Bishop turned his gaze lazily over, a pair of dark eyes large and soulful but sparkling with a bit of playful mystery. You didn’t have to be a werewolf to smell that he was dangerous; there was far too much possibility in him. He picked up his whiskey glass and swirled it several times in his grasp, looking Chie over steadily. “What’re you drinking?” he asked finally, slurring slightly, an edge of a smile tugging at the curve of his lips.
“I’m not drinking anything,” Chie said. “I just got here.”
Bishop raised his finger. “Anemonia!” he called down the bar, to the barkeep chatting and laughing with her customers, her hair pinned up in a pile of carrot-orange victory rolls. “Get this gentleman—” He glanced back over at Chie out of the corner of his eye, at the lolita frills and the makeup, their carefully teased little hairdo. “—our new friend a drink,” he corrected.
Anemonia ambled over on sky-high pumps, and Bishop leaned in close enough that Chie nearly choked on the thick alcohol scent pouring off of him. “Sorry about that,” he muttered, winking. “Gentleman’s not really the right term, I take it…?”
“It’s really not,” Chie said dryly, and smiled up at the towering owner of the Blackadder, Anemonia Castro, her arms spread wide with elaborately manicured hands resting on the bar and her smile inviting… both the red-lipsticked one facing them and the one Chie could see over her shoulder, in the mirror behind the bar, buried amongst the swirls of her ginger hair and curling wide with very sharp teeth. Futakuchi-onna, they called that, Chie had learned growing up. “I’ll have a Diet Coke, please,” they said, reaching for their matching lavender handbag.
Anemonia set about pouring the drink, but Bishop leaned close to them, giving them a little poke with his elbow. “Oh c’mon now, you can’t order a Diet Coke in a bar, at least not without a little Jack in it. C’mon, order something else. Don’t you want a….” Bishop licked his lips and looked Chie up and down again. “A sex on the beach or a banana daiquiri or something?”
Anemonia slid the glass of soda in front of them. “Bishop, quit being a pest. This is my bar and anybody can order whatever they want. I can afford to lose a little bit of money on this one as long as you’re here, drinking for the both of you.” She smiled at Chie. “That’ll be two-fifty.”
Chie set three dollars on the bar, avoiding the wet stains. “Keep the change.”
“No, no.” Bishop placed a fingertip on the wad of bills and slid them back in Chie’s direction, dragging them through a puddle of alcohol. “It’s on my tab.”
Chie shook their head. “No, really, it’s all right. I’ve got it.”
Bishop flashed a wedge of smile. “No, no, I insist. I’ve got a, a…” He waved his fingers in the air trying to retrieve the words. “A company tab. It’s on Strexcorp. No worries.”
Chie didn’t like that much, setting their lipglossed mouth in a line, but said nothing.
Anemonia’s eyes flashed from the retreating pile of ones to Bishop’s face, looking at him dubiously. “Alright. Well, don’t harass our new friend too much, you guys play nice.” She tipped her head to Chie. “Well let me know when you need another Diet Coke or you decide you want an actual drink or anything.” She drifted off back towards her group of customers with a final warning glance at Bishop from below her darkly sculpted brows, part stern schoolmarm and part “oh you” wry grimace.
“Sorry if that was rude,” Bishop said, tipping a little whiskey to his lips, as though he couldn’t get through the sentence without wetting his tongue. He dipped his head in apology. “The gentlemen thing and the drink thing. Not off to too good of a start, am I?”
“You’re not doing so bad,” Chie said, sipping the sweet fizzy Coke, wondering just how much they should let Bishop flirt with them for the sake of getting closer. Also wondering just how fucking drunk Bishop was that he really had no idea that he was sitting next to another werewolf. To Chie the scent was clear as day, not just a scent but a feeling in their gut, and tingling in their spine, raising the little hairs on the back of their neck. They remembered what it was like to be surrounded by that constantly, the collective hum of being in the middle of the pack, the extended pack, a hum so constant that it became barely noticeable, as though they were all vibrating on the same frequency. When with the family unit it presented as more of a deep sense of contentment… most of the time. Of course things hadn’t been very content at all with their family the last time they were together, and of course that was the bad taste that had stuck in Chie’s mouth. Bad memories of the pack in general, the whole clan. Fortunately, Bishop vibrated on a much different frequency. They supposed it was the frequency of their shared bite, Bishop being the only wolf they had ever spawned. Practically their child.