Description: Mai visits The Illusion Bar to catch-up with her old friend and teammate. Small talk, whiskey sours, and fashion conversation ensues.
Illusion is certainly not the most popular spot in Southtown's nightlife, but it certainly has its own clientele. The bar carries the vibe of a speakeasy, lounge, or even a jazz club, which gives it a unique aesthetic compared to the livelier (and louder) atmospheres of some of Southtown's other bars. Even so, Illusion manages to attract a steady business between the hard-working salarymen and other professionals and the younger clientele wanting a change of pace.
And tonight the propreitor, King, is also playing the role of bartender. It's certainly not an uncommon occurrence, of course. Her hands-on ownership is part of Illusion's small business charm.
Presently King is behind the counter and dressed in her usual usual purple-burgundy vest and dress pants with a white button up underneath. She is also shaking a martini mixer.
It's time bar hours, it's Thursday, and the life of the party shows up! That's Mai! She walks into the lively establishment looking cheerful, also in one of her usual attires. When she sees King is tending bar herself, she hops on over to grab a seat, almost shoving some folk out of the way in the process. She, energetically and with her typical bounciness, hops herself onto a bar stool. "Hii! King! I'm ready to start the weekend early! What do you have on tap tonight?"
"Oh, Mai," King says, says taken aback. "Good of you to drop in. It's been a while." King keeps rocking the shaker for several moments before undoing the lid and straining into it a glass. The garnish is set and it's slid across the counter to a business-y looking fifty-something Japanese man who has been eyeballing Mai since she arrived.
"Your martini, sir," King says, pushing it forward with just enough force to get his attention. Even so, she gives him a proper customer service smile before turning back to Mai. She leans over the bar top, resting her weight on her forearms as she speaks.
"Starting the weekend early, Mai? Don't tell me works gotta you down that much. Is it the ninja business or the modeling that's the hard part? I never know." King gives her friend a lopsided smile before standing back up. "But let's see..."
"I just got in a nice Perucchi Gran Reserva dry, a great Awamori, several small batch whiskeys from America..."
"Ohh! Whiskey sounds great!" says Mai. "On the rocks. You can pick the one you think is sweetest." Mai grins, and bats her eyes a little to emphasize the sweetness is for her.
Then she flops her elbows on the bar. "Hey, it's the holidays. You have any idea how many sexy Santa outfits I have had to try on for next week's appearances? It's going to absolutely hit the fan..." She punctuates this pun by pulling a fan out and waving it at her face a bit, slowly.
"So business here seems good!"
"The sweetest, of course," King gives Mai a subdued smile. "I can make you a cocktail with it if you'd rather. I'm sure I can whip something up that's to your liking." She steps around reaching for a dark amber bottle and taking it by the neck before swinging it around onto the back countertop.
"Oh, yes. We're on an upswing, really," King takes a set of tongs and digs several cubes out of the half-freezer. They jingle into the glass before the stopper is pulled out of the bottle with a corky pop. What follows is the distinct bubble and gurgle of the whisky pouring into the glass before King sets it down before Mai.
"I even managed to replace the mug froster last month." A pause. "Though it might have been faster with a little prize money to help things a long. How well does SNF pay, anyway?"
"I trust your cocktail sense!" Mai says. She's curious to see what King will serve up. Plus if you put booze in a cocktail it goes down a bit better... she just doesn't want to get too carried away or they'll be carrying her home. "Oh, pretty all right! That was my first match in a while. Honestly I like doing it more for the publicity. But I also got a free meal out of it, so it was a pretty good thing all around."
Mai huffs. "I'm not signed up this round. I got too busy. But next time for sure. You're thinking about it, right?"
King pushes the whiskey glass toward Mai with her fingers. "Try that one first. It's not as strong as some, so you might like it straight. I'll mix you up something special for round 2." King gives Mai a subdued smile. "You are getting round 2, right?"
King turns around and pulls another glass off the rack and flips it over with a flourish. She takes a clean mixer out, gives the top and quick spin to remove it, and sets it aside before moving to the cupboard.
"Mm. Maybe. I might get rusty otherwise. Playing bouncer around here only goes so far." King pulls out two bottles and sets them on the counter before setting down a third.
"Besides, I could use some extra money to get Jan something nice for Christmas."
"Oh, for sure," Mai says, without even picking up the glass just yet.
She does pick it up and take a sniff. Then a longer smell. The smell of whiskey is so nice.
"You should go for it. I have an ulterior motive. I'm looking to build up the Women's Team again." Mai takes a careful sip. It looks like she likes it as-is, giving an approving nod. "So how is he doing?"
"Those two from the last tournament seem so bad. Kind of a shame what happened with that matchup, though. Ryu seems like a tough opponent." King thumbs the cap up on a bottle, then pours some of the opened whiskey into the tumbler. Several squirts of lemon juice follow. She takes the syrup with a flourish, splashing some in with the agility and precision of a professional. Part of the mixing seems to be the show.
"Jan's fine. He's been doing his exercises well even without me nagging him," King says, "to be honest, he's the one nagging me, lately." King gives a small smile. "He's afraid I'm going to get rusty."
"Don't get rusty!" Mai insists. She takes another sip of the whiskey. "Sign up for the Saturday Night Fights and get some practice. Just hope you don't get matched up against me..."
Mai waves her fan again, and then flips it so it is put away, somehow. Who knows where she slips them. "But if we do, I'll keep it friendly."
King screws the cap on the tumbler and gives it a thorough shaking. She preps another glass of ice then unscrews the lid and pours it into the glass. This time, it's garnished with a lemon slice and a maraschino cherry before she sets it down before Mai.
"This may be a bit early, but I think you'll like it. It's a whiskey sour, but the cherry and lemon should really play off the flavor well.
"But as for being rusty..." King puts her hand on her hip. "Maybe you'd like to volunteer to spar sometime? I mean, since you'll keep it friendly and all."
"I'll just have to drink faster!" Mai puts down her current glass, and picks up the sour. Whiskey smells good but a whiskey sour smells great too.
"Hey, that sounds perfect. We should do that."
She takes a drink from her original glass, a little more aggressively as she has a lot to get through now. Then she slams it down. "Oh, I almost forgot. This other woman invited me to train with her too."
"We can set a time that's good for you," King says, "Sally and Elizabeth can always hold down the bar for a bit if I need a night off." She slides a hand through her hair, brushing it back. Her earrings jingle just a little.
"Another woman? Is that what got you thinking about the team again?"
"Yeah! Well, I was thinking about it anyway. I'm worried about getting rusty too." Mai of course has never been particularly dedicated to hard training, but that doesn't mean she doesn't enjoy getting some action. "Her name is Chizuru. She was kind of mysterious. Like a guru! She said she saw my fight and she wanted to talk to me." Mai flattens her lips for a second, pulling her mouth into a straight line as she pulls them in. It's like she drank something sour, but she hasn't touched the sour, yet. She, slightly lower, says, "She asked me about Andy, too."
"Chizuru? Hmmmm." King says, resting her elbow on the bar and resting her chin on her palm. "Well, just be careful. Not that you really need the warning, I suppose."
"But how are things going there?" King asks, "With Andy, I mean."
Mai doesn't answer about Andy. She leans forward a little, moving from bracing with her elbow, to bracing with her hand, and asks: "Be careful? Why? Do you know her, does she have a reputation?"
"Not one that I know of," King says, "but I'm a little skeptical of mysterious benefactors." King stands up straight and shrugs. "Maybe it's a bad habit leftover from dealing with Mr. Big. She could be fine. Just...take it slow, I'd say."
"Well, to make it more mysterious, she gave me this."
Mai reaches into her top - it takes just a second - and procures a business card. It is equally unknown how she manages to actually store things under there (ninja magic).
She hands the business card over to King. Then she sips from her first whiskey... polishing it off.
This card seems to identify Chizuru as the chief executive officer of Kagura Entreprises.
Taking the card, King raises it up to get a better look at in the backlighting from the bar. She tilts it just so. "CEO?" King reads. "Are you sure she's not wanting you to be her new spokesmodel instead, Mai?" A pause. "No offense, of course." King smiles.
"Hmmmmm." Mai pushes the empty glass away, and puts a finger under her chin as if fake-contemplating. "Yeah, maybe. But I'd accept that offer too. She asked about my chi." She shrugs, and slides over the sour next. "I obviously have talent." Innuendo intended. "So maybe I'll see how it goes."
She makes that sour face again. But THEN she drinks the sour (which is less sour than it is sweet and sour). "No news on the Andy front."
"Of course you would," King chuckles. "I can't say I'd blame you either. It seems like it'd pay well." She raises an eyebrow at talent, looking down briefly before looking Mai in the eye.
"Mmm," King says, "Do I need to rough him up for you?" King says, taking the whiskey glass so she can rinse it.
Mai thinks about it while she drinks a little more. She isn't sure about that one. "Do you think it would get him to notice me? Maybe if I swept in and rescued him." That makes very little sense but it makes sense after a strong drink.
"Oh well, there's plenty of time. Don't worry about it!" Mai waves her hand a bit. "I can have fun and call him later."
"Whatever's best for you, Mai," King says, taking a towel and drying the whiskey glass before setting it gingerly back on the shelf. Having fun and calling him later does get King to raise her eyebrow, however.
"So what have you been up to anyway, Mai? It seems like it's been forever since you've stopped by."
"Hm, you know, working hard," Mai says. She thinks for a second about how to answer further, and then comes up with something. "Hey. I have an idea. If you want to spar, how about next week between my Christmas mall appearances? That will give me a really nice break, and it might draw some crowds too!"
"Hmmm," King rubs her chin. "Why not? Where are you thinking for a venue? I'd offer to use the Illusion, but I don't think I can trust your fighting style around my liquor." King smiles.
"It -would- probably bring in some extra customers, though..."
"Think about it. The shopping center works if you aren't sure." Mai takes another sip of her drink. "I can go through your liquor plenty just like this!"
"Do you have any cute outfits for Christmas?"
With a laugh, King breaks into a smile. "So I see," she says, "but as long as you're paying, I don't mind. I can't give out too many free drinks, you know. You'd probably drink me broke." King adds with a wink.
"Cute Christmas outfits?" she asks, tugging at her collar slightly. "N-not really. I mean, nothing particularly festive." I've got a sweater or two in the closet somewhere?"
"Ooo! You'd look so good in a Christmas sweater. Or I could get you a Christmas bowtie. Hey, if you don't have an outfit, I'll pick one out for you," Mai says. "I have amazing fashion sense."
She wags a finger. "I promise, it'll be your style not mine."
King seems uncertain about the idea of Mai buying her Christmas wardrobe. Perhaps, in her head, King is picturing something more akin to Mai's typical combat attire. She did say a bowtie though, right...?
"Well, I wouldn't want you to go out of your way, though."
"Hey, don't be nervous." Mai picks up her whisky sour again, and takes another long glug. Then she puts it back on the bar. "I'm not gonna play a prank on you. Your sense of style is all about you after all."
"Maybe. Though. Some sequins?" She wiggles her finger as if she were distributing glitter (while noting to herself to add some snow glitter to her ninja magic arsenal for the holidays).
"D-do I seem nervous?" King asks, crossing her arms and rubbing her right forearm. "I'm sure you'd pick out something nice." King brushes her hair back again, fiddling with one of her earrings.
"I don't know, do you think sequins are really...me? That seems a little gaudier than I'm used to."
"It sounds like a dare," Mai says.
She starts reaching for some money, which she also keeps in the same spot in her top. She's at least a generous tipper. "Let's get together again soon... the new outfit is totally on me. Since I'm gonna pick it out."
King swallows. Well, at least she's not paying for it. But wouldn't a gift mean she's obligated to wear it?
"Of course, Mai. You're always welcome. Don't be a stranger."
Log created on 20:06:30 12/06/2018 by King, and last modified on 00:13:05 12/07/2018.