(2018-01-15) The New Guy
The New Guy
Summary: Tyla and Eddie check in on the new guy, and Grayson picks a name.
Date: IC Date (2018-01-15)
Related: None
Player Characters: Eddie, Grayson, Tyla, Velvet

| Bakery - Sugar High - Cherry-Oak |

The bakery is warm and cozy. The second someone walks into the door, the sweet scent of brown sugar and vanilla rushes to greet them. A large bay window allows lights to sparkle into the room, accenting the silver trays that hold all the goodies. Everywhere you look there are treats in every shade of the rainbow. Candy and cookie bins line the walls, tall red tables holding cake displays and examples of previous work. Well above child's reach are shelves with signs dangling over the edge, indicating that the cake and cupcakes held above contain liquor of all sorts.

The employees all seem to be female and dressed in a fashion similar to 50's housewives, straight down to the frilly white aprons and matching high heels. They all wear smiles on their faces and have a small line of stickers dangling from their pockets.

It's like something right out of a fairy tale. If that fairy tale involves witches with houses made of candy, who eat little children that eat said house. You know, the happy kind of tale. Velvet has been fairly busy the past eighteen or so hours. She spent her night watching over the new guy, before eventually managing to get him to come along with her so that she can keep an eye on him, but still get some work done. No, she didn't stick him in a cage. He's mulling about nearby, somewhere. The place has closed up for the night, which means that the workers have all gone home, leaving the wizened to clean up the shop. Looks like she's in uniform too, in a red, polka-dotted dress that looks like it's right out of the sixties. She's currently at the counter with a tray of cupcakes in front of her, sprinkling dark green sprinkles on top of black frosting.

"It won't happen again," Eddie insists, holding up his hands in surrender on his way to the door with Tyla. What won't happen again? Hard to say, but it might have something to do with why his nose is bruised and stuffed with bloody tissues where it wasn't last night. There's a bruise around his forehead, too, but that's easier to figure. He went pretty wild trying to get the crown to work. "Your house, your et cetera et cetera." He knocks on the door, seeing the place is closed.

"Well I g-guess it's still a step up from shooting my phone?" Tyla offers with a soft chuckle and a shake of the head. For her part she's looking pretty okay considering. She looks a little worn out, and it covered up, but her moves are slow and deliberate. "Just ask first n-next time, huh? I think you should be able to understand n-not wanting to be surprised. How did you manage it anyway? I'll look at the cameras if I have to!"

Velvet glances up when she hears the knocking, her ears perking up at the sides. She scoots around the counter and heads towards the door to unlock it and pull it open to usher the two inside. "Well hello there, you two. This is a nice surprise." She waits for them to enter before locking the door behind them again. "I just made a fresh batch of liquor-cakes, if you're interested? Come in come in, make yourselves comfortable." She stares at Eddie's face for a moment, head tilting. "What'd you do?"

Eddie just grins his crooked grin and wiggles his extra finger joints at Tyla. When the door opens he comes inside and looks around, rubbing his poor nose mournfully. Sugar is the next best thing to actual garbage, and he can't smell any of it. "I ran into a doorknob."

Tyla looks tempted as she eyes the counter, then shakes her head sadly. "I probably shouldn't. I'm d-driving." She looks over again. "D-doesn't it all just burn it off anyway when you bake it?" She chews on her lower lip and shuffles back and forth from foot to foot and all but sticks her tongue out at Eddie. "So how is um… d-did he pick a name yet?"

"That must have been a hell of a tall door." Velvet offers with a little bit of a smirk. "The liquir added before burns off, yes. But I have other ways, after the food is baked. What's the use of being a Brewer if you can't perfect your craft, mm? I do have plenty of non-alcoholic goods, though." She gestures around the store. "After all the food and drinks you've given everyone, I'd feel back if you left empty handed, or empty mouthed." Tyla's question gets a little shrug of one shoulder. "He's a mess, to be frank. It's going to take a while for me to de-condition him, but not impossible. No name yet. I'm trying to focus on the servitude part first. Which means you're going to have to rather firmly tell him to stop calling you Mistress, and that we don't have those here." She clicks her tongue. "We'll leave out the whole BDSM stuff though, to avoid confusion."

"I'm a short guy," Eddie points out. He wanders over to the counter while the ladies discuss the new guy, pretending he's not listening. He pinches a piece off a cake and tastes it, then heaves a sigh. "Did you know that eighty percent of taste," he asks, "is actually your sense of smell?" He eats the rest of the cake in one bite, and nearly chokes when Velvet brings up BDSM.

"P-pretty sure a lot of it is in your head t-too." Tyla says as she picks up a cupcake herself and scoops up some icing with a finger. "Like things you see and hear. Most of it is your brain." She licks her lips and grins. "The p-problem with BDSM is that a lot of p-people read that Fifty Shades bullshit and they think that's all there is to it. And it d-does happen that way sometimes, but that's usually n-not how it is. Most of the times the sub p-picks her Dom not the other way around. But t-too many p-people think that the I'm the Dom so you c-can never say no is how things are. I mean look at Gomez and Morticia, TOTALLY BDSM done right. They were fraky but they loved and respected each other." Tyla says with a shrug and swipes some more icing off the top of her cupcake.

When Eddie starts to choke, Velvet leans on the counter, propping herself up on her elbows, chin resting on her hands as they lock together to form a bridge. Long ears give a little twitch as her eyes settle on a deep shade of purple. "Don't you know, that's the only time some of us like being called Mistress. But don't start choking yet, my King. I haven't even gotten started with you yet." Her brows tick up playfully before she stands back up and goes back to sprinkling her cupcakes. A finger waggles in Tyla's direction, Velvet's head bobbing emphatically. "Now theirs was a true love story. But you're right, too many people get their understanding of it from media. Ugh."

Speaking of shades of purple. No, Eddie couldn't be blushing. It doesn't happen. It must be all the coughing. The cake finally dislodges itself from his throat, half chewed, and he spits it into his hand. He examines it a moment, then eats it, again. It keeps him from having to join the conversation. This time the cupcake loses. "Not that this isn't -fascinating-," he clears his throat, "but I don't guess you managed to get anything out of the new guy? Like about that fancy tiara Jack won't stop wearing, for instance?"

Well, this is about the most inopportune time for the newcomer to walk by. Picking up words like 'Mistress' and 'King'. It might be a wonder if he knows or understands the topic they are truly on, but does anyone want to explain it to him? He's a quiet little bugger too. Grayson made it all the way down here without a single noise. Maybe he's used to eavesdropping. He does stop at the bottom of the stairs, listening a little while, not making himself seen. Still a skittish little mouse.

Tyla surprisingly, or maybe not given how easily she was talking about it isn't blushing at the topic of conversation. "This is really g-good, Velvet. Thank you. I'll have to g-get the recipe from you. Although I d-don't think I would d-do it justice." She gives a little shrug. "I mean having it in the media is g-good, at least. B-but yes. How is he?" She asks and takes a huge bite of the cupcake once the wrapper is off.

"Aw, you almost turned the shade of purple that Tyla turns whenever Liska is nearby. But my job won't truly be done until I get you to go white like a ghost." Velvet finishes up the tray of cupcakes, her heels clicking as she makes her way towards a shelp and starts to neatly display them. A clear lid is set in place after before she turns back towards the other. Does she catch sight of the eavesdropping little mouse? It's hard to say. "I'm sorry, did you say that he hasn't taken it off?" Her tone takes on a dangerous lilt, chin lifting. There's the scary witch from the fairy tales. "The crown that acted like a beacon to The Bird? Well, if he doesn't want to take it off, it can be taken off for him, of course." Her eyes roll to a shade of gray, a little storm visible inside them. But Tyla yanks her out of whatever thoughts were brewing. "Scared. Which isn't surprising. Worse than many that I have seen before. He was either taken young, or he was there for a very long time."

Listening like this is a great way to learn things and Grayson must think he's learning a lot because he stays there for a while. No one's spotted him yet anyway, or so he's content to believe. He actually sits down on the bottom of the steps and peeks his head around the corner, maybe his first mistake, maybe to get a view of his captors. Oh sure, Velvet tried to explain things to him, but it's all probably a little unbelievable. All of it. The 'real world', indeed.

"Oxygen deprivation'll do that to a guy," Eddie says, admitting nothing. His head cocks a fraction of an inch toward the stairs, but he leaves that alone for the moment. "I wouldn't worry, too much. The lighthouse act didn't start up til we were both wearing one, and I don't plan on putting it on again any time soon if I don't have to." He starts sucking his fingers clean, loudly, just the way you're not supposed to do in a public establishment.

"Do you figured out how to d-do the thing then? It d-didn't just happen? Well… either way I still want to show b-both of you my safe room while you are staying at the apartments. Or maybe we c-can bribe Azazel to get him to t-take it off. Are all Summers like that? I n-never really knew many… that I remember." Tyla adds glumly as she takes another bite of her cupcake.

"Well, to be fair, I stayed at the apartment that night because I was ripped to shreds. I do have my own place here." Velvet points up above the shop. "I suppose I just like hanging around your place right now because it's where everyone sort of congregates. Until we get the Freehold stuff worked out, it feels safer that way. But I do like safe rooms, so I would love to see it. Somewhere to hide in an emergency is a good thing." Velvet busies herself putting together a bag of food. She sets it by the stairs without every once looking towards Grayson, content to let him think that he's hiding. "Remind me to bring that upstairs for our friend later so that he has something to eat" she offers, a little loudly, winking at the pair. She straightens again. "The bird came when he put on the Summer crown. It was you putting on the winter one and triggering it that kept it at bay for that long," she reminds.

Tyla turns a little purple. "Anyway, Liska and I t-talked, and you were right. But I d-don't know if I will be blushing around him anymore. He's j-just nice." Tyla says out of the blue. "I meant Eddie and Jack since they are staying there.

Grayson jumps a little when Velvet nears the stairs. Not really helping his cause. Trying to scramble back up then, instead he slips and falls back down them. Only a few though. *WHUMP* There he is suddenly on the floor in view, as if the sound wasn't enough. There's a sudden look of terror as he scrambles back up, holding a book of baby names. Both Tyla and Velvet get it. He hasn't assessed Eddie's place in the power scheme of this strange place. "I?um, I wasn't, um?Mistress Tyla, Mistress Velvet." He's almost bowing to them, washing his hands nervously. He's not interested in the possibly poisoned bag of food. "What can I do? How may I help?" It's just reaction, instinct.

Tyla turns a little purple. "Anyway, Liska and I t-talked, and you were right. But I d-don't know if I will be blushing around him anymore. He's j-just nice." Tyla says out of the blue. "I meant Eddie and Jack since they are staying there. But I g-guess you could see it t-too." Tyla explains and then looks at the thump and smiles gently. "You will help by calling me only Tyla, not Mistress Tyla. That would make me very happy. Also, you will choose a name of your own." She nibbles on the cupcake.

"The wind thing I could do again," Eddie answers Tyla, "but I've got no idea what happened with the Agent Orange act and the lightshow and all the rest of it." Then Grayson comes out and starts bowing and all the rest of it, and he grips his nose and winces because he forgot it was busted. "Oh, Christ," he says, again, just under his breath.

Not seeming at all surprised, Velvet turns her attention towards the stairs and the now exposed Grayson. "Just Velvet, like we discussed." It's a gentle reminder. "But if you want to help anyone, then you're going to need to eat." She points to the bag of food on the floor and lifts a brow. "If you don't eat, you'll starve and die, and then you won't be helping anyone ever again." To Tyla, she offers a quick, sheepish look. "Oh, sorry, I thought you meant me, too. But yeah, I got him a book of names to look through, to see if anything suits him." Eddie's exclamation gets a head tilt. "That door really got you good."

Grayson looks a little dubiously at both women. It's their rules in his mind, but these rules are very strange. He looks at them like he might a viper momentarily, trying to figure out the truth. "Tyla. Velvet." He tries it on, but makes a strange face at it. It will take getting used to. His eyes go the food by the stairs, or right beside him and he picks it up. All like he's being told. He tucks the book under his arm. In view, it's clear that he's wearing his practically see through white clothes. They dried, and must have found them rather than the clothes she gave him. They are a little sheer, but perhaps the provide comfort. Too light for this weather, certainly. He starts sticking his head into the bag while walking, bowing his head to Eddie as well, before doing so. He's shorter than most men, certainly but maybe taller than most females, now that he's standing, but not by much. With no injuries he walks with a natural grace, too. Light footsteps that barely touch the ground.

Tyla smiles at the attempt. "Good. Keep working on that." She to Grayson, trying to keep her demeanor friendly and non-threatening. She turns and looks over at Velvet, a slight frown on her face. "D-did none of the the clothes I had extra fit?" to Eddie she just grins. "It's not so much that it was a big door, but more he ran in to it several times." She winks at Velvet. "But seriously though, why d-did you even put yours on? D-did you have too? And if you did, why d-don't you have to keep yours on, like Jack?"

"Yeah, that must be it," Eddie says. He takes a few steps away, kind of stiff, and watches Grayson out of the corner of his eye. He seems uncomfortable looking at the guy directly. He relaxes a little when the Mistress stuff gets a rest, though, and he even manages his best equivalent of a polite smile when the Wizened bows his head. "Doc was talking about stopping by. Maybe I better talk him out of it, for a while." When Tyla gives him something else to talk about, he grabs it like a life preserver. "We were in a rough spot. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And Jack could take his off, pretty sure. He's just… Jack."

"No no, they fit. I took him to get some new clothes, too. But this is probably what he's been forced to wear for who knows how long. It's going to take awhile to get him to use anything else. It's a part of the process. Right now, I'm sure they work like a sort of security blanket for him. Even if they are a bit see-through for polite company." Did you see the way her ears bounced just then? Almost as telling as Tyla going purple. "He's stopping by, huh? Why would you talk him out of it?" Mention of the crown has Velvet leaning a hip against the counter. "The winter crown repelled the birds in Liska's vision, so why not try it against THE Bird, right?"

His clothes are on the border of indecent, the only thing truly stopping them from being so is the where the sheer fabric overlaps, which is the exact appropriate parts, it becomes somewhat opaque. Maybe the long shirt was chosen for a reason. There's are some rips in it from his trek, but they don't seem to bother him. He comes into the proper area, digging through the bag and taking out the food in it. Eating immediately. He looks like he hasn't eaten in ages. He sits himself down on the floor a ways away. Not with the crowd exactly, like an outsider, or more appropriately and underling meant to be seen, but not seen. He is, of course, right there, listening to people talk about him. He's not deaf. Eyes flicker between the three curiously. Watching carefully.

Tyla spots what the newcomer is eating and leaps at him, all but stopping herself from grabbing the food from him. "Oh n-no, you c-can't eat that!" She exclaims, and takes a deep breath to try and calm down. "His stomach is p-practically touching his backbone. All the rich food will make him sick." She tries to explain. "He n-needs things like broth. Things that are good for him, but n-not too heavy." She's not actually going to try and take the food away though.

"You don't know the Doc that well, do you?" Eddie asks Velvet, raising an eyebrow. "Look, you're spooky. You give me the heebie jeebies, the screaming meemies, and all the rest, don't ever doubt it. But the Doc wore and Autumn crown and he wore it for a reason, and sometimes he likes answers better than he likes people. I say that as a pal of his." Then he remembers that the new guy is still there, and listening to all of this. "Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it. I told him you were dealing with it. As for the crown, I don't think the one is going to do the job. I got the feeling they're meant as a matched set." He holds up four fingers, then drops two.

"Tyla!" Velvet's voice cuts through the room in an almost bark. "You can't jump at him like that, Jesus." There's a click click as Velvet starts to move over towards Grayson, slowly kneeling near him and offering her hands out for the food. "I'm sorry. It looks like I gave you the wrong stuff without knowing it. But we're going to fix that, because I don't want you to be hungry. Can I have that back, and we'll get you something good for your stomach." She offers a reassuring smile, taking what he allows her to before she stands up and shoots Tyla a look. "Oh, no." Velvet's attention shifts to Eddie, a dark smile touching her lips. "I definetly got that." His words might have been meant to deter, but they don't seem to have that effect. "Two down, two to go."

Grayson was just putting fruit in his mouth, testing it, it's nothing like the food he had where he came from. Still he tests it, like someone would an exotic dish, to see if it's palatable. It seems it is, until Tyla freaks out. He drops the bag instantly, spitting it out, wide-eyed like it's poison. Scrambling back from the back and Tyla like bitten. Hands folding against his chest, once more he looks terrified. Eyes flicker between the three rapidly, as if searching for answers, or expecting an attack. And it's Velvet's attack that comes, or so it appears and he flinches as she reaches out. She can take the food, he looks ready to take a blow. Like a bad dog, or some kind of pet.

Tyla shoots it right back at Velvet, arms crossed over her chest. "Look, you want to c-clean up technicolored puke, be my guest. Oh geez." She sighs softly and takes a step back. "S-sorry! The apology goes to Grayson, not Velvet. "I'm s-sorry, I jumped at you." She takes a small step back. "Obviously we're just g-going to confuse him if we both help. Eddie, is Lucas c-coming over tonight? I c-can drive you b-back if you need it?"

"I don't know," Eddie says, quietly, "I don't think. He was by this afternoon, going through his horoscopes, looking for crowns. I felt kind of sorry for him. There must be a lot." He keeps his hands open and in sight and tries not to make any sudden moves, taking a slow step back from Grayson.

"I have no problem with you yelling at me for giving him the wrong food, Tyla. But you can't jump at HIM like that. Because that's what happens." Velvet gestures to the fact that Grayson is now cowering like a whipped dog. "I know you were trying to help. I'll fix it." The food gets dropped into the trash. "You didn't do anything wrong, she was just worried about you," she offers towards Grayon in an attempt at reassurance. "I made a mistake, not you." Ooooh she doesn't like the taste of those words, but she manages all the same. "What else other than broth?"

Sorry. The words registers, he knows its meaning, it seems, but he looks at Tyla like she's grown two heads. Such a strange place. He nods rather emphatically to Tyla, but looks no more soothed by it. Eyes flicker to Eddie and then to Velvet. All possible avenues of attack. Another very fervent nod to Velvet at her words. Eyes still a little wide. He's not quite sure what's going on, but he's sensitive to tones too, and none of it seems terribly encouraging. Better to cower and wait.

Everyone's paying attention to the new guy. There's a bag of goodies in the trash. Eddie uses one of these facts to correct the other one, and there's not even a ruffle of the bag. "Beer," he suggests, once he's sure he got away clean. "That's how the monks did it. Months at a time, sometimes. It's just bread. And it might calm him down."

"I know, I stopped myself. N-not my first time helping out with this. I went through it t-too, remember." Tyla says with a sigh and smiles to Grayson. "I really am sorry for jumping at you. When you do it, try and remember to eat it slowly, okay?" She turns to Velvet and gives a tiny little shrug. "Broth, juice, milk, small amounts and nothing too rich. You c-could probably get those breakfast shakes, or Ensure. Maybe some vitamins t-too. Hedge Fruit, if you have it. I d-don't have any left though." Tyla gives Effie a look and rolls her eyes a bit at Eddie. "B-beer might be okay, after the first c-couple of meals. Start small and get bigger."

Velvet looks like she's making a list in her head. Her eyes brighten as Eddie mentions beer. Magic words for a Brewer, after all. "You know, I could probably mix stuff together, with the beer, to make it more nutricious!" Happ ear perk. "But I do have milk, and some thickener. I can make a milkshake sort of deal?" Velvet starts to move around, dashing into the back for a second to grab some stuff. There's whirring and movement, and it's about a minute and a half before she pops back out with a glass in hand. "I have no hedge fruits. Guess that wasn't part of the whole seven year deal." She doesn't notice Eddie grabbing the food at all, preoccupied as she bends to give Grayson a glass. "Drink it slow, like Tyla said."

Everyone's paying attention to Grayson, but he's paying attention to everyone else. Do eyes flicker past Eddie just as he snags a bag of food? Maybe? If he did notice, it doesn't seem to be of particular concern to him, not with everything else. Still the tone in the place seems to have settled, and no one's jumping at him, so he unfurls and sits back up, bringing his knees to his chest and arms around them. He nods again at Tyla, as if everyone one of her words must be listened to carefully. The same attention is given to Velvet when she returns with the drink. He tentatively reaches for it, and takes it, but before he ever takes a sip of it, eyes climb back up to where Tyla stands. He's not making that mistake again.
Tyla smiles and nods to Grayson and moves closer to Eddie.

Eddie raises one finger and taps it against the side of his nose, like Santa Clause, or Paul Newman. His other hand comes to rest very lightly on Tyla's shoulder, pretending he's holding her back, sort of.

Once the drink is delivered, Velvet steps back and move towards the counter once more. No need to crowd the guy, after all. "So we have the Winter crown, and we have the Summer crown. That leaves Autumn and Spring. The woman that had the Winter crown popped out of a Hedge Gate, and the Summer one we got in the Hedge." She glances back to Grayson at that. "Which means that the other two are likely in there as well. Which means that we have to go back in. We also need to start doing some maintenance so that we can see the paths again." A look to Tyla, then Eddie. "Thoughts on how?"

Grayson nods and starts drinking, slowly, just like they said. Tasting it at first. But once he realizes it's delicious and no one's yelling, his hunger can't really be held back. He just wants to drink it all, giant gulps all the fast. Some of it runs down the sides of his mouth and chin, dripping onto his shirt. Like he has to take this meal before someone takes it away again. Eyes glance at Eddie at his gesture, but he doesn't seem to understand it, unsure if it was meant for him or someone else. He's still watching everyone cautiously. Listening now that they are back to talking. Don't mind him.

Tyla shrugs, not realizing Eddie's hand is hovering there until her shoulder bumps it. She doesn't seem to mind it though, just gives him a curious look before answering Velvet. "I d-don't really know anything. N-not about being like you g-guys. No one really t-told me much about t-terms. Unless it's in a b-book I d-don't know how to do it. I would say ask Thomas or Lucas. P-probably Lucas first."

Once Grayson's calmed down and drinking Eddie takes his hand away. "I'm not a Hedge guy," he's quick to disclaim, "but i figure it's got to be the Hollows first. I talked it over with Penny and the Doc a little earlier, and they're on board for the library. After that, who knows?" He shrugs. "Might be good to find some gates and poke our heads through, just to see what's there to see. We don't know how much of it's like that, even to make a guess."

"I can absolutely talk to Lucas first." Velvet grins a little bit before letting her dark smile iron itself back out into a more stoic look. "I've been meaning to ask them to go along on the library search anyway, after we discussed it the other day. Other things just keep popping up. Penny is… she was there when we were attacked at the playground, right? But never made it back to Sit n' Spin with us." She glances back to Grayson, checking on him as he drinks. Atleast he's getting something in his stomach."

First words, well, at least, since last night. And those were hoarse whispers. His voice is still a little hoarse, but now it has a quality to it, a sadness. Mournful. "Dead lady gave it to me. Couldn't save her. Said give it to a Summer before she died. Lead me to Monkey man." He shrugs, almost as if talking to himself. That's helpful, right? His eyes flicker down to the book of names, and he turns it to a page, the shake mostly gone, but he had to come up for air. It's a complete mess on his lips and face. He sees far too childlike, as if someone tried to preserve him that way, despite being grown now. He just points to a name. Like it's as random as the weather. "Grayson." He tries it on for size again. "Gray-son." A nod. That was easy. He almost smiles, almost, and then remembers other people are here and it falls. Oh that hint of a smile though, as if someone carved him out of clay for that that purpose, if one caught it. He looks back up, silent as the grave.

"Grayson." Tyla nods and smiles. "I like it." She tries to smile encouragingly. "I'm s-sorry you had to find it like that." She chews on her lower lip and shuffles a little bit. "Grayson… were the dogs? ch-chasing you before the woman g-gave it to you, of after?" Tyla maybe trying to find out if maybe there are now birds and dogs to deal with.

"If she hadn't been there poor Tom'd be lining the bottom of some bird cage right now," Eddie nods. "I dropped her off on the way back. She works the late shift." When Grayson starts talking his eyes widen in surprise. That's a hell of a look, when you've got eyes like him, so he nixes it before it can spook their spookable new friend. "Familiar story. Thanks, kid." He cocks his head to the side, examining the Wizened, then nods. "It's a good name. It fits."

"Grayson it is." Velvet settles herself back against the counter in a half lean. "Glad she was there, then," she tells Eddie. But Tyla's question has her shutting up, eyes shiftin gback towards the man cowering against the wall.

Grayson clearly doesn't want to think about the dogs. There's a little bit of a momentary pause as he lets himself though. Even the mention of them brings the terror back, full force. He looks like he wants to crawl in on himself. He shudders. He looks up at Tyla because Tyla requires an answer. He nods again, like a broken toy. It doesn't really answer her question, but then again, maybe it does. Arms wrap around his knees again and he begins rocking in silence. Eddie's words are lost, as is any look he gives him. He stares off into the distance, the glass with the milkshake falls and spills its contents on the floor, what little was left, forming a pool there and underneath the young man. A tear starts to stream down his face. Well, it was a nice moment for a second.

"Well," Eddie says, with a pale fascimile of optimism, "it's a start. Maybe fewer people's better, for a while. Good luck." He could be aiming that at Velvet or at Grayson or both. He looks at Tyla and jerks a thumb back toward the door. "I'll wait outside. No rush." He leaves.

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