A Bit Off


calvin_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bit Off
Synopsis Concerned about a phone call she received, Odessa tracks Calvin down at home and confronts him.
Date January 31, 2011

Chelsea - Calvin Rosen's Apartment

Calvin's apartment is a smallish, cramped, raggedy number in Chelsea — digs miles beneath his pay grade. In through a walkway with a broken lock and buzzer on the ground floor, up a flight of chilly stairs under sallow yellow lights and down a narrow hallway.

Behind door #9, he's sprawled face down atop the rumpled mass of his sheets like plane plowed in for a landing in a sand dune, dashing grey vest and purple tie offset by darker slacks and shiny black shoes — one of which he's still wearing. There was a woman here, at some point. She's gone now, note left on his desk next to the closed laptop, lipstick smudged at the softer lavender of his collar.

He was due in at the office two hours ago, phone set straight to voicemail next to an open bottle of vodka and a burnt out old roach in an ash tray.

Also next to the computer.

He isn't snoring.

This isn't the first time Calvin Rosen's had someone show up at his front door that isn't supposed to be there. Bearing coffee no less. Though, this isn't from Burger King, but from Starbucks. Odessa Price buys the good stuff. A paper carrier with a convenient handle, laden with two cups - one marked with an D and the other a C - is held loosely in one gloved hand as she brings the other hand up to knock at the door.

This week may have been one of the worst weeks ever. Throwing up on a plane, finding an old Pinehearst lab, suffering a minor stroke due to a clash of abilities, throwing up on another plane, getting suspended…

And then that phone call. The one from some detective telling her that her co-worker had tried to kill himself, and left a note. Mentioning her. Odessa thought it was a joke, — still does — but when Calvin didn't show up for work… It's crossing about a billion boundaries, and an abuse of work privileges, but she's here. To see him. With concern. And coffee.

Sugar, no cream.

It takes some knocking for Calvin to stir awake enough to realize that he is alone in his queen-size bed, a lazy grope of his left hand through comforter and blanket coming up empty in the sloggy seconds before he rolls logishly over onto his side. There is a lot of brown in his place — desk, doors and wooden flooring, further perpetuating the lack of room there is to be felt inside. A large double window over the desk lets in enough light to fill the room, though, studio living area host to his shabby bed in addition to most everything else he owns. Save for all the clothes. Which are in the closet.

Another minute or two are spent languishing in bed once Calvin's glanced at his phone and groaned and sighed and smothered himself back into his sheets. Then he's hoisting himself up into a sit.

Someone's at the door.

Dreads scrubbed into — some semblance of order, or something, smudged eyeliner and mascara smudged further with a futile run of his thumbs under his eyes, he spends a beat hunched over his knees with his thumbs pressed into his eyes before he kicks off his remaining shoe and pads to open the door to Odessa and the gloom beyond.

He does not look surprised to see her. Mostly just blearily disoriented.

"You look like hell," Odessa murmurs when he opens the door. The smudge of lipstick on his collar is noted with only a brief flicker of her single blue eye, fixing back on his face. "I brought you coffee." She holds up the carrier helpfully.

Strands of white hair frame her scarred face, sticking out from beneath a red knit cap that matches her pea coat. The woman tilts her head to one side, peering curiously past the man and into his apartment with a passive sort of curiosity. "May I come in?" She's calm when she slides her gaze back to Calvin's face, assessing his reaction while trying not to look that way herself.

"Thank you," says Calvin after a baffled pause, in that genuine way where people who are accustomed to sounding falsely genuine have when they aren't. Somehow she's found him but she has coffee, so. He reaches to take it, grassy ganja stink and acrid iron heat clinging thick in the chilled air about him, eyes heavy-lidded but not particularly suspicious in their search for an explanation of her presence here.

He's already stepping backwards, then, silent invitation in a halting gesture with the coffee and a fidget at the shirt tail rumpled out from underneath the snug tailor of his vest. He's shorter without his shoes on.

Inside, d├ęcor is as sparse as it looked to be at first glance. Bed, desk, chair, laptop and junked CB radio comprising the full assortment of 'stuff' lying out in the open. There are no photos, paintings, decorative trolls or pets.

Just him padding scuff scuff scuff towards the cave of his kitchen. "Sorry m'late. Just. Mondays y'know."

Odessa makes her way inside when she's allowed to do so (not that a refusal would have stopped her from entering), shutting the door behind her like a good houseguest. Her own shoes, four inch heels decorated with the vivid green of a zombie's face of all things, sound harder on the floor as she follows Calvin toward the kitchen.

"I'm not here because you're late," Odessa murmurs gently. She finds a surface for the carrier, setting it aside so she can set about tugging her gloves off, shoving them into the pockets of her coat before she removes that, too. Then she removes her cap and tucks it into one of the sleeves before draping it over one arm for now. The purple of her sweater dress complements the undead countenance on her heels.

She eyes his kitchen, bothering to determine whether the stove and the oven are gas or electric. "I'm not your boss." One corner of Odessa's mouth ticks upward at that.

Gas, definitely. The oven looks older than he is, wiry range and coil set dark against an off-white face. There is a magenta bra hanging from the corner of the refrigerator door and he flips it over onto the counter on his way to the pantry. Therein lies a box of poptarts. Which is empty.

Calvin peers down into it for too long, disappointed, then drops it into the metal ring of a trash can pushed off to one side so that he can lean against the counter and brood about being hungry and hungover and unshowered while he sips his coffee.

It's a while before he gets to the inevitable (but mild), "So why are you here then?"

Odessa bristles, just a little, at the bra hanging off the refrigerator. If only because he's so unashamed of the fact that it's there at all. It also gives her an answer.

Calmly, Odessa places her outerwear on Calvin's made-for-two bed. Then, she approaches him, takes the coffee from his hands and sets it aside. He's still got nearly a good half foot on her in height, even without his shoes, and with her heels.

Odessa appears to be about to reach for her lover. Intent and trajectory seem to change at the last moment, however, and culminate in a furious slug to his arm. Her lips are pursed in tandem with the effort she puts into the punch. She hits like a girl, but that isn't the point. "That was a sick fucking joke!" she shouts, brows meeting in an angry furrow. "An angel imprisoned on earth?! That's not funny. Did you think I would believe that?"

"…Ow," says Calvin.

Perhaps satisfyingly he also reaches to grasp at the arm in question, brows knit midway between groggy bafflement and reproach. Voice raised to be heard under hers, if not quite enough to make it a shouting match.

"I don't know what this is about but I really think physical violence outside've the bedroom is highly unnecessary!" Especially if he doesn't deserve it. Nevermind that this entire apartment is more or less a bedroom in that it is a large room with a bed in it.

Torso twisted away to shield that arm from further abuse, he looks her up and down all bitch what, blue eyes bright in their raccoon rings of smudged coal and sicklier shadow.

"This is a bedroom," Odessa shoots back for lack of a better response when he doesn't own up to that phone call she received. The attacking hand is waved toward the bed as if to punctuate. See?

"So I go to Fuck-off-istan and nearly get killed, and then I come home and I want to settle in and forget about everything, and I get this fucking call from some jack-off saying he's Detective Norris telling me that you've tried to kill yourself. And that you left this poetic note where you talked about me!" She's leaning forward at the waist, arms out to gesture and add a more physical aspect to her tone's incredulity.

"You're gonna tell me that you know nothing about that? Nobody else knows we're sleeping together, Cal'!"

"Don't insult my apartment!" Calvin — fires back after a pause. Sort of. "I think it's nice!" What are they fighting about? He is loud despite himself, compelled to match vehemence for vehemence despite not knowing — what. Still holding his arm also, evidently more offended for show than physically sore.

Then she like, goes into detail and he's left to stick that in his pipe and smoke it, the bitter metallic tang about him sharp in the cold while he watches her, eyes narrowed. Apparently he doesn't like to leave the heat running if he can help it.

"I haven't tried to kill myself. And I haven't discussed our sexcapades with anyone. Someone's playing a joke on you. Someone not me. Jesus."

Odessa has the grace to actually allow him to see her look stunned. And then sheepish. Slowly, she straightens up to mostly her full height again, though her shoulders are slouched a little bit as if to display submission.

Lips peel back, display perfect teeth in contrast to an imperfect face. Odessa audibly sucks in a breath and then bites her lip. "I… didn't actually hurt you, did I?" She flickers her gaze to his arm, and then back to his face. She actually looks apologetic, which may come as some surprise depending upon which rumours about her Calvin's paid attention to, if any.

"I haven't told anybody." Retreating somewhat, the coffee marked with a D for 'Dessy is retrieved and brought to her lips. "So I don't know who the hell would… Jesus Christ, Cal'. You really didn't have someone call to mess with me? You swear?"

"Maybe if you didn't hit like a twelve-year-old with bulimia." Calvin's teeth show in turn — equally perfect. Pearly white, meticulously cared for. His breath stinks a bit, though. Stale alcohol and fresher coffee, the latter at her expense.

With one last rub at his arm for good measure, he scratches his chest and sighs bluntly at her, coffee reached for with an air of tired tolerance that makes his presence feel older than it is. "Someone probably overheard us or …caught you meatgazing me during a meeting. The only way I intend to fuck with you is literally, pumpkin."

"That's comforting," Odessa sighs. There's somehow a lack of both sarcasm and relief in her tone, leaving the words decidedly neutral. "And I do not… meatgaze you." That was defensive.

But probably not entirely untrue, if the way she looks decidedly away from Calvin at that moment is any indication. "And besides," Odessa retorts, "don't even act like you don't check out my ass." The bra is reached for, plucked up and its tag examined. Just how big are these cups? And who the hell leaves a bra behind when they sneak out? Well, someone in a hurry is the obvious answer.

The brassiere is unceremoniously tossed aside with a roll of that dark blue eye. Coffee is abandoned again in favour of standing near the bed and fiddling with the edges of her coat lying there. "I'll let you hit me back. It's a freebie. Just this once." Peace offering?

The look on Calvin's face is one of knowing irritation. Low key. No real prickle over the rim of his coffee cup when he takes a protracted swallow and watches her finger the bra. B cups. Maybe she didn't think to check the kitchen. "I have no reason to act like I don't 'check out' your ass."

He turns to angle past her out of the kitchen on his way to his desk when he says it, a sound slap on the ass cocky as it is — technically invited. Technically.

"Consider us even."

Odessa actually jumps when her ass is smacked, not quite what she expected, but at least she didn't discover he was, like, really pissed and get punched in the mouth. That would suck. But also kind of figure, with the week she's had.

"I'm glad you didn't try to kill yourself," she admits with a bit of a shrug, tucking a stray strand of hair trailing from her fashionably messy updo behind her ear. "I can write you a Get Out of Work Free note, by the way… Least I could do for… Showing up here. Making an ass of myself."

"Dear Kevin," Calvin dictates, on the subject of notes. He has plucked the one on scrap paper off his desk, loopy handwriting left hastily behind some hours ago. "Had fun. Ate the last poptarts. Sorry!! Left five dollars, you should go to the grocery store. X X O O," he reads every letter off in a dour monotone befitting such elegance as he reaches to collect a crumpled five dollar bill from the place where the note previously rested, "Signed Stacy, with a little heart."

Lined paper crumpled into his fist, he folds the five into his wallet on his way back over to the bed to stand with her like a very well-dressed ginger scarecrow. "What should I be sick with?"

"At least I feed you breakfast in the morning," Odessa utters flatly in response to the note. "Did you tell her your name was Kevin, or do you just pick up stupid women outside of work?"

A critical gaze is swept up and down Calvin's form, as though trying to decide what he would be sick with. "Food poisoning is always a good reason not to come into work." The faux innocent look Odessa slides his way would be much more effective if she had both eyes to work with. It's hard to look innocent at all when one's wearing an eye patch. Even one of black and white damask. "I would have to recommend plenty of bed rest."

"A little from column A," says Calvin, palms up as he steps slowly by — innocent, "a little from column B." A coffee kiss at her neck is nice in a lazily comfortable kind of way, even if he smells like an overheated engine powered by hippies.

He has been forgiven for whatever thing he did not do, future sex adventures at work secured, so far as he's inclined to worry about it. Not very far.

"Dinner was a bit — off, now that you mention it. Fishy. Do you still have the number of whoever called?"

The smile that crosses Odessa's lips is sunny and easy, her eyes sliding shut momentarily when he kisses her neck. She tips her head to one side instinctively, even as she slides one hand across her coat to grope for the pocket where her cell phone resides. "Yeah. I tried calling it back before I came over here, but there was no answer. Generic voicemail message." That's what happens when you use a throw-away mobile, and actually throw it away. "Which… is why I figured it was a prank."

Reluctantly, Odessa slinks back so she can peer at the screen of her phone and bring the number up once more. She then holds the illuminated screen up for Calvin's inspection. "Any number you recognise?"

Nope. Quick as he scans the number, Calvin knows it isn't familiar. Which doesn't stop him extracting his own smartphone to enter it in. Just in case.

"I'll look into it," he says once it's in, tap tap tap and save contact. "Maybe see if I can narrow it down."

Odessa nods once and flicks her phone shut with a movement of her wrist before tucking it away again. Then, she presses a hand to Calvin's forehead, like a concerned parent checking a child's temperature. Except that she doesn't have that maternal look about her at all.

"Why do you keep the heat off in here? I mean, it's not like you can't afford to pay the bill, right?" She knows what kind of salary he makes, after all.

"Force of habit, I suppose." Honest enough to pass scrutiny, Calvin lifts his eyes to study her evenly out from under the hand she has on his brow, cool regard never quite approaching defensive. There's no need, really — he always has answers ready.

"I haven't always made six figures. S'better for the environment besides."

This time, it's Odessa who plants a kiss on Calvin's neck, inhaling deeply as she does. "I always figured you had a shitty radiator at home," she muses, trailing another kiss closer to his collarbone. "But it doesn't… It's just you." That smells warm, and metallic. And like other things right now, like weed and liquor and… a bit like sex, but those scents are more easily discernible. Filed away.

With crested bed head and slept-in wardrobe and everything else, characteristic bit of stink included, Calvin is content to enjoy the attention, easy through the shoulders and neck and the slope of his bristly jaw. He has done well for himself! He feels. Inwardly and outwardly pleased through a slivered show of his teeth and a slow blink.

"Shitty radiator?" falls out've his mouth because whatever else he's thinking doesn't need to become dialogue. For whatever reason.

"I don't know," is the lazy reply. "You just smell like metal that's gotten too hot sometimes. I used to… live," squat, "in a place that smelled like that because of an old radiator." Odessa's fingers find Calvin's waistline and walk their way up to free him from the oppression of buttons from both shirt and vest alike.

Stirred somewhat out of the moment by vocalization of Odessa's latest observation, Calvin furrows his brow at the far wall about the same time as she goes like. Down.

But true tension is short-lived - unease wired taut across his sternum forced out again in a slow breath once he registers that buttons are being worked loose and his shirt-tail is slacker than it was before.

"Maybe all the lead paint," is as lazy an excuse as there ever was, delivered to the wall, but somehow it seems unlikely she'll push the issue.

He's tugged out of his shirt, only to have one hand snake around to his back, while fingers from the others dance over his chest, in a very specific place. "Like this scar is just a scratch?" Odessa flips a grin upward.

She's made the observation before, but only as a slur, and followed up with a comment about how she likes a man with scars. Being a woman with plenty of them in various places herself, it's unsurprising that Odessa would find some interest in the more severe ones, even if she hasn't pried. Previously.

"It's okay," the inquisitive young doctor assures, "I like the mystery." Odessa leans up for as if for a kiss. "But I'll unravel you yet," she purrs against his lips.

The the narrow slash of a scar in question has two sides to it - a few inches of old damage faded pink between the sixth and seventh rib at his front to match the six or seven inch cleave into his back opposite it. Less substantial nicks marr his arms and scrubby chest here and there, ropy muscle locked in wiry across shoulders and back — softened a shade or two lately by hedonism. So it goes.

No tattoos.

Nothing else very exciting, save that her hands are cold and the somewhat poor needle-job that was done on him at whatever point flinches automatically away from contact. Not that it's overly noticable, because by then he's leaning to pull purring reassurance into a kiss, amicable to randomly fooling around in place of conversation as ever.

Odessa's sweaterdress is pulled up and over her head easily enough, left on the floor for now. She has her own scars, aside from the ones on her face. The one across her throat is nasty, but she's long since given up hiding it entirely. The one on her stomach evidences evisceration that should have killed her.

The red coat is dragged off the bed so that its owner can take its place. She doesn't take off her shoes. Odessa's eye strays and lingers over the healed exist wound for a moment before it drag back up to Calvin's face again. She smiles and then crooks a finger. Come and get me. Questions can wait for another day.

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