Just A Matter of Timing

Participants:

elaine2_icon.gif robyn5_icon.gif

Scene Title Just A Matter of Timing
Synopsis Bumping into someone is still just as hard the second time around.
Date January 16, 2020

The Vault


Getting a little exercise to stretch out felt like a good idea to Elaine. Technically she was fairly certain resting would have been a better idea but she had spent the morning resting and instead of spending the rest of the morning resting, she had decided to go walking. Really, the walking was the excuse. The actual reasoning was that she was hoping to find a few things to tie together some decorating.

Finally furnishing her place as a home? Priceless. Wandering the aisles of the store, she’s not paying too much attention to the people around her, just at the objects she came to look at. Nothing too gaudy, just things that might make something look more like a home. Things that were new to her, even if they weren’t new.

"Toutes les ordures cette semaine.1"

The words - French - roll off the tongue of a bored looking woman as she moves a blue ceramic butterfly from the shelf, picking it up and looking it over. It has been some time since Robyn Quinn made a stop by The Vault - not since she moved, in fact. And while, thanks to the small collection of odds and ends and oddities she had collected from the establishment had made for interesting and nice furnishings in her new space, well, there was still plenty of space left unused.

Now was the time to fix that.

"Sauf peut-être ça,2" she muses to herself, examining the butterfly. She can't discern it's colour, but it'll fit in with some of the butterfly shaped coat hooks she has hanging in her living room regardless.

French. Elaine is used to hearing other languages, she’s used to speaking them, but when the language is one favored by someone she knows who also happens to sound an awful lot like the voice she hears nearby… that’s when she’s a touch more curious. At the same, the sudden realization of the situation strikes her. Here? Of course it would be here. She swears under her breath, her attention darting about quickly.

Should she just leave? Would it be less awkward that way? She scoots away from where she heard the voice a bit. Surely pretending like she had never noticed anything would be the best solution.

Turning the butterfly over in hands, Robyn nods to herself, satisfied. Eyes scan over the shelves one last time as she looks for anything else that might scratch the itch she seems to have at the moment.

Pulling it close to her chest, she smiles as she turns on her heel and starts down the aisle. She hums out a tune, a slow and sombre one as she starts forward. Eyes cast down at the floor, she fails to notice Elaine, or really anything else around her. At least, not until it's far too late. Even as Elaine is seeking retreat, Robyn is walking right towards her, and right-

-in to her-

She stumbles back, the blue butterfly slipping out of her grip. It slides over her arm, tilts forward, and plummets towards the ground. She reaches for it, fumbling about in an awkward attempt to catch it. It's futile, and with a crash it impacts against the ground and shatters into numerous small, jagged pieces.

The world seems to stop around her as she stares down at the pile of ceramic with wide eyes. "Nooooo…" she lets slip out in a quiet voice.

Even as much as Elaine was thinking of retreating, she wasn’t looking in the other direction. Her distraction was enough to keep her from seeing the other woman until she was suddenly right there. The butterfly isn’t the only thing that ends up on the floor. Usually much more able to catch herself from something like this, she’s caught quite off-balance and ends up down, thankfully not dragging any shelving or objects with her.

She is careful, at least, so as not to get any shards of broken butterfly on her, scooting back a step from the crash site. That, of course, leaves Robyn towering near her. She shifts, quickly resolving the height difference by getting to her feet. She doesn’t want to make it any more awkward than it was already going to be.

“Sorry about that,” she says.

When Elaine literally falls into her vision, Robyn's eyes widen as much as they can, before narrowing them to their near opposite. Her posture straightens and her shoulders square, literally looking down at her ex-girlfriend. Hands fall to her side, and she tilts her head slightly askew as she stares at Elaine.

"Bonjour," she offers in a flat tone, watching her as she rises back up to her feet without ever offering to extend a hand in either greeting or assistance. She huffs out a breath, before kneeling down to begin collecting the pieces of the broken butterfly. "Quelle horreur. Ça se serait si bien passé.3"

Her lips thin and she sighs. "Je jeter l’argent par les fenêtres.4" She seems to pay Elaine little mind, simply shaking her head.

This feels all too familiar. Annoyingly familiar. Elaine’s apology was honest, something offered to admit to her part in the mutual accident. It’s perhaps Robyn’s lack of apology that bothers her, but it’s more likely the nonchalant way that her ex carries about things. As if they didn’t matter. Like they had never mattered. She presses her lips together in a thin line, though she doesn’t immediately move for the door. Her gaze is on Robyn, watching her pick up the pieces.

“You look well,” she says, simply. She doesn’t say more. She’s waiting to see just how cold things are going to be.

"You don't have to placate me with pleasantries," is offered in that same cold tone, this time in English. Looking over to the shelf next to her, Robyn pulls an overly ornate looking wastebasket off and begins putting the shattered pieces of her former purchese into it. "And apologies. I didn't see you around the corner."

With each successive clink, Robyn's lips thin more and more. "I suppose I'll need to find a place closer to home to shop. This place is bad luck for both of us." There's a chuckle after that, as though it's some sort of black humour instead an insult aimed both inwards and outwards. With that, she falls silent, sweeping the last of the remnants of the butterfly away.

“It wasn’t a pleasantry. I was merely remarking on the fact that you look very not dead.” Elaine peers over at Robyn as if to double check that this was, in fact, true. “But I see that things are all well and good and your limbs seem to be accounted for.” This was one of the two things she had hoped she could find out from Robyn, but she doesn’t ask the other. That’s too personal for both of them.

“Anyway, it was g…” She pauses. “This was a thing. Have a nice day, Robyn.” She turns, walking for the door.

"Yes. What a shame that is." About her limbs, that is. Robyn can't help but roll her eyes at her own rebuttal. It was dumb and childish, and she knows it. She also clearly doesn't care beyond that little moment of self awareness. Waste basket in hand, she rises back up to her feet.

"What a shame I made it through unscathed. No new stories to tell." There's a bit of a melancholy tone to her voice as her shoulders rise and fall. She shakes the wastebasket once, making a quick cacophony of sound. A scoff escapes her lips as she turns away from the door, once again putting her back to Elaine.

“I just wanted to make sure you were alive, that’s all. Now I know, now we’re good, we can leave it at that.” Elaine glances over her shoulder at Robyn, though she doesn’t turn to face her. Her intent is still aimed at the door, even if her words aren’t directed in that direction. She does, however, stop in her pace for the moment. Perhaps she wants Robyn to agree that they’re good.

"And here I thought that wasn't your problem anymore." Those words come out almost dripping with the venom they imply, before Robyn herself recoils a bit. Lips tighten, and she turns slightly away. Maybe that was what she was thinking, but it's questionable if it's what she meant to say, or if it just… slipped out. She takes a moment, a deep breath taken and exhaled before she speaks up again.

"Sure," she says quietly. "Good."

It’s hard to tell if Elaine winced from that or not, but she certainly does turn her head away at the remark. “It’s not,” she agrees. “You’re right. I should save my concern for friends. If I recall, you told me we could never be friends. So I guess that makes us…” She shrugs. “… not something to worry about.” She doesn’t like the barb coming out of her words, but it’s honest. She remembers very clearly now the conversation where Robyn explained that it was never friendship.

“Good luck, Robyn.” It sounds more like a goodbye.

It's easy to see Robyn wince from having her own words thrown back at her. Her eyes go half lidded, and her gaze moves down to the floor. "Yeah," she replies sullenly. "Yeah, I guess you're right." If there was ever a time she wished she could still disappear from sight the way she used to, it's now.

"Yeah," she repeats, sounded deflated. Defeated. "Pet Inger for me," is her parting offering as she turns away. "So long, and good night," is said with a lyrical ebb to it, her apparent idea of goodbye.

Elaine definitely does flinch this time. She meant to be honest, not hurtful, but there was certainly no way to get one across without the other. She certainly hadn’t expected Robyn to just let it go like that. She was expecting a fight or anger or something other than that. The conflict is visible as she still faces away to leave but never moves there. Her instinct tells her she should just walk right now before she makes anything worse.

But she doesn’t.

“Important people don’t just stop being important overnight. I just want you to know that I’m glad you made it back okay. I won’t pry into what happened, I’m just glad you’re alive and well. I will give Inger your love.”

She leaves it at that, too afraid to say anything else beyond the basics.

"Nothing happened," rolls off of Robyn's tongue faster than she can stifle it, but once they're out she leans into it with a dramatic, overwrought gesture of frustration. "A complete waste of time! Like most things in life, really." There's the cynicism creeping back in like an unwelcome interloper. "So you were right about that." Wait, had that been an argument of theirs? She makes a dismissive motion of her hand, hefting the wastebasket back up. "Either way."

She turns fully away and begins to leave. "You're right. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes years." A beat. "Years you made clear you had. So." That's that, right?

“I was expressing concern over your well-being and you feel the need to try and attack me over it?”

Elaine sounds… disappointed, more than anything. She doesn’t sound surprised at all, just disappointed. “And if I offer you more concern, all you’re going to give me back is more bitterness and pain. So I won’t. I saw what I wanted, I said what I wanted, and now I’ll leave you to your peace.”

She’s taking a higher road than she anticipated taking, but she’s not entirely sure what choice she has at this point. She begins to walk towards the door again.

Stopping mid step, Robyn sucks in a breath and closes her eyes. "I'm sorry," sounds sincere at least, even if it's spoken perhaps a hair too quietly. "Yes. I'm fine, sorry. But it was a waste of time, as it turned out."

Making an attempt at swallowing down the lump in her throat - and maybe a bit of her pride - she turns back around. "But before you throw around that I'm attacking you, consider how you used my words against me. Turnabout, fairplay."

Right?

"But yes," she repeats once more. "I am alive. I am fine. I am glad to see the same of you. I am glad of Inger." And she turns. Perhaps that's a better note to leave it on at least.

“I turned your words against you, Robyn, because I was making a point that you were clear that there wasn’t a friendship here, regardless of what I wanted. It’s not an attack, it’s me asserting what you deem as truth. If you think I’m taking your words out of context or I’m not accurately portraying their meaning I’m more than happy for you to correct them.”

Elaine turns now to face Robyn as well. “I’m not here to attack you or be mean to you. So if I can’t be your friend…” She pauses. “Inger will be happy to know you’re safe, and she is sorry that you didn’t find what you were looking for.” There’s a smile. It’s tiny, but it’s there.

Closing her eyes and shaking her head, Robyn lets out a heavy sigh. "Inger." Elaine can't see how her lips thin. "Do you think the cat ever wonders how she got to here?" And then she resumes walking towards the front counter to pay for the broken butterfly. "Does she realise that all things aren't a matter of time, they're just a matter of timing."

A hand motions to the side as she walks away. "Like today. Just a matter of timing."

And timing is everything.

“Cats have nine lives or some bullshit like that so it’s entirely unfair of them to judge timing,” Elaine says, quite seriously. She follows Robyn, just for a moment. “But you’re right. Timing makes a hell of a difference.” She’s certainly thought about that a lot lately. But she’s not sure what else to say. What can be said at this point?

“Anyway, even if we aren’t friends you have my number if you need something.” She gives a polite nod in Robyn’s direction. It’s a simple, uncomplicated offering. Just that. She turns, headed in the opposite direction now, aiming for the door.

"Mm." Robyn stops just short of the line to pay, looking back over her shoulder. "I don't have a phone anymore," she offers. Well, not besides her burner she's been using since before Christmas. "You know where to find me," suggest something a bit more personal, regardless of the intent.

She turns and steps into line, once more willing to leave it at that.

“You know where to find me too,” Elaine looks back at Robyn for a moment, then turns away. She pauses for a brief second before her feet carry her towards the exit. She doesn’t look back.

Another step, and Robyn stops again, clenching her teeth. Against her better judgement, she spins around on her heel. "I really wish I hated you," she remarks to the retreating woman. "I really wish I did, because I don't like myself without you. But…"

She pauses and spreads her hands in front of her. "I'm not going to hold you back anymore, Elaine. It's for the best that we both walk away from here, and let it be done. But I'd rather happen without sniping."

Elaine stops. She was entirely ready to just leave things be without further chatter, but Robyn’s voice causes her to turn again. “I don’t plan on sniping. You and I both know we’re going to walk away from here and we’re still gonna see each other somewhere. It’s not like we don’t operate in the same circles. We don’t have to be friends, but I’d like to be civil. We still share friends.”

She looks back over. “I’m alright with walking away, I just don’t want a warzone in our wake.”

Her eyebrow quirking, Robyn takes on an amused expression. "Are we?" What was that about without sniping? But those seem to be her final words, turning and making her way down the aisle away from Elaine, wastebasket still in hand. She doesn't head straight for the line, instead stopping to examine a cane on a shelf.

Without a second thought, she picks it up, turning and making her way to the line without looking back. No double takes at anything else as she passes, she simply examines the cane in her hands now, hands grasping tight around it.

It's clear that she's trying to not think about Elaine, to focus herself from looking back. But it seems like she's succeeding.

Elaine raises an eyebrow at the remark, resisting the urge to roll her eyes or shake her head. Instead, she stands calmly and she lets Robyn be the one to turn and walk away. She waits for a moment, to see if the other woman wants to turn around and give another comment, but it doesn’t last long. As soon as it seems things are once again moving on, she turns towards the door.

This time, she hurries with a brisk pace. She doesn’t intend on stopping for further comment.


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