Arcades Mark II


alia_icon.gif aura_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Arcade, Mark II
Synopsis A quartet goes to Kansas for some downtime.
Date 07/21/2019

A Kansas city arcade

It's been a few months since Alia first dragged Richard here. The fact she picked a day off to drag Liz and Aurora too is likely telling. A trip to Kansas, and an actual honest to god arcade. With all the lights and sounds. And no, not meeting a contact. It seems someone is of the opinion that someone or someones need some down time. So an Alia in a t shirt, a ripped off sleeve denim vest, jeans, and a red baseball cap with an old video game logo on it leads the way inside.

The plane trip was interesting. Once airborne, Aurora was all over the place looking out every single window and peering toward the ground, asking a million questions. Elisabeth commented quietly in amusement to the other adults, "Could we bottle that level of energy please?"

But it was nothing to the wide-eyed wonder with which the little girl stares at the arcade. It's wonderland all wrapped up with music and prizes! "Primal!" The child breathes out. Holding Blossom in the crook of her arm, her free hand creeps into Richard's as if despite her fascination she is not going in that loud, bustling place without an adult.

Elisabeth quirks a brow, her hand shoved into the back pockets of her jeans as she glances around. "I'm not sure I thought things like this still existed," she admits. Living in New York has the disadvantage of letting one forget that other places were not as hard hit.

“I don’t think they did, before the bomb,” Richard admits, “I think they scavenged old ones and refurbished them— there’s been a bit of a renaissance of interest since the Internet is shit these days. No more video games online all day…”

His fingers close around Aurora’s own in a warm squeeze; they would’ve brought the twins as well, but Harmony had already arranged to bring them to a museum for the day. He flashes a grin down to her, “Ever played skee-ball, kiddo?”

“Kansas mostly untouched.” She notes dryly, but happily, as she hands over a plastic card to Aurora, and another to Richard, and a third to Liz. Alia apparently got prepaid cards full of tokens to use on the machines. Whooo. “This, worth watching.” She states with some degree of mock seriousness… the smile on her face though says she’s enjoying every moment of it and is glad that people seem… relaxed? Or at least more at ease.

Aurora asks in a wondering tone, "There are skis for balls??" Let's see the explanation for that. "The same kind as the Grinch uses?" It's the only place she's seen skis that she remembers.

The laugh that bubbles out of Elisabeth is soft. As she takes the card from Alia, she murmurs, "You know I always sucked at these things, right?" But she's definitely intending to enjoy the outing.

“No, not that kind of skis,” Richard grins, shaking his head even as he reaches out for the card, “I’ll show you. It’s a game with wooden balls, you roll them— c’mon.” His hand still holding his daughter’s, he leads her inside at an easy stroll, “It’s a little old-fashioned maybe, but it’s fun— “

“… Honestly? Me too.” Alia grins, but motions to her head to a more unusual video game with a hand held microphone for a controller. “…bet you do well at that?” Yup, it’s a karaoke judging machine. “After Ricky teaches Aurora the art of skiball physics and zen.” Alia -might- be making a half joke there. She’s definitely got a smile on her face seeing Aurora’s reaction.

“I’m glad to show something enjoyable?” She finally adds as a barely hearable aside to Liz, likely lost to anyone -else- under the din of the noise and sounds.

Elisabeth just laughs softly as she watches Richard with Aurora. She stays back a little with Alia, and murmurs softly, "Thank you." Her blue eyes flicker to the other woman's face and unexpectedly there's a sheen of moisture there despite the wide smile. "I never thought I'd get to see something like this." The sight of their daughter getting to do something like this with her father was something that for a while was nothing more than a dream.

Clearing her throat and shaking off the sudden mood, Elisabeth glances at the karaoke machine. "It's probably cheating for someone who sang for a living," she laughs. Even without her ability, she's pretty decent.

Aura skips along next to Richard asking, "What's old fashioned? Where do the balls go? Why are they wood? Is it like bowling? I did bowling wif Cam an' Unca Felix, but the balls were heavy. Are these heavy? Do I hafta use bof hands?"

“It’s kind of like bowling,” Richard explains as he heads to the row of brightly-lit skee ball machines in the back, “They’re much smaller than bowling balls, though, see?” The card’s used to start a game up, and as the bowls tumble down he picks one up to offer it to her, “You might need two hands because you’re small still, but see how much they weigh?”

As she examines it, he picks another one up, pointing with a finger, “See, you need to roll them up to hop into the holes to get points! Like this— “

He pulls an arm back, and then rolls it up - leaping up the ramp, bouncing off anything valuable and scoring a whole 20 points. Clearly out of practice.

ALia watches the first low score… but notes its not a complete gutter no score, so likely better then Alia would manage. “… Who said a thing about fair?” she grins. “Most games rigged against you here in one way or nother. How else they get coins through them?” Well at least Alia is blunt about it. For now she’ll watch the young one and Richard, it _is_ quite entertaining. Though, she points at a dancing game of some kind that uses infra-red lasers to figure out where you are so your arms are part of the fun. “Try that later with me?” She grins at Liz.

Looking nonplussed, Elisabeth gapes at the dancing game. "Seriously?" She gives it a doubtful look and then just rolls her eyes and laughs. "Oh fine, I'll make an idiot of myself. C'mon then."

Aurora holds the hard ball in her hands and when Richard's makes 20 points, her eyes light up. "You hit it, Daddy!" She sounds so impressed with him, jumping up and down in glee. "My turn!"

She's short, and so are her arms, so her windup isn't as impressive and the little ball slows and rolls right back to her the first time. Instead of pouting about it, she catches it and her little face screws itself into an expression of ferocious concentration. This time, even though she throws it as hard as she can, it's still only just clears the lip and gutters. She looks up at her father, the side-eyed look one he has seen on Elisabeth once in a while. oh *really*. Usually heralded by something that deserves 'hold my beer' as a follow-up.

And sure enough… the little pixie is climbing onto the ramp to get a better angle for the second throw!

As she starts to climb up, Richard can’t help but laugh, reaching out to catch her up by under her arms and lifting her into the air. “No standing on the machine, little rainbow,” he teases her - but he does hold her there floating above it for that better angle, because loopholes are a thing that his daughter should learn at an early age.

“C’mon, I know you can do it,” he encourages her, “Give it another try!”

Alia shakes her head and laughs. “And miss this?” She nudges Liz and then nods towards Richard and Aurora. “This, well worth it.” She grins widely. “We play after they done with first round, maybe.” Alia giggles.
Oh.My.God. Elisabeth turns back around as she's nudged just in time to see the expression on Aurora's face but before she can say anything, Richard's already caught her. She should have more faith — he does, after all, corral Ricky on a regular basis. Dragging her hand down her face, Liz can't hold back her own giggles. She whips out her phone to take a couple of pictures of that, cuz… yeah. It's worth it.

Squealing as her father swoops her up, Aura is surprised to find herself still up. And when Daddy says try it, she goes gangbusters — aiming with her tongue stuck just that little bit out of her mouth while she narrows her hazel eyes. And there's true wind-up. And the pitch! The ball lifts a few feet down the raised lane and hits hard, but it's rolling fast enough to get the munchkin 20 points when it pops up. Both little arms go up and Aurora whoops with glee!

“You got it,” Richard crows in congratulation, setting her down on the ground and offering a hand up for a high-five, “High-five! You did as good as me, you’ll be beating me at this in no-time.”

Turning a bit, he notices the phone aimed his way, nose wrinkling playfully before he sticks his tongue out at his lover.

Alia just grins and winks at Richard and Aurora, giggling happily. This, honestly, has her feeling happy happy joy joy. The technopath grins a bit. “This. THis is why I brought us here.” She says softly.

Laughing at him, Elisabeth retorts in a wicked little purr that her power whispers into his ear alone, "Hey now… don't make promises you can't keep." Her grin is cheeky as hell as she sticks her tongue out in return. She reaches one arm companionably around Alia's shoulders and hugs the other woman to her side. "Thank you," she whispers.

Aurora high-fives her father back and is capering around the ramp while little tickets come rolling out of the bottom of the machine. Squatting down to look, she looks up and asks, "What's the tickets for, Daddy?" There's only two of them. Apparently you get one ticket for hitting the bottom ring. "Can we frow it again?" she asks. "There's more balls!"

Ohboy. That's going to be fun when the sprite figures out that she gets PRIZES for points!

That private little whisper in Richard’s ear from a distance earns Elisabeth a far more sly grin — and a wink — but nothing aloud. “Yes, we can,” he tells her cheerfully, “You get all those balls for one game. Do you think you can do it from down there, or do you want me to pick you up again…?”

He leans down, then, whispering, “You get tickets for winning points, and you can trade them in for prizes.”

Alia grins, but says nothing further about the prizes. After all she could just hijack the counter circuit, but that's really cheating. Besides,that'd take all the challenge out of it. "No, thank you." She grins a bit to Liz as she leans in to whisper. "You could have vanished off face of Earth after you got back…"

Alia pauses then giggles, "though, staying not found, difficult. Glad all three of you didn't though."

Aurora thinks about that for all of two seconds and then says, "Well, you gots to pick me up! I'm not tall enough!" Makes perfect sense, right?? "That way I can get more prizes!" If Daddy holds her around the waist, Aura is sure she can make lots of points!

Wrinkling her nose at Richard with a smile, Elisabeth seems more relaxed and happy than Alia really has ever seen her. She glances at the technopath and says softly, "You have no idea how hard I thought about that idea." But he wouldn't have gone. Or if he had, he certainly wouldn't have rested easy over it. "Home is where your heart is," she says simply. So hers is here.

“Alright,” Richard laughs, and he scoops his daughter right up off her feet again with both hands on her waist - stepping over and lowering her so that she can reach for the wooden balls, “Well, grab one and let’s take another go! Try to do it underhand, okay? Roll it, that way it has time to build some speed before the ramp…”

He’s grinning, at ease and relaxed as he teaches his daughter to play skee ball, not obsessing over a thousand things — a peace that only his kids can bring him.

Alia raises an eyebrow a little at Liz, then nods in agreement. “Home.” She says simply, sounding a mix of relieved and happy. She grins, and all but glomps Liz. “Wouldn’t be anywhere else.” She pauses a moment. “‘Sides, Aura is better at getting ‘Pretty Ricky’ to take a break.” She states in a low tone, looking amused as she does so.

Today, she has decided, is a good day.

The nickname cracks Elisabeth up."Pretty Ricky? Good God, that still kills me," she laughs.

Aurora demands "what's underhand?" After her father shows her that, the little girl lofts the hard wooden ball down the ramp. It's loud when it lands and Liz winces despite that she's still laughing. It falls in the gutter and the child scowls. She gets on her ferocious concentration face. Both little hands hold the next ball, and Daddy said underhand and roll it. She's bound and determined she's gonna get it right.

“You can do it, little rainbow,” Richard encourages her, “Just gotta keep on trying. You can do anything with enough practice.” He glances over to Elisabeth and Alia with a smile, then back to the Skee Ball machine as he holds her up properly, “Just focus on rolling it straight up the middle…”

Alia smirks, “Had to pick something up. Didn’t get sparkles.” Alia notes with a dry tone… before she just breaks up into laughter, between the name, the joke, and the -determination- on Aurora’s face. Alia is a happy person.

Still laughing, Elisabeth walks toward the karaoke machine Alia wanted to try, and she shoots Richard a wicked twinkle. Swiping her arcade card through it, she brings the other microphone to Alia and points at the screen… the music coming from the machine is pretty recognizable.

We're no strangers to love.
You know the rules, and so do I.

Yes, Richard Ray, YOU are getting Rickrolled.

As the music and singing starts, Richard glances over from where he’s showing his daughter how to skee-ball, a single eyebrow lifting high on his face. Really, his expression says, Really??

And then perhaps a surprise. Alia isn't as polished or practiced as Liz, but she can actually sing, as long as she doesn't have to come up with the words herself!

A full commitment's what I'm thinking of
You wouldn't get this from any other guy

Alia is wearing a full out smile that says 'Yes, really, Ricky.'

Elisabeth stumbles over the next lines, unable to not laugh at Richard's face. When they hit the chorus, it's clear that the choice was made literally just to sass the man. If you're gonna karaoke, go big or go home!

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down

Aurora, pausing in throwing the hard wooden balls, turns and stares. The ambient noise around her is a jumble of floating colors, but Mummy's voice — especially when she's singing! — cuts through the noise. She grabs her Daddy's sleeve and pure joy lights up her little face. "Lookit, Daddy," she squeaks, jumping up and down, dropping the wooden ball. "Mummy's singin'." In public!!

“She is, I see her and hear her,” Richard laughs, bending down to scoop up the wooden ball that she was holding and offering it back down to her even as he watches the pair singing - a smirk crossing his face, head shaking slowly, “That she is, kiddo.”

Never gonna run around and desert you, Never gonna make you cry

Now, Alia would never have thought of this, but this song is so damn perfect. Other than the line being about coming from any other guy anyway. She grins at Liz, then at ‘Pretty Ricky’ and Aurora… and she sings her fool heart out. If she’s gonna look ridiculous, she’s doing it with the people that she considers family. And that, is all that really matters in the end, isn’t it?

Never gonna say goodbye, Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

He told her to start singing again — or gently nudged her that she should. She does, a little. Around the apartment, to their daughter. But Elisabeth’s still been far, far more serious than she used to be and moments of pure frivolity haven’t exactly been on her list of things to do.

As she and Alia act a little bit drama-queen-like and emote, Elisabeth’s laughter occasionally breaks the lyrics. She sings straight to Aurora and then wrinkles her nose at Richard too, exaggerating the eyerolling as she sings,

We've known each other for so long
Your heart's been aching but you're too shy to say it

Aurora claps her hands over her mouth, the wooden ball ignored as she claps and laughs in delight. “She’s so blue, Daddy! Like the nighttime wif stars!" Mummy's only that color when she's actually performing. "An' ‘Lia sings too!” Aaaaaahhhh! It’s too exciting for words! “An' it’s orange!!”

It’d be hard enough not to smile at her singing, but Aurora’s delight has Richard grinning broadly. He drops down to crouch down beside his daughter, closer to her level, and ruffles her hair gently. “That she is,” he agrees, “She sings beautifully, and Alia isn’t bad either, is she?”

The last a bit teasing - he just can’t say that Alia sings as well as mommy, after all!

Alia is so not as good as Liz. She can accept that. She just grins and emotes and -sings-, Letting her own feelings out and just going with it… the fact she’s made the Pixie’s night? That’s mission -two- complete though. And that makes Alia just grin all the wider.

The song's not that long, so while Elisabeth and Alia monkey around up there, Aurora wraps her arms around her father's neck where he's crouched down. "Ev'ything's okay now, Daddy," she whispers in his ear. This is Mummy as Aura knew her before the magic doors. She has the biggest grin ever as she watches what Alia and Liz do. When the song is done, she squeals and jumps up and down applauding.

Laughing breathlessly when they rejoin their companions on the floor cuz Alia also made her dance up there too — meanie! — Elisabeth's blue eyes sparkle. "Okay. I admit it. I miss it."

Aww. At his daughter’s insistence that everything’s okay now, Richard melts a bit, wrapping an arm around her and squeezing her against his side in a hug. “Yeah,” he murmurs, looking back to them, “It is.”

As they step down, he pushes himself up to his feet, “Well, then stop missing it. Sing, it’s what makes you happy.”

Alia grins… and collects the tickets from the machine to add to Aurora’s pile before joining the others. She continues to smile, and humming the tune… “That… perfect.” She nods to Liz. “Now we made fools of self….” She giggles and hugs Liz and Richard… she’d get aurora too but her arms aren’t long enough.. “What next?”

Aurora stays real close to her daddy until the women are off the stage and then she hurtles herself at Liz's legs. "It was blue," she crows at her mother, as if that has meaning. Which, apparently it does to the audiokinetic because as her hands reach down to cradle the little girl's head to her hip in a hug, there's a moment where she looks up to meet Richard's comment but then has to look away a little. She still has trouble trusting in the happy moments.

Aura looks up at Alia and grins. "Yer the orangiest orange singing I ever saw!" Apparently it pleases the pixie, given the grin.

Clearing her throat a little, Liz says, "uhmmm." Glancing around, she points. "Ball pit?" Something Aurora has not noticed before and now enthralls the child and she races for the opening. Because who doesn't love a ball pit??

A one-armed hug is returned, and then Richard steps away to watch Aurora racing for the ball pit with a grin. “I don’t know how idyllic it could’ve been in Pinehearst’s world if a little girl never went to an arcade,” he teases lightly, “Still. It’s good seeing her experience it for the first time…"

Alia just gives a happy giggle. It's a moment where anything she could have said would not improve it. So instead she smiles, closes her eyes and has a silently thankful moment.

Then she dashes to catch up with the pixie because unattended children tend to be taught things like collectable miniatures games.

Slipping her arm around Richard's waist, Elisabeth leans her head on the man's shoulder. "Well… we did inflatable playgrounds but I don't think I even thought about arcades, if there even were any. She was too small, really."

She watches Alia race after Aurora, who is hurling herself with all the gusto of a 7-year-old, into the mosh pit of plastic balls squealing with delight. Her own grin is amused and a bit grateful for Alia's initiative on this outing. Glancing up at him, she chuckles softly. "She might need hazard pay."

“I think getting us out and doing things that aren’t stressful is enough pay for her,” Richard chuckles, leaning down to kiss Elisabeth’s temple, “Obviously we should just let her babysit sometimes to give us time to ourselves, when mom isn’t available…”

He looks back up, watching her follow Aurora to the ball pit, “She’s right about us getting out more, after all.”

Alia merely keeps up with Aurora. That’s all she needs to do to keep an eye on the pixie as she goes into that one land an adult is rarely allowed: a ball pit. So she stops, and grins, and relaxes… though to be fair, she likely doesn’t seek out the babysitting either, though she’s more than happy to watch any of the kids when called for.

That said, it seems Alia is happy somewhat to get a chance to decompress too. She’s been wound tight lately between assigned and self assigned things. Add in not wanting to wreck a good thing by pushing on it too hard… and well, her path has been quite interesting, even as she just smiles when the Pixie spots her.

Amused at the man's cluelessness, Elisabeth just laughs softly against his shoulder. "She is definitely right about that part." That Alia's perhaps doing it for deeper reasons than are obvious she just leaves alone right there.

"'Lia, come an' swim!" Or … something like swimming, which is what one does in a ball pit, apparently. Aurora is going to sleep really well on the plane home.

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