Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
Sometimes it's awkward asking about why someone wears an eyepatch. Sometimes it's not.
Even so, there still weren't many places better than the Lily to catch a good show at. Or to play at. Cos always liked the little joints, best. They were the ones with personality.
Last call was always at two, and the last band was usually off by one - which meant that more often than not they were the ones right up front, getting their last drink on. But it wasn't quite that time yet, so that meant the bar was actually calm. The tender that night was a cocky bastard, but most were in the business; half the people sitting there fit the mold, too, and the other half.. well, half of them were probably underage. No one really cared, so long as no one was stupid and the cops stayed out of the place's business.
"That was a pretty damn good show," someone said to her left - almost too low for her to catch, and if it weren't for the fact that she knew that the rest of the band was out back and the only other group left after the show was at the far end of the bar, she would've thought he'd been talking to someone else.
"Thanks," she said, turning to give him a grin. He wasn't that bad looking - tall and sinewy, and just a shade or two on the scruffy side. Bright red hair. Black clothes. He fit right in.
Oh, right. And an eyepatch.
"Not as good as when you played up at Miscere last month, but still pretty damn good," he continued, taking a swig from his mug. From the look of it, it was probably Guinness. Or maybe Yuengling. When he drank, the patch hid the eye closest to her; it was a little bit weird, but not in a bad way, she decided.
"Miscere, huh?" Cos asked, a bit surprised. "That's a ways away. I don't think I remember seeing you there, but there was a huge crowd."
The redhead didn't seem offended. "Big cities get those. They've got a better setup than here, too."
She laughed. "Yeah. We always have tech problems when we come out here, but I like playing at the Lily. It just has that.." She trailed off a moment, trying to find the right words and looking at her nearly-full glass as if it had the answers.
"That /je ne sais quoi/," the one-eyed man finished for her. His French was spot on, though he couldn't hide all of his accent.
Cos laughed again. "Right," she said, still grinning. "That je ne sais quoi about it. I don't know if it's the setting or the people that keeps it here, though it's probably a little of both. Even system problems aside. So what's your name? I'll try to remember it next time we're at Miscere."
"Riley," he said, and he offered her a hand even though these days no one ever remembered to shake. She took it; his grip was strong, but brief. "Nice to meet you, Riley," she replied. No one ever remembered to say that these days, either. "I guess you already know I'm Cos, huh?"
Riley nodded and took another sip of his beer. She got another good look at his eyepatch - plain black, with metal fittings. Leather. It looked like it was padded underneath. "Heard of you a few times. Seen you play twice now."
She smiled. "Twice, huh? I guess you did really like us at Miscere, then, if you came out here for more." It was always flattering to hear people talk about their music, though it was also kind of embarrassing, sometimes, too. PRAOV was large enough now that they were starting to get fans - real fans - and some of them seemed to like the flattery thing too much.
"Well, I was in the area," he said with a slight shrug - and more than a slight grin. She was glad that he wasn't falling into embarrassing mode.
It was actually really nice. Premed had played a good dozen shows since Miscere, but in the past couple months it was hard to just sit down and chat with people without getting that whole pressure of being a Band Member in Public. It was like they always had to keep up an act, at least a slight one. Or at least for her; she couldn't speak for dear Ganth, whose inhibitions were about as lacking as anyone with a fifth under their belt. And that was him sober.
This was nice - just sitting and chatting with someone about music, especially once it shifted to what other bands they each liked, and comparing preferences on guitars. It was like how it had been a year or two earlier, when PRAOV was just starting, and they all did it just for the fun of it.
It was almost time for last call when he finally asked her one of the things nearly everyone did, sooner or later. "So, why Cosine? It's not just a stage name, is it?"
"I'm a geek for math," she admitted, and she couldn't help but laugh a little bit, then. She'd nearly finished her drink, but it wan't the alcohol. "You know, more the theoretical stuff instead of the actual grunt work - using letters for numbers and tying them into abstract concepts."
"Oh yeah?" he said, and with the way his head was turned and the patch was hiding his near eye, it was almost like he wasn't looking at her fully, even though it felt like he was. But he also didn't seem to find it ridiculous or anything. "Yeah. I thought 'Cosine' sounded cool, and picked it up as a handle a few years back. It kinda stuck, so I just used it for my stage name since then."
"Ever think you'll change to it?" he asked. "Legally, I mean."
"I've thought about it," Cos said, resting her chin in her hand. "Not seriously, but.. You know. I'd like to see how far PRAOV goes, first, see if this whole musician thing might even work as a job. Doubtful, but you never know."
"Things have a way of turning out how we least expect them to, sometimes," he murmured, finishing off his drink. "What'd you go by before?"
It wasn't a secret, but it also wasn't something she'd advertised after moving in on the performing side of the scene. Cos grinned. "I'll tell you if you tell me how you got that." She made a little nod at him. By then, she was pretty sure that she could ask about his eye without fear that it'd horribly offend him.
Riley grinned back and hooked one thumb under the band of his patch - not quite enough to lift it up. "What, this?" Right then, the light flicked off then on three times in a row, heralding the rush before last call. "It's a longer story than I think you've got time for, tonight. But, like I said, things have a way of ending up how you least expect them."
"Mmhm," she said, though she was pretty sure he couldn't hear her now that the bar had gotten five times louder. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see one of the other band members waving to her at the back exit; the gear had already been packed up a while ealier, but she knew that some of them wanted to head out. She rose to her feet before anyone started pushing against her to get the tender's attention.
"Tell you what," Riley said, once she'd turned back to him to say goodbye. "Next time you play at Miscere, I'll buy you a drink and tell you then."
Whatever she'd been about to say never made it out. Cos smiled. "It's a deal." This time, she offered him her hand. "I'll look forward to it."
He let go and gave her one of those nods - the type that's given to someone out of respect, or to say farewell. Or just because. "See you around."
"You, too," she said, then added before the tall guy behind them could get between. "And it's Emily."
She flashed him one last grin, then backed out through the crowd. A few people tried to say hello, or tell her how great they'd played, but she just kept grinning and kept walking.
She was gone before she could see Riley hook his thumb under the patch again - only just enough to lift it up so he could watch her leave with both eyes. It was probably for the better. It'd make whatever story he told at Miscere just that much better.