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Speakeasy

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Franziska laughed, tossing her head back. The woman beside her looked faintly scandalized, as if she was afraid of drawing any more attention than they already had. If that was scandalizing, certainly what came next was worse: Franziska took her by the collar, pulling her close to kiss her mouth.

Miles rolled his eyes at his sister's antics, turning to look out over the room. It was busier than usual, a thick blue haze of smoke settling over the patrons. The band in the corner was playing something sweet, but no one was paying them any mind.

It was Phoenix who spotted him first. "Get a load of the big six," he said, nudging Miles. "Someone ought to tell him the war's over."

"Quick, under the table, Franny," Miles quipped.

"From the looks of him, the only one going under is you," she retorted.

"Butt me," he said, extending a hand to Phoenix, who handed over a cigarette. "I've got to go see a dog about a man."

Miles worked his way through the crowd, stopping between tables to light his cigarette. He stepped around a giggling deb to the bar, sidling up right next to the big man.

"Gin rocks," he told the bartender, digging in a pocket and coming up with a crumpled bill.

"Make it two," Miles said, smiling at him, "and put it on my tab."

"Thanks, pal," the man replied, giving him an earnest smile.

"Call me Miles."

"Dick," he said, holding out a hand.

They watched him from the table, noting with satisfaction how Miles got closer and closer, resting his hand lightly on the man's arm. The man was laughing, beaming under Miles's flattery.

"He's closing in," Phoenix said, in a warning tone. As if on cue, Miles leaned up into the man's ear, whispering something while he passed some money across the bar. His eyes went wide, and he stared at Miles for a long moment. Finally, he offered Miles his arm, letting him lead the way towards the door.

"Seven minutes, thirty-one seconds," Franziska announced, popping her watch back in its pocket and adjusting the chain. "Not as good as last week."

"He's always like this when he gets tight," Adrian sighed. "Pour three drinks down him and he turns into the Sheik of Araby."

"I've got to learn that trick," Phoenix replied, taking a swig of his drink. "I just fall over." He set his glass down with determination, standing. "But if you lovely ladies will excuse me, there's a pair of gams by the stage that are positively calling my name."

Adrian rolled her eyes, polishing off her cocktail. "I give him a four-count before she slaps him across the face."

Franziska sighed. "Don't let's stick around to find out. This place is a flat tire tonight."

"The night is young, and I'm not tired," she replied, shrugging. "What do you want to do?"

Franziska reached over, curling a lock of Adrian's hair around one finger. "I can think of something."