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18:40 "Meredith meets Cadee at Slainte"

Meredith Bell's picture

Slainte Bar - Tuesday 6:40pm

She was doodling. That was never a good sign.

Meredith sighed and took a sip from her soda, stealing a furtive glance at the rest of the patrons of the Slainte Bar. It was still early, so hardly surprising that the current occupants were slim pickin’s indeed. She wasn’t in the habit of coming to bars on her own. No that wasn’t true. She did go to bars on her own, but it wasn’t for the obvious reason. Slainte was a cop bar, usually a very crowded one. Meredith had learnt a long time ago that the best place to sniff out a story was here, where some of the city’s finest came to chill out, to blow off some steam after another lousy shift and exchange stories with their buddies. And if a budding journalist just happened to overhear something juicy… well, two birds with one stone and all that.

But tonight was going about as well as a bacon-sandwich buffet at a bar mitzvah. So far, the best gossip she’d heard was that someone had broken Detective Hendrickson’s coffee cup whilst trying to trick shot it into his in-tray. Hardly front page news unless this Detective Hendrickson harboured a few homicidal tendencies and was overly fond of that particular mug.

Meredith shook her head, eying the bowl of chilli fries she’d ordered, picking at the melted cheese and drawing on every ounce of willpower she possessed not to just shove them into her mouth by the handful. Hunger gnawed at her stomach, stronger than she’d ever felt it before. It didn’t matter what she ate lately, it was never enough and it never satisfied her insatiable hunger. Maybe there was something wrong with her?

“You know, we have meatier treats than those,” Cadee said as she approached the table. At the girl’s confused look, she added. “I’m sorry, but I just heard your belly growl… and that’s not allowed at the Slàinte.”

Cadee had a rule not to bother clients who looked like they wanted to be left alone, chat with the ones that looked chatty, and even slightly flirt with the flirty ones. No wonder she was the better tipped girl in the bar. She could manage herself well in most bar-related situations.

Now, this girl, she had seen her several times before, and she was the ‘leave alone’ kind. She was usually working with her laptop or writing in some notebook, probably a student or a writer, or maybe a journalist. However, this afternoon she looked distracted, perhaps even… unhappy?

“Maybe a hamburger? Or a chicken salad? You won’t be disappointed, we have the best in town.” Cadee winked at the brunette and added, “my recipe.”

*Or maybe a great big fat steak, extra rare…* Meredith almost swivelled on her stool as another waitress emerged from the kitchen with a well loaded plate. Unfortunately, her budget didn’t run to such extravagances, besides, she had a set later that night and a full stomach didn’t sit well with a vigorous dance routine.

Meredith looked up and smiled at the waitress. She’d seen her working here most nights, in fact, she was probably the main attraction for most of the regulars. With her long golden locks and bronzed skin, she looked like she’d be more at home in a Californian beach bar than an Irish theme pub in New York.

“I’m sure it is,” she said, laying a hand self-consciously over her stomach to try and stifle any further protests. “But I’m good. Thanks.”

“You’re the paying customer here,” Cadee shook her head feigning sorrow, and then smiled. “Name’s Cadee, if you need anything else, just call me.”

She turned to leave, when, like in a second thought, she went back to the table, put the back of her hand to the bowl of chilli and held it there for a second. She almost lost her train of thought when she inhaled, but recovered quickly. “These are cold. Allow me to bring you another order. Hot this time.”

Was this girl pitching for Employee of the Month or what? Not that it mattered, food was food after all, and hot food was even better. Meredith nodded gratefully, now if only this girl knew about some secret government conspiracy or plot to assassinate the president. *Yeah, right…*

Thankfully the girl - Cadee, didn’t take the cold offerings with her as she left in the direction of the kitchen. Meredith grabbed her fork and shovelled in a couple of mouthfuls - just in case. She knew restaurants like this, they’d only throw it in the garbage and she was so fucking hungry…

She was licking cold chilli from her fingers when she returned, another bowl of steaming hot fries and chilli balanced expertly on a tray. The smell was enough to make Meredith’s stomach start growling again. Cadee smiled, her whole face brightening from her liquid brown eyes to her rosebud lips. Christ she was like an angel or something… *I wonder if she’s single… Gail would literally fall panting at this girl’s feet.*

“Thanks, you really didn’t have to… but thanks.” Meredith felt her cheeks flush as she saw Cadee’s eyes wander to the practically empty bowl. She probably expected a tip or something? Or maybe there was something else you were supposed to say when you got brought an extra hot bowl of chilli fries gratis. Meredith had always been a bit of a misfit when it came to social niceties and all that. Which was probably why she’d swapped waitressing for stripping. At least if she ran out of things to say she could always get her tits out.

Shrugging off her hoodie, Meredith hung it on the back of the bar stool. It was getting hotter in here or maybe it was just the chilli? “You… must be, what? Employee of the Month?”

Cadee blushed as she noticed she had been too intense. But her sense of smell seldom betrayed her, and she had sniffed something strange in the girl. And she was hungry. And now that she had taken off her sweater, she could see a bandage on her arm. Left forearm; like a self-defence wound. She frowned, not liking the possibilities. What had Sandoval mentioned about a werewolf running free in the city?

Forcing herself to smile, she bended a little towards the brunette, trying not to alarm her this time. Oh, yes. She definitely could smell wolf. She put her hand to her mouth, and mocked a whisper. “Look at that girl over there? She’s been Slàinte’s princess for two months. I’m planning a coup d’etat.”

“Well if you need a recommendation…” Meredith smiled but pulled back a little as Cadee moved closer. It hadn’t been an intentional reaction, though it seemed entirely natural considering the invasion of personal space. “Um…” she held her hand out awkwardly, “I’m Meredith.”

Cadee immediately took a step back, she had already learnt what she intended by the proximity; now she had to think what to do. She took Meredith’s hand and shook it, smiling, while she did some math in her head. Last full moon had been when… a whole fortnight ago? If she wasn’t mistaken, this girl had not had her first change yet. *Of course she didn’t, she’s just been bitten, * she told herself. *And probably she doesn’t have a clue on what’s happening to her. * How much till next full moon, ten days? She needed to think about it.

“Nice to meet you, Meredith. I’ve seen you around, do you live close by?”

*Oh crap* Figures this’d be the one time her gaydar was actually working. Was accepting extra fries and shaking hands flirting in the lesbian world? Gail would never forgive her.

“No, I mean, yeah, I live in the city - Lower East Side.” The words were out before she could even think of an acceptable lie. *What did you tell her that for!? Oh come on, it‘s not like the cute blonde waitress is gonna stalk me. Anyway, what‘s she gonna do? Feed me to death?* Or give her exceptional service all night long…

“Actually I’m a student.” *Why are you still talking? Have you turned dyke too?*

*Oh, my God, she so thinks I’m hitting on her.* Cadee thought, watching the girl’s obvious agitation. And no wonder, in her eagerness to learn more about the girl, she may actually shoo her away. She would have laughed if it weren’t so damn important that she kept track of Meredith. She couldn’t possibly approach her with the real reasons for her interest now.

*Sure, what would you tell her… by the way, that wound you have, it was a werewolf. Expect some serious hair growth in about ten days or so.* No way, the girl wouldn’t believe her until she started experiencing more drastic changes, and even then, it was doubtful she did.

Feigning a blush – and thanking her complexion that allowed her to do it, Cadee laughed lightly. “I’m sorry, Meredith, I know how I sounded. Sometimes I tend to be over friendly. I hope you didn’t think I was hitting on you… nothing could turn me away from men.” She sighed, “it’s been a slow evening and I was pretty bored, to be honest.”

*Sure, because why else would you be talking to me. Damn, girl, has it been so long since you made a friend you’ve forgotten how?* Which was a stupid question in itself considering she’d never known how in the first place. Besides which, Cadee was a waitress, she was only being friendly because she was paid to, because it meant bigger tips. Meredith knew all about that.

“Pity.” Her eyes widened as she realised what she’d said, then she couldn’t help laughing. “I mean… I have a friend, she would have liked you. Still would… she doesn’t usually let little things like sexual orientation get in the way. Says it’s all part of the challenge.” She shrugged, taking up the bowl of largely ignored fries and loading up a forkful.

The food eased her anxiety, as did the aimless chatter. A cigarette would have been even better. God she hated sounding so dumb around strangers. She’d have to work on it, after all, a reporter had to be able to talk the truth out of anyone.

“It’s quiet tonight,” she added between mouthfuls. “Not many uniforms.”

“Still early. The S.C.U.s don’t appear till ten, at least. Always hungry, those ones.” Cadee answered, relieved that they had resorted to easy conversation.

“You know, I have a friend who may like your friend…” and then she laughed, for real this time. “If she hears me, I’m dead meat. She’s always trying to set me up. Is yours anything like that?” *Specially if she learns I’m turning her gay*

“Not exactly,” Meredith grinned at the thought of Gail, she’d been her best friend - her only friend, all through college. They’d likely be friends for the rest of their lives, in fact they joked about being a couple of gin soaked old broads in Fort Lauderdale, reminding each other to take their pills and spending all their pension on a Harley. “She thinks men are a waste of breathable oxygen, she keeps trying to turn me on to the virtues of girl on girl.”

“But you’re probably as set in your ways as I am, right?” She took an appreciative look at Meredith and nodded to herself. She was a beautiful girl, slender and full ‘in all the right places’ at the same time, great eyes and full lips. She sighed. “I love men, but… they are childish. Have yet to find one who wouldn’t wish to have a Wii-girl instead of a real one. But when I do… God help him.”

Meredith nodded, sipping more of her soda. She couldn’t imagine Cadee would have much trouble holding a guy’s attention, even one with a serious Lara Croft obsession. She was feisty and confident and gorgeous and must have a date for every day of the week. But then most men were too dumb to see the difference between reality and fantasy-

“Oh shit!” she stood up so suddenly she nearly spilt what was left of her soda. Glancing at the clock she began collecting her things, stuffing her notebook into her bag and scarfing down the rest of the chilli fries. “Damn it, sorry, I’m gonna be late for work…”

“No worries. I’m not going anywhere, we’ll probably chat again. Pleasure to meet you, really,” she said, smiling, and this time she was serious. She liked Meredith and she’d do whatever was in her power to help her. She was about to face pretty difficult times.

*I can help her, I must.* She said to herself, and that made her feel a little better.

“Er… sure,” Meredith pulled her sweater back over her head before securing her bag on her shoulder. She wasn’t really used to people being so openly friendly, but Cadee seemed nice enough, at any rate she wasn’t likely to turn psycho on her. “It was nice to meet you too. I’ll see you around… I guess.”

"You bet," Cadee said under her breath, watching her go

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