I have been thinking of how to go about finding that one partner through which I can explore and improve my craft. I have delusions of grandeur that proclaim me a writer, and in all honesty, sometimes I do quite adequate at it. What I’m looking for is someone who will help me to push my limits, who will provide consistent, advanced level roleplaying. I –don’t- like casual roleplays. I want to be honest about that. I will become bored with them, and I will stop them after several weeks of pulling posts like teeth, and I don’t want to waste any more time doing it. I have been called an elitist in the past, and I suppose that is true. I prefer to play with those who are at the top of the game, those with skill. I have been roleplaying for a very long time (15+) years. I’m looking for someone who can offer a new experience in roleplaying and not simply maintain to the same, traditional or common bag of tricks. This can mean more than just a single roleplay investment, many characters across many genres, or a single episode of marked originality and uniqueness.. I will write mature scenes. I propose creativity and uniqueness. It means exploring worlds we will both create. It means friendship both in character, and outside. I will role-play most anything except canon characters, or canon storylines. Roleplaying in an artistic form of expression, and I find it hard to be artistic when confined within the guides of the canon. Out of character conversation is a must. I write to share. I don’t write to put up on a brick wall. If we don’t communicate, I will end up dropping the play. Keep in mind, I am well aware communication is a two way street, and will make efforts. I do generate ideas, and am not afraid to throw in a plot twist. Like it? Let me know. Positive feed back helps me gauge your interests. Hate it, again, let me know. I can redo it. If you keep silent, I’ll know nothing. I do not have a length limit, however, I do ask that it be well written. I could give a flipping flop about grammar (within reason), however, I do ask for some level of maturity in writing skill. As I said, I view roleplay as a method of improving my skills. The following a plot openings. They are what they are, beginnings. We can discuss where to go from there. Plot Idea: Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Shattered DawnThe idea is that nearly 1000 years in the past, man had mastered space travel. They had faster than light travel, and had managed to chart a large part of the milkyway galaxy... A united planetary government... earth was like a paradise.. peaceful, blissful.. then one day it happened. Earth came to be at war with a race known as the Shadai. The war was bloody, costing millions of Terran lives, left their galactic empire crumbling... Just 10 short years into the war, and all Terran colonies had been over ran. Their people destroyed, their worlds reset to as they were before the Terrans arrived. The Shadai were thought to be unbeatable.. The war ultimately ended in favor of the Shadai... Earth was left to bargain for its very survival. The terms of surrender stipulated that the human's would be allowed a comfortable level of technology, however, would be denied the ability to venture out into space. all knowledge of space travel, even this very time period, would be erased from the memories of all remaining terrans. They would be watched... left alone to inhabit their original world, but never allowed to venture out beyond the range of their own natural satellite (the moon). 1000 years passed since the Terran/Shadai war.. and nobody remembers it. Nothing of it exists in fact, lore, or even superstition. Its as though it never happened. Common knowledge states that Terran civilization is only 2000 years old, and that this is the first evolution of the species (Sound familiar?). Technology level at game play would be similar to ours... Common themes in the news talks about some wild rumors that the planet and the solar system may be older than originally believed... but its mostly just contributed to hearsay, and things belonging to tabloids. The people are just like they are today.. similar ideas, similar cultures.. what have you.. Now, At start of game play, the world will begin to experience some massive, global disasters... News will be filling up with things like earthquakes, tidal waves, record storms, fires, sinkholes... think end of days stuff... The world is dying... Our characters will stumble into a relic of the past... a ship that had been developed in secret in an underground... without giving away too much, they're whisked off the planet, with a small group of other humans, and thrust out into the galaxy suddenly homeless, on a ship they have no idea how to work... and a past they don't know... they'll have to piece it all together as they go... That's the basic idea anyways... it'll leave a lot of room for character development... our characters can start off in a multitude of ways.. knowing each other, or being strangers.. rivals, lovers, hated enemies, friends, best friends.. student/teacher.. or any other combination you can think of.. it'll work. First Post: January 3rd::New City:: Ratonia Hotel – Roof Top The news was getting to him. Hours spent in agonizing anticipation for the conformation of what his bones told him would be the truth: The western Brice islands had been hit by a devastating Tsunami only twelve hours earlier. No survivors. 3 large islands, a continental shelf, populated by several million people, several billion tons of constructed civilization, washed away as though nothing more than sand to the rising tide. Millions of lives snuffed out in the blink of an eye. It was disgusting. It was enough to churn Alexander’s stomach simply by fact alone, but the thought of his mother and father, his brother and his young children, the smile of a dear niece and nephew forever lost to the unrelenting ocean waters flung upon their home island by a vengeful, angered god. It was enough to numb him. He clung to hope for twelve hours, clinging to the news, waiting for some sign of survivors: something that told him…something.. anything. In desperation he prayed. He wasn’t a religious man, not by any means of the word, and this is the first time, in a long time, that he allowed himself to believe in something higher up, more powerful than himself and his fellow man. He prayed to whatever diety would listen, in both named and nameless prayers, to antiquity and modern dieties of stone, flesh, blood, fantasy and realism. A desperate cry for some news, any news that his family had somehow survived… He felt greedy, asking for them all, but couldn’t decide on how to choose one over another, couldn’t choose. He would ask for all, but would settle to cling to any one of them again. He stared off into the night, into the city lights below the hotel. New City was a mecca of civilization: the place to be for any up coming hot shot. It was Hollywood and New York combined. The presence of the nation’s capital gave it the regality of Ancient London, while the concentration of artists, actors, lovers, saints and sinners gave it the spirit once belonging to Paris, or Vienna. The city was a marvel, and in Alexander’s opinion, was the pinnacle of life in the world today. The city possessed everything to fill ever desire you could ever dream, and yet: for the moment it simply felt cold and empty. Distant. Before his vision, faded letters sprang up into existence, the notification of his implant that a call was coming through to him. The notification was so subtle that an trained mind could receive it without any loss of attention, any measurable level of distraction., and it took nothing more than a thought to answer or ignore the incoming contact… he shoved the invasion aside, not recognizing the source of the incoming call…figuring it was from the government: a condolence programmed into the mainframe to express regrets to survivors of victims of the tragedies. First the fires in the Americas, and now this. He needed to keep his mind off things. He thought the view of the city would be peaceful enough. Watching the traffic flash by below, mingling with the colors of the city lights, as though the world wasn’t falling apart all around them: as though they weren’t all simply biding their time until whatever was going on affected them: brought their perfect world crashing down to shatter around their ankles.. Paige His mind reached out towards the contact in the way it did when initiating a connection. It was as though he could reach her with thought, but he knew too well the mechanics of it. He sent a request to the mainframe, the satellite that orbited the planet that sent and received the requests from cranial implant devices imbedded in the upper crust of society. A simple thought was all it took, and in similar fashion, a warning would cross her mind, like the faint vibration of an ancient cell phone. Answer or not. Talk with mind or voice, it didn’t matter to Alexander Gray. He simply needed someone, anyone… In the distance the sirens began to sound, and the air began to smell of distant fires. In the night, the thick blanket of smoke looked nothing more than looming storm clouds on the western horizon, rolling over the city from the outlying suburbs. “Crash,” Alexander whispered to the night, as he watched the western sky begin to glow, and the low rumble of what sounded like thunder echo across the azure night sky, and he knew calamity had found them before the emergency news feed had interrupted his thoughts with the whispering of a news anchor in the back of his mind, begging for his focused attention: “Firefighters report that the blaze localized after a freak discharge of lightning struck the base of a power conduit at the New City Power Supply Station, located in 2000 block of the city…” Paige he reached out again… searching for her amongst the multitude of sudden and breaking news reports that began to flood the system. Tokyo, Berlin, Rome, New York, Panama…. Shoving them away, trying to climb through a flooding network of disaster and panic… feeling the compression as every one of the privileged seemed to leap onto the system at once: to check on loved ones… to cry out for help. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) Severus Snape - A Hogwarts RoleplayFor Snape, the train ride had been uneventful; a short trip during which he basked in the elation of finally returning to Hogwarts. A fellow Slytherin by the name of Lacey Bennette, sharing the seat beside him as he read through his book for potions, so eager to get back into the study that he couldn’t wait for the first day’s class to tear into the material. And yet, finding it difficult to concentrate while dealing with the self-consciousness produced while sitting so close to another in robes that he himself was acutely aware bore the scent of having not been washed in months. He had begged his mother to wash them, instead of simply leaving them folded up in his trunk, but she was always to busy. He had even attempted to do it himself, to avoid the scent of onions and garlic from permeating the black fibers, but every time he was met with instance that it would be done, and that he needed to simply be patient. Every time he trailed his eye across the page, a sniff from Lacey, or a shuffle in her position, brought to mind the odorous stench, to which he could only mutter apologizes and, creatively, mutter a cruse beneath his breath about James and his hexes. It was well known that James and He didn’t see eye to eye, and it wasn’t beyond James to hex him with something so foul as a stinking curse, harmless yet completely bothersome. The blame was well earned, if not routed in truth, and eventually, when it made its way into Lacey’s comprehension, earned Severus a dismissing pat against the head, and a comment about tossing the robe out the window. A comment he had taken to heart. So when he stepped off the train, he was minus his robe, standing in white buttoned shirt, black slytherine tie, and a pair of black slacks, that if he could have sent with the robe he would have, but decency prevented him. A thin fingered hand pushed back the long, black locks from his face, his keen eyes peering from beneath deep set brows to spy, up ahead in the distance, the figure of James Potter, gawking helpless and lost in the direction of Lily Evans. The sight of Potter made Severus tense, as Lacey’s hand touched upon his arm, her seductive voice whispering promises of getting even with young Potter this year, drawing Severus’s eyes away from the boy prince of the school, and down upon the shorter, raven haired co-ed at his side. There was something about her smile, about that dangerous edge in it, almost sinister, definitely plotting, that Severus found seductive, beautiful. If only Lily would look at him like that. Lacey was a pure blood, and though her presence in Slytherin has been continual since Severus arrived in the school, her being a year older than he, she was becoming a growing voice in both the house and in his own life since the Christmas break of last year. Upon Severus, she looked with favor, as though the same awkward boy that everyone else saw held some potential. Snape simply nodded his head in agreement with her statement. “Yes, this year, he will learn,” Severus spoke, with venom in his voice. A whisper that remained between the two of them, causing his counterpart to laugh, taking Severus’s agreement to indicate an agreement to her request as well. In return for aid in besting James, Severus would assist in her potions work this semester, a burden he gladly accepted in any course, simply to get a look at the upper level potions book, but more so because it earned him an ally. “And this is just between us,” she whispered, leaning in to seal the deal with a quick, sensual kiss on his cheek. Instinctively, Snape stepped back, unaccustomed to the touch, and didn’t meet her eyes with his. He stammered an acceptance to her terms, once again, ensuring that no misunderstanding would occur, and stepped up the path towards the castle in his black trousers and white dress shirt. His fingers touched at his side, feeling the bulge of his wand through his pants pocket, keeping a careful eye on James, lest the presence of teachers and school personnel not provide enough discouragement to ward off the other boy’s administrations. Dinner was simple, uncomplicated. Lacey had rejoined him, sitting beside him on the long bench, chattering his ear off about the upcoming school year, well, him and the three other Slytherin boys who were gathered around her, hanging on her every word. Inwardly Snape hoped he didn’t appear so…obvious. Intentionally, he sat where he could see the Gryffindor tables, casting a searching gaze from time to time to the other table, to catch glimpse of Lily with her friends. **A note, I don't consider this cannon, as the childhood of Snape is largely uninvolved in the cannon text. I will be taking a lot of liberty here. I can change is name if you prefer it. Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) A Separate Society Don't want your aid But the fist I make For years can't hold or feel No, I'm not all me So please excuse me while I tend to how I feel Cadian’s voice rung out over the crowd as the music died. All movement within the club stopped, as Cadian bore the weight of every gaze in the club, the last echo of his voice dying in the silence after the music stopped. Every soul intoned, for a moment, to the same melody, all existing as one, in spite of personal creed, idea, or code. This was true unity. Where every soul in the building knew the same pains, felt the same betrayal, wept the same tears as Cadian’s. This was his power, his gift. To put into his music that part of himself that translated into the language of the soul. He unstrung his guitar as the lights faded, and the room was plunged into darkness. The strap held loose as Cadian grabbed the instrument by the neck, gripping tightly as he heard the magic begin to wear off from the crowd, who had been lulled into a contentment of sorts, that hadn’t noticed the lights fade, but was now coming to the conclusion that Wither’s show as over. There was no applause, but Cadian understood it. When he finished with Bother, there was never any applause, only this bitter hollowness that the unity felt between souls was gone. It had been explained to him once that it felt like, for a moment in time, they were unified, something more, something connected, and it was blissful, like heaven transcended upon the mass in Passion. Once it was gone the feeling that took hold was more than loneliness, or isolation. It was like discovering the edge to something thought and believed to be seamless. It was painful, and for the next day or so there would be this constant border to their souls, an end that defined it in physical form, that was both reassuring to its existence, yet worrisome because it was suddenly subject to boundary. As Yumi had told him. This was the power of his music. And this is what made the club quiet, as Wither left the stage, and the DJ came over the mic. Soon the lights stroked the darkness again, as Cadian disappeared into the dark hallway that led from the band’s back stage hideaway, to the stage itself. Cadian walked with the rest of Wither in silence, feeling the weight of his guitar settling on his arm, as he lowered it to hang at his side, almost dragging the ground. He could hear Evan and Elian behind him, the Borges brothers, whispering between themselves about the crowd’s reaction. The youngest of his two band members, they still found awe in the strength of Cadian’s voice when his soul was in tuned with the music. “Hey man,” Evan spoke up as they passed from the dark, narrow hallway into the band’s back room, sliding his drum sticks from his back pocket into a small locker the club provided for his personal things, “you think Bother is the right way to end it? I mean, seems a harsh ending, like someone died or something.” Cadian exhaled, pulling the gray t-shirt from his shoulders, replacing it with one of the same color and design. He dressed simply tonight, a solid gray t-shirt with a black leather vest over his shoulders. A cross hung from his neck, bright silver, stark against the darkness of his clothes. His hair was medium length, straight, brown strands that stood out amongst his olive colored skin and slanted eyes. His lips were thin, but his eyes were deep with emotion and thought. The soul stirred within. “Like a funeral,” Cadian spoke, as he leaned back against the locker, closing his eyes, feeling the emotions that hung around the moment, still ebbing from the band’s last song, even though the bass speakers in the club pounded a fast dance beat. The bass felt out of place, the darkness held the power. “Did you feel it, Evan?” Cadian asked, stepping towards the young drummer, “the pain. Music is about emotion, and nothing… nightmare, darkness… nothing we do even compares. Nothing unites us like that one. So yeah, I’m positive its our closer. Because I want the last feeling I leave them with to be that the pain will wither the light, to remind them the fleeting nature of joy. So they’ll remember to embrace it.” Cadian exhaled, pulled out his cellphone from the pocket of his locker, checking the interface for any alerts that may have happened while they were on stage, to find the queues of the voicemails. He played the first as he walked from the room , digging into his pocket for the keys to his car, as he pushed from the remainder of the small, narrow hallway and out the back door of the club, to a dimly lit parking lot. Chicago was cold, wet tonight. Moisture held on everything, made the air as though it were tinged with water near freezing. The wind blew frigid against his warm skin as Lily’s voice came over the phone, and he nearly dropped the thing. How long had it been since he heard her voice? Last saw her face? How long had it been since she left him here, in this city, to move off with family. A part of him had been taken by her, taken with her, never to leave her side. That cold feeling of isolation returned as he sat behind the wheel of his car, the sixty-nine mustang roaring to life as the messages ended, and Cadian was left sitting in the cold isolation brought by the reminisce of her voice haunting him. It brought to mind the last time he had seen her, before she left. How idiotic he had been, how selfish. He hadn’t wanted her to go, felt that if he fought her decision tooth and nail, he could change it. He shivered with the power of the memory, with the cold of the night, as he backed the car out of the spot, and left passion behind. The tri-chimed bells of his cellphone rang out in the silence of powerful emotions, and Cadian picked the phone up. His eyes watched the road between the beams of his headlights, the slick, wet blacktop slipping by with flashes of yellow, broken lines as he drove through downtown Chicago. It was two in the morning, and the north side was usually quiet at this time of night. The police stayed mostly to the south, to the gangs that tore up the city and gave it its reputation. They had little interest in the speeding habits of a punk kid in a sports car. “Hello,” He spoke, and nearly dropped the phone as a result, her voice spilling out of the phone again, to revive the nightmares that danced just beyond the high beams, old memories of their childhood. When it was ok to dream about things like love, when it was easy to convince himself that he never really had a chance in the first place. “Wow, it is good to hear your voice,” He spoke, as he turned down a side street, leaving the main highway, pressing down into the subdivion when he’s lived these last few years.. the same house she left him at when she came to say goodbye. “Nono, its not to late, I’m just on my way home,” He spoke, adding, “you’re welcome to drop by if you’re in town…” The call left him confused, numbed. How long had it been since he had last spoke to her, for her to be up and calling him tonight, three years after having told him goodbye. Three years to do the day, if he wasn’t mistaken about the date. And yet, so casually he invites her over, as though it were three years ago, and they had just finished algebra together, as though he still knew who she was. But the invited had just come out, and though he didn’t hope she’d take him up on the offer, he didn’t wish to deny himself the chance by retracting it with a laugh, or a comment of jest. There was hope, though he found it to be fleeting. But it was nice to hear her voice… Spoiler (Move your mouse to the spoiler area to reveal the content) A Separate Society Anthony Lessing "Might I but through my prison once a day behold this maid. All corners else o' th' earth Let liberty make use of; space enough Have I in such a prison." Thirty One /\ 5’10” /\ 180lbs /\ Short, Wavy Brown hair /\ Green Eyes Twelve years have passed since Anthony went to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Twelve years since he gave himself in order to protect Vincent McNamara… her father. Twelve years to change a man… to harden his heart and darken his soul. Yesterday he was released. Today, he finds himself back in Hell’s Kitchen at the door of his childhood home to care for his ailing father, and in his mind, twelve years bought and pain for his freedom. But in theirs, twelve years is not enough. In his room, tucked beneath the mattress, two chrome plated .45’s lay untouched over the years, and he stands poised on the verge of acceptance of the past and rejoining the McNamara ‘family’, or covering his past, and declaring his freedom. First Post:The city bus hissed to a stop, and a stream of people poured out of its open mouth into the dimly lit evening. It was a cool September evening in New York. The freshest touches of fall have brought much needed relief from the oppressive heat of the long summer just fading into recent memory. The sky is over cast, the wind brings with it the promise of rain, as it hangs thick with moisture, a moisture that Anthony could feel upon his face as he steps from the bus, and shoulders the duffle back that contains the meager possessions he’s managed to collect these past twelve years. His feet touched upon the asphalt of the street moments before the bus that brought him from central station straightened from its crouched position behind him, hissed loudly as the air break was released, and hummed its way down the street, thus completing the Department of Correction’s final obligation to him, to see him safely released and returned home. Home. The very concept tugged at the heartstrings while at the same time creating a cold sense of unease in the pit of his stomach. Home was twelve years in a past, a place memory, of children now grown into adulthood, of children who very likely now had their own children.. or who moved away, to be replaced by others. No, that home was forever lost, a fixture firmly located in the past, and in fond memories sheltered in the back of his mind. Home was a cell in a cell block in the Arizona heat. Home was a hard cot pressed against a concrete wall, with concrete floors. He ate on metal tray, drank from plastic cups. Home was where all were dangerous, where you didn’t look another in the eye, and you dared not whisper a complaint. No. This was not home anymore. Home was that place back in Arizona that he had left. Home was oppression; where the inalienable rights of men were stripped away with all sense of individuality and dignity. Home was a place where it had felt time was at a stand still. Where days felt as though they would never end, and years… But time had continued to march, if not so much back at the prison, definitely here in Hell’s Kitchen. Anthony’s eyes looked the area he stood in over, trying with some degree of difficulty to get his bearings, but nothing seemed familiar. A large building of red brick spanned the corner before him, with green awnings covering the doorway to a delicatessen. Above were several floors of windows, undoubtedly an apartment building with shopping on the ground floor, but when he left, the corner was home to a park. Trees, some seemingly only a year or two to root, others with size that spoke of much longer establishment, dotted between slabs of concrete in a row that followed the crowded street, as buildings seemed to almost press into one another. Where one’s corner stones sat, it was only the width of a man before the other began, making narrow alley’s that were filled with trash that would never see the light of day. Concrete covered the ground as far as he could see, as the streets continued on towards the city beyond. Anthony adjusted the bag on his shoulder, and finding no anchor in the buildings in the near vicinity, his eyes looked further to the horizon. He but the city’s skyline to his back, and headed east, deeper into Hell’s kitchen. The people he passed were as familiar to him as they were new. Body sizes, and facial shapes told him that these were the same people that he had left behind, at least, of the same people, but he knew none of them. The genetic pool of the area still maintained its firms grasp on the young, it was obvious in their shape, the way they smiled, laughed. Babies that had been at mother’ s breast when he left ran now amongst the cars in the street, laughing as the cool breezes blew off the river out towards the sea. But he saw no adult face to place a name to. A sea of strangers, familiar as a forgotten friend, swam around him as he strolled down 47th street. He passed beggars who looked up from piles of rotting cloth with open palms. The only greetings were from street vendors who tried to pass off their goods to him, as though he were passing through some old market place. Time and again, unfriendly shoulders struck him in passing, their haste not allowing them to easily move around. Time and again he felt his muscles tense for the blade that never came. The longer Anthony went without seeing a familiar face the more he started to feel lost, becoming unsure if returning to Hell’s Kitchen was such a good idea. For the last stent of his life, everything was familiar. Guards rotated out, so from time to time a face was new, but there were always the old ones to fall back on. The bricks never changed, and it was always a new face in a sea of familiar, well-known ones. There, his world had been so small, so constricted to the point that he knew everyone in it by name.. Here, the faces were nameless, compassionless, soulless bodies that flowed through the streets like garbage in the Hudson. He never felt so alone as he did there in that crowded street. It all became too much. He had to get off the street, at least for a few minutes. Perhaps he could call his father, or call for a cab… He ducked into a darkened doorway without checking the shop’s name, and found himself standing in the entryway of a darkly lit bar. The place was tiled in deep maroon tiles, upon which sat a number of dark cherry tables, which seemed almost black in the dim candle light of the bar. Few bulbs burned. Most of the patrons were older gentlemen, sitting in silence, drinking their beers from heavy mugs. A television sat in a corner above the bar, the volume so quiet that Anthony couldn’t hear it as he came in, making his way to a nearby table. He sat himself down with his back against the back wall, and pulled his wallet from his back pocket. Some money had been provided to pay for meals on the trip home, and Anthony had been smart enough to save some of it. He counted out the bills, felt his heart sink a little when he realized that he only had twenty three left. So little… He picked up a coaster from the tables polished surface, and read over the printed logo on it. Nathan’s… The name written in a flowing script, with two hands clanking glasses over the N. The atmosphere certainly didn’t feel very lively, as since he’s sat down, he isn’t sure anyone in the place moved… not even a deeply inhaled breath. Only the small mouse of a woman who had been wiping down a table when he entered moved, and she came to him to take his order. “What can I get yah un,” She spoke, her jaw popping gum in an all too stereotypical way. She had brown hair, neatly collected at her back, revealing a slender neck. She wasn’t unattractive, but she wasn’t beautiful either… just somewhere in the middle of average. But she had a sweet smile, something that the prison offered little of.. something that he hadn’t seen on another’s face since that last moment he spent with Evelyn.. when he told her that he’d be there when she got back. A promise he had been forced to break. “Just a coke,” He said, “and a phone to call a cab, if you got one.” He added the last hastily, and the lady just smiled at him for a moment, standing there chewing her gum, bouncing her leg to some unknown, unintelligible rhythm, before scampering back to the back side of the bar. Anthony found the darkness comforting. Outside, in the street, he felt as though the city itself were watching him, as though the world outside were testing, watching to see him fall. The darkness made him feel as though he were hiding from it, out of the watchful eye of the masses. A bit of paranoia.. a healthy bit… The waitress came back and laid phone on the table, a small, rectangular cellular phone that, when Anthony picked it up, only confused him. His confusion must have been written pretty clearly on his face as the waitress sat down his drink, and plucked the cellphone from his hand. “Cab, right?” She asked, and Anthony nodded, as she dialed the strange phone. “Hey Carl, Francis,” the woman spoke, laughing at something said on the other end of the phone, “yeah, me too. Hey listen, I got someone here at Nathan’s says he needs a ride, come pick him up?? In an hour?” She looked at Anthony, who simply nodded his head in agreement to whatever arrangement the lady was making for him, and she walked off to continue her conversation. He could hear her laughing again, as he picked up the soda and took a drink, settling into his thoughts to wait.