Cheap Dates


alexander_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Cheap Dates
Synopsis Mel and Alex catch up, and then discover that neither has a tolerance for alcohol.
Date October 27, 2010

Staten Island Beach

It was a surprise to see Alexander the other day. And a near shock for Melissa to see him at a Messiah meeting. But friends are friends, and so she gave him a call, asking if he'd like to meet and catch up. After agreement was had, Mel made her way to the beach not too far from the Howland Hook facility.

When he gets there she's standing in the sand in jeans and a tee-shirt, along with her leather duster. It's getting cool enough for her to justify wearing it again, and it just plain looks cool. She has the faintest smile on her lips as she looks out over the water.

He's in his usual almost homeless thug gear - fatigue pants, hoodie, heavy boots. Al isn't smiling. He's not glowering either. His face is as neutral as a saint in an alcove's, though considerably less benign or sweet, really. His head's held high, copper stubble cropped prize-fighter short. "Melissa," he says, and even that trio of syllables is honey-slow. The accent's back in force.

"Ahh, you do remember," Melissa says, glancing over and keeping that faint smile. "Wasn't sure. You didn't really look like you remembered me the other day. It's good to see you again though, Alex."

"My memory's real bad," he says, gently. "I'm sorry. Things are…things are fuzzy. I think what they did in Moab, what happened to me….I'm still discovering. I know there are holes. I do remember you, though. Glad to see you. Didn't know you were Messiah, though. I thought….weren't you Ferry?"

Melissa looks sympathetic at the answer and nods. "Gotcha. And yeah, used to be Ferry. Then I found out that Scott had set up the Den as a fake safehouse to get DoEA off his back, and didn't tell me until after I'd taken in a bunch of flu victims and then gotten raided. I couldn't work for people like that anymore, so…I quit. Then Peter approached me about the whole Messiah thing." She gives a soft, wry laugh and shakes her head. "Turns out I was just being used there too. We all were. Fucking Rupert."

"Explain that to me?" he says, with a hint of a plea in his voice, though the expression doesn't change. "What happened there? I been away so long."

"Which. The Ferry or Messiah?" Melissa asks, motioning for him to follow her over to a fallen pylon, so they can sit down, which she does.

"Both," Al says. And then, despite the cool, he takes off his boots and wiggles his toes in the sand. His feet are absurdly pale.

"Mmm. I'll start with the Ferry, since it came first. At least as far as I'm concerned." Melissa looks back out to the water, head tilting slightly. "I got moved up here to take over the Den. Was supposed to be the sole operator, but when I got here I found out that Doc Brennan was gonna be my co-operator. But hey, whatever. He wasn't around much. But then the 510 hit, and everyone started getting sick. The Den turned into the sort of shelter for anyone the Ferry had who was infected. We had adults there, sure, both in and out of the Ferry, but we had kids there too. Just three years old."

She shakes her head and looks down at the sand. "Had more than half a dozen people there, sick. Probably closer to a dozen. And one night I get a call that we're about to get raided. So I get my ass over there and start evacuating people. We got most everyone out. Couple days later, there was a Ferry meeting. Scott told me, us, that the Den had basically been offered up. One safehouse so they'd leave the rest alone. They didn't tell me until then, even when they knew that I had sick people, sick kids there. That's the day I quit."

"I remember. I was there," Al says. His tone is…surprised. He does remember. That's clear. Alcohol and trauma haven't erased that memory. Not entirely. "I didn't know it'd been….sold out. They sold us down the river. Fuck."

"Just the Den, but…yeah," Melissa says, not looking or sounding too happy herself. "Messiah is…more complicated. I'd been out of the Ferry for a month or two, and Peter came to me, asking me to join. No problem. He was the leader, and he told everyone that Rupert was our tactician. But just a few months before, Peter had been just wanting a normal life, not even wanting to fight as much as the Ferry did." She shakes her head. "Told me it had been all an act, but I should've clued in."

She sighs and looks back to Alexander. "The next few months, Rupert picked our targets, Peter let us know, and we did it. Everything you've heard attributed to Messiah? It was us. Then, a couple days after the hospital nearby got destroyed, me and Peter talked again. Rupert was looking at some new targets. He wanted to blow up registration centers," she says, disgust clear in her voice.

"Now, I can get wanting to take a stand against registration, but registration centers? It's mostly innocent people. Innocent evolved. Innocent kids. So, of course, I told Peter hell no, and he agreed, but mentioned that Rupert was the one who wanted those targets. I believed him."

She smirks faintly. "Right after I'd joined Messiah, I went to chat up Rupert. He told me then that he'd lost his ability, and I'd believed him. Stupid me. But his ability is persuasion. And apparently he's been mindfucking a whole lot of Messiah members. He got to me three times. No telling how fucked up Peter's brain is because of that fucktard."

It makes Alex shudder, hard, more than can be explained by the chill of the sand, knotting his hand in the front pocket of his hoodie. "Rupert was using Peter as his gun hand, eh? So, what's the plan to deal with Rupert?" His tone is curiously matter of fact. "And is what he does permanent?"

"He was using Peter as a scapegoat and someone that people would rally around," Melissa says with another sigh. "And I think it's permanent. I had a telepath look me over, said I had three things in my head. Another one went messing around. They're gone from me now, but when he took them out of my head, he got 'em instead. As for Rupert…First we're gonna find him, then we're gonna get information from him, and then we're gonna kill him. Permanently."

He veils his pale eyes with nearly translucent lids. Demure, almost. "I could help with that, I'm sure," he says, withdrawing a hand from his pocket to admire the state of his nonexistent manicure. Bitten nearly to the quick.

"Which part? Because I'll tell you now…Regardless of who finds him? I want to be the one who kills him. Not only did he fuck with my brain, but he nearly killed me when I was in space and pretty much helpless," Melissa says with a fierceness he's never seen from her before.

"Both," Al says, opening his eye and eyeing her directly. "I don't have a personal stake in his death, but I could likely subdue him," he notes, easily.

Melissa nods. "When I was formulating plans before that meeting, a telekinetic was part of the plans. I was hoping I could find you, actually."

Those red brows climb for the nearly nonexistent hairline. "Really?" he says, amused. "Even before you knew I was back? But y'all have one, don't you?"

"So I heard, but I don't know him. I know you," Melissa says, shrugging. "And I never knew where you went. For all I know, you just moved out of Abby's place but were still in the city."

"I was long gone," Al says, and his tone is wistful. "Back home. But I couldn't stay. Just couldn't stay away from the fight, so here I am again." He sounds ….embarassed. Like it is an addiction.

"Is that why you left? To get away from the fight?" Melissa asks.

"Yeah," he says, simply. "I felt like I hadn't any more to give. That isn't true, and wasn't. I needed the rest and the quiet but… made me realize I don't have anything else left."

"Well, whatever brought you back, I'm glad it did," Melissa says, smiling.

Al just sort of considers her for a long, silent moment. "Thank you," he says, finally.

"Why? It's just the truth. You're a friend. I like having friends around," Melissa says, shrugging.

It seems an alien concept, apparently. The redhead looks almost puzzled by it. And then tries on a smile, as if for its fit.

Melissa grins at him. "You need to relax more, I think. Maybe a night on a drinking binge would do you some good."

Al….doesn't quite bridle. He's not offended. But wary, definitely. "I don't know that that's a good idea, angel," he says, slowly. "I don't take to drink so well."

A brow arches slightly, and Mel's head tilts. "No? What happens?" she asks curiously.

"Sometimes I get violent," he confesses, tucking his chin a little bit, like a dog who sees the rolled up newspaper in his owner's hand.

"Pfft. Easy to fix. Get you drunk not at a bar. And if you get violent around me, I can handle you, even if you slam me against the ceiling with your ability," Melissa says, sounding unconcerned.

It makes his lips go pinched and pale. "I don't like the idea of doing that to you. Even if you can take it." He can murder casually, but hitting a woman…..

A hand rests lightly on Alex's shoulder. "Alex…honey…I don't think you'll get violent if it's just you and me. And even if you did, I've dealt with worse. And you need to relax. You're all tense. And only two things I can think of that fix that are booze and sex." And apparently she's not offering sex.

Man. It's been way too long since he got laid. Al's expression goes funny for a moment. Too many different feelings for any one of them to be clear. "I guess you're right. But…."

"Seriously. If you're uncomfortable getting drunk, go find some girl…or guy…and get laid. Get rid of some of the tension. You need it," Melissa says, tone gentle, the hand on his shoulder giving a light squeeze.

Alexander casts his eyes up to heaven. Apparently, not that easy. "Let's get drunk, then," he says, simply.

Melissa smiles and nods. "Okay. My place? It's over on Roosevelt now, but it's got plenty of alcohol, so you can have your pick of poisons, so to speak."

"Poison it is," Al says, though he doesn't sound as enthusiastic as he might.

Melissa stands then reaches for his hand to pull him upright. "C'mon. It's not that bad. We'll get you drunk and then you can sleep it off on my futon." Now that she's got an actual bed in her new apartment.

And he lets her - his palm is chill in hers, but he wraps his fingers around her gently enough.

Melissa gives his hand a squeeze, then heads towards her car, which is parked nearby. From there it's not far to Roosevelt Island, then back to Summer Meadows, this time to an apartment rather than the Den. The apartment inside is fairly empty, at least in the living room. There's a futon, TV, and potted orchid by the window. She walks inside, dumping her coat over the back of the futon. "Make yourself comfortable. What's your preference today? I'm going to just go with tequila," she says, despite the fact that it's still light outside, and most people aren't drinking yet.

"Tequila is good. That'll put me out pretty damn quick," Al allows. "I was raised Baptist, got no tolerance." Punctuated by a very sheepish grin.

Melissa laughs and grabs the tequila and two shot glasses, bringing both back into the living room. "I just have no tolerance. Couple shots and I'm nice and toasty. But that's okay, I like it that way."

Alexander snorts. "Looks like we're both a cheap date, eh?" he teases. But he's finally starting to relax, to the extent that he pulls off his hoodie. He's in a t-shirt, beneath it, plain and white, as he favors.

Melissa grins and nods as she pours two shots and offers one glass to him. "Damn straight. But what's wrong with that? Just means you don't gotta spend tons of money to get drunk. And if you're drinking liquor, you're drinking to get drunk. Or at least nice and tipsy, right?"

'You have a certain pragmatic mindset that appeals to me," Alex says, drily. He lifts the glass to her, a grave salute, and then knocks it back like a man dosing himself with an unpleasant medication.

"I tried optimism, but after the last few months, it got hard to hold onto it," Melissa explains with a wry smile before drinking down her shot and refilling both glasses. "So where you staying now anyway? Back with Abby?"

The hint of a smile fades. "Nowhere in particular," he says, softly. "Abby's got a new life. I don't know that I should be part of it. She….she's legit. And I'm going off the res again."

"Legit. Right. You've not got a place though? A month ago I'd have offered you a room at my…actually, no reason why I can't," Melissa murmurs. "Half the house is moved out, but you're welcome to the basement room if you want."

Alexander considers that. "I'd like that,' he says, gravely. "I need very little space." Like, what, a pet ferret?

Melissa smiles. "Right now it's just Tony staying there, and occasionally Ling. Normally Kendall and me live there too, with my dog. So it'll be pretty quiet for now, but once I get off probation I'm moving back. I love that house."

"I don't think I've ever been there," he says, holding out his glass for more.

"Mmm. I think you're right. I think you may have left before I moved in," Melissa says after a moment, refilling his glass, and her own, and swallowing hers down. "It's on Staten. North side, right by Howland Hook, actually."

He doesn't quite pinch his nose. But it's close. Engh, the taste. It's enough to bring a flush to those ivory cheeks, though.

Melissa's lips twitch at his reaction. "Not a fan of straight tequila, hmm? I do have other liquors."

The look she gets is decidedly queasy. "I think, next time, yes. Oneor two moreof this should more than do it for me."

"You sure? You're not gonna get sick on me, are you?" Melissa asks, voice teasing, but she offers the bottle for a refill.

"I won't," he says, firming his chin like a child trying to convince his mother he never, ever had his hand in the cookie jar

His face is studied for a moment before Melissa nods and pours the drink. Then she lifts her glass. "Bottom's up," she says with a grin before gulping the liquid down, not minding the burn.

It's enough for him. REally enough. Al doesn't sway, but he's suddenly locking his joints like the world is whirling around him. "Yeah," he says, weakly. "That….that place to crash?" Did she promise a bed or a couch or a cot? He doesn't remember.

Melissa laughs and stands up. "I'll get you a pillow and a blanket. You can sleep here, on the futon," she says, setting the bottle down and moving to retrieve the promised items.

"Thank you," he says humbly, and sits down rather abruptly on said futon. Pillow. Yes.

Melissa returns just a minute later, offering him the pillow and blanket. "Here ya go. Sleep as long as you like. There's stuff for breakfast in the kitchen, so make yourself at home."

The blue eyes are worried, as he looks up at her. Even as they're blood-shot. He takes her hand, suddenly, a beseeching grip. But whatever the words are, he can't seem to find them.

The amusement turns, abruptly, to concern, and Melissa gives his hand a reassuring squeeze and sits down next to him. "What's wrong, Alex?"

"I'm fine," he says, softly. And the fit does seem to have passed - that lowering stillness in the air. "I…should sleep, I think."

His face is studied for a moment before Melissa nods. "Alright. Sleep well, Alex." She smiles then stands, to head down the hall to her bedroom.

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