Between Us

Participants:

amadeus_icon.gif delia_icon.gif

Scene Title Between Us
Synopsis Amadeus visits the garden, spills a secret, and comes away with a prize.
Date February 23, 2018

Elmhurst


Along the eastern border of Elmhurst, where the houses aren't as closely packed there exists a place that used to be a large park. Now, it is a compartmentalized area with neat wooden boxes that have each been piled high with snow. The snow came from the neat graveled paths that run between each box and in the northeaster corner, there is a red headed woman busily clearing another strip and tossing the shovels full of snow on yet another box of dirt.

She stops and straightens up, wiping the back of her hand across her forehead to sweep away the perspiration that's gathered there. She's been hard at work for a few hours now, as the only person working at the garden full-time it's all her responsibility. People will be coming by in the next few weeks to pick out their plots and she needs to be ready for them. That means making sure each plot is accessible and more importantly, properly hydrated. Hence the snow.

There's a crunching of snow as Amadeus starts walking up on Delia working. He can't get a good look at her face, but he's watching her work as he approaches. "Hey, I heard there's like a garden here or some shit. I was thinkin' we could work somethin' out or whatever. I heard there's usually only like one person workin' out here." he says, right before he realizes who exactly it is that's working. "Oh fuck…"

He doesn't look much like he did when he was younger. He's not particularly clean shaven, his build is more athletic, he doesn't smell like marijuana, and while he still doesn't dress like the most proper gentlemen, he at least has some hint of style and carries himself with confidence. "So uh hey…" he clears his throat, awkwardly.

Delia turns with a startled look on her face. She was too busy concentrating on her work to even notice Amadeus coming up on her. Instinctively, she reaches behind her for a pistol that isn't there. Then recognition dawns on her, she squints her eyes and knits her eyebrows together before saying "Amadeus?"

He's changed.

"Wow…" she says, struck speechless. If she was being honest, she didn't expect him to actually be alive after the war. She hadn't even heard if he'd escaped Eltingville. "How are you doing?" Suddenly, Delia is smiling, because someone else is alive and this is a very good thing. She sticks her shovel in the snow and motions to a house in the distance. "Let's go talk inside, I'll make some .. hot water." Because her homemade tea blend is a bit disgusting and she hasn't figured out how to make it palatable. "I have some vegetable broth, if you'd rather that."

As she makes her way up the path and closer to Amadeus, she claps him on the shoulder and squeezes lightly. Half in friendship, half to make sure he isn't another delirious hallucination. "Come on," she continues, letting go and leading the way through the maze of boxes toward the house.

"I think this is the first time I've seen you not pissed at me." Amadeus can't help but laugh, following her, a little more chill than he used to be, which is ironic considering the lack of marijuana. "I'm good, kinda. About to start this amateur martial arts shit, trying to pay off a debt that my dojo's under, been tryin' to find a better way to get food for the kids and shit like that. And I could use the vegetables, good for trainin'."

"Yeah well, we all get older," her sardonic tone matches her expression as she dips her mitted hands into her pockets and trudges through the snow. Delia listens to the crunch under her feet as she considers Amadeus' words. When they make their way up to the front door of her house, she unlocks and then opens it, allowing him inside first. It's a little chilly inside, but warmer than the outside.

"My first question is," she says as she follows inside and closes the door behind them, "what are you willing to put forward? I'm just going to assume you don't have the cash for food if you're looking for an arrangement."

"We're workin' on cash. The dojo's got its feet over some goddamned fire with that debt. But what I'm thinkin' is, like, maybe I could help out around here, and when it's warmer maybe the kids can help out, they can learn some shit about gardenin' or whatever." Amadeus pauses a moment, and adds, "By the way I used to grow weed and shit, so I know how to grow plants, kinda."

He steps inside, and looks back at her. "Fuck, man, you still look like you." he says with a warm smile, a little less crass than he used to be, at least in polite company. "Oh and I can keep all the neighborhood cats away, or make them eat the bugs and chase the rats and shit. I got my ability back years ago." Another pause. "I ever tell you I used to have an ability?"

The door is locked and she flicks on a light and when it flickers on, the smirk on Delia's face is plain to see. "I got older too, Amadeus," she says in a bit of a lighter tone. "Anyway… Let's talk about the vegetables. How many mouths are you looking to feed and give me an age range so I know what I'm working with." Neighbourhood cats can be a bit of a problem, due to the boxes of dirt being used as litterboxes. Something that none of her gardeners need.

"And I'll have to let you know right now… the food shortages have made my plots a little more valuable." She doesn't offer him one of his own, not just yet. "I didn't know you even had one, I mean, so you're like a cat whisperer or something?"

"We've got about three ten year olds, five teens, two of the teens are girls if that matters." Amadeus shrugs, he doesn't know what matters or not, or how to feed people at all really. "I'm a cat telepath. Only housecats, not lions and shit. I know what they're thinkin', I can talk to 'em and make 'em do stuff. I don't like to do the whole control thing, I just try to have a conversation, y'know? Better if they wanna do what I ask."

He idly walks through the house, though he doesn't leave the room, not wanting to intrude. But he's clearly trying to get a feel for the area, running his hand along things at times. "I can also put my brain into a cat's body and be a cat."

Delia makes her way into the kitchen as Amadeus explores the living room and dining room. There's nothing too valuable there, little mementos and curios, some pictures in frames, everything has a personal touch to it rather than one of value. She puts a dented kettle on to boil, readying it for … hot water.

"Not going to lie Amadeus, that's a lot of mouths to feed," she says in a grim tone. Though, that much free labor and not having to worry about cats this season, it makes a difference. "Girls, boys, it doesn't matter to me, really." She motions toward the table and takes a seat at the head, like the godfather of gardening, steepling her fingers as she thinks.

"I mean, you ain't feedin' 'em full time, just helpin' 'em out 'cause their families can't really feed 'em enough. Anything's appreciated." Amadeus sits across from her, leaning his elbows on the table. He stares, he still stares at her the way he did when he was younger, when he sort of aimlessly chased her like a dumb stray dog. But he's a bit less crass in his stare, he maintains eye contact. "It ain't a rush, you can think about it a bit. And when I start makin' money from fightin', I'll help there too."

He lightly smacks a hand against his cheek a few times, as if trying to wake himself up. "Fuck, I still feel like a dumbass kid lookin' at you. At least I ain't doin' dumb shit though."

She's still considering, not really listening to the last bit of what he says, only concerned about the numbers. She stays silent until the whistle of the kettle wakes her from her reverie and then she just gets up and makes her way to the kitchen to pour two cups of hot water. Eight kids and Amadeus, even if it's not full time it's only February.

"I have tea, it's not good… more sour than a lemon and probably about three times as gross," she says as she holds up the cup. "It's either that or just hot water, I don't have coffee, it's too expensive." Which tells Amadeus how short her cash flow situation actually is.

"How about this… before you even think about helpin' me, we see how I can help you. And I'll try that tea, I need some shit to toughin' me up." Amadeus agrees, then sits back in his chair and motions to her. "Tell me what you need, tell me what your problems are. I wanna see what the fuck I can do to help, instead of me offerin' stuff to you."

Delia scoops a spoon full of loose leaves and split hips into the cut of hot water and bring it to the table along with her own cup of plain hot water. "The cats is a good place to start," she admits, "they keep using the garden boxes for litter and digging up plants. At least that's what they did last season. And I'll tell you what, if there's a leftover plot that no one rents, I'll let you guys have it… on the down low." That takes care of next winter, but the remains of this one (along with spring and summer), that's another story.

"I don't like to hear about kids going hungry either," she admits with a sigh, "I can give you maybe five pounds of onions, carrots, and potatoes today. Try to make them last as long as you can."

"I'll take care of it. And my sensei is really damned strict about everything, he'll make food last. I'm not worried about me so much, I always manage to survive." Amadeus takes the cup, lightly blowing on it. He doesn't taste it yet, but he looks up from it to watch her again. "I'm glad you survived all that shit. I had to deal with a lot. I looked for you a few times, I ain't gonna lie, but after a while I stopped…"

He quickly stares down into his cup, wiping his face on his arm. "Fuck, man… all this fuckin' plant shit in my eyes…"

"It's the tea," Delia grins as Amadeus wipes his tears away. "It'll burn a hole right through you if you're not careful."

"I'm not going to go over every detail of where I've been or what I've done," her words are meant to bite, supposed to make him avoid asking. "I'm here today and that's pretty much only because I had a few people watching my back." She takes a sip of her hot water and places the cup back down on the table. Talk of senseis and dojos are things she only understands from wire-fu movies and she doesn't get to watch many movies anymore.

"I don't care what you did unless you want me to care. All I care about is you here right now. Whatever shit you went through, I ain't gonna ask you to go through it again." Amadeus tries to reassure, finally taking a sip of the tea, then he makes a face. "This tastes like ass. Just the kinda thing that'll help build stamina and cure diseases and shit."

"I've been learnin' martial arts since the war. Now I wanna go pro. I've gotta win some amateur matches and then try to break through." He holds up one of his hands, making a fist. His hands are a little more rough than she might have noticed years ago, especially his knuckles, which have definitely seen a lot of activity. "I don't know who you've got right now, but I'll watch your back too."

"I have Nick," the name is voice in an offhand manner, as though she doesn't really need anyone looking after her, not anymore. "He's around enough." Delia takes another gulp of hot water and a sound can be heard coming from her side of the table. Her stomach is growling and it's apparently not sated by hot water.

"If you think that tea is a cure for anything, you can have all of it." That offer isn't up for debate because she nods toward the jar that's pretty much full. He can take it, along with the offered vegetables. "Where is your dojo, by the way? Is it here in the Safe Zone?"

"Ah, that's good." Amadeus smiles when she says she has someone, though something about his tone says that it stings at least a little. He's not responding with the usual, uh, outrageous show of his younger years. "It's in Phoenix Heights, definitely the Safe Zone." He looks to the tea, then just nods. He'll take it when he's ready to leave, though not right now.

"Phoenix Heights," Delia repeats the words to commit them to memory and then she nods once, "I'll make sure you guys are taken care of, okay? But when spring rolls around, no cats and those kids have to come and help me out with guarding the plots." Not growing, a community garden means people do their own dirty work. The bigger worry is food thieves and there's enough of them around the area.

She's almost out of water though and with one last gulp her cup is empty. So she slides out of her chair and head back into the kitchen, to put the cup next to the sink. Why waste the water to wash it when you're just going to use it again?

"Sounds good to me." Amadeus agrees, snapping out of whatever he was in a moment ago. "I'll make sure you're taken care of too, ain't no cats gonna do a damned thing I didn't say to do."

He starts to stand, taking a long sip of the tea. "Well, I don't wanna like, keep you too long."

Delia gives Amadeus a weak smile and a nod when he excuses himself. "You grab the tea, I'll be right back." Then she disappears out of the room. It's completely quiet while she gone, she didn't put her boots on or take her coat, so she couldn't have gone outside. When she comes back though, it's with a cloth bag in her hands, it's dusty from dried planting soil which is transposed to her hands and clothing.

"Here's the vegetables, for you and the kids," she says there's a double emphasis on the you and the and. She wants him to eat too. "Make sure you come by every week, at least, okay? I'll make sure they don't starve to death at the very least."

"Thanks, Delia. If you were anyone else I wouldn't have mentioned my ability, so like, keep it between us, okay?" Amadeus requests, carefully taking the sack to heft it over his shoulder. "You're a good person." he says as his gaze lingers a second longer than he means, and he quickly shifts his eyes to something else in the room. "I'll be back next week."


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