She had asked him to meet her at the Paradiso and waited for him in a corner booth near the back hoping they could have a bit of privacy. He found her moments later and bowed formally.
"Mister Tyrell..." She nodded to the seat in front of her, "Wont you sit...please?"
"I cant say no to eyes that blue...," he said with a coy smile as he slid in beside her.
He said nothing as he leaned back in the booth, his gaze intent upon her, expression relaxed. From the corner Vlad Cetes watched them.
She placed an order to the passing waiter then looked at him again, needing to know. "Is it true...?"
His smile faded. "What now?"
"What they are saying on the news...is it true Garst?"
"I dont watch the news."
"That you are wardecing Amarrian loyalist corporations for profit. That you have fallen to piracy..."
"Loyalist corps eh? Is that were there saying now?" He chuckled mirthlessly.
Vlad Cetes made his way over to the table. "Lianne. Tyrell."
She gave a glance to Vlad, her face paling, then she quickly looked away. "Well. Explain it to me Garst."
Garst distractedly nodded to Vlad, "Explain what?"
"Who you are wardecing, and why."
"My my darlin, did you join the Theology Council since last we spoke? You remind me of my old instructor. He always wanted the details, now now, now!" He grinned as he took a shot of whiskey.
"It's important to me Garst...I want to know the truth. You spoke so badly of Zenton after he left to pirate, I dont want you doing the same thing."
"So eager to judge. Just like every one else."
She shook her head, "No I'm not. Thats why I asked you here, to ask you the truth." She poured herself a shot and finished it in one gulp. "So. Tell me."
"Sometimes the truth is not all it is made out to be," said Vlad.
"Perception is reality. If they want to call me a pirate, then I guess im a 'pirate'. A week ago I was the 'Hero of Kamela'! Probably Loyalist of the year! Laurel wreathes and praise. Now a friend I haven't spoken to in weeks who calls me here to judge me? I dont need this honey." He knocked back another shot.
"I'm not judging you dammit."
"Bullshit. You already think I'm the monster those bastards make me out to be, or else you wouldn't have called me here. Damned if I was expecting this."
She glared at him. He always could push her buttons. "No. I don't.....what did you expect?"
"Tyrell, "those bastards" can be made to change the public's perception of you, with some encouragement." Vlad said.
Garst snorted at Vlad, then looked to Shalee again, "What did I expect?"
"Maybe a friendly drink. Im such an idiot. I thought for one second an old friend would want to catch up, and here I am jumped again from all sides."
"So stay. Have a drink. You're the one trying to walk away....like always."
"Maybe im tired of being hurt."
An awkward silent moment passed between them, and then she asked, "So if you came to catch up....let's catch up? What have you been up to Garst?"
"Pirating" or so they say."
She frowned. "Yeah. Okay." Asshole.
"Isn't that what you wanted to hear? You did drag me here into this little trap, I can see the accusation in your eyes."
She wrinkled up her nose. "Is that what you really think of me? That I brought you here to accuse you? I thought to have a drink with you, to find out the truth. But whatever. You're not the man I once knew."
He sat there silently, visibly hurt.
"Is it all worth it? All of the glory, the isk." She slid out of the booth and stood, ready to leave, "You sold out, Garst."
"Sold out? You don't know a damn thing."
"You admitted to piracy!"
"Admitted? Sarcasm honey."
"Sarcasm? So you are not going after easy targets to fuel your war machine? Amarr corporations...?"
"Are they admitted loyalist corporations?" Vlad asked as he slid out of the booth, moving away to talk to someone else at the bar.
"Amarr corporations? Let me ask you this Shalee. Do you feel safer with or without me fighting for you? Do you sleep better at night knowing im at the gate holding the barbarians at bay, or off in some wormhole, chasing selfish riches?"
"You're not the only one out there defending this Empire."
"My record speaks for itself."
"And so does your arrogance."
He frowned, "There you go judging again."
"It doesn't even matter what I think anymore," she shrugged lightly.
" .... It matters to me."
"You have a funny way of showing it."
"You know how I felt. You didnt care."
She stared at him for a moment then shook her head. "Don't. I'm going to marry Raphael."
"Have a nice fucking life."
She sighed and turned to go, "I will."
He grabbed her wrist and pulled her roughly down into the booth, "Why? I have to know."
She locked her gaze with his, "What do you even care? You're out playing hero to Kamela and the rest of the god'damned New Eden. What does it matter to you now."
"It's who I am. Who I was born to be. I wont deny my nature any more than I will my obvious feelings to you. You knew damn well how I felt but didn't care. I keep grasping at straws and it just hurts, I dont know why I keep crawling back every time like clockwork."
She looked down, unable to meet his gaze. She stared at his hand wrapped around her wrist. "Im not going to compete with your lust for fame and power and everything else that you need to substain you."
"My lust for fame? Last time I checked the news has been talking about me, and not in the way I'd have liked, so yeah I'll trade this 'fame' anyday."
"That's a temporary thing and you know it. Next week they will be singing your praises again."
"Not if my enemies get their way. They want to destroy my reputation. Destroy everything I've worked for. PISSES ME OFF." He slammed his fist against the table.
She could feel the anger radiating off of him and instinctively leaned back, a little bit afraid. "But they can't."
"I'll kill them all first."
She nodded slowly, "I know you will." She kept her tone low, trying to soothe him.
He glanced away into the distance and forced a calming breath."Are you going to be alright?"
"When I've put this embarassing slander campaign behind me I'll let you know. It's reaching a turning point, one way or another.....I just hope they dont succeed in ruining me."
She wet her lips nervously, "Then don't give them ammunition to do so. Don't pirate...stop these wardecs. There has to be other ways of making money."
"God dammit stop listening to their lies! Theres no pirating! Rule number two in my corp charter: No pirating or ransoming. Going GCC for reds is fine but we dont shoot random neuts or probe down mission runners." He quoted it from memory.
"What you're doing *is* piracy."
"Is it now?"
"I serve the Empire. Cracking a few eggs along the way doesn't bother me." He released his hold of her and stood. "Oh and by the way? Those innocents? Those wardecs of mine? They were working with Final STAND in Ohide last night. Trying to kill my pilots. I podded them and sent them screaming back to whatever hole they dragged themselves out of. Innocents my ass."
"I see." She blushed, feeling embarassed for not believing him earlier. "I'm sorry."
"Without people like me making the hard choices and defending the Empire you would be." He hesitated, "I don't want you calling me for a while. Maybe when this is over, maybe, I'll contact you." He turned and left her without another word.