An Attempted Connection


arlo_icon.gif kaylee6_icon.gif toussaint_icon.gif

Scene Title An Attempted Connection
Synopsis There is an attempt made to give Kaylee back her childhood memories.
Date December, 4, 2020

Kaylee's Apartment - Raytech Campus Housing

“I want to thank you for doing this, Mr. Lloyd.”

Kaylee offers the man a smile to match the voiced appreciation. It had been tough waiting for the call from Agent Toussaint, but now that the two men were there, Kaylee could feel a cold twist of anxiety starting in her stomach.

The hostess duties completed, she allowed herself to sit and try to relax. The odd mix of cold concrete and lush green of her spacious Raytech apartment gives a mixed impression and not one that screams home, despite the homey touches in her furniture selection or how she runs her household.

“So,” Kaylee says, looking between both men, “How do we do this?” Looking at Lloyd, Kaylee’s brow arches slightly, “I know your ability works differently and I know the risks, I’ve done this for others many times over when…” She trails off and looks down. “But I couldn’t ever use it on myself, so… I appreciate this opportunity for answers.”

“Call me Arlo, please, ma’am,” says Mr. Lloyd, a tall, lanky man whose long limbs seem a little unsure of where to place themselves.

Despite being older and larger than the DOE agent, he has a much easier-going demeanor than the younger man. Dressed in jeans and a corduroy blazer with elbow patches, he seems more like a free spirited professor at some liberal arts college back west — if those still existed — than any sort of federal agent.

The red-and-black brindle dog acting as his emotional support dog, complete with a vest, sits at his knee, tail thumping happily as his hand rubs the back of her neck.

“My ability is a bit of a work in progress, but it’s not quite the same as telepathy,” he begins. “I can’t read thoughts, can’t talk to you with my brain or anything like that. I can read memories, and I can share memories — yours or mine — with others. If someone focuses on a memory they want to share, that’s easier, but otherwise, I can go fishing a little… it helps to have a feeling or a face in your mind that might make it easier for me to find what I’m looking for. If that makes sense.”

Arlo laughs a little and grins over at Toussaint, who’s quietly working on something on his tablet. When the other agent raises a brow, Arlo says, “I sound like one of them fake psychics back before we knew there were real ones. Of course, there aren’t any I know of that can reach beyond the grave and chat with people, even now.”

Kaylee can’t help but chuckle at the observation as well. “I’ve known my share of disembodied minds who have lost their bodies, but that’s about as close as I’ve ever gotten.”

A soft graved growl comes from the direction of Willy, who’s decided he wants nothing to do with anyone with the dog in the room, choosing instead to take the higher ground, literally, on top of a tall bookcase. The tip of his tail lazily flicks.

“I don’t remember my childhood, so… I’m not sure where to direct my memories,” Kaylee says, turning her attention inward. “I mean… maybe the one memory I do remember… vaguely?” The feeling of fear and terror as her and her mother ran for the basement. Loud noises and the sensation of things falling on them. “I’m not even sure how old I was…. Six maybe? Then there is my father… I don’t know how much of my life he’s been in.”

Focusing on Arlo again, Kaylee tips up a brow in question at the man. “Hopefully, that will be enough to give you a jumping off point?.”

“Well,” Arlo says a little wryly. “hopefully that won’t happen to either of us.”

His gaze lifts to land on the cat when it growls, and he gives Wally a solemn nod. “It’s okay, brother. I know we’re taking your space and I apologize. We’ll be out of your hair soon, but thank you for your sacrifice.”

Toussaint’s mouth curves up and he looks over at the cat a little dubiously, then back to this work.

When Arlo returns his attention to Kaylee, he nods to her questions. “That’s a bit trickier — most people I work with, they have a feeling associated with the memories they’re trying to remember, but in your case, you’re just trying to find anything, yes? Focus on the memory of the faces, then, your mother, your father… if you have a mental image of yourself when you are small, or anything you can picture or bring to your mind.”

He reaches into a backpack at his side, smiling a little as he brings out some items. “Most of our childhoods have a few things in common. Scent is powerful, when it comes to memory, so I brought some items I thought might evoke something.”

When his hands come out, Arlo holds a small can of Play-Doh and a box of crayons in each. “It’s possible that they’ll lead to a specific memory, but it’s more about bringing you to your youth, mentally,” he explains. “Is there anything else you can think of that you associate with your parents?”

“Anything is about right,” Kaylee says, eyeing the toys with uncertainty. They were things she didn’t really remember, but always brought about memories of her own kids.

There is a mildly uncomfortable look cast at Toussaint at the question, as if fearing judgment at what she admits next, “I do have a smell I associate with my mom… Alcohol. Particularly, the smell of whiskey,” there is a wrinkle of Kaylee’s nose. “I… I don’t know what she was drinking to forget, but… it was bad, most of my life, that I remember.”

Looking up at Arlo, Kayle shakes her head a bit. “As for my father… Edward was pretty much absent from my life…” No… she knows that isn’t true, “or so I thought, until recently… so no smells. Just a memory of him looking at me like I was a monster. Scared of me.” Or what she could have done. “He was able to predict the future based on information.”

Kaylee sounds almost bitter as she says, “Not that his information was always right, in my opinion.”

Arlo nods, peering into his bag, then looking up again with a smile. “No whiskey in here. Got an AA chip though,” he says softly. “If you would like to get some, you’re more than welcome, but,” he sets down the crayons and the clay, “we can work without them, too.”

He offers her both of his large hands, palms up for her to rest her slimmer hands upon.

“I don’t necessarily need touch, but I feel it helps focus a little,” he explains. “Otherwise I might find out instead how Agent Toussaint felt as a little kid when everyone at school teased him because a certain clownfish shared his first name.” Something about the way he says it suggests he’s already felt that particular memory.

Toussaint’s smirk returns but he doesn’t look up from his tablet. “Joke’s on them. I was already named after another fish,” he murmurs.

That gets a small chuckle out of her and does a wonderful job of making her relax, where she didn’t even realize she was tensed up. “Being named after a cartoon fish isn’t all bad, Marlon might have had a lot of anxiety, but he’d do anything for his son including overcoming his fears. He’s noble and loyal at his core. Not bad traits.”

It’s a place she’s never been, on that side of a memory session, and would have no real control over it. Kaylee never realized until that moment, she was scared of that. So that moment of levity helps.

Control was comfort.

“Touch always helped me too, it made things clearer. Like the difference between an ethernet cable and wifi,” Kaylee says quietly, reaching out to place her hands on his. The memories of her ability make tears prickle at the back of her eyes, it would always be a painful loss. “You might want to avoid memories from around the beginning of the year… it won’t be pleasant for either of us.” She clamps down on those emotions and memories as best she can, but the death memories of a sub full of people are a hard thing to shake off.

Instead, she focuses on trying to remember things from being a kid. The sadness and feeling of not being wanted. The joy over something simple as ice cream. Kaylee closes her eyes and concentrates on these things… if anything to push at the anxiety of… Will it even work?

“I was actually named after my grandfather, but point taken,” Toussaint says with a smirk in Kaylee’s direction; this time he does look up, to watch the settling of palms against palms as the ‘memory guy’ prepares to do his work.

Arlo’s dimples show at the comparison to wifi and ethernet connections. “Something like that. Maybe more like a telephone for me. Cordless can be a problem. I tend to pick up some interference. Or a lot of interference, depending on my state of mind and those around me.”

Her warning to avoid a certain time of year evokes a shake of his head. “Wish it were that exact a science. Maybe with time. I spent a lot of time not knowing how to control it, and while you can teach an old dog new tricks — no offense, Friday,” he says with a glance down at Friday who looks up with solemn brown eyes, “it’s been a long process.”

At last, though, he closes his eyes and sits, still as a statue, his face an unreadable, if pleasant, mask.

“Then I apologize if you run into it,” Kaylee says softly as he closes his eyes. Her words were edged with a hint of guilt. Not that she had a reason to feel it, she wasn’t the one that killed all those people, but that he’d have to witness what she had. She had to live with it, but she didn’t want him to have to as well.

Then Kaylee settles in silently. Patiently, with her hands in his. Waiting to feel something perhaps? She closes her own eyes, brows furrowing as she’s expecting something.

The silence in that room feels rather awkward, punctuated by the occasional graveled growl of an unhappy cat.

The seconds tick by, and eventually Toussaint looks up from his tablet and up at the taller man beside him, brow lifted in curiosity — clearly this length of time isn’t normal for Arlo, at least in the agent’s experiences with the man. He looks over to Kaylee, and offers a small, reassuring smile, then looks back down at the tablet, tapping in a response to something before scrolling again.

Arlo’s expression remains placid, though now and then he moves slightly, head tipping one way or the other, one brow dipping or rising. There’s no readable emotion there besides concentration or possibly curiosity, but muted and quiet.

Finally his blue eyes open. He squeezes her hands and shakes his head slowly. “I can feel there’s something there, but I can’t make my way to it. I feel like I almost had it, but that it slipped out of my reach,” Arlo says apologetically, before letting her hands free again. “I’m afraid I don’t know if I knocked it loose from where it was stuck or if I made it worse.”

He sighs, looking over at Toussaint, then back to Kaylee. “Maybe someone with more control. I’m so sorry.” The giant of a man looks like he might cry on her behalf.

Blonde brows pinch together briefly at the news, fighting the emotion that sweeps through her when she realizes she can’t be helped. Kaylee swallows back the disappointment that threatens to show itself as tears. It’s Arlo’s reaction that brings her up short.

“Oh…” Kaylee’s own self pity is cast aside and replaced with understanding. Before his hands can retreat too far, they are snagged for another moment and given a supportive squeeze. “Hey, Arlo,don’t fret it. Okay? I’ve been where you are, learning what all you can do with what you’ve been given. You’ll get there. I promise.”

Letting those much bigger hands go, Kaylee gives him an encouraging smile, even if her eyes shine a bit more. “I’m thankful you even agreed to try and to Agent Toussaint for setting this up. That in itself is more than I could ask for.”

Looking between both men, Kaylee can’t help herself, “How about I send you boys off with some chocolate chip cookies? I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights… so I get cravings for certain sweets. Last night it was cookies.” Her mouth pulls to one side in a self-depreciating smile.

“Save me from myself and take some.”

The man stares down at his hands in hers, and he nods, smiling at her reassurance. When she lets go, he runs both hands over his bald head,taking in a deep breath that lifts his chest and shoulders, then releases it again.

“I just hope I didn’t make things worse, ma’am,” he says quietly. “But I won’t say no to cookies. Marlon here will try to, but if you give them to me, I’ll make sure some end up with him. He’s got a sweet tooth, too, though he’ll deny it. His memories tell me otherwise.”

Toussaint rolls his eyes as he stands, tucking his tablet in a pocket. “Sorry it didn’t work, Ms. Thatcher. If I can round up someone else to help, I’ll try.”

Kaylee gives a knowing wink at Arlo, as if they might be conspiring, against the agent’s resistance. “Even if he keeps saying no, I know they won’t go to waste. Just a moment, I’ll have those for you pretty quick.”

Standing to do just that, Kaylee hesitates a moment to give Toussaint a nod, “Thank you. You’ve been more than helpful and I owe you for that.”

As Kaylee leaves the ment to pack up cookies into a pair of disposable containers, she can’t help but feel her father was behind the reason Arlo couldn’t budge her memories. Edward was behind so much in her life, almost none of it good. It wasn’t too far a stretch.

What was so bad that her father believed it was better that she didn’t remember her childhood?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License