It Just Sort of Happened


lynette_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title It Just Sort of Happened
Synopsis Lynette tells Vincent about her adventure in a mahjong parlor-slash-bar-slash-brothel on Staten Island.
Date June 11, 2018

The Ruiz Residence

A message was left.

It is clear, when Vincent hears it, that Lynette has tripped up on her road to recovery, but equally clear that she's been spooked by something or another. And she has no respect at all for his Sundays, as that is when the message was left.

But the meat of the message was this: they need to talk.

Of course, it's hard to say if Lynette quite remembers leaving any sort of message. Because now she's come out of a regretful drunken haze and has the hangover to prove it. She stands in her kitchen, leaning on the counter, staring at the coffee pot as if this might make it work faster. A bottle of aspirin sits within reach, so at least she's gotten that far. But no farther, as she's still in a robe and her hair is a slept-in mess (not the on-purpose version that takes a stylist and three cans of hairspray) even though it's well past any hour where such an ensemble would be considered acceptable.

“Good morning, starshine.”

Vincent’s ability makes no sound, only infrequently detected before he’s announced himself by a shift in air currents, or stir of reflected shadow in stainless steel. It’s part of what made him so deadly in the war.

Today he appears behind Lynette in her kitchen wielding a rolled over paper bag of kolaches, which he slings (noisily) down onto the counter beside himself, and a bottle of orange gatorade. He keeps hold of the gatorade, tidy as a terrible little doberman pinscher in his suit and tie behind it.

“Hope I haven’t caught you at a bad time.”

Lynette jumps at the voice, then groans at having moved far too quickly. And for the noise. She turns enough to give him a look out of the corner of her eye. "You know, the door was invented some time ago. I know it's hard to adjust to new technology, but." She finishes turning around eventually, but leans back against the counter as if standing is just too much for her today.

His comment only gets a moment of flat regard. Sarcasm is only okay when it's hers. Of course.

Gears turn, memories click into place, and Lynette lifts a finger in a moment of understanding. "I called you," she says, doing her very best to make it seem like she knew that all along, which would really only work if people decided to be polite and pretend along with her. But, with the memory of the phone call comes the reason why and her expression turns— for lack of a better word— sober. "Someday I'm going to have to invite you to family dinner just so you don't start associating my face with bad news."

“I’ll keep that in mind for the next time I’m sure you’re in a state to answer one. You should drink this.” He squares the gatorade down on the counter next to the kolaches, eye contact locked into the look she tries to get him with. Unruffled. Unapologetic. “It has electrolytes.”

He’s unconvinced, also, by her raised finger.

“Yes,” he says. “You did.”

Today is Monday; there are almost certainly more important things Vincent Lazzaro could be doing than nursing the hangover of a grown woman who signalled the end of their most recent conversation with the word lawyer. Still. He turns to open the bag he brought, assailing her kitchen with the smell of baked goods.

Too late, he conveys with a dry look aside, for her concerns about bad news. Like there’s a family dinner invite he hasn’t managed to duck in the last twenty years. Please.

"Fair enough," Lynette says since she really isn't in a state to do anything of the sort. She glances at the drink, then at him, like she might refuse, but it's only a beat later that she lets out a gentle sigh and reaches for it. "Thank you."

That's even sincere.

So when he unleashes the baked goods, she's mid-drink and has to stop because it's one of those smells that would be so welcome on any other morning, but today it makes her wish she had made better life choices and, really, it's more admonishing than she likes her pastries to be.

"Eileen Ruskin is alive," could be seen as a return volley, if one chose to see it that way, "or someone using her likeness. I suspect the latter seeing as she wasn't talking to the birds when I ran into her. She seemed to be leaning more in the direction of her former mentor, really. Dark tendrils, corpses made of ash, inhuman wailing. It was all very dramatic, I assure you." And she's being flippant. Because it's better than the alternative.

These pastries are just the right amount of admonishing, if you ask Vincent. He doesn’t take one, himself — just leaves the bag open to torment her. She should eat.

“You’re welcome.”

He can be sincere too. He owes her more than a late breakfast, in the grand scheme of things, but this doesn’t feel like a transaction in the way that it could, if he was any more flippant himself. Her message made it sound like she needed help. He came as soon as he was able, real judgment reserved for her naive opinion of fugitive outlaws.

There’s invisible armor raised around a subtle shift in his posture when she starts in about Eileen, more upright, unease shadowed in hollow around his eyes.

“Who’d she kill?”

Anything’s possible, anymore. If Lynette’s ever had any desire to gauge the strangeness of the shit he hears these days, she’ll find it in his ready belief. He steps around her to oversee the coffee drip she started.

Lynette does not eat. Not yet. But she drinks, at least. Side stepping herself, she turns and leans a hip against the counter. Her hands runs through her hair, but the sigh that follows is a relieved one. For his willingness to go along with this.

"Some patrons in a mahjong parlor-slash-bar-slash-brothel, probably." It had an unmistakable atmosphere. "Bystanders, more or less. We had a bit of an altercation, which she obviously felt like winning rather profoundly. I thought it might be a good idea to give you a heads up."

As homeland security, as himself. It would be easy for someone with the face of an ally to take advantage.

"Could be she just wants to sit out on Staten and not be bothered, but— " she doesn't think it likely. "You get to tell Hana, though," she adds, dryly.

At the coffee maker, Vincent turns deliberately back around to face her, and now — now he’s judgmental. Brow furrowed, eyes black, boring into her.

“You had ‘an altercation.’”

He’s clarifying if that’s the description she wants to stick to, pending the second look he’s bound to take now that a potentially evil doppelganger has been flagged to his attention.

ALSO, on a delay of dawning realization and with less aplomb: “Why were you in a mahjong brothel?” His teeth clip tight together around the question, voice hedged quiet out of instinct. Like her neighbors might be listening. Or her family. He didn’t canvass the apartment before he barged in. Is this a cry for help?

Why is she like this?

All too conspicuously, he says nothing (yet) on the subject of Hana. But he’s definitely telling her.

The judgment is taken with a lift of Lynette's eyebrow. Just one.

"Alright. You got me. We were having tea and cakes and I happen to know she can turn into a tentacle monster and suck the life out of people because, you know, we were just a pair of old friends catching up."

Why is she like this?

"A lot happens when you haven't seen each other for years and years. And also one of you is dead. What do you want me to say, Vincent?"

As for why she was at that particular establishment, she gives him a sidelong look, but it comes with a hint of a smile. "I heard she was alive, I wanted to find out for myself, and I followed a rumor right to her mahjong table. Lucky for me that was the service she was interested in or that could have been far more awkward." Not that it wasn't anyway. Just differently so. Before all the murder.

She sets down the drink and turns her attention to the coffee. Which does not make it brew any faster.

“Let’s see.” What does he want her to say. He leans into the counter nearby while she goes in for the coffee pot, arms folded stiff across his chest. “‘Hello, Mister Secretary. This is Lynette — I intend to to follow up on a rumor I heard about an undead mahjong aficionado.’”

He pauses to clock the pot, measuring whether or not he’s likely to get a mug of his own out of this deal if he keeps it up.

“‘Her name is Eileen Ruskin. Just thought you might like to know. Also I don’t intend to fight her because we’re adults, I’m the successful executive director of a counseling facility and I don’t have any legal authority. Ciao.’

“That’d be a pretty good start, I think. It’s a little late now,” he allows, one hand splayed open where it’s nested in the crook of his elbow, “but for next time…”

"I am never going to call you Mister Secretary," Lynette states, because it is the only thing in there she has any grounds for refuting, even if it is mostly in jest. The rest is pretty solid. "In my very thin defense, I didn't intend to fight her, it just sort of happened. And believe me, from here on out I will keep my distance entirely."

When Lynette goes for the mugs, she brings down two of them, because it would take a lot more than chastisement for her not to offer him one. She doesn't even make him take one of the many brightly colored ones tucked in the cabinet, but gives him a more neutral color. Professional. "Next time, I will attempt to be more sensible. Sometimes I forget to," she adds, giving him a look that suggests this might be something akin to an apology.

“Never is a very long time.”

Vincent knits his brows, chiding at the audacity. But he’s not serious either, mock affront restrained in the face of Lynette’s defense on offer, and what passes for intelligence when a fair amount of her investigation took the form of choke slams.

“Are you ok?”

Apart from the lapse into substance abuse. Or including it. His opening concern is obfuscated by a characteristic lack of elaboration, probing while she finds him a mug with dignity appropriate for his station.

"Of course I'm not okay," Lynette says plainly, because there's no use in trying to deny it. When she turns back to him, she hands him a cup of coffee prepared how she takes hers— black. A gesture to the refrigerator stands in for an invitation for him to alter it if he's in the mood. "My therapist says that moving back to New York has 'reverted me to a warlike mindset'," she says, only one hand bothering with the quote fingers, since the other is busy holding coffee. It gives the impression that she thinks her therapist is full of it, but then, she does still go, so there's that.

"Eve's been having visions," she says, more practically, "armies and horsemen, different versions of the world sort of collapsing together. And somehow the people I know end up tied up with it. And I can't really do a thing about any of that, but what I could do was punch Eileen Ruskin in the face and maybe call Hana Gitelman a bitch. Did I call her a bitch?" The possibility is real, in her own mind and apparently faulty memory.

He did ask.

Mug taken on offer and held against his middle as it is — black — Vincent endures the rest of her answer without obvious reaction, brows at an inscrutable level.

“Did your therapist know you before?”

Like, has she ever not been in a ‘warlike mindset,’ he means, just as plainly. It’s not framed like a dig at her, although there is a trace of humor sketched dry into crow’s feet when he asks. Sympathetic, or close enough. The war took a colossal shit on the sanity of many of the people he cares about. But not his. He’s fine.

He bites back an instinctive defense on Hana’s Gitelman’s behalf amidst Lynette generating agency from punches and name-calling — a subtle drawing up at his shoulders that he manages to quash from clipping out into a sigh.

“Not until just now.”

Vincent has to review his memory before he can say so with confidence, mug in hand. The refrigerator is over —-> there, and he looks her (a little unappreciatively) in the eye before he side steps away to help himself.

“I’ve spoken with Eve.”

"He did not," Lynette says, which might be why she sort of only half listens to his opinions on her mental state. His words aren't taken as a dig, because it's a thought she has often had. But, mercifully, she doesn't elaborate any further. She just sips her coffee and watches him over the rim.

She's not shaken her hangover, but she's perked up enough to notice the shift. Her eyebrow lifts, but when she lowers her mug again, her expression is more apologetic. "Oh good. I've been worried that every thought I had might have come rushing out of my mouth. And don't scowl at me, I don't think poorly of Hana. She is doing good work, important work, and I was the one out of line. She took it far worse than I meant it, but it's understandable," she says with a wave of her hand before that hand actually reaches for a pastry.

"I had already told her about Odessa's connections, you know. I sent her right to them."

Lynette stops short of actually eating because, well, baby steps, and also the note about Eve distracts her. "Did you? I hope she was able to fill you in more coherently. When she spoke to me about it, she could barely speak at all."

Lazzaro helps himself to a dollop of whatever creamer the Ruiz household has on tap, shoulder leaned to hold the fridge open while he pours.

“I didn’t scowl.”

He scowled a little.

Back out again; he lets the door fwump shut behind him and rolls the mug with his wrist. Lazy. Lynette looks like shit. He gets his full assessment in with the short distance this trip across the kitchen has afforded him. The pristine state of own toilette makes his appearance in this mix all the more surreal.

“You’ll be pleased to know she slipped the noose.” Odessa, he means, mug finally lifted and swallowed from. “Richard shook her loose before we could close in.”

Hard to say how he feels about that. Very little, if looks alone are any indication.

“Eve seemed well. She found my house.” The one with the garden. In Missouri. “Tell me about Eileen.”

Lynette feels like shit, so it's only fitting. But it is true that this isn't a state she lets herself be seen in if she can help it. She can't today. She also doesn't argue on the degree of his scowl, just lifts an eyebrow a little. Which is like an argument, but she'd deny it.

"Well, I am pleased she's not dead, yes," she says, because this is a point she's much more comfortable arguing on, "but I'm not pleased that she ran. Even I know that only makes her situation worse." She might understand the impulse to run, but at this point, she doubts it being the smart play. Not unless she plans to run forever.

Lynette doubts that is Odessa's plan. Or desire.

"I never wanted her to get away, I only wanted to give her a chance to be rehabilitated. I think she can be." A pause. Then, dryly, "Though, I admit it is an inexact science." Which reminds her to dig a bottle of aspirin out of a cupboard. Did she take some already? Doesn't matter, she's having more now. With her coffee. Just like old times.

There's a chuckle into her mug over Eve finding The House. Of course she did. Lynette will have to ask her for the scoop later, that intention is clear even through bleary, bloodshot eyes.

"I heard she was alive. That she wasn't acting like herself. Violent— not that she couldn't be that way, of course. I thought I might be able to talk to her and find out why." Which she did, even if not in the way she intended. "Found her on Staten Island, but it was pretty clear that whoever that is, it's not Eileen. There's a lot of explanations, of course. Shapeshifter, maybe. Maybe the Looking Glass."

There's an assumption there, that he knows what she means at all.

"In any case, I wanted her to keep her newfound bloodlust away from mine," she says with a gesture to the rest of the apartment, maybe the rest of the building, "she didn't like that very much."

After a sufficiently awkward beat of silence, it’s clear that Vincent’s opinion on rehabilitating Odessa or what Lynette wanted is something he thinks he ought not to address here, now, in hungover, rough night Lynette’s kitchen. Anything he would say is easily encompassed in his not saying anything at all, in the bleak black of his study across the kitchen.

It’s a little unappreciative, in a strange way. The look of a dog too old and put out to bother with a feinted ball throw. Too polite to get mad about it, either.

His fault for broaching the subject.

“I didn’t know her well.” B a c k to Eileen. “But you sound very sure.”

He closes what distance there is again with a pair of steps, swallowing coffee as he goes. ‘Looking Glass’ gets a maybe but no comment arch of his brow.

“Did she say anything? Want anything? Apart from satiating her desire for mahjong.”

Lynette looks over at him during that silence, expectant and then disappointed. The pain in her head and the feeling in her stomach and the tremble in her stance are all tied up with fight and fire and here in the post-war landscape, they aren't as easy to come by. "Ugh, fine," she says to him denying her less healthy impulses and insisting on discourse and eating food and electrolytes.

"I'm sure," Lynette says, instead. Eileen and her weren't best friends, but they worked together, clashed and compromised enough for her to know.

The answer to his question is obviously yes and shows in a sidelong glance as she picks up her coffee. She drinks. She refills. And then she looks back toward him. "It was personal. No monologues on world domination just yet. Just tying in with the criminal element outside of the Safe Zone."

The crux of the matter is simple, but unstated.

She was frightened and she called him.

Christ, what a mess — I wish you hadn’t done that unspoken ad infinitum.

Vincent listens.

“Personal how?”

The dust is clearing off, glimpses of the crux of whatever this is glimmering underneath. He gives it another sweep, more blunt than before. His watch buzzes behind his coffee mug, zz zz, and he ignores it, watching her instead.

"It isn't important," Lynette says, tone dipping. Gaze dipping. Important to her, but in the grander scheme of things, less so.

Chin lifts, eyes sharpen, expression levels out and she looks over at him. "I only wanted you to know, in case something more widely-felt happens. Or maybe to prevent that, if that's even what she wants. Could be she just wants to get rich and buy an island somewhere and this will all come to nothing." She might not believe it, but she has been working on being an optimist lately.

It's harder some days than others. But that's what the coffee is for.

Vincent sneaks in a glance at his watch while her eyes are lowered, clockwork smooth.

“You know I was a detective, right?”

Lied to, evaded, half-truthed.

“Not that I’d flatter myself by pretending this,” Vincent gestures broadly to Lynette, right hand drawn in a circle to encompass her Situation, “is a tough nut to crack.” His full attention is centered on her like it never left — everything from the glance of light off his dome to the greying bristle sanded down clean and coarse at his chops.

“From what you’ve just me, the only thing we know she wants involves you.”

"No," Lynette responds, "what I wanted involved her. That's a different thing entirely. And you could at least pretend like you're having a difficult time of it, Mister Detective." The title is added dryly. "I'm starting to miss the old days when it was impossible to drunkenly call someone because bringing a phone to our island hideout would have alerted half-crazed military types to our location."

It had a charm to it. And she got a lot less of moment like this one.

But don't worry, it's the hangover talking. Probably.

“It’s all but impossible to drunkenly call someone now,” Vincent is all too ready to riposte, mug slid down onto the counter at his elbow. Far enough from the edge that it won’t be easily spilled. “Frankly I’m impressed.”

Both hands so freed, he steps in to take her by the shoulders, arms, whatever, hands locked in firm against the shiver of her bones. Enough to stabilize without stifling. Hedged with an instinctive reserve, also — the sort of enthusiasm reserved for grabbing onto an electric fence that might be switched on at any second.

Bold a move as it is, there is a tangible beat where he waits on a precipice to have the everloving shit shocked out of him.

“You have so much blackmail material on me,” he says, supposing any jolt he does receive doesn’t stop his heart. “What are you afraid of?”

"I'm very good when it comes to, you know, ruining everything," Lynette says, eyes looking ceilingward, chiding her own self now. It is an inevitable part of the cycle of sobering up. A blink meets his move to stabilize her. Surprise, but not upset. Her gaze turns questioning, a silent where are you going with this lingering in her gaze.

No jolts, not of the electric kind anyway, because for all her evading and tiptoeing she trusts Vincent.

Still, when he gets his words out, there may still be some regret for making this particular move because what follows is a tear slipping down her cheek. And a shake of her head like she might be able to convince them to just not do that, please. "Please, I would never," she says, first, to the very notion of blackmail. Her hands come up to wipe at her face for a moment before she actually answers him, though. "Losing everything," is the answer he gets, and she has to clear her throat just to get them out. "I don't want to put you in a position where you have to act, because you're a good man and you do the right thing. And that's something I admire about you, not— And I don't know what I'm doing here anymore." Here, New York. Here, her own facility. She shifts forward, arms moving to hug him, which is really only the beginning, because it's only a beat before she's crying against his shoulder.

Which might be worse than just getting a shock would have been.

At the slip of the first tear, he’s already starting to gird up with realization for where this is headed — resignation pent up behind his teeth, hard at the back of his jaw. Here it comes.

It’s fine.

He’s slow to react, in the time between what she’s said and her getting her arms in around him, tension strung back up the sides of his spine, pinned flat across his ribs. Still processing. Relaxing enough to return the gesture requires the impetus of the tell-tale bobble of her face against his shoulder. After that it’s the natural thing to do, his arms bound up hard around her, suit sleeves hissing against the indignity.

He squeezes. That’s how hugs work.

“I was joking. About the blackmail.”

She's gonna need a minute.

By the time he speaks up, Lynette is trying to get this moment under control, and he gets a sort of half sob, half laugh. "Of course," she says, because of course he was. "I'm sorry," she adds, when she lets him go and turns to grab a napkin to dab against her face. Much like his house with a lawn, Lynette now owns napkin holders and it's terrible. "If I ever needed a reminder why I shouldn't be drinking." She gestures widely at all of this. It was different during the war, but only because it's much less acceptable to go fight people these days.


“It’s ok.” She doesn’t have to apologize for guessing he might lie awake paranoid about these things sometimes. Disengaged from hug status, Vincent manages (in an extreme act of self-control) not to look down at himself to gauge the damage.

“You shouldn’t be drinking because you shouldn’t be drinking,” is all the opinion he has there, chased by a loop of his fingers after her domestic decor as he reaches for his coffee. “Napkin holders. That’s cute.”

Why not go in for shade with her tears still standing out blotchy at his shoulder.

“You don’t get to put me in a position. I put myself into positions. And what you’re doing is managing a counseling center for people who need help. Providing work and board for friends of yours that might have trouble finding it elsewhere.” He rinses that reminder down with lukewarm coffee, and steps past her for the sink.

“Is there something else you’d rather be doing?”

Lynette nods, because his opinion is— of course— sensible. It's the exact sort of thing repeated downstairs on a daily basis. Sometimes it is very hard to live here and have vices.

"You think you'll never need a single napkin holder your whole life and then one day you have to actually buy and keep a stock of napkins." Not the best day ever. Not to someone who definitely never planned on buying one. The same story could be said for a lot of things around this apartment.

"Yes and no," Lynette says, giving up on her own coffee for the moment. A few months ago, that would not have been her answer. "No, because I believe in what we do here and I want it to be successful. But yes, because it feels like something bad is coming and I have the distinct feeling that I've turtled up in here."

“Something bad is always coming,” says Vincent. “The sky is always falling.”

He’s hitched his near hip to the sink, drinking his coffee and eyeing her sidelong.

“The best we can do is try to be prepared for it when it gets here.”

He tips the last dregs of his coffee down into the drain, and busies himself rinsing the sink and the mug — a process that has all the markings of an imminent departure.

“Pollepel was turtling. This is just what being an adult is like.”

"Well, I hate it," Lynette says with all the disgust of a pampered princess. Too much for it to be serious. It's just another expression of her frustration. As is the sigh that follows.

"I didn't thank you for coming," she says, only half sure that her statement is true, but it seems likely to her. And so she takes the obvious steps to rectify that. "Thank you," she says, genuine, warm. She was frightened, she called him, he came.

He brought pastries.

"Next time, I'll try to have a better reason to call." The promise comes easily, heavy with hope that she'll be able to follow through.

She did thank him. He catches himself before the correction, mug turned over to dry in the sink. Or maybe in a rack, if she has one of those. She has napkin holders.

He flicks his hand over the basin.

“Don’t mention it.”

There’s something a little starchy about it, form letter reassurance rehearsed in the hood of his brow, poise a shade distracted in his failure to turn all the way back around to face her. She had a run in with a conduit. She got scared. She called. It all makes perfect sense, no missing pieces at all.

He’s just looking for a towel, probably.

“I’ll see what I can figure out about Eileen.”

There's no rack, but only because it's tucked under the sink to help keep the line of the kitchen crisp.

Or one could assume.

Lynette watches him, resolve crumbling bit by bit the longer he's turned away from her. She looks toward the ceiling, as if to ask it how she, a lifelong malcontent, ended up with a friend in the government. Deep in. The moment her mind changes is marked with a defeated sigh.

"She shot Mateo," she says, shaking her head before she looks over at him again. "He would have died. I thought if I found her, I could find out why and talk her down. But when she wasn't like the woman I remember… I lashed out, she hit back, I hit back and it all fell apart from there."

Vincent slows in passing a napkin back and forth through his hands, having reached for one as a last resort. Trying to kill Lynette is understandable on a fundamental level. Trying to kill Mateo?

He finally turns back to her, not quite able to separate suspicion from worry in the furrow of his brow.

“Is he alright?”

The napkin rustles in his grip, crushed into a damp ball while he struggles to do the math. Variables are still missing. Should he be sending flowers and balloons somewhere? Why does he have so many malcontents in his life in a constant state of killing people or nearly getting killed?

His next question is why — it’s written in the lines between his brows and the sliding jut of his jaw.

"Yes. He's still healing, but he'll be alright. Thank you." No balloons or flowers necessary, apparently. Lynette isn't looking by the time he turns around, though, her attention is out of the kitchen, into the living room and would be off to wherever her husband is if she had the ability to see him from here.

Her hand slides through her hair when she looks his way again, then her hands spread helplessly. "I don't know why." she says, because she is used to his face, particularly when he's eyeing her over something. "And I think I'll work on finding out through an avenue that doesn't involve possibly getting my arm melted off." Or worse, of course. "But if I do find out, I will call you," she says, like it's a promise. "But Mateo doesn't want to pursue it. Not legally. He just sort of wants to be safe and hope whatever prompted that blows over. And I just want to keep my family in one piece." Which is why she is looking into it. To know how bad a storm she needs to prepare for.

“Lynette.” Keeping exasperation out of the clip of the consonants in her name is an impossible feat. He doesn’t try. Where there are napkin holders and drying racks, there are tidy kitchen bins for garbage. Vincent slings the wad of his napkin into one — begging her trust with the hand he keeps open after it. “I’m not going to have a warrant put out for the ghost of Eileen Ruskin for shooting your husband.”

Is that what she was worried about?

“I’m not a cartoon, I just — please — don’t get your arm melted off”

That just registered. Enough for him to stop himself and straighten his shoulders out. He knows she’s joking, but. Like seriously, don’t.

“If you want additional security, I can call in a favor. Or I can do nothing. I can stay out of it, and observe from afar.” But this is what he’s good for, anymore — an earnest push for purchase in her resolve through eye contact. “It’s part of my job to investigate threats like these.”

Dimension hopping, soul-sucking boggarts with otherworldly agendas.

"No, I know that," Lynette says with a mirthless chuckle as she rubs a hand over her face. But she can't blame him for the exasperation or the assumption. "I'm worried that getting you involved would end up putting you at odds with your job. And don't tell me that you know how to juggle that, I know you can, but that doesn't stop me from worrying about you." She's really good at that. Worrying. One last point, added dryly, "I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not very good at asking for help."

Plenty of evidence for that. Piling up.

"Don't worry, I quite like my arms as they are," she says, finally moving to actually eat one of the kolaches. There's only so long she can let a delicious pastry go by.

"I would love additional security," she ends up saying, which is both the truth and something difficult to admit to. And if it was just her, she might not ever admit to being in over her head. But her family and the rooms and rooms of people downstairs make the situation different. "And as much of your help as you want to give. I don't even know what to do."

Besides hide in a bottle, obviously.

“You’re terrible at it.” Confirmed, with a harder look. Truly. He knows this about you, and he loves you. “But I’m glad you have.”

His watch buzzes at him again, and this time he does look at it, breath taken in with impatience for whatever prior obligation. Her earlier leak still stands out patchy against the foggy grey of his suit, but it’s lighter than it was before. Drying its way out. Reassuming default impeccability.

“I can’t order a missile strike on her position, but I might be able to find out what she’s after and take action appropriately. As for what you should do —

“Eating is a start. Don’t follow dead people to Staten Island,” he’s counting on his fingers, now, “and don’t worry about me. I’m very good.” He’s very good, and he has to go. She can read that too, apology in the tension of his own transience.

“Are you taking the day off?”

"I'll work on it," Lynette says to his look. It's presented as a joke, but it's built on a genuine promise. Way down there under the dry tone and sidelong glance.

This time at the buzz, she looks at the watch, too, then back to him with a warmer smile. She missed the significance the first time, but it's hit her belatedly. The news that there won't be extreme force applied gets a playful ah well sighed out quietly.

"That was my last zombie, roger," she says, mood much improved. When she steps in this time, it's to kiss the air next to his cheek, since she does read his need to get moving. "You are very good, I agree. Thank you for visiting." The question gets her to lean back again and she tilts her head. "I think I might work from home." Which is not that far from work, but it's something.

Vincent tolerates the air kiss with only a very slightly awkward lean away, his hand to her elbow to reassure — she’s welcome, he definitely believes her zombie resolution, etc.

“Thanks for calling.” In an inebriate panic.

Beggars can’t be choosers.

“I’ll see if I can’t get an agent or two assigned to keep an eye out for the undead on your doorstep.” At least until they have a better idea of what’s going on. “Try to take it easy, alright?”

One last look, and he tucks away into a snarl of black vapor.

Lynette nods to the offer, appreciative, although accepting if it ends up deemed a poor use of government assets. Whoever's in charge of it, the government likes red tape and rejection stamps. But, she's hopeful.

"I will do my level best." To take it easy.

She watches as he chooses his own exit style instead of just using the door, eyes rolling indulgently. Once it's just her in the kitchen, she reheats some coffee and grabs the pastries before retreating back into her room. He family will be lucky if they even find out those exist before she's blown through them.

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