We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

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We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Solomon Halsley on Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:12 pm

Solomon had been amply surprised when Madeline had asked him to get a drink, but he was mostly intensely grateful. In the first place, he'd had little to no social interaction since his arrival at Highgrove, and in the second he wanted nothing more than to forget about that travesty of a group activity that they had just run. Going home seemed like the worst possible thing he could do; there would be too much time to sit about and think, until he went to sleep and experienced the same nightmares he'd been having for six months, this time supplemented by fresh horrors. So off to the pub they went. Benjamin Moore had never been much of a drinker, but who said that Solomon Halsley wasn't? He could be whoever and whatever he wanted to be now; this was the perfect opportunity for some creative reinvention. The problem with that was that he was still quite attached to his old awkward librarian self, and it was fast becoming his new awkward librarian self. It was hard to be someone else when he still missed everything about his old life.

Tentatively, he had accepted Madeline's invitation. Solomon wasn't sure how his strange new persona would hold up under close social scrutiny, but he had to try it out at some point. It couldn't have been any harder than dealing with a roomful of semi-belligerent kids telling stories about their nightmare childhoods. Gathering information about a subject had never been so grueling, but then again, live, damaged children weren't books or websites or articles that he could look at dispassionately and memorize the facts from without a second thought. At least he knew what he was up against now, and it was a pretty grim picture. Maybe he could just hide in the library for the duration of his time here.

Upon entering The Wagon and Horses, his first impression was that it was very like the rest of Grove End; small and rustic and sort of cozy in its own right. There was nothing like this where he had grown up; in Birmingham, the only things that were rustic were those that had been restored to look so and attract tourists. No, wait...Benjamin had grown up in Birmingham. Solomon was from Durham. Durham. Durham. He would just be sure not to talk about his childhood. The business was scarce, as this was a weeknight, but a few clumps of people sat around the pub, drinking and talking quietly. Solomon was glad that it was quiet and that business was slow, because the last thing he wanted was to be in a room full of people. He was less than social at the best of times. Taking a table near the edge of the room, Solomon remarked,

"This is a nice little place." He looked around somewhat nervously for a moment and then said, "I'll go and get drinks. What'll you have?" Madeline didn't seem like much of a drinker either, but looks could be deceiving. His grandmother was the sweetest woman in the world, but she could certainly put away the rum, for example. Hopefully his thus far mild mannered coworker wouldn't drink him under the table...that would be embarrassing.
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Solomon Halsley

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Re: We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Madeline Adele on Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:15 am

Madeline had been pretty surprised herself, when she asked Solomon out for a drink. Her entire childhood life had been spent surrounded by alcoholics, and when she left America, it was with the promise that she would never allow herself to fall like they did. Right now, however, her history was knocking down her door and the last thing she wanted was to go home and watch her own home movies while she cried over diced vegetables and a bottle of wine. The haunting emptiness of the child's words as she recited her tale ran circles in the back of her mind, forcing her to review her options: valium, kava root, or alcohol. Adamently opposed to drug abuse, and haveing no availible kava root to sedate her, she was left with one option. Maybe with company, she could keep herself from being consumed, like her family.

Walking into the pub, she nervously looked around at her surroundings. It wasn't what she expected a pub to look like, though she had little to compare it to. It was quaint, rather country infused, nothing like the french cafes she had become accustomed to. She brushed her hands down her modest dress, a nervous habit she had never grown out of and which had frustrated her uncle for many years. She wondered if Keziah had had a nervous tick that had frustrated her father. She swallowed hard before she realized that Solomon was talking to her. "Hmm? Oh, no, I'll come with you. I'm not sure how stocked their bar is."

Walking with him up to the bar, she browsed the bottles with a sigh. All the ingredients were there, she just had to pray that the bartender knew her job. Managing to keep the distain off her face, she spoke up. "Would you happen to know how to make a Bailey's Comet?" It wasn't very likely, but she could walk the woman thorugh it if she needed to. As it turned out, she had no idea what it was, and Madeline's faith in women in the workforce fell just a little more. "Well, Solomon, I guess you can order your drink, and I can walk the lady through the steps to my favorite forget-it-all drink." When it came time, she politely guided the bartender through the steps. It was a creamy drink in a martini glass with a dark film of rum on top, peppered with cinnamon. "Would you happen to have a lighter? If so, we can take this back to our seats." She had no intention of drinking anyone under the table, just setting things on fire.
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Re: We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Solomon Halsley on Wed Feb 15, 2012 1:35 am

Solomon was not naturally a dominant personality; at one point in his life, one could go so far as to say that he had been easygoing. While 'going with the flow' was now a concept that was completely incomprehensible to him, there had been a time when everything didn't have a proper place and he hadn't even owned a lint brush. That aspect of himself would prove extremely useful right about now if he knew how to access it again. Benjamin Moore doesn't know how to go with the flow. Solomon Halsley is a totally flexible guy, he told himself, his own voice sounding exceedingly unconvincing in his head. This wasn't going to work. He was just going to develop split personalities and have to be institutionalized. Solomon was ninety nine percent sure that he didn't want any sort of drink that required a lighter to consume properly for himself or near his bodily person, but what was done was done. He mumbled his order to the befuddled bartender, which was whatever beer happened to be first on the list. God only knew he had no idea what was good and what wasn't; he usually just drank whatever his friends had in their refrigerators. How did I make it to twenty five without knowing things like this? Why do I know where and when pygmy right whales mate but not what drink to order at a pub?

He did not have a lighter, as was indicated by a half-hearted patting of his pockets and an apologetic shrug, but the baffled and slightly irritated woman behind the bar did. She handed it to him, and he handed it over to Madeline, at once relieved, slightly terrified and amused. Solomon half-hoped that she just wanted to smoke, but that was far too much to hope for. The drink was called 'Bailey's Comet'. It was likely going to end up on fire. Madeline was obviously not as straightforward a person as first met the eye. At least this night wouldn't be boring...right? And maybe, if he tried not to be so damned uptight about everything, he could have a little fun. Or at the very least not be miserable for a period extending over more than an hour.

Taking his boring drink back to their table, Solomon debated the upsides and downsides of starting the conversation. There was a good chance that anything he said would be the wrong thing. He hadn't made new friends since secondary school, simply because he hadn't ever needed to. He'd been happy with his group of friends; they knew him, knew pretty much everything about him, and nothing was ever awkward around them. They had made his faked death even harder, both for himself and for everyone else. Struggling to suppress this wave of melancholy, Solomon sat down and half-joked,

"Are your drinks usually flammable, or is this a special occasion?" He hoped she would take it the right way, or else this was going to get uncomfortable fast.
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Re: We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Madeline Adele on Wed Feb 15, 2012 6:50 am

Watching as Solomon gave himself a half-hearted patdown, Madeline smiled at his show. She thanked the poor woman behind the bar, and then Solomon as he handed it to her. Scooping up the glass with a graceful twist of her wrist, she walked back with her co-worker to their table. Sitting down across from him, she almost envied his simple and easy choice of beer. Anywhere he went, it would be there. Like salads, any restaurant would sell some version of one, but not everyone sold fried calamari. She could never understand the appeal of beers, though, and found that jewel toned drinks suited her cheerful personality. But today was no longer a cheerful day, and she had to reclaim that happiness. She could hide behind her superficial smiles for a week or two, but eventually it would come back to her. The terror that she had not imagined could have happened to another soul besides her own.

Flicking the lighter a couple times, just to check that it was working, she nodded her head with a half smile and said, "Both, I suppose. I really only drink for special occassions, and I hope you understand that this is now a special occassion." Sighing softly, she picked up her glass in a sort of toast and held it for a moment before saying, "For young women, strong enough to share their problems with us, and to us, for thinking we could shoulder them with ease." She tapped her glass softly against his bottle before clicking the lighter and setting the thin film of rum ablaze.

The cinnamon sparked and the rum made a flame that was a vibrant shade of blue. Holding it near eye level, she watched as the fire licked the air, stealing it to keep itself alive. It encompassed the surface of the drink, gathering up the last drops of high-proof alcohol as it's main source of fuel. After a few seconds that seemed to last forever, she capped her hand over the top if the glass, choking the fire until it died. She had seen travelers drink similar drinks where they would suck in the smoke and alcohol vapors before lifting their hands and downing the drink in one gulp. She preferred to enjoy it, lifting her hand and letting the rim of the glass cool before taking a sip. It wasn't until she took that sip that she noticed her companion's reaction. She blushed, realizing how much attention she must have drawn to herself, and sat her drink down. "I-I'm sorry," she stammered softly, "I didn't mean to showboat."
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Re: We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Solomon Halsley on Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:42 am

Solomon was beginning to get the feeling that there was something he wasn't quite in on here. Clinking the edge of his glass against hers, he frowned slightly at her toast. It wasn't that he was offended or disturbed; he was just trying to figure out what she was trying to get at. At least he knew the last part to be true; it had been stupid to think that he could walk into that situation without any prior experience or preparation and have everything go the way he wanted it to. Stupid, naive and exceedingly selfish. He was distracted from his self-deprecating thoughts by the sudden flare of the fire, which made him instinctively jump backwards. There was another thing he should have anticipated; his reaction to the fire. He desperately wanted to look away from the blazing glass, but he couldn't; finally, he managed to squeeze his eyes shut for a fraction of a second to compose himself. You're a grown man...stop letting little things freak you out. Despite this bit of mental chiding, his heart was still beating too hard and breathing was harder than he remembered it being. It just surprised you. Solomon wiped his palms on his pants and fixed his eyes on a point beyond Madeline's head. He should have foreseen this; sudden flashes, bangs, etcetera did not sit right with him anymore. Not that he could show it; if he did, someone would ask what was wrong with him, and he would say that he didn't like sudden bursts of light, and they would ask why, and then he would have to say that someone basically tried to fucking assassinate him, and then --

"I-I'm sorry...I didn't mean to showboat."

Setting things on fire in public places usually did that for you, but he wouldn't say that. Because he was a normal, civil person who totally hadn't just had a little bit of a mental breakdown because his coworker had set her drink on fire. Were people looking? He hadn't noticed, but maybe it had looked like he had while he was gazing into the middle distance over her shoulder. Instead of making a snide reply, he took a shaky drink of his beer and replied as nonchalantly as possible,

"You're fine. It was...cool. Definitely a worthy show." It would have been cool if it hadn't given him half a heart attack, and that certainly wasn't her fault. He was finding the urge to either bolt out of here, start asking a million questions per minute or divulge a slew of useless facts irresistible, so, after a significant pause, the next thing he said was, "Did you know that alcohol consumption causes inflammatory chemicals called cytokines to be overproduced by our bodies, resulting in memory loss, loss of focus, and headaches?" The awkward moment after you said something completely unrelated to the conversation inevitably followed this declaration. Turning a little red, he mumbled, "Um. Sorry." Well, this was already a clusterfuck, yet another useful thing to have predicted before he had come. But he was stuck in this pub with this overly complicated, pyromaniac household chores supervisor now, and there was fuck all he could do but smile, carry on, and pretend to be normal. Because that always works.
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Re: We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Madeline Adele on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:15 am

Awkward. That was the only way to describe how Madeline felt at the exact moment that Solomon said the words, Definitely a worthy show. Awkward shame and humilitation that she could let herself be so rash and unruly. What must he think of her? Why couldn't she control herself and just have bought something normal? Was she that desperate for male attention that she had to show off and make a fool of herself? She angrily fussed at herself as she quickly drank half of her drink in the uncomfortable silence. She knew better than to go out drinking with other people. She knew better than to bring so much attention to herself. What if he started asking questions? What would she say? Oh yes, I love to set things on fire. I find it relaxing and theraputic. That would make great conversation, she was sarcastically sure of it. And besides, she knew far better than to have thought for one second that a man would willingly come out to have drinks with her and not want something in return, afterward. All men wanted one thing, and though Madeline was in no way willing to give it to anyone, she still beat herself up over the thought that Solomon might have accepted her invitation under false pretenses. Her mind flailed from one worry to the next until Solomon spoke.

His words stopped her thoughts dead in their tracks. Her face was slightly blank and clueless as she waited for what he said to process through her mind, and by the time she could grasp that what he had said had absolutly nothing to do with how uncouth her drinking choice was, he was ashamedly apoligising. Eager to assure him that she was the one who ought to be ashamed for her outburst, she smiled and said, "Oh no, don't be. I just wasn't expecting it, thats all." She laughed slightly and pushed her drink to the side, eager to talk about something else, anything else. Plus, learning something new was always facinating. Except when it was horrifying.

"Cykotines?" She said, mispronouncing the word on accident. "Is that like a hormone? I thought alcohol was merely a poison. I'm sorry, but my knowledge of the human body is terribly lacking." I can tell you how hot a fire has to be to burn skin and boil blood though, if you're interested, she thought to herself.
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Re: We're All Okay Until the Day We're Not [Madeline]

Post  Solomon Halsley on Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:44 pm

"Well. Mine is too, really. I just...read that somewhere and remembered it," Solomon replied, simultaneously resisting the urge to correct her pronunciation and happy that at least she wasn't laughing at him. "I think cytokines are a different sort of protein than hormones are, actually." At least he didn't know any more about the subject, or he would have probably ended up divulging that, too, and this night would have swiftly turned into a scholarly lecture. What had he been thinking in the first place, accepting this invitation? Madeline was obviously far superior to him in taste and style, and probably wanted to have a real conversation with a real person, one who wasn't freaking out like a fourteen year old boy who'd never had a conversation with a woman before. Not that it mattered that she was a woman...maybe if these were far different circumstances, Solomon would have been looking at her in a different light, but right now he just wanted to talk to someone who wasn't his roommate or his cat. Now he saw that he was obviously not fit for human contact and that he should stick to talking to Benjamin the cat, who could not voice his disdain or abandon the source of his cat food.

Pausing for a moment in his steady stream of self-deprecating thoughts to gulp at least half of the bottle of beer at once, he contemplated this situation. Either he could make the best out of it or he could go home and feel sorry for himself some more. That was already getting kind of old, to be honest, so he smiled a somewhat lopsided smile at her and said,

"Hey...do want to start this whole thing over? I'm Solomon Halsley. I'm the librarian at Highgrove. Want to get a drink or something?" He extended his hand across the table, hoping she would accept his cheesy gesture of peace. It had worked for so many guys in movies...why wouldn't it work for him? They were both kind of odd, sure, but they were also lonely and stranded at a home for mentally ill children in the middle of nowhere. At least, he was; he wasn't sure exactly how Madeline felt about Highgrove, but it couldn't be anything good after today. Solomon certainly felt less sure about his career choices than he had twenty-four hours ago; he hated the feeling of having made the wrong decision. But he could ignore that for now as long as he and this woman, who was be all rights far too classy to be seen in public with him, could forget all the awkwardness they had experienced in the last few minutes and just have a few laughs. That wasn't so hard...was it? Oh, who are you kidding?
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