Complicated Compliments


bolivar_icon.gif kayla_icon.gif

Scene Title Complicated Compliments
Synopsis Since Kayla didn't come to him, Bolivar comes looking for her.
Date June 5, 2009

Various places in the Bronx, near Primatech Research

It isn't often Kayla actually leaves the building on her lunch break. Not because she loves her work, but because she fails to particularly care about locations. She wasn't always that way, but she hasn't relearned how to mind the details yet.

Of course, the day the woman decides to eat somewhere other than a handy breakroom — it's raining. A steady drizzle, not really much more than an inconvience but one that doesn't seem likely to magically stop any time soon. Kayla scowls at the plate-glass windows of the lobby, ignoring the receptionist's polite acknowledgment of her presence; the poor woman's well-used to such now.

The erstwhile nurse and refugee no longer really looks like she fits either of her prior occupations; her sand-colored suitjacket and pants are still fairly new, and have the crisp creases to show for it; the crimson blouse still holds all of its vibrant red color, an ironically symbolic choice of clothing for the day.

Even as her hand hits the door, pushing it open, the woman's eyes close, jaw setting into a determined line.

"—ice to see you too, jerk." Bolivar had started talking about a second too soon. It's the problem with being on the other side of the glass, stayed by the reproof of polished transparency. Kept out, one grows impatient after trying to get in for so long.

Bolivar has been standing in the rain. Not that rain bothers him now, much. It isn't like before, when the barometric pressure being one increment too high or low would set him shaking, seizing or aching with fierce new complaints. No; his coat, the khaki one that's just short of as permanent as his burn scars, is waterproof, his health is sound, and these complaints have nothing to do with the barometric pressure.

He has a handful of dog leash in his left hand, and a small, damp, and familiar pup standing to his right. His pant legs are candy-striped from the stretch of the lead. "Hello, senorita," the little man adds, presently, staring now at the full spectacle of her, wardrobe and purse and all. Blankly, "I didn't think you wore red."

Stepping out through the open door, Kayla Reid levels a flat look at Bolivar. "You're going to catch a cold and fucking die, you idiot," she informs him, with flat clinical certainty that could harbor rancor. Could harbor any number of emotions; it's up to his ear to guess. "Or if you don't, she will." Not that there's anything wrong with the dog. Kayla would know that.

Purse over one shoulder, the neck of a brown paper bag caught in her left hand's deathgrip, the woman starts walking down the sidewalk; stiff strides, but not fleeing ones. "I didn't wear red because I didn't own any." It's almost a bristle. "Don't tell me you came down here just to gripe about my choice of wardrobe."

"I'm not bitching about your wardrobe," Bolivar exclaims crossly, though he does bend down to fetch up an armload of canine cub. Sodden though she is, Logan Rose seems more delighted than anything else by this concatenation of affairs. She recognizes Kayla, of course. Her nose points with the acuity of a seismometer's needle, which is an applicable metaphor on a number of levels. The rumble of Bolivar's voice, the strength of Kayla's heels meeting asphalt.

She is pursued along the sidewalk, naturally. "Minea told me she passed on my message," he informs her back, keeping apace of her. He is tiny for a man, and small as people go, but the disparity of their heights is nothing that persevering zeal can't compensate for. "Both of my fucking messages.

"Thanks for your prompt reply." A sharp glance drives away some hapless pedestrian who had found their attention caught and dragged by the noise of their friendly chat. "It's not like I owe you my fucking life from the same incident that got you hauled off in a black rape van cleverly disguised as an ambulance or anything." It is English for 'I was worried.' Kind of. If you bring a thesaurus—

"She obviously didn't bother to tell you I'm fine." It's as deadpan as an irritated statement can be. Of course, Kayla would've probably asserted she was fine even when in the middle of dying from his injuries. "You don't —" The woman abruptly backpedals, turns to strike the button at a crosswalk instead of continuing down the street. The sodden thump of flesh and water and aluminum doesn't make the light miraculously change colors, but this is Manhattan; it won't be long. Her teeth remain clamped together, breathing carefully measured. What was she going to say? "You don't owe me anything. Wasn't about to take care of the dogs after you kicked." Like the event really had anything at all to do with either Rose or Nina.

She could be offering a more convincing lie, yes, that is true. Rose and Nina are beautiful and they would have better taste in hostesses, honestly— that is one bit of unpardonable vanity, and if there was more room on Bolivar's face for scowling harder, he would probably be doing it. For lack of that, he accelerates his short legs until he catches up with the woman, walking abreast of her, the caramellish-discolored panels of his coat swiveling and sifting wet air like crippled wings.

Only she brakes, and reverses gears in order to go get the light. Bolivar just brakes instead of following her over to the buttoned lamp post, since that would be retarded. "You don't look fine," he points out, in well-meaning contradiction to his earlier compliment (compliment) to the cut and color of her clothing. Rose shakes her head, sending up a silvery tinkle of clip and tag. "You look like you could use more ruffage. I'm glad things worked out."

She wasn't as fine before, but now that the light's changed and they're crossing the street, she's better. Kayla scowls at Bolivar's healthful living advice. "Well, you're wrong." A sound retort if there ever was one.

The woman points to a small deli, its indoor tables not quite entirely packed. "I'm fucking tired of getting rained on. And you're soaked." Technically she might be wetter than he is, because her jacket isn't waterproof. Kayla steadfastly refuses to admit anything resembling this, however; true to form. She grabs the door and holds it open, regarding Bolivar levelly. Get inside.

Acquiescence, when it comes, comes at a deliberate pace and precision. "Emotional constipation," clarifies the least hypocritical complainant on the planet, "I meant emotional constipation. No offense.

"Or I guess you could be looking kind of angry." Apparently deciding that his presence can't possibly be responsible for that particular state of affairs, Bolivar squeaks his rubber soles across the floor only just far enough that the distance looks expectant. She gets to decide where they will sit. Together, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

"I'll give her a hot bath when we get home," he adds, his voice now gruff with concern as he glances down at the armload of sodden curls in his arms. The bundle lolls her tongue; smiles; swivels her snout to aim a kiss at the nearest part of Kayla that might swing by.

What can she say to that? Angry is about all Kayla would admit; it's easy to say. She slides into a seat at the nearest table, dropping her bag on its top surface with a muted thud. "She's fine," the woman says absently. The dog is allowed to lick, at least once; the healer isn't going to un-prickle enough to be caught returning any affection, however. "But you'd better. You'd better eat something, too. You catch cold, you're out of luck."

By the same thesaurus needed for translating Bolivarese, that approximates to 'I'm buying you lunch'.

Logan Rose scores one token affection on Kayla's elbow and applaudes herself, in a frilly flip-flap of tail against the angle of her master's shoulder. He doesn't look too bothered by the stringy smack of fur on his clothes. He plants himself on the bench. For once, he doesn't insist on placing his dog on the floor, however unprofessional this deviation from policy may well be.

Mind you, he believes Kayla when she says that his pooch is fine. Only, she had not specified the circumstances under which Rose is and shall remain so; thus, the small animal remains seated on his lap, printing her plump foot pads across his pant legs. She is going to buy Bolivar lunch. Because, obviously, what he needs right now is to accrue further debt. Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, colds were the least of his imminent symptoms. Tumors suck. Osteoporotic type fractures.

"I guess," he concedes, stiffly, diverting his attention down at the specials held up in plastic at the end of their table. "What's good here?" Rose rests her chin on the table and peers up at Kayla inquisitively, curiously rifling the woman's scent through her black button nose.

"Hell if I know," Kayla replies. "As if I eat out, ever." At least in the past two and a half years. She picks up the little plastic holder, scowls at the lines of black text identifying the various and sundry options to customers. Drops it again, just over the imaginary line that demarcates Bolivar's side of the table. The message is clear: you figure it out. Kayla's fingers rub idly at her face, marking out lines and areas somehow familiar; his scars make her itch, just a little.

It's odd how two and a half years can divert the course of one's life. Make— remake you, so entirely and seemingly permanently. Not that the Bomb had taken more than an instant out of his life, essentially. Bolivar looks down at the specials for another moment, which stretches itself out, thin, over the tick-tock of silent following Kayla's answer. With his head angled that way, his scars stare at Kayla with as much weight as his eyes had.

"It is probably all the same sort of shit, but we can try something else next time," he says with all the subtlety of a particularly fuel-inefficient monster truck. Next time, he will buy. "The pie looks okay." This, he announces to no one in particular, and especially not Logan Rose. "I don't think I could finish it myself, but you're not fat enough," Bolivar observes, narrowing his eyes speculatively.

"I should've known working for the Federal government was like working boutique registers. You know, in order to market your product, they give you free…" He makes an ironic motion with his fork. He is either prodding at the paper company front, or aggravated on her behalf at the stinginess of the provided salary. Either or.

Gray eyes narrow at Bolivar. 'Next time'. 'Not fat enough'. He probably has a point there, given the amount of time she spent unconscious and the energy healing takes. She's not about to admit it.

"Next time," Kayla replies acerbicly, "you can damn well bleed out."

She orders tea, eats the lunch she brought. The woman snorts. "I don't eat out 'cause I don't eat out." Less the stinginess of her salary and more ingrained penny-pinching. "Don't fucking criticize my job. Ever."

"You like it?" There's a peculiar emphasis through that word string, which lays the emphasis less at the character of the job than the character that is Kayla Reid liking anything. Bolivar doesn't reply to the part about bleeding out, except to twitch up the left corner of his mouth. There's a twitch of wrinkling texture up the scarred bracket of his face as he does so. It takes him a quizzical moment or three to choose between strawberries and pecans.

As if he would choose strawberries. There is also some kind of tuna melt he finds acceptable. The order is made in brusque monosyllable after he flags the waitress down the same way. Logan Rose lifts her forepaws to the table, arching the ivory line of her neck, tries to divine the presence of meat in the layers of Kayla's sandwich.

Kayla regards Bolivar levelly. "I like having a job," she retorts. "Means I'm not in hell anymore." Quieter words, not actually meant for Bolivar's ears; gaze dropped, she's looking at the doglet. They're not meant for Rose, either.

Neither is the sandwich, although strangely enough Kayla only eats half of it. Drinks her tea; eats the other things in her lunch around continued exchanges with Bolivar that any listener would probably mistake as hostile.

That's okay by her. Kayla doesn't want anyone to understand, anyway.

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