A Welcome Thing


elisabeth2_icon.gif odessa3_icon.gif

Scene Title A Welcome Thing
Synopsis A little bit of boring can be…
Date September 28, 2020

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Mid-morning finds the scientist known within these walls as Ourania Pride sitting at computer in her laboratory, typing research notes from a pad of paper alongside her keyboard. Frequent glances between her swiftly scratched handwriting and the screen through her dark-framed glasses means she’s a little too focused to realize someone’s stopped in the hall and now stands in the doorway.

At least, that’s the impression she gives. Her senses tell her she isn’t alone anymore, but she pretends not to notice right away. She turns a page on her notepad and sits back in her chair, tipping her head back with a sigh. It’s midway through dragging her fingers through her blonde hair that she finally notes the shape in the doorway.

Odessa sits up and turns to face her visitor with a surprise and a smile that’s genuine. “Liz! Hey!” she greets warmly. “Looking for Richard? I think I heard that he’s got a meeting until…” She pulls back the sleeve of her lab coat to check her watch and blinks owlishly at it. “Oh. I guess it’s been over for twenty minutes now. I’ve been at this longer than I thought.”

With her shoulder resting on the jamb and her arms crossed, Elisabeth appears to have been comfortable just waiting to be noticed. Maybe she didn't want to interrupt. She smiles, though, and pushes off there when Dessa smiles.

"Nah. Came down to see you. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your show, D— Ourania." She corrects herself just before the real name escapes her — it's something she has to work for. "Meeting your guy was interesting, too."

Liz grins impishly. "He's certainly a cutie."

Odessa motions for Liz to shut the door on her way in and waits for it to click behind her before she sighs kind of dreamily. “Isn’t he just?” Her eyes drift toward the ceiling, like she’s thinking about Harry right now. After a second sigh, she turns her attention back to her friend. “And thank you. I arranged that set special, knowing you guys would be there. I’m lucky the band humors my selections.”

Rising up from her chair once Elisabeth has wandered close enough, she moves forward the few paces to meet her, wrapping her arms around the other blonde in a tight hug. When she draws back, she settles into a lean against the desk. “I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this happy,” Odessa admits. “I’m not looking over my shoulder anymore. I don’t wake up at every little sound in the night anymore. I don’t have to worry about putting my friends in danger anymore…” Her smile turns a little sheepish then. “And I don’t spend my nights alone anymore. And I don’t have to hide it, either. Harry and I can go out together, and I don’t have to worry about who sees us. Liz, I’ve never been so free in my whole life.”

Hugging Dessa tightly back, Elisabeth can't help but smile. She wants it to be this simple for her friend. "Got to admit, I was a little worried about meeting him," she chuckles as she steps back. "Richard was on his good behavior, though. Even managed not to overly interrogate him."

Her amusement is easy. "I loved your music choices, and I could see he very much cares about you." Blue eyes skim Odessa's features and she nods just slightly. "Mind if ask something, though? The wave-off when I mentioned the theater sort of threw me — what was so bad about mentioning it? It's not like Silas is going to be able to poach you."

Especially considering the last she knew of him. A pang that she keeps away from her expression.

“Well that’s good. I was worried Richard would scare him off, honestly.” Odessa shakes her head. “But Harry says it wasn’t so bad. Just got the sense that Richard cares about me and wants to make sure he’s good enough for me. Which he definitely is. If anything, I’m the one who’s batting above my league.” She laughs it off, proving she’s not so serious in her self-deprecation.

But the question sees Odessa’s face fall, her shoulders hunch up a little. “So the problem there is…” She scrubs a hand over cheek, letting her gaze shift away from Elisabeth while she thinks of how to phrase it. “So the Silas of this world skulks around Staten Island. I’ve seen him around.” Her eyes flit back to her friend. “I was worried his name might mean something to Harry and I didn’t want him to think we associate with that guy. He’s… scary.”

Closing her eyes, Elisabeth looks up at the ceiling and lets her breath out slow. She almost looks like she's praying for patience. As brings her chin back down and looks at Odessa, there is a seriousness to her expression.

"Scary does not even come close. He fucking knifed our Silas, Dessa," she says quietly. "And knowing the fucker is skulking around Staten and that your boyfriend may know him?" Elisabeth's blue eyes are worried. "I know that guy works for d'Sarthe as a killer. Silas told me everything he knew of the guy."

Christ. Staten is just as bad a pit as it ever was. "You… need to be very, very careful, Dessa," Liz says softly. "I don't want to see you caught in the crossfire while Gideon d'Sarthe solidifies the hold he had there a decade ago." She grimaces. "Hell, for all I know, he owns every damn thing over there already." It's not like Liz was looking.

In fact, she has been trying to studiously not look at certain things.

“Not know him,” Odessa says swiftly and defensively. “Know of him.” Her eyes get wide for a second. “He has a hell of a reputation. If Harry thought we knew him, he’d probably get spooked and think I’m crazy.” A strand of her blonde hair is tucked behind her ear self-consciously. “I mean, I am crazy, but… Not in this way.”

Odessa looks down at the floor. “I know about…” She nods her head solemnly. She knows about their Silas’ situation. “I’m just trying to protect Harry from all this weirdness, you know?” She lifts her head again. “I’m… I'm not naive enough to think it’ll never come out, but I’d like to hold it off as long as possible.”

Elisabeth rakes her hand through her hair, sighing heavily. There is relief in the way her shoulders ease, though she's obviously still concerned. "Okay," she breathes out at the assurance that Harry doesn't know the guy. Thank God.

"I can't blame you for wanting to keep him out of the weirdness," she admits quietly. "But Dessa… You're related to Eve Mas and weird does tend to follow the lot of us around." I mean, look at our lives! "Promise me you'll be careful?"

Searching Dessa's eyes, Elisabeth is genuinely afraid for Odessa. "And for the love of God… steer clear of anything Harry does that's not on the up and up?" She makes a moue with her mouth and wrinkles her nose as she admits wryly, "He set my lie detector buzzing in the way he phrased a couple of things. d'Sarthe does have plenty of aboveboard business going on, and I hope Harry's just … you know? But I don't want you to wind up back in jail if he's pulling a fast one."

Isn’t that the truth? Odessa sighs quietly. “I know. I’ll… I’ll watch myself. I don’t — really don’t want to go back to prison.” The thought sends a shudder through her frame, a sort of hollow look coming to her eyes as they shift away from Elisabeth. If she goes back, it’s almost guaranteed she’ll never get out again.

After a couple blinks, she seems to come back to herself, smiling a little wistfully. “Harry’s so good to me, Liz. He makes sure I have what I need in order to feel safe and like I’ve got some stability. I don’t feel like things are going to fall apart any moment.” Odessa closes her eyes, like she’s imagining him right now. “He’s such a gentleman. He may be a little bit on the boring side, but… I guess boring is good sometimes.”

A single eyebrow quirks upward and Elisabeth says softly, "Be careful what you wish for." Considering the lives they've lived, a little bit of boring is a welcome thing, to her mind. "I'm really glad he's good to you, Dessa. You deserve happiness with someone who loves you."

She believes those words, and it shows in her tone. "You know… we have lived so long on the edge, it's hard sometimes to learn a new baseline. It's addictive," Elisabeth observes, "If there's one thing I struggle with since coming home, it's still that part. Feeling like the day isn't quite complete because it was a quiet day. It's not so bad now. Yet another thing that takes time to settle into."

Odessa nods, clearly heartened to realize someone else gets it. “Prison had some elements of that, but… I wasn’t in control of anything. It’s different now that I have the freedom to decide what my day’s going to look like.” One corner of her mouth turns downward in a frown. “Sometimes it feels like every day is the same as the one before it and it… feels suffocating. And I wonder what the fuck’s wrong with me that I can’t just be happy with an uneventful existence, you know?”

But she finds her smile again, even if it is a little wry this go around. “Harry keeps me grounded. I’d probably be clawing at the walls and getting into all sorts of trouble if I was still living on my own.” Odessa shakes her head. “It was different when I lived here, even though I had the apartment to myself,” she explains. “I had Richard down the hall, Kaylee to talk to… And Mom kept things interesting.” There’s never a dull moment with Sera around, but the dynamic is far different now that she’s just herself.

Elisabeth merely nods her head, understanding better than she'd like to. "Remind yourself that adrenaline is an addiction too," she says softly. "You'll find yourself looking for it, it never quite goes away." If Harry turns out to be bad for Dessa, Liz isn't sure her friend will have the strength to walk away. "It gets better after a while." Sometimes a long while. "And if you're starting to get in over your head," blue eyes search Odessa's face, "please come to me. I don't want to find us on opposite sides of a huge fucking mess. Okay?"

“Yeah,” Odessa assures in a quiet voice, dipping her head slightly. “Yeah, okay.” She flashes a small smile that’s meant to solidify her commitment to asking for help, but Elisabeth knows her friend well enough to know that’s still a tall order for her.

“I’m trying. I’m really trying. I want things to go well this time around. Harry’s a big part of that,” she insists.

When she wraps her arms around Dessa this time, her hug is a little tighter. Elisabeth knows her friend well enough to know exactly how hard it will be if things go pear-shaped. She sighs softly, her worry clear even without need of an ability… but so is her genuine, deep affection. "Okay, I'll stop now," she grins as she steps back. "I'm sure you have better, more fun things to do than deal with me at my neurotically overprotective best, hmm?"

Odessa returns the hug with a fierceness of her own, seemingly reluctant to let go for a few moments, just nestling her chin against the curve of Elisabeth’s shoulder. “I’ve missed you so much,” she admits in a shaky voice. When she leans back, she keeps her hands on her shoulders. “I appreciate the fact that you care. More than you can possibly realize, okay? You don’t have to apologize for caring. Not to me. Not ever.”

Elisabeth smiles. "I've missed you too," she whispers into Odessa's hair. "I'll see you later on, lady."

Giving one final squeeze, Odessa relinquishes her hold on Elisabeth to let her get on with the rest of her day. “I look forward to it.”

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