The country club is expanding...or at least it hopes to be. There will be new positions up on the board soon and Calliope is already being groomed by the current board for one of them. So to help them 'decide' (like they haven't already), Calliope and some others with breeding and wealth, have been dispatched to check out an old resort hotel on the seashore about ten miles north of Fallcoast. It could be a perfect acquisition.
The heyday of the 'Orchard Palms' was in the 1930s. It was the 'in' place to be for the jet set even before there were jets! Rumours of wild parties were frequent but it was all hushed up. The place was requisitioned as an Army HQ during the Second World War and it never really recovered. Now it has been unoccupied for a decade and rather than see it pulled down, the Country Club have decided to revitalise it...if the report is a good one from those sent.
Valentina is driven there by her chauffeur, stepping out into the cold and looking up at the two story building with multiple wings. A dark building. The clouds overhead adding an extra level of gloominess. The Argentinean is a new arrival to Fallcoast so to be here she must be ridiculously rich...and the club is looking for foreign investment. "You can go, Enrico" she tells her bodyguard/chauffeur. "Pick me up in about..." She looks over the place once more. "...three hours." She was told to meet the others on the steps to the large front doors so that is where she will go. They are to expect estate agents too. And maybe the grounds maintenance guy.
Black has taken his time to put on his best, and assist when the call came for people of wealth and influence. He is driving his Lamborghini Tron Aventador, while he rolls up not far from the resort, and steps out. Underneath he has his Glock, which he carries all the places he travels these days, just in case. He adjusts his midnight toned floral spring shirt.
Okay, so checking out old resorts is not a thing Calliope is comfortable with any longer. There's no one she'd rather do it with than Lisette, though. And there's body guards. And it's not at night. Because no way. Not happening. Nuh uh. Also, while Valentina may be comfortable sending her bodyguard away, Calli is not. So Cole will be tagging along at a discreet distance. The young King woman will be arriving in the same vehicle as her BFF Lisette, assuming Lise doesn't mind, because the world is scary and there could be Crawfords lurking around any corner and Lisette has a bodyguard and two are better than one. Also, comfort. Still, she's dressed to the nines since she's figured out that this is probably a test. And since the weather is finally starting to sorta almost warm up a little, she doesn't look as eskimoesque as usual.
Lisette has had some poor experiences with being sent to check out old places in remote areas; that's probably why she's more than happy to ride along with Calliope, and has Kent -- her handsome and uninterested bodyguard -- riding shotgun. Unlike Valentina she doesn't dismiss her bodyguard, though Kent's well-trained enough to stand a few steps away, unobtrusively watching their surroundings rather than his charge. The Cavanaugh woman is dressed in a tailored jacket and skirt outfit, with pale pink shirt and matching heels. "Is that her?" Lisette asks Calliope, a tip of her head indicating the woman standing in front of the resort. "At least someone showed up this time -- oh, is that the Marquess Black?" she eyes the approaching Lamborghini with interest.
Valentina was starting to wonder if she was being stood-up; and that /never/ happens. She offers a smile to the new arrivals as she introduces herself, "Valentina Vidal." Her accent still obvious. Though none of them look like an estate agent or a maintenance man...unless they're really paid well in Maine. A rumble of thunder overhead.
Black takes a moment to walk over to where Calliope and Lisette is. He then waves a bit, before he looks between them all, "It is Duke now," he states, then he dips his head a small bit. He relaxes, while he waits to hear more. Meanwhile, he is scrutinizing the old hotel's outside.
Calliope leans in to Lisette and murmurs, "If there's ANY music at all, I'm out of here." Though she hides it well, her friend might know that she's pretty freakin' nervous right now. However, they're approaching Valentina and she puts on a bright smile, "Good afternoon, Ms. Vidal. I'm Calliope King." She offers a hand and will allow the Cavanaugh to introduce herself. She looks to the sky and then her eyes lower again and she chuckles. "Of course." Her arm remains firmly linked with Lisette's, unless the other woman protests.
"I'll be right behind you," Lisette murmurs in response to Calliope, giving her a wry (and hopefully somewhat reassuring) smile, even if she's a hint of nervousness, too. She strides alongside Calliope, unwinding her arm from Calliope's to offering her own hand in turn, though she's quick to resume the contact after, "Ms Vidal, a pleasure to meet you. I'm Lisette Cavanaugh." She gives a nod towards Black, turning attention soon after back to Valentina.
Valentina is happy to shake the offered hands before glancing at Black and his more taciturn approach to greeting her. "I have not seen the estate agent yet" she explains to the women, "But shall we look around anyway?" With that she turns and trots up the stairs. "It is nice to finally meet you both. I have heard so much about you. All of it good...ish" she teases. A quick try of one of the front doors finds it unlocked. "Maybe they are waiting inside?"
Valentine opens the door and strides into a large lobby that is covered in dust and spider webs Some statues, covered by white sheets, are scattered around the floor. A staircase to one side leading upwards and large doors leading off to a ballroom on one side. A chill is in the air as they enter.
Black's sight merely sees an old building that has seen better days. At least for now.
Black moves to follow with the three, "Merek von Black," he offers his introduction to Valentina if needed, and follows her along with Calliope and Lisette. He adjusts his shirt a small bit, and then looks off to the side. "I don't like this place," he states off the bat, frowning a bit.
As Valentina strides, carefree, into the building without waiting for agents or maintenance people, Calliope pales. "Maybe we should wait..." But then again, even if the real estate agent had been there from the start last time, it wouldn't have done them any good since he was in on the gig. Also, what if it's him again? She shudders and looks behind her to make sure Cole is still there. He is. He and Kent have fallen into a stride that allows them to work together and be doubly efficient. So Calli looks to the Cavanaugh, takes a deep breath, and starts heading in. Unless Lisette protests too much. Or even a little, really. Honestly, all it would take to keep her outside would be a simple 'no' head-shake.
"Duke?" Calliope asks, distracted, of Black. She hasn't much clue how nobility works and now the man has a different title. Wtf?
"Uhh," Lisette looks like she's not-so-down with exploring while a missing estate agent has yet to show up. "Fool me once," she mutters to Calliope, tugging gently on the arm that links them as if to pull her to a stop. "Perhaps, maybe before we do that we could chat a little? It sounds like you know a lot about us, but -- you're the more interesting component, Ms. Vidal." She gives a beaming smile to the Argentinian. Yes, stall. She, too, is glancing over to make sure Kent and Cole are nearby.
Valentina suddenly realises that no one is following her and she wanders back up to the open front door to peer at the others. "Is there something wrong?" Though once Lisette plays the 'you're interesting' card, then what's a rich girl to do but agree? "Please, call me Valentina" she smiles. "There is not much to tell. International businesswoman trying to put some deals together with the Country Club and investors." The thunder rumbles overhead once more but now there is also rain spitting down on those still outside. Cold rain that may soon turn into snow. "You really should come inside" Valentina suggests...though was that movement on the staircase behind her?
Black takes a moment to think it all over, and he moves inside with Valentina for the time being. He seems to be keeping to himself, but does nod at Calliope's words, "Yes," he states after a moment.
Yes, there was definite movement. A shadow more than physical. It was there on the staircase for a moment - size and shape of a man before it moved upwards and out of sight.
Calliope lets out a scream and adopts a terrified look. She was considering going in out of the rain until just now. Instead she's sort of lunging forward in an attempt to grab Valentina and yank her out to safety. And if Calli and Lisette saw it, then it's doubtful their bodyguards missed it. Cole, knowing the full story and not having time to coddle Calli at the moment, will signal for Kent to stay with the socialites while he goes to see what's happening. His weapon is already drawn out of nowhere, but held discreetly at his side so as not to freak people out. He's also going to be as casual as possible about getting inside. No sense upsetting everyone present if it's just the estate manager or something.
All confusion over Black's title change is gone as Calli is in panic mode now.
"Thank you, Valentina. Please call me Lisette," Rich girl bonding, go! "Oh, that doesn't sound like nothing, that sounds amazing. Actually I'm looking to invest, myself -- just opened my first local business here last month. I'd love to talk tips with you some time, if you have time?" She glances up at the sky, grimacing. Getting wet and possibly ruining her outfit, or going into the scary building? It's a tough call. At least until she sees something on the staircase. Is that a squeak, coming from Lisette? Yeah, might be. Also, "Kent?!" because, just like when you're scared and you hug a teddy-bear, when you're rich and have a bodyguard, you make them check under the bed. Kent glances at Cole and nods, then moves forward without even a roll of the eyes, completely professional, giving a nod towards Ms Vidal as he steps to put himself between the doorway and the group of socialites, his own gun drawn and held by his side. "Just a moment if you would, ladies," he murmurs, keeping an eye on Cole's back from the doorway.
Valentina squeaks as she's dragged outside by Calliope. "But the Duke is still inside" she notes, pointing at Black before turning her gaze on the other two women. "Would you like to tell me what this is about? There's something going on." She's even crossed her arms; Valentina is in serious mode.
Inside, one of the bodyguards makes his way past Black and heads for the staircase. Warily he makes his way upwards, guns drawn.
Outside there is a bright white flash of lightning followed almost immediately by the rumble of thunder. The clouds are pitch black by now. The rain growing heavy. Shards of icy liquid spiking their skin.
Black looks back to those outside, and states, "Come in," after a moment. Might as well finish up what all of them came here to do. He looks to the Guards curiously, and shrugs a bit, reaching a hand to his Glock and sliding it out and to his side. He might as well be armed too. "Most it might be here is stragglers," he states, not believing that one bit if they're screaming at something.
How to explain to Valentina what's going on (at least in Calliope's mind)? Not easily done with plenty of time and calm nerves, let alone mid-panic. "Crawfords..." she blurts. "Kidnapping and..." She's pale and very obviously terrified. It's probably reason enough for concern. And the little Cali girl (not to be confused with Calli girl) isn't running in from the frigid spring rain. Not that Valentina knows that much about it. But then something clicks in her brain and she just pulls herself together. Calmness exudes from her. It's kinda creepy, actually. "Lise and I suffered a traumatic kidnapping a couple of months ago and it started out much like this." However, now that she's snapped out of her pre-hysterics, she's also calmly opening her purse to rest her hand on her gun, though she doesn't pull it out. "It's best to wait here until the gentlemen are done securing the place for us."
"There was definitely someone there," Lisette says, voice edgy as she adds onto the heels of Calliope's words, squeezing her BFF’s arm in reassurance. "And, um, Calli's had some threats with stalkers, lately. You know how it is when you're rich and well known," she's telling Valentina, with a sympathetic grimace. While Lisette's willing to huddle nearer the doorway to avoid the rain, she's definitely not willing to step inside, even Kent weren't blocking their passage inside with his bulky form. Black's words aren't overly reassuring, but they do mean she's at least trying to peer past to see if it's 'safe'. Kent glances at Black, takes a step further inside the house, so he can get a better angle on Cole's assent up the stairs.
"Kidnapping? Oh, you poor thing." Valentina gives Calliope a hug of sympathy - rich girls need to stick together with all the hardships they have! "But it didn't happen here, did it?" She glances back into the lobby. Everything seems quiet and safe. And certainly better than standing in the rain.
And then Cole calls out a warning.
A figure is wandering down the staircase. Badly dressed but not homeless. At least he doesn't seem to be. The man, in his sixties, wanders slowly downwards before looking them all over. "You from the Country Club" he grunts before nodding at Cole's gun. "No need for that. Nothing worth stealing here anyway. I'm Geoffreys. Maintenance."
Black looks to the man, and blinks a few times, then studies the man with his scrutinizing gaze. He does not seem to be the most talkative, "Yes, we are from the Country Club," he adds after a moment.
Geoffreys looks human and non-supernatural though his aura seems a little 'touched'. As if he's been around the supernatural quite a bit."
Calliope closes her eyes and exhales, relaxing. She waits until Cole seems to accept this man at his word, then withdraws her hand from her purse, sans weapon. "Thank you for understanding," she says to Valentina, now blushing just a touch. Exploring old buildings used to be such an exciting prospect. Now it's stressful. "Valentina, I apologize for my overreacting. Please, call me Calli, or Calliope if you prefer. "Our misadventure started with the intent to meet a real estate agent outside an old resort that we were considering for a charity endeavor I'm working on." But now that everything seems to be okay, she's rapidly getting out of the icy rain. Because a) COLD! and b) hair.
It's clear from Lisette's expression that when Cole calls out a warning her heard is practically in her throat. Perhaps mercifully Kent's out of reach for her to cling to, so instead Calli (and briefly Valentina, since she's hugging Calli) get that treatment instead. Kent's gun half lifts as he steps fully inside, then lowers as the man identifies himself, glancing to Cole for a beat before letting his gun drop to his side. Lisette's letting out a long, slow breath, eyes still wide. "Oh, my. I think I almost had a heart attack," she admits, with an apologetic smile, clearly just as eager to get out of the rain.
Geoffreys continues his slow walk down the staircase as the women (and Kent) finally go inside just as the rain starts to pelt down. "So you'll be looking to turn this place into something flash?" he asks, his eyes scanning them all before settling on Black. He's the man so he must be in charge, right? "This place needs a lot of love and care. I try to keep the rooms safe and clean and the ballroom...takes care of itself. But the kitchens will need some updating. And the boathouses will need fixing. Hope you have a lot of money."
"... The ballroom takes care of itself?" Black asks, placing his Glock into its holster, and then tilting his head a small bit. He frowns, he could fix the place up in a day functional, but the issue is, what's here that is touching the man? "Any rumors of hauntings?" he asks.
"It's quite alright, Calliope" Valentina assures the other woman. "A charity? You do wonders" she smiles before Black's words have even her looking apprehensive. "Ghosts?" It is an old place...
Calliope is never doing this again. Like, ever. No more checking out old resorts for any reason. There are people she can pay to do it for her. It'll probably even cost her less than all the alcohol she's going to consume when she leaves here. But then there's Black and he's kinda being a bit weird so she turns to look at him with a raised brow. She intends to follow Geoffreys, while clinging to Lisette for dear life, but only if Cole and Kent are within a reasonable distance. Because Crawfords.
There's a visible grimace from Lisette and Geoffreys directs his attention to Black. "Assuming the place is suitable..." she replies, straightening as she settles back into her normal self confident stance. Nevermind she's shooting the occasional look at Kent, who has re-holstered his gun, but is heading towards the nearest doorway to scope out the adjoining rooms. Black receives a weird sort of look from Lisette at the non-sequitur question about hauntings, murmuring something to Calliope.
"Hauntings?" Geoffreys considers this for a moment before spitting on the floor. "There's been stories" he admits before glancing over at the bodyguards. "Careful what door you open." He pushes himself forward once more, this time heading for the huge doors that lead into what must be the ballroom. With a grunt, Geoffreys pushes them open to reveal a huge room that looks immaculate. As if a huge party was to be held there that night. Overhead thunder rumbles once more.
Valentina gazes in awe at the luxury on display in that ballroom. "Did you prepare this for us?" she asks Geoffreys but the man shakes his head.
"The Palms wanted to show its best" Geoffreys explains.
Black looks to the two, and actually glowers when there is quiet murmuring after a look at him. He does not look pleased, instead seeming /enraged/, but his gaze softens, and turns back towards the man. He frowns at what is said, "Not liking this much." He follows, examining the ballroom a bit, and scrutinizing it too!
Black sees there is definitely something wrong here. The spirits of the dead are everywhere. It is like a rupture in reality.
There's a momentary look of disgust when Geoffreys spits on the floor. Calliope glances at Lisette to see if she also saw the nasty display. Then she takes a wide berth around the offending spittle on the floor. "I'm sorry, what do you mean 'The Palms wanted to show its best?" It's an odd statement and she can't quite wrap her head around it. Possibly she's a bit in shock from the scare just a few minutes ago. But it sounds kinda ominous and weird. It's also possible she's got horror movie concepts playing in the back of her mind. Lisette's murmur gets a nod in reply and she pats her purse. Of course, Black's odd behaviour and reactions are not helping in the slightest and she's far to distracted with thinking about how she'll escape the room if the Crawford family leaps out of nowhere, to actually enjoy or really even notice the splendor that may or may not be presenting itself.
Kent glances sharply back at Geoffreys at that warning. "What do you mean?" He exchanges another look with Cole, not pulling out his gun again but his hand is definitely hovering close, taking the words as somewhat of a threat. Lisette likewise grimaces at the spittle and Geoffrey in general, a grateful look being shot Calliope as she pats her purse. Black's angry look in their direction makes her stare at him a moment in surprise, but perhaps mercifully, she's soon distracted by the ballroom, enough that she doesn't quite read between the lines of what Geoffrey's saying. "Oh, this room is amazing. Just think of all the amazing dances we can host here," she says enthusiastically to Calliope, eagerly stepping forward into the ballroom and tugging Calli along with her unless she resists, stepping on ahead by herself otherwise.
"Don't step into the ballroom," Black interjects, after a moment.
Shoes click on the polished wooden floor. Tables, complete with tablecloths and lit candles, are arrayed over two thirds of the vast room, the last third left as a dance area. Valentina follows the other two women inside, the bodyguards trailing after them. Black's warning far too late. At the far end of the room is a bandstand and soft music comes from that direction - must be the gramophone that sits alone on the stage.
Black takes a moment and watches as Valentina walks into it in full, with the other two people perhaps? "Get out of there, now!" he exclaims after a moment, while he stands at the door frame. His gaze is shifted to the sound of music, "It's not safe."
Calliope isn't letting go of Lisette. No way. So if her friend is going into the ballroom, then she is too. Plus, Cole is right there, right? She does turn to look over her shoulder at Black, though, because he sounds as crazy as she did a little while ago and she knows that she had good reason for sounding the way she did. "What do you mean?" she asks of him, though she isn't immediately turning to step out of the room. She does, however, stop her progress and attempts to at least slow Lisette.
After that look they just received, Lisette doesn't seem as willing to listen to Black. Plus, everything is so shiny in here! What could possibly be wro-- wait, is that music?! Lisette's eyes widen, letting Calliope pull her to a stop. "Oh, shit. That isn't...?" she cocks her head, trying to recall if the music is the same or not.
It is certainly not the same music as in the last resort they checked out. Instead it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CI-0E_jses . Valentina looks back to Black and Geoffreys at the door. "What do you mean? It's an empty ballroom." This Duke is strange. The music echoes through the room before being joined by other sounds. Laughter? Light and carefree. The clinking of glasses. The shuffle of dancing feet on the wooden floor. There are people around them now. Slowly materializing. Partygoers from another age.
The ballroom doors slam shut. Black and Geoffreys outside. The others inside.
When the door then slams shut, Black growls a bit, and shouts, "I warned you! Are you all alright!?" he asks. He then nods to the others, if the guards are still out there, and tries to open the door, through force if he must.
Realization dawns rather slowly on Calli. "What the hell?" she asks and turns to glare at Cole as if somehow he could have prevented this. Okay, so cannibal hillbillies are one thing. They're within the realm of her current reality. And obviously psychic socialites are a thing because her and Lise both are. But most everything else is a mystery to her and so ghosts? That's something new and terrifying. So she releases her friend's arm, though just long enough to clasp hands with her. It makes it a little easier to run, and running is what she intends to do. Straight the fucking hell out of here. They will consume copious amounts of alcohol on the way to her therapist.
If Lisette's somewhat relieved that the music isn't quite the same, the sudden whispers and laughter don't really help ease her mind much at all. And when people start appearing around them... "Holy shit. This is like... that bit in the second Avengers when Captain America suddenly flashes back to the '40's." Everyone knows that, right? Of course, running is probably the prudent thing, rather than gawking like Lisette is, so she lets Calliope tug her towards the door. Kent, too, is heading for the door, yelling at Cole to throw his shoulder into it with him.
The door is indeed shut and only Black and Geoffreys are on the other side. "Don't get worked up into a tizzy, young fella" he says to the shouting cop. "Just let it all work out so the resort can keep alive. It won't take long and they'll be happy to join the party." The old man turns to head back to the stairs. "Are you jealous you couldn't join them?"
Valentina doesn't know about ghosts or psychics and she let her bodyguard go off somewhere! She does her best to keep up with the others as they head to the door but more and more people are appearing around them. Blocking their way yet seemingly completely unaware of them. Hundreds of people. Laughing. Smiling. Dressed in all manner of clothes from the 1920s to the 1960s. It is easy for people to lose track of each other. Kent and Cole struggling to keep their wards in sight. The throng of people threatening to break Calliope's and Lisette's grip. And who knows where Valentina has got to now.
Calliope is starting to panic again. People are going to get clotheslined before she lets go of Lisette's hand. Someone would have to actively be trying to part them. Calli's not going to willingly let go. She screeches shrilly, "COLE GET THAT DOOR OPENED!" He's already working on it, with Kent, though the rapidly increasing number of people may be becoming a hindrance. Calliope's got her other hand in her purse, reaching for her gun. Because if she has to shoot things to get her back out to her fucking car, that's what she's going to do. Oh, and welcome to the socialite life in Fallcoast, Valentina.
Black reaches for the man, Geoffery, and then tries to push him to the door, "You know what's going on here, so tell your little ghost buddies to open the door, or open it yourself!" he exclaims, while he tries to slam the man against the door if he can manage it, "I'm not PLAYING AROUND, UNDERSTAND ME?" he asks.
Lisette clings to Calliope's hand with a veritable death grip, and a pair of dancers try to push between them, nearly yanking her arm out of its socket, but she clings just as tightly to Calliope's hands, refusing to let go. "Kent! Cole? Shit!" She's glancing back over her shoulder, towards the stage, frowning. "Calli? One... sec." And she's concentrating for a heartbeat, not much more, before the gramophone goes flying up into the ceiling, smashing into pieces. If the music stops, maybe the dancers will, too?
Geoffreys is slammed hard into the door and manages to knock a tooth loose. He spits it onto the floor before chuckling at Black. "I can't do anything. The Palms does what it wants." He starts to laugh. A forced, breathless laugh as blood trickles down his unshaven cheek.
The old gramophone shatters on impact, bits dropping back to the floor with the ringing tones of bouncing metal and the thuds of wood. The music ceases immediately and the figures start to dissolve once more into the empty ballroom. Soon there are only the socialites, and guards but they don't count, remaining in the room. "What just happened?" asks Valentina, wide-eyed and confused. "And shall we talk about it far away?" The doors squeak open to reveal Black and the captive Geoffreys.
When the door is opened, Black looks to the man, and then gives him a light shove with his hands against a wall, "Get out of this place, it's not good for you." He looks to the people that were in the room, "And you all, next time try to listen at least a bit. Let's get out of here for now," he tells them. He sounds less like a socialite, and more like a soldier for some reason, complete with his gaze seeming troubled, as he shakes his head, and motions for the others, and will leave with them, taking up the rear guard, trying to bring Geoffrey with them.
Less talking, more running! Calliope bolts out as soon as the doors are open. Cole can fend for himself. She does spare a look to make sure Valentina is following, though. But if it comes down to it, she's unlikely to be a hero and go back for the new girl. Tears are streaming down her face as she screeches, "Open the fucking car now!" To whom, is uncertain. She'll have to apologize to Black later, but she's not stopping to talk to him either. She needs to get in her car, with Lisette and Valentina (if she so desires and doesn't take too long getting in) and open the flask she's got in her purse. It's not much for three of them, but it'll get them started while they're on their way to someplace with more alcohol.
There's no satisfaction, just plain old relief from the Cavanaugh as she high-tails it to the door. Lisette is definitely down with the plan of discussing wtf just happened far away from this place. Hard to say whether she or Calli is running faster, they're certainly both trying hard. Chances are good that by the time they reach Fallcoast proper, they'll have decimated the flask in Calli's purse. They have clearly established their coping mechanisms after things like this!