Xavier Vega turned left when he saw the sign that read 'The Glen at Maple Falls' and drove up to the gate. He had a guest card which he was told would lift the crossing bar and let him in with no problem, but opted to stop first when he saw an attendant at the booth. He rolled down his window and put on his best smile as the guard, a portly fellow that Xavier put at about fifty years old leaned slightly out his window. The guy looked amicable enough; Xavier decided he didn't really need to wow him with any Presence.
"Good evening, sir!" Xavier said cheerfully. "I'm a guest of Mr. Norton, and he advised I should meet him directly at a place called the Fireside Lodge. Could you point me in the right direction, please?"
The guard was indeed a happy enough sort; he gave directions without hesitation. Xavier thanked him, flashed the guest card and tapped it on the reader; the gate opened and Xavier drove through and, following the guard's directions, drove to the Fireside Lodge. He wondered if the guy at the gate was one of Norton's. Weaving through what seemed to the Toreador to be little more than a forested trailer park resort, he wondered just how much of this Russell Norton actually owned; what exactly did 'holdings' in a place this mean? He couldn't deny the place was pretty, if only in a quaint sort of way, but it was so very remote; the next nearest town was little more than a village, and it was several miles away. Not exactly a comfortable place for their kind; this looked more like the kind of place a Werewolf would favor. He supposed it might have a certain appeal to the Gangrel clan. Maybe Norton was a Gangrel...
He almost missed the turn to the Fireside Lodge. The Lodge was built on a slope, so that both level of the structure were arguably on ground level. The parking lot was on the higher end of the slope, and stepping out of his car he saw that the field the Lodge overlooked was dominated by a large inflatable covering. From the music blaring and echoing from within the bubble below, Xavier ventured a guess that his party was waiting down there. He took the stairs down, entered the Lodge, turned towards the exit that led past a Sauna and into the bubble; he ignored the sign that admonished all that enter the pool area must be wearing swimwear.
His eyes quickly adjusted to the level of steam generated inside the bubble, and noted the music seemed louder from the outside. Inside, he saw the pool was a jagged; almost diamond shape, one edge of which was partitioned off as a hot tub. It was in this partition that Xavier saw a man lounging far too casually to be anything other than either a Vampire or a some kind of rock star; his heavily tattooed arms stretched across the barrier between the tub and the pool, head tilted back as if trying to see past the opaque bubble covering overhead. All along the barrier were several empty wine glasses. On the deck were two bottles, and yet another glass, also empty. With a lackadaisical grunt the man brought his forward and regarded Xavier for a moment. His dark red hair was cut short and spiked up; the sideburns shaved clean off. He wore dark shades and had a toothpick clamped between his teeth.
He spat the toothpick indifferently onto the deck as he stood in the tub; the water waist deep. He stepped forward and extended his hand up to Xavier.
"Mr. Vega, I presume." He said warmly. "I'm Russell Norton. Call me Russ, if you like. May I call you Xavier?"
Xavier took his hand and shook it firmly. "Xavier will be fine." He replied. Already this guy was kind of a surprise; he did not expect an Anarch to be this casual and formal at the same time. Also, for some reason he felt like he knew this guy; it was like they met before.
"I'm pleased to meet you again, Xavier." Russ said, as if speaking to Xavier's thoughts as well as to him in person. "Did you bring swimwear? If so, by all means come on in! This jet stream in here is un-be-lievable!" He groaned in near orgasmic pleasure as if to emphasize his point, dipping down so his shoulders were submerged.
"No, thank you." Xavier smiled. "I'm fine. Where did we meet before?"
Russ shrugged. "Your loss," he said. "But I get it; this is a bidness trip, not pleasure. I respect that. We met at your Pit; maybe six months ago."
Xavier shook his head slowly; that didn't help much. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people pass through his club in Hollywood on a weekly basis.
Russ chuckled lightly as he picked up a glass and filled it from the contents of the bottle. He took a slug from the bottle before setting the bottle down, set the glass down gently, and began to sing:
"Dirty? Am I dirty?
I'm so dirty, and so are you.
The pretty lies are over,
now is time for dirty truth"
He paused, raised both arms in the air, snapped his fingers three times,
"Everybody's Dirty!" Xavier joined in, remembering who Russell Norton was now. Six months ago, right around the time the all that Setite and Assamite shit was going on, he sang in a band that played in the Pit; a band from Vancouver, Xavier recalled. That was a lucrative night; the crowd got right into the chorus of that particular song; and lots of "Dirty" t-shirts were sold. In fact, they may have been there while he was in San Francisco; or was that the Deb of Night party?
"Naked Fire; that's who you are" he said finally. "Sorry it took me a minute to remember. I had a lot going on back then."
Russ waved it off with an 'I get it' gesture. "It's cool." He said. "Hey, at least take a seat, and have a drink while we talk." He pointed in a general direction towards a bunch of folding chairs. "You must have worked up a thirst on your trip."
Actually, it was true; he was feeling more than a little hungry. He took a chair as Russ poured a drink from the same bottle he was imbibing. He handed Xavier the glass and boosted himself up onto the barrier between the tub and the pool. Xavier took a sip from the glass and recoiled in surprise at the potency of the contents. He was used to his herd having a drink or two in them, but this was something else entirely. Russ laughed in a way that was entirely non- malicious.
"I call that blend 'E-Tard extreme." He explained. "I only break out that stuff for special occasions." He took a sip from his own glass. "If it's a little too potent for you I can get something a little milder..."
"No, it's fine," Xavier lied. It was way potent than what he generally took to; but then again the sensation from that one little sip was delightful; he simply had to finish what he started here. Besides, potent as it was, it was still Kine, and he didn't want to seem rude or soft to this possible new partner. He took another sip.
Russ nodded, and produced another toothpick from a small case on the deck. He clamped it between his teeth. "Alright, then" he said. "What is it you'd like to know about the Marble Hall?"