¡Feliz Cumpleaños! ...Más o Menos


lynette_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif

Scene Title ¡Feliz Cumpleaños! …Más o Menos
Synopsis For Mateo's (sort of) birthday, the Ruiz family has a small party. And Silvia gives him his first Dad Panic.
Date February 28, 2018

The Benchmark Center: Common Room

It was another long day at work. Still wearing his work cover-alls with his last name on a little patch above his best, Mateo greets the woman on check in, offering a warm smile that doesn't give away his exhaustion. There is just so much cleaning that needs to be done in some of the buildings he's assigned to. Some had just cleared the safety inspection, still had dust and dirt throughout, cause no one's actually been placed in or bought the building yet. But the Safe Zone needs them cleaned still.

"I really need to start working for an actual business," he mutters, stretching his shoulder as he makes his way toward the common room. It's always the first place he goes after work.

Usually to play the piano for a half hour to decompress. They all know his routine pretty well.

Usually, Lynette is later than he is on work days. So usually he can get to the piano without much trouble. But today, as he heads for the common room, there's some muffled noises and low whispers behind the door.

Because inside, Lynette and Silvia have been Up To Something. Lynette's still dressed for work, too, but her jacket's been tossed over a chair. She's standing by the counter, setting a cake down in a way that implies she barely beat him here. The cake is a professional job, from some mom and pop bakery in the Zone, so who knows how long they've had this in the works.

A box sits on the coffee table. It's wrapped. There's even a tag with his name on it.

"Okay," Lynette says as she straightens up, "That's everything, right?" She's asking Silvia, because the girl was Second In Command for Opertation: He's Still Technically Ten. And really, she looks a touch flustered, which isn't normal for her, but is normal for her around Mateo.

Silvia is practically bouncing off the walls. She's right on Lynette's heels as the cake is set down, completely ready for the surprise. Well, she's ready until the door starts to open. Then she's scrambling around, checking to make sure everything is in place. She turns to Lynette.

"We've got this. It's perfect." With that, she slides into a chair to try and look casual when Mateo walks in. Unsurprisingly, she doesn't look casual.

Normally, there is no sound coming from the common room when he arrives. The doors are usually wide open. So as soon as he noticed the doors closed, Mateo pauses, wondering if maybe one of the doctors is doing a special group activity inside— until he hears her— and then her. He stands there for a minute before— Oh.

It would have been on their marriage licence and the immigration forms she assisted him with, wouldn't it?

With a slow inhale, he opens the door, trying his best to look like he has no idea what he might find inside— he is not disappointed. Though he is surprised at the look on their faces. The fluster, the not casual. Immediately he laughs, shaking his head, and makes his way over. "What's all this?" he says, even if he knows exactly what all this is.

"Right," Lynette says to Silvia with a firm nod. They got this. Do they got this? Surely they do.

Of course then Mateo comes in and Lynette looks up like she was not entirely ready for him. And he laughs to top it all off, which makes her laugh. Just a huff, but it's there. "Well, it's your birthday, sort of," she says, since this is one of the years that skips his real one. "Surprise," she says with a wave of her hands that can only be described as jazz-hands-ish.

There's a trio of laughter now as Silvia joins the first two, her lips curving into a wide grin. As Lynette almost makes jazz hands, Silvia spreads her arms wide in a ta-dah motion. "Surprise!" She echos the other woman. Her eyes go to the cake, then to the present, unsure which to direct Mateo to first. So she'll just let him pick.

"There is a present and cake," she offers temptingly. "So much to choose from." She pauses before the excitement gets her. "They're both really good, like really good. But I won't ruin the surprise." And she shuts up before she does so.

"Now I feel bad for not throwing a party for your birthday," Mateo responds, not really showing that he feels bad because he's grinning. They had been in the middle of moving in when her birthday happened. They celebrated in other ways that are not appropriate to talk about in front of the teenager. And he'd gotten her presents. He'd bought the rings that they both wore, even if— well— it hadn't been unwrapped on anyone's birthday.

As he steps closer, he's scratching at the back of his neck with his hand, trying not to look sheepish. Except when playing, he's not used to being the center of attention. Usually. "I hope you didn't go through too much trouble," he continues, smiling, even as he looks toward the cake. "It is a lot to choose from. How about cake first?"

"I stopped counting birthdays at thirty," Lynette says. Because that way she is perpertually thirty. Because that's how time works. "And it's not just your birthday. I mean, it is. But it's our first celebration as a family," she says, reaching over to put her arm across Silvia's shoulders. "So it's extra exciting." Even if it's not big as far as parties go.

When he picks the cake, Lynette makes a noise in her throat. Like maybe she was hoping he'd open the present first. But a moment later she smiles. "Sil, grab the plates," she says before she breaks away from the girl to come over to give Mateo a kiss on the cheek. "And, my darling, there's no such thing as too much trouble. Not when it comes to you."

"Plates, got it," Silvia says, moving to grab the plates in question, bringing them close along with the knife. She sets them down next to the cake, still beaming. "I'm going to stop counting my age as soon as I turn 18. 18 is a good age to stop at." She pauses. "Nope, 21. 21 is a good age."

Giving the two of them her widest grin, she agrees with Lynette. "It's no trouble. Trouble would mean we did not enjoy it!"

"Does that mean I should stop at 10?" Mateo jokes, even though he knows exactly how many years past thirty his lovely wife happens to be. If one counts today as close enough to his birthday, then he's… still older. By a little. Even if he doesn't act it half the time. "That's a good age to stop at, mi estrella." Even if part of him will always see her as the little eight year old he first met.

The first celebration as a family. In that case, he should have also brought presents— but— well. They'll just have to take his smile, and the fact that he wraps his arms around his lightning in a hug. Something about the hug shows how grateful he is.

He did notice the sound she'd made, but— well— he already picked. "Did you want me to pick the present first? It's not something that goes on the cake is it?" That's a joke, but, you never know.

"No, you can't stop until you're a hundred and twenty, obviously." Lynette returns the hug, perhaps a little warmer since he had the presence of mind not to mention her unaccountedd for years. "Twenty one, she says." Lynette looks over her shoulder at the girl. "New York has been a bad influence on her already." It's a joke, of course.

Stepping back from Mateo, Lynette takes his hands to walk him over toward the cake. "What?" she asks at his question, as if she has no idea why he would ask that. "Of course not, this cake is delicious. And the present will still be there." When she reaches the cake, she picks up the knife, twirling it in her hand in a way that might be unsettling. Since she's apparently familiar with them. "You want a corner piece?" That's meant for Mateo, but she glances over to Silvia, too, to add her into it.

"New York has been a wonderful influence on me. I already even have friends and I got someone to give me free stuff." Silvia says, vaguely before she looks back towards Lynette. "Si, corner piece, they have more frosting." And she, obviously, wants more sugar.

"Maybe we'll all live past one hundred and twenty. Maybe we'll find a way to just not die. That could be fun. But I'd want to look maybe… twenty-five the whole time. I'll look good at twenty-five."

She has friends. "You're going to need to introduce us sometime," Mateo says, trying not to feel over protective. She had friends in Mexico too, at the Benchmark there, but he knew all of them. He doesn't know these strange youngsters in New York. And he wants to. "It's good you're meeting people. Your English is already a lot better than it was before we left." They'd both been teaching her, and if she didn't remember a word, she could easily just say it in Spanish and they would give her one. He barely even notices if she slips back and forth.

"I'll take the one in the middle. But personally, you don't need to get any sweeter." Either of them. Maybe him. Should he mention he'd never had a birthday cake since…. well… Not for a very long time. Maybe not presents, either. But they'd had Christmas, twice. She'd not known his birthday for that first one they technically spent together.

"Free stuff?" Mateo might worry about the friends, but Lynette worries about just what was given to her for free. And by whom. "What kind of stuff?" She cuts cake while she talks, dishing out pieces as ordered. Even if Mateo wanting the middle piece gets a look. But he gets it. Because it's his birthday and if he wants the piece with less icing, then he gets it. "And I'd love to meet your friends, too. Would they be interested in a lunch? All they can eat." She knows how to get teenagers to come over.

"You'll need to find a vampire for that," she says to Silvia, her smile crooked. "Luckily, you have plenty of time to find one before you hit twenty-five." The piece Lynette takes for herself is a lot smaller than Silvia's and Mateo's. Not quite the corner.

"Oh yeah, I met this one lady who gave me free books, works at la biblioteca. The one that they're having an opening for. She helped me find books to practice my English. Better vocabulary." Silvia responds to the question of free stuff. Then there's the matter of friends.

"Oh yeah, I'm sure they'd love free food. We ate a bunch of dumplings at the market at this nice man's hair salon and they were gone in like an instant." She looks between the pair of them. "None of them are vampires, don't worry. But they're really nice, and Brynn is going to help color my comics."

"Well it's not free. We just wouldn't make your friends pay for it." They have to, though. So. Someone is paying for the food. Someone will be, in the end. Just not a group of friends. Mateo tilts his head at the books, grinning at them in approval. If it's one thing he strongly approves of, it's literature. And he doesn't expect the teenager to find all the scifi stories from the middle of the last century to necessarily be her thing. Though he might push one across to her…


With his piece of cake, he grabs up a fork and scoops a forkful, so that he can have the first taste.

"I look foward to seeing your comics with color," he says with an encouraging look, after he's finished with that first bite. "Though they always looked good without it, too." Color will just add— well— color to them.

Books seem to be okay wiwth Lynette, too. She relaxes considerably at the mention of the library. She knows who's in charge over there. It's on the up and up. "Well, we'll have to go thank her." Because it is a nice thing to do for the girl.

Lynette takes a bite of her cake while Mateo talks, giving him a wry look around her fork. "Invite your friends over, Sil. Over the weekend? We'll have something around to satisfy them." Yes, this is all just to feed those poor kids. It is not a plot to make sure they're good kids. "Even if it isn't free for us," she adds, to Mateo. Teasing.

"Does that mean you'll have new pages for us to see soon?" Her eyebrows lift, because she looks forward to seeing her daughter's work. She has that parental problem of finding her own child far more interesting that any of the other kids out there.

"Brynn actually uses her ability to color things and then goes in and touches it up. It's super neat. And she can color things like hair or clothing or whatever she wants," Silvia explains. She's quite excited about the idea and it shows in her tone.

"I'll have new comics very soon, these ones are the Adventures of Lance and Joe, two of my new friends. They're very funny even if Joe asks very personal questions. Lance is a sneaky ninja and Joe is invulnerable so they're going to get into all kinds of adventures. Some of them are probably real."

Oh no. They're boys.

Mateo's not ready for boys yet! She's still a little girl! There's a moment of him looking alarmed, though that alarmed look is directed at Lynette. No one prepared him for boys, and he remembers boys. He was a boy! Oh god these boys have abilities too…

This is not the best birthday present to give him. He leans a little closer to Lynette and whispers an aside, "Maybe we should serve them something that will need knives." Cause the way she's handling that knife is both attractive as hell— and kind of intimidating. He wants it for the intimidating part.

"I look forward to meeting them, Sil," even if he looks like he's hestitating. Now he really wants to meet them.

All in all, Lynette seems a lot less worried that they're boys. She remembers boys, too. They weren't at all bad in her recollection. Maybe later it'll occur to her that this is the exact reason she should worry. But now, Silvia is giving her a whole new layer to this puzzle.

Joe, Lance, they're common enough names, but when she explains what they can do, her fork thunks down to her plate. It's been a while, but there are some people you don't forget. And those names with those powers are just too much to be a coincidence. "The Lighthouse Kids," she says, sort of disbelieving it, even as she says it. "Huh."

Her attention turns to Mateo at his whisper, her smile turning more amused. "Oh, we definitely should." If these kids are anything like she remembers. And she's pretty sure they are.

Silvia looks up from her cake at Lynette's reaction. "Oh yeah, they mentioned a Lighthouse, how they all looked out for each other and stuff." She twirls her fork between her fingers. "I may have accidently turned to sand in front of them. Twice. But it was an accident, I just got spooked." It's the honest truth.

"Anyway, don't forget about your present! Way more interesting, don't you think?"

Accidentally. If anyone can understand accidental ability use, it's Mateo, so he doesn't say anything on that. Still, he's looking a little worried, even if Lynette seems to have an idea who these kids are. Ferry kids, he's guessing? That almost gives him some relief. Evolved kids growing up with the Ferry would understand a lot of what Silvia had gone through, more than other kids.

"Oh, don't think we didn't see through that deflection, mi estrella." But he's not going to punish her for it. If it happened accidentally, it happened accidentally. "But I admit I am very curious, so…" He puts down the plate and walks over to the present. After waiting for a nod from Lynette, he'll open it.

"They sure did." Look after each other, that is. Lynette turns to Mateo, to note. "The Lighthouse was a Ferry building. They took in a lot of evolved kids without family." So, yes. Ferry kids. Like Silvia. More so than he might have initially assumed.

As far as Silvia turning to sand, she gets a sympathetic look from Lynette. So maybe neither of them are going to punish her. "It happens, Lovely," she says, "We try not to, but some things take you by surprise." Everyone in the family understands that. But her mention of the present gets a smile and Lynette comes over to stand with her while Mateo goes for the gift. The nod comes, of course.

And under the paper is a regular looking packing box. Probably one they used in moving here. But inside the box is a satute. A pretty unique one, too. Sand shoots out from the base, spreading like a firework in odd directions. Lightning captured in sand. He can see the glass peeking through, the sand most consentrated on the underside. The two women in his life might as well have signed their names to it.

Silvia is grateful that there is no real harm in her accidental sanding. "Joe said it reminded him of the little octopus girl from Finding Nemo," she murmurs idly, but her full attention is on Mateo and the box.

As he opens it, she rocks on her feet a little, eagerly awaiting his reaction. She doesn't say anything (for once) and just waits, silently, almost patiently.

For a moment, Mateo had been about to mention that they should watch Finding Nemo again. He'd found the movie quite endearing, even if he never actually had a father growing up. Had no idea what his name was, or anything at all about him. He hadn't missed it, because he had his mom, and she'd been pretty good to him, even if found out things about her she'd probably never intended him to find out.

But he doesn't get the words out, because what he unwraps is…

They didn't need to sign it. No. It's them. It's all them. Trapped in delicate glass, captured away into something both beautiful and fragile and completely, perfectly, genuine.

The first sign comes in a hitch in his breath, a sudden inhale that catches in his throat. Then he raises his free hand to his mouth. The hint of tears in his eyes gives it away, but he tries to hide it with a grin, as he carefully puts it back into the box and pulls Silvia over— so that he can hug them both.

His family. His home. Something he'd never thought he'd find again. Something he's not sure he ever deserved to find again. "Thank you." His voice is tighter than he'd like.

It's possible that Silvia is more patient than Lynette. It's all she can do not to tap her foot. But she visibly calms once he gets it out of the box. And she smiles at the hitch. And she gives Silvia a squeeze. Mission accomplished.

She steps into the hug, too and gives him a kiss to the cheek. "Te amamos, Mateo," she says, because they do. "Happy birthday." She's not getting teary herself, no. She's just burying her face against his shoulder because she's a very affectionate person.

Silvia was aware that the gift was going to mean something. She knew that when she and Lynette had made it. Still, seeing Mateo's reaction, the way he tried to hide it, she grew a little teary herself. She moves in to the hug, hugging back as she looks at their handywork. It certainly did look spectacular.

She holds her composure though. The little teariness that was there fades away as she clears her throat. "Te amamos." She echoes the sentiment, squeezing the pair of them tightly.

Now that they're hugging, and Mateo can press his face into his wife's hair, he doesn't even try to stop from crying. It's good tears, certainly. "Yo los amo a los dos," he whispers quietly. "So much." He adds in english. He wishes he had met Lynette years ago, and had had the courage to make Silvia his daughter so much earlier. She'd been among the only things in his life he'd ever been proud of, after all.

When he pulls back, he rubs at his face. No, those weren't tears at all. At least not sad ones. "I'll have to find a very safe place for that." It's fragile. He wants to protect it from anything that might threaten it.

Just like this little family he's found somewhere in all the darkness.

When he pulls back, Lynette brings her hand to his face, her thumb wiping some of those tears away, too. It doesn't seem to help her own, though. She doesn't do as well as Silvia, but manages to keep it to a single tear. Lately, she felt like she was crying often enough to make up for years of pushing it down.

"Yes. I suppose we can't leave it just anywhere," she says with a light chuckle. Her other hand brushes over Silvia's hair. "Can we get back to cake," she asks the girl, although her tone is teasing, "Please?" Because she's having emotions, Silvia.

With her parents clearly desperate to resume some sense of normalcy, it's SIlvia to the rescue. She breaks away to return to her cake, smiling at the two. "Joe and Lance think I should publish my comics… make a bunch of them and sell them in the market."

She pauses, trying to think of more distracting things. "Oh, and the boys are going to teach me ASL so I can talk with Brynn." Another pause. "Have you stopped crying yet?" It's directed at both of them.

Oh, Silvia. From the way he looks at her, talking about publishing her comics, he's proud. "It would be unfair for us to be the only people to see how talented you are," he says, showing his support, despite the hint of tears still in his eyes and on his cheeks.

But as for the cake… Well… "Just a second," Mateo interupts potential cake getting, reaching up so that both hands are on Lynette's cheeks and he's pulling her close all over again. This time for a kiss. A potentially embarassingly deep one. Not embarassing for them, probably. But they do kiss an awful lot sometimes. Once he feels he's kissed her enough, he pulls back. Not at all cause he needs to breathe better.

"Now we can finish the cake."

"I agree. I think Lance and Joe have a good idea. And everyone in the Zone could use something fun, I think." Lynette seems to be get closer to normal with the shift in conversation.

But then Mateo pulls her into a kiss. And she returns it, of course, leaning in closer and hanging onto his shoulders. And when he pulls back again, Lynette gets a dreamy smile on her face. Whether this is better or worse than crying is up to Silvia to decide. She seems to have forgotten what she just asked, because Mateo's words make her blink. "Right. Cake," she says, and her hand moves to take his before she brings him back to where they left their plates.

"I think we're safe for now," she says to Silvia with a crooked smile. For now, because who knows when one or both of them will be crying next.

Silvia turns her head away with a groan. "Mis padres se besan demasiado." She complains to the air. Her whining is more 'gross-my-parents-are-kissing' than the once 'gross-kissing' sentiment that she once had. Sign of being a teenager, most likely. Once Mateo finishes kissing Lynette, Silvia mutters, "Finalmente!"

Going back to her cake, Silvia nods a little. "I'll have to study the boys to get their movements exact. For the comic, of course. Watch them closely…" It's hard to tell if she's just trying to get a rise out of them. Probably.

Oh no.

"Not too closely," Mateo responds, his lips pressed together. Oh yes, he remembers being a teenager. He looks at Lynette in a 'please tell me these boys are ugly awkward nerds' but from the way that Silvia is talking, it doesn't sound like it. He's not ready for her to be dating yet!

"I suddenly feel old." Not because it's his birthday, but because he feels like an overprotective dad suddenly. "Is this what it was like for your dad? I'm going to have to give him a call and ask."

Lynette looks over at Silvia at her words, then over at Mateo when he takes the bait. She can only spread her hands helplessly at his look, because she remembers them being adorable. And she tries very hard not to laugh. Her nose scrunches up in a very telling way, though.

She loses it when he mentions feeling old. And she laughs. And she's still laughing at his last words, so even though they are somewhat alarming, she's still laughing when she mounts her protest. "No no no, don't do that," she says, which is also very telling. "He wouldn't be any help at all. I was a model child."

"I'm a pretty good young adult," Silvia says, not wanting to refer to herself as a child. Young adult is just almost an adult anyway. "I'm very well-behaved." She laughs a little. "And I promise I'm not just staring at boys. I prefer to get to know them first," Silvia teases.

With another bite of cake, Silvia points her fork at the two of them. "Just don't kiss again while I'm looking, I want to keep this cake down."

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