Ain't A Bed Of Roses


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Scene Title Ain't a Bed of Roses
Synopsis After a close call with Yana and Evan, Keagan and Anna go for a stroll in a rose garden. They both learn things about each other's history that make them uncomfortable.
Date December 29, 2010.

The Corinthian: The Rose Garden

The Rose Garden is both that as well as greenhouse, glass walls and rooftop ceiling off this little getaway from whatever weather happens to be uselessly battering at it. When the snow falls, it makes a flurry against the glass, an inverse snow dome, but right now it's clear, with a smoggy, starry night domed beyond. The outside courtyard that lies between its closed doors and the opened ones of the warm and bright hotel interior is empty of people save for those moving back and forth, a temporary and interstitial space.

It's warm in here, and smells of dirt and fragrant flowers, crowded with beds of roses, miniature explosions of colour and thorny stalks alike. Dense Indian Hawthorne hedges below the height of a knee create an artful and polite barrier between flowering displays and the gravel pathways, of which there are six coming together into a star-like pattern. The center of this starburst arrangement holds a small three-tiered fountain, bringing with it the scent and sound of trickling water. There are benches around the edges, wooden slats left naked of paint and new to look at, polished smooth.

Well, the dinner could have gone worse, is Keagan's interpretation. Lunch is over, and to let Anna experience some of the rich life further, it's a trip to The Corinthian's Rose Garden. The beautiful room is full of life, and because it's a greenhouse, it's warm enough to be comfortable in Anna's black dress. With his hair still slicked back, Keagan politely opens the door to the garden, the wave of floral scents washing over them. "I hope you liked lunch," he says. "And I'm sorry, I didn't think my aunt knew we would be there." She made out like it was a coincidence, but Keagan knows his aunt, and highly doubts it.

Anna looks around the place, and holds her arm inside Keagan's. "This place is pretty." She says softly, smiling. "It's okay… I just hope mister Langford won't tell some of my… less than pleasant past to your Aunt." She looks down, sighing faintly. "I don't think it would've gone that well had she found out about that little escapade…" Then back up, "But you're no ordinary street rat, are you?" She asks, "You're like a prince who wants to be a pauper, like in the stories my parents used to read me…" A faint, distant chuckle. "I think that's kind of admirable… not to care about your wealth like that."

As the crowds of the main rooms of the hotel are left behind, Keagan releases the formal hold, and slips his right arm around the Anna's waist comfortably, hand resting on her abs. "I'm really glad you like it," he says, and doesn't push for the history at the moment. He's sure that Anna will tell him in her own time. He blushes a little. "I wanted to tell you myself," he says. "I didn't mean to deceive you or anything. But you're so pretty and sweet, I was afraid you'd think I was a snob if you knew when I first met you." His hand pulls her a just little tighter toward himself as they start their pace through the garden.

Somehow, that hold makes Anna blush more than any of their previous affectations had. And the girl rests her head on her boyfriend's shoulder. "That's okay… I haven't been telling you everything either." She smiles. "I was just surprised." She pauses before continuing, "I… kind of used to be stuck in … well … a negative spiral. And until someone managed to pull me out of it… I only got worse." She sighs, "I… shouldn't dance around it further… I have a criminal record. Attempted arson. And, well… I was going to do worse things until that woman managed to pull me out of that negative spiral."

Keagan's grin grows, and he gently strokes his other's ribs. "Wow, arson," he echoes. "And I thought I was the bad guy with enough petty thefts to fill a flash drive. He turns his head to bury it in Anna's hair, taking in a deep breath. "I'm glad whoever it was pulled you out." His mind goes back to the the comment at lunch. "I hope my aunt doesn't find out." Why did he have to give her Anna's full name? "I still care about you, criminal record and all, even if she is a snob."

"I'm not proud of it… it just seemed like a good idea at the time, even though it wasn't." She smiles, though… as her boyfriend doesn't seem to mind. "Busy place, too… loads of people there." She admits, "Was at a book signing. Man… loads of things have changed since then… it's as though it was like a year ago… not less than two months…" A pause, "You heard about the mess on d'Sarthe's party, Keagan?" She asks carefully, "I was supposed to be there… and take out a lot of people with my death…" She leaves him to draw the conclusion to how that'd happen.

Keagan's dark brown eyes look suddenly very worried. D'Sarthe's was a bit closer to home. "You were with Humanis First?" he says. There is some fear in his voice as he says the group's name. "My aunt was there." He may become annoyed at his aunt from time to time, but he still loves her, and the thought of her being attacked by Anna there, and through such a terminal manner. He shudders at the thought, and tightens his hold a little more. He doesn't know even what to say to that, though he's very glad that this was not the way it went down.

"I wasn't so much withe Humanis First as that they were using me." Anna kindly corrects, "And well… I'm glad that didn't happen. Glad I got out of that situation in time." She increases her hold herself. "I can't be a member of Humanis First… after all, whether I like it or not… I'm Evolved." She sighs, "I've come to accept it… but that's a recent thing. "You won't have to worry about that happening again, though… I cut my ties with them."

Keagan's face seems to light up. "You're Evolved?" he asks, turning the girl to face him fully, putting both arms around her waist now loosely. "That's great!" Not necessarily the response that everyone gives. But he seems to be quite happy with that revelation. He pulls her into a rather vigorous hug. "You really are the perfect girl," he tells her, holding his cheek against hers

That response was… not exactly what Anna had expected. But she can accept it. "Yeah." She responds, "Or at least… that's what the blood test says. I have yet to manifest, though…" She wraps her arms around Keagan's waist, returning the hug. "Thanks." She whispers in response to being the perfect girl, and she turns her head to plant a kiss on Keagan's mouth, her own mouth open slightly by means of invitation.

Keagan takes the invitation, eagerly as a boy does, though a little timidly as well in a sort of paradox. Not too much, he licks the inside of Anna's lips, his hand reaching up to pet the soft skin of her back. When he releases the kiss, he presses his forehead against hers, and rubs his nose against hers. "I should tell you, then," he adds. "I am too." His smile broadens. "Had a false negative the first time I was tested, but I'm sure that I'm Evolved." None of the rest of his friends know it, Anna is the first he's told. After all, if you can't trust another Evolved, and the girl of your dreams, who can you trust?

As the kiss is released again, Anna smiles. As the news of him being evolved appear, Anna has to fight the instinct to grimace. Her dislike for the sort… isn't entirely gone yet, as much as she has tried to eradicate it. The grimace that appears is only brief, however, and she soon smiles again. The girl presses her body against her boyfriend's, and asks, "So… how do you know?" She asks softly, "Did… did you manifest yet?" A faint smile, "Or did you get tested again?"

Keagan brings a hand to gently support the back of his girlfriend's neck as gives another kiss to Anna's soft lips, a briefer one this time. The cover of her natural distaste seems intact, he doesn't notice, nor does he seem to process that it might exist, given what she told him about the Humanis First. She was manipulated, he can't imagine her being so hateful on her own.
"I manifested early," he says. "Before the blood test even came out." His other hand presses at the small of her back as she moves in. "My aunt wouldn't let me get away with the false reading." The face given to that is a little disappointed and a quirk of his mouth to the side, and he follows it with a shrug.

Anna returns the kiss, and after it is released, she smiles again. Though currently, a thousand thoughts are racing through her mind. "What.. kind of ability do you have?" She asks after a few moments, maintaining the hug. She's a little quieter and more timid than before, but she tries to remain enthusiastic. She knows her dislike is irrational, but she has fostered and grown it for so long… it's hard to let go.

Not understanding her apprehension, and having difficulty maintaining sober tones for too long, Keagan's eyes flash with a smile. "Anyone who kisses me dies a week later," he teases, his tone rather joking. Maybe not the best comment he could make to Anna, but he honestly doesn't seem to understand that his abilities concern her. He lets his hands fall back down loosely to the girl's hips. "I'm just kidding," he adds, to clear up any unintended seriousness that she might perceive. "It's kinda weird, actually. I can merge myself into solid objects, like brick walls or concrete or other stuff like that." Not the most cool power he could get, in his own opinion, but hey, it's what he got.

Anna can't laugh at that joke. She knows it's one, and she tries to laugh, but nothing more than a half-hearted chuckle comes out. "That sounds like it could be useful." She says pragmatically, "I assume you can leave those walls through the other side..?" Her mood isn't the best anymore, but she's clearly trying to be cheerful. "You… have to know my life changed a lot after my parents died." She eventually whispers, "It.. was easy to blame the group, rather than the individual. And while I try not to blame the group anymore… it's hard."

The dark-haired boy's eyes betray that he's starting to realize the gravity of this conversation. "Yeah, sometimes…" he starts, removing his hands from her hips and stepping back a half step. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't say stupid things like that. As if he had just thrown a rock through a glass window, he tries to backpedal. "I do know what it's like," he says. Only…he had someone to catch him when the ground fell out beneath him. "Maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I'm sorry, I promise, I never even use my ability." Suddenly it feels as if his ability is the worst trait he could possibly have, and his tone does nothing to hide his fear.

"It's okay…" Anna responds softly. "You… you can't help it." She forces a smile, though the forced nature of it shows. She's thinking back over happy moments, especially ones she's shared with her boyfriend. "I shouldn't have these thoughts. They're bad thoughts." She admits softly, "And I should especially not have spoken them out loud…" Another sigh, before… "But when you suddenly lose everything… when random strangers take you in, and… start hurting you for things you wouldn't even have been punished for before… it's hard to adapt to the new situation."

Keagan doesn't have all of the picture, and the image of someone hurting Anna becomes the unknown Brian. "Brian? He hurt you?" He abruptly reaches to take Anna's hands in his own. "I swear, I'll make him wish he was never born." Keagan isn't that imposing a figure, but he's willing to bite even if he doesn't have the bark to go along, and even if he doesn't have the teeth to do much. "I won't let anyone hurt you, Anna. I'll talk to my aunt, try to get her to let you stay with us." Fat chance of that. "Or we'll find you some place safe. Find you someone who won't hurt you. I can get more money, maybe we can get you a place of your own." Not all realistic ideas, and Keagan's voice is fast. His sentences run into each other, becoming one long run-on thought. The young man is ready for action, even if he has no clue what that action should be.

Anna shakes her head. "No. I no longer stay with him." Him being the man who hurted her. "They are no longer a concern. Not as long as stay missing, stay away from the cops…" She smiles though, "I appreciate the concern, though. But… Brian is a good guy, really. He wouldn't lay a finger on me." She smiles faintly, "I'm sorry I gave you the impression it was still a problem… it wasn't that long ago that it was…"

Keagan's tone calms a bit, "Okay," he says, catching his breath. He was ready to start swinging, and he didn't even have anybody to hit over the issue. The intensity of the conversation has gotten him confused on how he should be comforting Anna properly. Should he hug, should he continue holding her hands? He doesn't know, so he just keeps holding her hands. "If anyone ever tries to mess with you, you let me know, and I'll take them out, or get my teeth kicked out trying." He returns her smile. Protective, isn't he? He takes a deep breath of the rose scented air, and tries to clear his head a little and think straightly again.

Anna keeps holding Keagan's hands, but then she notices the time. "Sorry, Keagan… but I should be going. It's getting late, and I promised I'd be back in time for dinner." She whispers, "I'll meet you again soon, promise." She presses a brief kiss against her boy's mouth. "I'll miss you." And with that, she lets go and turns around, moving towards the exit… and the Chinatown.

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