Swipe Right
Roleplaying Log: Swipe Right
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

5 Months Ago, Rictor met his future bookkeeper through a dating app. Not all dates end in job offers.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: February 20, 2019
IC Location: Irish-Ish Bar, Midtown Manhattan
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 21 Feb 2019 02:59
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

FIVE MONTHS AGO

Dating is hell, but Rictor is trying it anyway. He sits at a high top table at a nondescript Irish-ish pub in midtown. He's jiggling his leg and staring at his phone and the dating app that's open. He's got a beer in front of him that's already got a third of it gone, and he's wearing black slacks and a button-up shirt, with a leather jacket draped over the chair. He's here early, and he looks nervous.

*

When the match came across Bastien's screen, he actually took his glasses off his nose and cleaned them on his shirt to look back at the app with clear lenses in case he saw it incorrectly the first time. Anxious wasn't quite the right word, but still Ita told him he should wait at least several minutes before answering so as to not appear desperate. After a DM'd exchange, he finds himself here on the appointed night standing outside the Pub and willing his legs to work and carry him inside.
'What's the worst that can happen?' Bastien reasons with himself, and finally pushes inside and lingers near the entrance for a moment to let his eyes adjust to the light difference.

Plaid button up shirt and be-khakied, he approaches Rictor's table with slight trepidation in his voice as he asks, "Julio?"

*

Rictor turns when he hears his name, then he slides off his stool. He's not very tall, and his profile was honest about that. In fact, his profile was very honest in general, including the bit where he's a mutant, and just come out of a relationship. "Ah, Sebastien. Hello." He's defaulted to Spanish, given where they're both from. It seems silly to fumble around in second languages when they can both understand each other perfectly in their first. He motions to the other chair. "Find the place all right?"

*

Spanish seems preferable enough, Bastien's grin widening as it is confirmed that this is indeed the man he intended to meet tonight and that he wasn't just Catfished. Seventy five percent of him was convinced he was going to be the butt of some joke. Actually after a mental calculation it comes out to around eight two point five. "Hello, yes, easy enough."

He extends his hand for a shake, but it's clear he's not sure if that's the right choice. Do they hug? The panic makes his eyes widen behind his glasses and he just awkwardly ends up rubbing his palm on his pants and taking the offered seat instead, going with neither option A or B. "You are very attractive." Oh shit, that's not what he meant to say. Back pedal gracefully, "I mean, I was surprised when we matched, that's all." Good! That was good. Stop while you're ahead. "Men like you don't typically swipe right." Shit. Just stop talking. Bastien smiles nervously and wedges his hands together between his knees.

*

Rictor doesn't quite know how to take that flood of awkward but flattering comments. He ends up just smiling a bit shyly, ducking his head and fingering through his hair. "You flatter me. I'm just a bartender who just went through a bad breakup. Ah, what would you like to drink? They have quite a bit on tap." He motions to the bar just behind them. Despite everything, amusement dances in his eyes as he looks at Bastien.

*

"Oh, ah. No no. I forgot to mention I don't drink. Just a club soda with lime, that would be perfection. Fresh lime though, not that syrup they use. Too sweet." Add a new level of awkwardness by being picky, why don't you, Bastien? He seems to mentally chide himself according to the wince around his eyes. "You know, I'll just go get it. Can I get you another?" He asks while sliding off his stool, stumbling a bit because he forgot to unhook his leg from the chair. The abrupt jerking movement, causes his glasses to slip down his nose and he pushes them back up with his thumb.

*

"Oh. I'm sorry. If I knew that, we could have met at a coffee shop. I do spend enough time in a bar that I wouldn't have minded. In fact…we can still go. There's just one down the street." Rictor reaches out to try and steady him when he loses his balance.

*

"It's fine!" Bastien says a little too enthusiastically, quick to want to appease. "I'm often in bars." Wait no, "I mean on dates." Nope, still not right. "I mean it doesn't bother me." He clears his throat as if that will banish the tinge of pink creeping up from underneath his facial hair as Rictor touches his arm. "Is that an IPA?"

*

"Yes, but I'm still working on it," Rictor looks back to his over half-full beer. But then he decides to throw Bastien a bit of a bone. "A glass of water, though?" He gives the other man's arm a squeeze before he lets it drop.

*

"Yes, yes, of course. Um. I'll be right back." Bastien tacks on the end as if to remind Julio that he will in fact return and to oh-please-god-don't-ditch-out-while-I'm-gone. He goes to the bar to order, standing at the counter and bouncing lightly on the balls of his feet, all to happy to order his drink and a, "Glass of water for my date." As if the bartender actually cares. He pulls out his wallet and thumbs through until he finds the appropriate bills then opens up the change compartment to give exactly a twenty percent tip. Down to the penny. Then, with drinks in hand, Sebastien returns to the table. "A bartender and an accountant, who would have thought, hmm?"

*

Rictor watches him go with a smile on his face. He sips his drink and keeps half an eye on him without obviously staring. Julio, if you date this boy, you're going to break his heart, he thinks to himself. "Well, I suppose that means we're both pretty good at making change?" It's a bad joke, so it seems like Sebastien isn't the only one stumbling awkwardly around. "Do you live in the neighbourhood?"

*

"Ahah, yes, good one." Sebastien laughs, even if it is a bit forced, but Ita always told him to laugh at his date's jokes, no matter how bad. She also told him a hair flip always works for her, but alas. "I live more over on the…middle east side?" He doesn't quite say Mutant Town, or District X, but it may as well be implied. "I'm currently unemployed so I find the rent to be much more agreeable to my budget." He's quick to add, "Well, I mean, I do work but it's just freelance. Tax preparation and such. How about you?"

*

"I was working as a private investigator, but, ah…" Rictor leans on the table, hand to his face. He shrugs. "After my break-up, I couldn't keep digging around in other peoples' infidelities. So I'm tending bar in Mutant Town. Just in the short term." He doesn't look like he judges the other man for lack of steady employment. He sips from his beer. He doesn't shy away from clearly stating where he works. Then again, his dating profile is tagged: Mexican immigrant / mutant at the bottom.

*

"So he cheated on you." Bastien is quick to point out, but looks like he regrets it the moment the words were spoken. "I'm sorry, that's actually none of my business. I just know how hard it is for others to deal with…what we are. I've had similar experiences." He smiles awkwardly, reaching for his drink to distract him, futzing with squeezing in the lime wedge which only makes an errant drop of juice go flying towards Julio's face.

*

"He just…" Rictor rubs his neck. "…had a different concept of monogamy, and I decided that wouldn't work for me." He shrugs, then takes a good pull from his beer. "It wasn't because I'm a mutant, no. That wasn't one of our pr…" he squints at the lime juice hits his cheek. Fortunately, not in the eye, but close enough that it stings a little. He grabs up a napkin and dabs his face.

*

"Oh, damn." Sebastien flounders for a minute between dropping the lime in his glass or grabbing a napkin for Rictor, indecision ruling the day complete with frantic hand gestures. "I'm so sorry!" He grabs up his own cocktail napkin and lurches forward, bumping the table with his stomach and causing their drinks to slosh all over the place. "Damn! Ah, lemme get more napkins!" And so he dives out of his seat back to the bar, reaching in the little dispenser and pulling out a stack. In his haste, he leaves square four by four confetti in his wake, dropping napkins as he goes.

*

"Ai, Bastien, it's all right, I wasn't mortally wounded, it's just a little lime," Rictor waves a hand at the other man, but then he starts to laugh. His eye is watering a bit from the citrus, but the laughter keeps coming. He reaches across the table to grab the other man's wrist and squeeze it gently. "Relax, okay? Relax."

*

Sebastien is frantically dabbing at the water and club soda that's splashed on the table, mopping it towards the edge and his waiting hand. Of course that leaves him with an ice cube in his palm that he suddenly has no clue what to do with as Rictor grabs his wrist. Well, now it can just melt there, for all he cares. "I'm making a mess of things." He admits, with shoulders sagging.

*

Rictor gives his wrist another squeeze, then releases it. "Am I making you nervous?" And then, something occurs to him, "Have you…been out very long? I sometimes forget what it was like at the start, being out in public like this when it's still new."

*

As Julio releases his wrist, Cortez finally decides to just wrap the ice cube up in yet another napkin and be done with it but at least his tidying efforts were effective if frantic and they won't have liquid running off the table onto their pants. "Out as gay or as a mutant? I told my mother I liked boys at age thirteen and never crawled back into that particular closet. My parents were are very open minded for Catholics." He flashes another nervous smile, but the fact that it makes his eyes crinkle indicates it's sincere. "As for having the x-gene, I still don't publicly declare it, but with Registration I see no need to be private about it. So I guess that leaves just being nervous about, uh. You."

*

"Oh," says Rictor. He was sort of hoping it wasn't him. He's not really fond of making people nervous. "Well, I'm sorry. I didn't think I was an intimidating guy. I mean…" he extends his arms and smiles lopsidedly. "What can I do to make you more comfortable, hmm?"

*

Now it's Sabastien's turn to reach out to Rictor, but his hand stalls in the middle of the table and he just sort of taps his fingers there. "No, no. Not you. Well, I mean it is you, look at you. And then there is me, who has a dad bod without being a dad. No, I just meant dating. Ita signed me up for that site, insisting that I am wasting all my good years stuck in numbers or the studio and that I need to get out more."

*

"You're talking about me like I'm some kind of model instead of a short, scruffy single bartender in his mid-thirties. And you're certainly selling yourself short." Rictor shakes his head slowly. "You're quite adorable." And he's not sure what to do with 'adorable.' His ex was anything but.

*

Bastien feels the heat in his cheeks as it starts to creep up again at being called adorable of all things. "Ah yes, well I guess that is my curse." His thumb touches the plastic frames at the bridge of his nose, whether they need to be pushed up or not, it's become a nervous habit. "May I ask you a personal question?"

*

Rictor looks at him for a moment, takes a long sip from his beer, then says, "Go ahead."

*

Cortez leans forward slightly, after a little glance around to make sure everyone else is minding their own business. "What particular brand of …you know. Are you? Ita thinks you are a fire manipulator like her, but I said no, no, no. Electricity, am I right?"

*

Rictor leans in, closing the distance, eyebrows arching. When he hears the first part of the question, he thinks he knows what he's being asked. He looks a bit relieved when the real question comes out. "Ah, no, not…" He thinks about it for a moment, then he flattens his palm against the table. Suddenly, the air around them tastes faintly of ozone. The table begins to vibrate very softly at first, then the cups rattle momentarily. He stops it before it can raise above the din of the bar.

*

When the table begins to shake, at first Sebastien leans back but his palm sneaks out to touch the top to feel the vibration in mild fascination. "I should get you to mix my paints for me." His smile is wide and genuine now, born of true amusement instead of forced or reflexive. "But damn, I lost the bet." A fist smacks the table top at that realization, almost causing his glass to tip over but he quickly rights it. "See? This is why I don't drink. Can you imagine the disaster I would be then?"

*

Rictor chuckles. "Well, it wasn't a fair bet. Mutant powers come in so many flavours. How could you possibly guess that from my dating profile?" He looks left, then right, and then leans in a little. "And you?"

*

Sebastien waves a hand to dismiss the bet, "It's just a little game we play when flipping through profiles or sitting in a diner." When he's asked about his own powers, "It's actually pretty useless. I can make …holes through things. Portals." He gives a bit of a shrug, "It comes in handy only when I'm too lazy to take the stairs between mine and Ita's apartment or when we want to zip up town to our favorite Falafel place."

*

"That's…" Rictor lets out a low whistle. "That's not useless, Sebastien. Trust me, I've been in plenty of situations where that would be very useful." So maybe not just a bartender or a PI, then. He leans in a little further. "What kind of range do you have. I mean…how far can you travel? How many people can go through?" He sounds energized and interested.

*

Sebastien blinks a bit owlishly behind his glasses at the bit of enthusiasm, a stumbling start to his answer given before his brain can parse the pieces together, "I, uh. Well, I mean." He shakes his head a little. "We've played around with a few things. I can make portals through cinder blocks. Walls. Doors. It's enough for her and I to travel through. If I mark the exit location, I can leave it open longer, travel much much further, but it's not as if I've had a party of people I've marched through one. Also if I open and close one quickly without traveling through it, it makes a sort of …energy pulse. I've accidentally scorched my walls a few times with that."

*

"Fantastic," says Rictor with a twinkle in his eyes. He is by no means a mutant supremacist, but he does see the beauty in their abilities. "That's wonderful. You must show me sometime." He finishes the rest of his beer. The table might be a bit of a mess, but it's not bothering him, at least.

*

"Is it though?" Sebastien tilts his head slightly, looking unconvinced. "Sometime, yes." Which means there is going to be a second date, or at least some nebulous 'future' time to be named. The thought makes him tug at his collar, fuddling with the top button slightly. "That's not the only reason you answered my profile is it? Because I'm a mutant? Granted, I suppose our dating pool is kind of small."

*

"It is. You have the ability to do something amazing. To step through a barrier and suddenly be in a different place…this is a dream of many people." Not to mention being incredibly useful strategically, but Rictor doesn't want to scare him away with tales of quasi-militant mutant missions. "I answered your profile because you have a nice smile. And because we seem to have a lot in common."

*

"Or a nightmare." Sebastien reminds him, "Though thankfully I don't believe it is. I don't even use it for a party trick though perhaps if I did I would be more popular at parties." He grins, leaning back now in his chair, slightly more at ease. "So you're saying you live in a fourth floor walk up and spend most of your time trying to figure out a way save your clients money, too? Some how I doubt that, Julio."

*

"Third-floor walk-up. Bachelor," says Rictor. "And I probably give away too many drinks to people I know can barely afford to go out. Which is sort of the same?" He cracks a grin. "But really, how many gay Mexican mutants even remotely close to my age are there? Let alone cute ones."

*

"Well I suppose if I am going to be the dredges of the barrel at least I can be cute." But Bastien seems to be making more of a joke than taking any offense to anything. His fingers pluck up the swizzle stick in his drink, poking at the ice cubes that are floating in the liquid of his drink, fidgeting.

*

Rictor watches him and bites the edge of his lip. He's not sure what to do. "I would say come by the club sometime where I work, but somehow I don't know if you'd be very comfortable there. It's quite loud, and there's a lot of drinking. It's a mutant dance club. Kind of punk, kind of hardcore. I've been telling the owner that she should make it more accessible since there aren't many other places in the neighbourhood, but she likes her aesthetic."

*

They seem to have now reached the portion of first dates that are punctuated by a lot of odd pauses and uncomfortable silences. As Sebastien is told he wouldn't be comfortable at the place that Rictor works, the bespectacled man wrings the back of his neck with the curve of a palm. "No, I suppose I wouldn't. I think the last time I danced in public was my sister's wedding three years ago and I'm not sure the Chicken Dance with my nephew counts."

*

This is where alcohol comes in handy, but Rictor hasn't moved to get another drink since he drained all but the last sip of his. When your date's not also drinking, it doesn't really work. He whuffs a mouthful of laughter at the image of a chicken dance in a punk club. "Oh, you never know. Some punks have an ironic sense of humour."

*

Sebastien pokes at his drink some more with his little straw, then picks it up to shake out an ice cube into his mouth so he can crunch on it. In lieu of drinking or having bar food, it'll suffice to fill some of the void. As he's mentally trying to think up some other topic to talk about, his phone chimes. "Ah, pardon me. It's rude, I know, my apologies."

*

The urge to look at his own phone, if only for a minute, would be a death knell for the date, and Rictor does not want to sabotage things. He nods once when the phone chimes. "No, by all means." He doesn't immediately go for his own phone, but he does finally polish off the last mouthful of warm beer in his glass.

*

Bastien gives an uncomfortable little squirm in his seat as he checks his text messages, fixing his glasses as they start to slide down his nose with the downward cant of his face. "I'm sorry to cut this short, but it seems there was a water leak in my apartment and according to Ita there is a waterfall over her bed."

*

Rictor winces visibly. "Well, if there was ever a good reason to cut a date short." Unless that's just an out for a bad date. Way to go, Julio. "Go on, then. Go rescue her from the unintentional indoor water feature."

*

"Yes, thank you." Sebastien slips from his chair, smoothing out the front of his shirt with a press of his palm. "Again. Terribly sorry for the abrupt exit. I had a very nice time." He's about to step away but pauses, realizing he was forgetting something. "You'll call me again?"

*

There's some relief on his face. He nods. "Yes, I'd like that. Go on, though. Don't wait on me. I don't want to be responsible for water damage." What a lame way to shepherd him out, but he's a little off his game.

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