Party Pooper

celia_icon.png rylie_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: A Casino

When: June 23, 2012; Night

What: An unexpected party guest makes an unsettling debut.

Fancy parties are a special brand of fun. Networking, beautiful music, extremely good food, but they do tend toward the droll side for most. And yet, one of Vegas' many casinos is hosting one this very night. Notably, it is one of those that the Linderman Group doesn't have their hands on, which makes it especially attractive to certain other business.

Instead of tourists and compulsive gamblers, it's a floor full off black tie clad party goers, waiters carrying bite-sized, but expensive food and even more expensive drinks. They all gathered officially to honor some Someone or another, but when it's well passed the speeches, the less official reasons come out. Which seems to mostly be impressing the right people, or being seen with the right people. And in some cases, being seen with the wrong ones.

The Caldecotts are here, of course, as many of them as were inclined, and while Zan may not have been, his girlfriend persuaded him to get into something nice and meet her there. Of course, she is nowhere to be seen right now. But that's not too abnormal, when she has to go act as the mayor's helper.

Fuck the Linderman's, as Celia Crain would say. They were proof that you didn't need the absentee mobster to do anything in this city. Not when you had the crains and they had the Crains. The red haired older woman smiles with her chin length bob, shaking hands of those who have drifted near in an effort to get their faces seen and potential business hook ups. Gordon, was somewhere, likely whispering into the ears of some blonde and making plans for the two of them.

Or with Rylie.

Likely not Rylie.

But the grand dame Crain is here, in sequined black that falls to the floor and hides an older body that's not so slim in certain area's anymore. Diamonds glitter on her hands and occasionally her laugh can be heard over the din of the room.

And a lot of persuasion it took to get Zan to agree to going. He might have even tried talking Rylie into avoiding the social engagement all together, he gave in first. It wasn't necessarily the black tie event he was balking at, but events involving his family, with his presence, tended to not end well.

So far he's managed to avoid his parents, despite arriving with them. And at the moment, dressed to impress as long as you avoid looking at the tie pulled loose - though not entirely undone - he's weaving through the crowd. Partially to make an effort to appear the dutiful son as he nods here, shakes a hand there. But mostly keeping an eye out for Rylie.

Possibly not with Rylie. Although, it is hard to say who anyone is with around here. It may not be tightly packed, but people are sprinkled about instead of huddled up in clumps. Which becomes something of a misfortune.

Not far from where Celia and Zan stand, there's a small commotion. A man, definitely not dressed for the occasion, stumbles into a waiter. The waiter tries valiantly not to lose his tray of red wine, but he can't keep it up when the man falls to the floor. The wine lands at Celia's feet, splashing her dress and the floor, and littering broken glasses this way and that.

The man tries to pick himself up, ended up clinging to Zan's jacket as he takes in great gulps of air. He doesn't appear to be wounded, but something is most definitely wrong.

This is why Celia doesn't wear light colors to affairs. That and her hair color being the shade that it is. She looks like she is about to greet Zan when the man in question is heading ass over tea kettle and the only thing that is keeping him up is the lapels of Zan's jacket. "Mister Caldecott. I am terribly sorry" The sorry expressed to him and those around him, snapping her fingers for any servers who are ina position to put down trays, and security, to move forward and extricate the teenager from the individual who is either drunk, had a bit too much to drink, or possibly, in the throes of a cardiac event. Minimal fuss, is what she wants.

After a surprised stumble, not expecting someone to both run into him and then cling as though the ground were giving way, Zan's hands grasp the stranger's sleeves near the shoulder. It's as much to keep himself upright as to give the guy a much needed hand. His brow furrows slightly, watching the man's face while shaking off apologies. "No it's fine," he replies to Celia, finally looking up at her, then at the faces around him, and lastly returning to the guy. A second's thought follows and he starts maneuvering for the nearest wall, trying to help the guy along and out of the press of people. Security can reach him just as well there. "C'mon, get you some space. Can you tell me what's going on?"

The man is difficult to get around, but grateful as he's set against a nearby wall. His hand grasps Zan's, just for a moment, while he tries to find his voice.

Security is quick to respond, ushering people away from the man and calling paramedics to come as soon as possible. Someone does step over to check over the man, but it seems to be a bad day for him, as a trail of blood starts to leak from the corner of his mouth. His hand tightens on Zan's, and he looks panicked as he manages to push out a single word.


Whatever he means by that remains a mystery as the man falls unconscious and both Zan and Celia are added to the group of those being ushered away from the sight. However, Zan is the only one who can notice that the man has left a small, folded up piece of paper in his palm.


Utterly and completely so. Celia stays close to Zan, looking him over to ensure that nothing had happened to him in whatever altercation had occured. No mysterious covert stab wounds. "Are alright Mister Caldecott?" It's genuine concern from the Crain head, unlike the sometimes questionable faux concern that her son throws around.

The man is eased down to sit on the floor once Zan's gotten him to the wall. He crouches behind the stranger, shifting aside as another steps forward to try and offer help, though he doesn't move away. "Help's coming," he says, one hand gripping the guy's shoulder. Bad day indeed. "Hang in there, buddy." The tightening of the man's grip, the strangled word, deepen the creases along his brow. He leans in a little, questioning with a quieter, "What?" that falls on unconscious ears.

He gives the guy's shoulder a small shake as if to summon an answer, and looks almost reluctant to leave when he's finally escorted away to filter outside with the rest of the guests. Fingers curl around the slip of paper, feeling the slightly sharper edge of the fold against his palm. It's enough to give him a small pause, though he hopes to cover it with a look to Celia. "Yes, Miss Crain." The response comes as he pushes his hands into his pockets.

They're quick about blocking the party off from the unpleasantness, as much as Zan might want to stay by the man's side. Instead, they're drawn in with drink and food and song that seems to ease most of the party goers out of the interruption.

Rylie, though, comes into sight, hurrying along rather than flat out running, but it's likely her dress and shoes aren't letting her do so without some sort of unseemly display. But she seems to calm down when she sees Zan upright, and she comes over to his side a little more controlled. She does make for good eye candy at these parties, red dress drawing more attention than she probably should be drawing. The blonde hair doesn't help. But she greets Zan with a kiss to the cheek before she notices who he's with. Or rather, whose mother he's with.

"Good. Wouldn't do to have you injured. Strapping young man that you are" Celia murmurs in that way that older individuals do. With less wasted on syllables as if she might have a quota somewhere.

A smile breaks out across her face though when Rylie comes hurrying, planting a kiss on his cheek, a tilt of her head as if to say awww, don't mind the staring old lady. "I see you have a companion. Might I ask for an introduction?"

The whole to do of high social engagements holds little interest. Zan's gaze wanders away from Celia and back to the unpleasantness, nodding absently to the woman's concern. Within his pocket, fingers work at opening the folded paper, fidgeting.

He's brought back to the present by the press of a kiss to his cheek and he smiles, finding Rylie. "Hey. I'm alright," he tells the younger woman, sound more convincing now than he had telling Ms. Crain the same thing. One arm goes around Rylie's shoulders, maybe a little protectively, as he motions with a nod toward Celia. "Miss Crain, this is my girlfriend Rylie. Rylie, this is Celia Crain."

"Heard there was some trouble down here," Rylie says, as if to explain her hurry. It might not make sense to other people, but if there's trouble, Zan always seems to be a part of it. But she slides her arm around his waist, only turning to look at who he's with at the motion.

"Oh, wow. Sorry about that, Ms. Crain, I didn't notice he was talking to anyone. It's a pleasure to meet you. Rylie Abrams. I work for the mayor." She offers a hand out for a shake, which might not be the right protocol, but she's doing it anyway. "Here I thought you hated these things," she says to Zan, "and I catch you chatting up Celia Crain and everything. Not bad, baby." She seems to be teasing, and shamelessly so.

"He could do worse dear child" She smiles to Rylie. "I confess to knowing her name already." Likely, she's cross Gordon's lips a time or two in conversation with his mother. For what reason, who knows. But Celia looks down to the paper that Zan was fidgeting with and then reading, then back up to him, eyebrows raised. "Miss Abrams. Passing notes in class?"

"I loathe these things," Zan replies, and though his tone does hold a joking note to it, he's quite serious. "But that doesn't mean I can't rub elbows and mix with high class every now and then." His brows tick upward at Celia's question, and he glances to his hand, to the paper he'd been given by the stranger. "Appointment reminder," he corrects, even if it isn't a note, giving the folded slip a once over. It's stuffed into his pocket again, and he looks up again.

"Oh, you do?" For some reason, that makes Rylie look a bit nervous. But a smile comes back a moment later, "I'm flattered." She glances to the note, too, but even from her perspective, it's hard to read the address scribbled there. Somewhere in the suburbs, it looks like.

"Don't let him lie to you, Ms. Crain. It's a dirty limerick. I just like to see him blush, especially at these things." Her smile turns into a grin as she looks back over at Zan, but her head tilts curiously. "So what happened? Or do I have to grill the security? I swear, it's official business. The mayor likes to be made aware of all the goings on."

"Never liked the sardine can functions," Zan fills in, eyes ticking meaningfully toward the press of crowd then back to Rylie. "Too—" Then right on cue he stops and his brows lift. A fraction of a beat later, he grins, a touch of genuine embarrassment in it. A deeper shade of pink even suffuses his ears and the back of his neck.

"Ah, that." He shakes his head, taking full advantage of a subject change. "Some guy. Having troubles breathing. Got him out of the way and he lost consciousness. Couldn't see anything on him, didn't get much out of him before he passed out."

"I am sure that he is recieving adequate if not exemplary medical attention and will be on his feet before we know it" Celia smiles at the pair, dismissing the note for what Zan says it is. "Now, as charming as it has been to finally meet you Mister Caldecott, Miss Abrams, I should be attending to other people. Stodgy old things like this, if you don't shake enough hands, everyone thinks you're going out of business, or into business."

Which makes her pause. "I hear you enjoy making movies. If you ever wish to take a stab at making something short, for the various festivals, do drop a line. I always have wanted to be a producer and by that, I mean the person who fronts the money"

Rylie glance back toward where the man was, and a barricade now stands. Her expression is worried, her arm tightening around Zan. "Poor man." Celia's probably right about the medical care, but still.

She looks to Zan, like she might be checking on how he's doing, but Celia distracts her. "It was good to meet you, Ms. Crain. I hope the rest of hte night is… rewarding." She looks to Zan at the woman's offer, eyebrows lifting, but not adding in her own two cents just now.

Zan darts a glance toward Rylie following Celia's offer. "That's… very kind of you to offer," he replies carefully, turning back to Ms. Crain with a faint, polite smile. "Really. I'd be honored, reason to focus a bit more on writing." His arm tightens a little around Rylie, hand giving her shoulder a small squeeze. "Thank you, Ms. Crain. I'll think on it."

"Think nothing of it. When you have as much money as I do, sometimes, it's a chore just to think of ways to spend it" She smiles at the two, lifting a hand to pat on Zan's forearm before the woman turns, voice rising to get the attention of someone, giving a bit of a wave before walking off to join them and leaving Zan and Rylie alone.

Waiting until the woman is out of ear shot, Rylie turns to Zan to let out a laugh. Which is not at all appropriate considering why she came down here. "Did she really just offer what I think she just offered?" A shake of her head follows before she gets herself together again.

"You're okay, though? Really? We heard upstairs that someone collapsed down here and I thought— well, I'm glad it wasn't you." But she worried.

Even Zan lets out a breathy laugh after Celia walks away, giving himself a chance to grasp at amazement for the offer. "I think she did," he says. He shakes his head, looking at Rylie with a smile.

One that eases a little as he tacks a kiss to her cheek. "I'm fine," he says, assuringly. "Wasn't going to say too much in front of Ms. Crain," he continues, more quietly. "Seemed desperate to tell someone something." The paper is pulled out again, and a real look given to it.

"Gotta wonder what she's up to there, right?" It's that thread of paranoia. Rylie glances in the direction the woman went, but satisfied that she's not up to something right now, she looks back to Zan.

The paper still has the address there, hastily scribbled, but readable. Rylie leans over to look at it this time, her head tilting curiously. It's likely Zan wasn't who the man meant to give it to, but in the end, anyone was better than no one. But then. Maybe Zan is who it was meant for. Either way, the address isn't one he recognizes, not beyond knowing the general area where it is.

"What did he say?"

"No kidding," Zan answers. "I'm …amazed. That she offered. That anyone would offer without seeing prior works." He looks from the paper to Rylie, offering a small, one-shoulder shrug.

And the paper itself is held so that she can see it as well. Zan reads the address a third time, trying to dredge up anything he might know about the place. "Thisbe," he replies, a lilt entering his tone, making it more of a question.

"Thisbe? That's… extremely random." Rylie looks back again, even though the man is likely long gone, as if the barricade might hold an answer. Her brow furrows a little, but she looks back to Zan again. "What are you gonna do? I mean, I suppose we could follow him to the hospital and see… if he's gonna be okay. And if so, maybe why he'd hand you an address. Or…" She trails of, but there is definitely another option.

The paper disappears again, back into his pocket, while Zan's expression is a little distant. Weighing. "What if he's dead," he asks quietly, almost rhetorically. Judging by his tone and expression. He looks at Rylie, brows drawing together slightly. "Might find answers going to the address faster than trying to get anywhere in a hospital." He remembers well his own stay.

"That'd… suck. But you're right that we'll probably have a wait before we get anything from the horse's mouth." Rylie frowns, because some guy dying right there would suck. However, there's a mystery on hand, so her frown doesn't last too long. "Alright. You be Encyclopedia Brown, I'll be Nancy Drew and we'll crack the case in no time," she says with a sudden grin.

Zan seems a little worried himself. Just about anything could be at that address, and the idea has him hugging her a little more tightly, if still brief enough to not breach decorum entirely. Then he looks away, to where the bigwigs such his parents are lurking. Then to the crowd in general. He wouldn't be missed. But… "Can you get away," he asks, mustering a faint grin. "We should probably change, too."

"Yeah. Luckily, the meet and greet portion of the evening is over. I'll just let him know everything's okay here and we can jet." Rylie glances over that way, too, but swings back to Zan when he mentions changing. "You're probably right. If we wear this, it'll just be like we're in some super cool spy flick," she says, her gaze sidelong for a moment before her grin comes back again. She doesn't actually suggest they stay in what they're in, but then again, she certainly seems to be.

After watching her for a moment, Zan slides his arm from Rylie's shoulders to take her hand instead. "We can send him a text," he decides, giving her hand a light tug toward the exits. "Just be careful and… stay close." That worry shows through a little again, though he's looking toward the streets. "No idea what's going on, little nervous going in."

Rylie glances down to their hands, a softer smile coming to her lips, "That's a decent idea…" She doesn't take out her phone just yet, but follows him out toward the street. One hand stays holding onto him, but the other gathers up her dress some to both keep it off the sidewalk and to make it easier to walk. "I'll be careful. You be careful, too." She seems less nervous, though, and more excited. It's possible she hasn't thought this entirely through. "My car's not too far."

One glance is sent to the casino as they leave, though Zan's head hardly turns to look back. He turns back to Rylie before they've gone too far, smiling faintly. "I'm always careful." Just maybe a little reckless at times. He doesn't rush along the sidewalk, but there's purpose to his step, half leading as he follows her to her car. And of course, upon reaching it, he opens the door for her before climbing in himself.

Rylie gets in, sending off the text as he gets into the passenger side. After she slides her phone into her purse, instead of starting the car right away, she reaches over his way, fingers fiddling a bit with his tie. It's just a moment or two, though, before she uses that tie to tug him over and into a kiss. It wouldn't have been appropriate inside, but out here, she doesn't seem to mind. Even if their are people milling about.

Zan tips his head forward a little at first, to get a look at what Rylie's messing with. Then his chin comes up to its more natural tilt, smile stretching more on one side than the other, watching her expression. Brows tick upward slightly when she tugs on his tie, and he puts up little resistance when he's pulled toward her, turning to face her while leaning into the kiss.

Even through a couple whistles and cat calls, Rylie doesn't break the kiss until she's good and ready. And when she does, she doesn't go very far, her eyes staying closed while she leans against his forehead. "I don't know if anyone's mentioned, but you look pretty good in this rig you've got on," she notes, a smile curling her lips. "I swear, we can go. I just had to get that out of my system."

Another time the outsiders' reaction might have Zan blushing a little. Tonight, though, it seems to fall on deaf ears. Mostly. He brushes his fingers against her cheek then lightly over a shoulder, smiling. "You're the first," he replies. "But it's nothing compared to you… You look incredible." He sits back a little, lips brushing against her forehead before he takes her hand again and laces his fingers with hers.

The brush makes her shiver a little, the warm desert night not allowing for her to blame it on the temperature. "Thanks," she says simply to the compliment before she sits back herself. When she starts the car and gets them out on the street, she might be going a little faster than usual. "Alright, flyboy. Tell me where we're going." She points them in the right general direction, but the specifics are anyone's guess.

The paper is fished free again, Zan's fingers smoothing it against a knee. His phone follows a second later, pulling up a mapping program. He puts in the address, glancing up while it routes the trip, first looking at the passing scenery and then toward Rylie. "You okay," he asks, concern putting a light crease to his brow though he keeps a smile in place.

Of course, with another eventual glance to his phone, directions are set. They're given, slow enough to make turns and exits, anticipation mounting as they draw closer to the destination.

"Yep, I'm good," Rylie says, and while they don't ring totally true, she flashes a smile his way. Whatever is on her mind must not be anything terrible, at least. Once they're away from the city proper, she floors it a little more. It'll probably be a record time out to the suburbs.

He smiles a little, too, but Zan doesn't seem wholly convinced. He props an elbow against his door, leaning into it a bit. His attention splits between the road and the map, checking and double checking the directions against upcoming road signs. But every now and again he glances toward Rylie, unsure and curious.

At least she's good at driving fast. It's all very smooth, rather than being a fear-for-your-life situation. She seems not to notice the looks her way for a while, but as they're nearing their destination, she turns her gaze his way.

"What?" It's asked with a laugh, if a nervous one.

"What's on your mind," Zan asks, a little gentle, concerned prodding in his tone. He looks at her again, after pointing out a street to merge onto. His phone disappears into his pocket, along with the address. "I say or do something wrong?"

"No, no," Rylie says with a chuckle, "You haven't done a thing wrong. I promise." It isn't long before she pulls onto the right street, glancing his way again. "The opposite. But we can't get into this, Zan. There's a mystery sitting right there."

And it is a mystery, because the house in question looks— frankly— abandoned. And not just that one, but this little culdesac seems to lack what most suburban streets have. Life. Rylie opens her door to climb out, her gaze taking in the whole street, rather than just the house they came for.

Zan watches Rylie for a moment longer, trying to protest or quell the urge to protest. Or both. Girls are confusing. But he does relent after a moment, when she opens her door, to look up at the houses sitting lifeless.

He follows, opening his door and climbing out of the car. As he circles around to the driver's side, he pulls his phone out again and manipulates the sad little video option on. He reaches for Rylie with one hand, while taking a slow pan of the culdesac. "Promise me," he says after stopping the recording. "If it looks like anything's going to happen, you'll get out and away and call 911."

When he reaches for her, Rylie slides into his arm, letting his hand settle around her waist instead of taking her hand. Her hand lands on his shoulder as she leans over to look at his phone. "I promise I will call 911 if there's trouble," she says, which is a bit of careful wording, but it's close enough! "Should we go in?" she asks when her attention swings back toward the house in question.

Zan's brows pinch together slightly, maybe rethinking the approach of going looking for answers. But he doesn't argue. For now. Worry stays firmly in place, though. He pulls her a little closer and lets out a sigh, then looks at the houses again. The video is turned back on as he starts toward the house that matches the stranger's address.

It's probably not much of a comfort that the front door is not just unlocked, but standing open. Rylie pokes her head in first, her heels clacking against a tile floor entryway. Furniture is missing, windows broken, every sight of a place left to rot. Except one room. One room, sitting off the living room, is furnished and clean, set up like a sitting room. The pair can just catch a sliver of a view of it from their place by the front door.

After shifting his phone to catch the layout of the room, Zan motions for Rylie to follow close. He places himself between her and the one, seemingly habitable room as he crosses toward it, looking behind at her and their escape often though the phone's camera lens is pointed in the direction of travel. On reaching the doorway, he puts a hand up to keep her behind him and close to the wall as he and his camera look around the corner.

It's blue and gold, lavish couches and beautiful art on the walls. One in particular stands out from the rest in a much more expensive frame, hanging far too low on the wall that should boarder the backyard. The painting within is of a toga-clad young man laying at the base of a tree, with a sword stabbed into his heart.

Not the most cheerful of conversation pieces, but some people have odd tastes.

Rylie stays behind him, mostly for his peace of mind, rather than hers. But she eyes that painting, giving it a weird look. It is definitely not in line with the rest of the decor.

Zan glances at Rylie, then steps into the room. He walks a slow circle, phone passing over the furniture and room in general before settling on the picture. It's the picture he approaches, frowning, reaching toward the frame when he's near enough. "Thisbe," he mutters, thoughtfully, trying to place the word.

"Sort of a weird thing to say for possible last words," Rylie says, walking the room in another direction. She stops next to a side table to pick up a newspaper. "You gotta think, if you're about to pass out, and you had one chance to speak, you'd say help me or something. He says Thisbe. Gotta mean something important to him."

As Zan gets closer to the painting, he can hear muffled noise, as if there were a party going on just outside. Which they know isn't at all true, but the clamor is there all the same. Rylie doesn't seem to hear it, as she's too busy peering oddly at the newspaper.

"It is something," Zan says, mostly to himself. He looks at Rylie again then past, to the doorway that leads to the rest of the house. His frown deepens when the turn of his head brings clearer sounds of something happening. His hand hovers near the frame then grasps it and gives it a firm but experimental tug.

The frame is heavy, and awkward, but it moves easily enough. Maybe too easy. Where most people might take more care to secure an expensive frame, this one nearly falls off the wall when Zan tugs on it. So much that he'll have to catch it to keep it from crashing to the ground.

But at the same time, Rylie opens the paper up more and leans back as if trying to look at it as a whole, rather than read it. "This paper is from the Fifties," she says, her brow furrowing, "but it looks, like… new, you know?"

It's an unpleasant juggle, risking phone and frame to keep both from clattering against the floor. It's the phone that ends up sacrificed, caught briefly with his knee against the picture before slipping away to the floor. Zan cringes, then eases the picture aside to prop against another part of the wall, not far from its original place.

"From the fifties," he repeats, disbelieving. He looks at Rylie again while retrieving his phone. "Get a picture of it?" He looks at the phone, hoping it's still functioning and recording, then looking at the wall that had been hidden by the picture.

Rylie looks over as his phone clatters to the phone, cringing a little before she notices the wall, too. She stares for a long moment, lips parted as if she were about to speak. And while she does manage a nod at his words, she doesn't manage to look away just yet.

And when he looks, there's a hole in the wall just big enough to crawl through, but he can see from above and below it that it must have started as a simple crack. But now it's a hole. A hole that looks into a dark closet full of revealing and sparkling costumes. Just ahead, a door is cracked open, letting some light and noise through. Whatever they're looking at, it's where the noise is coming from. Save for the shutter sound effect as Rylie snaps a picture of the paper with her own phone.

It might have been expected, considering he pulled on the picture, but it doesn't make it any less surprising to find a hole in the wall. Zan stares, only remembering to bring his phone up after a couple seconds have passed. The return image isn't perfect, pixels out or damaged, but at least it's recording. "Going into the rabbit hole," he tells her, looking back at her for a moment. Then he begins through the hole, crawling in past costumes and such. Until he's able to reach the door and he presses an eye toward the crack to see through it.

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