Life Is Beautiful


lynette_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

Scene Title Life Is Beautiful
Synopsis Darkness can stay where it belongs. In the past.
Date February 25, 2018

The Benchmark Recovery and Counseling Center

Soft notes of the piano ring through the building. The melody bounces off the walls, ceiling and floor of the room to nice effect. Mateo isn't singing this time, just playing a song from memory. Oblivion, by Astor Piazzolla. He's been playing for minutes, all his attention on the keys and the music. It sounds like the kind of music one would dance to— and if one knew the history of the song, they'd know it's a tango, specifically. It certainly sounds like one.

As the music starts to slow down, quiet, it comes to a slow end, a final note resounding in the wooden frame of the piano, hanging in the room. Only then does he look up, to see if he acquired a viewership during the nearly five minute routine.

As it turns out, he did. Lynette stands in the doorway, head leaning against the frame, just like she has always done when he ends up playing somewhere. Mexico, The Safe Zone, only the setting changes. Now, she doesn't hide her smile no matter how dreamy it gets. When he comes to a stop, she lifts off the door and comes over to the piano to slide her arms around him from behind.

"That was beautiful," she whispers to him, like she still doesn't want to disturb the room. It comes with a kiss to his cheek before she slides off and moves to perch on the edge of the bench. "If you're trying to get laid, it's working," she adds, playfully, because she can't resist sometimes.

The arms are a welcome warmth. Mateo leans into her, eyes closing for the moment as he just— feels the way that noise stays quiet just because she's there. Or that's how it feels. Maybe he's so aware of her he's less aware of it. He still hasn't figured that out yet. All he knows is he likes it. With a shoulder bump, he laughs. "I don't think I need to play piano for that," he teases, in the same whispered tones. No, he doesn't think he would need to. At all.

"But I'm glad it's earning me some points— you should hear the song with a violin and a clarinet. It sounds ever better with them." Two instruments he can't play, but— the piano version alone he's always liked. "Did you have a good day helping everyone?" He still wears his jump suit from his janitor job. Someone had even made a patch with his last name on it. Even if he's hoping to work on the electric grid eventually— this place definitely needs cleanup.

"That's really true," Lynette says with a chuckle. Because he really doesn't need much of anything besides himself. Her hand reaches for his, fingers lacing with his. "But it does help," she adds with a smirk. When he talks about adding other instruments, she tilts her head in apparent disbelief. "I thought it was perfect this way."

His question gets a bit of a sigh, but it comes with a nod. "Had a staff meeting. It went pretty well. I like the team." She even has known one of them for some time. She seems down all the same, even through the smile she gives him.

"As long as you like me most," Mateo continues the teasing tone, though he has absolutely no doubt that she does, indeed, like him most. After all, they have a couple of rings to prove it. And vows He takes her hand and pushes it against the piano, using his palm and fingers as a guide as he pushs her fingers down onto a few keys, a very slow hint of a song. One key at a time.

"I wonder what this place looked like before, but it's pretty nice now." Though he won't say he misses the beach— it is rather cold up here, even if the ocean is close. It's a completely different feel than their beach back near the Benchmark in Mexico.

"I do," Lynette says and she leans over to nudge her nose against his cheek, "you're still my favorite." She doesn't toss I love you around very often, but it echoes in her words all the same. When he takes her hand, she looks over at him with a life of her eyebrow. "Letting me taint the piano with my lack of skill?" Her fingers follow his, although her attention is more on his face than on the keys.

"This place as in this building? Or the city itself?" One of these two things is a more difficult question. Emotionally, at the very least. "New York was always troubled, but beautiful," she says eventually, her gaze finally turning to the keys. Like she might actually try to remember the keys he guides her through. Her relationship with the city is a shaky one.

"I meant the city. It's got character. Some parts of it actually remind me of home." Mateo responds with a small smile— because his home had also been beautiful, yet very very flawed. He'd been born during a war, but he didn't remember it. He only remembered learning about it, growing to adulthood while they rebuilt from a military coup, which in many ways echoed what had happened here. If Argentina hadn't fallen as far as it had in the last ten years, they might even be near fully recovered by now…

But the Evolved revelation had had a pretty large impact on his South American home. So much that he eventually fled to Mexico.

"Music isn't about skill, it's about feeling," he says after a moment, continuing to push each of her fingers for her down on the notes. A simple, one handed composition. The kind someone might teach a child. "I could teach you some."

"It definitely has character," Lynette says with a more amused smile. "But not the one they paint in the movies." Similar, but not the same. "I hope it recovers. I know it won't ever be the same, but it's hard to see it like this."

She doesn't seem to mind that the notes are simple ones, seeing as this might be the first time she's even touched piano keys. "You say that, but I feel like skill plays a part," she says with a chuckle. But the teasing falls away a moment later as she looks over at him with a gentler smile. "So teach me." He already made her heart grow three sizes, so maybe there's hope.

"The old movies do make New York look very different," Mateo has to respond with a small laugh, thinking of some of the ones that she had shown them on movie mornings— and movie nights. And any other time that the three of them could get their little family together. Even if they did Spanish subtitles to help Silvia out on them, it still helped for her to hear it— constantly.

Yes, yes, skill plays a part. But he would disagree it's the most important one, as he continues to coax her fingers through the notes, until the little song ends. "I could teach you a duet— like— Heart and Soul's a good one." It has one part that requires a little more skill than the other. "But first I need to teach you how to read music. I'll have to go see if I can find some sheet music."

Movie nights bring a smile to her face, since Lynette enjoys their little gatherings. And having a family. She leans over to rest her head on his shoulder, just for a moment. She's doing her best not to get distracted. And to not be a distraction.

"I know that one," she says with a smile his way, "well, the words." Her eyebrows lift when he mentions sheet music, though. "My, we're feeling ambitious, aren't we?" But she seems to be okay with this idea, even if she doesn't think it'll go well, mostly because it's his idea. "I can't just learn like this?" she asks with a nod to the keys.

"You can, but then it's just repeating the motions. Once you know how to read music, you can play any song, even one you don't know the motions for," Mateo explains, as he guides her hand. "It's like learning how to speak a language without learning how to read it. Or more accurately learning how to parrot without understanding what you're actually saying."

Even then, he guides her hand through the motions once again, this time the easier half or the Heart and Soul duet, showing her which fingers go to which key, how long to press them, though not as fast as someone who knew the music might have done.

"But we can teach you one song, without having sheet music." At least.

"I suppose that makes sense," Lynette says with the air of conceding. But playfully. She looks over at him, her smile turning more crooked. "Are you hoping for many duets in our future?" She might be okay with that, as long as he doesn't make her perform to an audience.

She pays attention, though, when he shows her the easier half. Trying to remember. Luckily, it's not too challenging. "Anything for you, profesor," she says, her smile a little more playful there. A little flirty. Maybe a lot flirty. But given that her attention is still on the piano, it's possible that she's just giving him a hard time.

"I— yeah, I guess I do want a duet. It's weird cause I've never actually had anyone to play with, but I know a bunch of them," Mateo shakes his head, as if he doesn't even understand it. He actually doesn't even remember learning how to play. His body remembers the notes, remembers the movements, even remembers the sounds, but doesn't remember learning them. "I think I learned when I was really young. Maybe I used to duet with my teacher."

This leads to a small shrug, as he motions her fingers along slowly. "And this something I think I could share with you. If you want it." He adds, leaning against her side. The piano playing stops as he's sliding his fingers between hers and bringing her hand up, to kiss the heel of her palm.

Lynette's smile warms at his first words, although she doesn't reply. Mostly because she's listening. "Maybe. Might be easier to catch when you've made a mistake with a duet, do you think?" Of course, she doesn't know anything about music or why someone would teach duets to a child, so she's just guessing wildly.

She looks up at his next words and the sentiment is clearly touching. Now that she doesn't bother hiding things like that behind a mask. Not from him, anyway. "Of course I do," she says softly. "My love, I want to share everything with you," she adds in a whisper as he kisses her hand.


For a moment, that soft whisper of sound becomes a roar in his head, causing him to close his eyes. Mateo doesn't move for a moment, until that torrent becomes a gale. Until it lessens again. His jaw tightens for those moments, and then softens once again. Maybe she said too much. Maybe she struck a nerve. Or maybe there's some things about him he's afraid to share with her.

Things long past, long gone, no longer apart of his life— but still lingering like dead skin, refusing to be washed away.

"Then I'll teach you," he finally says, trying to ignore that feeling deep down. That nagging guilt. "Just like you taught me how to use my ability better." Maybe if he tries to pretend that didn't happen, she'll pretend it didn't either.

"Mateo?" Lynette says his name, athough it is entirely possible that he doesn't even hear her. She reaches a hand over like she's going to touch his face, but she decides not to at the last moment. Instead, she squeezes his hand and covers it with hers. Maybe that would be less jarring. Either way, she sits with him, a worried look on her face, while he works his way out of it.

When he speaks, it's pretty easy to see that she's not going to pretend it didn't happen. Just the look on her face alone is enough to give that away. "I upset you," she says simply. "I'm sorry. Are you okay?" Piano class is being set aside for now.

At her worries, Mateo shakes his head. "No, no, you didn't upset me, mi rel├ímpago. I just don't know what I ever did to deserve someone like you in my life." Cause he doesn't think he's done anything worthy of her love— and he still wonders if she knew about… certain things… she would not look at him the way she does. It's those things that upset him, the ones he feared to share. Those tiny pieces of him he wishes he could cut away, remove and never think of ever again.

Except he can't.

"Though, it might have been another me than did something to deserve you." Maybe the one who took bullets for her. And he's just earning their good karma, since they could not. He offers her a small smile, one that doesn't touch his eyes, or feel light hearted.

"Love isn't about deserve," Lynette says, perhaps a touch too seriously. Worry still creases her forehead. "At least, I hope it isn't." She's got her own buried history, after all. "Don't ever worry about earning anything from me, Javi. We're not perfect and I'm pretty okay with that."

Her hand lets go of his, but only to come up to his face when he tries that smile. "You don't have to pretend to be okay when you're not. And I am sorry." Because she knows she struck a nerve, even if she's not sure what it is. She doesn't ask him to explain, though, she just leans in to press a kiss to his cheek.

Leaning against her, Mateo closes his eyes, just allowing himself to feel her— feel her warmth, her heartbeat, her scent. Everything about her. Love isn't about deserve. That simple sentence helps settle that roar in the back of his mind, that nagging sensation that— he will lose her one day because of things he can't and won't say. Things he avoids even thinking about, cause that torrent rises up.

"Everything I am now, I will share with you, 'Nette," he whispers, even as he shifts to brush his nose against hers, to rest their foreheads together. His breath caresses her lips like a kiss as he speaks. "It feels like my life didn't really start until we met."

At least not a life he could be proud of, or happy in.

Lynette slides her hand around to the back of his neck and up into is hair when he leans against her. She hopes it brings him some comfort the way it does her. And really, it seems like she would hold him there far as long as he needs, because she doesn't move until he does.

She sighs softly when he speaks, a smile coming to her lips at the brush. Her eyes open when his forehead touches hers and she lets her hand rest against his neck. "That's all I need. You, who you are now. You're the first thing I think I've gotten right my whole life." Her words are a whisper and the touch of his breath sends a shiver through her. Her fingers flex against his neck. And his words are enough to get her to lean in to close what little distance there is between them so she can kiss him.

Her and Silvia are the only things he's ever gotten right. Mateo knows this. But that she feels the same way about him just endears her more to him, as his hands slide up into her hair and they kiss, not caring that someone could easily walk in on them at any moment. At least it won't be her dad this time. That had been awkward, even if the man liked him.

"Same," is what he whispers against her lips, quiet and rough. Distracted. "And I will teach you how to play the piano— just not today." Cause he thinks this kissing is going to lead somewhere else very soon. Unless one of the employees walks in needing something.

When his hands move into her hair, Lynette melts into his hands, the kiss deepening. She doesn't seem to be worried about someone walking in. Hopefully they would know enough to walk back out again. And when he whispers against her lips, she smiles and shifts just enough to kiss his cheek. So he can talk and so she can still kiss him. But his promise to teach her anther time gets a breathy laugh and her head tips forward to rest against his shoulder. Just for a moment.

"Did I distract you?" she asks, her tone playful. "Gosh, I wonder what that would be like." Since he only did the same to her for more than a year of training.

"Oh, I think you know. I did it to you often enough," Mateo responds, speaking the obvious that didn't actually need to be said, before he presses another kiss to her lips and moves to stand up, taking her hands in his and pulling her along with him. There's something gentle in his movements, graceful even, almost as if part of him wants to pull her into a dance…

A dance he's not exactly good at, but he did have someone teach him how for their wedding day down in Mexico. He still remembers that much.

"Let's go try out the new bed… again." There's a joke in his arched eyebrow.

"Yes, you did. You were a terrible student," Lynette says, even if it ends up muffled by the kiss. She doesn't mind that. Or that he was always distracting. She follows him up when he takes her hands. She can match that gracefulness, but she doesn't press that feeling like a dance might break out at any moment.

Plus, he has a different dance in mind.

"Oh yeah," she says with a chuckle and a crooked smile, "We had better make certain we're happy with it." She shifts to walk backwards, doing her best not to just pull him toward their room. Instead, she grins over at him. "Come on, mi querido," she says, "Mi corazoncito. Mi solo amor." That is definitely teasing, seeing as her tone gets more and more melodramatic as she adds to the list.

"Spanish nicknames are my thing," Mateo counters the tease as he pulls her closer for another quick kiss, before he starts to lead them up to that bed he mentioned. Which isn't technically new anymore.

But it still feels that way. That torrent is the barest whisper in his head— all of it taken up by her. And him. And the beautiful life they want to share without the monsters of the past.

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