Cosa Dai


delilah2_icon.gif teo_icon.gif



Scene Title Cosa Dai
Synopsis Christmas is for family, isn't it?
Date December 19, 2018

Bay Ridge

Trafford Residence

December means snow and slush and cold, which can either be a boon for parents or a bane for their sanity. School gets cancelled, or the kids can’t stand the cold sleet— then again, it might snow just enough to draw all of them outside to play instead of getting stuck in the house. Today is… the former. Delilah has trouble actually getting things done when her son is home with her, naturally. The rain outside is cold, the wind a whiplash of stinging air, and Walter has been moaning about it since he got home from school. He’s bored, and it’s raining and it is literally the worst!

Dee on the other hand, has plenty to do upstairs in the space she uses for her work. Every so often she hears a ball bouncing around, or the pat-pat-pat of running feet up and down the stairs, or even the mimicked sounds of Walter’s voice as he narrates the adventures of action figures in his own headspace. She hears the door open first, despite the rattle of her sewing machine; the pedal lifts as her foot drops, and she turns in time to see Walter ducking behind the crack in the door.

“Okay, okay, you get at least this one interruption.” Delilah teases, acting all put-upon with a dramatic sigh. He laughs and pokes his head back in.

“Sorry.. Um,” Blue eyes narrow a moment in thought before he finishes. “Can I play on the tablet? Please?” Walter has pretty good puppy-face qualities. Thanks a lot, genetics. Delilah considers that look, glances down at her table, and back up again.

“Did you finish your homework?” She barely finishes the question before he is nodding furiously and bouncing from foot to foot, which earns a small scoff. Oh, you. “I suppose so. You know the rules.” Is a reminder that doesn’t really need saying, but she says it anyway. No sooner has she given permission does he zip out of sight with a fading, “Yeah, I remember!”

A sigh in her nose, Delilah sets aside her work for a break, and grabbing up an empty mug nearby to start the trek downstairs.

It was always a long way to New York City from Europe, and it's only gotten longer since the United States as we know it went up in flames. Teodoro had been sure to call ahead, of course. He'd been planning the visit for weeks. Lawyers lead busy lives no matter what part of the world you live in, and getting the time away, briefing his co-workers on everything they'd know to keep his clients happy. Happy enough. He still had to buy a long-distance cellphone plan, of course.

He stopped thinking about it the minute he stepped foot on the plane. And he hasn't really given his work much thought since, not while he was squeezing into the tiny airplane bathroom, and then the helter-skelter at the airport. It's so fucking cold in New York City; worse than London, where hed been last week. Worse by far than Sicily. It's the kind of chill that digs into the roots of his teeth and cuts at his hands through the fabric of his gloves. He'd almost forgotten.

But he steps up to the door, and he isn't thinking about it then. Backpack on, coat pulled up high under his jaw, he looks— more like the baby terrorist he used to be than the attorney he works as now.

Teo presses the doorbell.

There's something peaceful about the methods of things like putting a kettle on; step one, two, three, staring at the flame a few moments as if it might dare to heat faster. No such luck today. The kitchen window betrays the sound of someone coming up the front walk, and even though she can't see the culprit, it has her checking the time in surprise. How long was she up there? Too long, clearly.

Delilah looks up to the kitchen ceiling and listens carefully, hearing the faint voice of a puzzle game. It's still going when the bell rings, and she is thankful for that much. Hands fuss over her oversized sweater before she moves to answer the door.

His mother has people over all the time, so Walter doesn't think much of it. Yet. He's a little bit busy, as children tend to get.

There is a rattle and a thump and a whistly, "Mother- fu-" on Delilah's path to the door. When the lock clicks and the door opens, Dee has a diecast car in one hand and a smile blooming across her face. Teo only gets a few seconds until she flings both arms around him, holding tight.

Teodoro scoops her up, easy as he would an armful of puppy, a bouquet of roses, someone he loves. The lattermost is maximally accurate out of the three. He doesn't have quite his other analogues' physical prowess, but still there is plenty of strength in his arms and his shoulders— easily enough to yoink Delilah right off her feet. He turns a modest circle with her in his grasp, careful not to accidentally hit bannisters/fencing/doorways/etc. with her little feet, bare or slippered.

"Buona sera, Lilah." He sets her back on the floor— the warmer half of it, just inside the doorway. And then he leans forward, pressing his mouth to her cheek. His lips are chilled from the winter, the shape of his kiss delineated in the fine edges of cold against her face. Then he leans back again and grins at her. The tip of his nose is a little ruddy.

"I brought you both presents," he says. "I'm going to pretend they're vulnerable to freezing, until you get me in there."

Delilah squeezes as she's lifted in that little turn, a grinning laugh buried in the collar of Teo's coat. The smell of flowers and something sweet lingers in her hair, her cheek warm against the kiss. Dee has his hand even as he quests to get inside.

“Then get on in here.” She pulls Teo inside with a gentle tug, shutting the door against the chill. Once she turns the lock, Delilah puts both hands up against his cheeks, giving his face a teasing rub of hands to warm it up, ruddiness and all. “You should have gotten a scarf.” Her smile crinkles against her eyes. “Looks like you've gotten spoiled without these winters.”

Sounds like someone has gotten curious about the sounds of the door, judging by the padding of tiny feet on old floors above Teo's head.

Teodoro gets inside, and he huffs and puffs and stomps his feet, making a grand production of the evils of the local weather. While Sicily is part of Europe, which is generally seen as Northy hemisphere, the snows are usually reserved for the mountains. A man must complain. But he acknowledges her valid criticism about his meteorological complacency— a little duck of his shaven head. It's true.

But then the pitter patter of little feet. Teo puts down his luggage and starts to pull off his coat. The better to improve his mobility for the hugs that will necessarily ensue. Preferably without dragging its hem through slush water.

"WAAAALTERRRRRRR," he bellows, once he's in the final stages of disrobing. "Come down! Come see your dad. It's a Christmas gift." He's leaning over again, automatically, once he has his arms free to absent-mindedly kiss Delilah on the cheek again, as if the warmth differential of her skin is a reassuring reminder that he is indeed, thawing out in here.

That hangdog look she gets as an affirmation always gets at least a small laugh. Delilah takes the shoulders of his coat as he wriggles out of it, and once he's free perches it on a hook by the door. She can hear the pad of feet, but she doesn't seem to notice until Teo raises his voice and draws her ear to it.

And boy does he get exactly the response he's seeking- -

There comes the sound of feet landing on the floor, and one can follow it all the way to the stairs before Walter appears at the top in a breathless rush, cheeks already flushed with excitement. He's a little bigger in person than when Teo saw him last- - webcams and phone calls don't catch that change quite as well. There is a small need for a haircut, but somehow the current mop of ginger fits just right.

“DAD!” Walter practically flings himself down the stairs, skipping a step down and skidding onto his butt to coast the rest of the way. He absolutely meant to do that. (He didn't.)

The speed with which Walter magnetizes into Teo’s front is audible once he connects. Whump!

"Holy shhhhh," says Teodoro, who then stops himself. He scoops his child up in the air, and then— fails to suppress the urge to spin him around. Walter's feet are just long enough to start hitting walls. Maybe next time, Teo will know better. "Piccolo orso," he says. "Razzo rosso." Ludicrous nicknames. Walter should never take them to school, or the former terrorist, now lawyer, will have to be reduced further to puncher of shitty little kids. "Fagiolo sciocco."

Little bear, red rocket. Silly bean.

He hefts the boy up on his arm, narrowly averting smushing Walter's head on the ceiling light. And he proceeds to tote, fumbling only briefly with his bag. Fortunately, he still works out, so he has the balance. Chris Evans, etc. "I hope you're all ready for some beautiful presents. Made in China, like all the good shi— stuff used to be." He winds a backward look at Delilah. "Before the end of America as we know it."

Watching the ensuing horsing around, Delilah doesn't bother stifling her laughter. She's had to only recently do less picking up of her son- the visit to the shrine during memorial season may have been pushing it… but she knows he needed it. "I was just about to get some tea going, so you got here just in time." Read: something to warm him up.

The affectionate series of pet names gets Teo a suffering sort of noise from his son, but there's no argument against it; only Teo's allowed to call him those kinds of things— and mom— but he can still pretend like he's too big for it. As he's perched onto his father's arm, one arm slings around shoulder and collar for his own balance.

"Mum didn't tell me you were coming!" He's not mad about the surprise, though. "I'm ready! Do I get more cause it was my birthday last month?" Delilah scoffs out loud. Walter sits up and almost bumps the light again, head swiveling around to spy his mother now on her way into the kitchen. "Mummm, can I have cocoa instead? Pleeease? It's a special occasion! Like you said you save it for!" The begging isn't whining yet, but Walter definitely has the 'desperate child' act down. It doesn't help that he also has a bit of that puppy brow of Teo's already- -

- -which incidentally usually gets him what he wants.

"Alright, alright," Delilah relents, glancing back at the duo. "What about you, papa lupo?" She snickers when she uses the name, eyes sparking. "And you two can go relax, I'm sure your da's had a long trip." There are lots of places to cozy up in the den, and there's even a squat little Christmas tree. Nothing on it yet, though it gives the room that reassuring scent of pine sap and forest.

"I also want cocoa," announces Teo, carting his offspring into the living room. He looks back at Delilah as she's vanishing— one of Those backward looks, you know. The final glance at a familiar woman at a train station, or watching one's hometown spiral out of sight out the airplane window, your prom date descending the steps.

There are one hundred beginnings and endings in looks like those.

In the living room, Teodoro puts down his things and puts up his son, packing him onto the couch. Manages, somehow, not to crash into the little tree burgeoning there in the corner with its boughs full of holiday spirit, if empty of baubles for the moment. Teo then scoops tickles into the kid's waist, both hands. Blows a raspberry in his ear, and then takes out a parcel from the bag he'd set down. Brown paper, tied with brown string. Marked: Walter. The Delilah one stays in the bag, for now.

"Don't get too excited," he warns, affectionately, setting his feet down, knees apart, so that Walter can try to climb up on him as needed. "It's not the new iPhone. I'm in the wrong kind of law for all that."

The boy is definitely not too old for being assaulted by tickling, and his laughter fills the room effortlessly under it. Walter lets it slide into snickering as he flops over his father's lap, hands wrapped around the gift passed to him. Red hair tips back, blue eyes turning up at Teo's face.

"I'm still a little excited." Can't stop won't stop! A grin flashes under freckles. "That's okay, those are like a million dollars anyhow." He does have a conscious attention to the value of things— his environment calls for it. Walter's next quip shows a bit of his cheek. "Besides, you came to see us, so that totally makes up for it." He forgives on the basis of viable alternatives. Seeing Teo at Christmas time? That's the stuff. Once he's comfortable, the boy sets to opening up his present with an infectious smile.

"Here we are. It's really hot, so blow first…" Delilah's arrival with a small tray holding three mugs comes as Walter starts unpacking. She sits down caddycorner to the coffee table, the smell of chocolate lingering there with her. Seeing the two piled together brings her a visible joy by itself. "You know you had a nice birthday so don't go begging for double the goods." Dee knows exactly her boy's brand of wile.

There will be time for Teodoro to later stand silhouetted by a window with all kinds of tragic airs, lamenting the birthdays he's missed, the birthdays that he's allowed the Ghost and his weird ("weird"), weirdly agricultural hybrid version to take responsibility for, and lapse in that responsibility. For now, though, he's pretty happy to put his hands on top of Walter's head, feel how soft his hair, how big his head. A very good brain is coming into that, he's sure.

Inside the paper package, there are two gifts— not because he preempted Walter’s wiles, merely because they matched. Both are leather.

Real Sicilian leather. With that smell that isn't good but is certainly new; very grown up. The first one that erupts into Walter's hands is small. It's a wallet, embossed already with his intials, W.T.

The bigger one is a knapsack. It'll be huge on him if he starts with it now, but it promises to be an easy fit once he comes into a little more height and breadth. Same color, no initials. Teodoro knew a thing or two about being a handsome boy whose attention was sought after; you can't take too many risks with all that. "For your travels," he says, stooping to look at the leather goods from his son's altitude, his head beside the smaller one. "Not just to see me, but you're definitely gonna do that some time."

He turns his eyes to Delilah from over her hot beverages. He's careful— he's always been careful not to say when, of course. Not even 'soon.' But it's a promise; not one he intends to break.

For all of Walter's evident excitement he is getting better at not becoming a whirlwind in the face of presents; still, there is a bit of speed. He's eight. When he reveals the gifts his eyes widen, and he seems to clue in on the grown-upness of it all.

"Oh wow- -" The boy picks up the wallet to touch the letters, and Delilah takes a second to glance at Teo with an approving look. Nice one, pops. Walter turns his head under Teo's hand, hair ruffling. "Yeah! Maybe when summer comes??" which is an approximate time of school ending. "I don't have a lot of money yet but I have library cards," Curious hands open the wallet to inspect the inside, and then he does the same with the knapsack. "They smell kinda funny but not like bad funny like new funny.." Walter ambles in his defining of 'funny', but surely Teo gets it.

"Maybe." Lilah's answer to visiting is similarly vague, though Teo earns a warm smile and an appreciative look in return. It's hard to plan some things anymore, but it is absolutely on the plate. It's been some time since they were there. "You can put your pictures in there too. And your school card? But your registration is staying in the house. You're not quite ready for that."

Walter deflates only a little. "That's okay, I'll have my X-Men card anyways - -" School ID, he means.

X-Men card. Teodoro's eyes crinkle. When he was small, that had been more Romero's thing. Teo himself had been into more like, football, beer, and women. (Eventually, terrorism and men.) (But also women.) He decides not to catastrophize about the eight-year-old putting all of his worldly goods into a scrap of leather and vanishing it into the world by tripping over a frog or some other adorable bullshit. Who ever let him procreate.

"Can you bring this to your mom?"

A parcel for the lady of the house. It's not as bulky as the Man Stuff that Walter got for Christmas, but approximately as wide. Soft. If you mush it around just a little, you'd probably guess that it was some form of clothing. It's certainly light enough, if Walter will cede his traveler's gear in order to do as he is requested. Teo will keep the wallet and the knapsack safe, in the meantime, setting them down out of harm's way before he makes a move to get his hot chocolate. IT'S THE HOLIDAYS, he isn't watching his sexy cevans figure right now, okay.

"Summer sounds good to me," he adds, nonchalantly. Like he hasn't been stewing, for a time, more or less discreetly but also not unreasonably, on the logistics of stealing both Delilah and Walter away from the United States and all of its strife and turmoil. There are many things that Sicily doesn't have, sure. But war and its aftermath is one of them.

In truth Walter is a fairly responsible little dude, mostly because he needed to be. And yet he still seems to vibrate with the notion that he can take his spare change with him when he needs to. It's so much better than having to dig around in his oft-repaired backpack! And he will totally not lose it tripping over a frog. Or a toad. Or a crack in the sidewalk. At least, he'll do his best- - And Dee will probably only let him take it certain places until he's old enough to not trip over animals.

"I'll do good in school too I promise and then you can't say no." Is the ginger boy's response to a summer vacation and his mother's thoughtful look. But he is needed elsewhere- -

"Yea!" Of course he can do things! Walter doesn't shirk the chance, as if that might help an already big love for him. Gotta do the thing. He slides off of his seat and takes the package in his hands, presenting it to his mom with a small attempt at a flourish. Delilah tries not to laugh too hard. It's cute.

"Oh, my boys are spoiling me now, huh? I'll start having things like expectations." She isn't taken aback, just pleasantly surprised even if maybe she oughtn't be. Delilah sets a hand on the package in her lap, a moment taken in appreciating Teo's presence and Walter's helpful chime of, "Open it!" before unwrapping it.

The paper parts in Delilah's hands, and it's a coat. Khaki and lovely, long sweeping folds tailored to a slim fit, a belt with a wide grommet to thread through. Single-breasted, but flattering in its cut nevertheless. It's pretty. Teodoro tends to choose pretty nice coats when he opted to buy gifts for women who he loved and respected.

Teodoro watches with Walter for a long moment, spectating Delilah's slow unveiling, and then shifting his attention off to the side by helping him hitch his little leather pack onto his back. Fiddling his new, embossed wallet. Teo plays with his son for a moment, affectionate and not insincere, but then the next moment he admittedly

plays his son. Turns him around and gives him his drink of chocolate.

Teo's strategy might be lost on the eight-year-old— in fact, hopefully it is! But Delilah will catch on in an instant, as she smoothes out the garment, or perhaps even when she tries it on. There's a small, velvety weight in its right pocket. A box, its contents promising to be more expensive than their packaging. He'd hinted before, you know. Less romantic, more pragmatic. It's been a long time since New York City was somewhere he thought was safe.

Teo's eyes stay on Delilah, even as their son buzzes around excitedly. There's a question in them, thus far unspoken.

It doesn't take much for Delilah to admire that coat right away; even the fabric is something she would be lucky to get shipped out this way. She runs her hand over the front, smoothing it with a lopsided little smile. She definitely likes it, even grinning and standing to slide it on. "Oh, it's lovely…"

And with Walter completely distracted by messing around with his presents and the faceful of chocolate, any more gratitude on her tongue sticks a moment more. It's replaced by a dumb skip of her brain, hands having been exploring the size of the pockets.

Delilah pauses, drawing out the velveteen box only enough to peek down and confirm its presence. She looks up then, eyes meeting Teo in a doe-eyed wideness, cheeks and ears flushing rose under freckled features. She gives Walter a quick glance, his nose still in the drink that he has more or less swiped. He hasn't noticed much else.

For once in a long time, Lilah turns timid, quietly pulling out the box to open it just out of sight of her son.

It would be way too obvious to put a finger to the side of his nose— it'd make the secret so dramatically unsecret that Walter would start to figure it out, probably, and that's not the right thing to do. Not until they've had time to talk about it. Teodoro smiles at her quick, sidelong. Not too insistent, for all that this trick wasn't— fair, probably. Even being romantic is its own kind of manipulation.

"Why don't we put on Gulliver's Travels?" he asks. "I like the new one, with that actor— what's his name. Banjoko?" He slaps his hand down on the couch so that Walter can sit next to him. "You're Gulliver tonight. Then it's your bedtime, isn't it?"

He looks to Delilah without secrets this time, openly, in a way that directs the child's attention to his mother. Walter has no way of reading the subtext. Once he goes to bed, the adults will get to talk. Even if it's to talk about not talking just yet. He says, "Aunt Lucrezia gave Romero and I both a small toy sheep each when we were little, and I immediately lost mine. You'll get to see why that's funny."

Unfair or not, at least the effect has a fair result; Delilah listens to the two just behind her for a breath more, silent when sliding the big gesture in small package back to where she found it. Teo's lopsided smile for her is answered again in kind.

"Yeaaah," The boy slides up onto the cushions, drawing out that long suffering sound in his voice. Walter relays the rest as if it were something hush-hush. "I'm not s'possed to stay up and if I stay up to draw or something mom always hears me. Can she see through walls too?" Surely Dad knows. His chattering hits a small bump when he notices the exchange of meaningful looks, though it lasts only long enough for him to study them for a second. Parents are kinda weird sometimes. "I want to meet some tiny people." Anything is possible.

"Heheh, okay, I'll remember the sheeps. Will she ever come visit too or do I gotta go visit you? She's so cool- -oh! You can meet grandpa Niel! He's cool too." and back to chattering he goes, contented with himself.

"She is, isn't she? And yes, squirt, maybe we can go see him." Dee has folded her coat- and contents- to put it aside until the little guy's bedtime. Talk will come when there is peace and quiet, even if only a promise to talk later on. Until then, it's all about Walter.

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