There are disadvantages to being optimistic and and easygoing, and Alice was running right smack into one of them today. In all fairness, Oryn had warned her that he was doing a double-shift at Madam Rose's today, first following Ben and Jack around to learn the ins and outs, then working the bar to observe the way it all fit together when the house was operating. He'd told her he'd probably have his phone off for parts of it, which made perfectly good sense. But it meant that when she woke up today, four days after Valentine's Day, with a high fever and a ravenous appetite but no other symptoms of illness she hadn't been able to do more than text him and hope he turned his phone on to check at some point today.
Worse, she didn't actually know how to get in touch with Collin. She hadn't thought to ask for his phone number, like an idiot, and he probably assumed that Oryn had given it to her. Alice knew he worked at the shifter hospital, but not where that was. She knew most of the pard was staying a hotel, but not which hotel. She knew that Oryn's friend Sam was a photographer, but not which studio she was at. Basically, she'd been so busy being accepting and mellow about everything that she'd screwed herself, hard.
In the end, she only knew three places where she could maybe find some help with this. Many Moons, which was not fucking happening. Winchesters, which was all the way across town from her house and Alice suspected that between the fever and the crazy, jumpy restlessness she was feeling driving wasn't a super idea. And 439, which was only about three miles from her place. A long walk, but totally doable and maybe the exertion would help her burn off this jittery energy that she honestly couldn't tell whether was a side effect of the fever or just straight up fear.
She walked the three miles fast, head down and the drizzly rain failing to cool the heat of her shoulders and bare arms. She hadn't thought to put on http://i2.listal.com/image/4875817/936full-joss-stone.jpg, but she wasn't shivering as she walked. She got to 439 sooner than she almost wanted to and stood inside the door, her hair weighed down with water, her hands gripping her bare arms and her cheeks pink with fever and fear.
Looking around the dining room, searching desperately for anyone she recognized, there was only one face that struck her as being in any way familiar. She didn't know who he was, only that she remembered Oryn pointing him out to her the other night. He'd pointed out a lot of people, and while she'd been paying attention and all there had been a lot of faces and a goodly number of those bright pink drinks and most of her attention had been on the cute geekboy and she just...didn't remember.
But with no other options occurring to her, Alice headed over to the table where the tall, bearded man was sitting alone with a newspaper. (People still read newspapers? Another time it would have kinda cracked her up.) Stopping a few feet back from the table and not even remotely noticing the man from the end of the bar who slid to his feet as well, Alice clutched her own elbows, noted distantly that she was finally starting to shiver despite that she still felt fever-hot, and asked the Rat King, "Excuse me, sir? Do you now where I can find any leopards, please?"