Close Enough


delia_icon.gif nick_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Close Enough
Synopsis Delia gets to Nick but too much for Russo's comfort.
Date January 12, 2011

Dorchester Towers — Russo's Apartment

The sun has already sunk in the sky, darkness has overtaken the city when Russo comes through the door after a long day's work. Delia is already in the living room, ready for what she's been looking forward to since Nick's visit. She's been stubborn and adamant, just as much as he has. In the end he grudgingly cooperated but it was against his better judgment .

Already dressed in one of the two swimsuits that Nicole bought her, she's sitting in one of the easy chairs with a robe overtop. Her long hair has been braided into two tails at either side of her neck and she's playing on her iPad. Those little flies are too hard to catch for slow fingers but it's a good exercise in hand eye coordination and nothing dies if she misses. So it's not as frustrating as other types of games.

"Brad!" The excited call greets him before he's even taken one shoe off. he's been getting much better with her words, practicing enough that she's able to hold a small conversation without tiring herself mentally or physically. "We're swimming, you remember? Nick!" She's expecting him any minute now. It's fairly safe to say that she might have sent more than one text today.

As if on cue, knuckles rap on the door. Nick, in the hallway, is dressed rather unusually for the man who's usually trying to come off as a smuggler and a thug. He's in loose track pants and thick gray hoodie, trainers on his feet. Tucked under one arm is a boogie board and on the other shoulder is a duffel bag. He stares at his feet, waiting for the door to open.

Russo's eyebrows tick upwards and his tongue clucks loudly as he steps into the apartment, slowly taking off his shoes. "Yes. Swimming." Quieter he murmurs in a near growl, "Nick." And then someone is knocking at the door. With a slow long inhalation of breath, he opens the door and issues the other man a tight-lipped smile. "Welcome." His head peeks over his shoulder. "Uh… you both hang out here." They're specific instructions as he disappears down the hall to change. Not that he's certain he'll swim. But he will watch Nick. Lucky guy.

Delia's smile is the exact opposite of her brother's. Cheerful, wide, and completely friendly, she waves over to Nick and flicks all of her fingers toward her in a silent summons. "Nick!" The call is somewhat excited and breathless, all on the same side of the coin. "Come sit, please?" She's stuttering much less now, all thanks to him.

Putting her iPad to the side, she folds her hands in front of her and places them on her lap. "Been good?" Directed at him, of course, since Brad is presumably changing for the great fun that awaits them downstairs. "I been practicing, hard. So you don't strain your eyes." She taps underneath one of her own, just in case she got the word mixed up again. Relearning is hard.

Going to a girl's home and being chaperoned by family is not something Nick has any experience in. He simply nods hello to Russo and nods again when he's told to stay put. Delia's call gets a slight smile and he moves to where she is sitting.

"Look at you, all in a chair and everything," he says with approval. "And like I said, a regular chatterbox." The American accent has been dropped — Eileen has told Russo he's her brother, and Delia has long known the truth. At least in the privacy of this home, there's no reason to keep up the pretense that makes his neck ache with the effort.

"Good enough," is a vague answer, accompanied by a smile. He holds up the boogie board. "Bought you a present."

The boogie board is given a dubious glance before Delia cringes a little at its sight, uncertain as to whether she'll be able to even hold onto it. "I did not get you any— anything," is her sheepish reply that's coupled with a slight blush on her cheeks. "Sorry, again." She chews on her lip as she glances toward the hallway Russo disappeared into.

"You okay though? Not hurt?" The redhead unclasps one of her hands and reaches out to lightly brush the tender spot near his temple, the one she remembers him rubbing in dreams. Her smile wanes and her eyebrows twitch a little. She curls her fingers and withdraws the hand, before it even has a chance to reach him. "Next time you come, I will have something for you. Okay?"

Nick chuckles and shakes his head. "Nope. That's not how this works, Czerwony. You get sick, you get presents. I firmly remember this is 'ow it's s'posed to work." Once, long, long ago, he remembers being sick, feverish, something like strep throat, and being brought a coloring book and new crayons, something to keep him quiet and content when he was stuck inside on a warm summer's day.

"You don't need to get me nothin'. Just seeing you up and about it good enough a gift for me, yeah?" The temple she reaches for is mostly healed, the black hair now thick enough to cover most of the nearly healed wound. The bruising around his face is faded.

"Then I am behind on many many many presents," she says primly with a rather firm nod. Looking up at Nick, her lips twitch slightly and she averts her eyes, preferring to stare down at her knees. "Glad you came, I was worried." Arguments since Sunday have left her a little shaky on where the two of them stand. Well.. him standing and her sitting.

Another quick glance down the hall and she presses her lips into a thin line, at the same time drawing her eyebrows together. "I f-feel like I am ten, not twenty. Grounded and no friends." She stares down at her bare feet and curls her painted toenails down to dig into the plush carpet. "You know?"

Nick gives a soft huff of a laugh, though little humor reaches his weary eyes. "I feel like I'm 16 and tryin' to impress some bird's da," he says with a smirk, then he frowns a little at the thought of Ryans being told of Eileen's warning. That's an idea he'd rather not think about.

"Never really done that, you know? Dealt with anyone's family. Not that this like that, of course. I mean, you have a boyfriend, and…" And he's Nick Ruskin goes unsaid.

He averts his eyes. "I'm your friend, all right? Can't do much about the grounding, though. At least you didn't get your toys taken away." His eyes dart the iPad as he smirks, finally bring back his gaze to her face.

Speaking of the bird's pseudo-dad— not that he would appreciate being called as such— Russo reemerges with a duffle bag all his own, dressed in a sloppy t-shirt and a pair of tear away black track pants. He tugs an oversized Harvard hoodie over his head. There's an odd way about him. His good humour has been replaced with an odd wary tension, but he forces a smile regardless, followed up by a two fingered salute. "So." He leaves the word to hang before issuing them a small sigh as he slings the duffle over his shoulder.

Clearing his throat he opens the hall closet and takes out a pair of cross trainers. Not that he'll need them for swimming, but… his eyes track between Delia to Nick and then back again, nearly suspicious as he manages, "So… you both excited for our trek?"

Delia's sullen little nods as Nick reasons carry with them a faint smile, one that also doesn't reach her eyes. She looks up just as his eyes find her face and her face brightens a little. "Yes, friends, always. Longer than always." Taking a deep breath she leans forward, just as Russo comes into view.

Perhaps his suspicious gaze catches her startling and resuming her place quickly at the sight of him. A crimson color appears on her cheeks, even though nothing happened, and she gives the television host a sheepish smile. "Yes! Swimming!" It's said a little too animatedly, maybe not since Nick is actually there, but more animated than she's been. "Nic-ole coming too?"

Nick turns immediately at Russo's voice, though he's still standing some distance from Delia. He gives another short huff of a laugh that probably tells Russo that he'd rather not be doing this either, but then he smiles more brightly for Delia's sake. "Swimming. And kickboarding. Probably more floating than swimming but anything's better than gravity, yeah?"

He nods toward Delia before nodding toward Russo. "How we gonna move 'er? Got a … chair or…?"

An eyebrow is arched as Russo tightens his shoelaces, but otherwise there's no thoughts about what transpired while he was out of the room. "No. No Nicole today. Just me. And you two." Lucky them.

Right. A chair. There is a chair. He rented. For occasions such as these. But it's in the other room. With a quiet sigh, he stomps back down the hall, disappearing momentarily to the guest room where he'd hidden it in the closet on the end of the hall.

Nick is given a mischievous wrinkle of the nose and Delia tries to stop herself from speaking by taking a small breath inward, at least the attempt is made. "You could carry me," she suggests with an exaggerated wink, complete with crooked grin. "Brian helps me walk, when…" she shuts her mouth quickly and shakes her head. Another blush creeps to her face as she places her hands on the arms of the chair.

Glancing toward the hallway, she catches her lower lip between her teeth before waving Nick closer. "Come help me. Come see." Both of her arms go up into the air now, her fingers reaching for the black haired young man. "I show you, I can stand."

"I think I might get shot if I try that," Nick says under his breath once Russo's far enough away for that he's sure he won't be overheard. Still, it's hard to say no when she makes the earnest request, her hands reaching out to him.

He sighs, darting a glance down the hall and back to her before he reaches for her hands. "I'm sure you can. You're strong as a redwood, remember?" he says lightly, his palms up and his elbows locking so that he will be sturdy enough for her to pull up on.

"Help me.. you will see." Delia crawls her long fingers up Nick's forearms until she can grab a hold of the fabric near his biceps. With a small grunt, she tries to pull herself up. "I need help. I can do this." She's still too weak to lift herself to a standing position all on her own but with Nick's help, she manages to teeter on her feet before she leans heavily against him.

"See? Look, I can stand. Too heavy." She feels much too heavy. Lucky for Nick, she's not pressed right up against him, she's actually leaning on an angle that can't be comfortable for most people. A proud smile lets him know, the redhead is not most people. "I'm… " there's a pause as she breathes out a tired sigh. "Too heavy."

He helps as much as he can, lifting a bit with his hands, reaching then for one shoulder to help her stand straighter, keeping the hand there so she doesn't topple. "You just feel heavy on the inside. You're light on the outside," he says with a chuckle. Blue eyes throw a glance down the hall again, nervous for what Russo will think he's trying to do in this awkward position.

"Got 'er throne ready yet?" he calls down the hallway — the best offense is a good defense. How could he possibly be doing anything "untoward" if he's trying to hurry Russo up?

Russo returns to catch a glimpse of the pair of them. Standing there. Touching. Even with Nick's urging the television host looks about like he's going to have an aneurysm. His lips part as he tries to find words while tapping the chair, as heavy as it is against the carpeted floor before clearing his throat. Painfully loudly.

While his expression itself appears neutral, his eyes tell a different story. The on e they tell don't touch my sister… ever. His lips press together as his hands are thrust into his pockets. His blue eyes flit towards the wheelchair. "Delia," not Carrots, Delia.

Delia's delighted and proud smile is pointed toward Brad as he comes out with the wheelchair. "Look! Standi— " but she cuts herself off by the expression and that look in her brother's eyes. Her own expression falters and turns confused, then her eyebrows turn down in anger when he says her name. "I— am standing…" she says a little quieter, gripping Nick a little tighter.

Pressing her lips into a line that matches her brother's, she lifts her chin defiantly and takes a deep breath. "Nick helped me stand. Like Brian. I am showing off." Then she lets go and attempts to take a step toward the wheelchair, only to feel her legs crumple from underneath her.

Nick's teeth clench and his jaw tenses and he's about to say Forget this and bail when Delia starts to fall. Swiftly he, bends to catch her legs from behind, scooping her up and darting a look what you did sort of look at Russo. Two can play this game.

"Not so much so fast, Red," he says lightly, moving toward the wheelchair and bending down to place her in it carefully.

He clears his throat and looks back up at Russo, blue eyes stony. "I think when we get down there, Red, I'd better stay out of the pool," he says evenly, lying as he faces Russo, not looking at Delia. "I might be comin' down with something. The water's probably not good for me."

He closes his eyes for a moment, before looking down at Delia again. "But I'll watch," he offers, corner of his mouth curving in the attempt at a smile.

In a lot of respects, it's unfortunate Brad wouldn't let Nicole supervise this particular endeavour. But c'est la vie. He pushes the wheelchair forward as his gaze remains fixed on the pair of them. Standing there. Wordlessly, his jaw clenches, tension forming within his face and body: sit down Delia. He tacks on, "Please," even though he actually said nothing.

His eyes narrow with that same suspicious regard for Nick, but he says nothing to give any effect. Just quiet— overprotective— suspicion.

Casting an adoring look at Nick as he sets her down in the chair, Delia grips the arms and glances behind her. "Brad, stop it." She's an adult now, even though she has less motor skills than a baby trying to crawl. "Been looking forward to swimming," she says rather lightly, in a small attempt to keep the peace.

When her guest makes his excuses to get out of swimming, her eyebrows quirk and she opens her mouth to protest but all that comes out is a small squeak. Then she clamps her jaw tightly and nods, she's also not stupid. "Next time," is all she says in answer. "Brad will swim this time." Folding her robe tightly closed and draping the tie over her lap, she reaches back to pat the television host's hand. "It's okay Brad, I will be good when you are home."

Nick moves to pick up his duffel bag and the kickboard, which conveniently leaves Russo to push the chair. "Right. Let's get goin'. I got like an hour before I have to leave to make it home before curfew," he says dully. Delia will know he doesn't have to worry about curfew. Russo will likely assume he doesn't care.

If he weren't Interpol, Russo would be right, anyway.

The younger man heads to the door, opening it wide enough to accommodate the wheelchair. "After you," he murmurs.

"Stop what, exactly? I'm not doing anything," the tone is light. Even if he's aware he's being overly protective.The squeeze on his hand earns Delia a softened smile and a slight sigh with a nod. He has little to say. In fact, he's painfully quiet, especially through the entire trek through the apartment, heading to the pool. He manages a shockingly tense, tight-lipped smile as he pushes her down the hall, finally arriving at the pool.

"Alright— the pool. How do you want to get in, Carrots?"

Giving a good once over to the entire area, Delia hums and then sadly shakes her head. "No high dive board," she notes quietly. "You have to wait to throw me in~" There's the teasing and a crooked smile as the redhead unwraps herself and wriggles out of her robe.

The suit that she and Nicole picked out is quite a modest one, modeled after a 50's pinup suit it covers more than the one that Russo had originally picked for her. Except this one actually fits, his left a few inches to grow into. Apparently he thinks she's bigger than she really is.

She's all squirms when Brad helps her out of the chair and when she lands in the pool she closes her eyes to the sting of chlorine. She lies still for a moment, face down in the water, just enjoying the weightlessness of being there. Before anyone has a real chance to worry, she kicks one leg and then the other, slowly paddling toward the flutter board.

Having followed along and tossed the board into the water beside her when Russo helps Delia in, Nick moves to sit on the edge of one of the lounge chairs, away from the water and away from the redhead in it. The pool area is well heated so he unzips his hoodie a bit, revealing that underneath he is actually wearing a wet suit — it seems he had taken steps toward modesty on his end, in case he was the one to end up in the water with Delia.

Instead, he rests elbows on his knees and watches, starting to rise just as she kicks herself toward the board, watching with wary eyes in case she needs his help, in case Russo needs his aid.

When they arrived, Bradley Russo stripped his track pants, hoodie, and t-shirt, leaving him in just his navy swim trunks. If anything, he's the least dressed here, but then there's no risk of impropriety either. His cheeks flush slightly as he gets into the water with his sister.

And then he sees Delia face down in the water. Even if she's kicking, even if she's moving, there's a wariness that accompanies his attitude towards her. "Carrots— " his voice is almost warning, but in actuality it's more concerned, "— you okay…" he's close. Close enough.

Finally catching and grabbing onto the gifted boogie board, Delia pulls herself half on top of it to rest tiredly. The few fly away strands of her hair are glued to the sides of her thin face, framing it. "You worry too much," her mirthful tone is cast toward her brother and then a glance toward Nick to deliver the same message. Her blue eyes lock on the agent's wetsuit for a moment and she raises her eyebrows as though catching him in the lie, or maybe just not believing it anymore. But she lets it go. Next time.

She lets go of the board and slips off of it, ducking under the water to just float again. This time, she turns to lie on her back in the water, bobbing up just enough so that her face is free of the water. Her body drifts freely, her lower half sinking a little. If she could stay forever… she likely would.

Blue eyes meet blue eyes, and the latter set dart downward, focusing on the gray and black tennis shoes that feel odd on his feet so used to boots. When Nick hears the soft splash of her slipping off the board and into the water, he looks up, watching her silently. A slight smile curves his lips before he forces his gaze down to his hands, studying the scars and callouses.

"You worry too little," Russo counters quietly while he watches her float around, opting to stay near the edge of the pool, evidently he doesn't swim much. Even though he's lived here for four years. "And it's not just about worry. I'm pretty sure your dad would have me killed or something." Her dad.

He arches an eyebrow at Nick, still unsure. Finally, he shoots the other man a semi-apologetic smile although it's not quite genuine; Brad does what he needs to do.

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