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 Falling in love in a coffee shop, for Pierce-icus
AINSLEY MOREL
Posted: Jun 22 2012, 11:09 AM


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These days the mall had two speeds - frenzied and standstill. They alternated between states with no apparent rhyme nor reason. Either everyone's shit was hitting the fan at once, or things were grinding to an immediate halt while everyone caught their breath. When the worst happened, people panicked. There was a lot of wishing things would pause for a while to let them catch up. But things were rarely much better when things returned to their usual stasis. People were used to lives outside of a box. Even a box designed to keep thousands entertained got small eventually - it was a life confined to an elaborate cage, seeing the same people, shooting the same shit, facing the same shortages and worrying about the next pants-peeing episode lurking around the corner. It was a recipe for disaster, in some respects. She was surprised more people hadn't gone apeshit on one another - not out of spite, but out of confinement and nerves.

But they'd finally hit another slow point. They were long overdue for one - it seemed like one thing after another, bang bang bang, from the moment that poor man had stumbled in, infected and out of time, right through to Lexi giving birth and the horde sweeping in from nowhere and converging on the survivors in the mall. People were finally catching their breaths, relaxing their grips on their firearms, chatting more freely again instead of communicating through looks and hushed snatches of conversation. It wasn't perfect - there were still injured people being looked after, still damages being repaired and barricades needing reinforcing, but it was a welcome relief from the constant what else could possibly go wrong? mentality that went around in an emergency.

More importantly, it meant it was time for coffee.

Much of the coffee shop's supplies had gone to the stockpile before Ainsley had claimed the place for herself, but there were still a couple of boxes of Brazilian roast under the counter, waiting for its time in the spotlight. Coffee was one of those commodities that people craved - along with cigarettes and maybe fast food - but didn't factor positively into survival. Water was much better put to use straight up - it quenched thirst better than coffee, it didn't give you jitters and it could be reused for things other than drinking. Fresh-brewed coffee was something rarely served in the food court these days. And, as far as Ainsley went, it was the perfect lure. Over the course of the morning she'd brewed four pots. The smell carried. That was all she needed. With a pot of coffee on the burner and a tray of mugs on the counter nearby, she retreated to one of the overstuffed armchairs she'd hauled in to replace the tables and chairs that had long since been sacrificed to the barricades, and waited for trade.

It was the simplest morale-boosting activity she could think of. People weren't obligated to drop in and they didn't have to engage her in conversation if they didn't want to. She wasn't interrupting anyone's personal business. Hell, she didn't even have to change into anything more presentable than the fuzzy pyjama pants and tank top she slept in. It was a lazy day, a day she intended on spending curled up in the armchair with a copy of The Hobbit between putting on fresh pots of coffee and exchanging idle banter with the handful of people who stopped and talked over a steaming mug.

As far as she was concerned, that wasn't such a bad way to spend a day off during a zombie apocalypse.

[Come pester ALL the Ainsleys! She's not allowed having a nice quiet cup of coffee now, is she? <33]

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PIERCE O'DONNELL
Posted: Jun 22 2012, 01:15 PM


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What. Was. Going. On.

Pierce wasn't in a suit.

The world was ending.

But he still looked damn good.

The man was dressed in dark jeans, a black v-neck tee, and a badass motherfuckin' leather motorcycle jacket that, despite the ensemble not being a suit, did his body wonders. Why was he dressed this way? The duffle slung across his chest might answer the question-- it was one of those sneak-out-of-the-mall sort of days. Pierce had gone into town earlier--via the Neiman Marcus doors that led to the parking lot-- in order to trade. Pierce's arrival to the market was a mixed bag of emotions-- people either smiled (because they knew the loot he could find), waved him off because they had been on the wrong side of a well-placed insult, or tried to physically assault him. Luckily, the latter sort of people weren't to be found today, more so the former, and Pierce had made out like the well-dressed bandit he was. He had traded a box of Cubans for two bottles of Gentleman's Jack and he was happy. Knowing tonight that he'd ride the Tennessee Whiskey Wave put a skip in his step... well, more of a skip than normal. He had also traded other assorted goods and ended up with a pair of women's sneakers, a really rare half-full bottle of aspirin, and-- an odd find-- a dictionary. Normally, Pierce wouldn't have cared about the book, but something told him that Virgil Blake would fall over himself trying to trade for the thing. And that made a happy Pierce.

But then.

Holy shit.

Pierce stopped dead in his tracks, his chin lifting upwards. What was-- that smell-- that was-- coffee. That was fucking coffee. The smell made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end-- it was such a visceral response it nearly took the man's breath away. Pierce couldn't remember the last time he had coffee. That delicious, chestnut-colored, life-giving drink. He wanted it. He had to have it. So he would find it. Following his nose through the dark warrens that were the halls of the mall, he found himself in front of-- no duh-- a coffee shop. Ainsley's coffee shop. Well, this would be interesting. Depending on Ainsley's mood, he'd either get a free cup or a swift-kick in the nuts. Either way, he'd get some sort of wake up, right?

Walking into the store, he stopped in the threshold, spotting the blonde curled up in the chair in the corner. Aw. She was almost cute. If it wasn't for the fact that he knew the minute she looked up she'd probably tear into him for one thing or another. He smiled broadly and opened his arms wide. "Ainsley! If it isn't my favorite person in the whole gosh-darn mall!" He stepped forward and leaned against the doorway, stealing a surreptitious look around the place, trying to spot the damn coffee so he could get out of there as soon as possible. Pierce smiled again and looked at Ainsley, pointing at her book. "Ooo. 'The Hobbit.' That's quite a good-- I like the-- um--" he struggled for a moment before waving a hand. "Fuck it. I never understood the appeal of a book about short people and their magical whatevers. But--" He said, raising a finger, "-- how the fuck are ya, girl? Long time no talk!"
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AINSLEY MOREL
Posted: Jun 22 2012, 06:22 PM


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The tap, tap, tap of footsteps alerted her to the arrival of another survivor, but Ainsley was in no big rush to greet them. If they were just in it for the coffee, they were welcome to serve themselves. She remained engrossed in her book, finishing off the page before her eyes flicked up to catch the positively debonair man at the threshold of the shop. On an average day, the content half-smile that lingered while she read might have dissipated when she realized who had come to pay her a visit - none other than Pierce O'Donnell. She raised a brow, smirking at the open-armed, broad-grinned greeting he hailed her with. "Dearest Pierce," she said, spreading her book pages-down on the arm of her chair and sitting up, one leg crossing over the other. "I thought we talked about you breathing my air, love." On any other day, the jibe would have been weighted, a subtle cue to get the fuck out. But she was in a good mood. She'd be damned if that was going down the drain on behalf of Pierce O'Donnell.

The subtle glance wasn't lost on Ainsley, but she ignored it, her smile still fixed on her lips as the man's gaze returned to her. It wasn't like Pierce just to drop by to chat - the man had an agenda on his most innocuous of days. If a cup of coffee was the only thing on his mind, she would eat her book. Speaking of- she gave a soft breath of laughter as he struggled to compliment her choice of reading material, and shook her head, amused, as he slid seamlessly into the realm of idle banter. Or, rather, words that would take up space before he eventually worked his way around to what he really wanted.

"You're on maximum charm today, aren't you?" She grinned, resting an elbow on the chair. Her fingers drifted absently to her hair, twirling a lock as she considered her company. "I'm well, thank you. And you..." She paused, casting him a sideways look and a flash of teeth as she grinned. "You're looking classy today. Very... biker chic." Another pause, then she rose from her chair, enjoying the cool of the tiled floor beneath her bare feet. "I like it. Definitely a step up from corporate fat-cat," she purred, slipping behind the counter and retrieving the decanter from the burner. "I'm assuming you're not here for the pleasure of my company, darling." She turned, holding up the pot as an unspoken invitation, then selecting two clean mugs from the tray on the counter. "As luck would have it, this is a fresh pot. But unless you've smuggled a cow in that bag of yours, it's going to have to be black." Admittedly, that was more her loss than she guessed it was his. College-age Ainsley wouldn't have touched a cup of coffee unless it was cleverly disguised with vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, Bailey's or some other concoction that turned it into something more closely resembling dessert than a drink. Interning and a few months on crap pay got all the fancy right out of her system. She would've paid good money for a healthy dose of milk, but these days, any caffeine was better than none. She returned the decanter to the burner and turned back to Pierce, sliding one of the mugs across the counter toward him and cupping the other in both hands, enjoying the warmth of it. "So, how goes the battle?"

[I can't stop giggling at Pierce. Oh my god. This is no good.]

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PIERCE O'DONNELL
Posted: Jun 23 2012, 11:18 AM


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"Dearest Pierce [...] I thought we talked about you breathing my air, love."

Pierce placed a hand, fingers splayed over his heart as if her comment had mortally wounded him, staggering back a foot or two. But the recovery time-- as always-- was seconds, and he stood straight again and wagged a finger at the blonde. "And I thought we talked about how air is not a commodity, Morel." He placed his hands deep in his jacket's pockets and regarded her ruefully. "After all, if it was, I'd have some sort of monopoly on it by now, wouldn't I?" Pierce peered down at the woman and took a moment to suss out the situation. She had this silly little half-smile thing going on. And she hadn't kicked him in the nuts like he was half-expecting-- despite her testy first comment, Ainsley Morel seemed to be in a good mood, and that almost visibly relaxed Pierce a bit. Not like he was relieved or anything (maybe), but it was exhausting being this--this-- this on all the time. But it was the way things were. There was a time and a place where Pierce had left Ainsley alone-- when she had been a bit more emotionally damaged and raw. There was no fun in that. Like Pierce would say, he fucks women in the vagina, not in the head-- and no truer case had been with Ainsley. But now that she was better and kickin', he was back to it. Besides, she was a spunky girl, and she was attractive. Just the way he liked 'em.

"You're on maximum charm today, aren't you?"

"I'm always on maximum charm, baby."

"I'm well, thank you. And you [...] You're looking classy today. Very... biker chic [...] I like it. Definitely a step up from corporate fat-cat,"

Pierce watched Ainsley rise from her chair and pad across the floor. He appreciated her on a physical level, sure, but it wasn't just because she was a pretty thing to look at. Ainsley was just-- Ainsley. There was something about her that made you think she was comfortable enough in her own skin to just-- exist. It was something enough to make Pierce wonder, on very few occasions, how she was doing if he hadn't seen her in a few days-- but then he quickly chalked it up to the fact that if Ainsley had somehow been eaten by zombies he'd never ever be able to her topless, and then he moved on. Nothing else, nothing more. "Corporate fat-cat?!" he exclaimed, insulted. But after a moment, he shrugged his shoulders and nodded. "Well. Maybe. I like to call it a juxtaposition of James Bond vs. Gordon Gekko vs. Sex God, but whatever floats your boat."

"I'm assuming you're not here for the pleasure of my company, darling."

"You know what they saw about assuming, sweetheart." But he eyed the coffee greedily.

"As luck would have it, this is a fresh pot. But unless you've smuggled a cow in that bag of yours, it's going to have to be black."

"... I-- I don't mind..."

"So, how goes the battle?"

Pierce's smile flickered away for a moment, her question going in one ear and out the other. He eyed the mug of coffee in front of him, baby-blues bouncing from her, to the steaming thing, and back to her again. "That's it," he stated, stepping towards the counter slowly, cautiously. "That's it. You're just. Giving me. A cup of coffee." That didn't happen. No one did anyone favors in this world. It didn't happen. Least alone with Pierce. People only did Pierce favors if they wanted something out of him-- maybe that was it. But he wasn't going to jump the gun here, if he was going to get a free cup of coffee out of it. She wanted something. She had to. No one was just nice to him. So. Two could play at this game. He flashed his pearly-whites once more and in one movement slung the bag off, over his shoulders and onto the ground with a dull thud. "Well. No. No cow. But I have something better--" He leaned down, surreptitiously unzipped the bag and pulled out one of the two bottles of whiskey. He plonked it on the counter and grinned at her.

"Irish coffee, anyone?"
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AINSLEY MOREL
Posted: Jun 23 2012, 04:14 PM


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Ever the melodramatic man, Pierce looked righteously offended at her jibe for all of, perhaps, five seconds. She knew him well enough to know he was full of shit. An attack on his fragile male ego might have wounded him, but Pierce had thicker skin than that. If he hadn't, he would've been dead of a verbal lashing before Ainsley ever got to tear a strip off of him. "Some days I'm surprised you don't," she replied, rolling her eyes at the theatrics but taking it in good humour. Dealing with Pierce always took a remarkable amount of tolerance - which Ainsley often didn't have to spare these days - but on occasion, even she had to admit, he had his moments. He just had to be taken in small doses. "You've always been remarkably good at taking my breath away." She left it unsaid that it wasn't usually in a good way - and took it for granted he'd take it as a stroke to his ego anyway.

It was probably a mistake to allow a man like Pierce O'Donnell to get past the threshold, but, she reasoned, she was in a charitable mood. In a charitable mood... and able to put herself within arm's reach of scalding coffee, should he overstep his boundaries and infringe on her territory. He was, after all, in her space - that warranted a degree of respect. She'd feel fully justified in retaliating should that respect make a convenient dash for the exit.

She shook her head, letting his flash of egocentrism pass without comment. That was, perhaps, the best strategy for handling him. He was egotistic and more than a little sleazy, but at least there wasn't any double game with him. What she saw was pretty much what she got. She appreciated the honesty, as strange and probably unhealthy as that was.

Her next jibe probably did land a little closer to that fragile male ego, because he did seem genuinely offended by the time she'd come around behind the counter. But then, it seemed to roll off him just as quickly, and he halfway agreed. She smirked, resisting the urge to laugh, because that really would encourage him, and she was going for 'barely tolerating', not 'reluctantly amused'. "The 'sex god' bit is thwarted if the girl's afraid to crease the suit, sugar." She didn't look at him as she said it. She had a feeling that was a bit closer to egging him on than she'd aimed for. She poured the coffee, a breath of laughter catching in her throat at his retort. An ass of you and me. Sure. "We both know what part of that equation you're interested in."

Engaging him in conversation over coffee was probably a worse idea than allowing him past the threshold, but as Ainsley cupped her own mug, she found herself looking at a man who was looking at her like he was expecting something else. The vanished smile disconcerted her, briefly, and she tilted her head, just a fraction, bemused. It struck her a little belatedly that he was probably right to be suspicious. He wasn't one that lent himself to charity. And, to be fair... she was rarely in a charitable sort of mood when he came knocking.

"Don't worry, love, I'm fresh out of cyanide," she said, smiling into her own mug as she sipped. His next gesture surprised her - a bottle was deposited on the counter. His invitation sounded a lot like a challenge to her. It was her turn to hesitate, eyeing the bottle as though expecting it to be laced with something more malicious that whiskey. If she'd known less about him, she might not have put it past him. But she suspected Pierce was the kind of guy who enjoyed the chase almost as much as the catch. Almost, being the operative word. "Coming from a self-confessed Gordon Gekko, I'm wondering how much this is going to cost me." Money, of course, was worthless. Knowing Pierce, it was probably going to be a much bigger blow to her dignity than her wallet.

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PIERCE O'DONNELL
Posted: Jun 24 2012, 02:32 PM


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"Some days I'm surprised you don't,"

"I'm working on it, baby, I'm working on it." Some people didn't like how Pierce tried to make his own means-- yeah, he'd trade supplies, but he always made sure he came out on top. Not to mention he wasn't above selling promises to those individuals who were of a somewhat gullible persuasion-- the promise that once all of this was over, he'd make sure to pay those individuals back with cold, hard, cash. It meant that one had to assume that Pierce still had some money stockpiled somewhere-- and while he didn't know the state of his funds outside of the mall, he did have one small secret: the day he had been caught at the mall, yes, he had been doing a bit of shopping-- but he was also headed to the bank to deposit a very large sum in cash from a recently exonerated client. It had taken him some period of time-- dodging zombies and curious eyes-- but he had eventually managed to retrieve the briefcase from his Lincoln town car that now sat abandoned in the Neiman Marcus parking lot. It was hidden away in the department store-- and that's where it would stay. Needless to say, all of this-- this world, this place, these people-- everyone had a game, a plan, a spin. Pierce would play them all.

"You've always been remarkably good at taking my breath away."

"Back atcha, sweetheart."

"The 'sex god' bit is thwarted if the girl's afraid to crease the suit, sugar."

Pierce furrowed his brows. "Well. That's not a problem, generally. I take my clothes off when I knock boots. What kind of sex are you having?!" None, probably.

"We both know what part of that equation you're interested in."

Touche. "Oooo, burn. But I'm more of a leg man, myself."

"Don't worry, love, I'm fresh out of cyanide [...] Coming from a self-confessed Gordon Gekko, I'm wondering how much this is going to cost me."

Pierce smiled broadly, that glittering, golden thing that made him the most lethal attorney in all of Texas-- and six other states, for that matter. He sidled on over towards the counter and in one swift move, hoisted himself upwards so that his bum landed firmly on the surface, his legs dangling. "Ainsley, baby-- we're trading, aren't we?" It was clear that Morel was in a good mood-- and it was also clear she thought she could just give him a free cup of coffee. Oooh, no. No, no. Pierce wouldn't play that game. On one note, he didn't like owing anyone anything-- but this? He could make due with this situation. "We're just two like bodies participating in the fundamental tête-à-tête that makes the world go round. Your coffee--" he reached out a hand and slowly dragged the nearest steaming mug towards him, "-- for my Whiskey." With that, Pierce cracked the top of the bottle, pulled another mug-- this one empty-- towards him, and poured a generous amount of the amber liquid inside. This mug, he pushed towards Ainsley.

Trading?

Yes. Sure.

Ulterior motives?

No shit. He had just come up with a fun way to spend his afternoon.

"But--" he said, stopping himself. Pierce leaned forward, placing a hand over the mug of whiskey. He placed his face near Ainsley's, smiling like a fool, like a child who just found his father's stack of dirty playing cards. "-- why not make this fun?" The man nudged his duffle with the toe of one of his boots and grinned. "I have some stuff in here you might be interested in-- and I'd be willing to trade some of it away. To you." As he spoke, Pierce poured some more whiskey into another empty mug before him and held it up to Ainsley. Cheers. "For every shot you take, I give you something out of my bag. I don't tell you what. You don't get to pick. You just get what you're given." Pierce threw back his head, downed a gulp of whiskey, and grinned at Ainsley. "Game?"

Ulterior motive? Play nice with Ainsley, butter her up with gifts of aspirin and tennis shoes, and get her drunk.

Pierce was giddy.
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AINSLEY MOREL
Posted: Jun 24 2012, 08:19 PM


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She had to admit, Pierce was hard not to like in that completely irrational, always-quick-with-a-comeback sort of way. He wasn't an idiot and he was good at what he did. She'd give him that much, and brownie points for being one engaging son-of-a-bitch. It was difficult to hold her tongue, difficult not to give him ideas even if she was over one hundred per cent uninterested in what he was selling, and, occasionally, difficult to remember why she disliked him. The banter she enjoyed. The constant nagging in the back of her head that she knew his type, that she knew his motivation and knew roughly how much he valued women on an emotional level... she didn't enjoy that nearly as much.

She had to bite back a snippy retort when he asked her what kind of sex she was having - the first answer was a combination of snark and annoyance that would have given him far too much satisfaction in getting a rise out of her. The second was a very literal answer involving a bad decision outside a bar following an explosive fight with one of the exes she didn't bludgeon to death with a shoehorn. It was a soft focus memory now, owing to both time and alcohol's effect - distant enough that she only kicked herself lightly now for her indiscretion then. It was left unsaid purely for the fact that she really, really didn't need to know she'd put any ideas of her even remotely close to naked in his head. He could do - and probably had already done - that plenty well enough without her help.

"Remind me to burn my skinny jeans," she replied, unable to resist the temptation to bite back any longer. Still, her good humour remained. She was doing well, all things considered. She'd survived his company this long, she wasn't pregnant, and he wasn't sporting second-degree coffee-related burns. All that was left was for him to make his escape with her mug before she had time to regret her decision.

But of course, that would've been far too easy.

The offer of whiskey was quickly followed by one Pierce O'Donnell scuffing her pristine counter. She very nearly swatted him off, but was victim to that smile. That smile that said you're in trouble now, Ainsley. You've let him get his way. He's never leaving now. That smile that was challenging her as much as the bottle on the counter was. That smile that led to the suggestion that they were trading. That was news to her. "I was marking it down as donating to charity," she replied, but against her better judgment, didn't shut him down right away. That would've saved her a lot of trouble... but it would've saved her even more if she'd just thrown a mug at him when he stepped inside the shop. Her discretion was really taking a beating today.

She rolled her eyes as he continued, folding her free arm across her body and shifting her weight to one side as he pulled his coffee toward him, selected a fresh mug, and poured a dose of liquid indiscretion. Her gaze drifted to this mug as he pushed it nearer to her, then flicked up to him again. She sipped her coffee. It wouldn't be that easy. This was Pierce.

And there was the catch.

A part of her wanted to punch the man in the face as he leaned in toward her, just out of principle. Unfortunately, that part paled in comparison to the part of her that was infected by his smile, feeling the tugging of a reluctant smile on her own lips. The proximity in itself was a direct challenge. If Ainsley and her sister had one thing in common, it was that they were notoriously bad at turning down challenges.

She was silent for a good few moments as he explained the rules of the game. Her mug steamed. She sipped. Every voice in her head told her just to punch him in the face and get it over with. Every voice, that was, except that stupid, nattering little one saying that either way, he wasn't going to leave her alone now. She hadn't had a drink since she'd necked it out of the bottle with Elliott. That thought alone nearly made the decision for her - not because of any desire to drink, but because it still stung her, a little too close to somewhere that hurt, that Elliott had up and left without as much as a goodbye. Reluctantly, Ainsley placed her coffee on the counter, trading it in for the handle of the mug Pierce had made available to her. She lifted it, haltingly, partway to her lips, her gaze drifting from the mug, to Pierce, to the entrance to the shop, and back to Pierce. No, this wasn't a good idea, not at all. She sighed.

"You're lucky I'm feeling charitable," she murmured, the mug still half-raised. She swallowed, staring at it, and shook her head as if to clear her thoughts. "Game. On three conditions." Her gaze was on Pierce now, her expression sobered. This part of the conversation wasn't a joke. Not to her. She knew his ulterior motives well enough. She also knew that alcohol wasn't the worst social lubricant when it was paired with her and an attractive man. And she knew that she was past the point in her life where stupid, drunken flings were things she could just shake off like bad dreams. "First - if I tell you to stop, you stop. No questions, no nothing. Just stop." She trusted herself to know her limit. She trusted herself not to barter away that much dignity, even if she had to admit, she was curious. "Second - if I tell you to get out, you do it. This is my place, not yours." She hesitated there, her eyes flicking again from Pierce, to the mug in her hand, and back. Her smile flickered back to life; it quickly consumed her. The gravity of the moment passed. "Third - I reserve the right to assault you with hot coffee if you get handsy." She smirked, pausing for half a moment to gauge his reaction to the half-joke. Would she assault him with hot coffee? Probably not. but the option was there, in case things got out of hand. But for now...

She drank.

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PIERCE O'DONNELL
Posted: Jun 25 2012, 10:10 AM


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"Remind me to burn my skinny jeans,"

Pierce didn't respond to her gibe, but merely raised an eyebrow in her direction-- she would look good in skinny jeans, he mused with a slight smile. But that aside, he briefly wondered why Ainsley didn't like him more-- yes, he was an ass, he got that. But this-- what they were doing right here, it was fun, wasn't it? And Pierce was never outright cruel to Ainsley-- just... teased, Not to mention Pierce knew he was attractive-- and this went beyond cockiness. He was a good looking guy and he knew it, so why didn't Ainsley just want to get with him? He had trouble understanding women at their most basic of levels, but trying to understand why Ainsley did what she did was like learning Chinese. He had given up a long time ago. So fuck it.

"I was marking it down as donating to charity,"

"Sweetheart, I've never taken a handout a single day of my life, and I don't intend to start now."

"You're lucky I'm feeling charitable,"

Pierce watched as she grabbed the mug he had offered her, brows lofting into his hairline. Well. This was not what he had intended. If anything, he had expected her to throw something at him-- a combination of a hot coffee and cold whiskey, perhaps-- but Ainsley? Down do play a game? It only mollified that little nagging thing in the back of his head that yes. Yes. Pierce always got what he wanted. Poor Ainsley. If she only knew what she was doing. He threw her another winning grin as he slowly tugged off his leather jacket (yes, it seemed, he assumed they were in this for the long haul) and placed it next to him on the counter, revealing his snugly fit tee. Hey, it was the apocalypse, but a man still had to work out and look good, right? "Come on, baby, luck has nothing to do with it.

"Game. On three conditions."

Pierce cocked a brow. "Ooo. Conditions. Alright, let's hear 'em."

"First - if I tell you to stop, you stop. No questions, no nothing. Just stop."

"Stop what?" he asked innocently. But before she could berate him, he waved a hand. "Yeah, okay. Fine."

"Second - if I tell you to get out, you do it. This is my place, not yours."

"FINE." Pierce just wanted to plaaaay.

"Third - I reserve the right to assault you with hot coffee if you get handsy."

Pierce didn't say anything, but merely grinned ear to ear. Well, now. That coffee couldn't stay hot forever, now, could it? Besides... whiskey was whiskey. So. Pierce watched her take the shot like a good girl and laughed, grabbing the bottle ad pouring them both two more healthy doses of their medicine. With that, he reached down and rummaged through his bag, searching, searching-- Aha. He pulled out one of shoes that made up the pair of women's trainers. It was roughly a size 8, dusty, but in relatively good shape. He plonked the thing on the counter, grinning. "For your troubles, my lady, a shoe." Lifting his mug of Whiskey (coffee almost forgotten) he held it up to Ainsley in a toast. "To-- this. To us. To... just-- having a bit of fun in this fucked up world." He winked. "And to your lucky one-legged friend who is now shoed and ready to go."

Well, this was nice.

Pierce was actually having a good time.

With Ainsley.

Huh.


[[ooc - sorry, this post sucks. i posted it at a busy library and was uber distracted. ><]]
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AINSLEY MOREL
Posted: Jun 25 2012, 07:31 PM


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"Never given one either, I'll bet." There was bitterness Ainsley hadn't expected of herself in the retort. She'd never really had a problem with people with money - if they had it, good for them, that was their business. But Pierce struck her as the sort who didn't just have money, but revelled in it - the sort of person to whom no problem existed that throwing money at it didn't solve. He struck her as the kind of man who noticed (and cared) when people's clothes weren't top of the line, who valued people based on their pay checks and class versus their skills and personalities. As a reporter and as a woman, that attitude repulsed her. It may have been in his nature as much as the womanizing and the objectifying... but it made it no more appealing to her.

Pierce was an asshole. That much was clear.

But he was a charismatic asshole. She couldn't argue that. And a little social drinking wasn't a death sentence, not if she played her cards right. That was where the rules came in.

Rules were important to Ainsley. Without them, there were a lot of strangers far too close to her, a lot of being in situations she didn't like and having no obvious escape, a lot of looking herself in the mirror and trying to decide if the bruises were big enough to warrant packing her bags and leaving this time, or if she should allow herself to be whisked away by his crooned apologies and stay for round two. It was difficult to break the habit of accepting whatever offer came her way - it was hard to distance herself enough to think logically in an illogical act, but she'd made a promise to herself when Audrey died that that was where it ended. That was where Ainsley the Victim died. That part of her would remain locked in her old apartment with her dead sister and the bones of the last bastard who would ever hurt her.

So the rules had to be put in place. She wrinkled her nose, unimpressed, as he feigned innocence to her first demand. He agreed to the second one with as little consideration as the first. The third he just smiled at. He might not have been taking her seriously - and maybe she should've smacked him upside the head until she was sure he was paying attention, but either way, voicing her limits eased her conscience a little. He might have shrugged them off now, but by vocalizing her boundaries, Ainsley was allowing herself permission to say no - and permission to unleash hell on poor, unsuspecting Pierce if he didn't play by the rules.

She drank.

She liked her liquor like she liked her coffee - cleverly disguised and barely recognizable as its base form - but, like her coffee, she'd settle for the straight stuff. She'd been to enough bars with the girls, gone experimental-clubbing with handfuls of friends, accepted drinks from strangers across the bar, enough times to figure out the art of doing shots (which started with a full stomach - something she didn't have now and knew it... shit). She placed the mug down on the counter and smiled, pushing it back to Pierce and exhaling slowly, reacquainting herself with the burn of straight-up whiskey in the back of her throat.

Pierce measured out another shot for the two of them, and Ainsley settled against the counter, resting an elbow on the surface and her chin on the back of her hand as the man rummaged through his kit, producing... a shoe. A single shoe. Ainsley's brows rose in unison, a smile playing on her face as she considered the lonely footwear now sitting on the counter. She chuckled, shaking her head. "Not even a glass slipper? Prince Charming's on a budget, alas..." She clicked her tongue, a dispirited chiding, but accepted the fresh shot nonetheless. Her smile recovered quickly. She raised her mug in honour of the toast, head tilted slightly, considering the nature of it. It was almost... a little bit... charming - until he had to fuck it up by tacking on a joke to the end of it. She laughed, murmuring "cheers" before draining the second shot, closing her eyes for a fraction longer than a blink as the slow burn hit her again, and then set the mug down. Ball in Pierce's court again. She bet she wouldn't be fortunate enough to get another shoe right off the bat - that would sound too much like an opportunity not to get her drunk. Not Pierce's style at all. "So," she said, trading mugs for the one with her coffee again, taking a sip. It wouldn't help matters. It probably wouldn't even slow down the effects of the alcohol. But she was damned if she was going to waste perfectly good coffee - she'd spent enough winters in Alberta to never turn down a hot coffee, no matter the weather or the circumstances. "Who else were you planning to seduce today - or do you just keep a bottle on hand at all times, for just such an emergency?"

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PIERCE O'DONNELL
Posted: Jun 30 2012, 04:45 PM


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"Never given one either, I'll bet."

The mug of coffee that Pierce had remembered stopped its' trip towards his mouth at her jibe. He glanced over at Ainsley over the lip of the porcelain thing before taking a small sip of his coffee. The warmth of the coffee didn't match the warmth the whiskey provided, but he kept sipping anyways as he ruminated her comment. It didn't hurt. Pierce's feelings didn't get hurt. Every nasty, mean, cruel thing that anyone could ever imagine had already been said to him at one point or another. And it was true. Pierce didn't give any handouts. It's not like he wouldn't give a band aid to someone who was bleeding out on the floor-- but that situation had never arisen so he had never been able to prove himself. Before Z-Day, Pierce had never really thought about helping the helpless. Yeah, he had spent heinous amounts of money for a plate at the odd Let's Cure This Week's Fashionable Disease, but that was to see and be seen. Not because he cared about curing diabetes. Yup. Asshole he was. "Shhhhh..." was all he murmured over the coffee.

"Not even a glass slipper? Prince Charming's on a budget, alas..."

Pierce scoffed and glanced downwards at Ainsley's feet. "Looks like you can't be too picky when it comes to shoes, Morel..." he chided. "Besides, you'd get nowhere with a glass slipper. These shoes will trade you something fuckin' great and you know it." A pair of shoes, in this day and age? Not to mention a pair that was completely in tact and almost new? People would do much worse things then take shots. Which, he noticed, pleased as punch, Ainsley was completely willing to take. He watched her, blue eyes twinkling mischievously. A winning grin was given.

"cheers"

"Ladies first..." he murmured over his mug. She downed her shot rather gracefully if not for a small grimace and he chuckled appreciatively as he matched her motion, taking his own medicine. In all honesty, he didn't know what he was doing here. He was going to get drunk-- that was for sure-- but why was he getting Ainsley drunk? Because he wanted in her pants. Those things went hand in hand. And if Ainsley was any other girl, he might have felt alright about it. But Ainsley was... Ainsley. If she did get drunk, sloppy and silly, could he do it? If she couldn't remember the next morning? Besides, she explicitly told him not to get handsy. But what if he got too drunk? What if he couldn't remember the next morning? Well, shit. Way to put a downer on the situation, Pierce's Unconscious. Shit. Better drunk more. Pierce poured his own shot and this time, simply nudged the bottle in Ainsley's direction. She was a big girl. She could pour her own whiskey.

"Who else were you planning to seduce today - or do you just keep a bottle on hand at all times, for just such an emergency?"

"Just you, Ainsley. Only you," he stated, and he languidly hopped down from the counter form which he perched. He stepped slowly around the edge of the counter and to the side where Ainsley stood, where he leaned against a pillar, crossing his arms over his broad chest. "A bottle of booze can turn around the bleakest day, baby. Don't ever knock my back stock of liquor." With that, he revealed a small bottle from his dark jean's pocket, cracked it open, and dumped out a dozen or so small, orange pills. With that, he held them out to her, palm up. She thought she was going to get the other shoe? Laughable. "Advil. Use it wisely, Morel." Advil was perhaps more valuable then alcohol in this day and age. And he was giving it to Ainsley because she agreed to take shots.

That made sense-- right?
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AINSLEY MOREL
Posted: Jun 30 2012, 07:37 PM


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Ainsley grinned at the man's rebuke, her toes scrunching on the tile floor as he educated her on the merits of trainers versus glass slippers. She was inclined to agree - a well-fitted pair of shoes in good condition was a definite asset, and infinitely more functional than fairy-tale footwear - but then again. Pierce. Agreeing with him about anything was almost painful, if only because he was prone to taking things as a stroke to his ego. He probably already knew the value of whatever goodies he'd scrounged up (hell, knowing him, he already had a buyer in mind for them, and this exchange was either remarkably well-planned, or else a very desperate plea to get in her pants). She didn't need to swoon over everything he pulled out. "I'll reserve judgement until after I get the second one, darling." She fiddled with the laces of the one on the counter. Whose feet had been in there before Pierce had wrangled them? Ainsley was struck, as she often was when she was given a moment to think about the history of inanimate objects, by dual pangs of curiosity and sadness. The story of the person who'd worn these shoes - however briefly - was one she would probably never know. That was the true cost of the apocalypse - the massive loss of life was a double blow, paired with the loss of so many experiences, so many stories that would never be passed on. "And I'll hope I won't soon have a crazy woman with size eight feet storming in here accusing me of leaving her barefoot." Don't look a gift horse in the mouth? It was good advice... but Pierce warranted suspicion. She wouldn't put dirty dealing past him.

And really, so she shouldn't. She was taking shots with him in a coffee shop in the mall. The fact that it was her coffee shop, for all intents and purposes, didn't really matter. It wouldn't be that outlandish to imagine him getting her drunk enough to hand something of value to her over without a second thought. He had the smile and the voice to charm birds out of the trees. It wasn't a far stretch to imagine him using his talents for his own gain, in more than just a sexual nature. She made a mental note to keep track of what she was drinking. She really wasn't feeling the urge to get smashed, get screwed, and be left the next morning with a hangover, no greasy breakfast cure to be had, and minus a few items of purely sentimental value.

Pierce poured himself another shot - he was still keeping pace, which was a good sign, except she had a sneaking suspicion that he'd kept his alcohol tolerance high while she'd been mostly dry since the outbreak - and then nudged the bottle towards her. She smiled, accepting the bottle, and topping up her mug of coffee with a generous dose of whiskey. That was more to her liking than straight shots. A little slower, a little less volatile going down. Slower to get her hands on any of Pierce's rewards... but in spite of her curiosity, she couldn't really say she needed anything out of that bag. The things Ainsley wanted were largely things Pierce couldn't give her. Commitment. Love. Affection. Her sister back, alive and cussing up a storm. She was only drinking because...

Because...

She'd blame boredom and curiosity and a dozen other things... but if she were being honest, she really was glad for the company - even if it was company she had to be wary of 24/7 lest she suddenly became pants-less.

"Mmhmm," she breathed, sipping the whiskey-coffee mix and savouring the flavour with more grace than the straight shots earlier, "if I believed you for even a minute, sugar, we might be having a very different conversation right now." Oh wait. She was supposed to be discouraging him. Shit. Ainsley blinked, mildly surprised that it had slipped by her don't-egg-Pierce-on filter. Ok. Maybe shots on a relatively empty stomach hadn't been the best idea. There was already a happy warmth sitting in the pit of her stomach; a coziness similar to that she'd been experiencing curled up in the overstuffed armchair with her book and the smell of hot coffee in the air.

Pierce rounded the counter, coming to a halt a short ways away from her. Ainsley sipped from her mug again, peering at him over the rim. When the mug dropped again, she was smiling again. "All I'm saying is that if you'd done your homework, you would've brought spiced rum, not whiskey," she replied, eyes glittering, amused. Pierce produced a bottle next, measured a few pills into his hand. She quirked a brow at him, but accepted the medication with a soft breath of laughter. "I'll need them tomorrow, won't I?" No, her filter really wasn't working at one hundred per cent anymore. Ah well. She was still confident she could fend him off if he got handsy. That was what mattered. Being social wasn't a crime. It was a strange, welcome change from her usual guardedness around him.

"I'm going to give you a hint, though," she added, as an afterthought. She put her mug down, turned, and attended the register, popping the cash drawer (now home to a few scraps of paper covered in Ainsley's sloping scrawl, two sets of keys and a few pens) and depositing the pills in one of the cash slots. She nudged the drawer closed and retrieved her mug, turning back to Pierce. "Morel could be me... or my sister... or my mother." She paused, frowning lightly. The next name was uttered with the air of getting a bad taste out of her mouth. "Hell, it could be my father. And I don't think he's really your type." Her expression softened. She took another sip of her coffee, blinked, drained the mug. So much for taking it slow. "'Ainsley' is just fine. I might even consider not punching you for 'Ains'." She drew the line at the cutesy nicknames other people might find endearing. First-name basis was fine for her and Pierce. Really amiable terms? That was dangerous water. Ainsley paused, her gaze turning back to the bottle of whiskey, considering it for a long moment, then looking back to her companion. "Do you want to sit down?" It wasn't an invitation. Or... it shouldn't have been. But sitting was probably a good idea, before the ground started to lurch under her feet in an alcohol-inspired swell. And... well... Pierce was in it for the long haul. It was only polite. Right?

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