good. They've pulled quite the crowd."

He gives Brooke a charming smile. "Pleasure to meet you."


"Miss Roche!" Brooke beams at Sera, taking her drink from Bryn's hand as she does. "I wasn't expecting you to be here. I know you said your friend owned Flanaghan's but…"

Her glance moves from Sera to her friend, and she suddenly stops babbling. The pause lasts only a fraction of a second, but she can feel her heart pounding a little more quickly.

Christ. She didn't miss a thing in that description, did she?

"Mr. Collins. Thank you so much for allowing us to use your establishment for the launch party." Allowing them. As if she didn't pay for the use of it.


Bryn notes the difference in Brooke as she reacts to Sera, and he blinks a few times in utter surprise.

"The two of you know each other?"

He notes too, the way she pauses when she looks at Serafine's Maker, and he's got half a mind to tell her to just walk away now, and mingle with the crowd. Except, he can't really say something like that in front of Serafine, and now it's just made everything an even more complex and confusing mess.


"Oh, I wasn't expecting to be here either or else I would have said something." Serafine waves her hand dismissively. She lifts her glass and takes another swallow. "I got a last minute invitation - " A pointed look is given to her Maker " - when someone's date traded him in for a photo shoot in Milan."


"I don't mind, though. I'm glad I'm here because the band is just spectacular. Your sister did all the costumes?" The vampire hasn't forgotten a thing.

There's a flickering of her eye toward Kieran's at Brooke's split second pause, and she bites the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing. "It's Sera remember? We don't need to be so formal." Sera can't help that her gaze darts to Bryn when she says that, but fortunately, she's able to segue into answering his question. "Yes, we met just last week when my dinner date stood me up."


Kieran gives an exaggerated eye roll at Sera's comment. "You enjoy telling that story far too much." Of course she does; it's not often that Kieran's 'companions' back off or ditch him.

"No, really, there's no need to thank me." Kieran gives a soft shake of his head and flashes the witch a charming smile that crinkles the corner of eyes and twinkles in them. "If anything, I should be thanking you. The band is brilliant, and they've pulled quite the crowd in here tonight."

He gives Brooke a wink. "Remind me to give Mrs. Brennan a raise. She knew a good deal when she saw one."

When Serafine makes the additional comment, Kieran groans in mock frustration. "You really aren't going to let that one go, are you?" His mouth twitches with the hint of a smile, and it's clear he's teasing and enjoying playing along with it.


"That must be awful. I'm sorry, Mr. Collins." Really, to Brooke, it's an absolute tragedy when someone gets stood up. Looking down at the ice in her glass, she takes a deep breath, and then smiles at Sera.

"Most of them, yes. Aren't they spectacular? The boys choose their own accessories, of course. Just little pieces to make the costumes more them, but I can never get over how they look on stage." Brooke will have to remember to tell Bridget that the author seemed to enjoy the costumes.

"I'm a fan," she explains to Bryn, blushing slightly. "You know me and romance." Lifting her shoulders in a small shrug, she turns back in time to see Kieran giving her a wink. Blushing deeply, she tilts her glass up and drinks the majority of the Irish Cream in two gulps, leaving just a little left lingering over the ice.

"I… oh. Thank you! I'll be sure to tell them that everyone is enjoying them once they're done the set."


"Consider it free publicity for the pub then."


"I am British," Bryn points out somewhat playfully. He's actually Welsh, but he doubts anyone really cares for the minute differences that might mean. "Therefore, there is always a need for formality Miss Roche." His eyes are twinkling as he says it, and he winks at Serafine.


"She and her sister rescued me from a night of dining alone," Sera continues on the heel of Brooke's explanation. "We had a great conversation and she made me feel like my work has a purpose." It's playfully self-deprecating, and Sera is all smiles and levity as she says the words, gesturing a bit with the one hand that isn't holding a drink. She's holding her own with usual bounciness and flair, and trying not to spend too long over-analyzing Bryn's response to her.

Maybe it's because he's with Brooke? Because she's with Kieran?

Stop it. You'll make yourself crazy.

The wink derails her, if only for a moment. She lifts her drink and takes a slow swallow, watching Bryn over the rim.

"Nonsense," Sera deflects Bryn's words with a coy smile, when she lowers the glass. "I can hardly insist that Brooke - " She takes a quick glance at the woman, her eyes wide, " - I can call you Brooke right?" Beat and she returns her attention to Bryn. "Call me 'Sera' and let you go around calling me Miss Roche." She wrinkles her nose prettily. "I always think that makes me sound like an elementary school teacher."


Kieran laughs at Brooke's words. It's a warm, rich sound and there's a bright spark in his eyes. "Not really. She's a model, and it was the opportunity of a lifetime. These things happen and I'd have to be petty and shallow to stand in the way of that." Not to mention that there are plenty more beautiful, available women in New York City.

He takes a good look at Brooke Bishop. It's not obvious; Kieran doesn't leer unless he wants to be intentionally lewd and that's not his interest right now. He's just getting a measure of the woman. Again, she is attractive, the red hair combined with the blue eyes is one of his preferences. The dress is the perfect color for her, and the color tinting her cheeks - probably from the alcohol - is charming.

"Thank you, then. I'm always happy for free publicity." The smile is winsome, and boyish. "You can call me Kieran. Everyone else does."


"Your work does have purpose, Miss Roche."



Brooke looks a little shy about calling the woman by her Christian name and she clears her throat. "Of course you can call me Brooke," she says excitedly, perhaps a little too so. Quickly finishing off her drink, she sets the glass to the bar, giving it a tiny shove to ensure that it's actually on the bar and not floating too close to the edge. She has made that mistake in the past and it's never a good thing.

"Even so… Kieran… it's a pity your date stood you up, though I'm rather glad you invited Miss Roche."



The man has definitely caused a reaction, and coupled with the fact that her favorite authoress is here as well, it's all Brooke can do to maintain her outward composure. Running her tongue slowly over her upper lip, she steals a glance at Kieran, and then looks to Sera.

"Good lord, you described him perfectly."

Realizing what she's said, her eyes go comedically wide and she quickly dips her head to stare at the floor.


"Perhaps," Bryn replies, eyes never leaving Serafine, "I simply prefer to call you Miss Roche," he teases. "There is something old world about it, that harkens back to the days you write about." Giving the woman another wink, takes a sip of his scotch, and then turns to order another drink for his 'date'.

Glancing back at the trio, he lifts his brow quizically.

"Is there something that I am missing? I do not believe I have seen Brooke react in such a manner since Junior Prom when she spilled red punch all over Melissa Bell's white dress."


"I'm glad too," Sera agrees again with a nod of her head. "I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to hear Steel Clover tonight, or talk to you, or you … Mr. Blackwell." There is a slight pause as she says his name; as though she's weighing whether or not she wants to play by his rules.

Screw it. Sera is here tonight to have fun and relax and she's not going to let Bryn's idiosyncrasies, not matter how nicely they're couched with teasing and smiles, to unsettle her. The man's agreed to go out on a date with her, for crying out loud, so whatever his motivations are tonight, she's not going to pursue them.

Despite her resolve, she realizes that she's staring at him quite intently when he asks what he's missing. Giving herself a mental shake, Sera throws back the rest of her drink with a laugh. Her attention whips between Brooke and Bryn. "What?"

The vampire doesn't push the question, because it's likely something embarrassing for Brooke, and she doesn't know the woman well enough to pry there. "She's talking about my first book. I based the hero and love interest on Kieran."


"Though, Drake's a bit more charming and classical." The teasing remark is aimed at Kieran, and Sera grins at him with the tip of her tongue peeking through her lips. Her eyes are bright and playful.


"Oi!" Kieran frowns with mock offense. "I'm standing right here."


He sighs heavily and finishes his scotch, setting the glass on the bar with a shake of head. However, when he cuts his eyes to Brooke and Bryn - and make no mistake, it's mostly Brooke - he's grinning. "This is the sort of abuse that I always have to endure."


"I knew you were good with drawing people into the stories, Miss R — Sera. I just didn't realize how realistic you could be with the descriptions of characters. It's utterly phenomenal." Brooke almost wants to go and prod Kieran to ensure that he's real, and not some figment that her imagination has cooked up to fit him into the role of John Drake. He's obviously not the heroic figure from the novel, but physically he looks pretty damned much as described.

Blushing a little more deeply, she turns toward the stage, clapping as the first song is done. The lead singer takes the mic and talks everyone up for a few moments, and she uses those moments to compose herself. To calm her heart rate, to clear her head of the fantasy cobwebs that are threatening to take over.

"I'm sure she meant no offense, Kieran."

Why is it so much easier to say his name than hers?

Feeling his eyes on her, she looks down and blushes again. "I'm sorry. I probably shouldn't have brought it up."


A look of wry amusement crosses Bryn's face as she pauses when she says his name. Taking another sip of the scotch, he watches Serafine over the rim of his glass.

"Ah, I see," he says as he quietly places the glass back upon the bar. "Babs has always had a thing for blokes with dark hair and light eyes."

As he mentions her pet name, he takes a step backward to be out of reach of her elbow, and then winks at Serafine again.


Serafine shakes her head with a laugh. "Thank you, but, really it was probably the easiest description I ever wrote. Having a model in front of me to describe was a lot easier than describing the people in my head."

She's not the only one, Serafine thinks, again watching Bryn for far longer than polite. At this rate, the entire pub is going to realize that she's interested in the man.

"Nothing wrong with having a type," Sera says with a slow smile, nipping at her lower lip. It's difficult to pull her gaze away from Bryn and include Kieran and Brooke in the conversation. "Most of us do." She almost points out that Kieran likes red heads, but that would be a little too obvious.


"I know she didn't. We're very old friends, and I'm as used to Sera's teasing me as she is to me teasing her."

Kieran lets his gaze linger on Brooke for a moment. The blush is absolutely adorable, and normally, he'd say that. She is here with someone however, and proper protocol dictates that he doesn't be too overboard with the flirtation, or move in on another man's date.

The lingering looks between Sera and the sorcerer have not gone unnoticed. Kieran's torn between pulling Sera away and discouraging this flirtation or whatever it is, and letting her go at it because it could be useful in the long run.

He settles for letting her have a go at it.

"Interesting," Kieran says with a sly smile. "Sounds like you two ladies have something in common." With that, he tilts up his glass and finishes off the scotch.


"I imagine it would have been." The depth at which Sera described Drake in the novel though… it makes Brooke wonder just how close the two friends actually are.

"I don't have a type," she mumbles. Brooke grins as Brennan hands her another Irish Cream, but this time she sips at it more slowly. The lie is so pitiful that she knows they're all going to smirk at her.

"Either way, I think she did you great justice in the novel Kieran." It's obvious from the way she's looking at him that she may be picturing him less than clothed, which just causes her cheeks to heat up again. Looking down at everyone's feet, she squeezes her hand tightly into a fist and forces herself to focus on her outward appearance again.


"You have a fan," Bryn says, chuckling a little as he watches Serafine. He would never have thought that Brooke and Serafine would have been in the same room together, let alone friendly with one another.

Somehow that made things increasingly awkward.

"It is a pity the music is so fast tempoed. I would have loved to dance."


The line of Brooke's thoughts is written on her face, but Serafine doesn't point it out. She might have drawn a little too closely to her description of Drake in the novel, and the subsequent sequels, but it's not as though she ever imagined being in a room with someone who might want to do a comparison or contrast.

Serafine does manage to hold her composure at Kieran's words. He's trying to goad her … or something and she's not going to take the bait tonight. Instead of blushing and averting her eyes, she shrugs as she takes her refilled glass from the bar. "Yes, and you like red heads and dark skinned brunettes and exotic types." Two can play that game, though Sera doesn't expect Kieran to be embarrassed or uncomfortable with her pointing it out. She just wants him to know he's not getting to her tonight.

Turning to Bryn, Serafine grins at his words. "I'm sure the DJ can put on something slow when the band takes a break." Beat. "So that you can dance with - " Me. " - your date."


"Thank you," Kieran says with a wry smile. "I think." It's light, flirtatious, and the playfulness in his voice can be heard.

Kieran is almost positive that Blackwell is not one of Serafine's conquests, but the level of eye sex the two are engaged in is making him wonder if he's lost the ability to read her.

Setting his empty glass on the bar, Kieran looks to Blackwell. "Speaking of dancing, would you mind terribly if I borrowed your date for one dance?"

The vampire cuts his blue eyes to the blushing red head, "That's if Miss Bishop doesn't object."


It may not embarrass Kieran, but Brooke blushes at the mention of him liking red heads.

So that's why she wanted me to meet him?

"Yes, of course. The DJ can put on a few Irish ballads before the band takes up again, if they choose to." She's not at all certain the mood that Tristan or Connor are in, or if they'll want to play all night or party. It's generally difficult to read them when they're at a launch party until they're actually there and doing whatever they want.

"It was definitely a compliment."


"I don't object at all, Mr. Collins. It would be an honor to dance with the owner."

Brooke is able to get over her embarrassment enough to have that air of confidence and propriety about her again.


Bryn glances at the vampire, and then turns to Serafine. He knows that this man is her Maker, but he can't rightly object without offending her or Brooke. Tipping back the remainder of his scotch, he sets the glass on the bar and shrugs.

"If Brooke wishes to dance with you, who am I to say no?"

When she says yes so enthusiastically, he rolls his eyes. He really wants to tell her to be careful, but he can't cast a privacy spell without the vampires realizing he's up to something.

"Provided you do not mind if I take Serafine for a dance as well."


That's not the only reason Serafine wanted to introduce the pair of them. Brooke was so enamoured of the book and Drake, that Sera thought she might want to meet the man. The fact that apparently they are one another's 'type' is an added bonus. She really does think that the red head could do with a good time, and Kieran is capable of playing the human guy to a T if he so desires. Sometimes, he even does it for fun.
"Don't I get to decide if I want to dance with you?" The words are playful, Sera's smile coquettish as she sips her drink and winks at Bryn over the rim.


"Honored?" Kieran asks, all boyish and Irish charm. "On the contrary, I'm the one who should be honored to dance with such a lovely, resourceful and talented woman as yourself."
Smirking, Kieran looks over at his Child and then to Bryn. "I don't mind at all, but that's entirely up to Sera."
He extends his arm to Brooke, "Shall we? Unless you'd rather wait for a slower song?" Oh, he does charming and gentleman so very well.


"You're actually Irish too?" Brooke can feel a slow heat start in her stomach and work its way down, and she fights hard to tell it that it needs to stop. She blushes a little at his words, and then glances at Bryn and Serafine.

"You two don't mind?"


"Thank you for the compliment, but I'm hardly as talented as all that. A great deal of this is your staff."

Another beat, and then she says, "I don't need a slower song. I can dance to anything." Holding her hand out, all grace and confidence, Brooke gives her hips a little sway.


"No," Bryn says tightly. "I want to dance with you, Serafine, and you have no choice in the matter." It's a bit high handed, but at the same time it's the easiest way to talk to her privately.

The tightness on his face disipates rather quickly and he lets out a sigh.

"That is rather unfair of me. I apologize."


"Miss Roche, will you kindly do me the honor of dancing with me when the music slows down a little?"


Serafine waves the pair toward the dance floor, "Go on. Have fun. I don't mind." It'll give her a few minutes alone with Bryn, at least, for as long as the song lasts. Or until Kieran and Brooke get tired, whichever comes first.

Bryn's reaction to her teasing however, earns him a pair of wide green eyes as she stares back at him. The look on Serafine's face isn't annoyance, but more surprised tinged around the edges with something a bit more primal. She swallows and her tongue darts out to moisten her lips.

"I was teasing," Serafine says, her voice a touch quiet and maybe just a touch lower than usual. "No, I'll be happy to dance with you."


"I was born, bred and raised in Ireland," Kieran tells Brooke. He's watching her curiously, watching that adorable little blush crawl into her cheeks again, and Kieran thinks that he might just thank Sera for the introduction.


His smile broadens as he watches the woman sway, and he nods, "Yes, you can."


"Excuse us?" Kieran looks over at the other pair, and bites his cheek to stop from laughing at the interplay between the two. He suspects that the sorcerer hasn't a clue of what he's just hit upon and stumbled into, and that's what makes it amusing.

"I'll return her to you safely, I promise," Kieran tells the Brit before motioning Brooke toward the dance floor.


He's got dark hair, light eyes, a charming personality, and he's Irish? Brooke glances at the man over her shoulder, and takes a deep breath. It's dangerous to look at Kieran, it really is.

Something about him draws her to him like a moth to the flame, and she knows if she's not careful, she's going to get burned.

And for some reason, despite knowing this, she doesn't care.

"If I let you." Winking at Kieran and trying to rebalance herself again, Brooke twists herself around completely and starts to draw him playfully out to the dance floor.


Bryn nods at the request to excuse the pair, and he locks eyes with Kieran for a long moment. "I suspsect that you will." The vampire would be foolish to try something in his own establishment.

He keeps his eyes on Brooke until she's far enough away to not hear the magic. Turning toward Serafine, eyes dark, he casts the bloody privacy spell.

"Serafine, what is the meaning of you setting up your Maker with my…" Why he's worrying about a woman he's not seen since graduating high school, he doesn't know. "… friend. Is she not aware as to what you are?"


That's the thing about being a Vampire, and Serafine's bloodline in particular. It's easy to run hot and cold, low and high, especially when provoked. She blinks, taken aback by Bryn's vehemence, the heat and interest she displayed only moments ago doused as though a bucket of cold water has been dumped on them. In a way, it has.

"They're dancing. God, I didn't set him up with a meal!" She's offended that he'd even come at her with that sort of accusation.

Of course, what did you expect? You don't know him. He doesn't know you. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

"No, she doesn't. I don't advertise because I like people not thinking that I'm a lunatic or trying to kill me. I'll add that to the 'About the Author' for the next book!"


With an appreciative smile and dip of his eyes over her form, Kieran allows himself to be led onto the dance floor by the pretty red head. There is no question in his mind that she's attracted to him, he can scent it, even if he couldn't read it in her actions and behaviors.

When they're far enough onto the dance floor, Kieran dances in closer to her. "So, tell me, Brooke, what do you do when you're not promoting bands?"


"And being an incredibly tempting and sexy dancer?"


"Public relations. Promotions. I do a bit of work for smaller Broadway, and off-Broadway productions. Starlets. That sort of thing."

Brooke spins around and laughs when he moves in closer to her. "Now I know you're just teasing me." Incredibly tempting? Her? Brooke knows she can get looks from men when she's out at the night clubs, but no one in his caliber.

"And you? What do you do when you're not owning a pub?"


Turning to watch the pair on the dance floor, he twists his wrist so he's got an ear on things. Amplification spells are difficult to control in such a loud setting, but this is a spell that he and Brooke worked on quite a bit in school in order to hear each other at pep rallys and all the other malarky the schools put them through.

"Serafine, I was not implying that you were trying to feed my ex to your Maker. I am overly concerned that she has no idea how to protect herself, and I need to know if I should give her warning is all."


"I have not seen her react to anyone like that in a very long time."

Nor should I be assuming that she has not. I have not seen her in twelve years.


Sera watches his gaze track over to the dance floor and feels a twinge of annoyance. It's all up and down with this man, and she's kicking herself for thinking that he wanted to be alone with her for something other than a grilling with questions. Then he says what he says and …

"Your ex." Sera whips her attention back to him, the words flat and deadpan. Closing her eyes, she gives a bark of laughter, "Of course. She would be." Not that she has any claims on the man, that just makes things considerably more awkward.

She picks her glass up from the bar and throws it back in a large gulp. This time when she sets it down, she doesn't wait for Maeve. Instead, she dangles over the bar, reaching behind it to grab the first bottle she can reach. It's scotch, so that's good enough. She pours it in the glass, flashes Maeve what she hopes is a convincing, 'Nothing to see here, I'm perfectly fine,' smile before dropping to the floor and turning back to Bryn.

"He won't hurt her," Serafine says, holding the glass to her chest.


"Teasing?" Kieran's blue eyes flare wide, amused and feigning surprise. "Why would I tease you? Flirting, maybe, but not teasing." Beat. "We would need to get to know one another better before I teased you." He caps that with a wink, and then reaches out to slide a hand around to rest on the small of her back as he closes a good portion of the space between them. There's still enough room to manuever quickly to the music, but it does put him a good deal closer to her.

"I cook. Sometimes." Kieran gives her a secretive little smile, mirroring her movements with his. "I own a restuarant."


"You're the one who stood Sera up?" Brooke bites her lower lip and glances up at Kieran almost shyly. She can tell there's magic around her, and she knows it's Bryn's if only because she's familiar with his style of casting, but she doesn't let on that she's realized.

"Then I think I need to thank you."

Her steps falter for a fraction of a second as he touches her, and that heat she was feeling earlier rears its ugly head. The man not only has presence, but every look, every touch is drawing on something primal within her.

"If you hadn't, I wouldn't have had the chance to meet my favorite author." Licking her lips, she sets her wrist to Kieran's shoulder and lets her fingers dangle downward. It's the extra connection while dancing without touching him overtly.


"Serafine, that is enough," Bryn says calmly. He reaches out for her as she dangles over the bar, standing behind her so that she's not showing all and sundry what she's wearing (or not) under her skirt.

"Brooke Bishop and I used to see one another in high school. I have not seen the woman for twelve years, and I happened to run into her at a book shop the other day. She invited me to be friendly."

She invited you because you surprised the hell out of her.

Reaching for the glass to take it from her, he exhales a sigh.

"I trust you. If you say he will not hurt her, then I trust you. Now give me the glass before I throw you over my shoulder and drag you out of this establishment."


As annoyed and hurt as she is, there's not even a pause as Sera holds the glass out to him. Oh, she knows she has no right to be hurt, she's nothing to Bryn Blackwell. A pretty face and the Priory's connection to the Vampire's of New York City. First and foremost, she's a Vampire, and that fact will always be in the forefront of his mind.

"He has no reason to hurt her. He's just having fun, flirting, enjoying the company of a woman he finds attractive." Beat. "We do that."

Her gaze drifts to where Brooke and Kieran are dancing, and despite her frustration, her mouth quirks in a tiny smile.

At least one of us is having fun.


"God," Kieran draws the word out, rolling his eyes in an exaggerated fashion. "She really laid that one on, yeah?" The vampire chuckles and fans his fingers against the small of her back.

"I swear, I had a problem at the restuarant. I do not stand anyone up without a very good reason." Beat. "But you're welcome. I'm glad that something good came out of that."

He means it, too. Kieran spends a lot of time giving Sera grief about her 'bodice rippers,' but it's mostly teasing, and he's actually impressed with the caliber of her writing. She needs a few fans to come out every now and then and wave flags for her.

"Now, for the important question." Kieran leans closer, drawing her gently closer at the same time. He takes a moment and simply inhales the scent of her, the pheromones, the blood beneath her skin. Then he asks quietly in her ear, "Are you with Blackwell?"


"She mentioned her dinner date got held up, so I invited her to join us." It seemed the friendly thing to do, and Brooke really wanted to talk to Sera. Even in the world that she works in, it's rare to run into someone she truly admires.

"Me too. It was a wonderful dinner."

As he leans closer, and draws her closer, Brooke takes a long, slow breath and exhales it even more slowly. She can feel the whispered words right down to her core, and she closes her eyes momentarily.

"No," she replies quietly, glancing up to catch his eyes. "Not since high school."


"Thank you, Serafine."

Setting the glass back on the counter, he slides it toward Maeve with an apologetic look. Bryn is aware that it does take vampires a great deal of alcohol to become drunk, and that is not a state he wants Serafine in.

"Now," he says, taking her by the shoulders and looking directly into her eyes, "I have already said that I trust you. I have already bloody well demanded that you dance with me. I want you to get out of this mood before I take you over my knee and spank you for acting so childishly put out and jealous."


"I like Brooke. She is a friend. I know that my showing up here with her this evening makes things even more complex, but I am not reneging on our date. Nor did I ask her to dance."


Serafine stares back at him, and blinks in surprise. "I thought . .. I figured …" She bites her lip, and shifts her weight, but is determined that she's not going to squirm. "I figured that you only wanted the dance so you could grill me about Kieran… " The vampiress trails off, but it's implied that since he's done that, there would be no reason to dance with her.


"I'm sorry." For behaving like she did, for not being poised and gracious. She wants to tell him that she reacts unpredictably to him, that she's no different from Brooke in that she's never responded or behaved like this around a man before. Serafine wants to let him know that he makes her insane because she's not used to not knowing where she stands, to not having a man that she wants react to her the way she's accustomed to. She wants to say it all, but instead she just shakes her head and repeats, "I'm sorry."

"That was very kind of you. Are you always so generous?"

"Good," Kieran holds her gaze, watching her face. He can hear the quickening of heart beat and can tell how quickly she's breathing. He licks his lips, and tattoos his fingertips across the small of her back, the only place that he's actually touching her.

"Then it won't be rude of me to ask for your number so that I may see you again."


"I do try to be." Brooke was raised right. At least she feels that she was. Being good, and kind to people, being nice to them is right. It's the same reason why, when others in her profession are so happy to sell out their clients to the tabloids for a quick buck, or to get them the wrong sort of publicity, she prefers to keep hers out of them.

Staring at him, Brooke misses a step in the dance. It's not something that she tends to do at all, thankfully. It's a small misstep, but she manages not to step on his feet.

"I… but you… aren't you seeing Sera?"

She may not like her clientele in the tabloids. It doesn't mean that she's not got an eye on them just in case.


The surprise on Serafine's face, the apology, the subtle way she seems to almost seem at a loss, and seem shy at the same time causes Bryn to laugh.

"It is alright, Serafine. I was curious as to how Kieran would behave with her, but provided he will not hurt her, then I am over it." Brooke is a grown woman, and she's going to be more than able to take care of her own. First, as far as he knows, neither of them is aware she's a witch. Second, neither would be expecting her to have the small bit of sorcerer magic that she does.

"I forgive you. Now, do you mind telling me why you are so jealous, when it is I who should be worrying about your being here with your Maker?"


"You should be worrying …" Serafine frowns and her confusion isn't faked. "Why would you be worried about that?" She can't fathom a reason why her being here as Kieran's date should have the sorcerer worried.

Now, Serafine averts her gaze, if only for a moment before swinging her eyes back around to hold Bryn's. "I'm not jealous. I'm just … confused." Serafine inhales and exhales sharply. "You confuse me sometimes." Most of the time. "I have trouble reading you and I don't like it."


Kieran chuckles softly at the misstep, his breath against her ear. Brooke is so open and responsive to him, and he's not even really trying. He almost hates that he's promised Sera that he'll play nicely, but given Brooke's association with a member of the Priory, it's not a terrible idea.

"Someone's been reading the tabloids," Kieran sing songs. He chuckles warmly. "No, we're not. We're nothing more than good friends. Sometimes, when we're out together, if it's a slow news day, we're suddenly the talk of the town."


"Part and parcel of the job," Brooke replies, shivering a little from the breath against her ear. He's going well beyond flirting now, and she hates herself just a little for reacting to him so much.

"I like to ensure that my client's privacy is kept, and that there aren't any unnecessary rumors."


"The two of you really should look into public relations personnel who can keep those slow news days from happening."


"Why would I not be worried about that? Serafine, you are here with the owner of the establishment. A man whom you have shared more than a century with. You have a history with him that I could never hope to compare to. What man in his right mind would not be worried or jealous of that?"

Bryn reaches for her chin, meaning to lift it up. Not wanting to allow her to avert her gaze for very long.

"Good. I like that you have trouble reading me, Serafine. It means that I will continue to have the ability to surprise you."

He continues to hold her chin, and without any warning he leans in and presses a kiss to her lips. Controlled, and somewhat demanding, and before she's able to respond to it too much, he's drawing back.


Serafine is coming to the conclusion that she is never going to get a grip on this man when he's kissing her.

The touch of his lips sends her brain into an out of control spiral. Any thoughts that might have been forming are pushed roughly to the side so that there's only the conflicting softness of his lips coupled with the demand behind it. It's a good thing she doesn't need to breathe because it feels like all the air has been sucked right out of the room, and a wave of heat centers itself in her gut and radiates out. She's only beginning to process it when she feels him drawing back.

Her lips tingle. Serafine lifts her fingers to touch them, as if she's holding that feeling there, and she swears she can still feel the touch of his mouth against hers.

"Bryn …" His name is spoken, a little bit breathlessly, a little bit in surprise.


"Then whatever would they write about?" Kieran jokes. He draws back to catch Brooke's gaze. He gives the small of her back a gentle squeeze. "It's a bit of free publicity for both of us, and everyone forgets about in a week or two." He's always been somewhat amused by the tabloids and their interest in the 'social elite' of the city.

"I'll consider your advice." There's a wink, a soft voice of promise. "Though that doesn't answer my question about getting in touch with you at a later date?"


"Kittens stuck in trees, I suppose. Broadway starlets. Movie stars. What they typically write about on slow days." Brooke feels the squeeze to her back, and it's like she's nearly literally left her body and is watching from the sidelines.

She has no idea why this man is even remotely interested in her.

Sera mentioned he had a thing for redheads. I'm likely just filling a quota.

"Besides, there are far better ways to get free publicity that doesn't harm either of your reputations."


She's tempted to dip a hand down into her purse and pull out a pen to write her number on his palm, just to see his reaction. She doesn't have her purse with her though, she left it by the stage.

"I'll get you a business card when we're done dancing." It has her contact information on it, and her name on the off chance he forgets.


"Bloody hell," Bryn mutters, taking her glass of scotch and draining it. "I apologize, Serafine. That was inappropriate."

Setting the empty glass atop the bar, he keeps his eyes on her. "The timing was wrong, and it was high-handed of me to do that when you were in an emotional state as it was."

His assumption is that she didn't want this.


Serafine stares at him. Just stares at him. Seems that she's been doing a lot of that tonight.

It takes a moment, but she finally finds words. "Please tell me that you did not just apologize for kissing me."

She doesn't give him a chance to answer. Closing the space between them, Sera hooks a hand to the back of his neck and tilts her head up to, meeting him halfway as she pulls him down. Her mouth seals to his, kissing him. It's soft and sweet, a gentle melding of mouths, tasting him anew.


"Are you suggesting that a woman like Sera might be harmful to my reputation?" Kieran lifts a brow. The words are dead pan, but he can't hold it for long. His jaw twitches. His mouth breaks into a playful and amused smile. The vampire gives the pretty red head an eyebrow waggle, "Or maybe I'm dangerous for hers."

Why wouldn't Kieran be interested in getting to know an attractive woman? Even without Sera's introduction and 'priming the engine' as it were, Brooke is an attractive woman. Of course, without Sera's intervention, she'd just be food - to feed both his appetites - but for now he'll take the attractive companion as well. There's always the possibility of coaxing her into willing feeding him, and those conquests are always fun.

"I'll be certain to remind you."


"I… no. Of course not." Brooke stares at him, aghast that he'd think such a thing. It's not until he breaks into the amused smile that she actually realizes she'd stopped breathing.

"I think if anything, you're dangerous for me," she mumbles under her breath.

Closing her eyes, she just focuses on the dancing for a few more moments until the song ends. When it does, she draws her hand from his shoulder and claps for the band.

"Let me get you that card now before I forget."

Turning back toward the stage, Brooke catches sight of what's going on at the bar. She blinks a few times, and then shakes her head.


Bryn did just apologize to her for kissing her. His lips part to tell her that, but then she's kissing him. It's not at all expected, and he sets his hand to the back of her neck being careful not to muss her hair.

Just as he begins to kiss her back, he can hear the quiet ringing and feel the vibration of his phone as it goes off. Pulling away abruptly, he slides the phone on.



"Bloody hell. I am on my way."


"No, Detective, I am not with the 'hot vampire'. She had a date this evening. I will get in touch with her and be there as soon as I can."

Disconnecting the phone, he frowns.

"They have found another body. Theater district. Too many witnesses to glamour it all away. It is going to be in the papers tomorrow and have to go through appropriate channels. Tell your date, and I will attempt to explain to Brooke what is going on."


This is more like it, Sera thinks as Bryn returns her kiss.

That thought is crushed by his unexpected withdrawl, and she's frowning until he pulls out his phone and answers it.

It's easy enough to hear Kevin's voice on the other end of the line, and a small frown has creased her forehead by the time Bryn disconnects the call and tells her what's going on.

She gives him a nod, and turns to survey the crowd, looking for Kieran and Brooke who are no longer on the dance floor.


Kieran releases the woman as the song ends, inwardly smirking at how the woman reacts to him. He joins in the clapping, but mostly his eyes track Brooke, tracing the curves of her form as she turns away.

Waiting for a beat of three, Kieran turns and follows after her. He lifts a brow at the sight of his Child attached to the sorcerer's mouth and then shakes his head with a quiet chuckle.

"I think they hit it off," Kieran says casually, stepping up beside Brooke. He's still well into her personal bubble, but he's not being handsy or even intimidating.


Brooke can feel the eyes on her, and she's grateful that she's facing forward and he can't see the deep red that creeps into her cheeks. "I did notice that they'd seemed to."

Approaching the stage, she carefully crouches down beside it and retrieves her purse. She gives her phone a cursory glance to see if Bridget called, and then retrieves a business card.

"You can reach me at either number. Cell or office." Realizing that sounds a tad anxiously desperate, she laughs. "If you do decide to call that is."


"Stage," Bryn comments as he sees the flash of red hair mixed with gold sequins heading in that direction. Reaching for Serafine's hand, he means to draw her with him through the crowd toward the stage.

"I apologize for the Detective's bad timing, Miss Roche."


She gives his hand a squeeze as she follows him through the crowd. "There's nothing to apologize for. It's not your fault." That there's a crazy rogue vampire or untrained baby vamp running loose in the city, and actually veered away from his usual territory.

Oh, the timing really couldn't have been any worse, but on the bright side, Sera can look at it as the awkward first kiss being out of the way.

"We can finish our conversation some other time, Mr. Blackwell." It's very tongue and cheek, the way she says his name, but she's not going to get bent out of shape about his shift to using her last name. Not after that unexpected kiss, or the words he said before it. If that's what it takes for him to maintain an air of professionalism so be it.


As he takes the card, Kieran allows his fingertips to brush and and catch hers. The card is taken with his other hand, and then he lifts her hand to brush his lips ever so light across the back of her hand, his eyes never leaving hers. "Thank you, Miss Bishop. For the dance and the contact information."

Kieran will call, of that she can be certain.


"Brooke, please."


"I should be thanking you, Mr. Collins." The entire world disappeared as she was dancing, and she allowed herself a moment, or two, or three to let her hair down and relax at the launch party.

The band has begun to mingle now, and she knows without a doubt this is one of the most successful Steel Clover soirees to date.


"That would be a very good idea, Miss Roche. It would also be very good if we were to arrive at the scene separately."

Bryn leads them right to her Maker and then releases her hand.

"Brooke, I do hate to do this to you, as I can tell you were having a great deal of fun, but I need to go. The case I am currently working on… something has come up with it."

He finds himself having difficulties explaining it without mentioning the Priory.

"I need to meet with a few people and take care of things. Will you be fine here on your own for the rest of the evening?"


"Priory," Sera whispers beneath her breath. Barely a word, and certainly not audible over the music, except to a vampire's sensitive ears. "Body." It's telegraph speech for Kieran, but it will be enough of an explanation for him that will allow her to slip away as well.

Though she will likely have to feign a headache.

"We'll take good care of her," Sera promises Bryn with a bright smile, as though she has no idea what is pulling him away. "And I don't mind sharing my date." She winks at Brooke. "His ego is big enough that there's enough of him to go around."

Kieran already suspects the reason the sorcerer is leaving, and Sera's words only confirm it. He plays along with the ruse, "Sera's right. We'll be happy to keep Brooke company for the rest of the evening."

He looks over at the red head, "Provided she wants company. She may be tired of my companionship already."


"I'm a grown woman, and I hardly need taking care of. Go on. Get done what you need to." It's not as though Brooke isn't used to him running off at the worst possible times. "I have a phone, I can hail a cab with the best of them, and it's not as though I'll be bored." She does have work to do, and beyond that she should make the rounds again, see how everyone is doing and ensure that the boys in the band aren't imbibing too much.

Blinking at Kieran, she looks confused. "Why would I be tired of you after a dance?"


"Yes, well, good," Bryn says, leaning in to give the witch a hug. "Try not to get into too much trouble, Babs. I promise I will call you at some point this weekend and try to explain things further."

His hand is offered out to Kieran. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Collins. Do…" Behave yourself "… enjoy the remainder of your evening."

Bryn then reaches for Serafine's hand and means to give it a squeeze. "I will see you Saturday, Miss Roche. Thank you for a lovely conversation." He mumbles something under his breath about having a taxi cab waiting for her when she gets outside, and then heads off.

He'll have to check to ensure she's not left lipstick on his lips before he gets to the theater district.


"He's being charmingly self-deprecating," Sera chuckles softly. "You get used to his odd sense of humor after a while."

She gives a nod to show that she's heard Bryn's words. "Promptly at 8:30," Sera reminds him. Her brain is scrambling to figure out how best to make a clean getaway.

Kieran is going to want details, that she'll give to him via telephone while she's in route. She'll need a lot of detail, most of which she won't get until she's on the scene and talk to Ashcroft, Curtis and any witnesses.

It's going to be a long night.

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