Backstage Pass


huruma_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif mateo3_icon.gif

Scene Title Backstage Pass
Synopsis While recording her talk-show spot, Lynette Rowan Ruiz's husband and good friend look on in the waiting room backstage and finally meet for the first time.
Date April 14. 2018

Television Studio

While those who wanted to be there to support the guests were unable to actually sit in the radio room, or even behind the glass, the radio studio did have a small guest area set up off of the lobby with chairs, with a television that plays the show as it records and airs. While many in the Safe Zone will have to be satisfied with radio broadcasts, they can actually see the faces live here, like much of the rest of the country.

The 10 O'Clock, with Louise Campbell.

It's been going on for a few minutes, a small debate between guests. Mateo sits, listening to the voices, but one voice seems to ellicit a specific emotional response that overpowers any annoyance or anger he might feel about that other one. There's just waves of pride and love from him every time that Lynette Rowan Ruiz speaks. The joy of someone watching someone they love do one of the very things they loved them for— And far more.

Huruma wouldn't miss seeing it for the world, especially after she heard it was going to happen. Lynette is not exactly the woman to sit back and listen to people talk over her, at least from what she always remembers.

Mateo isn't the only one that feels a surging sense of annoyance at the other guest, and as he listens intently, Huruma slinks up against the open door, observing him and listening, eyes only momentarily following the screen. She is drawn in by Lynette dropping sharp words from a height. It's always the cute ones.

"I am getting so many cavities that you make me want to have all my teeth pulled out…" Her compliments can be strange, but that's Huruma for you.

They're listening to a particularly terrible bit from the other guest when the— very tall woman suddenly speaks up. Mateo glances over— then up, and up, and— wow. It's a good distraction from that man's annoying words, but he's still gleaming with happiness at seeing and hearing his wife speak so. "That sounds like an unpleasant visit to a dentist— " He offers a nervous smile, as he looks up at her.

Almost on cue, Lynette can be heard saying: "And some people are 6'5" while others are 5'2". Shall we ask them to walk on their knees?"

That causes him to laugh, and again, swell with pride and look back at the screen. No— don't get annoyed at the other man, just… be proud of her. Much better. "Are you with the studio?"

Huruma's features move into a sharp smile when she hears Lynette's voice, lifting a hand to her chest with a note of exaggerated pride. "I knew she wouldn't forget my plight."

The tall woman chooses a seat for herself right beside Mateo, clearly more familiar with him than he with her by the way she leans an elbow on the arm of her seat and looks him over. One leg folds up over the other, jeans and boots only seeming to pronounce her shape. "No, Mateo, I am your neighbor. Of a kind. It is a shame that I am so busy that we haven't had time to properly talk."

A neighbor. One who's potentially a family friend. Mateo tilts his head to the side as he continues to look up at her. It's a plight they share in a way, as he's fairly short for a man. Though he imagines it's more difficult for her. "Personally, I think you're the perfect height." And not just because, well— if he looks down at all. Okay, maybe he does kind of mean that a little?

But enough with that. "I think Lynette's mentioned you." No, he's pretty sure this is the woman that his wife mentioned a time or two. Really tall, dark and beautiful. Like most women would have on their list of dream men. Only this one's a woman, and even taller than most men. "It's nice to finally meet you. I'm Mateo." Though he's sure she knows that already, even as he offers his hand.

"Too kind." Huruma purrs back at his own compliment, and she certainly seems pleased to hear it. At least her shirt has a fairly normal neckline today, else she'd be set on teasing. "I should hope she has. I have seen your Sylvia a time or two.. I supposed that you were just shy."

"Huruma." Her hand moves to take his, a smile on her lips. She has a grip that feels just as sure as the rest, a sweet spot for a handshake. "You are very proud of her. I can feel it, even if you did not say it." Her pale eyes move up to regard the feed. Lynette and Oscar are still exchanging carefully worded blows. "And it is very sweet." Hence… dentistry.

"More like busy. I was studying for a big exam to hopefully get certified that was just last week. When I wasn't working, I was buried in books." Mateo responds with a laugh, rubbing the back of his neck as he looks back at the broadcast, listens to a few more words that spark annoyance and displeasure but then his wife's response causes those good feelings again. She wouldn't even have to feel them to see it on his face.

He just loves her so much, okay?

"I am proud of her. That guy's a real piece of work— and she's responding to him great." It's keeping him from even considering losing control of his ability, at least— "She may not think of herself as much of a 'hero', but she definitely is one." To him. To Silvia. To many others, he imagines. "But I'd probably love her even if she were just riding horses somewhere, too."

Huruma's hand draws across the curve of her chin in thought, skimming recent memory and finding the reminder of feeling someone frustrated but determined. Must have been him?

"It's nice to hear that you are so dedicated. She deserves someone like that." Huruma finally answers, smiling when she looks pointedly away from Oscar speaking. The host does not seem to like that they are going at it, but it must make for ratings. "I can tell you would."

To clarify, she does tap a pair of fingers against her temple. "I am an empath, not a self-help guru."

Frustrated and determined had definitely been his state when he had been studying, though she also might have heard him in the background, playing the piano when he got home from his job, or when he needed to decompress from a long study session. Mateo did that quite often. It had been one of the reasons the Benchmark had a piano at all.

"Ah, I see. That explains why I might have been about to send you to the dentist," it's said with an amused laugh, genuine, too, before he glances back at the television and watches a moment longer. "I think she's making some good points. I wonder what that Better Angels book had been about, now, though." It had not been one he'd read.

"Mhm. Love is quite sweet and cloying. A syrup good enough to take you off of your feet." Huruma is not so sure about this analogy, but it serves to show what she was reading from him.

"I feel like I have heard the title somewhere before. But, ah, sometimes there are books you already know the contents of, hm? Having lived it. I do not need to read about uneducated opinions." Or hear them, judging by the stinkeye the screen gets.

For a moment, Mateo wonders if something got lost in a translation— which he's used to because he speaks both Spanish and English good enough that sometimes he finds words in Spanish that suit better than the English variant, and when someone tries to translate it just sounds off, but it still sounded nice, the way she said it.

"Yeah, if the author had been anything like this guy, I definitely don't think I would agree with it. I'll stick to my classic science fiction authors." He grins up at her, watching the show begin to wind down. His wife will need to demake up, and everything, so they'd still be standing there a while.

"That is much better, yes." Huruma's laugh is a low sound in her chest, her hand pointing at Mateo in affirmation. Classic science fiction is definitely more interesting than political discourse that only makes you angrier. She watches the host as the show wraps up before the guests get too far into it. Will there be a round two?

"Men like him go home to lick their wounds, but they always come back." Huruma wrinkles her nose in a plain distaste. "Next time she will roast him." She hopes there is a round two.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they have him under armed protection for the rest of the month," Mateo responds after a moment, tilting his head up at the screen. As he watches the parting shot of the man, she can feel he's… definitely annoyed at him, doesn't like him, and finds his rhetoric dangerous. "We've heard from people who talk like him before. We had them down in Argentina, too," he mutters.

He speaks English without much of an accent, but— well… He seems to speak the truth— the whole thing bothers him. That people would still talk like that. Just in a nicer, negation instead of execution, way. Even though the man had mentioned the worst methods, as if he considered them still valid, just not as 'popular'.

The door to the waiting room opens, Lynette still in the process of taking off her mic and handing it to a PA. She didn't waste time getting back here to her people. She thanks the assistant and finally steps in, shutting the door behind her.

And then she lets out a heavy sigh.

"What. An. Asshole," Lynette states firmly, but quietly before she lets go of the door and comes over to Mateo and Huruma. "Did I look mad? I tried not to look mad. You think he knows I was mad?" She's mad right now, obviously, but Huruma can tell it's mixes with nerves. And starting to wind down now that the cameras— and Oscar— aren't here.

The mention of Argentina has Huruma giving a glance that seems to speak of an unspoken understanding. She is familiar with what it was like, to a degree.

"For someone like me, they may as well slide me under a guillotine." Her response is quiet as the screen cuts and the crew disperses; she can feel who must be Oscar, then Lynette as she makes her way to the door. The other woman gets a sly smile for her weighted sigh. "It was more… livid than angry. You kept your composure very well, if that is what you are afraid of."

Apologies, empath, but Mateo Ruiz just happens to be leaking that sweet syrup everywhere as soon as the blonde appears. He moves over to her before she can look too angry and touches her face, pulling her closer so that he can kiss her briefly and try to stave off some of that anger. "You were gorgeous, mi vida," he whispers, in obvious proud tones. He might have been annoyed and worried a moment ago, but as soon as she arrived it was like a gust of cooling wind on a hot summer day.

"You held it together well, and I highly doubt you're the only one mad at him right now." Present company not even included in this, cause they both kind of are too. "You did so good." And he sounds so very proud of her— which is exactly how he feels, too.

And that cooling wind goes both ways, since once Mateo's hands touch her face and their lips meet, her own anger seems to drain away. And when he pulls back, there's a smile and everything. It is, as Huruma has accused her before, precious. "You have to say that," she says to his compliment, "we're married." But it's appreciated all the same, given the smile and the flutter in her chest.

She looks over at Huruma, relieved. "Good. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. He wanted me to lose it." She's pretty sure of that. But she looks back to Mateo at those last words. "Thank you, my darling."

Huruma sits back in her chair as if she owns the room, watching as Mateo gets all dove-eyed to calm Lynette from her encounter. She does somewhat of the same, and it is probably easy to forget that they have a rapt, empathic audience. Just for a moment.

"He seemed very self-satisfied, regardless…" The tall woman sways onto her feet, casting a far look to the wall before pulling her eyes back to Lynette; the corners tick up with a grin. "Ugh, you two are disgusting~." The tease is bold, her voice barely holding back a chuckle. "I am kind of liking it, though…"

Who cares about that guy anymore. Certainly not Mateo. Not with Lynette right in front of him and smiling now. But yes— yes they are disgusting. Terribly so. But at least he doesn't start more public kissing, not that they need to with an empath being in the room. They might as well be making out with their emotions. Silvia would be making gagging sounds, if she could feel that.

"I don't think any of that was in our vows, so no, I don't have to say that." Just to be clear. He could be a total asshole and not tell her how beautiful she is when she's dropping the mic all over the place on a poor guy who's ideas are antiquated. "I just met your friend— we apparently kept missing each other at the Benchmark til today. I think I gave myself away as being your loving husband."

With that sweet syrup of affection that's just— all over the room right now.

"Oh, he was born self-satisfied," Lynette comments, her eyes rolling dramatically. He didn't make a good first impression. Or a second, really. But Huruma's grin and her comment get a more sheepish expression. She looks back to Mateo, because this is his fault.

Of course, she couldn't stop the emotional makeouts even if she wantedd to. Not with him here and smiling. "I'm sure you did," she says with a laugh, since Huruma can read the both of them like a book. "You know, before you came along, Huruma never looked at me like that." It's an accusation, but only a playful one.

"I did realize that I could feel him studying over there." By and large, it's been two ships passing in the night; she's been a busy bee too. Huruma opens up her hands to coax them out of the room. She's done here, right? They can totally bail. She nods along to Mateo, laughing more readily when Lynette calls her out. "Oh? And what look is that?"

Probably a good idea to leave, before that Oscar guy shows up and ruins the good mood and emotional make outs. Mateo allows her to herd him along, not at all one to fight a very tall, dark and lovely lady. "I'm kind of glad she never looked at you like that before," he teases. The words might come off as 'i'd be jealous', but he doesn't feel like that. Instead, he just seems… amused.

"Like you might start purring any second," Lynette says, although the notion of it doesn't bother her, even if she tries to make it sound like it does. She doesn't mind getting herded, either, likely for similar reason. No need to ruin a good time. Her arm links through Mateo's and she hugs him close for just a moment before they actually get out the door and she puts on a more refined expression. Still happy, but less adorable. She gives Mateo a sideways look at his pretend jealousy, but an indulgent smile soon follows.

"Oh, don't be afraid of me~." Huruma isn't blind, but Lynette had other things to deal with— she gives Mateo a knowing sort of look, eyes hooded and lips curved as she closes up the guest lounge behind them.

"And how do you know I'm not already?" Huruma's smile grows, and she reaches up to run a hand over her shorn head and the lingering design at the back, keeping a pace beside them as they depart. "For years now it's been much easier for me to, ah, absorb…" Her hands motion to the pair of them. This. That.

"I doubt she would have looked at me like this until I met you, too," Mateo responds, offering an aside now that they're moving. Because— he had been lonely and faking his smile and general happiness rather than being genuine about it. Until he realized how he felt about her, until she quieted all the turmoil going on deep down under the surface.

As he considers the words that the tall — very tall — woman has to say, he looks up and asks, "So I'm guessing you really don't like being around people who are in a terrible mood, huh?" Though he imagines that's… most people, really.

"I'm not afraid of you, Huruma," Lynette says, her smile crooked. Her own feelings, perhaps. Although, it doesn't seem so, not like she always thought it would be once she found herself here. Huruma knows that, too, Lynette's prior habit of pushing away.

When she explains the shift in her power, Lynette looks over at her, her head tilting. Her smile is gentler there, warmer even. Glad, even. This, what she's found, she doesn't seem to mind Huruma feeling it, too. "I don't know about that, Mateo. She lived among some very grumpy people for a while."

"Whether I like it or not doesn't really matter. It is the person behind the feeling that I would want to spend time with." Sometimes… people are just worth the side effects. Huruma's teeth flash in a fresh smile to Lynette, eyes narrowing just so. It's a suspicious sort of glimmer, though not in a bad way.

"That I did." Huruma looks up and considers the path to the front door, popping it open for the others. Freedom! "I was not always this… friendly. Things change. So do empaths."

Stepping through the open door with a grateful nod, Mateo probably would have done the same for the both of them— if he'd reached it first. But he would not protest that she did it instead. Nor does he feel embarassed by it. "If you ever need an emotional pick me up, you know where to find us." Not that they don't have their moments. Cause they do. They just still love each other through them, so perhaps that would help.

"But I can understand that. People do change. And are complicated." And she can see more of the complication that most, probably. "Do you want us to keep your company til you get to your car?" The two of them obviously came together, but — well — she probably doesn't need anyone to walk with her. Except for the company.

At the notice of some people being worth the side effects, Lynette chuckles, shaking her head. It's possible she doesn't include herself— at least back then— among them. But she steps outside and pulls her jacket tighter around her.

"Yes, we aren't carved in stone. And thank goodness for that." That is more self-directed than anything. "Perhaps there's hope in the idea of changing people for the better." Maybe even Oscar. Although, she doesn't seem keen to take on that project herself. She echoes Mateo's offer with a look, eyebrows raised in question. Keeping Huruma company is no hard task.

"I leech off of people all the time without them knowing. Don't worry about me getting my good times." Huruma glances down to Mateo with an easygoing wink, sliding her hands partway into her pockets. "I'll be fine. I'm a big girl. Perhaps I will catch you at home, later. I've got some people to see…" To Lynette she gives one last nod, sure and steady. "You did a fine job. Put that roach out of mind, hm?"

With this, she moves to head in the opposite direction, and it's not long before she reaches the motorbike with her name written all over it— a mechanical looking beast in black and chrome.

"I look forward to it, now that I'm done with my test, finally. And I'm sure I can distract her from thinking of him for the rest of the night once we get home," Mateo responds with a grin and with eyebrows that just seem to hint towards what he's saying as much as his emotions. Yeah, he'll distract her alright— and he fully expects her to smack him for saying that, but, he raises a hand to see her off, the tall woman that stood well over a foot above him. Once she's on her bike, he can't help but look toward Lynette and grin again.

"Alright, Huruma. But we'll see you again soon. Thank you for coming tonight. You have no idea how much I appreciate it." Well, she probably does. Because she can tell. But Lynette says it anyway. She looks over at Mateo when he makes his bold statement, and there is a playful smack to his arm. "Ruiz," she says as Huruma makes her way to her bike, "I can't believe you just said that in front of Huruma."

That makes him laugh a little. "Sorry, mi luz, she already knows what we're feeling, might as well say it outloud." Mateo seems amused, especially since she pulled out the last name and smacked him. The second he expected, the first not so much. But both just seem to amuse him. "You can always make me sleep on the couch if you're really mad." The mythical couch that husbands are often sent to in stories, but he's yet to experience.

"You're not even a little sorry," Lynette says with a hand on her hip. But she's not all that upset about it, seeing as she moves to slide her arms around him. A mention of the couch has her taking in a deep breath while she considers it. "I would never do that to you, my darling. But I might make you work a little harder," she says with a crooked smile.

In fact, all this? Part of the distraction. And Mateo very much doubts she's thinking at all about the asshole who infuriated her. "I look forward to it," is what he says, as his arm wraps around her and he pulls her toward her car, so she can get them both home.

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