bella_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif

Scene Title Domestic
Synopsis An unusual apartment hunt is underway.
Date July 29, 2010

Apartment in Chelsea

Sober and casual in a weathered black canvas field jacket and dark jeans, grizzled bristle freshly buzzed down into a coarse level that juts his ears and lengthens his jaw, Flint stands with his back to a white fireplace that is on the more impressive side of homey. He's frowning a little dumbly down at an upsidedown brochure, boots shoulderwidth apart and bristled chin soon lifted after recessed lighting in the (high) ceiling.

The floors are mostly wood or tile. Both bedrooms are spacious. The kitchen is passable.

And there is a slight (very slight?) risk of exposure to radiation. Very, very slight.

Faltering, unreliable electricity, even less reliable hot water and roving flocks of rabid homeless people in the streets four or five stories down: possibly more problematic. There's an overturned car in the garage that Flint pretended not to notice.

But the construction itself is pretty nice. And the fire escape is sturdy. In fact, after a beat of uneasy hesitation, Flint wanders over to the patio door to squint at it.

Bella will insist on this being as normal as she can make it. Choosing an apartment after deciding your old place just had too many break ins in your apartment specifically - that's totally reasonable. What a normal person would do. Someone with a normal life, above average intelligence and… oh Jesus.

"I'm purposeful refraining from making comments about how the neighborhood has gone to hell, or, alternately, about how I never expected to own a place in Midtown," Bella remarks, and in doing so does exactly the opposite of what the statement promises. She just has to get it out of her system. Bad humor can build up inside you like poison if you don't vent it once and a while.

The psychiatrist, for her own part, is dressed in a dark brown corduroy skirt suit, her hair done up in a bun that looks elegantly precarious. It's a librarianish look, and she completes it when she extracts her reading glasses from her purse and sets them to perch on her nose as she peers around Deckard at the brochure in his hand. The upside down one.

"Very cute," she remarks, reaching out to pluck it from his fingers. She rights it and peers down at it, searching for relevant answers to her pressing questions. For example: are those real granite countertops?

"Did they reprint these after the Bomb?" she inquires, tapping the brochure with her hand, "I'm not sure if I'm impressed by their tenacity. Capitalism continues, I guess."

"Technically," says Flint, almost practical while he feels blandly around after his cellphone, "I think we're still in Chelsea." The owner wasn't actually sure and neither is he, left hand lifted to scuff at the top of his head once Bella's stripped him of the brochure. Glass panes in the door at his shoulder have only the snaggled skyline of Midtown to show behind a block of broken windows and decay that looks like it's been set on fire at least once.

The walls are white. Their voices alternately hush and echo; there's an eerily fresh air to the emptiness of an unfurnished and unoccupied apartment. And only a little bit of old ash settled in around the windows.

The counters are real granite. The arterial spatter stain patterns in the bathroom are real too, for all that they didn't make the brochure. The kitchen gets a look. So does the ceiling. Again. He's quiet.

"As long as it's Manhattan," Bella says, affectedly, folding the brochure and tucking it into the pocket of his field jacket. She pats the spot. There you go. She makes her own tour in an opposing circle, as if maybe the order of arrival might be a relevant factor. Something out layout? Bella has spent enough time in studio apartments that a place of this size still leaves her feeling daunted. She's used to either swank houses or affordable housing. Either a rich girl or a poor student.

She completes her circuit fairly quickly. Everything's about as good as you'd expect to be, and bad exactly where you'd think. The bathroom earns a nose wrinkle, but oh well. She arrives in front of Deckard in little time, arms folded, one hand lifting to her chin to tap there, thoughtfully. "Does this feel weird to you?" she poses, then amends, "I mean any of this. Any part. The place, the looking at the place, the potential of getting the place," she looks around as she says this, accounting for the place in its entirety, being rather central to her questions vis a vis weirdness. "Do we have any more we might be looking at? I want to know so I don't, you know, fall in love too quickly." Sarcasm can come off as ironic wit if you say it dryly enough, right?

"It feels domestic," is about as honest and specific an answer as anyone's wrung out of Deckard lately. He hasn't moved much through the course of Bella's exploration, having already seen the place several times over. Inside and out.

There's a glum, almost resentful kind of mistrust to the knit of his brow when he looks at the kitchen again. The kitchen, with its working faucets and its refrigerator and its stove. One after the other, his hands retract uneasily into his jacket pockets like pale, bony-legged hermit crabs. There's no elaboration to accompany his overall judgment, but he probably doesn't need any.

It seems like a long time before he answers her second question, eyes washed pale in their flick and fix in her direction. "It's the best one. And the landlord doesn't ask questions."

There is something like reassurance in knowing the man who is green lighting a place can actually see if the insulation is good. Can check for bad plumbing and will notice if vermin is nesting somewhere beneath the floor boards. That he might have chosen to accept some imperfect feature that she will later come to regret the presence of does occur to her. It would not be outside the limits of the pathological territory she has placed him in. But should that be the case, it will at least provide a datum for analysis.

No, no, wait. She is not his therapist anymore. She can switch that part of herself off. Can't she?

Bella closes her eyes and takes a deep breath, in and out. To an outward observer, she looks like she might be testing the quality of the air, or maybe trying to calm herself after a fit of pre-buyer's regret (buyers apprehension?). In truth she's just trying to get herself off the clock. Living at work has done nothing for her ability to switch modes. Living with a former client, well…

She is lucky her cleansing worked, temporarily, otherwise she might have risked turning her analytic lens on herself. Sussing out what this choice might mean for her.

"Then we'll take it," Bella says, stepping right in front of Deckard, "I don't imagine there's a set move in date? Shake hands, and its home?"

"We can move in after we pay him. I don't think he cares."

Flint looks over his shoulder back at the fireplace, persistent in his surreal neutrality towards the setting. Also, quietly unaware of how shady that may or may not sound. Technically he's already been living in passably legitimate quarters again for a few months. This shouldn't be weird. Just. He didn't actually have to shop around for those. Or pay for them.

Osprey regard mild for all that it is unblinking while Bella breathes and has an up do and wears librarian glasses in an empty apartment with every intention of living there (with him), Deckard keeps his hands to himself. They remain neatly sequestered in his pockets, along with his wallet and a bent nail he picked up in the street for some reason. "You're sure?"

Bella returns Deckard's regard, her own birdishness coming out as she tilts her head very slightly. Now what do you mean by that? Boyish insecurity? Some hidden warning? A sign that he suspects she doesn't have 'what it takes'? She pushes speculation aside. Speculation troubles trust, and trust is what this is about, right? That, at least, is her proffered explanation.

"I thought so," she answers, head lifting upright again - it's her smile that's tilted, now, "Are you going to try and convince me not to be?"

"No," says Flint. He even does her the courtesy of not raking his glare through her like cat sand in search of tell-tale clumping deformities that might mark second thoughts just under the surface.

Instead it's his turn to breathe out — just once, measured long and slow.

He doesn't say anything else.

Or look at her again.

Behaving. Awkwardly.

Bella tilts her head the other way, appraising him from a new and different angle, as if this will enlighten her, elucidate the reason for today's taciturnity. She even waits for it. It doesn't come. So she advances on Deckard directly, stepping up until they are, at most, half a foot away from each other. She reaches out and grasps the front of his jacket, giving a small tug. Look at me, it says, I'm right here.

"I'm going to drown you if you act like this whenever we're together," Bella states, with about as much threat in her voice as someone remarking on the likelihood of receiving a parking ticket, "And you'll probably end up giving just one reluctant gurgle, to spite me. Snap out of it, Flint. I know you're more interesting than this."

Deckard complies with an uncertain flicker of chilly blue after the tug at his jacket, a hint of give in the obtuse slope of his shoulders listing weightlessly with the motion. It takes her calling him out for him to stiffen out his spine (physically and metaphorically) enough to eyeball her.

It takes some willpower to breathe in again and apply enough pressure to the sudden free flow of his confidence out through his feet to stem the bleed. "Sorry," he says. Finally. "The sexy librarian thing is distracting."

Bella's smile returns, tilted more than ever. She lets go of his jacket, adjusting her glasses and checking the integrity of her bun. She looks pleased with herself, which she may be doing for his benefit, the way she wears it. But that doesn't mean she isn't actually pleased with herself, underneath it. "Still got it," she comments, smirkingly, and turns away. Also potentially for his benefit, as she walks a straight line away from him to the window and the shattered skyline it looks out upon.

Whatever the snaggle-toothed prospect may suggest to her, it spurs on a further comment. "I turn thirty in a little over a month," she remarks, a mention that may not be unconnected to thoughts on 'having it', and thus the potential of 'losing it', "My parents will want to see me. I don't think I'd like to invite them over here," she glances over her shoulder, "I will still be able to see them? Call them? Or is that insane?" She turns around completely, leans her back against the wall, "This is my first disappearing act."

Seeing as he's genetically gifted by God and science to watch, that is what Deckard does. Squinty appreciation while he takes mental pictures isn't as low key as it could be either, but there's enough unease lingering in the uneven push and pull of his diaphragm to limit his desire to take appropriate or inappropriate action, depending upon who you ask for a consult. He doesn't keep staring either, hands flexed in his pockets and shoulders rolled. Sink, refrigerator, stove.

Then — then she says she's turning thirty and Flint's narrow jaw slacks slightly open before he can catch himself and clamp it hollow again, leaving her to think what she will. Because anything she could think is probably better than, I thought you were older.

"You haven't disappeared yet," comes at a mutter, distracted while he tries to drag his thoughts futiley back in a more productive direction. "As long as we're still paying bills we haven't disappeared. Do whatever you would normally do."

Bella's always acted a little old for her age. Impatient to grow up and develop full cognitive functions, to access areas of and uses for a brain she knew was going places. Places like Chelsea, apparently. Dragging her body along with it. But yes, yes, probably better that Deckard keep his mouth shut. Though assholish comments and behavior have their occasional charm.

"Okay," Bella says, pushing herself up from her lean, pacing to the center of the room and giving it another look. Looking for what? Nothing. Just… looking. As that's what they're here for. "I brought cash. Let's snatch this up before someone whisks it out from under our nose," she scuffs her shoetip against the smoothed grain of the floor, "It will be nice to get my things out of storage."

'Things.' Having seen Bella's psychopathically impersonal private decor, Deckard has no objections to raise. He is also understandably short on "things." The ones that matter most exist in a single shoebox and are being hoarded by his friends.

The rest of it is scattered across Midtown and not likely to be allowed in their living space anyway.

He follows her last look around the place, still leery of last minute retraction when he nods and reaches around for his wallet as he moves to trail after her. It will be less weird with time.


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