[Storyteller] A thunderstorm can be heard off in the distance.

<Storyteller> It was a quiet night, except the occasional thunder clash, and Roadside was currently closed today.

<Jerry> was cleaning up some stuff and finishing up his finances, humming some old tune.

Jalen saw no real reason to go hunting today, based on how that storm sounded, people were probably going to stay inside. His usual type of prey, anyway. “Kind of weird, this place being so empty,” he realized softly, looking around at the scene the empty bar made. Noticing that Jerry seemed to be busy, he lay down on one of the normally well used couches and checked his phone. He hadn’t found anything at the library the other day despite his best attempts, so he mostly hoped Roxy’s stalker wasnt’ freaking her out too much.

<Jerry> looked over seeing Jalen. “You looked paler than usual, either your hungry or something is on your mind.” he commented and pulled out his keys. “Come on, I could use some fresh air, company is a bonus if you don’t mind hanging around.”

“A bit of both, probably,” Jalen admitted and smiled as Jerry suggusted they go out and get some fresh air. “Sure, I don’t mind,” Jalen replied. It was kind of nice that the guy not only didn’t completely hate his presence but genuinely seemed to enjoy his company to some degree occasionally.

Jerry smiled a bit, and walked out to his car, grabbing his jacket as it was a bit nippy. He got in an was ready to go, he liked a mindless drive every now and then and he knew a good spot on the edge of town that was beautiful to watch the rain from. “Just don’t go eating me, just case you’re a bit hungry, alright?” he joked a bit, but he was serious unless Jalen was seriously about to get a few whiskers or some pointy ears.

“I don’t eat my friends as a general rule, so you’re safe,” Jalen replied, chuckling as he realized that there was  a fine line between when Jerry was serious or kidding about that but he was taking it as a joke for now. He had a his flannel on since he just liked it and this way he didn’t look too out of place. “You go on these sort of things, often?” he asked, following Jerry.

<Jerry> shrugged and started backing out of the lot. “Well, if I can make the time. I don’t really get to but now that I’m not watching my nephew anymore, I’m a tad more free. Afraid to leave him alone, find a case of my blood packs or walk in on you guys, god forbid he meets Emma.” he grumbled. “I know a nice spot I used to go to all the time, found it after some dumb bitch spat on my face and called me Quasimodo after I asked her to prom… I never finished highschool, people wre too big of dicks.” he seemed more to just ramble or vent, he pulled out a cigarette and lit it up at a stoplight, hiding the flame in his hand. “It was a little sanctuary of mine after I got this burn.”

“Yeah, he seemed like a good kid, but I don’t know if a bar was a great place for him to work, he seemed nervous all the time,” Jalen said honestly. He chuckled at the thought of the kid meeting Emma. “She’s usually pretty good at staying away from people that’ll freak out on her. Hell, I loose track of where she is sometimes.” He leaned back, usually not so laid back about someone else driving, but he trusted Jerry at this point. He smiled sympathetically as Jerry told him about one chick who called him Quasimodo. “Quasi was cute, kids just don’t have the maturity to look past the apperance and see the person,” he commented, definately listening as Jerry vented. “I’m sure everyone has a sanctuary. Mine has become your bar, quite frankly… Makes whatever craziness going on seem distant,” he admitted.

Jerry smiled fondly even despite his natural gloom. “I’m glad it gives you that much.” he said only taking his eyes off the road for a moment to glance at Jalen. “It’s helped me at least, I wouldn’t be alive without it.” he chuckled. He seemed to be driving a bit away from town, more towards the edge really.

“Has it helped you through finanital struggles or something?” Jalen asked, a bit curious. It would make a bit of sense on why he’d just let him in on such a low rent payment.

Jerry laughed. “Sort of, I guess. I would end up living with my sister had I never managed to get this place running, and that would have driven me into a suicidal or psychopathic episode.” he said. “Several times it almost crumpled, but I used loans and eventually I paid them off once the place was.. nicer.” he explained and slowly pulled into a woods like area. “Come on, it’s a small hike, but it’s close enough to town so no sabbat goons usually roll up out of nowhere. not yet anyway.”

“From what I’ve heard it does sound like she’s given you some trouble,” Jalen replied as Jerry explained a bit more. “I’m glad you managed to pull through that, I’d be a lot worse off if it wasn’t for you and your place. Also may not have met Emma,” he said. They reached the place, which was outside of town. A bit out of the way, but he was sure Jerry knew what he was doing. “Alright,” he agreed, hopping out of the the car, and looking around a bit, scanning the area briefly.

<Jerry> travelled a bit. “I’m glad I can help. Gangrel aren’t the biggest asses, but if you were say… malkavian, or ventrue, I may have not been the most nice.” he explained. “so don’t thank me for my biased kindess.” he said and climbed up some rocks as it started raining. “almost there.”

“Well, everyone has biases. I think Ventrue are a bunch of stuck ups, but Malks depend, Roxy seems okay,” he said honestly. He noticed the rain but didn’t worry about it too much and climbed up the rocks after Jerry, ready to help if the male slipped at all.

<Jerry> had been climbing this thing for years, he crawled over to the side and got inside, it was like a nice small rocky opening, the rain dripped down from the rocky roof, watching the trees and listening to Louisiana nature. The ground was cold and there was room for about 3 people but it fit two comfortably. it had marks and carving all in it from kids who had found it. There wasn’t any trash though, surprisingly, since one would expect a beer can or two. “They are stuck up, as for Malkavians, some will seem fine, its those same ones you have to watch out for.”

“What do you mean?” Jalen asked, curious since Roxy seemed okay, but here Jerry was warning him about her. Or at least seemed to be doing so.

<Jerry> sighed, a bit disgruntled about having to explain. “I almost keep forgetting how new you are to this shit. Malkavians are crazy, some are worse than others some or more a danger to themselves really. Roxy is social, and loves people but how much of that is her and how much is that her, what do you call it, her craze, we’ll call it that. She probably often blows up or can’t control her emotions, some anyway.” he explained. “They think differently, and in some cases that’s bad.”

“Yeah, quite a bit. I can’t really remember very far back, so I’d presume that means I’m fairly young,” Jalen agreed. “So you’re saying that there’s no knowing if she likes hanging out with people or if she’s drawn to people because another part of her urges her to?” he asked. That could be true, but she was one of the few vamps that he trusted, so he’d have to spend time with her no matter what. Besides, he still enjoyed spending time with her. “Do you have bad experience with them in the past?”

Jerry shook his head. “a little bit but I tend to avoid kindred.” he said honestly. “So what’s been bothering you?” he asked, puffing out smoke away from jason’s face, not that he needed to breathe but it was more out of being polite.

“I see,” Jalen nodded as Jerry informed him that he tended to avoid the kindred. Made sense for a ghoul of a nosferatu. “Well… ” Jalen sighed. “When I was… whatever you’re supposed to call this, reborn? I dunno, but I don’t remember anything before that time. I don’t remember my human years at all, I have brief glimpses of knowledge I used to have, but that’s about it. Apparantly I had a wife, and… well, she’s been calling me,” he admitted, giving up a lot of secrets he probably wouldn’t tell just about any other person.

Jerry listened, putting out his cigarette since it was finished anyway. “What has she been saying? you talk to her at all?” he asked, now more concerned about the masquerade, more importantly something that would happen to his friend or his bar.

Jalen shook his head no. “She’s been asking when I’ll come home… I’m sure there’s more, but… Well, I honestly couldn’t stand to listen to any more of them,” he said honestly. “I havn’t replied to her at all, I’m thinking of getting a different number, leave my phone somewhere… hope she thinks I’m dead, I guess,” he admitted, since he’d been thinking about what to do for so long. “I honestly don’t know what else to do about it.”

Jerry hissed a bit through his teeth and stared out into the rain. “There are several problems with that. If she thinks you’re dead and you were supposed to come home, then she’ll probably call the cops, especially with how devout she seems to be, calling you so many times despite no answer. Secondly, that’s just not right, she loves you and at one point you loved her. I’m no romantic but I don’t think turning into a ghost is going to save you from paperwork.” he said. “You should message her back, tell her you need to talk, but whatever you do… don’t be honest.”

Jalen sighed as Jerry pointed out all the things about it that he’d been worried about. “I don’t want to worry her, but… at the same time I don’t want to give her false hope,” he admitted and sighed, scratching the top of his head. “And if I tell her that’ll drag her into all this and based on how other vamps refer to humans… I don’t want to think about what they’d do if anyone found out… I don’t look particularly young, so she’d notice eventually that I suddenly stopped aging…” He’d been thinking about this for a while, unsure of what to do.

Jerry laid back against the rock wall. “Well, has she said how long you’ve been gone or acted like you were simply out on a business thing or doing your magazine stuff? If so then it wouldn’t have been a year and nobody waits a year to be like ‘hey where did you go?’.”

“Well, I presume that’s why it took so long, but she basically just asks if I’m okay,” Jalen replied, double checking his phone for confirmation and played the voice mail. “Honey? Are you okay? Please call me.” Jalen seemed to wince a bit as he listened to it, definately guilty, but wasn’t sure what to do about it.

Jerry listened to the voicemail. “You need to call her, say that you had lost your phone for a while, but you got it back. Tell her you’ll be home soon to talk about something that’s been bothering you a lot.” he prompted. “Then… we think of a lie. I’m not having anybody snooping in my bar and finding a corpse then taking my bar away from me, I like you Jalen, but I wouldn’t give her up for you.”

“Didn’t think about that,” Jalen admitted, grimancing at the thought of Jerry getting his bar taken from him. “I suppose I could try to get a divorce…” Jalen mumbled, not liking that much either as it was still lying, but he couldn’t do much else other than lie. “I suppose you have a point,” he admitted. He should reply to her somehow…

“If I have to play your sad gay phantom of the opera boyfriend I will, maybe instead of saying you fell out of love with her isn’t a route you wanna take, findig yourself is a bit easier to take.” he suggested. “Or you could have that one tremere friend of yours do that. Calling your relationship off is a bit hard to take, especially if you have kids, you don’t have kids right?”

“I’d almost say you’ve done this before,” Jalen chuckled humorlessly. “I’ve been pretending to be gay for a while now, another instance of it can’t be too terrible,” he decided. Not that he needed a boyfriend for that, per se, but it would probably be easier… “I don’t think I have kids…” Jalen honestly looked worried. “Fuck, I hope not,” he groaned, not thinking of that possibility until now. He was more concerned about what he was going to do about his human wife.

Jerry smiled but frowned again. “More of I run a bar and a lot of sad gentleman come in.” he excused. “Plus it’s just what makes more sense.” he said and sat back up and rubbed Jalen’s back. “Where did you live? Or do you not know that either?”

Jalen bobbed his head back and forth at that. He got that from some of the mortals he talked with let alone how much Jerry must hear from day to day after lord knows how many years. He smiled a bit as he was given such a reassuring gesture, and then realized why he was given that gesture… He didn’t even know something that basic. “Um… No, I-I don’t know,” he confessed. “But thanks to Roxy I know where I used to work, probably, so I may be able to track it down if they have a website….” he trailed off, disturbed at the fact that he hadn’t thought about the fact that he didn’t know where he lived. It was mostly just trying to figure out what to do with his undead life until now.

Jerry huffed. “talk to Roxy maybe she knows something… for now lets get out of this rain and head home. You need to think on this, I’m sure.” he said and stood up, almost hitting his head on the rock roof. “I think this rock is called the howling.” he added randomly just to try and cheer Jalen up a bit. “Kinda stupid name, but then again look at my bar’s sign.” he laughed.

Jalen smiled appologetically as Jerry huffed. “Yeah, we should probably get back,” he agreed, looking at how bad the rain was getting. “Careful there,” he warned, standing up carefully as Jerry almost hit himself on the roof. “Well your names are unique,” he chuckled, feeling a bit more light hearted at the name. He was still a bit worried about the whole situation, but he always was now a days. He looked down at his phone and noticed that Roxy had sent him a voicemail. He frowned and listened to it. “Hey, Jerry? Did you run into Roxy the other night?” he asked, wondering what the hell that was about… it didn’t sound like something Jerry would do.

Jerry blinked. “No, like I saw her, she gave me a weird look but that was about it. Why?” he asked, wondering why that mattered so much.

“Dunno, she said something about you wearing a mask… She’s been having ghost problems lately, so I was wondering if he was messing with her or something… Guess not,” he shrugged, deciding it was just a comment she had decided to tell him and started making his way down from the rock face.

<Jerry> followed. “Oh, that, yeah I tend to wear a mask early evening to the tore if I need to pick something up, easier to be seen as weird and judged than be pitied, feared, and a freak.” he explained.

Jalen nodded. “Okay, sorry, I just thought I’d ask in case things are getting worse,” he replied and headed back for the car.

<Jerry> smiled. “I hope not.” he said and hurried to the car. “Thanks, for hanging out with me and talking. we’ll figure this shit out.”

“Thanks for caring enough to worry, I would’ve really screwed things up one way or another if you hadn’t,” Jalen admitted.