"Are you some kind of brownie-baking saint?"
<NYC> SoHo - Inanna's
Inanna's is the newest club in the city, all red and purple and plush. Footlights line the thrust stage, while colored spots highlight the two poles on the stage and shadow the seats that surround it. A well-lit and well-stocked bar takes up the opposite side of the room, just beside the entrance. About thirty tables dot the room between the bar and the stage. Next to the stage, a hallway leads to the rooms for private dances and the dancers' dressing room.
Saturday night has fallen on the city, along with a nice cool front. Sarah is enjoying the air not being sticky and gross, dressed in a light gray cropped tee that says 'CBC' in a red, collegiate font. 'COOKIE BAKING CREW' is on the back in the same lettering. Jean shorts covered in various bumblebee patches, and sunshine yellow converse complete the look. Speaking of cookies--or rather, brookies, which she supposes are close enough--Sarah carries a faded lavender Tupperware container. At some point, it was probably a dark purple, but time takes its toll.
"And you're positive this is okay and not weird?" she asks Rayne again, following her down a side street.
"You've been asking me that since before we left the apartment." Rayne doesn't look back at her, but her tone carries amusement. In contrast to Sarah, the only colorful thing about Rayne is her hair, vibrant and fiery under street lights. Everything else: plain tee, jeans, boots, jacket, the duffel bag she carries, is black. Other than similar skin tones, they don't look much alike. "This is New York, Sarah. You're fully clothed, you're speaking at a normal volume, and you don't want to ask anyone to join your cult. You'll be fine."
Before Sarah has a chance to answer, Rayne stops outside of a nondescript door, which means she stops as well. "This doesn't look like a strip club," she says looking up and around for any kind of flashing neon sign.
"Employee entrance," Rayne explains, rapping firmly on the door.
The door opens a minute later to reveal a blonde woman in the tiniest jean shorts on earth, an even tinier plaid shirt knotted between her breasts, and a cowboy hat perched on her head. She almost seems to glow, warm and attractive. "Rayne!" she exclaims, looking delighted. "Good to see you!"
Sarah is saved from figuring out where to look by Rayne offering the woman a small, /real/ smile. That's more stare worthy than any amount of tan skin.
"Back at you, gorgeous," Rayne says, and nods towards Sarah. "This is Angie's sister. She brings baked goods."
Her spine straightens at the sudden attention. Sarah lifts the container just a bit, almost sheepishly, her face hot. "I have my ID if you need it," she offers. Immediately bites her tongue after.
"No, I figure anyone who knows Angie enough to know he works here knows better than to impersonate his sister," Joy says, then frowns. "Wait, did that make sense? Oh well. Come in!" She flings her arms wide. "Come in and bring the nice strippers your food!"
"Oh, I meant more--" Freeing up a hand, Sarah motions to... well, all of herself. What there is. She almost feels as young as she looks. "I get ID'd a lot," she finishes, mentally wincing. Still, she follows a chuckling Rayne inside, surprised at the quietness of it all. There is obviously music playing /somewhere/; the beat comes through the floor, but Sarah barely hears it.
The back area, what must be the employee area, is somewhat small but classily decorated. A few doors lead off to other areas--one must be to the actual club--and Sarah hesitates, unsure, before Rayne gives her shirt a little tug in the right direction.
"Don't look so worried," the other woman murmurs. "I'm the meanest one here, I promise."
"Rayne wouldn't bring an underage kid around," Joy says, and opens a door. "Dressing room is in here, sweetie, come on in and receive your love!"
The dressing room is lined with mirrors and counters on one side and lockers on the other. Several people in varying states of undress jostle for space at the mirrors, ribbing each other and passing hairspray back and forth.
Rayne follows Joy in with no problem, wading into the fray without so much as a blink. She accepts and hands out greetings with an aloof cheerfulness, steals a seat as soon as it's open to start unlacing her boots. Sarah, barely peeking past the doorway, recognizes the tone as 'Rayne's work voice' and pays little mind to what that could mean; her attention is more focused on figuring out where to look, who to talk to, what to even say.
Joy, in the end, seems the easiest person to start with. Sarah peels the lid off of the faded tupperware, releasing the rich scent of baked chocolate and sugar as she reveals a near full container of brookies, cut into squares a few inches wide. "Would you like one?" she asks softly, holding them out.
"God bless you," Joy says, and takes a brownie. "You are a literal lifesaver."
She takes a bite, and her eyes close a moment as the taste hits her tongue, pure chocolate and perfection. "Oh my /God,"/ she says, after a moment. "Are you some kind of brownie-baking saint? Is there a secret mutant power for that? This is /incredible./"
Sarah grins, embarrassed, her cheeks heating up. "Oh, I don't know about that," she protests. Shifting to stand on one leg, she scratches the back of her calf with the opposite foot before taking a small step further into the dressing room. "I mean, thank you. I'm glad you like them, but I didn't do anything special."
Joy finishes the brownie with her eyes closed, the better to concentrate on that heavenly taste. "That is lies," she says. "These are magical, and I will accept no other explanation." She opens her eyes and smiles at Sarah's nervousness. "I can give them to the others, if you'd rather not be swarmed."
Sarah's blush refuses to fade, but so does her smile. "That would be great," she says earnestly. There's a carefulness when she hands the container over to Joy. "I'm sorry, I'm usually a little better at meeting people. I thought I would be better at dealing with the-- various states of undress."
Joy giggles, and boops Sarah's nose. "Hold that thought, sweetie, I'm going to brave the mob." She turns towards the women, takes three steps away from Sarah, and gives a piercing whistle. "Free brownies!"
When the scrum dies down she pops out of the crowd, another brownie in hand, and props herself against the wall next to Sarah. "So, where were we? States of undress?"
The giggle-fit that bursts from Sarah when Joy's finger brushes against her nose is high pitched and seemingly beyond her control. She somehow manages to quiet down by the time Joy returns. "Oh, um. Just." Sarah folds an arm across her stomach, grabs her other elbow. "I guess how much Angie hates wearing shirts didn't prepare me."
"It's one thing when it's your sibling," Joy says. "Not that I would know, I don't have any, but I'm told it's one thing when it's your sibling and another thing entirely when it's strangers." She giggles, and winks at Sarah. "Do you think exposure therapy would help?"
"I think having a growth spurt and not being eye-level with the average boob height would help most." Honestly a few more inches in height might help with a /lot/ of things, or at least in Sarah's opinion. Less cricks in the neck, maybe. "Maybe I should figure out how to walk in heels. This is probably the place to do it."
"We can definitely give you tips," Joy says, stretching out her leg. She's wearing, improbably, a pair of cowboy boots with stiletto heels. "My boyfriend thinks these are blasphemy," she says, noticing Sarah's expression. "Sexy, sexy blasphemy."
Sarah raises a hand to her mouth to muffle her giggles. "Sexy Blasphemy is a great band name. Don't tell Angie about it, or he'll steal it." She grins up at Joy, eyes glittering. "If you teach me how to walk in heels, I'll bake you some more brookies."
"Deal," Joy said immediately. She grabbed Sarah's hand and shook once, quickly. "Deal, we shook on it, no take-backsies."
"Oh, I never take-backsies," Sarah answers seriously. "Not about baking."
Joy smiles at her. "Sarah, I think you and I are going to be friends."