Mistaken Identity

fletcher_icon.png rylie_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: Mayor's House; The Pit Nightclub

When: May 28, 2012; evening

What: The kids rush off to find alternative entertainment, but end up with anything but fun and games.

The press of people is significantly lessened once they're indoors. There are guests inside, the more established types such as high dollar donors, all mingling in the foyer and formal seating area. But this seems to be a well practiced escape route for Zan. He maneuvers through the thinned crowd uninterrupted with an arm or sometimes his hand on Rylie's back. It's not the grand front staircase they take, as he'd led her upstairs before, but into the kitchen to far more simple looking steps up.

His hand drops away from her back to link his fingers with hers when they reach the quieter staircase. A glance angles toward her, brief and a touch worried, but he remains silent while he leads her to the second story. Pictures line these walls, too. Candids mostly, the sort the press will never see. The Caldecott children at different ages and milestones, family vacations, birthday parties. His haste slows on reaching the landing, pace becoming easier as he leads her along the hall and to his room.

Rylie follows Zan along easily enough, not bothering to look around at the other guests in here, just in case they try to get her attention. They'll have to get the mayor themselves for now. She doesn't breathe easily until they hit those back stairs, and she holds onto his hand tightly along the way.

By the time they each his room, she's a little steadier, but hasn't regained her usual light-hearted demeanor. It'll come along eventually.

The door is opened for her, with Zan following a close step behind. He closes the door and leans against it for a second or two, his attention on Rylie. But after that second or two, he steps forward and pulls her into a gentle hug, arms folding around her as if to shelter her from something. "It's okay," he murmurs, resting his head against hers.

Leaning into the hug, Rylie slides her arms around him, too. she might linger there a while, but eventually she lean back enough to look up at him. "Sorry about that. Super awkward, right?" Her expression has plenty of apology in it, and some uncertainty as well. She shakes her head lightly before she moves to perch on the end of the bed. "I knew he was going to be here, I didn't think he'd waltz over like that."

"I'd seen him at these things before," Zan says mildly. Like the majority of those downstairs and outside, he'd avoided conversation. Before. His jaw pushes slightly off to one side then relaxes again. He's quiet for a long moment, studying her with no lack for concern. When he finally speaks again, it's quietly. "I'm sorry, Rylie. If I made you uncomfortable there. I just…" He shrugs, unsure how to explain. "I don't want to be one of those guys. I trust you, just… Not him."

"Hey," Rylie says, reaching over to take his hand, "You didn't. For real, it wasn't you. I think I might have been more upset if you hadn't bristled a little." She smiles there, gentle and warm as she looks over at him. "He's, ah… You know, I thought he was okay, but your dad isn't thrilled about him, either. And I didn't totally buy it, at first, but— He knows about the kidnapping, you think? What he said… I mean, my dad told me we weren't in the papers or anything."

"I should've gone with my second impulse," Zan says as he shakes his head. He turns to sit beside her, drawing an arm around her while keeping her hands clasped with his. "He knows something," he agrees once seated. "I doubt my dad's said anything about it. I haven't heard anything being run by PR." His head shakes again, and after he looks at her.

"What was your second impulse?" Rylie asks with a wider smile. She scoots in closer to him as his arm goes around her. "Your dad wouldn't. He all but told me to stay away from him before. So, I don't know. But you know, I don't like it." Understatement.

"To take you by the hand and lead you out of there right then," Zan answers, serious despite a faint smile. "Screw whatever my dad thinks, or what anyone else thought." Which is likely more mild than any other impulse he'd had, considering his restraint. "But I think he's given good advice at least. Stay away from that guy." His arms pull her against him just a little. "And don't worry about catching flack for leaving. I'll deal with my dad."

"I was tempted to mention that I had a boyfriend, but I wasn't sure if we were putting that out there yet. I didn't want to just drop that on you." Rylie swings her legs over his lap when he pulls her closer, her arms slide around his neck. "Next time, just pull me away."

She smiles a little at his last words, "He'll probably be meaner to you about it than he would be to me. But just tell him what happened, he should understand."

"I wouldn't have minded if you had." Zan touches his forehead to her temple, smiling a bit more. "Less awkward then. Maybe." He chuckles and rolls his shoulders some. "We can make it public, if you're comfortable with that. And next time, we can dodge encounters like that."

He draws one shoulder up at her concerns. "Don't worry about it," he says again, gently. "It won't be any worse than any other time I've left one of those things."

"Maybe," Rylie says with a chuckle, "He was pretty insistent, so who knows. But, you know… I'm comfortable with it. Might even take some of the heat off the rumors about me and your dad." That particular rumor gets a face from the girl. She's never been a fan of it, really.

She looks over at him, her smile more impish. "So if we're both comfortable with it, why don't we go get seen somewhere?" Somewhere implying not here.

"If it hadn't, I would have gone with my first impulse." Which, by Zan's tone, isn't so mild as his second. Bringing up the rumor has him sighing, long suffering and with a touch of wry humor. "No one with the sense of a rock believes those, but it'd be nice to stop hearing them."

He leans back at her suggestions, brows lifting upward. "I do believe my rebellion is rubbing off on you," he muses. "Let's get out of here." He scoots aside enough to stand and pull her up with him and toward the door.

"Does that one involve punching, by chance," she asks in a teasing tone, her smile easier this time around. "Those rumors pander to people with a less than rock rating on the common sense scale. Unfortunately." She grins as he pulls her up, and she lifts a shoulder innocently at his musing. "Maybe. It's more fun than sitting around down stairs, that much is for sure. But if I get fired, you have to promise me a spot in your movies when you're famous."

"It does," Zan replies, entirely serious despite the offhanded tone. He looks at her and grins, then takes her hand in his as he leads the way into the hall and back down those same back stairs. It's still far quieter than going down the front stairwell and easier to make an escape. "I doubt you'll get fired, since this is all my doing, but you can be in my movies anyway."

He kisses her cheek as they reach the ground floor, unconcerned with any staff that happen by. Then, taking the lead again, he guides her down down a short hallway and into the garage. He doesn't stop to take any of the cars, but cuts through the space to a side door and back outside to the drive that leads away from the house and the barbecue.

"I'm not supposed to find brutish tactics like that at all attractive, but I kinda do," Rylie says with a laugh as she follows him along down the stairs. "It sure is nice to have you to blame, whenever things go wrong," is added with a laugh, and far less than seriously.

He moves to kiss her cheek, but she turns to make sure it lands lip to lip instead, catering staff be damned. It isn't a particularly passionate embrace, but there's definite affection there before she lets him go again. There's a laugh as they start off again, but she keeps up well enough. It's always good to know the local escape routes.

"Where are we going?" she only thinks to ask when they're passing the most obvious forms of transportation.

"The bus," Zan answers with a glance toward her. He slows to a more leisurely pace once they're closer to the street than the mansion. "I learned not to borrow the car if I'm sneaking out. Although… We can call a cab once we're around the corner instead." He tucks his free hand into his pocket and tilts his head a little, watching her while they walk. "Where do you want to go?"

"The bus?" Has Rylie ever taken the bus? It doesn't seem like it, from her surprise. But at the same time, she's not against the idea. "The ultimate question. We could walk the strip, hop from club to club. Or else, I know where a very popular frat party is happening tonight, if you like your company drunk and ridiculous. But they always have good music." Of course, she's usually the one providing the music, so it's a crapshoot this time.

"As tempting as a frat party is," Zan says, chuckling, "I'll pass. That's a gamble I'm not wanting to make tonight after the cards I've already played." He considers their options, while leading her around the aforementioned corner and down the street a ways. "The Strip's always got something interesting. You want to go there?"

"I would offer up a sorority party, but then I would have to employ impulses one and two. And maybe three and four, too," Rylie says with a crooked smile his way. "The Strip it is. Never a dull moment there, after all. I know a great hole in the wall night club we can start with, even!"

The idea of Rylie utilizing his impulses has Zan laughing. "I'd be interested in seeing you apply them," he says earnestly, despite his grin. "Almost as much as I'd like to put Mister Crain in his place." He continues along the sidewalk to the end of the block, and there pulls out his cell phone to call up a cab.

Rylie laughs at that, too, and she shakes her head at him a little. "Careful what you wish for. It would be pathetic. You know, I've never hit anyone in my life?" But, of course, how many sorority girls are born and bred fighters, either?

"I wouldn't know," Zan chuckles. He glances down the street, the way they'd come while he tells the dispatcher the pick up location. But there's little chance of being caught, he knows. These social things always thoroughly ensconce the rest of his family. In a few moments, his phone is returned to his pocket and his hand freed from hers to wrap around her shoulders while waiting for the cab to arrive. "I used to get into fights at school. Fairly often and over ridiculous things."

"Well, now you do. As a warning," Rylie echoes his chuckle, as well as sliding her arm around him as well. "Oh yeah? What sort of things? Now you've gotten me curious. I mean, I used to yell at the kid at school, but actually throwing down, I wasn't even pushed that far. Plus, I'm partial to my hair. And my clothes." Notorious girl fighting tactics.

"I was kind of a… class clown I guess." Zan doesn't seem too ashamed by that, it's not something he's wholly outgrown, however maturity does help dampen it a bit. "I'd make a comment, people'd laugh, I'd get jumped between classes. Or there'd be a jealous streak because of who my dad is and who someone's dad wasn't. I wasn't a jock, wasn't part of the in crowd. Some days I just got sick of being pushed around." He looks at her and shrugs.

"Can't blame you there. Sometimes you just have to stand up for your self." Rylie looks over at him, her smile turning a bit sheepish. "Are you going to disapprove if I tell you I was a cheerleader once upon a time? I mean, I was the in crowd. But I wasn't bitchy, I swear," she says, hand crossing her heart as if that proves it.

Though he tries to look mildly disapproving, he ends up grinning anyway. "Who'd have guessed that lines would cross," he muses. "Nah, I had nothing against them. I was just a freak." He pauses, then adds with a shrug, "Justifiably. I filmed everything then. Worse than I do now." He looks up at the sound of a vehicle's approach. And just as a cab comes around the corner, he raises a hand to it.

"I know, right? Oh, if only the girls could see me now," Rylie says, covering her face in playfully shameful manner. But it only lasts a second before she looks up at him again. "You must have a room somewhere full of old tapes. My god." She glances to the cab as it comes their way, but she seems to be letting him take care of flagging it down.

"Hey," Zan chuckles while he tries to sound offended. "A few boxes," he admits as the cab pulls to a stop for them. He opens the door, motioning her in first, then sliding in after. "A bunch of memory cards, some discs. I'll show you some of my old footage sometime." For as much of a freak as he seems, he doesn't mind sharing his amateur's hobby. The strip is called out for destination as he settles in for the ride.

Rylie can only smile innocently at him before she slides into the cab. She takes up the far seat, futzing with her outfit to make it look less mayor's barbecue and more Vegas nightclub. It's a versatile outfit, apparently. She doesn't seem to notice the cabbie watching through the rear view mirror, either that, or she's used to that sort of thing. How else does she get from the office to the parties fast enough?

"I'd love to see it. I'm sure you've got some crazy stuff on there," she says with a grin as she pulls her hair down to fluff out a bit.

"A fair bit." Zan leans over a little to give the cabbie a look. There's no obvious bristling, but it implies the fellow would be better off watching the road and driving. "A lot of it got me into trouble, some of it kept me out." He looks at Rylie, managing a sober expression. "I'm sorry, you're dating a weirdo."

In favor of keeping a fair, the cabbie turns to keep his eyes on the road as he takes them in the direction of the strip. Rylie, meanwhile, just grins over at him. "Yes. And you're dating someone completely normal," she says with a smirk. "Look, weird is underrated. And way better than boring. I figure anyone who isn't at least a little weird isn't trying hard enough."

"Completely normal," Zan teasingly scoffs. "Yeah. You're a cheerleader. You're a special kind of weird." He leans back a bit on the seat, folding his arms behind his head. But after a few seconds, he glances her way and smiles.

The ride is quiet, not much in the way of traffic being Memorial Day. Even the strip seems to lack it's usual vehicular presence. There's plenty of foot traffic to get lost in, though. The usual mobs of tourists and regulars creating a steady flow of pedestrians. He gets the cabbie to stop near the beginning of the popular drive, fishing out some cash to pay the guy before climbing out of the cab. A hand is offered to Rylie, to draw her from the car as well.

"Hey. Was. I got over that phase. I'm pretty much all music these days." Rylie smirks at him, but takes his hand to climb out. There's a wave to the cabbie, who waves back before driving off to find another fair. "Speaking of. The club I was thinking of is just down this way a bit. If you're still up for dancing the night away."

"If I can get in, I can go dancing," Zan says with a grin after the cab has moved on. He entwines his fingers with hers and motions down the street in the vague direction of the club. Sort of telling her to take the lead this time. "Whatever you want to do."

Squeezing his hand, Rylie strides forward to lead him along, her aim seeming to be a darker spot nestled between two much brighter buildings. The sign proclaims it as The Pit, and there's a single bouncer on the door. He seems to know Rylie, though, and after a cursory glance over her companion, ushers them both in in front of the line. Groaning and yelling ensues from outside, but once the doors close behind them, it's only the rhythmic thud of the music. She doesn't let go of his hand, but her first stop is over at the bar.

"Do you want a drink?" She asks, apparently willing to get him one with the power of her over 21 ID.

Zan's brows lift a little at the place. Hole in the wall indeed. His surprise, while mellow, isn't abated when they're let in ahead of everyone else. "VIP status," he asks, with a faint grin. He follows her through the throng, looking this way and that at the various club-goers they pass. He looks at the bar then at her once they stop, and he shrugs and nods an agreement. "Sure. Surprise me."

"They know me here. I work the tables sometimes." Right now, it isn't a DJ, but a live band that entertains the room. But Rylie gives him a grin and a kiss to the cheek before she turns to slip into the line of people waiting for a drink. "Don't go anywhere," she says, since in crowded, dark places like this, it's all too easy to get lost. He can see her, though, the shock of blonde hair glowing blue in the lighting, and the red of the soles of her high heels making her stick out from the crowd there.

But, unfortunately, while she can't keep an eye on him, someone else can. And it's only the faint sound of the crack of wood that serves as a warning. Of course, it cracks against his skull, so it isn't much good. The pain is swiftly followed by blacking out. But at least it isn't a long black out.

He wakes up sitting cuffed to a chair in a small, black room. One man in a suit standing against the wall, smoking something that leaves a putrid smell in the room, and one man hovering closer by, an unsettling amount of muscle on this one. Brass knuckles aren't very comforting, either.

Zan chuckles and tucks his hands into his pockets. He takes a glance around, mostly observing the club scene in a quick once around before turning his attention back to Rylie. He doesn't notice any approach and the blinding pain registers the same instance as blackness falls. Amidst surprised gasps that are short lived, he collapses to be carted off.

He first realizes he's awake again when he finds himself staring at the floor over his knees. He tries to lift a hand and rub at the knot on his head and has to pull thrice before grasping that his hands are tied. Too fresh the memory of being kidnapped and tied to a chair, he chokes back his initial rise of fear as he looks up and takes in the room, the smell, and the men around him.

Luckily, these faces are not familiar. Unluckily, the meaty fellow greets his wake up with a punch across the face. It slices open skin, leaving blood to slip down his cheek as the bruises start to slowly form.

"So sorry about that," says the man in a suit, still leaning back against the wall, "he's never been good with social interaction." The Suit comes over to crouch a little in front of Zan, blowing that awful smoke in his face. "You owe Mister Sykes a lot of money. And we're here to… work out a payment plan." Which apparently involves more punching, because another follows The Suit's words.

Zan flinches as that fist fist is thrown, before it even gets near his face. He shakes his head, not entirely to clear it, but to shake off the threat of past experiences. Some part of his rationale does tell him it's different, only odd similarities to his time spent in the hands of the Vida Mala. However it's those similarities that seem to be demanding more attention than logic.

He coughs through the smoke, head shaking a second time as though it would help clear the acrid smell. "Who?" Uncertainty rings clear in his tone, and panic puts a quaver to his voice. The question comes with a darting look toward the muscle. "I don't…" He's unable to get the rest out when he's laid into again.

At least this time, the fist hits his gut instead of his face. Although, it doesn't feel all that much better, he'll look better for it tomorrow. "Don't feign ignorance now, boy. You knew him well enough when you were spending his money. You knew the terms. Now either you give us the money, or we can take a toe off every day you don't get it to us."

The Suit leans in, close enough to whisper to the younger man. "My associate here tells me there's a pretty little blonde down in the club. Maybe you'd be more motivated if we brought her up? I bet she's got pretty feet."

Foot fetishes aside, he does seem all too serious in the various threats. But at least there's choice?

The door swings open to admit a tall, broad-shouldered, heavily bearded man. Dressed in black t-shirt with the sleeves pushed back, grey slacks with a thin belt, and soft-soled black shoes, the only thing about Fletcher that stands out is the red canvas bag he has dangling from one hand. Though his expression is mostly neutral, there's a hint of distaste in the way he curls his lip and raises a curious eyebrow at the sight of a man taking a beating while tied to a chair. "I'm not interrupting anything, am I?" he queries dryly.

Then his eyes widen slightly as he recognizes the mayor's son from their earlier introduction, brief as it was. He keeps his mouth shut, though. At least for the moment.

It's not much of a blessing and it leaves Zan doubled over as much as the restraints allow. He's slow to straighten, but not to register the threats as they're laid out. His eyes squeeze closed, the small quaver in his voice transferring to a slight shake through his posture. "Please leave her alone," he begins, almost mumbling. "Just listen…" the rest is lost when the door bangs open, knowing a moment of dread before he recognizes Fletcher.

The entrance gives Zan a bit of a reprieve, as both the Muscle and the Suit straighten up to look that way. The Suit sighs heavily. He does so hate interruptions. The guy in the chair, the Mayor's son, certainly fits the description of their guy, but is decidedly not the person he was sent to track down.

"Yes, what is it?" The Suit says testily. "If you're here for your money, we'll have to be with you in a moment or two. We have delicate negotiations going on. He was just to the pleading." It's his favorite part.

"'kay," Fletcher replies with an easiness he doesn't feel. He shifts his feet and gives the small canvas bag an experimental heft. "I just figured you'd want your money. Your guy was pretty easy to track down. Once I found him at home, he was quick to give up the goods."

The bag lands on the floor in front of the Suit with a dull, papery thud. "It's all there," Fletcher confirms. Now he turns his attention openly to the beating in progress. "So, who's the kid?" he asks guilelessly, keeping both recognition and emotion under wraps.

Disbelieving, Zan's gaze follows the bag, then lifts to the suit and muscle collectively. There's no 'I told you so'. In fact, he doesn't do anything but watch with palpable wariness, expecting those brass knuckles to find him again despite payment being made.

The Suit looks to the bag, then up to Fletcher, then over to Zan. Confusion only lasts a moment before he waves off the matter with a imperious gesture. "None of your business," is what he opts for, in the end. But he snaps at the Muscle, then points tot he bag. In a short few moments, the pair are heading out the door, the keys for the cuffs left sitting on the room's only table. "Show him the way out, won't you?"

The door opens, and not only do the men file out, but a familiar, feminine voice can suddenly be heard shouting in the hall. "And that goes double for your mother," Rylie is just charmingly saying to whoever it is that is keeping her from joining them back here.

As if this situation couldn't get any more complicated. Fletcher abruptly changes tactics. "I'd like my money now. And let the kid go. It's bad form to beat a boy when he can't fight back."

His demeanor has changed completely. No longer a soft, slouchy drunk, Fletcher stands tall and looks the Suit squarely in the eye. When he continues, there's a hard edge to his voice. "It'd be a shame if word got out that you weren't man enough to handle your fights like a real man. Could be bad for your reputation. Especially if a woman were to get involved. Pretty sure I hear one out in the hall."

Focus off him, Zan pulls and twists at the cuffs holding his wrists to the chair. His jaw clenches, teeth grinding as metal digs into flesh. A glance angles itself toward Fletcher and the two thugs, then drops back to his hands while he wrenches against the bindings. His focus is broken when Rylie's voice filters through the opened door, and again he nearly panics. But instead of the shout for her to run, he yells a worried, "Rylie!"

"Zan!" Rylie calls back, but doesn't appear in the doorway. No, instead, they can hear her pulling rank, basically, on the thugs outside. "That is Alexander Caldecott, and if you don't recognize the name, you'll have plenty of time to figure it out because I can have the cops here before you so much as sputter out a reply." Grrr.

The Suit considers his position for a moment before he gives a nod to the Muscle. The bag is dropped and the Suit fishes out Fletcher's cut of the find while the Muscle comes over to free Zan from the cuffs. He even picks him up out of the chair and sets him on his feet. Apparently, he's not worried too much about retribution. But then, he is a big guy. It's the Suit that is pressing the money into Fletcher's hand and trying to be quick about it all.

All of the shouting has Fletcher worried for a moment, but the Suit eventually caves. And he's still getting paid.

"Okay, lad," Fletcher says, laying a hand on Zan's shoulder and giving him an encouraging smile. He keeps it fixed on his face as he speaks quietly into the younger man's ear. "I think it's time we made our exit. And it'd probably be good if you could get your girlfriend to stop screaming before these guys decide we're better off as hostages or corpses than as witnesses. What do you say?"

Zan flinches again when the muscle goes over to release him. It takes him a beat to grasp his freedom after he's set on his feet. That flinch comes again as Fletcher's hand comes near him, unbidden. Though he's of like minds with the older man, briefly meeting his gaze before nodding in understanding. A look goes to the suit and muscle as he walks toward the door. Outside he squeezes past whomever stands in the way, eyes lifting enough to look for Rylie.

Rylie is stuck on the free side of two large men, but when she sees Zan, she perks up a little before noticing his new wounds. When she does notice, it's pretty clear because she steps back to glare at the pair blocking her way. "You are bad men," she says, as if the words should sting them somehow. A sure sign she hasn't much dealt with bad men.

They don't let her through, but they do let the pair of men pass, when they get there. Possibly due to a sign from the Suit deeper in the hall.

Using his strength and bulk to his advantage, Fletcher simply pushes aside anyone between them and the exit. He's never rougher than necessary, but he's extremely effective. Though he's chosen his side in this conflict, the wad of bills he accepted from the Suit sit heavily in his pocket. They are a weighty reminder of the things he must often ignore.

"Not this time, though," he mutters. "C'mon, kiddos. Let's get the hell outta here."

Not even a grin is mustered for Rylie's sake, though Zan does draw his arms around her once he's near. He lingers, giving his nerves a chance to settle a little before releasing her. Mostly. He snags her hand when Fletcher takes the lead. And though he's still passing unsure looks toward the larger man, he follows, his hand tightly holding Rylie's.

There's been enough excitement for one evening.

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