Don't Doubt, Do


bella_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Doubt, Do
Synopsis While preparing for Doctor Luis' lecture, Bella gives Odessa something that possibly amounts to a pep talk in some universe other than our own.
Date October 5, 2010

Suresh Center - Second Floor

The second floor is an idiosyncratic combination of small medical center and psychiatric hospital. In the back of the building are several lab rooms, equipped with everything from blood-test equipment to an MRI; despite its size, the facility is competitive in a features sense with many larger and more mainstream hospitals. The core is dominated by a multipurpose room, usually serving as a cafeteria but sometimes transformed into a game hall or ad-hoc movie theater; on either side of it are the two permanently-staffed nurse stations, the balcony at the front offering a view of Roosevelt Island and the opportunity for plenty of sunlight.

One wing of this floor has been given over to a medium-term ward, intended to house medical or psychiatric patients for only a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks at most. Most rooms are double-occupancy, particularly for medical patients, but in some cases they may be allocated as singles; all have large exterior windows and are surprisingly not painted in generic institutional shades. Rather, they each have their own personal theme, from ascetic to modern, oceanic blues to autumn reds and browns. Rooms are allocated primarily by what environment a patient feels comfortable in. The opposite wing is the Suresh Center's juvenile ward, designated for the care of Evolved children and teenagers coming to terms with their abilities. It has its own rec room, several single-occupancy rooms, and at the end of the hall a larger shared room for siblings, friends, and children who do better in company. As for the adult ward, the decor is engaging and inviting rather than blandly uniform.

Visitors are required to check in at one of the stations before going anywhere else on this floor, and in some cases may be provided with an escort for the duration of their visit.

The staff room nestled in the centre of the Suresh Center's second floor serves many different functions for the people working in the medical wing. Currently, it's serving as a place to make ready for the evening's lecture for Doctor Price. She stands in front of a wall-mounted mirror with a powder puff in hand, carefully applying foundation to make paler her already fair complexion. Her lips are curled inward as she taps the puff to the scar across her mouth several times in an attempt to soften the severity of it.

Once quite the paragon of professional ambition, Dr. Sheridan's presence at the Suresh Center has become one of slight listlessness and a general disinterest, at least outside the confines of the client/therapist relationship. She takes that part of her job seriously, but gone are the days of formal dress every day, gone the days where her appearance is impeccable and her bearing precise. Bella shoulders into the staff room, dressed in business casual, the corduroy of her pants emphasizing the casual, while the jungle green of her blouse doesn't do much for the business. She looks bored, mostly, though the moment her eyes catch on the unmistakable figure of Odessa, the expression evaporates.

"Oh, thank God it's you," Bella states, bumping the door closed behind her, "every time I come in here for coffee, I risk running into some off-hours clinical intern who thinks my coffee break is the ideal time to bombard me with questions." She coasts over to the other woman's side, quickly assessing the work Odessa is doing. "Oh, Odessa… don't worry so much about that," the scars she means, "we need to talk about that in our next session. It's not a healthy fixation, particularly for a woman of your intellect."

"I don't like them." Odessa responds quickly. She doesn't turn to actually greet her colleague and friend, but she does shift her gaze in the mirror so as to peer behind her and offer a smile to Bella's reflection. "There was a man yesterday… Staring at them. And I don't want to be stared at tonight."

Odessa dips down to put the puff back into its compact and snap it shut, sliding it into a black cosmetics bag, adorned with sunny striped bumble bees. She steps back to examine her image in the mirror. White coat over a black V-neck top, with a wide leather belt buckled high over her midsection, leading into a high-waisted grey wool skirt. She plucks up another compact and starts applying shimmering white shadow. It's a tricky process, the way she studies her reflection, then applies blind by memory and feel once she shuts her lid. "Just say something if I start messing it up, yeah?"

"Maybe he wanted to kiss your poor, abused lips, show them some tenderness?" Bella suggests, her own smile a little lopsided, an expressive admission that she's being more a spin doctor than a real doctor when she says this. She folds her arms and keeps watch anyhow, as per Odessa's instruction. Spotting her friend as she puts on the fullness of her face. "Don't know how you do it. I can't bring myself to care that much. Then again, I haven't been on a proper date in…" well, no need to go into details, "tonight? Are you going to Dr. Luis' lecture?" The inflection of her voice suggests she'd like the answer to be 'yes'.

All the foundation in her compact can't hide the blush that creeps into Odessa's cheeks at Bella's teasing. "I thought he was interested, but… I was mistaken. When I tried to… make an offer, he beat a rather hasty retreat." Her shoulders slump a little at the admission. "He was rather handsome, too. Strong jaw. Tall. Dark hair. Grey eyes."

Satisfied with the state of her eyeshadow, Odessa retrieves a tube of lipstick. Now this is the tricky part. "To answer your question, yes, I am attending Doctor Luis' lecture. I want to look nice. It's a silly notion, of course. But I'll feel better if I've got my face all painted up." Leaning in to scrutinise her reflection, Odessa uncaps the lipstick and begins applying the colour to her lips. A red so dark it's nearly black. It's quite the contrast to her white face.

"Anyone that handsome you want to steer clear of anyways," Bella says, brusquely, "men like that, ones who know they're good looking, are almost invariably jackasses. Not even their fault, they just think they can walk on water. Better to find yourself a nice mensch who'll worship the ground you tread upon." Or a burned out ex-convict who has no one else to turn to. Variations on a theme.

"Maybe I should show up in my workout clothes, reeking of sweat, with my hair all a tangle. I'll ask lots of awkward questions. No… better yet, I'll mutter snide remarks just loud enough so that most of the audience can hear me. Then when they try to eject me, I'll shout 'you can't do this! I work here!'" Bella's smirk is reflected in the mirror as she outlines this imagined scenario. One of her tiny fantasies of subversion, almost certainly never to be carried out. "Plus, if I look really scrubby, you'll look better just by contrast."

"Yeah, but for a moment there…" The tube of lipstick is twisted down before Odessa recaps it and tosses it back into her bag. "I don't know. I thought he - I thought I had a chance, that's all. It's not like I expect him to bring me flowers. I'd settle for a fuck in the utility closet." Single blue eye rolls skyward, a curl to her darkly painted lips to indicate she's disgusted with herself.

For a moment, she isn't sure if Bella's kidding or not when she talks about heckling the lecture. "Oh, you wouldn't!" Odessa gasps, finally turning on her heel to actually look straight at the ginger-haired woman. "Doctor Luis has worked so hard on this! You wouldn't do that to him, would you?" Mild horror, lips parted, brows knit. She wouldn't.

"Maybe that should be your opening line in the future. 'Hello, I'm Dr. Price. Want me to screw your brains out in the nearest closet?'," Bella suggests, wryly, "if you're that hard up, I'm sure you'd have no trouble if you went to a nice enough bar. I'm sorry, but anyone who would be scared off by a little scarring would probably lack the balls to give you what you want anyways," she tilts her head, giving Odessa's handiwork a careful examination, "you look wonderful. And don't get down on yourself. There is absolutely no shame in wanting what you want, and no shame in getting it."

Bella steps back a bit, her smirk returning, further obscuring her seriousness. "Wouldn't I? Surely the man who kept Dr. Gregor on a leash can handle being given a hard time?" She gives a mild shrug, though, conceding, "no, but only because I don't want to get listed under 'expendable'. Assuming I'm not already."

Well that kind of amplifies the look of horror on Odessa's face, and brings a tint to her cheeks that's closer to red than pink. "I'm not a slut," Doctor Price insists. "I just- Oh, God." She turns decidedly away from Bella and back to the mirror and keep fussing with her appearance. "I'm not like that. I just… It's affirmation. I'm sure someone of your profession has a lot to say about that."

A sharp tug releases Odessa's white hair from the ponytail she had it tied into on top of her head. She brushes her fingers through it several times, breaking up where the base of her ponytail had tangled the locks. Then she begins brushing her uneven bangs to one side, pinning them in place with a black barrette adorned with tiny flowers made up of garnet-coloured rhinestones. "I… I don't know much about what came before I got here. I know enough to be…" Horrified? Disgusted? "Wary." That. She watches Bella's image in the mirror, her voice dropping to a hush. "I suspect we are all expendable around here. So long as it serves the goals of our employers."

Bella lifts a finger and gives it a reproving waggle. "That word," she means 'slut', "is just another tool to denigrate female sexuality. Don't give it the slightest bit of notice. It's the most deplorable thing that we are turned against each other, and given such sharp knives to dig into each other's backs. Sexuality is pathological only if it brings you no joy, or if it's standing in the place of something else," she folds her arms, dipping her head, apologetic, "not that you need to hear two lectures tonight. But I'm deadly serious, Odessa. There's almost nothing about us that our culture doesn't try to shackle. Breaking them can only come after realizing that those constraints are there."

The redhead's gaze returns to Odessa's ablutions, doing quick aesthetic checks, doing right by the other woman. "I guess that's just a work related hazard, isn't it? All the more reason we should stick together. The worst thing we can do to ourselves is let them divide us. Even they can't afford to dispatch the best of their medical staff."

The only response Odessa gives to Bella's brief lecture on feminism is an expression that communicates her understanding. And perhaps a little shame in putting words in her friend's mouth. The easier topic to focus on by far is the topic of their worth to the Institute. "The best… You're certainly the best we have in the field of psychiatric medicine. But I…" Odessa's brows hike and he lets a heavy breath out past her lips that puffs out her cheeks momentarily.

A semi-sheer scarf is finally tugged out of the cosmetic bag, causing the contents to click together in a noisy cadence of plastic. The gauzy accessory nearly matches the shade of her lipstick, or the false flowers on her hair clip. It's tied around her throat in a neat knot.

"I have to compete with Doctor Luis, Doctor Stevens, and Doctor Suresh. I may be a great surgeon, but Doctor Stevens gives me a run for my money. And my genetics background pales in comparison to Mohinder's and Doctor Luis'." There's a certain familiarity suggested in the way she uses the Indian-born doctor's given name.

The layering of fabric blots out the worst of the ugly raised scar tissue across Odessa's throat. She smiles briefly at her reflection and turns back to Bella for approval. "It's almost time. How do I look?"

This will be something Odessa will have to get used to if she continues to roll with Bella. Morally bankrupt, ethically appalling and cowardly in the extreme, the rights of women are, in fact, about the only thing she can easily imagine being willing to die for. Hypothetically. Thankfully just hypothetically.

As Odessa turns towards her, Bella reaches out, grooming her friend lightly, fingers brushing back hair to no real effect save to give the sensation of being tended to. The scarf is adjusted ever so slightly, and Bella speaks as she makes these minute changes.

"They prefer raw brilliance to background here," Bella assures Odessa, "I was given oversight on a project that had absolutely nothing to do with my experience or speciality. They wanted my vision, my adaptability and my willingness to do what it took. You have all those things in spades, Odessa. Don't doubt yourself. Do. You will succeed, I promise you.

"You look beautiful. You look like you belong on stage, rather than just in the audience."

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