As Good A Day As Any


aaron_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title As Good A Day As Any
Synopsis Well, not really. Peyton arrives home to find Aaron in a very peculiar situation, only to have him fly off the handle and assault her with a jar of jam.
Date March 27, 2010

Aaron and Peyton's Apartment — Upper West Side

It's been a very, very long time since Aaron made any appearance in the living room. Normally, if Peyton doesn't beat him to it, he's showered, eaten, and returned to his room or else ventured outside despite the blistering cold and absurdly deep snow. This time, however, she might actually get a glimpse of him lying on the couch— that's right, he's on communal furniture. Of course, there's the fact that he seems to be communing with another person to deal with, but one shock after another.

Despite what can only be considered a more than healthy amount of sleep, Aaron still looks worn down and pale, dark circles under his eyes. He's forgone jeans in favour of cargo pants, the weather scarcely permitting such thin attire, and wears a pale blue long-sleeved polo shirt. Apparently he's had a trim since he was last seen, as his hair is sightly shorter than it was and the scruff is gone.

Then there's the matter of the person on his lap, someone Peyton's never seen before, or at best may have passed at some point on the street. She's indeterminably young, possibly a teenager, or young adult around Peyton's age — though that might be pushing it slightly. Somewhat worn around the edges, her skin is dry and her blonde hair frazzled, suggesting a less-than-favourable life. Right now she's wrapped up in blankets, is probably only a few hairs over five feet and underweight from the looks of the size of the bundle. Eyes appear glazed over as though she couldn't possibly get anymore relaxed, and she just lies there on Aaron's lap, his arms firmly around her.

There's only half a smile from Aaron, as though he's somehow burdened by the beautiful girl on his lap.

The weather outside is too atrocious; she can't even get to the library in this weather, but Peyton's been out of the apartment to use the building's gym facility and pick up her mail. While she may not be able to get to midtown, she's been clipping out any relevant stories from the newspaper — the coffee table is littered with newspaper stories and scissors and newspapers with holes cut out of them. Hopefully Aaron hadn't been planning on reading any of it. She enters the apartment, her cheeks rosy form her workout, still in the workout wear — yoga capris, track shoes, a tank top; since the gym is indoors, she didn't have to go out in the snow or wear a coat.

Peyton moves into the apartment flipping through the mail, not noticing Aaron or the strange girl on his lap until she's almost to her chair. She stops, suddenly, and gives a shake of her head in confusion. "Aaron…?" she says, brows knitting together.

It would seem Aaron was in some deep thought, as it's not until Peyton speaks that he notices things. Like the newspaper clippings, or the fact that he completely missed seeing her coat and boots still there at the door, which would signal that she was either in the apartment or else still in the building. He could have done two things: Taken note of the coat and boots and hidden the girl in his room, or he could have left the girl out in the cold, all docile as she is. But he didn't notice, and he simply couldn't leave the girl alone. It was simply not within him.

Snapped out of his thoughts, he decides not to come up with some cockamamy story to explain away the girl on his lap, and instead starts with, "You don't want to know." Only, he realizes, she probably does. It is, technically, her apartment. He's quite certain his name isn't on any legal documentation pertaining to the ownership of the apartment. Not even insurance documentation. The place is hers. "Ugh." He relinquishes one arm from the girl to rub his face.

Peyton leans against the wall, crossing her arms and looking down at them quizzically, and with a touch of annoyance. "Whether or not you think I want to know is not the issue. You can't just bring homeless people in here off the street, Aaron. No matter how cute you find them," she says coolly. "If she's in trouble or something, I can probably find her some help, but if she's in trouble… I left you a note about the fact that the Company might have left some listen device in the hall or be watching us — I doubt they are anymore, if they were — so bringing strange people in here isn't exactly the smartest thing to do, you know?"

The girl stirs a bit when 'homeless people' are mentioned but otherwise continues to stare off into LaLa Land. Aaron, meanwhile, bites down a hurtful expletive and shakes his head. "Smart or not, I wasn't about to leave her around in this state to be raped, murdered, or die of hypothermia. So sue me for having a soul." He gently moves the girl aside, keeping her wrapped up, and sets her down against a pillow instead of his chest. Then he walks imposingly over to Peyton, eyes alight, "God knows it's one of the only constructive thing I've done as long as I can remember."

"You have a phone. You could have called me and I could call in Ferry. Or brought her to a shelter or something, if she's not Evolved," Peyton rebuts, but then he's walking toward her. She's against the wall, or she'd step back out of instinct. Her eyes flicker to one side for a moment, as if to consider an escape route, but she lifts her chin as he gets closer. "I'm also not sure why you have to cuddle her like a doll or something. That's a little … creepy, Aaron. If you're worried about her health, get some food into her and if you're worried about her emotions, sing to her. You don't have to fondle her."

"Singing is how this whole problem started." The words just slip out before Aaron has even half a chance to consider them. It doesn't help that they're true. "It's like Bella's reaction times ten." He turns and walks away into the kitchen. Sometimes he wishes he lived alone again, even if it was a cramped, barely-apartment like he had when he lived in Greenwich Village the previous year. Not like he has the money for that. He rifles around the cupboards for little more than distraction to prevent him from wanting to hit something or cry. He's not entirely sure which one would make him feel better, but feels neither would be constructive at this point.

She frowns, following him slowly, casting a glance over her shoulder at the girl on the couch. "So you basically drugged her out with your music so she's all … high or whatever, and can't function, so you thought to bring her up here? Like some sort of musical roofie?" she says, not sure she's understanding correctly. "Don't be mad at me, Aaron. I haven't even seen you in like three weeks, and don't act like I'm being irrational to see you here with some kid on your lap."

Her logic does little for Aaron's frustration, as a poor jar of jam learns when it's thrown at the floor near Peyton's feet. The bursting jar and blood-red raspberry jam spattering the floor probably does little for her opinion of him. He grips the countertop to anchor himself to something that isn't near Peyton, anger seething. He does manage to control himself and his breathing for now. "More like I bought her a drink only to find out it was poisoned. I decided I should bring her back here rather than leave her alone and to someone else's devices. And she's not a kid." He sighs, "I checked her ID. Granted, it could be fake, but sex was not on the menu." He faces the countertop instead of Peyton, "So when do you want me moved out?"

The jar has her backing up, a little choked gasp coming from her as she bumps against the wall, scowling down at the splattered jam that flecks her shoes and legs. "What the fuck, Aaron…" she says as she exhales, eyes wide as she looks up from the mess to his back. "What the hell is the matter with you? I just wanted explanation. Fine. I'm glad you didn't leave her passed out to be kidnapped or raped by some sicko. Good. Great. You said music caused the problem, so I assumed that's what you meant — that you somehow made her pass out like that before bringing her home. And I don't care if you bring 'friends' home, except that she looks like she's homeless, and because I have people who might be watching my apartment, and I don't want to be fucking responsible for anyone else getting in trouble with the Company, all right? I'm trying to fucking stay under their radar, and if you dragging home little girls brings more attention…" Soon enough she's shaking, and the tears come as she slides down the wall, not seeming to be worried about sticky jam or worse, broken glass as she buries her face in her hands.

"Considering the address on her ID is an address in Midtown, I'd say you're right on the ball. I'd have brought her home and let her family, friends, roommate, whatever deal with it, but clearly she has none. Just like me." No apologies, no explanations for his outburst. If he had super strength, the apartment would be missing a counter with how tight he's been gripping it to avoid any further outbursts. He finally manages to release his hold of the counter after which he walks past Peyton and out of the kitchen, though not without first putting a hand on Peyton's shoulder and saying, "She's nineteen. That's hardly a little girl."

She jerks away from his hand on her shoulder — it's not there for sympathy, that's for sure. Unfortunately, she loses her balance and puts one hand down — on the broken bottom of the jar. Breath whistles through her teeth as she winces with pain, slowly lifting her hand, broken glass sticking to it, a crescent wedged into the palm of her hand. She doesn't call him back but simply stares at the mess, blood dripping down her wrist and running down her arm.

Cowardice. The lack of courage, especially in the face of danger, pain, opposition, etc. A rather apt description of Aaron on most days. Like today. He'll certainly be kicking himself later, possibly quite literally, but for now, he bundles up his things, bundles up himself and his guitar, and actually manages to get the girl walking, even if somewhat zombie-like. He bundles her up with Peyton's coat — the dirty thief — on top of her own less adequate jacket, and then they both depart. He has a small stash of money he hid away for when it may be needed. Today seems as good a day as any.

The girl in the kitchen waits until she hears them leave, then manages to stand, feet nearly slipping in sticky jam and broken glass — at least she wasn't barefoot. She pulls the broken piece of glass from the butt of her palm — luckily, it didn't cut through the tendons in the center of the hand. The blood and jams mix into a garish raspberry and red swirl on the stainless steel sink. Grabbing a clean towel, she wraps it around the ragged wound, wincing as the rough cloth stings the torn flesh. She heads to get her coat — coat? The coat rack where she put the last coat she wore is bare. "Asshole," she hisses, then heads to the closet in the hall to grab another, then grabs her purse before heading out. She'll need the apartment manager's help to get to a hospital, to get her hand stitched up.

Unfortunately, Aaron and Peyton's friendship is likely not so easily mended.

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