Bad News All Around

Participants:

lynette3_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

Scene Title Bad News All Around
Synopsis There's some good news mixed in too, but it's mostly bad.
Date June 18, 2018

Benchmark: Ruiz Suite


It wasn't too long ago that Lynette went to her meeting with Richard. So it's really saying something that she is definitely leaning toward drunk when she walks in. Not stumbling drunk, though, and she'll take that as a win.

She is probably the only one.

Her yellow heels get left by the door and her jacket gets hung on the back of a chair as she makes her way to the kitchen. For the coffee. She's hopeful that some will already be there, but if not— she will attempt to make it on her own and not be too clumsy about it.

It's hard to avoid being seen when the person who one might trying to look natural in front of happens to be sitting right there on the living room chair. Mateo has a book in his lap, which he put down the moment the door opened to look and watch as she moved and made her way to the kitchen. No, there's no getting around him without being noticed. Little changes are obvious. Being too deliberate about how one moves is give away enough.

Because he's known her when she doesn't try to hide something. He's known her when she didn't have to pay attention so much to how she's walking. "I hope you didn't punch him too," he decides to start with, looking toward her hands and referencing the man who had come to see them after punching that very same man she went to see.

And he had been drunk too. Much more so, even.

Lynette coming home after a few drinks has been increasingly normal over the past few weeks. The tells are there and obvious, at least to him. Once she's got the coffee started, she turns to look over at him. She doesn't notice where she spilled some of the grounds, despite how careful she was being.

"I did not," she says, and there are no marks to prove otherwise, "We had a lovely, if depressing chat. Exchange of information." What else is telling: she hasn't come over to greet him. Instead, she seems folded in on herself as she leans into a corner of the kitchen counter. "Do you want the good news, the bad news or the worst news first?" There was a lot to tell him, not much of it was very fun to hear. None of it, in fact. Her eyes close for a moment, brow furrowed. She's not particularly looking forward to repeating any of it.

But he has to know.

"Give it to me in whatever order you want," Mateo responds, putting the book aside on his chair and moving to stand in the kitchen, or at least lean against the wall at the entrance. He's close enough that he can smell it on her, whatever it was she had been drinking. Mostly because he knew what she smelled like better without it.

After a moment, he moves from the wall, to clean up the grounds that she did spill and get in closer to her to confirm that— no, it's not just that she decided to douse herself in alcohol scented perfume. Not that he thought she ever would.

"So what's going?"

Scotch is the culprit this time, which is odd because that is not her drink.

Lynette sighs at his answer, her hand coming up to rub over her face. One thing at a time. "Eileen is from another timeline. She's hellbent on making sure no one else can do the same. That's why she tried to kill you, because she knows you have the potential to open the way. And Richard is a target, too, because she thinks he can build a machine that could do the same. Nevermind that neither of you were doing anything like that, the possibility is enough."

That scares her; it's clear through the haze of liquor. It's clear in how she makes a point to straighten up and lift her chin, burying fear under a facade of pride.

That— actually makes sense. "I couldn't figure out how she knew me. As far as I remember, Munin had never come down to Argentina, but I figured it happened when I didn't know. The Vanguard wasn't especially good about telling people things they weren't personally involved in." Like the virus that apparently had nearly been released. Mateo hadn't learned about that until the tribunals. He learned a lot about what his group had been up to from the tribunals.

But he also knew she could see through birds, so he had assumed she had been there even if he couldn't see her.

"She also hadn't hesitated to jump through my portal after me." Which meant she had not been surprised that his portal could be used as a portal. She just didn't get through the last one, or she would have been in Raytech as well.

"I think it might be our other otter," Lynette says, "that she might have fallen through one like that camera the kids found did. That part is just speculation, but we know at least one of the other yous is actively traveling. Or trying to." It's hard to say if it's the alcohol or the conversation, but Lynette's mood drops and her shoulders with it. She looks tired. "That's not the weirdest news, though."

No, there is definitely weirder.

"Des isn't Des. Her… consciousness swapped places with another her from another time. Richard wanted me to know that this one isn't— She isn't our Des. Please be careful if you see her. Richard's looking into how to get her back, but in the meantime, we're giving her a wide berth. She has some protection, I hear, so she'll be kept safe while we try to… fix this." She tries to remain positive, but he knows her, and he knows what it looks like when she feels helpless. Hopeless.

Considering he has not seen Des since a few visits after she saved him from bleeding out on Raytech floors, Mateo has no current experiences with her to compare a Des who is not Des to the one he knew for the last few months. But she's still protected and kept safe, anyway, even if he worries for what has been happening with her.

Since she ran. Since she was forced to run. Since she had been possibly told to run. "It could be the other one, though. Or another. Maybe I travelled more in another world as Vanguard." Maybe in another world he'd never met Jose. Maybe in another world he'd never left Vanguard. Maybe in another world he'd never been Vanguard. It's the last world that he likes to think exists, somewhere. That somewhere, one of him hadn't done all the things he did.

"But I haven't seen her yet, but if I do I'll try and make sure it's ours." If they've swapped back. "Or I'll avoid her, just in case." In case this 'other Des' wants to shoot him like the other Eileen did.

"That's true. It could be any number of Ruizes," Lynette says, letting out a sigh and slumping just a little. Nothing for her to do about it but wait. "You know, I was a lot more useful when I was a terrorist human trafficking fugitive type. Vincent says I shouldn't be looking into things like this. Richard says he can handle Des' legal situation. So what am I doing?" She looks over at him like she really needs an answer to that. Like he might know better than her. "That's the last bit— the good news. Richard has a contact that should be able to help clear her name."

Which is good news, and she's glad for it.

"Now I feel like all this research is just me invading her privacy," she says, allowing herself just a little more self pity. But then she seems to have had enough of herself, because she straightens up and takes in a sharp breath. "But, once she gets back," she says more confidently, even though she has no idea how that is going to happen, "she should be a free woman again."

"That's definitely good news," Though Mateo sounds slightly less convinced that it will be as easy as a contact getting themselves involved. But it's good to know that the man hadn't gone into the situation without a plan, even if he potentially set up a duck and run situation that would look bad in just about any situation.

"But now that you've shared all your news…" Some of it almost unbelievable, if they hadn't lived with the knowledge that another him from another world had died trying to help her from not long after they met one would possibly find it more unbelievable. But he believed.

With this, he steps closer to her. "I have some bad news."

"It is." There are a lot of moving parts to handle before that good news can come to fruition, but it's good to have the net there. Lynette looks over at him when it turns out he has news, too, and when he comes closer, she reaches over to take his hands. Whatever his news is, she's there to hear it. Her hands squeeze his because even coming down off a bit of drunkenness, she's here to support him.

"Alright, what's the news?" she asks, because it cannot get any worse than what is already on their plate. What with dimension-hopping powers so infamous they get a cutesy nickname. And minds swapping places. And everything.

What could possibly be worse than all the other things?

"You're drinking. Casually or otherwise," Mateo starts as if maybe that had been the bad news. He had not said anything after the first slip, because, well, it had been the first. The circumstances were specific. He hadn't noticed any others, but now—

Now he obviously had. "Until you are sober again, and I do mean sober— I'll be sleeping on the couch." It might take her a second to figure out what that means— but he's sure she will get there.

Lynette doesn't deny the drinking. It would be very difficult to, all things considered. Maybe, on some level, she was hoping he would notice and do something, but from the look on her face when he gets the news out… it would have had to be a level that's buried very deep. Just so deep. It doesn't take a second for her to figure it out, she's got it the moment the words are out.

"You're couching yourself," she says, a little bewildered. Blindsided. Her hands pull back from his, but not out of anger. The move comes off more like she feels like she's invading his space suddenly. "Okay…" she steps away, hiding a hurt expression behind a move to dig around in the fridge for a bottle of water. And she works on settling that feeling, too, because she knows she earned this. Or some reaction from him, in any case. "I'll take the couch," she says, eventually, when she turns back to look at him. "The screwup gets the couch, those are the rules."

There's some frustration in her tone. She's been wanted something she can do, something to fix. This, however, was the one thing she didn't want to fix.

Yes, Mateo was couching himself. For many reasons. But then she turns it around on him and says that. He lets out a sigh. It's hard to argue with the fact that she screwed up, and that the person who messed up should be the one relegated to the couch, but the couch hadn't been the punishment. It was what sleeping apart meant. "Lynette," he says with a sigh.

But then he shakes his head. "Fine. You can sleep on the couch. I'll go get blankets and a your pillow," he decides to say instead. He'd already planned to dig those up for himself, after all.

"It'll only be for a few days." Or so he hopes. He's never been sure how to deal with this sort of thing, but she wasn't dealing with it on her own, so he devised this form of… well… punishment really. A penalty, at least.

But something to look forward to later, he hoped.

When he says her name, when he sighs, Lynette shakes her hands a little, as if trying to shake loose some nervous energy. "Think of it as a favor," she says, more casually than she feels. Or looks. "Being in that bed and knowing you won't be there would be torture." She smiles there, a bit crooked, even if it's not quite up to par. No sex is pretty bad. Not having him next to her on top of that is worse.

What's likely is that she hadn't thought of how far it had gotten. A drink here or there, just to help her through a hard conversation or a difficult night, pushing away any count of how many times that happened. But now she is, that much is clear. Although, it's equally clear that she's trying not to show how upset it makes her.

"Right, a few days," she says. "I— " Her words cut off, then she looks back to him again. "I'm sorry."

If he hadn't thought she would be more disappointed in herself the longer this went on, he would have trusted her to take care of it herself. But Mateo could see that she wasn't. That all the bad things going on had been enough to steer her toward the things she had been avoiding and that he had thought he helped her avoid.

And instead, he had helped drive her to do again. In a way.

"I know you're sorry. I am too." Sorry that he's doing this. Sorry that he's doing this especially. If it doesn't work after a week he will insist she go see her own counselors, if she's not already. He is sorry. But that doesn't mean he'll sneak onto the couch to cuddle her tonight…

Even if he really wants to.

Lynette shakes her head at his words and reaches out as if to touch his face, but pulls back again. "You've got nothing to be sorry for, my darling. You're a good husband and I love you." Those words she means, no hiding anything there or pushing anything away. Because she would never want him to think anything else. "I'm going to go take a shower and steady myself some." By which she means sobering up the rest of the way. And probably crying, too. But since that's nothing to do with him and everything to do with her being disappointed in herself, she won't mention that part.

And she knows what she has to do next. She just hopes she's able to.

And he has to not join her. Even if he really wants to.

Instead, Mateo focuses on getting the couch ready for her. And cursing himself for what he's doing all at the same time.


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