"Oh god, oh god, oh god, this was a terrible idea." Izzie slumps in her corner of their booth at Joe's, trying to hide behind Gail. Like that won't attract even more attention. Two blonde heads close, furtive, in the darkest corner of the bar. "What if someone recognises me without me noticing?"
"Relax," Gail says, drawing out the second syllable like she's soothing a frightened child, not that that's a thing she's good at. "There's about to be tequila. I'm pretty sure that makes this an excellent idea."
As if on cue, or, knowing Katherine, actually on cue, their drinks arrive. Katherine executes a perfect twirl, the tray high above her head, before landing it securely on the table without spilling a drop.
Gail's pretty sure that the chance to do that was the only reason Katherine offered to get the drinks in.
Gail's pretty sure that if she could do that, she'd always get the drinks in too.
Izzie's practically under the table now, fingernails digging into Gail's arm harder than she'd like. Vamp strength is a bitch when you're on the receiving end.
Then suddenly the grip is gone, and it takes a second for Gail to realise why. Izzie's staring in horror at the drinks, a third of which are very obviously the wrong colour, "But..."
"Tequila?" Gail finishes for her.
Katherine's lip curls in evident distaste. "Yeah, you two can keep the worm juice. I'll stick to bourbon."
Gail and Izzie share a look, and then both turn back to Katherine.
"You do know it's not actually worm juice?" Izzie asks, at the same time as Gail points out, "You drink human juice."
Katherine rolls her eyes like a petulant teenager. "Whatever. I spent my formative years in a time and place where we actively tried to avoid finding invertebrates at the bottoms of our drinks."
It's a couple of seconds before Gail notices that Izzie's not laughing with her. That she's gone very, very still. Gail looks over to the bar and scans the customers in Izzie's eye-line.
"That him?" she gestures with her chin at the guy sitting alone at the end of the counter, staring into his beer. At Izzie's nod, she gives him a longer look. "Let me guess - traumatic childhood? Not bad, Stevens. I can see why you'd have trouble letting go."
Izzie's muttering something about just wanting him to move on while Katherine checks him out for herself. "I'll see your traumatic childhood and raise you a horrible relationship with his father," she says, tapping a nail on the table like she's gesturing for another card.
Izzie nods again, and Katherine grins. "Mmm. Just my type. Would you mind if I...?" She leaves it hanging, and Gail wonders just how that question ends.
Blood. It always ends with blood, one way or another.
It reminds her that she needs Katherine to top up her supply. The bottle she drinks from every morning in case her job takes away the decision of when to turn. The bottle she's carried since Jerry...
She shakes her head slightly, to get rid of that train of thought, and tunes back into the conversation.
"Trust me," says Katherine. "Did I ever tell you about the time I compelled an entire town to forget they even met me?"
"Yeah. More than once." counters Izzie, rolling her eyes and sounding more like herself than she has since they arrived in Seattle. "But I suck at compulsion."
"That's why I'm here. You tell him what you want him to believe, and I'll, y'know, clean up after you and make sure he does."
"I want him to believe I'm not coming back." Izzie says, before downing her first shot. "That there's no point in waiting." And her second. "That I'm a bitch, if that helps." And her third.
Gail downs her first, savouring the burn. Wonders, not for the first time, if that's how she'll play it when the time comes - if she'll have the strength to make her friends hate her. Wonders if she'll need to.