Dancing Around the Truth


evan_icon.gif nadira_icon.gif

Scene Title Dancing Around the Truth
Synopsis Small steps are the order of the day for the power couple.
Date August 2, 2010

Hamilton Heights Apartments #504

The apartment used to be pretty spacious, but one room was repurposed as the floor's new equipment closet years ago, leaving the rest to form a U shape. The decorative styles have diverged as well - a blue tile bathroom at one end, a kitchenette best described as Early American Disco at the other. In between, most of the furniture is built from various colors of cheap blocky plastic, starkly at odds with the hardwood floor; the only exceptions are the couch (dark brown to hide stains), the coffee table (the shape and color of a giant cashew), and the bed in the bedroom (with a red striped afghan sprawled across it).

Stuffed into a single full-height bookcase is a dog-eared collection of textbooks, notebooks, science fiction paperbacks, and a collection of wooden boards and little concrete cubes occupying most of the second shelf from the top.

A pair of waist-height windows in the living room open onto flowerbeds, currently empty, coupled with black metal safety grids across their top halves.

Someone, it seems, has made a couple of… interesting shopping trips lately. Evan has traded in his normal casual attire for a royal blue keffiyeh and matching khalat, leaning back against a mountain of varicolored throw pillows and occasionally leaning to one side to reach for a hookah. But mostly he's waiting. When someone offers to demonstrate belly dancing, you don't turn it down lightly.

It doesn't take too much more before Nadira appears, decked out in a traditional belly dancer's garb, belt of coins and all. She moves slowly, and the Egyptian beauty moves in towards Evan, hips moving which causes the coins to shake, a soft metallic sound when they hit against each other.

A faint smile crosses Evan's face - even now, he remains reserved, waiting for the dance proper to begin - and reclines a little further. A couple of the pillows slide off to the side, but there are still a baker's dozen nestled under his shoulders, just enough to maintain a comfortable viewpoint.

Who knows where the music comes from, but soon enough it chimes in and Nadira begins to move, gently making her way around in front of him, gauzy skirt flowing around her legs as her hips shake with the coins.

This is the trick behind the art: moving smoothly but quickly, letting the outfit work with you instead of against you. She seems to understand this inherently, and Evan reaches a hand up in appreciation… only to find himself tipping further back, the pillows collapsing beneath him one by one. No, wait, he's falling through the pillows, even through the floorboards beneath them, his arms and legs flailing helplessly upward as the air begins to rush past his ears.

The dance doesn't quite finish as Nadira continues, though her hand reaches towards him as he falls, though she soon disappears from view as he falls, the metallic sound of the coins still ringing before slowly dying out.

But the hand continues to plunge downward, impossibly foreshortened. Desperate for any sort of hold whatsoever, Evan reaches up toward it, but he's falling even faster, disappearing from view as the light gives out—

It's not actually that common for people to sit bolt upright after suddenly waking up. Evan's eyes are barely even open, but he feels as if he'd just gone through something like that. Rolling over onto his side, he manages to focus on Nadira and eases his arms around her, slowly so as not to jolt her awake too.

Nadira isn't the heaviest of sleepers, so she remains, for the most part, asleep as she shifts, Evan's arms easily slipping around her. She murmurs incoherently, dark hair falling in her face a bit, and she unconsciously moves closer to the warm body next to her.

There's an hour or so of aimless closeness. And then an hour or so of intense closeness, physically if nothing else.

A while later, Evan slumps onto the (pleasantly solid) couch, a mug of coffee in hand. "Are those bagels?" he calls over to Nadira, while squinting up at the roof… it's been patched up since the incident that claimed the Parkers a couple weeks back, but he has a nagging sense it won't hold up for long.

And indeed, Nadira's got a pair of bagels, cream cheese and all, and she heads over to him, biting into one as she follows his gaze up to the ceiling. "Yeah. Bagels. I'm assuming you want one, so…" She offers the other bagel to him.

Evan reaches over for it, passing over a second mug in exchange and scooting over to make room for her. Oh well, at least things don't look to be in imminent danger of collapse. Instead— "Do you know anything about dream symbolism? You dream about falling, it might mean such-and-such?"

"A little. I studied mythology and so I know what they say dreams mean." Nadira takes the coffee, sipping from it before turning to face him, drawing a knee up onto the couch. "Were you scared? Uncomfortable? They say that dreaming you're falling means just that… you're scared or overwhelmed or insecure and lacking in control."

Evan makes a face. "There's probably some of that, yes… not that there aren't some good reasons. I was actually in a good mood up until it happened, and then it went so quickly—" And then, just as quickly, it ended. A non-committal shrug.

Nadira tilts her head, taking a small bite out of the bagel. "There's a lot that could be said about that, but it's your dream, I'm not about to make suggestions on things in your head. But the most I can say is… maybe you've got something good going for you in your life and you don't want to lose it. Although, given what you've told me, I suppose life in general might be something you're afraid of losing."

Evan considers, then shakes his head. "I have been, but— that's been the case for most of the summer, and if anything, I started dreaming less often than usual. Subconscious avoidance, I think." He shifts position a bit, setting the breakfast items down for the moment and shooting her a pointed look. "Let's just say… I'm thinking this has to do with a more recent development."

"Ah." There's a slight pause there. "So you're feeling anxious about me staying for breakfast?" There's a slightly raised eyebrow, but Nadira seems to be teasing a little. "If I'm causing you to have nightmares, I can get out of your way." There's a hint of seriousness to her tone.

He reaches one hand out, letting his fingers slip into hers. "I think maybe you are," he murmurs, "but trust me— you're not in the way." A deliberate echo, has to be. "I'm more worried about— Well. Jealousy is rarely a productive feeling, you know?"

"On the contrary. Jealousy is quite productive. It tells me things. For one, it tells me that you have a reason to be jealous." Nadira squeezes his fingers lightly, leaning in a bit closer. "So if you're jealous and you seem to be implying it's over me… that could mean some interesting possibilities. Are you suggesting that you're enjoying my presence for more than just… spending the night?"

"I'm outright telling you that," replies Evan, dropping the coy facade and stealing a kiss while she's close enough for it. "I could easily have made some excuse to leave early— long day at work, got to get the car to the shop, and so on and so on. But I might push too hard, so… don't feel bad about swatting me if that happens."

The kiss is stolen, and it's rewarded by a smile from Nadira as she watches him. "You'd be getting yourself into dangerous waters with me, Evan." She murmurs. "And don't worry if you push too hard. I'm hard-headed, sometimes pushing is what it takes." She looks back towards him. "So… if you enjoy having me around… what are you hoping for, with this? I'd rather there be no miscommunication on intentions."

The 'dangerous' part is the sort of thing that would normally sound teasing, only this time it doesn't. Is she playing it straight-faced for effect, or…? Evan files the thought away for later, returning his attention to more immediate matters. "Just this, really. Being with each other, working out the details as we go." All relationships go somewhere, that's just the way time (normally) works.

"I like that." Nadira pauses, taking a moment to rub her thumb along the back of his hand. "And one of the details would be to make sure you have no reason to be jealous, am I right?" There's a small smile, reassuring.

Evan mmms, moving closer and giving her hands a tug, encouraging her toward his lap. "Good to know we see eye to eye on this." Well, he might be a couple inches taller than her, but that's one of the nice things about having her in his lap; it evens things out some.

Nadira shifts, settling into his lap as she does look at him, eye to eye. "I'm not making any assumptions about what will happen, but I feel it's only right to warn you that I'm complicated, even for a woman. You already got to know the simple part."

"You say that like it's a bad thing." Evan's hands reach up to the middle of her back and draw down from there until they find a comfortable spot. "What sort of complicated are we talking here?"

"Maybe it is a bad thing." Nadira's hand comes up to his cheek. "I've got a lot of baggage, I guess." She pauses, letting out a slow breath. "And I'm not good at conversations like this."

That draws a brief, sharp laugh out of him. "What, and I am?" He's been in a few relationships before, but nothing that lasted very long. "Just… I don't know, pick a piece you don't mind sharing. Don't worry so much about where to start."

Nadira looks back at him, hand tracing down his cheek before she lets it drop. "I didn't leave Egypt because New York was a great tourist attraction. I left because it was dangerous for me to stay. My family doesn't even know much of the truth."

Evan bites his lip, considering the possible implications. "I assume the danger is unlikely to follow you here, then— or to take its revenge on them. Do I want to know what it actually is?" Read, is it likely to come after him if they stay together?

"Unlikely, yes. There's a chance, at least, that something might follow me back here, but again, it's unlikely." Nadira frowns as she looks at him. "I don't think you're in any danger, if that's what you're worried about." She exhales slowly. "I shouldn't have said anything. I'm messing this up, aren't I?"

"I… don't think so," he replies, considering. "If you think it's safe enough— or do you think I'm going to assume you're a bad person and throw you out? You don't strike me as the mob princess type." If they even have a mob in Egypt; if they do, they don't exactly make a lot of local headlines.

Nadira laughs a little, but peers back at him. "I honestly don't know what you'll do. I can usually read people, get a feel for what's going on with them, what they're thinking… it's hard for me to do that with you, which is, I'll admit, a little terrifying. Because I don't quite know what you'll think of me." She tilts her head. "If it makes any difference, I left to save someone's life."

Evan rises to his feet slowly, gathering up the empty dishes and carrying them back to the kitchen. Yeah, it's an obvious delaying tactic, so what? "That doesn't sound too bad," he calls back. "But if you're getting worked up over it— then it's probably stranger than anything I'd be likely to guess. Which means that anything I do guess is probably wrong, so I'm not too worried about those ideas, at least."

"Evan… are you an Evolved?" Nadira asks the question, point blank, frowning just slightly as it seems she's thinking. "In Egypt, Evolved people are treated a little strangely. It's alright to be one, if you're strong enough and you know what you're doing and you're in with the right people, but if you're not, it's pretty dangerous. The 'right people' will take advantage of you or the people who fear you will just make sure you're run out of town or killed… it's not an easy place to grow up in, having a secret."

"Not like America, where the Evolved have exactly the same civil rights guaranteed as any other citizen." The sarcasm is thick enough to give the cream cheese a run for its money - but Evan's voice softens again as soon as he returns, sliding his arms around Nadira from behind the couch this time.

"Oh, and stay off the cushion on that side— the springs are about to give out." An oblique sort-of-answer to her question, perhaps? He was sitting there himself just the day before…

Nadira notes his careful avoidance of the question, a slight frown on her features, but she continues on. "Well… when I was in Egypt, there was an Evolved with an ability… normally it could be quite harmless, but when used right, it could be powerful. The ability was going to be used to hurt someone I knew, as I soon found out. I stopped him from being killed, but if I had not fled the country, it is likely he would have died."

Evan listens, nodding absently as he imagines the situation. Lots of plausible ways to fill in those gaps, now that the edges have been sharpened up… "Well, even if I could avoid the issue, I wouldn't want to. What am I going to do, move to Iowa and grow corn for the next fifty years?" It's not a direct answer, but then he hasn't denied it either.

"We're both full of secrets, then, I guess." Nadira murmurs, turning to face him a bit more. "Haven't scared you off yet? Because I'd be disappointed if I'd somehow managed that…" She looks at him intently.

To that, he doesn't give any reply at all - not with words, anyway, he just leans in to kiss her again. Still, the message should be clear enough: no, he's not planning to run away from her any time soon.

Nadira's hand finds its way to the back of his neck, leaning in to kiss him deeply. It's intent is to make him fully aware that she's glad he's not backing off, in spite of some tense situations in her past. She moves, breaking the kiss after a moment. "Any dark secrets you need to get out?" She murmurs.

Somewhere in the midst of it, he finds his way around the side of the furniture, winding up side by side with her again. "Sorry, no. Ordinary and boring." It's only mostly a joke, a touch of genuine curiosity still flickering across his expression: what is it that's drawn her to him, exactly?

"Penny for your thoughts, as the saying goes?" Nadira questions, her hand reaching to slide into his hair, eyes scanning his as if that would help her determine something. "You look as if you're contemplating life itself. Surely my kiss was not enough to evoke that."

"Hmm, never underestimate yourself," he murmurs into her ear, resting his chin on her shoulder afterward. "No, actually… I was trying to work out how we got to this point, exactly. Figuratively. And why— no complaints or anything, it's just the sort of thing you want to wrap your head around, you know? In case you need to come back to it later."

Nadira's fingers trace his scalp. "We escaped a near-flood and exchanged flirtatious words over discussion of games of chance… the rest of it was just… we kept coming back. I don't know. Usually things like that… you'd think it would have lasted once. But we both came back."

After a while, he simply nods, leaving it at that. It's going to keep nagging at him, from time to time… but it looks like the only way to get an answer will be to wait and watch, and see what falls out from future circumstances. "Speaking of— when are you coming back again? It's good having you here." Or at her place, he's not picky.

The Egyptian smiles at that, shaking her head a little. "I don't know. When do you want me next?" Nadira's fingers move to trace his jawline. "I could see you again tomorrow or something, if that's what you wanted. I don't have much other than work most nights. I don't quite know how your schedule works."

"It'll be pretty nine-to-five for the next few weeks," says Evan, his hand moving up to rest atop hers. "Only a handful of summer students. September is when we have to start playing it more by ear again." And that's just the regular academic schedule, never mind any of the students holding up a bus or some other crazy stunt. Never mind whatever the hell ends up happening in November.

"November is a long way away, Evan. Don't focus on it." Nadira narrows her eyes. "You come find me, in November… find me and I'll make sure you're alright. I won't just let you die." The hand is turned to touch his, sliding her fingers in with Evan's.

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