Anxiety Below


vf_aislinn_icon.gif vf_dirk_icon.gif vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_lynette_icon.gif

vf_magnes_icon.gif vf_peyton_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon.gif vf_steve_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

vf_denisa_icon.gif vf_ling_icon.gif vf_mala_icon.gif

Scene Title Anxiety Below
Synopsis In the wake of a scavenging expedition gone awry, a lone survivor returns to the Hub.
Date November 13, 2011

The Hub: Common Area

The Hub is quiet this afternoon. The common area is sparely populated, only a few meander about through the tables, lights occasionally flickering from the catwalk overhead. Despite the oddities of the last few days, many residents of the Hub seem to be settling back into what passes for the tense, uncertain normalcy of life.

Or, they have remained blissfully unaware of the strange occurrences of the last week.

"Today's team should be back soon," a man, short, says at he looks up to a taller woman next to him, sitting at the corner of one of the tables. He looks nervously down at the book he holds down in his hands. "Do y' think we should be sendin' more teams out so soon? I mean, after what happened t' Eve the other day, I-"

The taller one, an Asian woman with long black hair, looks down at him with narrowed eyes. "Keep worrying," she offers, a tapping at the hilt of a knife she keeps in a sheathe at her waist. "Panic. It'll be delightful." A shrug, and she returns her eyes to the catwalk above. "Or it'll help with nothing," she adds casually. It clearly doesn't matter to her.

The man opens his mouth to protest when suddenly a voice is heard echoing down the station halls, just on the other side of a near by door.

"I don't fuckin' care," the woman's voice, vaguely Scottish in accent, sounds. "Find him for me!" The door from the old maintenance station deeper into the complex that forms the Hub - that leads towards the airlock out - flies open as a woman in jeans and loose clothing, hair short and messy, stomps into the room, eyes scanning the crowd.

"Oh shit," the man breathes out. "Aislinn's back. But-" He looks up at the asian woman, swallowing. "Ling, I'm going to go- find K-Mart."

"Sure. Do that," she remarks uncaring. She's too busy watching the new arrival with a spreading grin on her face.

It's a rare afternoon that Ruiz is not scheduled for anything. When he's not, he likes to lounge about in the common areas (or in bed with Lynette), but for the moment— it's the common areas. He sits next to the blonde woman who, like him, serves the community in some capacity. Him cleaning, her making sure the lights stay on. But right now they're enjoying a quiet moment in the open area. He's leaning against her, plates of today's rations empty and set aside. Every crumb gone. From the whispered sounds, they had been talking about something, but it stopped as soon as the irate woman entered the area. Straightening up, he looks toward Lynette, taking her hand as they wait to see what happened.

There's also a small group of kids present. Denisa, Mala and a third kid, a little white boy all sit in the corner playing a game with cards— they actually have like two half decks shoved together which makes Go Fish difficult, but hey, they make do. They look up at the commotion, and look at each other with worry.

Nearby on one of the picnic tables sits an eclectically-dressed young woman with hair the color of a blue-raspberry Icee. She's reading an old magazine in the dim light, lazily flipping the pages. When she hears the name K-Mart, she looks up, curiously, to see what the hubbub is about. Her dark eyes slide from Ling to the man to the woman who's demanding to see K-Mart, and she looks amused.

"I wouldn't if I were you," she sing-songs, before glancing down at the magazine again. "Oh, hey, I'm in this photo," she says, turning to show someone sitting nearby — her declaration no doubt met with an eye roll for the young woman who was a celebutante before everything went to shit.

While it isn't a strange sight to see Lynette and Ruiz together, it is a little strange to see her looking happy. Which she does. Her fingers toy with his hair as they talk, a smile on her face. But it's gone when the yelling starts. She tenses up, glancing toward the door to look for trouble. But she looks back to Ruiz when he takes her hand. She laces her fingers with his and gives him reassuring look. But she looks back to the new arrival, eyebrow lifted.

"What's with the shouting?" she asks. "It was a nice day in here and everything." She looks toward the kids, just to check on them. Ruiz can feel the hint of static in her touch, since she is on one of her scheduled charging weeks.

"You know I can't just do that," Dirk calmly replies to the woman as he follows her into the common area. His hair is tied back in a business ponytail and his clipboard is up in front of him as he scribbles down some notes. "There's a procedure to seeing him and if you can't follow procedure then you can't see him. That's all there is to it."

The clipboard is dropped down to his side, though he keeps a tight grip on it. Just in case she wheels around and tries to rip it from him. He passes a polite, yet harried smile to everyone in the room before making his way to a seat at the front of the room. "If you'll just tell me what the problem is, I'll get it worked out and then there won't be a problem anymore."

"Ruiz!" Magnes calls out as he enters the common area. He waves and smiles at Mala and Denisa, before returning his attention to the man. "We haven't really gotten much of a chance to talk." Then, eyeing who is clearly the Alpha Peyton as far as the timelines go, he starts to wander in that direction. "And I'm sure we'll have a chance to talk one day."

He raises a hand to wave to Peyton. "Uh, hey."

Elisabeth was just quietly making her way into the common area to find something to eat, barely clearing the hallway before the shouting woman comes barreling in. She stops her forward movement immediately, fading back against the wall to observe the goings-on for a long moment. There are familiar and unfamiliar faces, including…. holy shit, is that Peyton???…. but the ones that draw her eyes more immediately are the children and their card game. Sidling around the edge of the room, she moves to join their circle with a small smile. Her tone is gentle. "It's okay, guys. " The little boy met up with her for piano this morning, so when she joins them, she sits cross-legged. "She's just frustrated at stuff. It's nothing to do with you. Who's winning?"

"Look, Dirk!" Aislinn shouts again, turning to face him with an incredulous look on her face. A hand reaches up, running across her forehead as she wipes sweat away. "Just fucking do it! An' if you can't get me Rickham, find Edward's dumb ass! Or K-Mart! Someone!" She lets out a labored breath. "Jesus, people are—"

It's about that time she finally registers what part of the Hub she's standing in, overhearing Lynette and Peyton as she freezes. A nervous laugh follows, before she locks eyes with Peyton, and then Ling. "You two," she hisses out, more quietly than before, "Come here."

She says this even as she's closing the distance over to them, a look over to Ruiz and Lynette. "Jesus, Ruiz. Have you seen Edward about at all? Or m' sister?" The woman looks around the room for anyone else who could help her, noticing Magnes and Elisabeth, but at first regarding them with little more than momentary curiosity.

As she closes the distance, her pace slows, her breathing quickens. A visible tiredness sets in on her, until finally she stops, bent over slightly as she pants. "Sorry for makin'- a scene an' all, but-" She trails off there, looking up towards Lynette and Ruiz. The look on her face is not at good one.

The kids look up at Elisabeth, the little boy recognizing her. "Ms Harrison!" he says with an excited voice, even as Mala and Denisa still look past at the adults. "She's the new piano teacher you should totally take lessons— I do miss 'Dessa though." He looks down for a moment, but— they have lost so many it is usual for them to just— mourn for a few minutes and try to move on.

"Richie's winning. I think he has another deck he's hiding from us and getting cards from." Denisa mutters, even as she puts down another match herself. She still holds a lot of cards, but— Richie's holding only four now. Mala's second place with six.

With a sigh, Ruiz moves to stand, offering Magnes a small nod, but glad he's decided to be distracted by cute girls instead— cause this could just become a bad day in the Hub. He doesn't let go of Lynette's hand, stepping over to respond to the question. "I haven't seen Ray today, or your sister. What happened?" Cause something obviously did—

When Magnes moves closer to her, Peyton looks up from the magazine; her dark eyes flicker up and then down, appraisingly. "Well, look at you. Nobody said the new guy was cute," she says. "Of course it's all a matter of personal taste. How are you settling in to our little apocalyptic commune?" she asks.

The question's interrupted by Aislinn looking her way and demanding her presence. Peyton lifts both brows. "I'm being summoned," she stage-whispers to Magnes, uncrossing her plaid-legging-clad legs and hopping off the table to move in the woman's direction.

She stops though when the other woman stops and pants for breath, still quite a few feet away. "Are you going to hurl or something? I don't do nurturing."

"Why are we letting her near the kids, again?" Lynette asks Ruiz when she hears Liz talking to the children, "We don't even know her." And she misses Dessa, too, even if those words never actually come out of her mouth. It manifests, instead, in her worry about the kids. And about Ruiz.

When she sees Aislinn's face, one concern is put aside for another and she stands up with Ruiz and comes over to the woman. "I haven't seen them. 'Linn, what's wrong?" It's an echo of Mateo's question, but she can't seem to keep from voicing it.

A glance is spared for Magnes. Lynette hasn't met him yet, but she knows who he is by virture of never having seen his face before. But Peyton seems to be able to handle him, and the young woman gets a smirk as she makes her way over to the little party.

"I'll see what I can do, okay?" Dirk asks in a rather congenial tone. He doesn't let the angry woman get to him, he just writes a little note on his clipboard and stays seated at one of the tables. Not finding any of the people she's listed off.

He frowns as he sees Liz with the children, nodding toward Lynette as though agreeing with her quiet words. They don't even know if she's diseased. Neither she nor Magnes were put in proper quarantine. They should have been isolated for at least two weeks. "Hey kids, careful, there's a really angry bee here. Don't let her sting you."

Death, that's what it was…

Magnes continues the ramifications of his current situation. It all slows down, every moment calculated, analyzed. This is Peyon, Peyton is complimenting him, this is another world. He's in another world, no, no, he had it right the first time…

He's died. This is the underworld, the only explanation. How else could this be happening, how else could there be a version of Peyton in some universe who's…

Oh wait she's gone.

"Huh?" he asks, looking back in a haze of his own thoughts and emotions. "What?" he asks no one in particular, he just kind of stands there.

Though she's keeping an ear tuned to what's going on in the room, she does her level best to draw the children's attention off the commotion. They have enough stress, she figures, that they really don't need to be involved in that. If she didn't think — yep, there it is, someone demanding to know why she's allowed around the children — if she didn't think she'd get jumped on her way out the door with them, she'd round them up and get them out. But that option is not really hers for the taking at this moment. "Richie, you're not sitting on any cards, are you?" Elisabeth asks the boy teasingly. "I've seen those nimble little fingers. 'Dessa taught you really well. Are you using them for cards?"

As soon as Aislinn came out shouting for the President or Edward - before she ever made it to the common room - someone was off and running.

"How can I help?"

They didn't find that Rickham, but they found a Rickham. And Stephanie - Steve to, well, everybody - may not be who they're looking for, but she has the ear and the confidence of both men. She'll do in a pinch.

Long strides bring the First Lady past tables, dilapidated armchairs and sofas, carrying her to the small, but growing knot of people gathered around the recently returned woman. "Aislinn." Steve's voice is soft, filled with concern and placating in some way. You are being heard. I'm listening. "What's going on?"

"No, I'm not gonna- God, you're the worst. You run a few city blocks an' tell me how you feel!" Aislinn takes a deep breath, looking up at Peyton with narrowed eyes. "Seriously?" The messy haired woman frowns, rising to stand back up straight. A look is offered to Magnes, an eyebrow quirked. "Who even the fu-" She sideeyes the kids for a split second before continuing, "-uuuuudge is this?"

She huffs out a breath again. "Finally found a better boyfriend or- whatever, Peyton?" There's no smirk despite the comment, eyes flicking to Peyton, and then up to Ling. "You're gonna make me ask again?" She closes her eyes, sighing. "K-mart. Have either of you seen him t'day?"

"No," Ling replies flatly, crossing her arms. "Should I have?" Smoke drifts up from her fingers for a moment, before she looks of to the side. "Tell me, when was the last time you say him here, Aislinn?"

"I take it back. You're the worst."

Exasperated, Aislinn looks over to Lynette and Mateo. Her frown deepens, and she holds up two fingers in a v shape. "Two people." A hand moves to hip. "Two more people…" Eyes flick over to the kids, and then to Elisabeth. "Dead," she says in a low voice. "My team, t-they…"

She trails off as soon as she hears Steve, and her eyes narrow at the "First Lady". She bites at her lip, choking back the first comment that comes to her mind. "Convince your husband t' put a hold on scavagin' runs for a bit. Get him t' talk to… fuckin' someone."

Two more, dead. Ruiz grimaces as his hand tightens around the blonde at his side's. He's so glad she doesn't do supply runs— he doesn't either, for various reasons, but without the supply runs— He's not sure they have the stock to cut it off for very long. "I'm sorry, Ais," he offers, wondering if, somehow, the same fate may have befallen Odessa when she was out— Ray hadn't told him how she died, just gave him proof that she had. The fact that her body had been returned enough to get the watch which he now wears made him assume it was the virus.

But maybe something else had happened, but she managed to make it to the entrance.

"Of course not!" Richie says, still glancing at the adults and the tension. "Denisa's just mad cause yesterday was her birthday and we all forgot." As he says that, Denisa gives him a mean look and makes as if to throw her cards at him, but she doesn't.

"It's hard to keep track of days, Denisa— they don't make calendars anymore…" Mala tries to offer, voice soft and quiet, but she looks guilty.

When Magnes simply stops, Peyton tips her head, brows lifting. "I think I broke him," she says, with a little dramatic sigh. "Need to be heartier than that, cutie."

But then she's being called the worst, and her eyes narrow at Aislinn. She pretends to check her manicure, nails short and navy-blue, but then she flips the woman off instead — only to to slide that hand into her pocket when she sees Steve coming their way…

…which is just about when Aislinn finds a way to tell them that people have died.

"Way to bury the lede," she mutters, but it's clear she feels a tiny bit bad about being a bitch. Finally she shakes her head to answer the question. "Not for a while." A second passes, before she adds, "Sorry," in a way that is sincere, and probably more for not knowing where K-Mart is.

When the news come out, Lynette brings her free hand up to her face. "Shit." It's a sharp word, emphatic. "Who was it?" She tightens her grip on Ruiz, too, and there's a glance his way. She used to do those runs and only doesn't now for his sake. Something she's grateful for at the moment.

She looks back to Aislinn, though. "And Eve not that long ago," she adds, even though no one needs the reminder. She does not mention Odessa, too, although the reasons for that are probably clear to everyone. She turns a little to look over at Magnes. It's hard to say what she thinks of him at that moment, but when she swings back to Ruiz, she seems a little worried.

"Sorry! I was just, like, I was in shock. I follow your work…" Magnes has been through that one with a Peyton before, so, best not to abandon stuff that works. However, when news breaks, he doesn't really interrupt, he instead goes to sit where Peyton was sitting before she got up.

Two more people dead.

That's all Dirk needed to hear to go into action. "I'll help, First Lady," and to Aislinn, "You should have just told me what was going on, I'm more than a pencil pusher. I can stop things like this from happening."

He lifts up the clipboard and waves it in an exaggerated motion toward her, "Hellooooo schedule~" Then he's busy striking across words with his pen, until Denisa's birthday is mentioned. He balks, gives the girl a guilty look and begins furiously flipping through the papers on the clipboard. Until he finds the page he's looking for… then he directs a weak smile over to the girl and squeaks "Happy birthdaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy~"

Sorry kid, no cake this year. Better luck next year.

Eve's name brings Elisabeth's head around on a stifled gasp. It's all she can do to swallow hard — it's not her Eve, but Jesus. The pang still cuts just as deep. And then she makes a point of looking at the kids and saying, "Birthday! Well, that just calls for something seriously celebration-like!" She moves to her feet and herds the kids to theirs. "We are going to go right down to the music room and have a birthday song, and you know what? She gets to be Queen of Games for the evening. C'mon. Let's go gather the rest of the kids, and we'll do that while everyone handles stuff here, okay?" She wraps an arm around the birthday girl's shoulders and nudges them. "Sing, Mr. Dirk! I know you have a fantastic voice in there," she encourages his attempt. She learned his name since they last met too. And leading the kids out of the room with her, there's a rousing chorus (or least her attempt to get one going) of ~Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you…~

Two dead. Steve is appropriately somber as the news is delivered, taking the bitterness in stride. "I'm so sorry." She'd be upset if her team had just died, too. She'd want to scream and shout at anybody and try to make right something that won't ever be. It's how she was in the beginning when they lost people.

"I'm glad you made it back." There's an stretch of her hand out toward Aislinn's arm that's aborted. Not all the grieving feel comfort in touch. "Come on. Let's get you sitting down," Steve gestures toward an armchair that's seen far better days, but it's the one she's found in most often. Usually with a book or a cup of tea, listening to the children play piano. Or 'Dessa.

Too many people recently. There's a look of sympathy fixed on Lynette and Mateo in turn. The display with the kids pulls her from her thoughts. "Oh, Dirk… Would you mind getting us some water?"

Who earns a solemn look from Aislinn, her gaze moving back down to the ground for a moment. "Lancaster," she says quietly. "Messer too." She takes a deep breath shaking her head. Two of their better scavangers as of late, too. She runs her hands down her face. "God, yes, please. Clear the schedule for a bit Dirk, somethin'!" Not that she thinks K-Mart would respect any changes Dirk makes, but at least someone is trying.

She looks over at Peyton, and then at Ruiz. "Pretty sure it was the same person who got Eve." There's a bit of rising anger in Aislinn's voice as she huddles in closer to everyone else. "Rue just-" A hand moves to her mouth. "Oh god, I might've lied Peyton, just thinkin' about it…" She shiver, closing her eyes tight. "Didn't… Didn't see Liza. Heard 'er, though."

As she's led to sit down and the kids are led away from the scene, she looks up at Steve. "We gotta do somethin'. I dunno who's out there doin' what. Could be Vanguard, could be some sicko havin' a fucked up kinda fun, but… this can't keep up." Her look takes a pleading quality as she looks up at Steve. "Fuckin'- or we gotta find another part a' town to look in."

Denisa brightens when Dirk starts singing, but it's still one of those slight too little, too late things. The kids get up and follow the new piano teacher, and Ruiz's eyes follow after for a moment. He trusts the woman, at least for the most part. And he also trusts the kids to say something, too. Denisa's a pragmatist, after all.

When the names of the two lost are revealed he curses softly in Spanish, and then nods. Mas, Messer and Lancaster.

"I'll check with Sorensen. See how long we can go without another savanging run on the supplies we have," Ruiz offers, glancing toward Lynette in one of those please, don't go out right now looks. "I'll have him send an estimate to Ray and Dirk."

Magnes' reply gets an odd look from Peyton, but she doesn't retort for the time being. The fact she keeps her mouth shut means things are serious. The names draw a frown from her — they are names she knows. People she knows. "Shit," she says quietly.

Aislinn's blanching at the thought of Rue's death makes her grimace, and she backs up despite herself, until she sits down on the bench of the table she'd been perched on top of a few moments ago.

"I don't like that," Lynette says as Liz takes the kids off to who knows where. "Dirk, write that down. Lynette says no strangers with the kids." Upset? A bit, yeah. Ruiz may trust her— and that goes far enough to keep Lynette from chasing the woman down— but that trust is non-transferable.

Coming back around to the other matter, though, she looks over at Steve. "What are the chances that we can mount some kind of offensive?" She doesn't like feeling pinned down, and that's how she's feeling just now. The list of who has her looking down at her feet. "Shit," she repeats herself, but more disheartened this time. And then she looks over at Ruiz, who seems to have anticipated her thoughts, seeing as she opens her mouth and then shuts it again. She nods to his look instead and leans her head against his shoulder.

"Water? Sure thing," Dirk replies as quick as can be. Thank goodness the kids were taken away, it would break his heart if he had to witness any crying over missing birthday cakes or parties. Raising his clipboard, he makes a small note to rip up a piece of paper and throw it at the kid tomorrow. Maybe one of the lists he doesn't need anymore or something.

Then he's off to fetch the requested refreshment. When he returns, the clipboard is tucked under his arm facing outward. On it, names have been scratched off and the line beside them left blank. He passes the water to the first lady and surprisingly doesn't echo the same word everyone else has. "Language~" he sing songs, doing his best to lighten the mood before adding, "I don't like it either. I especially don't like her weasling access to every name in the Hub."

He gives a pointed look to Stevie and raises one eyebrow in question, "Is there anything you can do about that? I don't feel safe with someone we don't know having that information. What if she's from Vanguard?" Then he gives a pointed look toward where Magnes is standing. The man did come with her, after all.

Steve's eyes shut heavily as she breathes out a sigh. Losing two of their best is not a good sign at all. They're being hunted too well. Their movements are becoming habits and easy to track. At least, that's what she assumes. "Thank you for telling us." Placing a hand gently on the small of Aislinn's back, she leads her and the others to her favorite chair, guiding the shaken woman to sit, then handing her that glass of water. "Thank you, Dirk."

Her head lifts then, so her gaze can fix on Lynette. "I'll have to talk to Allen…" But… Not great? There's a knowing look that passes between her and the other electrokinetic. She knows they're starting to run low on people with offensive abilities, and they could make one hell of a team together. Lynette taught Steve everything she knows about what she is capable of, exactly, with her ability. It's the best-guarded secret of their friendship.

But just as Mateo isn't about to let Lynette take the fight to their aggressors, Allen isn't about to let his wife take up the crusade of retribution. It's too dangerous for everyone involved.

A glance is spared in the direction Elisabeth left in with the children. She can't let on what she knows about the situation - which is admittedly very little. "I'll look into it. I promise."

Now, Steve braces her hands on the wingback on either side of Aislinn and bends forward until they're only inches apart. Her dark hair drapes on either side of her face and makes her blue gaze look more intense. More luminous.

"Now listen to me. You are our medic and our agrokinetic. We cannot afford to lose you. You will not ask to go back out there. You will not take it upon yourself to go back out there." Tone still calm and her voice quite soft, but the edge of it is cold steel. This is not a request. This is an order. "You do that? You put us all in jeopardy. Do I make myself clear, Miss Graves?"

"Look, I'm sorry I made a scene an' everything, but, I just…" With Steve's urging, she takes the glass of water. Taking a deep breath, she gulps almost half of it down before she resurfaces. "Can't do that," is a quick reply to Steve's order. "Look, I know Allan an' Edward hate when I go out, but there's only but so many plants down here, an' just- we keep losing people."

She groans, leaning back in her seat. "We need a break anyway. People are lookin' a little ragged lately. "Just, Peyton… promise me y'll talk t' him, yeah?" To K-Mart. "An' yeah, Sorensen. Yeah, that's good too." She definitely seems calmer now, though she still huffs out a breath.

"Don't- do that." Aislinn looks up at Lynette with wide eyes. "What are you, mad as a hatter? Let's see if we can give 'em time to move on. Maybe try elsewhere for a bit. We go tearin' through the city, we'll just attract them." And the last thing any of them want is the Vanguard on the front door.

"Thanks Dirk," she offers before falling silent, a smile offered his way.

"She's not Vanguard," Ruiz states very simply, even as he's distracted by dark thoughts. He can be negated and still have dark thoughts rolling around in his head and losing people does that. He still remembers how Mas used to call him Otter Eyes, for some reason he never quite understood— and that red banded wrist watch continues to tick away on his wrist. So much lost.

He hates that he's going to have to clean out two more rooms for supplies.

Fingers tightening around Nette's, he's showing, once again, he definitely doesn't want her to go anywhere. Unless he's with her, at least.

"Come on, 'Nette. Come with me to talk to Soresen." Mostly because he doesn't want to let her out of his sight. It had been such a good day for like… ten minutes, when she was running her hands through his hair and teasing him. Good days never last.

It's rare that people ask Peyton to do anything. Rarer still that she agrees. But the young woman nods at Aislinn, before reaching up to tuck a blue strand of hair behind one ear.

"I'll try," she says, fairly simply, before standing up, reaching for the magazine sitting where she left it, next to Magnes. "See ya 'round, new guy," she says, a little playfully, before turning to head deeper into the Hub.

Even though she was yelling at him only moments before, Dirk levels a concerned frown at Aislinn. He heaves a sigh so heavy that you'd think the entire weight of all life in the Hub hung on his shoulders, in his mind, they all do. "I'll go find Rickham," he utters in a low, almost defeated tone.

There are policies and procedures in place but death sort of takes the cake. Sorry kid, not birthday cake or the kind you want to eat.

Lynette meets Steve's gaze for that moment. She knows what they can do together. It would be a sight to see, that's for sure. And with the electricity buzzing in her skin, the temptation buzzes, too. The knowledge that she could go out there and do something swims around her head. Save her people, maybe. But Aislinn gets her attention. And raises a good point. "We can only wait for so long. If they don't move on, we'll have to do something."

And there's Ruiz gripping her hand. Anchoring her to something real. Present. And when she looks at him, he can feel her relax under his grip. "Of course," she says and her free hand moves to his arm as the pair starts for the door. She doesn't even say bye to the others, just takes Mateo and goes.

An alarmed look flashes across Steve's face when Dirk says he's going to go find her husband. "You hear of anybody wanting to go out there again, Aislinn, you talk to me. If you need anything, you talk to me. That's what I'm here for."

The tension of the moment is getting to her. Steve squints against the lights and reaches to her back pocket to slide free the arm of a pair of designer sunglasses that have seen better days. But the lenses are still dark as night and work nicely to block out the light. They're slid into place easily and she only offers a nod to Aislinn before she's calling out, "Lynette! Ruiz!"

Jogging to catch up, she steps in front of them, placing her hands on Lynette's shoulders, the fingers of one sliding to the back of her neck to touch skin on skin beneath blonde hair. It looks terribly intimate, and it won't be the first time rumors have flown around about the exact nature of their close friendship. "Sorry," she murmurs softly to her mentor. "Don't worry," is for Mateo, spoken softly so only he can hear. "We're both too smart for that."

Then, she nods her head firmly and moves off in the other direction. "Dirk, wait up. I know where to find him."

"Yeah." Aislinn blinks, shivering again. "I'm gonna go… find my sister." Despite that, she doesn't move. She swallows loudly. She doesn't have thoughts on the strange new woman, the dumbfounded kid who seems too entranced by Peyton at this point to speak. "I appreciate it, guys," she adds after a moment, face buried into her hands.

Taking her turn to walk away from the group, Ling Chao rolls her eyes, tugging at the loose fabric of the gloves she wears. "Another day closer," she muses. "Oh well."

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