Couple's Therapy - Take Two


bella_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Couple's Therapy - Take Two
Synopsis Old habits die hard as Bella's brunch with Magnes and Elaine turns into an impromptu session.
Date July 13, 2010


Tom's Diner.

Wearing a black t-shirt with green writing that says 'I'm with Mary-Jane', and an arrow pointing to his right side while holding Elaine's hand, and a pair of blue jeans and black sneakers, he heads into the hardware store to meet Bella. He has no idea why they're meeting in a hardware store, figures she's into new projects, but he's been wanting to check in on her, and giving Elaine a therapist to talk to, at least casually, would be a nice step. "Bella?" he asks as the door closes behind them, looking around.

Wearing a black t-shirt with green writing that says 'I'm with Mary-Jane', an arrow pointing to his right side while holding Elaine's hand, and a pair of blue jeans and black sneakers, he heads into the somewhat classy brunch place. He's been wanting to check in on her, and giving Elaine a therapist to talk to, at least casually, would be a nice step. "Bella?" he asks as the door closes behind them, looking around.

Bella has been waiting for not-too long. This spot, where she met Abigail Beauchamp for an exchange of letter, information, and sinister cane, does make amazing ricotta blueberry pancakes. She arrived in her usual incognito way, with scarf around her head and sunglasses on her eyes, but she's unveiled herself and looking quite recognizable to one able to recognize her, and she has a steaming cup of coffee before her - that it's steaming indicates she can't have been her long. She's even just now adding the sugar to it, two whole packets - Bella is not a culinary badass. She's not much of a badass in any regard. But that's okay, not being badass means you can wear sundresses and, in the current heat, she's been taking full advantage of this fact. It's a jungle green number, which flatters her hair and pale complexion.

When the psychiatrist hears her name, she immediately glances towards the door. Her eyes flick over, taking in the just mentioned by as-of-yet unfamiliar new significant other. A fellow redhead? Bella's lips quirk. She lifts a hand and gives a little wave, beckoning them over.

Elaine's fingers are laced tightly with Magnes'. It's not really that she's nervous, it's just that the added comfort of having her boyfriend's hand in hers is something she's taking the opportunity to use. She peers towards the redhead, offering a slightly timid smile before glancing back to Magnes. At the very least, there could be food!

Magnes leads Elaine over to Bella's table, pulling out a seat for her before taking his own and sitting back, nodding from one to the other. "Elaine, Bella, Bella, Elaine. Funny story, I never told either of you, but I tried to sleep with Bella earlier on the day we met, then the morning after we, uh, met, I couldn't help but wonder if karma just randomly sent me another redhead, you know, one I can relate to and stuff. And the interesting thing is, you both have pretty strong personalities, though Elaine's Scottish, so that's to be expected."

Bella's smile thins just a little, becomes… indulgent, as Magnes brings up his (essentially very forthright and honest) attempt to lure her into indiscretion. This is, at least, a much kinder form of karma than the sort her potentially-terminal colleague is referencing. "Good of the universe to provide a lady of more suitable age," she says, hands taking her coffee cup by the rim and turning it slowly, an idle gesture, "Enjoy enthusiasm, before experience becomes the more important prerequisite." Her tone is mild, amused, kind, but with the appropriate level of distance.

Bella's gaze shifts to Elaine and she offers the girl a smile. "And look at you. You're cute as a button," she extends a slim hand, offering it to shake, "Bella Sheridan. I was Magnes' therapist for some time. I still like to think of myself as something like a docent to him," her eyes slide over to Magnes, "Though it's been a while. I trust you've been busy. Which means you'll have a lot to tell me about." She makes no mention of the bandages. If this broken flower wants to share, Bella trusts she will.

Elaine glances to Magnes, raising an eyebrow. Oh, the irony of Magnes and his exploits. Or attempts at them, at least. She looks back to Bella, though, offering a warm smile. She's already looking a little less timid. She takes the hand (most notably gently) and shakes it. "Elaine Darrow. Nice to meet you, even if Magnes has made this situation just a touch more… interesting." Her eyes also flicker back to Magnes, then Bella again. "Though, if you've helped out Magnes in the past… I upgrade my 'nice to meet you' to a 'pleasure to meet you'."

"Yeah, she helped me a lot, I honestly don't know where I'd be without her. She's helped me through some of the hardest times I've had, and was a major part in helping me be who I am right now." Magnes looks himself over, rubbing the back of his head. "Well, if that's hopefully something to be proud of, at least."

"There is nothing wrong about a man who knows what he wants, asks for it, is grateful when he gets it, and gracious when he doesn't," Bella states, with the air of authority that she gets to wield around people her junior. "Those hard times, Magnes, I hope are mostly over. Though I'm sure you still get up to trouble. I imagine you'd get bored if you didn't."

She lifts a hand to flag down a waiter, "Cream for my coffee, please, and menus for these two." She turns her eyes back to her brunch companions. "My treat, of course. Order whatever you'd like. I don't often get to feel generous. Let me mother you a little," her smile becomes a touch teasing, "You are just too adorable. You treat her right, Magnes. Elaine, if he gives you any trouble, you let me know. I'll set him straight."

"Then I'm really grateful you helped him, Bella. Thank you." Elaine comments, though she does give a nod at Bella's comments. She does know Magnes well. "I think he's a bit better, from what I know, though I think he and trouble still like to have an occasional rendezvous." Then there's a laugh from Elaine—a good sound. "You'd be surprised at how many offers like that I've gotten and continue to get on a regular basis."

"But, let's see, some basic updates on my life… my roommate Sable turned out to be a lesbian, and she has her own place now in our new apartment building. Our band played its first show at a charity, I'm being trained by a highly skilled Russian to fight, I recently had anemia because of an Evolved, I've slept with three women, and we still need a drummer." Magnes looks over at Elaine, giving her a nod. "We're having a bit of trouble with her ex, but I'm handling it."

The waiter is quick to return with menus, and a little silver pitcher of cream for Bella, who thanks him with a gracious smile. She pours a good fourth of the cream in, turning her black coffee the color of milky caramel. She stirs the contents of her cup with a teaspoon, then tests it with a sip. There. Perfect.

"My opinion," Bella avers to Elaine, pleasantly and with some fondness, cup clasped between the fingers of both hands, "Is that people are hoping Magnes can keep you. Few young men are both as deserving of - and as unlucky in - love," she's joking, but it's a joke on the square - things haven't been easy on Magnes, "But maybe karma really is at work. A balancing of the scales."

Bella listens to the update with a slight lift of her brows, signifying both interest and polite surprise. Really? Really? You don't say. They settle once he finishes, and she takes another sip of coffee before answering. First, about those three women? Her eyes slip over to Elaine. "Feel free to indicate he requires chiding at any point. Sneeze. It will be our secret signal," she quips, before returning to Magnes, "'Sable'? Did she rename herself why attending Sarah Lawrence? If so, I don't think you should be surprised at her coming out." Oh, what wit! Bella amuses herself. The mention of anemia, however, puts her cleverness on the back burner temporarily. "How is it this Evolved induced anemia? What sort of trouble led up to that incident?"

"Karma's a funny thing, I guess." Elaine points out. She does, however, laugh at Bella's words. "Don't worry, one of them's me and I know about the other two, so… I think we're good, in any case." Her hand stays in Magnes', but she lets him relate what he'd like to the other redhead… she's too busy glancing at the menu. Hungry, it seems.

"Not a college girl, she's our band leader, pretty great." Magnes looks down at the menu raising an eyebrow at a few things. He doesn't eat out much. "But the Evolved, well, he was stealing from a blood bank, I think, then the next thing I know, all my blood is kind of fried, but I threw a batarang at him before he escaped and I passed out. Not sure how he did it, or if it was even him, but it seemed to be happening around him…"

"The blueberry ricotta pancakes are their speciality," Bella informs them both as they examine their menus, "I usually get them, though today, I think I'm in a French toast mood." She takes another sip of coffee before setting the mug back down on the table. "You look hale and hearty now, though. I'm sorry that happened. Line of duty, I suppose. This is why I leave the heroics to men like you. I'll stick to pill pushing," she smiles at her own self deprecation. "You mentioned Elaine's ex? What sort of trouble? If you don't mind me asking?"

Ooh. Those pancakes certainly sound good. Elaine finds them on the menu and proceeds to decide on her order before she looks up. "We made sure Magnes got rest." She smirks a bit at that. "He's hard to keep down, that's for sure." She sighs a little. "My ex is… a bit of a stalker and also a bit violent." She gives a slight nod towards her arm.

"I just happened to be there to donate blood, I didn't intend to do heroics for once. And I think double entandre isn't appropriate in public." Magnes teases Elaine, then nods at the suggestion of pancakes, even if the idea of cheese on pancakes is sort of strange to him. "I'll handle her ex, though if he's Evolved, maybe some mutual friends of ours can do something about it." he says while giving Bella a knowing stare. They have a secret!

Bella's expression loses all of its ease and humor the moment domestic violence is mentioned. She looks impassive, emotionless, her mouth a flat line. This lasts for just a moment, the moment before Elaine nods to her arm. Then Bella's affect softens, and reaches out, "May I?" and gently examines the binding on Elaine's wounded arm. Her touch is delicate and knowledgeable - she's a doctor, after all. She seems satisfied by what she sees, and leans back, turning to meet Magnes' gaze. "Is he?" that gives her a number of options, "I'll help however I can," she says, smoothly and with conviction, "Violence against women is not something I will ever stand for." No details. Not in front of Elaine.

Ooh. Secrets. Yeah, Elaine was kinda going to just shut up about the secret stuff. She was getting used to being kept in the dark about everything. She offers the arm forward to Bella and lets her inspect it before pulling it back, a bit thoughtful. She does have a lot to think about.

"I don't know yet, haven't met him, but I'll find out." Magnes closes his menu and leans his arms on the table, though noticably keeps his elbows off of it. "I'll tell you when I know. But for now, we could talk about something a bit lighter. I think this is only the second girl I've actually gotten to meet you. There was that girl, Elle, yeah I know her name now. She was a bit… crazy, wasn't she? I mean, I liked her, but the electric kisses were probably a red flag."

"Purported sociopath," Bella says, not terribly concerned about Ms. Bishop's confidentiality, "But I had a sense that if I warned you off her in a direct way, you mightn't have taken it well. I was, however, very relieved when you broke that off."

The waiter returns, and Bella orders the French Toast with strawberry compote, as planned. She also requests a refill for her coffee, only half-empty, but it needs freshening.

"I trust Elaine has only enough crazy to make her interesting," Bella says, shining her smile on the fellow redhead, "Please, tell me a little about yourself. Just the things Magnes can hear, of course. You can save the good stuff for when he gets up to use the restroom," the older woman waggles her brows a little.

Elaine happily ordered the blueberry pancakes and an orange juice, her gaze turning back to Bella as she looks sheepish. "I suppose the brief overview is that I lost my family with the bomb, ended up in the foster system for a while, got taken in by my ex whom I later ran away from, met Magnes, and now I have a happy life. Uh, I'm into learning languages and history a bit and I'm thinking about going to college."

"I have a friend, Cat, she's kind of rich. She was looking for a copy of Amazing Fantasy 15 for me, but I could maybe ask her to help you out with college." Magnes suggests, ordering the same as Elaine before looking over at Bella. "Everything been fine with you? No one try to kill you lately?"

Bella's brows rise, stenciling surprise. "That's quite a lot to overview, briefly," she says, "I'm glad you have the happy ending tacked on there. I would feel quite badly about enjoying my French toast otherwise…" she looks over at Magnes, "Don't forget there are scholarships out in the world. Try and call in as few favors as possible. You never know when you'll need them." She pauses to move her mug to the edge of the table, so the server can refill it. She speaks as she adds yet more sugar and cream. "So far, no, no attempts on my life, thankfully. But I've had to move out of my apartment. Still looking for a new one. Vacancies abound, luckily."

Elaine looks up. "Actually, I may have it taken care of. Ygraine's father does linguistics in a university in Scotland and he's trying to put in a good word with some people over here, so I'm going to apply and see if I might get lucky. Ygraine was convinced that a lot of colleges might be interested."

"Oh, well that's good, glad you've got college covered. And uh, Bella, I don't recommend moving into Gun Hill, or even going anywhere near there, not a lot of people who'd appreciate your presence. And on that note…" Magnes reaches over for Elaine's hand, looking at her with a look of wanting her to understand. "You can't tell anyone we spoke to Bella. She's, well, on the other side of the people we know. Half of our friends would want to shoot her. But I know you're trustworthy. Bella's not a bad person, she's my friend. The organizations tend to view things more black and white than they say I do, but I'm more in the middle than anyone, I'm on both sides."

Bella isn't quite sure how to take this. Magnes clearly favors honesty, which bodes well for his relationship. But Bella much prefers obscuration, to hide behind the veils of her work and her self presentation. To be set to one side of some conflict… it's not really how she even views herself, though it's clearly how she's viewed. She tries to smile. It works. She's good at faking.

"Gun Hill? Isn't that in the Bronx?" she says, with a tone of dry humor, "Please, what social class do you think I'm from?" Like that's the reason she would really choose not to live there. Tenements? Shudder.

There's a bit of a frown. The phrase 'half of our friends would want to shoot her' doesn't bode well. Elaine's not sure what Bella's done that would warrant such a thing, but the whole idea of it makes her uncomfortable. "Organizations, I'm finding, are things to be avoided." She comments, though she says nothing else on the topic.

"Organizations aren't inherently bad, until they get far too ambitious and lose sight of what really matters, and how their actions affect those around them." Magnes shakes his head, keeping Elaine's hand in his on the table. "Messiah, for example, if you've seen the news lately. This is their way of making the world 'better'."

"An organization loses it soul when it ceases to be a group of people ordered, and becomes a ordering for a group of people. When the tail wags the dog, there's trouble," Bella states, "Fanaticism, at its heart, is just people looking for something to tell them what to do, where to go, so they needn't consider consequences personally. What was it Dostoevsky wrote? If God is dead, everything is permitted? He's wrong. If God exists, everything is permitted. If God is dead, we have only ourselves to turn to for justification in our actions."

Elaine frowns. "Either way, I've just found that they're nothing but trouble and complicate things. It's hard to just let life be when there are organizations trying to control everything. Dunno that I'd ever be able to just apply myself to a cause. Too much harm in it."

"Maybe that's the problem, the fact that there are organizations fighting against the government, instead of trying to peacefully work with them. Maybe I'm being optimistic, but all of this fighting is just going to keep making things worse." Magnes hunches slightly, in deep thought now. "Maybe I need to do something."

Bella purses her lips. "I don't want…" she pauses, "I take that back. I do want to speak definitively. Action exterior to the state is the only way to actualize meaningful change. If you look at any meaningful movement towards liberty, be it women's suffrage, the labor movement, the peace movement, the civil rights movement - all of these campaigns for change occurred due to organization against the government. Marches, civil disobedience, protests… Government, even a democracy and, note, we do not live in a democracy, but rather a representative republic, does not change itself. It must be changed. I… am not the kind of person suited for a struggle like that, but you young people are who I look to for the steel and the resolve to take the powers that be to task."

Dr. Sheridan is maybe a little surprised at herself. What she speaks is hypocrisy, working, as she does, for a government funded program with the most retrograde of goals. But she does mean what she says. "I grew up on the 80's and 90's. I never had much of a chance to strike, as the iron wasn't yet hot. You do. Don't hold back, and don't miss."

Elaine shakes her head a little. She falls into silence, mostly because she's not much for a conversation involving these things. Especially because there's something about the whole mix of anarchy and government and chaos that just doesn't sit well with her at the moment.

"You're only about four years older than me, not a dinosaur. And this is a whole new world, I'll change it one day, somehow. I won't let the nation fall into ruin, but I won't let everyone be unhappy either, somehow." Magnes' hand tightens around Elaine's, and he gives her a slight nod. "Can I get your opinion on this kind of open relationship we have? Basically, I told Elaine she can be with our two close female friends in a physical way, as long as it doesn't cut into my own action. I don't particularly get anything out of the deal, but, what do you think?"

Bella's brow furrows ever so slightly. She doesn't seem shocked in the least. She seems simply thoughtful. "I think that depends on the level of trust in your relationship," she says, in a measured tone, "I don't know that I'm the go-to person on this matter. I can only say what I always say… be open with your feelings, clear about your wants and wishes, and open to change if change is necessary. Here…" she says, and reaches into her purse, extracting a small notebook and pen. "You should read this book," she states, quickly writing down a series of words, a title and an author. She tears the paper free from its binding, and pushes it across the table.

On it: The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton "There's another author, but I can't recall her name off the top of my head. This is more or less the definite text on open relationships, both beginning and maintaining them. If you need to talk about specific issues or concerns, of course I'm willing to advise you, but I'm afraid it's a little outside my experience."

Arguments about organizations and fights and wars and politics might be one thing, but Elaine flushed red as soon as the words came out of Magnes' mouth. Bella's response was alright. She was logical, straightforward, not making any judgements but offering reading material (although the title of the book did have a word Elaine didn't particularly like the connotation of). It was really Magnes' careless discussion of what was a particularly serious issue for her that set her off. She gripped the edge of the table with her free hand. "Was it really necessary to bring that up?"

"Sorry, it's just that I trust Bella with everything, she doesn't judge or anything like that, she always know how to help and what to say, so…" Magnes lets Elaine's hand go and stares down at the table, a bit embarassed himself now. "Sorry, I shouldn't expect you to suddenly trust her too."

"Elaine, dear, don't worry," Bella says, leaning forward, a hand extended to touch lightly on the space of the table in front of her, "Look at him. Take a long look. That, my dear, is a man who is kicking himself, a man who is willing to do most anything to avoid sleeping on the couch for the next week. It's not a pretty sight, dear, but tells you one thing:"

Magnes' erstwhile therapist fixes him with a look, "That he's very, very sorry for being such a dope."

Elaine glances to Magnes, taking his hand again. "It's not really that you mentioned it to her so much as it is the fact that you're the one that suggested it and you said you don't even get anything out of it. Makes me feel like I'm some kind of slut and that I'm treating you unfairly by having things like this. So you can imagine how I feel with you saying that to me, but saying it front of someone I've only known for a little while hurts." She glances over to Bella, a little apologetically.

"I know I suggested it, and I don't mind that I don't get anything out of it, I guess there's just this thing that I can't put in words. I don't have a problem with it at all, I guess I just have this…" Magnes waves his fingers a few times, trying to find the right words. "Left out feeling?"

And now we're in couple's therapy. Bella laces her fingers together. Maybe they can make a breakthrough before their food arrives. She'd rather everyone have their appetite. She wants this young people eating. Especially Elaine - what a skinny little thing!

"Elaine," Bella prompts, "I imagine Magnes said what he said as a way of expressing this feeling. Badly timed, maybe, but I think it's very worth discussing, particularly considering your own concern, your own feelings. So… Elaine, if you could start… do you think you know why Magnes might feel left out? And could you tell him how this arrangement makes you feel, personally?"

Elaine wasn't expecting something like this to come up. "I suppose because he doesn't get to go out and do anything beyond us. I mean, if he wanted something more than me…" She trails off, then glances back. "I like things the way they are… it's not just about sex. That's nice, trying different things, that's nice. But it means a lot because it shows you trust me. You trust them, because they're our friends. I feel good because my friendships with them are better because of it. I feel really good, and really happy. But if you aren't happy…"

"No, I'm happy, and I don't wanna go out and have more than you, this isn't even something that really bugs me a whole lot, it's just one of those nagging things, y'know?" Magnes takes a deep breath, still trying to find a way to explain. "Alright, I think it's like… you guys have this secret that I'm not in on. And I don't even mean that in an orgy way, I just, don't know what goes on."

Bella's pale blue eyes move from boy to girl, girl to boy, as they converse. This is going… quite well, by her standards. She's not even sure if she should interject, interrupt the flow of communication. So she remains quiet, stealing a quick sip of her coffee as she oversees. The ball's in Elaine's court.

"What?" Elaine is a little confused. "It's… not like there's a secret. Did… you want to watch us make out or something?" She frowns. "I mean, it's kinda just what you'd think. We hang out as friends, one of us feels like doing something, something happens. It's.. not really some big conspiracy or anything, Magnes."

Bella interjects at this point, "Elaine, I appreciate your expressing yourself, and being willing to stand up for yourself and ask questions, but I detect a certain defensiveness. Let Magnes explain just what he means before putting out a word like 'conspiracy', one that Magnes didn't use."

"I know, I'm just being stupid, but… I don't know, watching would probably help a lot, but not really required or anything. I just wanna talk about it, hear about the experience and stuff, y'know? And, well, know when it happens so I don't have to wonder if it did or not." Magnes elaborates a bit more, finally figuring out what's even bugging him to begin with.

Elaine frowns a little bit. "I don't know that I could convince them to let you watch, but I suppose I could try if it'd make you feel better." She does frown a little more, however. "So.. you want me to keep a log of what I did with whom and when and how many times?" She arches an eyebrow.

"I can't advise to the wisdom of the 'watching' compromise," Bella says, lifting her hands to motion that this is beyond her bounds, "But I believe a sense of complete communicational openness, for the sake of communication, is important. And again, Elaine, Magnes didn't say that. Magnes, if you could explain what exactly you mean, so we're totally clear about what would satisfy you."

"No, no, I wasn't going to ask to watch, it's just, well, you put it out there just now. But I guess I just want you to say, like, 'Well I did this today', or whatever, I don't know… I don't need a bunch of specifics and stuff, I guess I'd just feel better knowing if something happened." Magnes sighs and hunches slightly, then sits up straight again. "Sorry, just forget I said anything, I'm being stupid. I mean, like I said, I don't have a problem with you doing anything, so this whole concern of mine is stupid."

"Magnes, if I may say, I don't think it's unreasonable to want to know what is going on in your partner's life," Bella says, "In an open relationship, honesty is everything, I mean that. You both decide what you are comfortable with, but the principle is very important."

Elaine frowns a little bit. "Well, if you want to know if something happened, Magnes, you can still ask me. And if they're okay with it I could tell you a little more, it's just… the whole point is that you trust me with them. Are you worried they get it more than you or something? It's not a competition, Magnes. I'm with you. I love you."

"No no, that's not it at all, I do trust you, this isn't about keeping tabs on you, I want you to know that. You don't have to go saying how many times something happened or anything, I just… don't know how to put it in words." Magnes looks over at Bella in searching stare. "Can you help me?"

Bella's voice becomes firmer. "I think this is a topic that really did need airing," she says, "And Elaine, I honestly do think you're taking what Magnes says and assuming the worst. We need to work for an arrangement that works, not find reasons why it couldn't. You say you'd be okay with Magnes asking. Magnes, would you be okay with asking when you wanted to know, expecting an answer every time, and trusting her answer implicitly?"

"Sorry," Elaine mutters, looking guilty. She's trying her hardest not to be defensive or jump to conclusions, but she's really not always sure how to take things with him. She's an analyzer. She peers towards Magnes to see what he says.

"I can take that, I trust Elaine with my life." Magnes smiles and reaches for her hand again. "If I wanna know something, I'll ask, and I'll trust whatever answer you give me.

Bella looks to Elaine, expectantly. Again, ball's in her court. She hopes her fellow redhead makes the right play.

Elaine nods, squeezing Magnes' hand a little bit. "Yeah, if you wanna ask me, I'll answer what you ask. I just don't feel like it'd be easy to 'report in' about everything, so to speak. So if you want to ask, I'll answer."

"Then we're good?" Magnes leans in to peck Elaine on the lips. "I hope we're good, I love you, Elaine." he says without a hint of the bashfulness Bella would have expected of him when they first met. He's made a lot of progress!

Elaine happily accepts the peck, smiling a little back at him, squeezing his hand. "We're good. I love you too, Magnes." She's blushing, however. As fine as she is with public displays of affection, Bella is still a stranger to her and it's weird exchanging these kind of intimate displays right in front of someone watching in public.

"You two are more than welcome to have your breakfast, just you two. You shouldn't miss out on eating pancakes together, but I brought a journal I have to read," Bella taps her purse, "And I don't mind eating solo. I might take an outside table, while the before-noon air is still cool." Her smile is pleased. She feels a little proud, and also pleased on Magnes' and Elaine's behalf. Those that can't do can at least try and teach, or just help out a little."

"Take some 'you guys time', if you want it."

"You don't have to go, Bella, but if you want. And, I'd like it if we could all meet up some time soon again." Magnes gives Bella a nod, looking from her to Elaine. "So, just call me whenever, Bella, you've got my number. I'll let you know if I change it.

"He's right. We don't mind if you stay, but it's ultimately your decision." Elaine's hand stays on Magnes', squeezing it gently. She looks back to Magnes at his request to meet again, and she nods, slowly. She'd be okay with that.

Bella rises to her feet, taking her mug in hand. "Trust me," she says, "I'm only going to put a damper on the company. But you can be sure about seeing me soon, both of you, if you'd like. I'd love to take you both out again. Dinner and drinks?" She lifts her brow, inquisitive, "If Elaine's old enough to drink that is. I simply can't tell. Cuteness defies age." Her smile is warm. This has been sort of lovely for her. She's gotten to feel like a good person again. She'd missed that.

"She's eighteen, so, not yet, but dinner would be nice." Magnes raises her hand to kiss the back of it, then offers a subtle wave for Bella's leave. "I'll look forward to it. It was really nice talking again, and I think you helped me again."

Elaine offers Bella a warm smile, glancing to Magnes before back to the departing redhead. "It was a pleasure, Bella. I look forward to meeting with you again. Dinner does sound lovely."

Bella's brows lift. She's seen an inordinate amount of hand-kisses this month. "Until then," she says, "This should take care of the pancakes," the psychiatrist takes her wallet from her purse, and removes a fifty from her wallet, setting it on the table, "Any change, you keep. Get ice cream sometime. Feed this girl, Magnes," she tips her head towards Elaine, "She's beautiful, but a stiff breeze through her hair would whisk her away."

"Hey, I like her any way she is!" Magnes snickers and gives Bella a nod. "I'll see you later then. Call me tonight!"

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