Parker plucks at her skirt, pulling the fabric out and then letting it drop. Sophie picked out her outfit as always and it's way more girly than she'd normally wear. Secretly, though, she likes the way the skirt flows out. She spins out once, twice, as she brushes against the crowd, her nimble fingers looking to fulfill Hardison's request. She gasps a little at the spinning sensation and her mouth fills with the tang of alcohol & salt. Her boots click on the hardwood floor as the music from the jukebox swells, the vibrations tickling her chest. It's a country song, but, underneath the screaming guitars, she hears the quiet weeping of a violin.
Sophie closes out the search window for local shoe stores as the mark swaggered up to the table. He's exactly the type she loves to take down, arrogant and selfish with a sizable helping of cruelty. She's not entirely faking the disdain she injects into her tone as she fends off his boorish charm. Mitch Kirkwood is the worst type of man and, honestly, she can't imagine any woman would want to be with him without an ulterior motive. They move through the crowd, Kirkwood's presence forcing the crowd to give way before them. After a few minutes, they end up against a railing, staring down at the stage. She is idly thinking about a pair of red stilettos when Eliot takes the stage and starts to play. The velvety softness of his voice, complete with country twang, takes her by surprise and she leans a little harder on the rail. The music wraps around her and she glances for a moment at Nate. He's on his bar stool, facing the stage, and sipping from another glass of bourbon. Lightly, she brushes her fingers against her lips, remembering, before Kirkwood stirs besides her and reminds her that right now, in this place, she is someone else.
Hardison finds himself shooting little looks at Parker as they listen to Eliot singing. Their shoulders are brushing and she's resting her chin on her hands. She looks absolutely adorable and he wets his lips nervously, their fake kisses flashing through his mind. They haven't talked about her newfound feelings for pretzels, but he can tell she's thinking about it. He doesn't know if he can describe it exactly, but she seems to be standing a little closer, looking at him a little longer. As the music dies away, he peeks at her again and she is looking back at him. As their gazes connect, she gives him a small smile. He can't help it and tucks a strand of her hair behind her ear, fingertips lightly brushing her cheek. Applause erupts from the club as Parker glances away, a light flush highlighting her pale complexion. He turns back to his laptop, grinning to himself, with a sudden craving for pretzels.
Eliot knows, on some level, that it's not Kaye-Lynn he's kissing right now. It's another girl, preserved like amber in the past, smelling faintly of daisies and hay dust. His hands curve around her waist as he leans down a little, not as much as he'd needed to before. Kaye-Lynn giggles, one of those coaxing female sounds, and it's a little higher pitched than he thinks it should be. He is breaking one of his cardinal rules, messing with a client, but he is surfing on a wave of pride and adrenaline. The emotions he poured into his song roil within him, clouding his judgment, and so he is kissing the girl in his arms, eyes closed, with a different face entirely in his mind.
Nate is having a hard time catching his breath. As Eliot left the stage, a flash of blond caught his eye and, for one heart-stopping moment, he believed it was Maggie, making her way towards him. It wasn't, of course, and he drains the last of his drink, glancing up at Sophie and Kirkwood. She has the mark well in hand and he wonders again what her real name is. He makes mental notes of names to guess during his more sober moments. The ice clinks against the glass and his drink is empty. He turns back to the bar and the thoughts of Sophie slip away.