Cupido Tirano


ignacio_icon.gif reena_icon.gif

Scene Title Cupido Tirano
Synopsis Friendship is hard.
Date April, 26, 2019

Botanica La Romana

Botanica La Romana is institution in Red Hook. The shop was originally owned by Luciana Rodriguez until her death during the Second Civil War, when it passed to her nephew who still owns and operates it. It sells products related to the practice of Santeria, including religious statues and candles, various herbs and natural remedies, and other products regarded as magical or spiritual. It also offers diloggún readings, a practice of receiving guidance by the orishas about one's life and how to restore its harmony.
The outside is painted with a vibrant mural depicting a tropical scene, including an ocean, a beach, and a woman watching over some children playing.

Reena stood outside the shop for far too long. She made a show of looking over the mural there, but in reality, it was just indecision keeping her from getting any further into the shop. But she's made it indoors now, browsing through a selection of candles. And then on to the statues. None of this is what she's here for.

Of course, she hasn't does anything like actually tell Nacho that she's here. Or otherwise draw attention to herself, aside from simply being here. Maybe she's leaving it up to fate.

Nacho is not paying that much attention, honestly — maybe it’s odd, because he can’t have that much business. …Well, of course, it isn’t odd to her. Either way, though, he’s only murmured a greeting and continued reading the magazine that he has laid out on the counter.

Eventually, though, something makes him look up. Whether he’s somehow recognized the sound of her breathing — or, more likely, he’s decided to be a good employee — is anybody’s guess. Either way, he straightens, and takes a good look at the patron in question. Who turns out to be Reena. His eyebrows raise, and for a moment he doesn’t say anything. However, he can’t just not say anything. “You lose your Santa Barbara?” he asks, not too pointedly. A little pointedly. But not meanly.

When he moves into view, Reena happens to be looking elsewhere. Any elsewhere. Of course, she knows who it is. And she knows that he knows. And etc. His question gets a smirk— an expression that she tries to keep from seeming too amused. She didn't intend for him to suffer a violent work-related death, of course, but she doesn't seem to hold the remark against him. She does give him a sidelong look, but he knows better than to that that too seriously.

"No," she says, turning toward him finally. It's not awkward at all. "I— " The truth is that she doesn't know what she's doing here, when she could have probably waited and run into him some other time. "I just didn't like how we left things last time." Which is a truth, so it'll do. "I was in the neighborhood," she says with a gesture vaguely in the direction of the market. That's a truth, too. Perhaps he's welcome to pick which one he wants.

Definitely not awkward. Who’s awkward? Not Nacho. Especially not when she gets a little more serious. He hesitates, before he shuts the magazine, though he doesn’t come out from behind the counter yet. Maybe he considers it a bunker, just in case bombs start flying. It wouldn’t be the first time for them — not literal bombs, of course. Neither of them can do that. But the other kind hurt, too.

“Okay,” he says, and he leans forward, resting his forearms on the top. “Guess you come down here more than I thought, huh?”

All Reena has to hide with is some candles, which does not end up feeling like a secure place to have this conversation. Or maybe any conversation with him. It is his home turf, and the familiarity she has with it is an extra layer of strange for her. "I thought I probably should," she says to his observation, "I haven't been. I got some advice that maybe seeing you wouldn't be such a thing if I wasn't hiding on the farm so much." She passes around to another aisle, idly looking over the collection of herbs there. She's not really seeing them so much as giving herself something to do. But she looks over at him now and then, just so it isn't like she's talking to the merch. "Plus, I can be sure of the prices if I'm here. Sometimes my people can be a little too easy to negotiate with."

“A thing?” Nacho looks a little taken aback by this description, but a moment later, he just snorts. “I didn’t realize I was a thing. Who knew?” His tone is rather nonchalant, though there’s a certain edge to it under the surface, maybe. Just a little bit.

He does step out from behind the counter then, but he doesn’t really come over to her. Instead, he leans his back against it, so he’s almost not even any closer than he was a moment before. “Worried I’m gonna fuck with your people?” he asks. “I’m hurt, Reena. Damn.”

Reena tips her head back at his reaction, letting out a sigh before she looks back at him. "A thing. An event. A shock," she says, as if she might stumble across the right one somewhere in there. "Maybe it was just another day for you," she starts, but she doesn't finish that thought. Instead, she comes over and leans back against it next to him. She'll close that distance since he seems to only want to come at it an inch at a time.

"Not you," she says to his question, her arms folding, "Or, not specifically you. Anyone who asks them, frankly." She lets out a breath that's almost a laugh— just almost. "They aren't really city people." She never was, either, but for one exception.

“Every day’s just another day. We’re all just living our days. Shit happens, or it doesn’t happen. Sometimes it’s good shit, sometimes it’s bad shit. Sometimes it’s things.” Apparently he’s not going to let that one go. He watches as she starts over toward him, and he doesn’t move away, so that’s something. He does cross his arms over his chest, though. It’s not the most open posture, even though his tone is still the same when he continues.

“Well, probably a good idea,” he says, looking over at her with a little tip of his head. “I probably would fuck them over because I suck, right?” It’s not really said meanly, though. It’s more a joke, even if it’s a little bit of a darker one.

"You suck a little bit right now," Reena says, a hand moving to her hip as she looks over at him. That one comes a little more naturally, as old habits kick in a little better. It might be the first joke that's actually come off right in a long while, too. "You're planning on making me work for this, huh? I'm trying to say I'd like to be friends. I— It isn't that I didn't want anything to do with you ever. Could we be friends?" There are other things she doesn't say, and she tries not to look like she's missed him. How well she maintains a casual demeanor seems to shift by the moment, though. She's a lot better about it with people that aren't him. "Maybe I should have had a drink before trying this," she adds with a sigh. Like she can't imagine it would have made it any worse.

“Not as much as I could suck,” Nacho replies, and he grins at her, wiggling his eyebrows up and down a few times as his eyes drop down her body, and then move up again. Of course, he’s joking — again, mostly. Not completely. Somewhat. He does at least let it go a moment after, giving the offer real consideration.

“Yeah,” he finally says, “sure. We can be friends.” His smile tips a little wryly there, “I guess it’s good that you aren’t down here all the time. I’m probably best in small doses.” The humor turns a little self-deprecating, at least, though just as sharp when pointed inward instead of outward. “Come by when you’re in town. We’ll get coffee or whatever friends do. Hit the gym. Work on our abs.” He shrugs, “Not that you need to, I’m just saying. Whatever.”

"Oh my god," Reena says to his suggestive reply, rolling her eyes overdramatically, "give you an inch, I swear." It's a half-hearted protest, because she can't pretend to mind as much as she probably should.

She leans back at his list of possible outings, her hand on her hip. "Have you been letting your abs go?" she asks, her smile turning crooked. "Such a shame. But if you need a coffee-slash-gym person, I'm pretty good at both of those. Or whatever."

“Are you kidding? I’d never let these go. I’m gonna be the only 95-year old in the home with a washboard stomach, mamita. I don’t care if I break a hip getting there.” Nacho looks quite outraged — though it’s marred a bit by the smile still lurking on his face. It gets a little bit more serious at the end, though not completely so. Enough to land the conversation in a genuine fashion, though. “Okay, then. Sounds good.” He reaches up to scratch his head, just a little awkward there, but he smooths past it soon enough, more or less. “It’s always good to see you,” he says. “Even when it’s not. You know what I mean.”

"It's good to have a dream," Reena says. His future plans and imperfect outrage get a gentle laugh from her. As if she might think it overly ambitious. She's only teasing, though. She's seen his abs. His last words temper her humor, though, and she nods. "It's always good to see you, too. It isn't the same," she starts, but redirects her words a little, "with no one around to sass me." Which he has always been good at. She glances toward the door, as if suddenly needing to find an exit. But that turns out to be the opposite of her intentions, because she turns back to him a moment later. "You busy now? Or can you offer a girl a drink?"

It’s possibly good that she went a little bit tangential to what she might have said, because there’s a tiny flash of pain that crosses Nacho’s face — it’s brief, but noticeable if one is looking for it. Of course, if one is not looking for it and looking the other way somehow, one could miss it. Or pretend to miss it.

He does look back to her when she looks toward the door, and he’s guessed that she’s going to go…so when she invites him to go with, it’s a little bit of a surprise. “Sure,” he says after a pause. “Let me lock up.” Wow, what does he even do in here? He doesn’t seem to think it’s a problem, though, and he starts toward the door, reaching into his pocket for his keys. “Just one, though. Otherwise we might end up doing something we’ll both regret ‘cause I’m super hot.”

That flash isn't missed, although Reena doesn't draw attention to it. For both their sakes. And because alcohol is on the horizon and that will surely make it better.

She smirks at his surprise, but follows him to the door. "I don't know how much regret there would be," she says, playfully, "but one drink. Sure." It's a joke, but only partly. It might be noted that she doesn't argue about him being hot. Because he is. "That little bar down the street still around? Still any good?" The second part seems to be the more important question.

“Oh, no? You had a whole list when we broke up. I shoulda written it down to remind myself.” However, Nacho nods as he shuts the door behind them and locks it, then sticks the keys in his pocket and looks around, squinting at the fading afternoon light. “Yeah,” he says, “it’s fine. I like it when people know what I want so I don’t even have to order and they already got shit ready for me.”

He starts in that direction, though he does shoot a look over at her. “You got any places like that up there? Where they have the raw milk out as soon as they see you pull up on your horse?” Okay, so it’s teasing, but at least now it’s light-hearted.

"Did I? I don't remember," Reena says, although it's a willful sort of forgetfulness. She keeps step next to him as he starts toward the bar, her hands sliding into her back pockets. "I'm the one with the raw milk," she says with a chuckle, "but we have a bar. Don't know how long we'd last without one. In any town. A lot of it's homemade, but it does the job." There might be a reason she wants this outing to be to a bar, other than the social lubricant. A whiskey with a name would be a real treat. "I do ride a horse there, though," she adds with a chuckle, nudging him lightly.

“Yeah, you did. You super did.” Though maybe Nacho had some things about her, too — maybe he flung them at her in anger. That’s neither here nor there, and he certainly doesn’t mention it, mainly because, well…yeah. He said a lot of shit and it’s honestly kind of embarrassing. The mention of the bar, though, gets him looking over there as though in surprise. “Wow, a real bar?” he asks, in a tone of clear surprise, though maybe it’s a little exaggerated. “No way. I thought you all went up there to get away from all that. Be all wholesome and shit.” The confirmation about the horse — or maybe the nudge — gets a snort.

Reena doesn't mention the things he said, either, because she doesn't particularly want to relive the rougher moments of their former relationship. It's better for both of them, really.

"Not to be wholesome," she says with a shake of her head, "to not be under anyone. After the war, I just don't want government hovering over me. Providence has given me that. Just me, no one to answer to." She lets out a sigh, arms spreading out in front of her for a moment. "Honestly, I'm a little worried that's changing even there. We had these new people come in last year. I thought they were just taking refuge there, like we all have been. But things have been… different."

“Mm. Well, I get that.” Of course, does he really? He made a very different choice, as she knows. Though he hasn’t really told her the total extent of it, which is probably something for another day. Or never. It probably means something that he hasn’t told her everything about it — but he hasn’t delved too deep into it in his own mind, since that’s never a good idea.

Her last words, though, get a look, and a raised eyebrow. “Different?” he asks. “Different how? Or are you not allowed to talk to the uninitiated?” It’s a joke, but a light one. He does seem curious.

"There's no initiation, that's what I like about it," Reena says, but the joke still gets a crooked smile. "Different like… they've gotten… militant. I just want my farm and no one to bother me, but now these people are armed and they have numbers and armor. And maybe it really is just for protection, but I've heard that before. These soldiers are here to protect you, these walls are here to protect you." She shakes her head, humor gone now, replaced with a certain amount of resignation. "They even marched off on some fight a few months ago. I just worry what they plan to do with Providence. And if they care about the people who were there before them."

When Reena answers, Nacho’s eyes widen a little bit. Partially it’s joking, but not completely. “I thought you all were trying to build some utopia with everyone happy and singing kumbaya and shit,” he remarks, shaking his head a little bit. “Guess you can’t escape that no matter where you go.”

He reaches to pull open the door of the bar that they’ve arrived at, holding it open for her as he gestures her in with a flourish. “My lady,” he intones, very seriously — but not too seriously, since, yeah. He can’t keep the straight face that long, even with everything that they’re talking about. “Just get your horse to kick them in the head,” he suggests once they’re inside. “Done and done.”

"My idea of utopia is the mostly people leave me alone and let me do my thing." Reena shrugs a little, but nods to his observation. "I guess I can't."

She gives him a sidelong glance when he holds the door open and he can see the moment when she thinks about arguing. But she must have grown as a person because she just tilts her head and heads inside. "Drinks are on me," she insists as she passes him. She can only accept so much chivalry in one sitting. "What if they kicked my horse back? I can't do that, he's precious."

“Am I supposed to turn that down? You know I like having a sugar momma.” Nacho starts toward the table that he usually goes to — hey, it’s the one they used to go to, also — and sits down. “That’s why you gotta aim good,” he says, very helpfully. “Why have a horse if you can’t get it to kick people? I mean, that’s basically the only reason I’d get a horse.” He leans back, stretching his legs out under the table and lacing his hands behind his head. “What are you gonna do about your military element, then?”

"I am not your sugar momma. It's just a drink," Reena says, stepping toward their old table by route and only realizes that he also came straight here as she's sitting down. Right. "I have a horse to get around without walking forever," she says, her tone more amused, "he's not an attack horse. That's what the shotgun is for. But I don't think I want to piss off a whole militia." Her hands spread at his question, though, and she lifts her shoulders. "Hell if I know. I guess I'll see about poking the beehive and see if they sting. And if they do, I find somewhere else to bed down." Luckily, her farm is animals and easier to move than crops. Maybe by design. One foot out the door.

“Sure, sure. Just brings back memories, is all I’m saying.” Nacho certainly does get comfortable, but he’s a regular, so he’s probably entitled. “I feel like a whole militia would still be scared of you, though. So you’re probably fine.” However, he does add, “Just be careful. Don’t poke too hard, okay? I know I said a lot of shit at the end but I don’t actually hope you drop dead.” His smile tips a little wryly at that, the humor black, but certainly present.

Reena closes her eyes and shakes her head at his comment, but she still looks friendly enough when she looks back at him, so she must not mind his nostalgia. But when he goes on, she smiles, mirroring his wry expression. "That's the sweetest thing you've ever said to me," she says, opting to continue the joke instead of a more serious response. But chances are that she's being careful. Maybe more so now.

When a waiter passes by, she flags him down and orders— she nearly orders for Nacho, too, but stops herself and lets him do it himself. Maybe his usual has changed. Or maybe it's a little too familiar to order for one another. But when the drinks come, her awkwardness seems to have abated and she lifts her glass. "Cheers. "

“Yeah, well. I’m not trying to get you into bed anymore, so I can afford to be nice.” Nacho winks at her exaggeratedly, before he turns to order his usual. Maybe he appreciates her not ordering for him — maybe he doesn’t notice. Either way, when they come, he picks the bottle up and reaches forward to tap it gently against her glass. “Cheers.”

The next morning…

Light streams in through the window and hits Nacho’s face, causing him to cringe away, bringing a hand up to cover his eyes as he lets out a little groan. It is possible that one turned into more than one.

He lies there for a second, getting his bearings, before he sucks in a sharp breath and turns over to the figure who is lying next to him in his bed.


Reena looks peaceful as she lays there, hair fanning out over the pillow. Her arm is slung haphazardly over his chest, a position that's calls to mind many similar mornings.

Similar, but not the same.

When he speaks, that's when she groans too, and she rolls over onto her back like she might go right back to sleep. Instead, her eyes pop open as it hits her that she isn't in her own bed. And she certainly isn't alone. She doesn't look over at him, though. She puts her hands over her face and groans into them. "No, no," she says, head shaking lightly. Lightly, because there is a hangover brewing that definitely came from more than one drinks.

Nacho tenses next to her when she speaks, his expression shifting from ‘oh shit’ to something much less pleasant than that. He doesn’t say anything, but just rolls over and steps out of bed, reaching up rub his hand over his head as he moves toward the dresser. A shirt and boxers are grabbed quickly and practically thrown on as though it’s going to block him from something. It’s not going to block him from what already happened, though.

“You want water or something?” ‘Awkward’ does not begin to cover how he sounds, to say nothing of the edge in his tone. Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

A glance at the floor tells her that her own clothes are too far to reach while staying under the sheet, so when she slips out of bed, she takes the sheet with her. One hand clutches onto it while the other plucks up her clothes from where they seem to have been strewn enthusiastically around the room. "No," she says first, then she straightens, "I mean, yes, but you don't have to get it for me." She sits at the edge of the bed, trading the sheet for her pants and a shirt before she turns to look at him.

"Friendship hurdle number one," she says, like she's trying to be a little more lighthearted about this particular moment than she really feels, "not waking up in bed together." Maybe it's to counter the edge she catches in his words. She may be hyper-aware when that slips in.

Nacho turns away again when she gets up — weirdly, since obviously they’ve seen each other naked before as well as other things. “Okay,” he says with a shrug, and he reaches to grab a pack of cigarettes from on top of the dresser, as well as a lighter. “Yeah, he says, his voice nonchalant, though he can’t hide the former tone, “guess we’ll have to try harder. Good thing you won’t be down here that much.” It might have been meant to be a joke, but it doesn’t really sound like one at the moment, all things considered.

The joke falls flat, that much is clear from the way Reena's face hardens. She turns back around, saying nothing as she takes a moment to tie her hair up and stand to her feet. "If it's such a good thing," she says, her hands moving to her hips, "maybe I just shouldn't come around at all." She straightens her shirt, then her hands come to rest on her hips. "It was real nice catching up, Nacho," she says, tone not at all matching her words, and she turns to head for the door. Perhaps in favor of saying more things. Because saying things is not their best thing.

“You know I didn’t mean it like that.” Didn’t he, though? He actually might not be sure how he meant it, himself. He lets out a sigh after that, reaching up to run a hand back through his hair again, this time so hard that it has to hurt a little — there’s no way it doesn’t. “Yeah, sure,” he says after a moment. “Guess I’ll see you around.” It’s really just something you say, though. He doesn’t expect to see her around after this.

"Funnily enough, I don't actually know when you do or don't mean the words you say," Reena says, as she pulls open the door and steps out. At his farewell, she looks back with a flat expression and shuts the door heavily behind her.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License