Contented Fool


delilah_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Contented Fool
Synopsis Eileen delivers a parcel to Delilah's and discusses the future of an unborn child.
Date August 26, 2010

The Octagon: Delilah and Else's Apartment

Dusk often will find Delilah Trafford at home, a fan casting a breeze through the apartment, and her usually perched somewhere, working on one of many hobbies. Today it so happens to be that she is making efforts to start writing her own songs. Else gave her some non-precognitive tips on the matter, and so far Dee's work has been rather hop-footed. The legal pad she has sitting on the coffee table seesaws on the edge, her foot on the corner of the table, bobbing it up and down. The page is filled, at least, with various scribbles of ideas. Nothing concrete. The pencil is being balanced on her lips, and beneath her nose.

The redhead has her hair pulled back, and she is dressed in maternity lounge clothes of pink and lilac. The television is on, if only to provide background noise consisting of Animal Planet.

It's not unusual for Delilah to receive visitors this time of evening. The light leaking in through the apartment's windows has adopted a rosy hue with golden highlights that brings out the colour in her hair and creates a halo around her head, though there's no one else around to appreciate the things it does to her curls or the cast of her freckled skin or remark that it seems to make her glow. And maybe they wouldn't: it's a commonly held belief that pregnant women are supposed to.

The knock that she receives at her door is brisk, unrecognizable. It isn't Else — she has a key — and if it were Samson Gray, chances are he'd let himself in without waiting for an invitation.

Contentedness makes the light grow fonder, perhaps. The tint of the sun on the horizon does most of the work, however, Delilah's calm mood is doing quite a bit to help the matter. Having eaten, having relaxed, having time to sit and write- she is at a very Zen place when the knock on the door comes. Samson, dozing there between the sofa and the table, leans upward, pushing Delilah's legs over his back when he goes to investigate. A short, curt bark comes from the big dog; he is so used to friendly faces that this bark of sorts is generally a courtesy warning that he is on the other side of the door.

Lilah rolls her head to look after the dog and the door, the pencil rolling down over her chest and stomach to the couch cushion. Of all the times that Samson does not have thumbs! He noses at the bottom of the door while waiting for his owner to get there and peer through the peephole. Provided nothing fishy is on the other side- she will gladly open it afterward.

Five feet tall with a build equivalent to a small, passerine bird, the woman on the other side of the door poses no threat to Delilah, not because of her slightness but because Eileen has no reason to harm her: the dark-haired Englishwoman is a friend of the redhead's baby's father, and although Delilah doesn't know it, has made promises regarding Walter and his mother that she has no intention of breaking.

When the door opens, she remains in the hall outside, eyes lowered to the large dog occupying a significant portion of its frame for what little good it does her. She holds a bundle in her arms, package wrapped in plain brown paper and an even plainer length of twine. Her clothes are similarly simple: a light wool coat in dark navy worn over a gray dress and rounded black flats that draw some attention to the side of her feet which, like her hands, are proportional to the rest of her and equally diminutive, though that isn't to say she looks young.

Brows arch over solemn gray eyes and her mouth adopts a gentle expression. If Delilah did not know that she was only a few years older than herself, it would be possible to place Eileen in her early thirties. For the most part, this has been an aesthetic choice. "Delilah."

Eileen's exuding of maturity, and in some cases, melancholy, is exactly why Delilah has come to see her more as an elder sister figure; she could say a great many things about Eileen, but in the end it will always come around the track to that particular point on her personal relationship scale.

"Oh! Eileen!" Delilah sounds like more of a bird, chirping brightly and smiling, hair ruffling at the back of her neck like a plume of feathers. "Hello. Do you want to come in? Samson, move your big arse-" She moves a hand to tug at his collar, directing him, if unwillingly, towards the side of the door. He seems far too interested in Eileen, but moves his rear aside, at the very least. Dee grunts down at him, pulling the hem of her shirt down as she makes the noise. Fine. She'll move then.

"I hope you've been well?"

The two puppies Raith has been raising at the Dispensary have fractionally improved Eileen's tolerance for dogs, but as a general rule: the bigger they are, the less comfortable she is around them, and this one resembles an ox. Nonetheless, she steps inside the apartment, a flicker of movement near the collar of her coat where a little black and white bird with a triangle of scarlet on its breast is perched. It's a grosbeak, and a little flashier than the sparrows and starlings she's taken to carrying around with her since losing her sight, though there's nothing nearly as brassy or garish about its presence or the carnation she wears tucked behind her ear for colour.

Its presence on her shoulder allows her to navigate the apartment with relative ease, her feet a whisper against the hardwood floors. She's not been to Delilah's before. "That's a question I ought to be asking you," she says, "but I imagine you must be starting to get tired of it."

An ox with the disposition of a cow, generally. Samson tilts his head to Eileen when she wanders in- maybe he has noted the bird, or maybe he is just being a big boob. Both are equally likely. Delilah closes the door behind Eileen, a click against the background noise of meerkats on the television and the humming and thrumming of various electronics out in the kitchen. The redhead plays the hostess, gesturing very openly to the apartment.

"Else and I have worked on making this place fit us. It's coming along." Delilah twines her fingers over the lower half of her belly, smiling as she takes another moment to examine the dark hair and pale complexion, and that little companion tucked under her collar. "Not tired of it. Used to it, for sure. I'm doing great, though. Still an adventure."

Eileen sets the package down on the kitchen table after dancing the tips of her fingers across its surface to make sure it's clean. "Intrepid adventurers had best be prepared," she says, moving around the table to adopt a position closer to one of the apartment's windows and to give Delilah room to open her parcel. "I should have come sooner."

Her words a curt, succinct, not unkind; although there could be a but attached to the end of that sentence, there's something decisive about her tone and the clarity of her voice, responsibility taken for not having been as present in Delilah's life as she could have been. A slight nod toward the package, then softly, "Well, go on."

Delilah always has a clean house. It reflects on her, you know! Samson, ever interested, makes an attempt, when he can, to place his nose in Eileen's hanging hand. Hello? Tail-wagging.

"I've been intrepid since I learned to crawl, maybe." Delilah muses out loud, glancing back to the tablet in the den, and back to Eileen and her maneuvering. This includes a look over the plain package on the kitchen counter. "Hm?" The redhead looks between parcel and person. "Oh? Oh. Well, that's quite lovely of you-" Dee does not presume it is for her- perhaps it is best to presume it is for an 'us'. Eileen giving her something? She's not sure what to think, other than it must have some value for Eileen to consider it in the first place. And so, the younger woman sidles into place, glances up once more, beginning to undo the twine and paper.

Paper peels away to reveal a quilt sewn from two layers of fabric with a chenille border and cotton velour in soft shades of palest brown, cream and gold, each square a different pattern, some solid and others more complex, including one with ornate black flowers in a Victorian style. Inside the quilt, several handmade cloth diapers and a fisherman's cardigan in dark brown with two buttons with two easily-fastened buttons in the front, and although it looks rough to the touch, the weather resistant fabric is kind to Delilah's fingers when they brush over it. Walter will outgrow everything except the blanket — even the small plush fox that comes with it, its red fur bristly like the cardigan's wool — but not in his first year of life, which has not yet started.

Eileen splays her fingers across Samson's muzzle and applies steady pressure with her palm, pushing his face away whenever it comes too close.

The first thing Delilah sees are those little eyes peeking out at her from the paper; the stuffed fox practically leaps free when she pulls the paper away, only to be found by Delilah's hand and gently perched to watch the rest. Already, she can feel her cheeks warming up unnaturally so. Not for anything negative, no sir. Her freckles contrast with a dim tint as she opens the rest and goes just as gently through it all. Delilah was never the type to tear into things. Just as well.

The little coat is laid flat over her hand when she finally looks up to Eileen, over the heartfelt contents of the bundle. The tips of her fingers trace over the duo of brown buttons a moment, between a pause and a somewhat shaky breath inward. God damn these hormones.

"Goodness, what beautiful things. Thank you. I-" For some reason, she is just a little lost by it. Part imbalance, partly as she has never felt too close to Eileen, but maybe they have always been close enough. At least, to garner attention. Maybe it is part Teo's accidental doing, who knows. "I feel honored that I'll be able to give these to him. I know any son of mine will make sure they're well-loved." Physical, as this, or otherwise. Delilah gives a little sniff, putting the edge of her wrist up to smudge it over her cheek, looking quite disturbed behind the odd haze of being so touched.

"'M sorry, I feel so stupid- you make such a nice gesture and I'm lookin'like some kinda loony bird over here." Delilah does, however, laugh. It's not a bad laugh. Nor really overwhelmed- there is a good chance that she was just needing an excuse to get all puffy-cheeked about something, subconsciously.

In Germany, Eileen did not consult with Gabriel about what to purchase for Delilah. These gifts she sought out alone, placing her trust in a combination of English pragmatism and female intuition. It isn't appropriate to include him in everything, especially where children are concerned; the last time she spoke with him about pregnancy, it was to tell him about the one Ghost abruptly terminated, and she has not broached the subject since. It helps that she also has no real desire to.

Their problems are much larger than what could have been in another life that, as a direct result of their own interference, no longer belongs to them and never will. "He says you're going to name him Walter." Eileen rests her free hand on the opposite side of the table, some dark bruising visible around her knuckles where Odessa's foot came down on it several weeks ago, and while her fingers probably look better than they feel, she doesn't appear to be in any physical pain. "That's very British of you.

"Do you plan on staying in New York after he's born?"

Even if she had the peace of mind and he the presence, how skilled might Gabriel actually be with something of this nature? It's hard to tell. Eileen has a wit even if she doesn't realize, as Delialh laughs past trying to rub her face into order again. British indeed.

"I'm naming him after my grandfather. It's a strong sort of name, isn't it?" But, even at a time like this, Eileen has the most practical of questions, for the most practical of purposes. Delilah manages to silently edge her way out of being overwhelmed, folding her hands softly, palm down on the woolen coat; if only to be able to show Eileen that she is not a complete fool. "I'll be honest with you, Eileen. I'm not sure yet. I've thought about it quite a lot. What to do after the fact."

"I've already been trying to get out of the more dangerous things as it is, but there is always going to be a degree of it anywhere in the world. My entire support system is here, unless Amadora and Paolo saw fit to welcome me." It is easy to tell Delilah subscribes to the 'village' theory of child rearing.

Eileen is silent for several long moments in which the apartment is filled with the sound coming from the television and the almost inaudible murmur of her breathing. She considers Delilah, or the grosbeak under her collar does, the corners of her mouth turned down into in an expression that is not quite a frown. Gray eyes grow contemplative.

If she knew where Mu-Qian was, would she advise her to take Bai-Chan and join the exodus as well? "We've a concentration of domestic terrorism I've not seen anywhere else," she says, "except for Madagascar, and you've read the papers, watched the news. Our network is caught between other organizations like Messiah and Humanis First, which are on two opposite ends of the same spectrum, and if the visions we all received in June is any indication of the future, this is no place to raise a child.

"I've a flat in Munich that belonged to a man who I considered my grandfather. It's only one bedroom, but there's space enough for you and Walter, Teodoro if he comes to visit. There are others who will be leaving, too, Delilah, and I haven't a doubt that Catherine is willing to help. You could bring some of your support network with you."

"Others?" Her first reaction most certainly is not worry about Germany. Or speaking German. It is to question who might be privy to this situation Eileen is talking about. Delilah loves New York as much as any local should, of course, but she has always had that mote of detachment always connecting her to the rest of the world. Her fingers rub over the hem of the little coat.

"I've been to Bavaria." She says this rather unbiasedly. "Years ago. Who else is thinking of leaving the city?" It is starting to sound as if Eileen is gathering an exodus.

"I don't know yet, but it's inevitable: twenty-nine of our people died, there's a fifteen million dollar reward for anyone who offers information leading to our arrests and we've got what looks like Armageddon looming on an already smoking horizon. November is only two months away." Eileen's grosbeak looks between the cardigan's weave contrasting with the smooth paleness of Delilah's fingers and her rosy face. Her gaze remains forward and steady.

"No one will think any less of you if you choose to go," she says, "not when it's for the child's sake."

"I know that. I got into this for the future. It just came a little bit sooner than I expected." Delilah can't help it, but she does laugh, albeit warily. "If I went I'd have to take my whole family. That means Samson- and I know for a fact that German dog laws are all over the place. It may sound childish, but it'd be like telling you that you can't have birds. Ever." Bran, in particular.

"If it comes to being wise to leave, I might. Provided that I'm not alone. I don't think that I could do it alone."

"Were I to choose between my birds and my son, it wouldn't be a choice at all." Outside, the bruised sky deepens to purple, and the last slivers of sunlight disappear between Manhattan's cityscape, stolen away by the shadows cast by its towering skyscrapers. In less than an hour, it will be black with smoke and flames will ripple above Battery Park, but neither woman has any way of knowing.

Eileen steps away from the table, slim-fingered hand trailing after her. "You could do it alone if you had to," she says. "I don't think it's ever going to come to that. Too much love."

"Family means nobody gets left behind. I'd take him anyway." Delilah admits, quietly, moving only because Eileen does, now. She's no threat, and hopefully Eileen does not shrink away when Delilah reaches to put her hand on the curve of slim arm across from the little bird. To keep her closer, and to offer that physical touch as she is apt to do for anyone. She is smiling, because of the same. "If I had to, yes. I could. You're right though- too much love. It's not in my nature to be a loner. I may be part fool sometimes, for that, but it'll always be a contented fool."

Eileen stills at the hand by her elbow. She does not move to pull away or tense unreasonably beneath the touch. "What I meant, chickadee," she says, voice lowering in volume to match Delilah's, "is that they won't abandon you or Walter. That boy's parents have their fists around more hearts than anyone I know."

"I know." Delilah's answer comes even more softly, at first, half-caught in her prior breathlessness. Her hand drifts away, but only after making sure to leave a residual feeling there on Eileen's arm. She is as warm as her fiery hair. "I can tell I'm going in the right direction when I find myself hoping that he can do the same.

"Thank you, Eileen." For what, she leaves as open as a door. A great many things, from the sound of it.

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