Cools the Sting


delia_icon.gif nicole3_icon.gif

Scene Title Cools the Sting
Synopsis Delia and Nicole exchange barbs. Both by mistake and with purpose.
Date August 14, 2011

The Corinthian: Chambéry

It's been some time since Nicole's actually set foot in Chambéry as a guest. She used to be something of a regular being that it's an upscale establishment where she flits in and out with some frequency. She'd truly blame throwing herself into her work outside the Corinthian for her lack of presence, but closer to the truth is that a descent into alcoholism is best served at dive bars and not under the watchful eye of the rich and famous.

She's arrived plenty early ahead of her expected dinner companion, to give herself time to re-acclimate herself to her surroundings and feel more in control of the situation. It can't go worse than her last meeting, can it? Nicole finishes off her third glass of what appears to be a tequila sunrise and another is brought to her as though the server received some sort of psychic signal.

In this day and age, that's a legitimate possibility.

Stirring the fresh drink absently, Nicole watches the door expectantly. It isn't that tardiness is a concern - that Delia Ryans can make her way here from the confinement of Eltingville at all is a minor miracle and allows for some leeway - but there's a strong sense of anxiety gnawing steadily away at Nicole in anticipation of a bad reaction.

She's dressed in her Sunday best, the fact that it actually is Sunday makes her dressuppedness a little more usual. There was a mass this morning and even though the redhead hasn't been to one for a while, her invitation via text days before has given her an excuse to take off. Lord knows she has sins to confess and be absolved of, just so she can feel good wearing her white dress again.

It's been months since Delia's been to the Corinthian, since Logan extended his hospitality to her here. When she steps through the door of the restaurant, she relinquishes her shawl to the back of a chair opposite her brother's fiancée, former fiancé, dad's date… it's confusing. The tabloids never say much about her family member anymore.

Bending to give Nicole a kiss on the cheek, Delia finally takes her seat and gives her a large smile. "Thanks for bringing me here, it's been a while."

"Glad to have you," Nicole murmurs, accepting the kiss with a turn of her cheek. She'll take it when it's offered. She'll likely be turning the other in a moment. "How are you doing, Carrot Cake? Being cared for? Eating enough? Is there anything I could help you with?" The concern is genuine, though it may make a handy bribe. Maybe.

Even though she's taken on a more willowy appearance since her accident, Delia has filled out since her last 'date' with Nicole. "I'm okay," the questions aren't answered very well with the one answer, if at all. Signs of depression are all over the young woman, as much as she tries to hide it.

Picking up a menu from the table, she ducks her head down, letting her hair fall over her shoulders to hide her face. The cuff around her ankle isn't touched on, verbally, though Delia makes the futile attempt to cross her other over in an effort to hide it. At least she wasn't refused service, being a guest of one of the hotel bigwigs has its perks. "You? Dad said he had a date with you… or is dating you… I saw him on Mother's Day."

Oh boy. Let's cut right to the chase, shall we? Nicole is good about not looking visibly startled, and even manages a small smile. "Your father's been very good to me." Her chest feels tight, but she forces herself to breathe deeply. "Do you know much about the dreams we've all been having? They're getting… worse?" She pauses for a beat to reconsider. "No. More frequent."

Delia gives a little nod to Nicole's observation but keeps her eyes down at the menu. Considering they're the same shade as Benjamin's it might be a good thing that the dreamwalker isn't levelling a stare at the other woman right now. It could be awkward.

"Yeah, I've had a few.." is the murmured reply to the question, again it's not an answer as much as acknowledgment. The menu is set down and one of Delia's hands go under the table, where she begins scratching at her ankle. "You seem happy, you weren't with Brad."

"No, I wasn't," Nicole confirms, her lips twitching into something that briefly resembles a wry smile. "In that timeline, Brad and I don't know each other beyond the political arena, as far as I can tell…" She fidgets with the ever-present bracelet around her wrist, turning it in a nervous orbit. "I have a husband, and a daughter. She came back with your Benji."

"You mean Ingrid? Yeah, Dad told me…" The redhead lifts her head a little, just to show Nicole her eyes. Though she's not crying, there's a little reddish hue around the edges, like she either has been or will be crying. "I haven't had any dreams about you or dad. Were you happy?" There's a certain tone in her voice, one of hope. Someone in that future needs to be happy. From what she knows already, she wasn't.

"Don't get me wrong," she continues, "I'm not— Not unhappy that you guys are dating. Really. Dad and I sort of drifted apart since… since I moved to Eltingville, you know?" Delia can't remember divulging the details of her move with the other woman, what she does or doesn't know. Just in case, she says little.

"We were happy. We are happy." Nicole reaches across the table to take the girl's hand. She considers her a sister, more than… Well. "Delia, I love your father. And he loves me." She swallows uneasily and debates withdrawing her hand. There's no silverware at the table, so there ends the fear of being stabbed with a fork. But that's only one fear of many.

"I asked Ben to marry me, and he said yes."

Delia's jaw drops and she shakes her head a little. The threat of tears from before turns very real as one slides down her cheek and she squints to stop any more from coming. "You can't.." is the selfish little squeak from Ben's (so far) youngest. "Dad can't get married… I can't go."

Nicole's own lips quiver in sympathy, and though her eyes glisten, tears don't fall just yet. "We have no intention of leaving you out. I promise. We'll find a way to make it work. I want you there. We both do." How they can work that out is still an unanswered question. The anklet Delia wears complicates matters, but doesn't dampen resolve or sentiment on Nicole's part.

The waiter's intrusion on their private conversation results in an angry glare from Delia. No doubt the next strike is a backlash of the pain of possibly missing her father's impending nuptuals. As far as the dreamwalker can see, there's no way around the cuff, short of breaking her out of Eltingville and she's already been told to wait.

"I'll just ask Mister Logan to go with me." He'll either do something about the cuff right away or tell her no. Either way, the comment is meant more to sting at Nicole than a method of participation.

And sting it does. Nicole actually looks vaguely ill at the notion of attempting to get married - however dubious the legality - with John Logan as a witness. She retracts her hand then, her own look to the waiter more apologetic. She murmurs her order and waits for Delia to do the same before continuing. "Please don't tell him. Let me have the chance to do that myself. Just… tell him I need to talk." Because he doesn't take her calls much these days as a general rule. It's complicated.

However spoiled Benjamin may claim his daughter to be or how bratty she acts (like when she orders the turf with double the surf), guilt is quick to find a home inside of her. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it," Delia murmurs, the sincerity is as much in the tone of her voice as the expression on her face. Whatever good feelings resulted from confession this morning are gone now, she ruined it; a lot like she does most everything else.

"I won't ask him, I'm just— " Her hand comes up to the top of the table, the blood under her fingernails signaling that maybe she's been picking at her ankle a little too much. "I already miss everything, I can't see my family.. All I wanted was to do the right thing and I always screw it up."

"You don't always screw up. You're a good kid, Delia." Seven years her junior gives Nicole the right to call her a kid. Sort of. "And you can ask him if you want to. It isn't like either of us want the other anymore." She can only hope she actually means that. That seeing him won't rekindle any of that fire she once felt.

Nicole folds her hands in her lap somewhat primly, eyes downcast. "I never expected… things to work out this way," she admits. "But the dreams… I won't say I'm not influenced by what I saw. I am genuinely happy with your father, though. Happier than I've been in a long, long time." She lifts her gaze, a bit of begging for forgiveness as she holds Delia's.

There's a small nod and Delia's eyes drop to the table, still guilty. Nicole can be thankful for the fact that she's been forgiven for doing absolutely no wrong to the youngest of the Ryans girls (not including Ingrid). "That's good," for a while, Delia could say the same. Then things turned a little sour.

"They call changes in history butterflies, right?" Delia finally asks, not knowing if Nicole will be familiar with the same movies as her dinner companion. "Do you think they'll make enough of them to make things better? Do you think the changes that have already happened will have any effect?" She's not talking about an early wedding, or even no child born from her own body. More the important things. "Or do you think things have just gotten worse sooner?" Like her own well being.

Nicole is quiet for a long moment, contemplating her own feelings on Delia's question. She's given it thought before, of course. She had to when she made her argument for marriage to Ben. "Yes. I believe that by coming back here, and showing us what they have, that we'll be able to change things. For the better."

Drink is brought to lips and whatever it is, it must not be strong enough for Nicole's liking. "Do you talk to your son? I'd like to meet him… Ingrid, she doesn't want anything to do with me since I found out the truth. I don't blame her, based on what I've seen. Somewhere along the line, I fucked up. Horribly."

"Daughter," Delia corrects, "Benji thinks of herself as a woman." There's a finality to her words, no apology or further explanation required. "I try to talk to her as much as I can," she continues, a small smile of pride on her face as her eyes lift to meet Nicole's. Obviously, whatever Delia did over there has made her believe that she can do something right. She raised a fine young woman. "When I was lost, she came to find me. She's.. she's wonderful, perfect, Kincaid said I was a good mom." Another reason for the young woman to smile.

There's a pain in Nicole's heart that doesn't show on her face. Of course Delia would be a good mother. Of that she never had any doubt. But much like her failures with her own sister after taking her from their parents' home, she made her daughter resent her as well. If she's surprised by the notion of gender bending (she isn't), she doesn't show or make note of that either. She's content to bury her own sorrow for the remainder of their meeting in favour of letting Delia indulge in her pride. It's the least she can do.

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