Takes place after this prompt and this post.
Rory got to The Columns a little later than he'd planned, mostly due to his determined efforts to pack away anything of Pippa's left in his apartment. Maybe later tripping over traces of her would no longer feel so cutting, but right now he was still far too raw.
He also took a break in the middle of the day to pick up small gifts for the rest of Breaker Street. Nothing flashy, just small silver charms of various Chinese symbols, easy to dangle off chains, earrings or zipper pulls as the wearer chose. He chose symbols that in his mind represented each of his fellow band members, courage
for Nil, happiness
for Sascha, strength
for Kreske, awesome
for Junie, peace
for Dave and intellect
for Morrie. To each of these he added a symbol for success
, a wish for the New Year. After a moment's thought, he bought another success charm for Peter along with the symbol for friendship
. Then, remembering that Cait might show up if she could cut loose from her publisher's office party, he went back for a prayer box
he thought she'd like.
But he was here now, with the one indisputable advantage of riding a motorcycle in the city: parking wasn't a problem even when late. Nor was gaining access to the already-crowded club, the guys on the door remembered him from the many times Breaker Street played here and waved him in with grins and the news that his band has already arrived. The Columns took up a large piece of a converted warehouse; he could feel the music throbbing through the cavernous airspace as he walked in. Sister Mystere had the stage tonight, and they'd pulled in a good crowd already.
"Ro-RY! Over here!" For such a slim little thing, Sascha had quite a set of lungs on her. Rory waved in answer and threaded his way over to the table where his friends were waiting. Jaye sitting next to Nil meant that the Camerons must have gotten lucky with a sitter, and Junie was on the arm of a man she introduced as Felipe, but Morrie, Dave, Sascha and Kreske were solo. Good, he wouldn't feel like the odd man out then.
"What are you having, Rory?" Dave asked as he waved over a waitress. "Fruit juice as usual?"
Fruit juice. Seven hells, did even something as mundane as a drink order have to call up memories of Pippa, smiling as she presented him with one of her juice concoctions at Last Call? Rory bit back a particularly vile Gaeilge curse and kept his smile on his face. He was determined to enjoy himself tonight no matter what. "I'll have a Guinness," he told the waitress. A púca like himself couldn't get drunk on New Years Eve, but what the hell. It would be symbolic, like the charms.
"Cait and Peter Webster might show up a bit later. You all remember Peter, right?" A chorus of affirmation from the band was followed by Sascha crowing, "Excellent! More people to dance with." His beer showed up, the waitress gave him a smile, and Rory started to relax. He could do this. No problem.