"Please tell me you're here to sing." Barely through the door, Lindsey McDonald was brought up short by a very agitated host. His pale green skin clashed horribly with the canary yellow of his suit. The pink drink he had in his hand threatened to spill over the side with his quick movements. "Your voice would heaven to my ears after the abuse your colleagues have put me through."
"Was thinking about it." Keeping his face a cool void, Lindsey let his eyes scan the crowded room, taking mental note of which co-workers had shown up tonight. Reading each face, trying to determine what stage of panic each one was in. It felt oddly good, knowing he wasn't one of the poor bastards sweating in his shorts, praying for Lorne to give them some shred of good news to cling to.
With Samhain only a week away, several projects were in their finalization stages. While several others depended on the old magics of the hollowed day to help enhance incantations, guaranteeing a happy client. The employees at Wolfram and Hart knew their heads were on the chopping block, literally and went to every effort to ensure perfection.
He'd never really been sold on Samhain. Most of the older, more respected demons saw the day as insignificant. To them it was just another silly holiday created by humans. It was the younger, ignorant demons who made more of the night. Believing there was something otherworldly. Lindsey couldn't help but agree with the more sophisticated of his clientèle. Nothing he'd seen so far had proven Samhain, or Halloween as some may call it, was anything more than just another night.
Just because he thought it was all nonsense, didn't mean he didn't appreciate watching his colleagues make asses of themselves. For example the three on stage now, sounding like cats in heat while trying to belt out the lyrics to Queen's 'Somebody to Love'.
"Grant me the privilege of your sexy chords and drinks are on me for the night." Wincing when one of the unfortunate singers belted a key not known to mankind, Lorne placed a hand to his forehead in his typical dramatical way. "Those three should start packing now. They're in on hell of a mess. Come on Cowboy, let ole Clyde at the bar put you on the list."
Slapping Lorne on the back, Lindsey brushed past him toward the bar. "I'll let you know."
"I know you're dying to belt out one or two of your songs." Lorne yelled after him. "It's the only reason you come here."
Ordering a beer and finding a comfortable spot at the bar, Lindsey smirked as Ted from Entertainment took the stage. One of the newest starlets he was put in charge of had gone on a party spree the weekend before. Liquor, cocaine and dead bodies was one hell of a mess to clean up after. Not for the first time Lindsey was thankful he didn't take that career path.
Taking a long draw off his beer, Lindsey couldn't help but feel satisfied. Everything was looking up. His job was secure. Holland no longer looked at him with doubt in his eyes. Lilah was back to kissing ass for attention. And his newest bonus was more than he could ever wish for.
Looking down at his right hand, Lindsey balled his fingers into a fist and couldn't help but be impressed. Just two weeks after the operation and he had full use of his limb. After months of struggling with the prosthetics, he was once again free to shoot that bastard Angel the bird. Which he'd done the moment he'd been able to.
"Fine I'm begging." Lorne dropped down onto the stool next to Lindsey. "Please just one song. I doesn't need to be anything special. Besides I'm getting a little ticklish sense that it's something you might need to do for yourself."
That caught his attention. Nothing good ever came from an Empath telling you a reading may be in order. "What're you talking about?"
"Eh, I can't really tell. It could be good, it could be bad. Can't tell." Shrugging his padded shoulders, Lorne raised his glass to the barkeep and turned back. "But do us both a favor, get up there. Sing. Dance. Do something."
The song that had been playing finally ended, letting out a sigh of relief, Lorne clapped his hands loudly over the deafening silence before whispering in Lindsey's ear. "There's gonna be lots of job openings come November."
His previous good mood slowly ebbed, his eyes following the green host as he weaved through the crowd to the nervously waiting patrons. He hated when Lorne dropped vague, foreshadowing hints. It was clear something was about to happen and if anything Lindsey hated being blindsided. If Lorne was able to hint at some kind of roadblock in his future, it would give him time to create contingency plans.
He also didn't like being teased like some dumb dog with a juicy bone. Taunted with a bit of information he may need. He's stopped playing by everyone else's rules long ago. So it grated against his pride when he was pushed into action.
In half a mind to drain the rest of his beer and call it a night. But now that Lorne planted a seed of doubt he'd never get any sleep.
Ordering another beer and telling the bar keeper to add his name to the list, Lindsey settled back to wait for his turn. His bubble of smugness had been slightly deflated, he didn't quiet enjoy watching his co-workers make fools of themselves. Another beer later he got his signal from Lorne and made his way to the stage.
Feeling the stares boring into his back, Lindsey told himself it didn't matter. Let them stare. He wasn't the least bit intimidated. Taking his time reaching the stage, he reminded himself that the stage was just like any courtroom. He was able to entertain both a crowded bar room as well as his peers sitting on jury. Let his co-workers drool like hyenas over a chance to get one up on him. They were in for a long wait.
"What are you going to dazzle us with cowboy?" Looking drained from a long night of amature singing and high levels of stress, Lorne looked over at him in relief.
"Whatever." With a careless shrug of his shoulder's, Lindsey made his way to the microphone and waited for the music to queue. He didn't care if Lorne played Mary had a Little Lamb, he just wanted to get this over with.
With the opening cords of his chosen song Lindsey felt as though the floor beneath him had disappeared. His stomach clenched into a tight ball, while the hairs on the back of his neck rose. Swallowing against the bile that rose up his throat, Lindsey licked him lips and forced himself to sing the words he knew by heart. While shutting down the part of himself that had been caught in a moment of pure panic.
Before the last note faded, Lindsey was off the stage and headed toward the door. No longer caring to have Lorne read him, he wove his way around the small tables until he reached the door and slammed out into the night air.
Taking deep breath, his hands threaded their way through his overgrown locks as he stared up at the night sky.
"Are you forgetting something?" Lorne slipped into the night, taking a careful look around. The last thing he needed was for some lost couple from Ohio to come stumbling upon them. "You sing, which I personally can't thank you enough for and the I do my thing. Preferably inside, tucked away at one of those comfy little tables I have inside. We've done it a few times, I would've thought you had the pattern down by now."
"Don't bother." His nerves still taunt, Lindsey dropped his hands to his sides and tried to school his expression into one of boredom. "I've decided I don't need it after all."
His eyes widening, Lorne made an uncertain face. "I'm not too sure about that Buckeroo. You may want to come back inside with me."
One of the last places on earth he wanted to be, was back inside that bar. "I'm comfortable where I'm at. If you're gonna do this, just spit it out. I don't need all of the fluffy crap to go along with it."
"You want it straight?" Lorne's friendly demure hardened slightly, his smile slipped, while his eyes lost their shine. "No soft positioning. No warm fuzzies? Fine."
"Fine." Lindsey sneered back.
"You ever heard of the saying Fates Bitch?" Lorne asked in a clipped tone. "I'm sure you have, seeing how you are."
"That's it, I'm out of here." With a disgusted wave of his hand, Lindsey turned on his heal and headed to the parking lot.
"You're fucked Cowboy. There's no other way to say it." Lorne waited until the young lawyer stopped, though he didn't turn back around he knew he had center stage. "There's not many customers I would follow out into the alley. So I suggest you listen. You are getting close to the end of your very short rope. Your fancy tap dancing at work. Past decisions you've made. They are all coming to a climatic climax and if you don't play it right, you're gonna lose everything."
"So what am I supposed to do?" His shoulders slumped slightly with the weight of Lorne's words. He shouldn't have been surprised, not with the chances he took, he just wasn't ready for an end game yet.
"Whatever you feel is right." A trace of pity laced through the em pith's tone. "Lindsey, you need to be careful with what you do. There's a lot at stake and one wrong move can hurt a lot of people."
"Is that it?" With a frustrated sigh, Lindsey turned around. "Any other words of wisdom?"
"Don't make the wrong choice." Lorne suggested in his casual way before heading back to the door.
"What was that song all about?" A surge of anger flashed though him as Lorne paused.
"I'm not following."
"The song Lorne. How did you know?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about. It was the next one in queue. Drive safely Lindsey." Pulling the door open to let the noise from inside spill out into the night, Lorne sent him one last look before going inside.
Not convinced, Lindsey stalked to where he parked. It pissed him off how a night that had been looking up turned to shit within minutes. Letting himself inside his car, he slammed the door with more force than needed. Leaning his head against the headrest he gave himself a few minutes to clear his mind and regain control of his emotions.
Reminding himself of his accomplishments and the status he richly deserved at the firm helped. Telling himself there hadn't been a problem he hadn't skated out of made the tightness in his shoulders relax. When he felt he had a reasonable amount of control over himself, Lindsey started the car and put it into gear.
The country station he'd been listening to earlier that night poured through the speakers. The tune turned his blood to ice again, as Lindsey slammed to a halt as John Michael Montgomery's voice filled the inside of the car. Viciously pounding the power button Lindsey swore a blue streak before letting his frustrations out on the dashboard.