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Gwendolyn Llywelyn
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She couldn't imagine what her parents thought she bought at a library for upwards of 50 pounds, but they had made no mention of anything while monitoring her bank account. However, they were not the sort of people to pay attention to such a small amount, or their daughter's habits. All they wanted was for her to complete her law degree, and by God that's what she was doing. Gwen knew they needed those high-mark reports to feel warm and fuzzy inside. A sip of sweet liquor warmed her throat on its way down. Strong shit. Having sampled with a sip, she chugged the rest down as though she'd forgotten martinis weren't traditionally imbibed in the same manner as shots, making eyecontact with some bloke across the way as she polished off the last drop. The glass

clinked
as it was set back down on the bar.

 

But her whole heart was not in law, or making her parents happy. Her heart was on the stage, in the theater, in the West End of London. She used her free time, and some class time turned free time, auditioning. One day, she had faith, she would make it. Hopefully before she was forced to try and use any influence family money might have to accomplish this goal. Law was all well and good, and the skills in argument came in handy quite often, hell, one could even give a stirring speech every now and again. It was alright as a back-up plan.

 

The young woman sat waiting the arrival of some friends, she felt the edge of the bar in her back, faced away from it on the barstool. Her liquid refreshment was beginning to make her lips go all tingly. An easy smile hung upon them.

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The first of Gwen's friends to arrive was... already there, slumped in a booth nearby and snoring, quietly. It was a fairly unobtrusive snore, though anybody scanning the bar would soon see him.

 

Technically, Lucas Cole should probably not have been in the bar at all, since he was no longer a student of AU and this was very much a student bar. The exact details of his drop-out had remained vague, though it had made precisely zero difference to his friends, who saw him about as much as they had before: which was helpful, because if any of his friends wanted to score, Lucas was usually the man to ask. Instead of skipping lectures and playing gigs, the Welshman was now just playing gigs, dealing, and... well, sleeping. In about equal parts. The lectures had just gotten in the way, in any case.

 

With his booted feet upon the table and his head tipped back against the leather of the seat, his mouth slightly ajar, he cut a long, lean figure. In worn-out jeans and a faded t-shirt, the extensive tattoos on his arms looked to have cost more than his entire outfit combined; his long, curly hair was pushed back from his face... and anyone approaching would quickly notice that he smelled faintly of stale sweat and old booze. Lucas likely had not been home that day, or perhaps for several days... not that anyone was certain where he lived, or if he even had a home.

 

No, usually he just seemed to... show up.

 

Beside him, his pride and joy and most treasured possession; a mint-green Fender strat, the solid maple neck and numerous scratches and dings a clue to the instrument's venerable age. Her name was Clio, and Lucas had wrapped one sleeping arm possessively around her neck, holding her close even while unconscious. And near his elbow, a half-empty pint of beer grew gradually more stale upon the table.

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He was not one of Gwen's friends, or Lucas' for that matter, although he did notice her once in a while in the corridors. But he was never part of her crowd, or any crowd.

 

Sam Greyson entered the bar balancing a stack of books on his arms as usual - Marlowe and Wilde and Lorca - and tilting his head just so, so that his horn-rimmed spectacles won't slide off. He knew he looked awkward and cumbersome but at that moment he just wanted to get inside.

 

Once inside, Sam did not bother to acknowledge Gwen. He was sure she had no idea who he was, and why would she? And if she did, Sam was certain, he was in her eyes nothing more than that bookwormish nerd who got off from reading poems by Rochester. The fact that this was actually true did not assist matters at all.

 

So he passed through her, balancing books and horn-rimmed glasses, and hurried to find a free spot to sit down. There! A table! Sam shoved his way through all those people, his eyes fixed on the place he had found lest it be taken by another -

 

Yes, he was a clumsy lad. Stumbling, he sent Marlow and Wilde and Lorca flying all over the guy sleeping beneath him and his electric guitar; a long-haired, disheveled, tattooed guy; the kind of guy Esther Greyson warned her son never to hang out with once he left to University to study Law but ended up in Comp Lit. Luckily, he had won a scholarship for his studies, so he did not really depend on his parent to pay tuition fees. Otherwise, Esther Greyson would have made it crystal clear that she considered his choice of discipline a waste of her money.

 

"Fuck!" Another word Esther Greyson would not approve of. He looked up, praying he was not noticed by Gwen or anyone else who might recognize him.

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Bevs did not know if they were awaited or not, but he had heard that the American study abroad students had arrived. He knew this was a popular destination and hedged his bets that he would run into some American's here. It was incredibly easy to get in the panties of an American.

 

He was an adept enough flirt, but some semblance of sincerity and some money truly made up for that in most cases. If not, the fact that he was a buff rower usually tipped the scales the right way.

 

The History and Poli student walked into the martini joint, wearing a black button-down with a faded grey paisley and jeans, with his best mate.

 

"Isn't that your cousin, Gwenny?" he asked, nudging Cadell. His eyes locked on the girl, a small smile on his face. Cousin of Morty or not, she was fit! "We had better make nice nice with her or we'll be cockblocked all evening." Female friends and relations could make or break things.

 

He didn't notice the other two chaps, but headed straight for where Gwen was, and gave a wave to the barman.

 

"Two Macallan fifteens, doubles, and another drink for the lady," he said, giving the pretty actress a smile. Then the Oxford rower surreptitiously looked around, assessing all the women and selecting likely targets.

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Lucas awoke when Oscar Wilde hit him squarely in the jaw.

 

Well, more precisely Wilde's House of Pomegranates hit him in the jaw, which was probably for the best since the poet had been dead these mumblety years, but still it was hardly the happiest of awakenings. As the book slid down his chest, his eyes opened and on instinct he grabbed for Clio, protecting the guitar as if another flurry of books might assault them both at any second. Since all of this was done on auto-pilot, he appeared rather wild-eyed and bleary, and after a moment of blessed peace in which no more plagues of books rained down upon them, he quickly checked the guitar for damage, and then, finally turned to see where the books had come from.

 

It was at this point that Samuel looked up, and their eyes met. Lucas was overwhelmed by a dizzying moment of deja vu. His brow furrowed, and blearily he rubbed at his eyes with the fingers of one hand before offering, in a soft Welsh lilt quite at odds with his appearance, "You alright, mate? Y'took quite a tumble there..."

 

Because, under the tattoos and the long hair and the faint smell of deviancy, it turned out Lucas was actually quite an affable and inoffensive guy. At least when he was not on stage. (Faust were a metal band with reggae influences, a combination which generally did not lend itself to niceness.1)

 

Sitting up, he propped Clio carefully to one side, where she might not be further molested, and leaned forward to offer House of Pomegranates back to its owner, with a grin. But before he'd release the book to its owner, he added mildly, "I think you owe me a drink, mate." After a moment his wide and sunny smile appeared, and he added by way of explanation, "Mine was taken out by..." he leaned over, to see the title of another of the volumes, "Dr Faustus?" He laughed, "Oddly appropriate of it..."

 

 

1. For an example of metal plus reggae, please enjoy

I love Skindred... and they are, as it happens, from Wales! :D
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"-and yeah, I thought the professor had his act together, but then he started in about Chomsky and how untenable a participatory society would be, and I'm sitting here trying not to tell him he's stuck in the fucking 19th century..." As they reached the entrance of the bar, Morty suddenly stopped talking, and glanced towards Bevs with a nervous chuckle. "Right, rambling again. Sorry."

 

Bevs had likely learned to tolerate it long ago, but babbling about Chomsky and participatory democracy wasn't about to get him in a woman's pants anytime soon. At least, not with anybody he found attractive.

 

Wearing drainpipe jeans and a dark green V-neck, the Philosophy student knew he made an underwhelming impression next to his best mate. Coxes were usually short and expected to be lightweight, while the rest of the crew was far more buff. His small stature was only really a benefit when on a boat or getting drunk.

 

Following his roommate's glance to the bar, he nodded and cracked a smile. Seeing his cousin at the bar downing martinis like they were going out of style wasn't surprising at all, really. "Guess it can't hurt to see what's up," he said, content to follow the young heir's lead. "I'll keep an eye out for any American women who might wish to meet my lord of Beverley."

 

The pair made their way over to Gwen, and Morty's attention was momentarily diverted by a vaguely-familiar student stumble into a dodgy-looking guy with a guitar. Poor chap, he thought sympathetically, looks like a decent sort. "Hey Gwen, fancy seeing you here," he said, turning his attention away from the accident. "I've introduced you to Bevs before, right?" Having set the two up to talk, he muttered a quiet "Cheers" to the bartender and downed his own drink.

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Her view of Lucas was obscured at exactly the right moment by some poor book-laden fellow who must have been confused by the title of the bar and thought this was the actual library. Apart from that brief thought, and a faint glimmer of recognition somewhere, she did worse than think any particular thing about what he liked or did not like to read. She thought absolutely nothing about him at all. He was movement in the crowd, part of the buzz of all the barflies, a sign that God was running out of extras to play parts in her life. Perhaps he would walk in five minutes later wearing a hat as though he was a different character.

 

Greyson managed to obstruct her view of Lucas, she tapped on the bar a little impatiently wondering why on earth she was fucking drinking alone right now. Then a full grin broke onto her features as she saw two familiar yet unexpected faces.

 

"Darlings!" she greeted them, throwing her hands up with a dramatic flair from where she sat. Her heels clacked as they made contact with the ground, sleek little black numbers that gave the illusion that she was an average height.

 

Her own Welsh accent had been rather mitigated by her family's desire to project a certain poshness to the world, though there was still a hint of her origins in her speech. In a continental manner, she moved to deliver a hug to each, accompanied by a press of her cheek to each of theirs and air kisses. For a moment it'd be tempted to brand them with her lipstick for the rest of the night, but she did not know Beverley well enough for that, and her cousin would likely be upset with her.

 

"The keylime pie this time," she finished to the bartender.

 

"You have absolutely rescued me," Gwen smiled. "It feels so tragic, sitting by one's self at the bar, terribly desperate. How is...." what was that thing they both did? Polo? "the team? Is this the first stop of the night?"

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"My love, she's but a lassie yet! We'll let her stand a year or twa, she'll no be half sae saucy yet!" A group of raucous Scotsmen were packed into one corner, celebrating a stag night, and it had hit the point where they had become so inebriated that they began to sing. And while this might've been acceptable in the local pub, this was England--no doubt the raucous laughter and teasing were touching on a nerve or two.

 

Stephen had only come down because he felt that he had to--he had gone to uni with Allan MacDonald at Edinburgh, and Allan deserved a proper stag night. He had been one of the quieter of their set, and had gotten a job as an accountant down south, where he'd met his future wife. He raked a hand through his short hair, elbowing Jock MacPherson in the ribs when the idiot spilled his pint. "Fuck's sake, Jock, were ye raised in a bloody barn?"

 

He swiped ineffectually at the beer that had dribbled down his flannel shirt to his dark blue drainpipe jeans, glad at least that he'd had the foresight to wear his battered pair of steel-toed combat boots instead of trainers. There was nothing worse than shoes and socks soaked through with beer, in Stephen's opinion. "Alba gu brath!"* He raised his glass in a toast, grinning as he knocked back the rest of his pint, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.

 

He shot a look around the bar, as if to dare the English to say a word. Stephen didn't care a whit for what the English thought, but God forbid they say anything to one of him or his mates about their political preference. The majority were all pro-Scottish independence, and Stephen himself had been brought up in the SNP's youth organizations; he didn't like coming south because everything smacked of posh, stiff-upper lip British oppression.

 

"I'm dry, lads. Wha needs another?" After counting off the show of hands, Stephen made his way toward the bar, where he was nearly smacked in the face. "Watch yerself there, lass," he cautioned, rolling his eyes at her before putting in his order for three more pints.

 

SUBTITLES

* "Scotland forever!"

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((OOC: For anyone wondering where we all are ))

 

"Shit, I am so sorry," muttered Sam, expecting to be rebuked, ridiculed, derided, anything would be expected towards a geek like him from someone who was obviously a mega-cool tattooed musician of sorts.

 

Anything except that soft Welsh response which made Sam look up with genuine surprise. Something in the way the musician stared at him unnerved the young Jewish student, as if he recognized Sam or something. But they have never met, Sam was certain of that, or haven't they? An inexplicable craving for strawberries suddenly emerged from nowhere and disappeared a second later. Perhaps it was just the mere handsomeness of this guy, and his proximity, which caused Sam some unease. Surely nothing more.

 

"Yes, yes, I am fine, thank you," Sam murmured as he stood up, embarrassed. "I am sorry about this." He placed the various books on Lucas' table. "And you're... you are right, of course. I'll... I'll go and fetch you a drink immediately."

 

He was about to turn to the bar, where Gwen was now joined by a couple of blokes (did he recognize one of them?), when another comment made by the musician caught his attention.

 

"Why appropriate?" He asked. "Are you - are you Mephistopheles and am I selling you my soul by buying you a drink?"

 

As was usually the case whenever he tried to jest, Sam regretted these words the moment he uttered them. Nobody understood his over-intellectual jokes, and they just made him seem ever more foolish.

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Samuel's strange little joke made Lucas laugh, which was something he did easily, "But, tell me, Faustus, shall I have thy soul? / And I will be thy slave, and wait on thee, / And give thee more than thou hast wit to ask..."

 

This he said in a singsong sort of way, because the words - stolen directly from Marlowe's play - were lyrics in one of Faust's songs. He barely restrained himself from also playing air-guitar and head-banging, instead grinning and humming the tune to the next bit under his breath. Lucas stood, lifting Clio's strap over his head and shoulders so he could wear the instrument on his back like a really large and impractical backpack.

 

"C'mon. Onwards, barwards, Dr Faustus!" He declared, pointing the way and shooing Samuel in the general direction of it. "Wait, I think I see some people I know... HEY!" Lucas stuck finger and thumb in his mouth and whistled, loudly, to get Gwen's attention... and once he had it, threw both his fists in the air in a celebratory sort of way.

 

"GWENDOLYN! You sexy beast!" Crossing to her quickly, he greeted his friend affectionately by grabbing her up into a loose headlock and kissing the top of her head. It wasn't that there was anything between them, though Gwen was certainly attractive enough that he'd tried it on once or twice; Lucas was just this affectionate with everybody he considered a friend.

 

“Gwen, this is... err..." He paused, indicating Samuel, whose name he did not actually know, "...Dr Faustus! Who is here to sell his soul and also buy me a drink. Those things might be tangentially related. Mine's a pint, mate, ta," He finished, giving Samuel a warm smile. Lucas was so comfortable socially that he found it difficult to understand how other people might not be.

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"Chomsky? You really have been reading my Poli books haven't you?" Beverley asked, laughing a bit. "Libertarian socialism? Or just straight anarchism, hmm?" He rolled his eyes.

 

Theories were nice. There were things about it he did not like, though, but that was hardly surprising considering he was the son of an earl that could trace his lineage back a literal millennium plus.

 

"I rather like his criticisms of propaganda and the media-machine. He's all right for an American Jew," he joked, "Far better than some of the other theories I have to read."

 

As they walked up to Gwen, Bevs received his air kisses in a practiced way.

 

"'Lo, my lovely." He took in a breath through his nose. "MmMm, you smell nice."

 

He leaned his elbows on the bar-top and took his whiskey, giving it a good, long sip while Morty threw back the drink that cost him at least 2 teners, maybe closer to 3.

 

Christ, where's the American girls? There's just a bunch of rowdy Scots...probably chased them away.

 

"Terribly alcoholic," he jested, back to Gwen. "The crew is well, Morty keeps us in line."

 

It was about then that one of the rowdy Scots came over. Bevs narrowed his eyes at the tall and lanky man.

 

"Watch yourself? You got it wrong, mate, gentleman watch themselves of the ladies, not the other way around." He was, after all, a very upper-class twit when he wished to be. You know, when he was not high as a kite in summers racing his motorbike and trying not to get nicked.

 

"Barman, a round of the black stuff for those gentlemen, eh? Everyone loves a good Guinness."

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Heather, a redhead with long golden curls tied in a somewhat shoddy bun, entered the establishment. She pushed her glasses up her nose. For some reason they were always travelling down. She clutched an iPad to her chest, her excuse not to interact at all with any people while in a busy social place.

 

Her head downwards she moved through the throng of people, ordered a beer at the bar and then took the draft pint to the table, very near where Lucas slept and sat herself down. With a self importance face she typed in the pass word on her ipad and moved the apps through her screen.

 

Over the edge of her glasses Heather noticed a few loud people she knew, and she gave them a friendly, shy nod, not thinking they would be remotely interested to interacting with her.

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It was always nice to have one's triumphs in personal hygiene noted. Pleasantly surprised, she held Robert's gaze a moment and paused before resuming more acceptable conversational distance "Thank you," Gwendolyn could have continued by telling him it was Prada's new scent, but she really doubted he would actually care. She hated to be boring. It was the golden rule, after all, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 

"Cheers," her drink was handed over in perfect time for her to respond to the team being a bunch of alcoholics. Oh, not team. "Crew, right," she corrected herself, unaware of rowing terminology, and just remembering that rowing was indeed their sport. Which went far and above in explaining the young man's muscled shoulders and broad chest. "Very impressive, Morty," it felt weird to her to use this name for her cousin, but she thought she ought to in front of his friends or he would feel as though she was trying to make fun of him or something, which was not the case.

 

She hadn't been aware of the Scot so near to her, and when Robert's eyes narrowed and he addressed the lanky stranger, her own widened and she turned a little unsteadily on her stilts. "Oh, no," she assured the earl's son, "it's my fault." A hand briefly moved in a consoling manner, to rest briefly upon the stranger's shoulder in a friendly gesture. "I am sorry," always making use of her eyes.

 

Any further remark she might have made was interrupted by a familiar HEY followed by the whistle. Once more a hand shot up to wave to Lucas. Being a short person, Gwendolyn found it necessary to make such gestures above her head so they could be seen in a crowd. She struck a short pose with her hands on her hips, one hip out to the side, in demonstration of the extent to which she was a sexy beast.

 

"My dashing trophy husband, there you are!" then a quick smattering of clack clack clack as she had to move her feet to keep up with being pulled into a headlock. Her face pressed into her friend's torso as a kiss was planted upon her head, she hugged him about the waist. "Dr. Faustus indeed, I believe that confirms our suspicions that you are the devil. Nice to meet you," she told Samuel. "This is my cousin, Morty, his friend Bevs, uh, this guy," she gestured vaguely to the Scottish man, "and these are my friends Lucas and Dr. Faustus," she then informed the gentlemen already keeping her company.

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Lex poked the bare back that was half immersed under her covers and without a response, she took it one step further and smacked his bare arse hard. "Get the fuck up already," she said a bit roughly knowing that this is probably the reason why you never invite a man over to your place. Quick fuck no strings attached, shower and she's out. It was not as if four hours was any big deal, but the guy was acting like she overworked him. The riotous bright red curls were twisted and tied haphazardly at the back of her head.

 

He mumbled into her pillow and she rolled her eyes before hissing, "If you do not get your arse out of bed I'm going to throw your clothes out over the balcony. I'm late as fuck!" Hiss quickly turning into a growl as she scrambled to put on the tight leather pants and the plunging lacy v-neck top while trying to find her leather jacket and helmet.

 

The naked man finally roused himself awake with her threats and grumbled about being able to stay for a few more hours and to come back to bed. "I told you this was supposed to be a quickie. I was supposed to be out with friends you bastard. Get your clothes on and shower in your own place. I hate fucking being late." There was a glint of anger in her eyes that part of her reason for being late was because he was purposely trying to keep her in bed when she told him at least a few times that she had things to do. It was not to offend him, but he crossed the line when he pulled the clock out of the wall to get her to stay and 'snuggle'. Who the fuck does that?! She will make sure to lose his number the inconsiderate prick. Finally he had his pants on, and she hopped him over to the door and slammed it in his face.

 

She put on her Harley Davidson boots and looked at herself in the mirror putting on just a bit of make-up while trying not to look so pissed off with a smile. It would have to do, she thought to herself with a sigh and picked up her helmet before closing the door and locking it behind her.

 


 

 

She hoped that Gwen won't be too put out. The girl was roughly 30 minutes late and booked it at a break neck speed that might have gotten her a few tickets if not dead but she made it at least. A drink at the pub between aspiring actresses that were supposed to be aspiring in something else. She wanted to do everything and could not realy just decide on one passion. Her parents were dead which still stung from time to time in a robbery gone devastatingly wrong, but her grandparents loved and adored her including her wild side.

 

Overall, she was not such a bad child growing up and always had plans getting into one thing or another. Riding lessons, painting lessons, dance from modern and ballet to tap, as well as many others came and went on a whim as she kept the skills she wished to hone the most. She got into University on merit and work and not cause her family bought her in because she was dumb as a stump. A major in business and a few minors here and there to keep her pacified and busy. It was to round out her personality and the girl hated to be idle. Her grandfather always mentioned if she was made to sit or stand in one place for too long something terrible might happen like frogs might rain out of the sky, or blood will run out of the faucets. It has not yet, but she has not stopped once to rest since she was able to crawl.

 

The sleek motorcycle was parked on the curb and she pulled off her helmet as she got off of the bike hoping that Gwen made a few friends to lighten the blow of her tardiness. She fluffed out her hair and strutted towards the pub with an air of confidence.

 

As she entered the place was already in full swing and she grinned seeing the lovely petite brunette already surrounded by men. Lex walked in without any sort of hesitation and walked over towards Gwen, "Sorry sweetie, someone fucked with my clock and even managed to hide away my damn cell." A kiss was placed on her cheek as she spotted Lucas beside her and raised a brow.

 

"What the hell are you doing here, Lucas?" She asked with a surprise knowing the man more for his musical talent if not his more sexual ones as she leaned in close for a hug and gently bit his ear. It was there so why not? She was just being friendly.

 

Once she detached from him, Lex waited for a host of introductions and with some laughter she shouted towards the barkeeper, "Well let's get a round of shot!" Taking the first round knowing all of them including here was entirely too sober at the moment.

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Stephen wasn't typically quick to anger, but the arrogant look on Beverley's face set his blood to boiling. Guinness?! That pompous fucker. Although the girl apologized (and was rather pretty, Stephen noted distractedly), he couldn't let it go without a cheap shot. "Aye, weel, at least I dinna hae a rod shoved so far up my arse that I cannae function." Stephen tried to catch the bartender's eye to prevent him from drawing the beers up, but it was to no avail. "An' quite frankly, fuck being a gentleman--posh manners will only get ye so far, mate."

 

He had gathered the tray of Guinness up, glaring at the offending pints like that would make it any better, before sitting it back down. He caught Jock's eye across the bar and jerked his head in the direction of the bar; a quick conversation in rapid Scottish Gaelic and Jock was taking the Guinness back to the table. If the lass was going to include him, well, who was he to look a gift horse in the mouth? He doubted that the lads would miss him too much; he had left out the unpleasant circumstances with Beverley, not wanting to ruin Allan's stag night.

 

"Stephen, Stephen Murray. I'm doon from Edinburgh for my mate's stag night--he's gettin' marrit in a few days." He made sure to shoot the girl [Gwen] a winning grin, "An' because ye're so richt bonny, I'll buy the next round--Deuchars IPA, the finest Edinburgh has tae offer." The lazy, slyly confident smirk he was sporting seemed to indicate that perhaps beer was not the only thing Edinburgh had to offer; when the redhead came into the bar, heedlessly invading personal spaces left, right, and center, Stephen regarded her with an appraising look.

 

"Jesus God, what a fit bird! I bet ye get all the lasses, eh, laddie?" He addressed Lucas, leaning on the bar a bit as he took him in from head to foot. "I can see why--ye're verra braw." And tattooed and stupidly handsome, but Stephen wasn't about to say that outright. "Do ye all gie tae the uni then?" It seemed the most logical explanation, being in a university town, but Stephen felt obligated to ask before assuming outright.

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"Sometimes I run out things to read," Morty admitted with a smirk, "and besides, I haven't heard you complain about it before." Noting the eyeroll, he added with caution not to begin another rant, "I don't think any sort of -ism provides a blanket solution to all our woes, but it's obvious that humanity can't move forward without serious reforms that benefit everybody instead of a select few."

 

As he hugged Gwen back, the Scots in the corner made themselves known. Finishing the expensive drink without regret (Bevs' treat, after all, and it wasn't like he needed much), he said to the two next to him, "So nice for the extras from Braveheart to come join us, isn't it?" The soft-spoken cox had been stuck with an irreverent sense of humor from an early age, one of his more bold qualities.

 

"It's the near-sighted leading the blind," he jested back when the conversation turned to the crew, silently thankful Gwen didn't use his given name. "Except sometimes the blind get together and throw me into the river." The amusement he wore faded as one of the Scots sidled over to the bar and proceeded to (in his view) make himself out to be quite the loudmouth. Cadell watched both him and Bevs, hoping that he wouldn't have to step in before it came to blows.

 

A shame, I thought the Guinness bit was rather clever. The awkward young man and the one with the guitar were the next to join the group, and Morty managed a smile. In large groups, he tended to fade to the background, not having a forceful enough personality to really stand out. "Nice to meet you all," he said, before realizing where he knew 'Dr. Faustus' from. "Wait, um, you're Sam, yeah? I think we had a class together- your presentations were always bloody brilliant, mate."

 

Yet another person, some friend of Gwen's, came up to the bar. They all seemed so friendly with each other, and though the whiskey had loosened him up a bit, he couldn't bring himself to join in the enthusiasm just yet. Glancing around the bar, he spotted his fellow cox, Heather, at a table by herself. Returning her smile with one of his own, he nudged Beverley, thinking that maybe they could join or invite her over instead of leaving the redhead on her own.

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"Uh, you know Doctor Faustus… by heart?!" This was something Sam certainly did not expect, if to judge from this guy's appearance. The mere fact that he quoted Marlowe so easily caused Sam to immediately grow fonder – if not downright smitten – of Lucas, and the content of the words quoted… well, they did cause some shivering down the student's spine.

 

Before he had the chance to say anything, the guitarist dragged him towards the bar, and whistled and waved his fists and shouted "You sexy beast!" to Gwen – all of which caused Sam to try to minimize his physical presence in the room as much as possible, hoping to disappear. He would never understand how anyone could feel comfortable enough to shout Sexy Beast at anyone else. But then again, Gwen called him 'dashing' and 'trophy husband' so obviously they were intimate, rationalized Sam with a tinge of jealousy. The jealousy deepened as a redhead girl arrived and nibbled at the guitarist's ear. Silently and bitterly, he had to agree with the tall Scot's observation: his Mephistopheles probably did get all the women he wanted. Sam himself was still a virgin, and entirely unapt in all the secret codes of flirtation - which he viewed in awe as some kind of impenetrable language known to everyone but him.

 

One of the gang addressed him, which took him entirely by surprise – and praised his presentations in class, which was even rarer. Only his professors did that, and they of course didn't count. "Oh thanks!" He gave an awkward half-smile and then remembered where he knew Morty from. "I think we took a course on Aristotle's Poetics together."

 

"And yes," he mumbled uncomfortably to the whole company. "I am… I'm Sam, not Doctor Faustus." And again he felt dumb the second these words left his mouth. "We also took some Law classes together," he added uneasily to Gwen before turning to the bartender. "A pint, um, a pint for each of us, please."

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A crowd of friends at a bar... and Lucas was in his element, the place in which he felt most perfectly at home. This, and on stage, immersed in his music.

 

When Gwen called him a devil he merely grinned. He nodded to the others as Gwen made the introductions, his smile given equally to all; he was predisposed to like everybody unless given good reason otherwise, after all.

 

But before he could say much of anything to anyone, a red-headed whirlwind appeared and fell into his arms. "Lex!" Lucas caught his breath as Alexa sank her teeth into his earlobe. "Feeling frisky tonight, are we? Good girl," Lucas murmured to her approvingly, grinning from ear to ear.

 

As quickly as she'd assaulted him she was gone, off to hail the barman for shots (an excellent plan), and some Scot was complimenting his prowess with the ladies. "Sexy Lexi? I'd watch out for that one if I were you," Lucas confided to Stephen, loud enough for Sexy Lexi to overhear, shooting her a sidelong look as though she were a dangerous wild animal, "She's a man-eater." To illustrate, he leaned a little closer to Stephen and snapped his teeth shut, and then burst into amused laughter.

 

It was around that time that someone pushed a pint of beer into his hand, and Lucas raised it to the room in general, "Cheers!" and took himself a deep swallow. While he was drinking, he noticed Morty and Dr Faustus getting along quite nicely, and was pleased to hear the good Doctor's name finally.

 

"Sam? Oh, I'm disappointed in you, Sam," Lucas shook his head, tutting, and slung a tattooed arm around Sam's shoulders, gesturing with the hand that held the pint, carefully enough not to spill it. "You were going to sell me your soul under a false name? Oh dear me. That's no kind of binding contract, is it? Clearly you're no law student, bloody brilliant presentations or no. I was going to have dear Gwen draw us up something and everything..." He raised an eyebrow at Sam, and chuckled, giving him a squeeze and then releasing him, "I'm Lucas, by the way, though I'll answer to 'hey you' and 'fucking wanker' and... well, whatever else comes to mind..." He finished, vaguely, lifting the pint back to his mouth and draining a fair bit more of it.

 

"Hey Lexi, are you bringing us shots or what, darlin'?" Lucas called to the redhead. "We need lots of lubrication over 'ere!"

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Bevs did all he could do in the face of the Scot, he laughed, and he laughed heartily.

 

"A rod up my arse, what are we? Twelve?" He hit the top of the war and finished the rest of his whiskey. "Ah, yes, Scots have no manners anyway. Some women like heathens, I suppose. I'll keep to my manners, thanks."

 

He held up his fingers for another drink. That first one went down too fast.

 

"Sexy Lexi?" he repeated. Oh I bet her grandfather would die to hear that one. Not that he would tell the man, of course. He gave a little whistle and gave her a once over with appreciative and mischievous hazel eyes. That leather would look good on the back of his bike.

 

Like Morty, he noted Heather coming in and could not miss the appearance of one of their team mates. Bevs gave her a wave and a nod, then tried to gesture her to come over and join them.

 

"Put that one on my tab," he said, to the bartender, pointing out Heather. He had no problem throwing money around. His father had enough of it, and Beverley was the only son.

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She enjoyed her cousin's irreverent sense of humor and giggled. "Fuck being extras, they're almost drunk enough to be mistaken for Mel Gibson." Why did they not meet up more? They were just so busy and moved in different circles, Gwen supposed. Such was life! Besides, Gwendolyn put a lot of faith in destiny and unplanned meetings were always the best sort. Why waste time planning when life destroyed those plans willy-nilly anyway?

 

Gwen was glad when the moment where a fight would have broken out was there to be one had passed. Though, that wasn't to say another opportunity wouldn't break out later when everyone was considerably more intoxicated, which was only a matter of time. By then, she was certain, everyone would be firm friends.

 

From where she had been making intros near Lucas, Gwendolyn pushed glossy main out of her face and replied, "Congratulations to him!" talking about Stephen's friend who was on his stag night. His confident smirk was returned by a modest glance down and innocent fluttering of eyelashes. "Hope for peace after all," referring to the tension between Scotland and England, and also between he and Robert when the Scot declared he was buying a round.

 

Sam corrected her misinformation as to his true identity. It was obvious from the aspiring actress's facial expression that she was having a hard time placing him in one of her classes.... "I have to say, honestly I sleep through most of those," she imparted to him with a grin, though her high marks suggested otherwise. "But it is so lovely to officially meet you...."

 

At which point "Lex! Hello, gorgeous," Gwen delivered an air kiss as a peck was planted on her own cheek. She moved out of the way to allow the purity of Lucas' ear to be violated. She winked at Stephen as he seemed impressed by Lucas' inexplicable magnetism, though wondered at the same time whether he'd been aware that everyone could hear those sentences?

 

She caught Bevs pointing to a lone redhead seated nearby. Gwendolyn placed a hand lightly upon his upper arm to indicate she was trying to communicate with him, as sometimes became necessary in loud places with many distractions. "You know her? Let's all go sit down!" The poor bartender was probably getting a little overwhelmed having such a crowd calling for rounds of everything, and how was anyone else supposed drink with them cluttering up the place. Besides, she only had a certain amount of time to stand in her heels, she would like to save that time for dancing later on in the night. Strategy was terribly important at times like these.

 

In what was perhaps poor form, her martini had been left at the bar between Cadell and Robert while all the greetings had been taking place. But she trusted her cousin to be on the lookout for...really everything. He was a trustworthy sort. "And hand me my drink, will you, you haven't tried to slip me anything?"

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[attachment=0]Heathermodern.jpg[/attachment]

 

Heather smiled back at Cadell whom she was more than familiar with, sweating together during training. It was the nice comfort of friends. Then she blushed when Beverley noticed her, gesturing as well. She waved in reply, taking a huge gulp of her beer, while a vision of his lean muscles during training dance before her eyes.

 

Heather wasn't making a great hurry towards the bar to join them. They were having several women over already, they probably weren't interested in her at all. Which didn't matter because she had work to do. The deadline of her magazine was just four days away.

 

With a little frown of concentration she attempted to read the next submission but it was really shit. Overworn metaphors, lazy spelling, nothing new, nothing sparkling. She sighed and blew a golden red curl away that was dangling in her face. Fuck, he was the son of the vice Provost, and she was such a protective bitch. How was she going to reject him?

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Gwen was the gorgeous one and if she was interested in both sexes Alexandra would have angled herself to be a bed mate, but it really was not for everyone. The red-haired girl laughed at Lucas' mention of feeling frisky tonight and replied, "Always, darlin', but I am tempted to finding a third for us to contemplate playing with if you are up for it." Then winked as she went over to the bar for shots to commence.

 

As Stephen started talking, her blue-green gaze fell upon him as his accent was the first thing she noticed. Is it terrible that she rather liked a guy with an accent? She heard that funny nickname that Lucas gave her and gave an innocent little smile as she heard what Lucas was saying to Stephen, "I do not bite....much and no one has ever been too scared to see me again." Then promptly stuck her tongue out at Lucas.

 

Another familiar face was found as her gaze met Bev's, "My goodness the entire gang is here. I'm surprised you got away for the evening as tight as that leash and collar is about your neck, darling." Then she gave the Bev's a very friendly hug while she rubbed up against him letting him enjoy the leather clad curves and gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Always good to tease you, Bevs." Then offered him and his friend Cadell a few shots. "To good health and youth."

 

"And what do they call you?" She asked quickly enough as she then began to invade Stephen's space right before offering him a shot. "To merriment and success." It seemed the party was moving about and she accepted the tray of shots and started passing them out. "Here you are, Lucas. Though, I do not believe anyone has ever had a problem with enough lube while you are around." She teased before handing one to Sam with a sweet dimpled smile. "Here you go, love."

 

Then they began to migrate a bit over to where another cute red-haired girl (Heather) sat at a table in front of a laptop and she said sweetly, "Darling, it's a time for a bit of play and to recharge the batteries."

 

"All right you rabble rousers! Bottoms up," she shouted above the conversational noise using her mighty if not talented voice and raised her shot glass to clink with others nearby.

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Gwen's friends began doing some sort of weird pseudo-flirting thing, spearheaded by the one Lucas dubbed Sexy Lexi. She was rather fit, he had to admit, but the leather-clad redhead gave off a man-eating impression that simply screamed "Turn the fuck back". But she was buying a round (along with everybody else he tangentially knew, it seemed) and was apparently...friendly with Bev, so he greeted her with good cheer along with the rest of Gwen's friends.

 

"Yeah, I'm studying philosophy, so I figured broadening my horizons and reading Aristotle's other stuff couldn't hurt," he explained to Sam, who seemed in need of some friendship. "But yeah, I thought you had a much better way of explaining things than the professor. Stuffier than the fucking Amazon, that man is." With a grin, he looked back at his cousin. "Are you still acting, Gwennie? Sam here knows all there is to know about dramatic theory."

 

Suddenly, Cadell found himself holding a shot bought by Lex and a pint bought by Stephen, with Gwennie asking for her martini. Meanwhile, he was still trying to get Heather, who he had always seen as less arrogant than most of the team, to join the group. Stuck between all those things to do, and suddenly realizing with a glance towards Bevs that there were two gingers he knew present, he shrugged with a silent Fuck it and tossed back the shot, chased by a gulp of Deuchars.

 

Feeling free from the responsibility of being the responsible one, he grinned broadly and grabbed Gwen's martini. "Anything for you, cousin," he said, handing her the misplaced drinking. Moving towards Heather's table, he called, "Hey Heather! How's the magazine going?" With a bit of self-control, he refrained from adding, heard from Charlotte lately? He didn't want Heather or Bevs thinking he was desperate about their teammate. Tonight wasn't for brooding about women, even if they were a beautiful, clever coxswain.

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Stephen merely raised an eyebrow at Lucas' asides, taking a long drink from his pint. She might've been a man-eater, but she had single-handedly livened up their little group. "Nah, mate, I amn't feert of naebody." Well, that wasn't entirely true, but as far as Stephen was concerned he was down to London for Allan's wedding and he'd likely never see these people again--what was a few white lies to complete strangers?

 

"Ah, I'm Stephen." For a brief second he considered staring at her shapely figure, but well, it still didn't feel right. It had been a few months, and some of his friends had been nagging him to get back on the dating scene, but he wasn't sure he wanted to just yet. He had genuinely been in love with Neal, but apparently Neal hadn't felt quite the same way about him--he'd cited the rote "we're growing apart" and left. "I live in Edinburgh, but my mate's getting marrit so I came doon fer his stag night." He nodded in the direction of the table of Scots, who were still (rather loudly) talking amongst themselves.

 

Stephen wavered when some of them (the dark-headed girl, and the snarky one--Morty) began to migrate in the direction of a free table, not sure whether go to with them or back to his mates. But there was a shot that Lexi had pressed into his hand, and Stephen wasn't about to be rude; he took a seat, and grinned as he took the shot with practiced ease. "Oy, Morty--what sort of name is that, mate? It's a wee bit daft, aye? What are ye, fifty?" He had to smirk at little to keep up appearances, but he didn't mean to stir the pot--he was curious as to how someone ended up with such an odd name.

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How exactly did he found himself in the midst of this crowd? Sam was not really sure. The general mood of flirtations and innuendoes made him entirely uncomfortable as he knew he could never play along. Somehow, in the Restoration comedies he used to read and admire, characters managed it so easily. He learned so much of them, as if he could learn something from it. But whenever he was in society, he ended up dumbstruck.

 

Merry Lucas threw his arm around his shoulder, and Sam cringed and stiffened under the touch, as if trying to shrink and avoid the physical friction. He tried not to shudder and smiled back weakly. "I am indeed no law student," he said, fairly certain no-one really cared to listen. "At least not anymore. I switched to Comp Lit."

 

The only person who seemed to have some common language with him was Morty. Sam laughed as the young Welsh guy described their professor. "Yes, he is quite a Penthesilea!" He further developed the metaphor with enthusiasm. "One can't wait for an Achilles to finally come over and - nevermind," his momentary lively tone faded quickly as he went on speaking, fearing again he should have kept his mouth shut.

 

So Gwen wanted to be an actress? Sam looked at her sideways. She was pretty enough for it, he reckoned. But in any case, actors never really cared much for dramatic theory anyways, so she probably won't be interested anyhow.

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As Lex handed him his shot she made some remark about lubrication, a remark which made Lucas raise one eyebrow quizzically. He raised the glass to the room in general and murmured, "Lechyd da," before knocking it back in a single swallow and setting the empty glass down. Then, he turned back to Alexa.

 

Lucas captured her from behind, gathering her up, slipping his arms under hers and nuzzling his head in the crook of her shoulder. "Was that a report on the state of your knickers, you dirty girl...?" He laughed. "You know how much I like those..."

 

The Welshman released her almost as quickly with a friendly peck on the cheek, before the group as a whole began to meander in the direction of the table he'd just vacated. It was no huge surprise to find it already occupied (anything left unattended in this place for more than a moment was shortly claimed by a person)... but the fact that the redheaded stranger sat alone was passing strange. At least in a bar.

 

Whatever is she doing with a laptop?

 

Lucas paused before settling down to find a safe place for Clio... as he sat down beside Heather without much ceremony, he swung the instrument off his back and parked the guitar between his knees, where she would be safe and easily within reach.

 

"She's right, you know," He commented mildly, "Now is definitely not the time for laptops and work, m'dear. Do you mind if I sit here? I can't promise I won't try to shamelessly distract you..."

 

If she cared to look up, Lucas would offer her his trademark pleasant grin, and a hand to shake, "My name's Lucas, by the way," He'd remark in his soft, Welsh lilt. "And this rowdy lot..." he indicated the rest of the group, with a wave of the hand, "Are trouble. I suggest you only talk to me." From his tone of voice and the amused look upon his face, it was clear he was joking... but then Lucas was very rarely serious, if he could possibly help it.

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"I do still act! I'm taking the train to London in a few days to an audition," Gwendolyn responded to Morty. She was fairly certain this would be her big break, even though she was always certain the next audition would be her big break. But she couldn't very well continue to audition for things and not believe that she might eventually get a part. What was the point of that? "

 

"Dramatic theory, really?" it was quite obvious this link to Sam was much more interesting to her than any classes dealing with the legal system that they might have had in common. "I don't know much about it myself," she admitted. Actors were more interpreters, really, bringing to life what the writers had already created. "Do you prefer theater or film?"

 

"Bless you," she told Morty when he handed her drink over. Gwendolyn was pleased to see everyone filing over to the table, some sort of order. Everyone going together. There would need to be some games. She followed after the group, grinning as Alexa encouraged everyone to take their shot, swirling her martini as though to demonstrate she didn't need one at present.

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Bloody hell, he loved leather. There were few things nicer than a woman's body in leather.

 

Mmm Mmm! He gave her (Leather Lex) another heavy once over, a twang in his trousers. Mmm, she is looking fit!

 

By the time he stopped thinking about the leather, all he heard was that Scottish chap insulting his best mate. Bevs was not having any of that. "It's a nickname from his last name. Bugger off. What are you some sort of nobby-no-mates, eh? You've got to come over here harassing my friends?"

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Alexandra hardly ‘dated’ and would never go on blind dates or get ‘set up’ knowing that if she really wanted to she could find someone and ‘settle down’. She was still young and it was all quite far from her mind. Of course, there were a few times when she did try to make such a meaningful attachment, but found the partner to be too possessive and even rather childish when she fully listed out exactly who she was and how she did things. It was not that she was a terrible person. She was also not a ‘cheater’. At the beginning of any relationship, she would state that she would not expect her partner to sleep with her only, but to be safe and honest with her. If that man or woman happened to have another partner on the side and wanted to swing, that is all right too, but she despised drama as much as she despised people trying to use sex or anything else in their arsenal to manipulate others. If any of her friends were of the lower self-esteem bracket and sleeping with arseholes that were abusive with actions, or words, she would destroy them either taking what they desired more and smashing it into pieces or robbing them of it while offering solace with shots, glasses of wine and even the occasional rom-com even though most of it was ridiculous.

 

She chuckled as she heard Stephen mention not being scared and even met his gaze with a teasing smile as he introduced himself. It seemed that their group was working towards getting the shy and quiet people to feel comfortable or at least involved into the group. The shot to Stephen was an anchor to keep him close and she took the shot with everyone else letting the liquid slip down her throat causing her to shudder with delight wanting another. The shot glass was placed down and quickly enough Lucas grabbed her and hugged her close as she snuggled into him without any trace of shame. “You know I do not believe in report verbal or otherwise, it is all about the action and one of those ‘believe it or not’ sorts of situations.” She said sweetly enough and then smirked at him who knew how blunt she could be with what she wanted, where and when she might want it leaving subtle for those that enjoyed playing with minds and waste time with games. “Go mingle sweetheart and perhaps later I can show off the state of my knickers.” Then she snapped her teeth playfully and winked as he went off to find himself a seat.

 

Was there going to be a throw down? She wondered as she heard Stephen’s question and Bev’s remark to defend his friend Morty who looked absolutely adorable and probably one of those serious relationship types. “Heeey, Stephen’s a friend and Morty could be a rather odd, but cute name!” She interjected sweetly as she plopped onto his (Stephen’s) lap before the Scot decided to remove himself and sent back to his rowdy wedding party of friends before they could get to know each other. “Tell us a little bit of yourself? Any interesting nicknames? Tattoos? Piercings?” She asked with a teasing warmth as she looked down in her lap as she mentioned piercings. An arm went about his shoulder confidently as if she did it all the time not even wondering if the man would dump her on the floor.

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