Log:Viva Las Vegas
After school on Friday, after theater and sundry extracurriculars, Jade is ready with the Ferrari. His bag is packed, Meezer's care is arranged, and expensive champagne has been smuggled. He's in jeans, a Nirvana t-shirt, and he's brought Coke and a bag of Bugles for snacks. In an effort to show some common sense, he's wearing sensible hiking boots, in case there are some cool places to explore along the way.
"You can pick the music," Jade says. It is no small honor to bestow. No one gets to pick the music in his car. Except apparently Spear. "We'll get there in time for a late dinner in the restaurant, or room service, whenever. We're not in any hurry."
"Oh, cool!" says Spear, who has a few CDs in a plastic zipped up sleeve. He is also dressed for an excursion! In his case, that means clothing very much like Jade's, though his T-Shirt is one by the Damned and his boots are by Doc Marten. Spear offers the discs across - remixed Depeche Mode, some of the more boppy and happy Cure pieces. Friday, He's In Love. Some Jeff Buckley. That kind of thing.
"I don't even think I've really done a road trip before - Star has a car, but I could never really get the cash together. Taxidermy equipment is expensive." And Spear is so often in his own little world that he might not notice how and what he is spending with his allowance "I got snacks too. Mom made some cookies. I do want to help split the costs." HE grins "I mean, you'd make a cute Sugar Daddy, but you have the looks as well, so that's just unfair."
Jade pops the CD in and hits the road. He grins and says, "Don't worry about it, babe. No one's counting." He certainly isn't. Money is something he's just used to having. Totally taken for granted. "Hit me up with one of those cookies, though." He holds out a hand to receive the baked good.
Before long, they're northward on Highway 95. It's bleak desert with some scrub and a Joshua tree here and there. The green highway signs claim Needles is ahead. "I love the desert," he admits, "and the open road."
Spear drops a chocolate and raspberry chip cookie into Jade's hand. The raspberry chips are candy, so nothing healthy here. Mom has her ways. Spear leans back, his seatbelt on, and he looks around, his expression alert and relaxed at the same time. He has tunes, he has some chill, and everything is just working well "Why didn't I do this ages ago?" he wonders "Man, now that I think about it, the Town is a pretty small place. I only ever think about what I'm gonna do next week, not what I'm gonna do next year."
"Pretty soon, you'll be able to go anywhere you want," Jade says. He drives a little over the speed limit. Just a little. He wants to cut that two and a half hour arrival time to two hours, but he's not going to get reckless. Not when he's trying to prove he's responsible enough to have both a Ferrari and a boyfriend. He munches as he drives. "There's so much history here of, like, mining and stuff."
"I guess I just never thought about it all before," admits Spear "I was a bit too young to be as intense as I was and then I was _out_ of a relationship and just a drag. Now it's like the future is huge." He is really enjoying the Ferrari ride, however. The whole spectacle of it. He leans back and he closes his eyes for a moment, and then he says "Probably a lot of ghosts going: 'Man, I knew I should have brought more water'." He tilts his head "So you've been to Vegas before, right?" It is a reasonable guess "What happens there?"
"Oh yeah," Jade says, "I've been to Vegas a few times. Not since I turned eighteen, though. Lots of being in the kids sections of places like Circus Circus, which is fun when you're twelve, but it's kind of cheesy now. It kind of sucks you have to be twenty-one to gamble, and we can't go into the bars, but we can still stay at the hotel. Gambling seems lame anyway. If you want to know who wins, take a look at how lavish the place is and how complementary the drinks. But I figure there's a few things we can do. There's museums and stuff."
"Dude, you have no idea, I'm just happy to go spend time with you," says Spear brightly. He adds "My sole goal is to try and find a florist who has a sunflower. And then museums! And we can't gamble, that's fine - we're gonna go look at all the big casino displays though, right? This should be amazing. Also, you know. There's the hotel. Private room. I've brought my best suit. I'm gonna do my hair in cornrow braids. Gonna look like a real important guy." With a giant sunflower buttonhole.
"Sure, we can find a florist," Jade says. They fly by Needles, and its gone in barely a blink. The car just eats up the road like a beast. "We can go shopping, grab a show. There's magic, and music and all sorts of stuff. They do real circus acts at Circus Circus. We're going to be at the Mirage, though. There's a pool there. I brought an extra suit in case you forgot yours." He considers, then says, "If you really wanted, we could take a helicopter ride to the Hoover Dam."
"I can wear yours," says Spear to Jade, with an odd grin, and he says "Awesome - man, this car. I know Star's is amazing, but this...what even _is_ a Marchant." A slow shake of his head, and he says "A pool, and chilling out, and yeah, cocktails in the room - we'll order in juice and seltzer." To mix their own, because of alcohol laws "...what? Are you having me on?!"
Jade laughs and says, "We're just a normal family. My dad works hard, and he made a lot of wise investments. He's really good at what he does." And surely no dark deals have ever been made. Surely. He speeds up as the road straightens out, long and flat ahead with the sun starting to set. "I'm not kidding, they have helicopter rides to Hoover Dam, and some to the Grand Canyon. It's a long time to be in a helicopter, though."
"I've never even been off the ground." Spear sounds astonished "I mean, aside from climbing trees. I'm a great climber. But..." His family is not poor. Things are comfortable, and they were able to take in other kids. But they are Thistles, and Thistles find it hard to make deals, light or dark. Then Spear eats a cookie himself, and he says "I can't wait. This is intense. So." He chews and then he looks out around the whole place "I can't believe my luck."
Jade glances over briefly and says, "Hey, what about my luck? You're pretty awesome. There's no one else like you. My only regret is I didn't realize it sooner. I'm glad we got to be friends first, though, because I already feel good around you. Everything just feels so normal and natural now, like this is how it's supposed to be."
Spear beams like one of the sunflowers he adores "Ahaha!" he says, and there are no blushing apologies - he just looks brilliant and wry, and then he pats Jade on the thigh. He says "That's because it is. I know it isn't that common. But like, we're just people. I mean, we are _awesome_ people. But at the same time, I think folk have been doing this for thousands of years. Guys and girls. Guys and guys. Girls and girls. And sasquatches." He leans his dandelion-fluff haired head on Jade's shoulder "Big lights. A late dinner. And crashing out. I bet the room's got like, it's own shower."
Jade smiles as Spear lays his head on his shoulder. "Yeah, they've got an en suite bathroom and I think there's a standing shower. I don't think we ever stayed at the Mirage. Maybe we did. I don't pay attention to stuff like that."
So it goes, the two and a half hour drive turning out to be somewhat shorter due to Jade's driving. It's almost entirely dark by the time Las Vegas looms in the distance, a gleaming gem in the desert. They drive down the Strip, eventually pulling into valet parking in front of the Mirage. There's a volcano! Manmade, but still.
"Let's drop our bags off," he says, "then I'll show you your surprise tonight." He tosses his keys to the valet.
"That's some light show," says Spear, the whole Strip being its usual self. A chaos of colour trying to attract gamblers in to spend all their money. Some of them are advertising shows, others just lights of all kinds. He gawks at the volcano, and laughs, because it is like much of Vegas - amazing and chaotic and tacky and wonderful all at once.
Spear gets out of the car, his pack with him that has all of his things, and he glances at the valet driver. Once or twice Spear has parked cars in the funeral lot. Now he is on the other end of it. He tilts his head back, looks up, then flashes Jade a grin and heads on in "This is nuts."
"Isn't it?" Jade says with a laugh as he looks around. He leads the way into hotel registration. There's a huge aquarium behind the registration desk. Like, obscenely large. Money is exchanged and keys are handed over. Jade gives Spear one of the keys and says, "All right, I think it's this way..."
Their path leads them around the casino, where people are in the midst of throwing their money at the resort hand over fist. It's loud, there's cigarette smoke wafting on the air, and on the far side of all that, there is the elevator lobby that will take them to their suite.
It's a single-room suite, with the door opening into the sitting room, with a plush couch and television, a sideboard and sink, a small dining table with four chairs, and two cushy chairs. A door opens into a bedroom with a king-sized bed attached to a bathroom that does indeed have a separate standing shower from the tub. It's roomy, it's luxurious. Jade unshoulders his bag onto the bed and says, "Sorry about how small it is. It's what they had on short notice."
That aquarium has Spear's attention. He likes animals and they like him, and the most he has ever seen are a few goldfish in a tank before. A giant tropical aquarium in a casino is an entirely new thing "Look at the colour," he says, like a rube. The Casino itself...that is interesting, but Spear has no desire to gamble. When you work in a morgue, you tend to see what happens to people who have problems...
In the room, though, he shoots Jade a dry look "...you are _not_ serious, are you?" He puts his bag down and shakes out his jacket to hang it up, then Spear eyes the bed "...bounce test!" Off go the shoes.
Jade laughs and says, "Don't bounce too long. We gotta get to Flamingo Boulevard by 8:00pm." It is a bouncy bed, though, well worth jumping onto. Jade goes out to the sitting room so he can look out the window with a critical eye. But is the view good enough? Could it be better? Alas, short notice means it is what it is (it's gorgeous).
He makes a call quickly to his house to let them know he arrived safely. Then he checks his watch. He doesn't seem too worried, though.
Spear does not call his parents. He knows they know he is fine. That is to say: Spear's ghost has not shown up to say goodbye. Creepy, but. Odd benefits to being what he is. He careens once or twice and lands on the ground to pull his Docs back on "I know it's childish, but let's face, it's great. So what's this surprise?" he nudges Jade with his shoulder "And I'm so glad you're coming to the Prom _with me_. We need to work out what we're gonna wear too! After all, I've seen your costumes, and holy heck, man."
Jade takes Spear's hand, kisses him on the cheek, and says, "You'll see, come on." He has a mysterious smile, clearly convinced that, whatever the surprise is, there's reason to be confident.
It's a short enough jaunt in a cab to where they need to be, and they're on time for, it turns out, a walking ghost tour of Las Vegas. A mile walk, taking about an hour, with a tour guide who encourages them to take pictures. Fortunately, Jade has brought a camera. "Surprise," he says in a sing-song tone. "We're going to go look for dead people."
Aww, the cheek kiss. The kiss of innocence. Spear's eyes, still bright, are admittedly not _entirely_ innocent themselves. He squeezes Jade's hand with excitement, and then they are in the cab and off to...dead people.
"Oh man, really?!" he says, utterly thrilled "Thanks, Jade, how did you know?" He does not have a camera himself - that is definitely Silver's thing - but he _does_ have a notepad and pen for doing quick sketches to inspire his sartorial mind. He also has the ability to sense - and resist the influence of - ghosts. Regardless of if there actually are any, though, Spear and Jade are _dressed_ for this tour. There are crowds around - tourists of all kinds, and Spear says to Jade "I mean, seriously. You are the _best_! Let's go find a gory one!"
Hearing him, a couple step gingerly to the other side of the street.
Jade laughs and follows in Spear's wake, letting him be in front of the tour group. The tour guide is a quirky sort who finds Spear's enthusiasm endearing, and she knows her stuff. The tour starts with a little history of Las Vegas' past, which involves Mormons, prospectors and, later, mobsters. There are murders to discuss, suicides, fires, and fatal mishaps. Liberace's ghost haunts his house, there are ghosts from the fire at Bally. So, so many mob victims.
Spear might even be able to see a few. There's a lot of embellishment on the tour, but, well. A lot of people have died here under sketchy circumstances, from saloon girls to famous entertainers.
Generally, loud ghosts are loud because of three reasons - they are distressed, they were loud when they were alive, or they are bored. Of all of those, Spear is intriguing to the last sort, so Jade - and the tour guide - occassionally can hear him reacting as Something realises it can finally interact with the real world again. He tries _not_...to talk to himself. Too much. But the Thistle quirk is the quirk - the creepineess that does not affect Jade or other types _does_ affect random people on the streets. Ghosts cluster. Chills are felt. Strange clunking noises.
The ghost tour has never been _this_ haunted before. Spear, like his sisters, is not compelled to obey. The blood is strong, and he is able to fight off some of the weirder suggestions, but the thing is. The thing is..."There's a guy here called Władziu who says sequins are amazing," says Spear, who possibly _does_ not recognise Liberace off the bat "But he says chain smoking will kill you."
"He's not wrong," Jade says, "on either count." Let people be freaked out, Jade is happy to watch Spear having a good time, and he snaps pictures. There are murmurs about the chills, which heightens the excitement of the tour goers. The guide takes it all in stride. She's a font of stories.
The hour goes far too quickly while everyone is having fun. And the ghosts are quite interested in Spear. Some of the mob victims want him to know who killed them. Sadly, the mob bosses themselves are long dead, too, so there is no justice to be found.
When it winds down, the guide asks Spear, "Have you ever thought about doing this? I bet you'd be really good at it, and you'd have fun."
"Oh, the costuming was...a bit more specifically outrageous, just some plausible deniability going on - got attention -" Spear is partly trying to convey information, but also trying not to seem too lunatic as he holds half a conversation, though he does thread his fingers in amongst Jade's as he says "Sometimes people want to be really out there, and news columnists just don't get how manipulated an image - hey! But I write for the paper. Oh, well. A school paper. Hmm? His name is Jade. Yes. I agree."
And then he is saddened, occassionally, by the mob victims, though it does bring up odd questions. Who was Joe the Jogger? And why did he kill people that way? Poor parenting has a lot to answer for! Finally he says to the tour guide "Honestly, I've never been on one before, but this is amazing. You're right, it's really fun. I actually work as a mortuary assistant - this is Jade, he's my friend. He's a dancer. I somehow thought in Vegas you had to be a performer, but...I never thought of doing ghost tours. I really dug this, man, this is great."
Jade holds Spear's hand, taking pictures with the other. "Agree about what?" he says, just a touch suspiciously. Then he's offering the guide an amiable smile. "Hi." To Spear, he says, "You could totally do ghost tours. You could do them for tourists in Lake Havasu City, or wherever."
With the tour over and people dispersing, Jade tugs Spear by the hand, in no hurry to grab a cab. It's a nice night for walking a bit. "I bet there's lots of ghosts in New York. That's all I'm going to say about it. I'm just saying there probably are."
"You're hot, we're agreeing about that," says Spear to Jade, once they break apart and start walking "It's weird. Ghosts can be all hung up on stuff. He's still uncomfortable about being gay, but he's dead - so who can criticise him? He's dead. He was trying to warn me about things that...aren't a problem any more. He seemed nice? Then he just disappeared. I don't think we're dressed crazily enough for him." He grins at that, and then he holds Jade's hand, and he says "I think I'm going to try it. I'll start out with writing an article first."
As they wander, Spear says "I bet you're right. Mobsters and all kinds of things. It's fading off a bit now, but I think they're used to her bringing tourists over. The ones who can remember things. Some get stuck in loops. They react because she's there. If Star and Silver were here, you'd catch a cold from all the chill we generate." He pauses. "Jade? Have the Marchants got, erm, a thing. That you all agree you can do?"
"We're born leaders," Jade says. "It's nothing like ghosts or anything like that. We're just... it's hard to explain. We're fearless, and people tend to listen to us when we make it clear we're not messing around. I don't know if it's a bloodline trait so much as breeding. Nurture versus nature. Ghosts would be cool, though."
"Yeah, I suppose so, I would totally follow you anywhere," says Spear, quite simply "I mean, if you want, I'm going to New York with you. While you audition and stuff, I'll like, get a day job to keep us going." He sounds completely certain of this "Also, well, after that codpiece, I know you feel no fear."
Jade smiles at Spear, broad and boyish. "You'll go to New York with me?" he says. Then he hugs Spear then and there. The remark about the codpiece gets a laugh, and he kisses Spear, then presses his forehead to the other youth's. "I would love you to come to New York with me. There's so many things you could do if you wanted. I bet there's a mortician's school there, or maybe you could give tours. Or anything. You could do anything."
He steps back and keeps hold of Spear's hand. "Let's go back and get room service, and put on the spa robes, and just do whatever we want. We'll get some ice to chill the champagne."
"Sure, it totally sounds like a thing," says Spear, and while he might not be affected so much by the negative aspects of being around a Marchant, the positive ones still impact. Jade wants something, and it honestly sounds fun, and both of those things have him thinking "Why not New York. I mean, seriously. How often do we get to just...go decide to try something new. I'm going to go to New York - oh! Maybe I could become a professional police coroner or something. Help solve crimes." He grins "And help you!" Solve crimes? Who knows.
"Yep, spa time," he says firmly "With the nice smelling soap." Back he starts to walk with Jade, hand in hand.