Flash Versus Splash


bella_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Flash Versus Splash
Synopsis Odessa invites Bella over to her place for a slumber party of sorts. The two both receive phone calls that affect them for different reasons. An attempted display of temporal powers goes wrong, and a lot of Chinese take-out is ordered.
Date October 19, 2010

The Octagon - Odessa's Apartment

The apartments of the Octagon are among some of the most prime pieces of rental real-estate in New York City. Bright, open, and clean, these apartments are all painted an eggshell white and feature floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a sweeping, unobstructed view of the East River and Manhattan skyline. Hardwood floors spread from wall to wall and through the spacious bedrooms and private laundry rooms complete with washer/dryer utilities.

The open-concept kitchen in the apartment features stainless steel appliances, polished granite countertops, cherry finished cabinets and ceramic floor tile with all the convenience of a modern kitchen. The bathrooms are finished with classic subway wall tile and porcelain floor tile in bathrooms with elegantly designed corner-set curved showers providing more spacious shower area along with porcelain pedestal sinks.

Each apartment comes in two or three bedroom designs, each with spacious walk-in closets with individually controlled heating and cooling. The apartment is also set up with free Cable TV and Internet hook-ups in multiple locations.

Bella's not sure if tonight is 'later in the week'. I mean, it is later, technically, in that week. But that was for serious things to be discussed, and in the wake of their professional dissolution, this feels more like some sort of celebration. Which means she's not sure if she's supposed to bring up the serious stuff, or just kick back and enjoy herself.

She would like to just kick back. But Bella is just a teensy bit uptight, and she's not sure if her concerns about the serious issues will stop her from enjoying a kick-backed posture.

Luckily, they have wine. Bella's uncorking it just now, her shoulder lifted as she tries to yank out the last bit of the cork. Her face has gone beet red with the effort. Dammit, but she needs to start working out again. How can she survive in the wild like this? How will she uncork the wine she picks from the booze bushes?

There it comes. Thank God. Bella gives a big 'oof'ing sigh and then lifts the bottle, triumphant, beaming at her compatriot. "Got it! Only had a few mild aneurisms in the process. Nothing to worry about."

"I was ready to resuscitate you if necessary," Odessa quips with a smirk. Since their circumstances have shifted somewhat, the younger doctor insisted their get-together be something of a pyjama party. She never got to have those as a child, after all. It's just another experience to cross off her list. Honest. It has absolutely nothing to do with wanting to have Bella stay the night, or wanting to see what she wears for pyjamas when she isn't forced to borrow from Odessa.

Speaking of, by the way, Odessa's happen to consist of an ivory tee shirt, trimmed with red at the hems of the sleeves and neckline, with a fashionably faded old school Doctor Who logo across the chest, and a pair of red shorts to go with them. She wears a pair of similarly ivory mules on her feet - ever in heels, even when they're meant to be slippers - with puff of marabou feathers.

Bella will often just scrub her way to bed, but this is a pajama party and thus demands party-appropriate PJs. So tonight she's cracked out the silk. Silk bottoms and tops, long sleeved and long legged, in a shade of jungle green that makes her hair color just jump out. And draped over her shoulders is a silver silk robe that looks altogether too nice for the spendthrify Dr. Sheridan. It billows out behind her when she moves at any real speed, giving her a caped appearance. Maybe Odessa's dramatic edge is rubbing off. Maybe Bella just feels the need to compete, however doomed to lose she may be.

"Ah yes, I'm sharing space with another trained medical professional," Bella says, plucking glasses from the drying rack and pouring them each a generous serving. She clasps the bowls of the glasses and glides over to her companion, offering one of them up. "To separating work from life," she suggests, feeling a toast is necessary to commemorate this, their first evening as friends untherapeudic.

Odessa has to admire Bella's choice in bed attire. She does wonder if green is the woman's favourite colour, or if it was chosen because of the way it makes her red hair stand out. Perhaps she'll ask her sometime. Later. Briefly a finger rubs along the edge of where her eye patch - black tonight, with a red equal-armed cross in the centre - meets her skin, then she extends her hand for the glass of Riesling Bella's poured and offered. "To separating work from life," she toasts cheerfully.

An appreciative hum slips past Odessa's lips after she sips from her glass. "As whimsical as we both are this evening - and I do hate to potentially spoil that - I believe you wanted to talk about something away from the office?" The younger doctor crosses to her living room windows, tugging gently on the rope that lowers down blinds to block out the world outside.

When Odessa turns back again, it's with a wave of her free hand that's almost dismissive. "I can assure you we're quite secure here." It seems as though the subtle noises of the city fall silent at her declaration, even muted as they were by thick panes of glass and walls.

Oh, so they are going to talk about serious things. Bella wastes no time in starting to drink, then. Gulp! Down the hatch. She's already taking swigs as she crosses over to the couch and settles down. "This is sit-down talk," she says, "and super secret talk. I need your word that this will be strictly between you in me. Of course I trust you - I wouldn't be telling you at all if I didn't. But I need to impress upon you how serious this is."

Sit-down talk. Odessa nods slowly and takes a seat on the end of the couch opposite from Bella. Maybe this is worse than she thought! A nod of her head signals her compliance. "Of course. I won't tell anyone else." Secrets are awesome.

"It's about your journal, one of the names in there," Bella says, and when she does so, she's not being wholly and entirely honest. There was more than one name that caught her eye, but without certainty, she doesn't want to open up the full can of worms. It's, again, a crossed out passage that caught her eye, the repressed reasserting itself. "Richard Cardinal. You wrote that you didn't know who he was. Well… I've met him. He threatened me with torture and death. He and a whole group of associates."

So, yes, sit down talk. And not a fun confession. Not a delightful secret shared in the manner of slumber parties. But, then again, they are not young girls. They are grown women with medical degrees and checkered pasts.

"Project Icarus fell because of his people. And it fell because I gave them information. I sold out the Institute. They don't know, at least I can't imagine that they do, but I did."

The checker board of Odessa's past has a few more dark spaces than regulations call for. Bella's admission is surprising, but not altogether shocking. People like them, well… These things happen to them. "Harper didn't like him much at all," she offers as some sort of understanding.

The idea that she sold out the Institute should have Odessa gasping, or instantly questioning, but it bring almost a sense of serenity. She isn't in the only turncoat in the ranks. "It was wrong," she murmurs, "what they were doing to people. Project Icarus was… A lofty project. A worthy project. The methods just… They even left a bad taste in my mouth for once." The Ferry's rubbed off on her some in her time since leaving the Company, it seems. "I think you did the right thing. I won't tell anyone."

"Thank you," Bella says, and she sounds pretty goddamn sincere when she says it, in the wake of another draught of wine, that elixir of truth, "but I can't claim I did anything 'right' at all. I sold them out because I was afraid for my life. Because I was afraid of being hurt. I am not a… terribly good person. I don't think most people are, but I've been tested and I know for certain… at least then," she holds out some small hope for her better conduct, "but I do think Cardinal and his goons are just as low. Fanatics, and bloodthirsty. You- you should have seen the enthusiasm in their eyes. The smirks as they saw how afraid I was. Evil people. I'm not good, but I've never, ever done anything like that to anyone. Taken pleasure in someone's fear." Okay, maybe just a little, once but there were circumstances, dammit!

"I needed you to know because, well, because I wouldn't want you to join up with him either. Not unless I was coming along as well - honestly, I accept that I work for monsters, at least for now. But I don't want to ever have to be your enemy, Odessa. There are not many people I have left in the world that matter to me, but you're one of them."

"I've… been in a situation like that before," Odessa admits. "I was drugged, and a man… Threatened to cut off my fingers unless I answered a question that I didn't have the answer to. And when he ran out of fingers, he said he'd move on to my teeth." A shudder runs through her body at the memory. "I'd never been more scared in my life. And he definitely enjoyed that."

And then she ended up working with him later. Funny how life works out.

Odessa takes a sip from her glass and then reaches out to rest a hand on Bella's knee. "Live to fight another day, that's my motto. Ideals can be compromised. Plans changed. Revenge formulated. But you have to do what you have to do to live long enough to do those things. If you were worried I might find you cowardly…" There's a shake of her head, a gentle pat of her hand. "I don't."

And at the notion that she's important to Bella, Odessa smiles gently. "I don't want to be enemies, either. It sounds to me like this Cardinal is only someone we want to work for if we don't have any other options. If he touches you again, I'll make him sorry." And that vow is definitely solemn.

Bella listens to Odessa's words with a held silence. Restating those experiences recalls some of the fear she felt, and there may in fact be a slight tremor in the knee Odessa puts her hand to. A leg that serves as unpleasant barometer, detecting the lowest pressure fronts of Bella's emotional weather. It's rare for Bella to get shaken up, particularly in front of someone, safely, rather than in the moment of fear itself. There is a brief pause before Bella scoots over and wraps her wineless arm around Odessa in a hug.

"Thank you," she says, and means it from the sound of it, "I hope it never comes to it. But that- that means a great deal to me." She leans back slowly, smiling a bit ruefully. "Fuck… I can't have drunk too much already. You have a deleterious effect on my composure!"

Odessa lifts her arm to wrap around Bella's waist when she's hugged. "I do hope it never comes to that," she agrees. "And you're fine," she insists about the supposedly slipping composure. "It happens. You're… You were brave to tell me that. To admit that you were scared." She's learning a thing or two from her counterpart, it seems. "It's… Kind of nice to see you not quite as infallible as I picture you, actually. It makes me feel less self-conscious about myself."

"Infallible?" Bella echoes, a brow lifting, disbelief quite prominent on her face, "I can hardly believe such an impression would have lasted a single day, let alone our entire acquaintance. I apologize for making you think I'm anything more than another mess of a human being," she wrinkles her nose, "and don't you dare feel self conscious! Please, let it all hang out with me. Come on…" she gives Odessa a serious look, "tell me a secret of yours. As serious as you want, though you're under no obligation to make it serious."

There's a shrug. What can a girl do? "You're just so damned smart and you seem to have everything about emotions all figured out sometimes. I feel like you must be infallible, compared to me." Though that's still not an admission on Odessa's part that she needs therapy. So not.

When asked to admit to one of her secrets, she rolls her blue eye toward the ceiling as she thinks. There are so many things that Odessa keeps secret. Where to begin? She resettles her gaze on Bella again, ultimately deciding, "I'm terrified of heights." Well, that's not so abnormal.

"And birds. Absolutely horrified."

"Birds are disgusting creatures, most of them," Bella agrees, lifting her nose to demonstrate the realness of this disgust, "though it sounds like you're talking about real fear, rather that dislike. That's inconvenient, in this winged-rat infested city. But don't worry, I," she sets a hand to her chest, "will keep you avian free. I just use a withering glare and those feathered vermin rechart their course." She finishes her glass of wine, and glances up, considering another. "Maybe I should just bring the bottle…" she muses, before her gaze turns back to Odessa.

"That isn't juicy enough, though. Let's dig deeper. Tell me something that makes you blush. Or are we too early in the evening for that?" Bella grins, "I'm impatient for the deepest and darkest, what can I say?"

Odessa lets out a giggle when Bella vows to protect her. "I sit in the park and feed them rice. …And other things." Though the rice would really be enough to kill a bird. She just doesn't take any chances. And maybe their suffering reaches the one who sees through them, perhaps? Ah, such horrid hopes.

"Definitely bring the bottle," Odessa agress, climbing up from the couch and heading to the kitchen to retrieve the wine to top herself off and refill Bella's glass. She leaves it to sit on the coffee table. It gives her time to mull over the question. Or request for information, really. "The deepest and darkest, huh? And something that makes me blush? That rules out ways and reasons why I've killed people." Those don't make her blush. The pauses. "Oh. That rather made me sound like a serial killer. Lord, I'm not that bored. That would be work." The idea is dismissed entirely as absurd.

"Hmm…" Odessa takes a deep drink from her glass and then taps at her chin with one finger. "Well, I… I used to sleep with a guy that would… push me around in the bedroom, if you get my drift. He even slapped me across the face once when I got mouthy." That's not really all that— "I think I liked it." Ah. There it is.

Bella seems to get along just fine with serial killers, don't worry. That she must consider why this might be the case… well, actually, it doesn't distract her too much. She already has a reason, pre-packaged and ready for use. Lack of judgment. And as she would not wish to judge, so she does not judge. Her hand flicks, a mirror of Odessa's own previous dismissal. So she's left a few bodies in her wake. Who hasn't in this outfit?

"Serial killers tend to get off quite a bit from what they do, at least according to what I've read," Bella assures her companion, smiling in thanks as her glass is refilled and taking another drink, "so I think your lack of blush is really evidence against." Comforting, isn't it?

No, indeed, much more interesting is this admission. Bella doesn't seem shocked at all, but she does seem curious. She would, in fact, be more discomfited if she hadn't liked it, and had put up with it all the same. "What about it did you like? What feeling stirred you up the most?"

The conversation quickly is bringing a blush to Odessa's cheeks. Mission accomplished, Doctor Sheridan. "Gosh, I don't even know. It happened so fast at the time. I think it was just that it was so passionate. He just sent me this look that I can't really call a glare, but I don't know that there's another word for a look of that intensity." She can't maintain eye contact as she tries to explain what about her former lover stirred her. And what it stirred, exactly. It's not that she's ashamed, exactly, but she's embarrassed all the same.

"I guess it was just the way that when he would throw me down on the-" Odessa's words catch in her throat and she brings her cool glass of wine to touch against her flushed cheek. "It was like I was the only thing in the world that mattered at that moment. Having me was the only thing that mattered." That makeshift cool compress is abandoned in favour of another drink from the glass. It does nothing to cool her. Instead, it just creates - or perhaps it was already there and it joins with - a curling warmth in her stomach.

Bella very much likes getting what she wants. She's been known to get into a bit of a snit when she doesn't in fact. But Odessa holds back neither information nor tint, so the redhead is satisfied. She smirks around the edge of her own wineglass as she drinks liberally. She can feel herself unwinding. Doing that in company is something she missed. Her cohabitant back home is, whatever his strange but apparent value to the psychiatrist, not precisely a talkative let alone confessional kind of person.

"I like the idea of having an overpowering desire, overwhelming, overcoming," Bella says, feeling as if she needs to put forth at least a little personal information, however unsolicited, to even the scales, "but I like the idea of being the one with the desire, not the object of it. Of course… I want to be wanted, who doesn't? But I also want to want. Against all better reason." Which may explain her life choices just a little.

It's possible that Odessa is a bit too accommodating to Bella's whims and desires. It's also possible that it's a bit telling the way she does so. Her shoulders hunch up and she shrinks into herself a little bit. "I want a great many things," she insists. The dismissive wave of her hand is perfectly timed with the sudden loud music from the kitchen, coming from her cell phone on the counter.

Non, rien de rien. Non, je ne regrette rien. Ni le bien qu'on m'a fait. Ni le mal, tout ca m'est bien egal, the mobile sings as Odessa rises from the couch and scurries over with the declaration of, "I have to take this." Though she says this before she ever glimpses the number. Unrecognised if the way her nose wrinkles when she scrutinises the screen is any indication. Non, rien de ri—


Bella turns around and leans her arms on the back of the couch, wine-bearing hand dangling loosely though not really precariously. She peers over at Odessa as the other woman goes to take this call, the one she must take. Specifically set ringtone, perhaps, tipping her off? Bella wants to ask who it is…

And so she does. "Who is it?" she inquires, before Odessa can name a bird, that most hated kind of creature. Bella frowns, the name meaning, as of yet, nothing to her.

"Nick," Odessa responds to the caller out loud for Bella's benefit. "Yes, I remember you." One finger is held up to indicate that this will just be a moment. "What's the nature of the injury?" She leans, resting a hip against the counter at she listens to the response. "It this an emergency? Do I need to-" Blink. "Yes, yes, I see. All right. I'm going to have to you come see me at the Suresh Center, second floor. Nobody's going to make you fill out any forms or ask you any questions except for me. Ask for Doctor Price's nurse and she'll get you set up in a room. I have an eleven o'clock open."

Lips press together, more listening. Even though the man on the other end of the line can't see it, Odessa inclines her head in a nod. "All right. Get some rest and I'll see you tomorrow at eleven. Good night." A button pressed ends the call and the phone is left to sit on the counter again.

A sigh is let out as Odessa trundles back toward the couch. "That was the guy I met on Staten Island that I said I didn't think would call." Colour her shocked. "He got himself injured. I guess it's something."

"Smart money says he purposefully put himself in danger so as to have an excuse to call you," Bella says, smirking a little at Odessa as she gravitates back towards the couch, "which, sadly, means he's too timid to just call you outright. But I'm sure you can whip up some boldness in him." She ushers Odessa to join her on the couch again, and then scoots up next to her when she settles, looping an arm about her waist and giving the other woman a small squeeze.

"We talked about that hair trigger of yours, didn't we?" that they did, "do we want to aim to fix that little problem? Is this 'Nick' due to be wrapped up in your web? This may call for a planning session. Many factors to consider…"

The blush had abated some when Odessa was able to distract herself with business, but Bella seems more than adept at causing it to return to those naturally pale cheeks. "You know, I don't think I care to whip up any boldness in him, if it isn't there already. If he's interested, he's interested." And she suspects he's not. Though that could just be the self-loathing talking.

That returned blush only deepens when her hair trigger is brought up. Odessa scoots a bit closer to Bella and shakes her head. "I don't want to hatch any plans to ensnare him, I don't think. Maybe last week I might have." Which implies something's changed. "If he shows interest, I may act on it. But I don't think I'll be making the first move."

Yes, change is the implication, and such implications invariably interest Bella. She's all about what's between the lines, at least when it comes to other people. There's a tilt of red head at Odessa's words, and Bella leans over to set her wine glass down as she chases that little trail Odessa's left for her, however unwitting.

"What's so different about this week?"

But it turns out Odessa's not the only one who can be interrupted by a call she has to take. The sudden, rough strings of Vivaldi's 'Summer - Presto' pipe up from her purse, set by the entrance to Odessa's apartment. The psychiatrist takes a moment to register the sound for what it is, both as a song, and as an indicator that she has to go answer a phone. If she wants to, that is.

"Interruptions…" she mutters, rolling her eyes and then giving Odessa an apologetic look, "I'll keep it brief, and then I'm coming back for you…" Her eyes narrow into wicked slits at this half-threat, before she slips off the couch and pads over to her purse. Her cellphone is extracted, and the display glowered at. "This… I have to take…" she says, and flips the phone open, lifting it to her ear.

"Yes?" she sounds maybe just a little irritated, but that might also just be anxiety. Either way, it's not a super positive mode of emoting.

This is a fantastic opportunity to consume more wine. In fact, this moment was made specifically for that action, Odessa's sure of it. When Bella's assault is paused so she can retrieve and answer her own phone, Odessa brings her glass of wine to her lips and doesn't stop drinking from it until she has to come up for air, or runs out of drink. Whichever comes first.

Whatever reply Bella gets, it clearly doesn't go over well. It, in fact, causes the redhead to take a somewhat sharp inhale, one that's held before she lets loose on whoever's on the other end of the line.

"What? Who? What is this bullshit? Are you fucking kidding me? Is this… are you dealing with the Triads?" Bella's voice drops at the mention of this particular criminal fraternity, though it's more a stage whisper than anything - Odessa can easily overhear, "do not get yourself killed. You have been fucking around all this past week. I thought you were done with this. I thought we were done with this!"

The redhead's eyes flick over to Odessa, and she shakes her head. In pantomine she lifts her free hand above her neck and tugs, sharply, head tilting to one side suddenly as if her neck just snapped. Invisible noose. Just kill her, seriously.

Now that is interesting. Bella Sheridan has friends in low places who aren't Odessa Price? Yes. That is most assuredly something worth noting. Odessa feigns disinterest, honestly, looking just about anywhere but at Bella until her motions are obviously intended toward her. She smirks at the macabre pantomime, a silent giggle. Though not entirely without sympathy. People can really suck sometimes.

Whomever Bella is speaking to, they take their time. Her increasing impatience, tinged with anticipation, suggests that she's actually getting a fair bit of open air time - someone likes to pause between statements, evidently. During this space, Bella starts to drift down from the highest peak of her pique, and the last expression Odessa sees before the psychiatrist turns away from her is a look of what is, undeniably, deep worry.

"Come back intact. Come back in one piece or I swear to God…" but she doesn't seem to know quite what it is she'll do, or at least doesn't give it voice, continuing with, "Just… please come back. Okay? Call me when you're done with… whatever." And it sounds like she might be done, before she remembers to ask: "how long am I looking at? When should I start worrying and/or mourning?"

The answer, it does not satisfy. Shortly, in fact, Bella pulls the phone from her ear and stares, disbelieving, at the display. "You son of a bitch," she hisses at the phone, whose LED informs her that the call has ended. "He fucking hung up on me. Like… like that." Like that! Her thumb flicks the phone closed, then closes, trapping the device, treacherous accomplice to her interlocutor's ill manners, in a white-knuckled grip. It's then tosses back down into her purse with a little more force than is strictly necessary.

Bella lifts her hands to her face, holds them there, then slooowly rubs. "I'm sorry…" she says, and she's talking to Odessa again, now. "I just need a moment. Re-" a short breath, "refill my wine glass. Please."

Odessa's mirth drains away slowly as she realises Bella's conversation is rather more serious than perhaps either of them realised it was going to be. When it's over and Bella's chucking her phone into her purse, the other woman is quick to nod and steady her friend's glass as she pours more wine into it. "Do… Do you want to talk about it?" Odessa asks in a quiet voice.

"Not particularly," Bella says, with a cavernously hollow sort of humor in her voice, the kind of 'funny' you drop a rock into and don't hear hit the bottom for minutes. Her hands are still covering her face, and her back is still turned. The former changes first, with the redhead letting her arms fall to her sides, tiling her chin up and taking a long, deep breath. Then the latter, as she rotates back towards Odessa, fast enough that her robe sways around her legs. She looks… composed. Though the very word suggests the effort taken in composition.

The psychiatrist traces her way back to the couch and flops back into the corner of it, where arm meets back. She leans forward to take her glass, giving Odessa a smile that is both grateful and apologetic, before easing back into a huddle. She nurses the glass in both hands, taking the occasion sip, little birdy dips, but frequent.

"Don't you think you should talk about it?" It's almost a look of suspicion that Odessa sends over to Bella. Or maybe it's scepticism. "Is… Is it man trouble?" It must be. Who else would Bella get so upset over if not a man? Maybe. Or maybe not. "You listen to me whine about all and sundry. So now I'll listen to you." A firm nod shows how resolute she is about this.

"Man is rather an overstatement," Bella states, acidly, giving the space directly in front of her a similarly caustic look. She closes her eyes, shutting down her quipping mechanism long enough to actually process what Odessa has said. "We don't get normal lives. This… is something I am constantly trying to come to terms with. But I am- I'm not practiced at it. And he's so- uncommunicative. The exact kind of person I swore not to get involved with. I know better."

Her gaze lifts to Odessa, actively engaging with her, acknowledging that the other woman is listening, accepting that she is being heard. "He's running off to do some… thing. Predictably dangerous. And for God knows how long. And this on the tail of just exactly another kind of thing of the same sort. Which means another indefinite number of days spent returning to an empty apartment," she gives a snort, "not that it will be much less quiet with him gone. But…"

Bella's bun wobbles a bit as she shakes her head in wide sweeps. "I've been living alone for quite a while now. I don't know why it should bother me. We don't even share a room. I just… I don't know. I don't know what I want. I'm not used to it."

"Sounds like you and I are both good at wanting things," or people, really, "that we shouldn't have," Odessa assesses flatly. She sets her glass down and scoots over to Bella's little huddle and rests a hand on her knee again, brushing her thumb easily over the silky fabric.

Odessa's one-eyed gaze wanders the space of her apartment, tracing the lines of her television set, glossing over titles on the shelf of books. "You didn't tell me you were living with someone." Spoken like it makes a difference. And it does. Just, maybe not for the reasons one might expect.

"When we… shake things up, it kind of… I don't know. I think I kind of understand how you feel on some level, from my time after leaving the Company. It was difficult. I didn't know what to do, or what I really wanted out of life or anything." Odessa shrugs. "Maybe I don't really get it, but… I do know that living with another person is difficult, regardless of what sort of relationship you have with them."

"It would be nice to know what kind of relationship it was, exactly," Bella says, biting her lip and bumping the rim of her glass against her chin, "like I said, communication is not his strong suit and- well-" her eyes slide shut, "I just don't know. It isn't the dance I know. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do, and- and that's something I guess I like. That I can't do it in my sleep, like most interpersonal relationships. But it's…" her eyes open again, looking right at Odessa, "confusing."

Bella's wine glass shifts into just one hand as her other slips out to find Odessa's, pressing down, confirming that the touch is welcome, is wanted. Not a terrifically touchy person, Bella feels it's necessary to make this clear. She even scoots a little closer to Odessa, emerging from her defensive corner just a little.

"I'm sorry I didn't mention it," Bella says, fixing the other woman with a earnest, rather worried look, "it's complicated, for me at least. Definitely not the sort of thing I can talk about at work. In fact… the kind of thing that no one at work should know. At all." More and more of such things. "I imagined that doing what I'm doing was the right choice. For me. And… I don't know. I'm not sure if it still is and that doubt it something I have to overcome, a test I must pass to prove myself worthy of the benefits of making the right choice. It might just be stupid and maybe I should just get well clear of it. I just can't tell."

Bella hangs her head a little, though it's a bit performative, a fact given away when she undermines it herself, breaking character and looking up at Odessa past a few stray strands of red, smiling a bit sheepishly. "I hope you realize this is not a side of myself anyone gets to see. You should feel very privileged," she quirks her lips a little, "so much so, in fact, that you should offer to let me stay here for the duration, of your own impetus and without my having to ask, seeing it as an opportunity to strengthen our friendship through compassion." Because that's how these sorts of things work, Bella knows from observing hu-man relationships.

"You aren't making much sense," Odessa admits. "Not to me, anyway. Or maybe you are and I'm just too drunk." In lieu of the right words, she moves her hand so she can wrap her arm around Bella's shoulders instead. "You're beautiful, and smart, and funny, so I can only conclude that this guy has something going for him, or you wouldn't give him the time of day. But he's also a man, so I can't help but conclude that he must be stupid. Especially if he's causing you strife."

White head rests on a green silk-clad shoulder. "I'd say fuck him, but… I can think of better options." Odessa's smirk is slow, almost sly.

Bella's smile is slanted - interested, but uncertain. She tips a little bit into Odessa's reach, her own arm looping around the white haired woman's waist, still answering touch for touch, still affirming its value to her. "Stupid? No, I could never endure something stupid. But he is a man. And he is an ass." She takes another drink from her glass - if she's drunk (and she may be) she doesn't feel quite drunk enough. She needs, at least, to match with Odessa's potential 'too drunk'.

And now what is that smirk about? Bella's own smile mirrors it, but replaces slyness with a certain humorous uncertainty. "I'm open to a second, educated opinion…"

Odessa giggles, a dark and devious sound one might find especially befitting of her. "We should smoke," she suggests with a small nudge before lifting her head again. "That was a lot of fun the last time. I'd like to do it again." Brows are lifted and she gives a pleading look to the redhead.

Bella gives Odessa a very skeptical look. "Are you kidding me?" she says, and this close Odessa can smell the wine on her breath, "you never have to ask me twice." She gives Odessa a tiny squeeze about the middle before carefully rising to her feet, her movements slow and steady so as not to risk a surprise topple due to motor failure. Turns out she's not quite that far gone yet, but it's good to be cautious. It wouldn't do to fall onto the coffee table and spill the wine. They're still drinking that!

Though another intoxicant has been added to the agenda. Never say Bella is unprepared. She is, in fact, particular well prepared this time. She goes over to the bag she brought, one that contains more than toiletries and a change of clothes.

Inside, also, is a vaporizer, the gizmo Bella mentioned during previous conversations. It's metal and conical, about a foot high, with a long plastic tube attachment. It looks like a space age hookah more than anything else, something a robotic caterpillar might puff on in some crazy cyberpunk remake of Wonderland. The set up is performed quickly enough, the power cord plugged into the closest outlet available and the controls fiddled with by Bella's experienced fingers. Soon enough the display is glowing, the numbers on its face rising steady towards 195 degrees F. Bella checks the bowl. Looks like there's enough in there. She settles back down next to Odessa, offering her the tube.

"Breath in very slowly, and for a long, long time. When you feel your lungs prickling, you know you're doing it right. This shouldn't make you cough, it's just hot air and THC. A nice, clean high. A lot like eating it."

Odessa stares a little dubiously at the contraption that Bella sets up. "That's that thing, huh?" She squints at it for a moment before she takes the offered hose. "So when my lungs prickle, then I should stop, right?" Prickling is usually a bad sign, after all. She takes one last long drink of her wine, draining the glass before she sets it down on the table and brings the hose up to do as Bella instructed.

Bella oversees the operation with some interest, as if ready to silently instruct if she should get confused at any point. It was pretty lengthy, as far as instructions go. Much more complicated than 'smoke this'. "You'll exhale a thin white mist. It's sort of cool," Bella says, smiling broadly. For all her previous distress, she seems pretty well cheered up. If a touch drunk.

Odessa's brows furrow as she inhales slowly. She flashes a curious look to Bella as she does so, silently asking if she's doing it right or not. "So, how fast is this supposed to work?" she asks, watching the mist trail from her lips with a quirked brow, amused.

"It should set in after a couple minutes," Bella says, her smile gaining a touch of mischief, "enjoy your last moments of clarity, Dr. Price." She tucks her legs up under her and peers at Odessa as if she's a clinical subject - it's a pointed look, done in humor, and it doesn't last long. She half-snickers, half giggles. "I never expected to be the kid your parents warned you about, but here I am. I used to be good, you know that? I was my high school's valedictorian, you know." Very impressive. High School.

"I never had parents," Odessa reminds with a smile that's genuine, but still carries some sadness. It was different when she thought she really did come from a test tube or something. Knowing she's an orphan is different. "And I never went to high school." A small giggle at that. "I'm sure it's terribly impressive."

Bella's head tilts in a way that necessarily predicts a question, query, or other such investigation. It's a bit birdlike, though don't tell Odessa that. The psychiatrist frowns, very slightly. "How would you say you were socialized? Are there some seemingly normal behaviors that still seem odd to you?"

"I would say I never learned to be a kid," Odessa murmurs. This part doesn't bother her, talking of her upbringing. "I interacted some with other kids within the Company, but… I never felt it necessary, I think. I liked talking to adults better." Her gaze lids and she sits back against the couch and starts laughing softly. "You're right. This stuff does work quickly."

Odessa blinks once, twice. "What was I— Oh, yes. My handlers figured out while I was still very young that I was smart. I never had a traditional education. I was focused on medicine!" A finger comes up to punctuate the point. Medicine!

"I honestly couldn't wait to grow up," Bella says, a hand lifting, tugging her hair free of the bun and letting the red waves flump down about her shoulders. She slips the elastic around her wrist, idly. "I felt like there were things to do, but you had to be old enough to do them. I always knew I was getting smarter, and I was impatient to access that potential. But I had a childhood." She frowns a little. "I'm sorry, maybe we shouldn't talk about this. But I'm curious about you, Odessa."

"S'fine," Odessa insists, bringing the hose back to her lips for another inhale. This is good stuff! After she exhales again, she passes to Bella and then sets about refilling her wine glass. "I was born in Odessa, cared for - though I hestitate to call anything about it caring - by a nurse named Knutson. I studied. At seveteen, I assisted with my first surgery, and consequently manifested my ability at the same time. It was terribly convenient." A sip from her glass. "After Midtown, I was relocated to the Bronx. I treated prisoners on Level Five. I cared for wounded agents. I felt I received very little appreciation in return for what I offered."

Bella tokes like a pro, because she is. Professionalism in all things, dammit. She listens to Odessa with the intensity only someone who is well intoxicated but still sharp can muster. She is peering at Odessa through the haze. That doesn't mean, of course, that her vision is perfect or that the haze is any less hazy. "We are never appreciated enough, trust me," Bella says, vapor spiraling from between her lips as she sets the hose down and reaches for her own wine glass, "it's because we're not independent. We're always working for someone. Attached to some project."

"I kind of like having a project," Odessa admits. "It gives purpose. I like purpose. Purpose is awesome." She lays back on the couch, careful not to tip her glass. "Pot is awesome," she decides, tipping her head back and staring up at the ceiling. "But boys? Boys so are not. Like that douchebag that you're staying with. Or that's staying with you. Or whatever the fuck. Fuck that. You're staying here until he decides to come back. And then you can decide whether to kick his punk ass to the curb." And that's just all there is to it, apparently, if one accepts the finality of her tone.

Waaait a minute. Didn't Bella already suggest..? She isn't sure but she thinks… but she really can't trust her memory, not at this level of toxicity. She certainly was thinking it. Of staying over. Not kicking anyone to the curb. That course of action had yet to rise out of 'revenge fantasy' territory.

Odessa's diction may be getting foggy as well, but she certainly communicates. Bella throws up her hands - okay, actually, just the one as the other is holding her wine - helpless. "You win. I surrender. I'll stay, your prisoner. I just hope you'll treat me humanely."

"I promise to be good to you," Odessa vows, one hand up in a mimcry of someone taking an oath. "I'll set you up in the guest room. Not that it isn't nice to have your company in my bed, but I'm sure you'll want your own space. It's nice to have somewhere to retreat that's kind of your own sanctuary, right?" Her head turns against the arm of the couch with a quiet sigh. "I wish I had some chips. I totally have the munchies."

"Yes, that sounds… really nice, actually," Bella says, letting the set up unfold as a scenario in her mind, "and I'll be so much closer to work, dear God that will be a relief." She tilts forward, reaching out to place a hand lightly on Odessa's shoulder. "Thank you. Very much. It means a lot to me. I don't exactly know how I can express how much adequately, in fact."

The redhead scoots up closer to her friend again. "Now, first of all, that's not real hunger. It's just the carbohydrate sensor in your brain going haywire," she says, "however, having only recently had the chance to feel just how skinny you are, as a physician I am telling you, we are ordering in food. Because I will not let you stay this skinny. We are putting meat on your bones - I don't care if I have to pay for your whole new wardrobe."

Odessa waves off the gratitude first, and the comment about her weight second. "Please. I'm not that skinny. I eat!" Added quietly is, "When I remember." She sips at her wine and a dubious look widens into something like realisation. "Oh, no. Is there something wrong with the way I look?" She gestures to herself to indicate simply from the shoulders down.

"Not with the way you look," Bella insists, Odessa's bad self image one of the various fronts she's chosen to wage her war of betterment upon, "but you felt like you were going to disappear from my arms any minute. Just vanish. And that would be dreadful. You're perfectly lovely petite, but you're underweight. This isn't about how you look, it's about your health!" She gives Odessa a very serious look. "You. Are. Beautiful. I am going to convince you of it eventually."

The underweight woman in question pulls a face and rolls her eyes. "Whatever. I might just vanish, but that'd be for completely different reasons entirely unrelated to my weight." Or lack thereof. Odessa scoffs. "I am a medical professional, you know. I'm not concerned about my weight. I'm taking care of myself. It would be rather foolish of me if I didn't, wouldn't it?" It certainly wouldn't speak well of her as a physician, at any rate. "Let's talk about something else."

"For now…" Bella says, squinting at Odessa, "but only for now." She waggles a finger, but then drops the parental mode. No need to mother her, though she did miss out on being a kid. Bella can, at least, provide the less pleasant parts of that experience. "If you propose a topic change, though, you need to provide the topic. Something distracting, so we don't look back on this line of conversation."

"Tell me about you," Odessa offers up as the new topic. "What was it like growing up Sheridan? I mean, I know you say you couldn't wait to grow up, but what did you do when you were a kid? Did you play an instrument? Any sports? What kinds of hobbies did you have?"

Bella actually doesn't get asked a lot about herself. Therapist/client relations tend to create that kind of imbalance. The psychiatrist purses her lips, as if casting her memory that far back were a matter of some concentration. What was it like? It was so long ago, after all…

"Easy," is Bella's answer, "it was a very easy upbringing. We lived in Westchester Country, very swanky. My father is a real estate lawyer. My mother majored in literature, but she stayed home to take care of me. I'm an only child, so I grew up quite the little princess, though they made sure to train me into moderation. I… wow. I guess I sang a little, in the high school chorus. Played the flute for a while, when I was younger, but got bored with it. And I swam. I was a very middling swimmer. A consistent fourth placer," this is said with mock-pride, "I had lots of little hobbies. Brief infatuations, you know? Chess for a little while. Drawing. A really brief foray into oil painting. Nothing stuck. Besides reading, that is."

"Oil painting." Of all the hobbies to latch onto. "I've never been good at art," Odessa laments. "I know very little about its study, but I do appreciate it. Who doesn't like a pretty picture, or something with a powerful meaning?" She sits up and reaches out for the hose once more. She's ready for another hit. "What kinds of things would you paint?"

"Horrifically boring things," Bella admits, "like fruits in bowls. Whenever I had an interest, my mother would buy me books about it, so I always followed what the books said. Looking back, that's no way to foster creativity. But I don't know that I'm a creative person. I analyze, I don't invent." She leans back against the arm of the couch again, balancing her wine glass precariously on her tummy and sticking out her legs, socked feet pressing against Odessa's hip, giving her a little shove. "Do you? Like a pretty picture? What artists do you like?"

It makes a certain amount of sense to Odessa that Bella would be the sort to copy from book knowledge rather than create from scratch. She feels much the same way. "I don't really know names," Odessa confesses when asked which artists she likes. "Well, I do know I like van Gogh, and that I'm not much a fan of Picasso. I like portraits of people, or stylised landscapes. And I suppose to be totally contrary, I have a certain fondness for Warhol. His stuff is so bright and colourful!" She quiets herself so she can attempt mimic Bella's expert toke skill.

"I'm just now starting to rediscover a kind of taste in art," Bella says, feet lightly pedaling against Odessa, head tipping back and forth in time, "but I tend towards fucked up things. Van Gogh is wonderful, of course. Picasso… well, I think that must be one of those acquired tastes, right? Warhol…" she laughs, "I saw the movie about him. What's it called? 'I Killed Any Warhol'?"

Inhaling just a bit too long produces a quiet cough from Odessa. "Never seen it," she says with a shrug, swirling her wine contemplatively. "I don't really study the artists or anything. Just… not my thing." She scoots back on the couch with a little sigh. "Mmph. Let's order Chinese, huh?"

"I don't know jack shit about art, either," Bella admits, with a helpless shrug, "but it seems like something I imagined you might know something about. I mean… weird fascinations and inexplicable areas of focus are part of the mad science gig, right? Because that's where we are. In mad science. It's the SLC's mass expression that's the problem. Mad science really came back into fashion," she makes a face, "I don't think I'm very good at it."

"Not very good at mad science?" An incredulous look is shot Bella's way at that. "Aren't you, like, partially responsible for—" Odessa sits up suddenly and leans in a little toward her companion. "Do you think you could help me get my hands on some Amphodynamine? Harper seems to think I want to use it recreationally or something bullheaded like that. That's just stupid. All I'd need is like… One dose. Maybe two. I was hoping you'd maybe help me get some legitimately." Which suggests she'd rather considered stealing it.

"I can describe myself only as having the luck of the devil. A luck that always finds some way to make you pay back for it," Bella says, sounding maybe a little bitter, "yes, I was. And maybe I can help you out. What are you using them for? You wouldn't amp up idly, considering the side effects. You must have some sort of… what? Some experiment in mind?" She smirks just a little at the lean, and fingerwalks a hand across Odessa's shoulders, ending with an arm around her. Like a true skeezy drugdealer.

Odessa tips her head onto Bella's shoulder. "I'm at a sort of… plateau for what I can do, I think. I want to find out if I have the potential to do more." And from the tone of her voice, she's very eager at that prospect that she might be capable of more than what she already is. Whatever it is that she's capable of. "At this point, I think Amphodynamine is probably my best bet for that. I have no intention of making a habit of the stuff."

Bella's grip on Odessa's shoulder loosens somewhat, now an actual friendly contact instead of a joke. Her eyes, well bloodshot by now, slide over to Odessa, catching sight of her face at an angle through her pale hair. "May I see what you can do? I've never actually seen you do it before. I admit, I'm curious. If just a little nervous. Your ability is temporal, isn't it?"

"They didn't tell you?" The younger woman sits up again and pushes herself to her feet. "Yeah. I'm a temporal manipulator. A temporomancer, if I'm feeling dramatic." Odessa meanders toward the windows that overlook New York. "A demonstration? I think I can handle that." Her lips curve upward into a grin. "Watch this!"

A flick of Odessa's wrist jerks the wine glass onto its side and tosses its contents toward the window. When the Riesling splashes against the pane and makes its descent to the floor, she looks perplexed. "Oh, balls. I must be too stoned." Her head tips back to look at the ceiling with a weary groan. "Fuuuuuck. I better get this cleaned up." She trudges over to the coffee table to set her glass aside, head tipped down now in defeat. "It was supposed to stop in mid-air, you see…"

What… was that? Bella is also too stoned, but the ability of hers it impairs is her laughter suppression. Bella tries her best, but her laugh comes out in an air-from-a-balloon sputter. She takes a moment to regain herself, nodding. "Yeah… ffft- yeah, I can order the Chinese. I know a good place. A good chain, but a local chain." She's enough of a yuppie to care. Bella gets up, setting her wine glass down, squeezing Odessa's shoulder as she moves for her purse, wherein lies the intrusive cellphone.

Odessa heaves a sigh as Bella squeezes her shoulder. "Well, I suppose it could have been worse." Paper towels are retrieved from the kitchen, and she sets about wiping down the window and the floor. "Normally, when I give this demonstration, I have someone shoot at me."

Bella stoops down by her purse and scoops it out. The maligned object is given a considering look. A memory, not distant but previously deferred, wells back up. She received a call, didn't she? She was not happy about it. But, she was going okay for a while there and wait, she's about to order in food? This is splendid. She is so hungry.

Such is the nature of self medication. Saving yourself from yourself. Bella flicks open the phone and makes a face at Odessa. "A bullet? Jesus. But a wineglass… much classier. I like that better. Or I imagine I would. A bullet is so flashy. The wine would look cool." Only her thumb had been seeking out the number in her contacts list, pressed send, and suddenly she's talking to a bored woman on the other end of the line. "Uh… hi. Um…" Oh crap, "One sec," she claps her hand over the receiver… though it really just covers the whole phone, "what do we want?"

"Chicken fried rice and egg rolls," Odessa's quick to respond with her order. She flashes a smirk up from where she's crouched on the floor. Horribly organised Bella isn't entirely infallible, it would seem. "Apartment 108, in case you've forgotten." Now she's just teasing.

"Chicken fried rice, egg rolls… uh… kung pao chicken, wonton soup and rice. And chicken wings! And…" Bella is just gathering steam here, "extra white rice and," her eyes cut over to Odessa, getting squinty, "Throw in some duck."

One address and credit card number later, their order is set to go. Bella drops the phone and drags a hand across her brow. "Why must the phone always been a harrowing experience? I'd shut it off if I didn't need to hear them call us to say the food's arrived. I am starving. At least, I feel like I am."

Odessa manages to hold in her laughter until after Bella's off the phone, somehow. "That's an awful lot of food. We're going to have leftovers for an age!" Wadded and damp paper towels are tossed into the trash and the roll replaced on the counter top where it was previously. "We're lucky we're doctors and can afford all that," she remarks with a grin. "And why'd you give me that look when you ordered the duck?"

"Because you hate birds," Bella says, and it's a lie, but a friendly one - she will plumpen Odessa up, but she doesn't want to let her know, "I think you deserve to devour one. Remind it that there's a goddamn food chain, and that we're at the top of it." She gets to her feet and moves back over the couch. She knows her wine glass is the one that still has wine in it. Though she takes this as a sign to refill Odessa's glass, as well. "At least it's white wine. Come back! Stop working. This is not work time." Apparently cleanup counts as work?

"Yes, dear," Odessa responds in a long-suffering, resigned tone as she heads back for the couch, taking her refilled glass with a grateful smile. "I don't hate birds. I'm scared of them. There's a difference." Though fear does perhaps breed a bit of hate. "You're so right, though. Definitely. I think I shall enjoy the duck." And so she sits back with a winning smile.

"And I think I shall enjoy my stay," Bella says, smiling back. Mood restored, for her at least. She isn't the one whose phobia just got brought up. Still, she wants them to be on the same emotional page. She scoots over and puts an arm around Odessa again. "I just need to remember to bring my things over. I think it would confuse people at work if we started both showing up in your clothes."

"Mm. Good point." Odessa wriggles out of the grasp long enough to set her glass of wine aside after one last sip. She then sprawls out on the couch with her head on Bella's leg. "Just wake me up when dinner gets here. I'm going to enjoy the way the room seems to spin like a carousel now."

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