Inspired by character background provided on the Harper's Island Wiki and two scenes from the series - when John Wakefield deliberately leaves 'Brandy' by Looking Glass playing on The Cannery jukebox (Episode 11- Splash) and when the psychic reacts badly to holding Abby's mother's necklace (Episode 4 – Bang).
There's a port on a western bay
And it serves a hundred ships a day
Lonely sailors pass the time away
And talk about their homes
Hunched against the cold, he hurried from the dock on the Seattle Fishermen's Terminal down to the battered frontages of the harbour bars. His dark clothing was typical of the fishermen operating out of Seattle and normally provided a good barrier against the elements. However, tonight a bitterly cold wind was coming in off the water and, in the rapidly falling dusk, the promising spill of yellow light onto the sidewalk was warm and welcoming.
Edging his way in to a familiar dive, he shouldered his way through the drunken throng of fishermen, sailors and longshoremen who were gathered around the bar, apparently welcoming some new barmaid or waitress. One or two turned to see who was shoving they wouldn't push back; they never did with him. Moving towards the rear of the room he found his favourite place in a shadowed corner and let his mind wander while he waited to be served.
Not many people sat here; too far away from the beery camaraderie that centred on the bar. Not him. He always liked this table, liked the isolation, maybe … seeing the people weaving back and forth, oblivious to his watchful gaze. Perhaps it was part of spending so much time at sea, separated from rest of humanity.
Not that he worked alone. Like the other fisherman he always had a partner at sea; hell, you had to. It was damn near impossible to run a boat safely and successfully without a guy at the helm at a guy at the nets but, unlike the others, he didn't have a regular first mate on his boat. He always hired a reliable guy off the dock for each trip. Sometimes he would use a guy more than once but only if they weren't too friendly. Never understood why he couldn't tolerate people in his personal space for long periods. Not for the first time, he wondered if there was something off kilter about him, something that set him at an angle to the rest of the world that others could sense. He could talk, he could charm, he even had a sense of humour, but there was something inside…not so visible that he couldn't blend in but just… just enough to make him not want to…
Ahh shit, he didn't know, and he was too damn tired from his last fishing trip for kind of half-assed fucking analysis. He deserved a good night in a warm bar getting quietly drunk... maybe find a easy piece of tail if he was lucky, though some of the dockside trade was hard on the eye, even if not on the wallet.
He settled back into his seat and hoped this new waitress wasn't going to make him wait all goddamn night for his hard earned beer.
And there's a girl, in this harbour town
And she works, laying whiskey down
They say "Brandy, fetch another round"
She serves them whiskey and wine
She considered herself one of life's most willing flirts, but she was just about out of patience with the drunken men on their fourth toast to welcome her to Seattle, to the Fishermen's Terminal, to the Ferryman's Bar, to the…hell, she wasn't even sure what they were toasting now! Didn't they realise she needed to go and earn her tips?!
"Okay guys, I really need to get back to work now…"
Their protests were instantaneous, if slightly slurred.
"A toast to work…!"
"Ahh, c'mon sweetheart."
"Just one more…"
She bit back a sigh. Why did they have to be short staffed in her first week…?
She thought about life back in Tacoma with her parents. She'd thought when she'd run away to the 'big city' life in Seattle that it would be so different. That her life would somehow be transformed to something exciting and glamorous and just…just different. But it wasn't. Seattle was different to Tacoma but not in the ridiculous ways she'd thought it would be. Sure it was bigger but it was harder to find safe, decent work, particular when you were an attractive young woman of nineteen who clearly had no-one looking out for her. She'd been lucky to get this job with the little experience she'd had of waitressing, but the money wasn't enough for her to pay the rent without a decent level of tips at the end of the week.
With a smile that masked her fraying temper, she said evenly, "Tell you what guys, you toast work while I go do some, okay? Save some for me when I get back." She slipped out from behind the counter and scanned the taproom. The only other group of men still had near full glasses and there didn't seem to be anyone new who… no wait, she could just make out the shadowy outline of some weirdo sitting in the dark at the corner table.
She grabbed her pad and walked over to stand at the side of the table, blocking the light as little as possible. She didn't like not seeing who she was serving, but she still wore a friendly smile – even the creepy ones could be big tippers in these sort of dives.
"And what can I get you, sailor?"
At first she thought that he hadn't heard her, but after a moment he leaned forward so his face was fully illuminated.
"A beer… and maybe your name."
She was momentarily stunned – why the hell this guy was hiding in the shadows she had no idea! Dirty blonde hair and intense blue eyes set in a face that was good looking rather than handsome. A few years older than her maybe, but not many, and while he wasn't a big guy he had a kind of intensity about him that gave him a kind of presence.
'Like a lion maybe, or a shark,' she thought.
She found her enthusiasm for flirting restored and her smile widened.
"And 'maybe'my name?! Sorry, I'm going to need more of a commitment than that. Either you want it or you don't."
His mouth twitched at her response but his eyes didn't flicker from her face. "Huh, typical. Only just met and already you want a commitment." His eyes flicked down to the table momentarily but soon returned to her own. "Guess I should definitely get your name then."
"Names are extra."
"Hmm." He tapped his fingers on the table, apparently deep in thought. "Okay, how about a straight exchange? Mine for yours?"
She stood for moment, tilting her head to one side as she openly appraised him. He grinned, and it was that which decided her. It reached his eyes this time and their look was mischievous, promising fun and hinting at danger… and she liked fun and dangerous, particularly when they came with a face like that.
"Sarah. Sarah Bowen."
"Hello Sarah. I'm John. JohnWakefield."
The sailors say "Brandy, you're a fine girl
What a good wife you would be
Yeah your eyes could steal a sailor
From the sea"
John watched her tall form walk away to fetch his beer, admiring the switch of her skirt over her hips before she disappeared into the group at the bar.
Now, that is one fine looking woman.
Long dark hair, smooth pale skin and a nice figure to match. Then those eyes… as blue as his own but different. Hers were a warm sparkling blue, like summer light on water. Beautiful really. The night was certainly looking up.
He remained leaning on the table until he saw her returning with his drink. His gaze remained on her until she set the beer down with a sly smile.
"Don't worry, its all there."
John quirked an inquisitive eyebrow at her.
She gave him a deliberately innocent look. "Well, I could feel you staring from the moment I came out from behind the bar – naturally as the new girl I assumed you were worried I'd spill your drink." She grinned at him, "Or was I wrong?"
"Maybe I was worried you wouldn't come back with my beer at all."
Sarah laughed at that. "Oh no, I always come back, don't worry about that." She began to walk away.
"Hey…!" she turned round at his exclamation, and waited for him to speak. It was hard to read his expression but he seemed to be having some debate with himself.
"Stay a moment," he finally said.
Sarah hesitated. She was the only person on tonight but the guys at the bar were still going strong. "Okay, but not too long," she acquiesced, dropping her pad to the table and leaning against the wall.
"Sure, I understand." Sarah wasn't sure but he seemed to be searching for conversation. "This ahh…is this you first night?"
"No, I've been here a few days. I needed a job when I arrived and I don't have much experience, so this was the best I could get."
"It's an okay place. There are worse on the docks. So where did you come in from?"
"No shit, really? Me too. Moved up as it was easier getting out to the better fishing grounds. What made you come here?"
She winked at him "Well, do you know, I just can't get enough of that fish guts smell!"
John smiled at her, baring strong white teeth. "I did mention I was a fisherman, didn't I?"
"I could tell," she said, tapping the side of her nose with a slender finger. "But sadly, despite the allure of your uniquely fishy fragrance, I need to get back to serving..."
"What time do you finish?"
Sarah hesitated, partly at his abruptness and partly as she wasn't sure she wanted to tell strange men what time she would be walking along the docks at night. However, she realised that he could ask anyone when the place normally closed, so she might as well deal with it head on.
"Place closes at one, so I should be done soon after. Why?"
"I'll walk you home." Sarah had been preparing to decline a request, so she found it harder to dodge an order.
"Oh, I don't know …I mean, I don't really know you…" she said dubiously, before smiling to take the sting out of her next words, "After all, Mister John Wakefield, you could be a serial killer or something."
He laughed. "Don't worry, you're safer with me than anyone else here…" he was interrupted by the sound of breaking glass and a solid thud as a guy who'd managed unnoticed to strip down to nothing but his jeans and tattoos slipped from his barstool to the floor."
"Christ," she muttered, "why me?" She turned back to him as she picked up her pad. "Quarter past one then. Are you staying here or will you come back?"
"I'll stay; you may need some help with the heavy lifting," he said, pointing a calloused finger at the bar behind her. Sarah turned as another longshoreman tilted precariously on his stool. As she shot forward to prevent further accidents, he caught her wrist lightly, though she could feel the underling strength.
"Oh, and Sarah?" She glanced back distractedly, but in time to see his grin turn wolfish, "I promise I never killed anyone who didn't deserve it!"
"Trust me to get the crazies!" she retorted, rolling her eyes with mock exasperation. Still grinning, he allowed her to escape his grasp and she went to defend her clientele against that harshest of mistresses; gravity.