Footservants And Family


alexander_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Footservants and Family
Synopsis When Teo's aunt drops in for a surprise visit, she finds more than just family afoot.
Date January 7, 2008

The Bronx: Abby, Alexander and Teo's Apartment

It's not overly spacious, It's a New York area apartment. But it suits it's residents purposes. An open kitchen, crammed with all the accoutrements needed to cook, a dining table shoved against the far wall with chairs tucked in. A living room with a fairly new red suede couch shoved up against a window and TV set opposite on a stand makes up the rest of the communal living area. It looks fairly newly occupied and the personal touches not put to it yet. Five doors down a hall lead to three separate bedrooms, a bathroom and linen closet. What's behind the doors remains a mystery unless one of the residents leaves a door open, though if someone knows the residents, the simple gold cross above one door indicates where the woman in this place lives.

It's cold as a witch's tit outside. And a very grateful Alex is lounging on the couch in a plaid fleece robe over a t-shirt and jeans, basking before a little space heater like a cat, and watching television; a movie, specifically - Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He's got a mug of cocoa beside him, and looks sleepy and contented.

In an entirely ironic and coincidental bit of timing, just as the on-screen scene unfolds in which Eddie Valiant finds himself confronted with a sultry toon by the name of Jessica Rabbit, there comes a very real knock on the Alex's shared apartment door. Damn. This always happens, right? Just when things were getting good…

Indeed. Al grumbles a bit, hits pause, and heaves himself up. He doesn't dare magic the door open when he's not sure who's on the other side of the door. He doffs his robe and pads over to the door barefoot, stubble slightly disarrayed - he hasn't got enough hair to have real pillowhead. "Yes?" he wonders, as he summarily yanks the door open. Only to stop short, more or less instantly stunned into silence. Hell-o, nurse.

Did someone say… tits? Standing in the hallway is a living, breathing piece of 1940's celluloid that somehow miraculously managed to peel herself free of her Bogie and Bacall backdrop only to wander her way into the Bronx. Lucrezia stands there in the hallway, all high fashion winterwear and bedroom eyes. It's a Christmas miracle… on a few weeks' delay! "Oh. I'm sorry," she says in an accent she seems to have borrowed from Sophia Loren. "I must have the wrong address. Does… Teodoro Laudani live here?"

Oh, my god, I have died and gone to jihadist heaven and they sent the first of my seventy two virgins to me by express mail. Al's lips are slightly parted, for that full on mouth-breathing redneck effect, before he shuts his jaw with an audible click of teeth, and sucks in a breath like a diver surfacing. "Why, yes," he says, bemusement writ large on his face. "He's not in right now, though. I… who are you, exactly?" he asks, after a hard swallow.

She's used to this — watching all of the air leave the room whenever she's face to face with someone of the opposite sex. In fact, it's a skill she's learned to cultivate at an expert level. It brings a smile to her perfectly-painted lips and she replies, "His aunt." A beat. "May I come in?"

Alexander steps aside, hastily, and gestures her past him. There's no attempt at suavity - his brain cells are currently crying out for lack of oxygen as all the blood in his body heads south at record speed. "Of course," he says, suddenly stricken with a positively idiotic smile. "His aunt. He… didn't mention you were on the way. I'm Alex Knight, his roommate," he explains, closing the door oh so gently behind her, as if afraid she was an apparition that'd vanish at the least provocation. At least the apartment is spotlessly clean - between Abby and Al, no germ survives. There's the peeping of Teo's bird from down the hall.

Two steps beyond the threshold and Lucrezia is already disrobing — shrugging off her heavy coat and artfully removing her supple leather gloves with a careful tug at the tip of each finger. "I'm a surprise," she says over her shoulder as she slinks into what must suffice as the living room and makes a less than subtle inspection of the apartment… and its only other human occupant. Perhaps she thought things might look differently… or perhaps they're precisely what she expected. Something makes her smile wolfishly.

Meanwhile, Eddie Valiant's been caught with his pants down…

Alexander's own smile falters, just a hair, caught in that rather predatory regard - and a slow flush is already creeping up from the collar of his white t-shirt. "Uh. Can I get you somethin' to drink? We've got juice, water, milk, tea, a little wine or whiskey…"

"Non. Grazie, bello," she says, trailing a long finger up onto the arm of the oddly out-of-place red suede couch. The look she gives the piece of furniture suggests some level of surprise or wonderment — as if she'd seen it once in a catalogue but found it to be nothing as she'd imagined upon receipt. She then sits down without much further ado and continues to her unabashed striptease, now with the slow unzipping of her black leather boots. Very soon, she, too, is barefooted and pressing a palm against her heel with a heavy sigh.

Alexander is trying not to gawk, with all his might and main. He's frankly tongue-tied for a moment, before noting, gently, "I'm sure your feet must be cold, if you had to walk any time at all. I… we've got a footbath, I could…" He trails off, as if rendered mute by his own presumption.

Lucrezia lifts her dark eyes and sends a longing, hopeful look through her lashes to the disheveled piece of red-haired rough currently doing his best not to fall all over himself to be helpful. "Would you…?" Batbat.

It's Abby's, and new, but Al fills it with fresh hot water, and sets it humbly before her. It's one of those absurd little bubbly, massage-y things. "Anything else I can get you?" he wonders, hopefully. Already wearing that puppy-dog look oh-so-familiar to her.

There's nothing quite like being attended to, hand and foot, but when the aforementioned footbath is presented to her, Lucrezia's expression melts into something more closely akin to disappointment than delight. Her imagination concocts the image of her sitting there on the couch, Gucci trousers rolled up to the knee, looking aged and pathetic. No. This won't do. Instead, she pats the couch cushion next to her wordlessly.

Alexander just peers at her, equally mute, but sits next to her. His expression is politely inquiring, and a little embarrassed. What'm I supposed to be doing?

Once Teo's unfortunately lucky roommate is seated, the dark-eyed woman then swiftly and smoothly relocates her bare feet from the floor to his lap — you know what to do — and then gestures with a relocated gaze to the television set and the movie he's forgotten to watch. "Don't let me interrupt…"

Were it anyone else in the world (save possibly Teo himself, or Abby), Al'd summarily if gently dump them right back on the floor. As it is, he hesitates only a moment, then puts a tentative hand on her feet, stroking the instep. "You just got to town?" he wonders, mildly, as if his brain had no idea what his hands were doing.

Ah. That's more like it. Lucrezia then bends an elbow in order to prop up her head against her hand, eyeing her new-found footservant from the side slyly while she pretends to take an interest in the exploits of an animated rabbit and his human sidekick. She hums behind closed lips a delicious little "Mmhmm…" as if she were admiring a meal instead of properly seeing to a 'Si.' or a wrapping her lips around a 'Yes, I did.' Her toes curl appreciatively at the attention they're receiving.

Al is blushing, unable to help himself. Trying to keep his attention fixed on the TV, rather than her, and failing. "I'm sorry I didn't know. We could've come and got you from the airport," he says, sounding abashed.

"Non. I wanted it to be a surprise," Lucrezia says sweetly, repeating an earlier sentiment. She continues to play the part of the casually uninterested silver screen siren; the off-duty succubus who only wants to watch a movie and wait for il cucciolo mio to get home so that she might be able to shout surprise and cover his cheeks in kisses. Of course, if he doesn't arrive in time, she just might be forced to give his gifts to something else… and then she steals another look out of the corner of her eye at Alex while strategically relocating her feet to somewhere supposedly more 'comfortable' for her and significantly more 'HELLO!' for him.

Teo has arrived.

There's a hiss of indrawn breath, and Al hastily moves a little, lest it end up totally embarrassing. He feigns taking it as hint to redouble his efforts on her feet - and he is very gentle, but firm. "It certainly is," he says, quietly. "I didn't catch your name," He's on the couch, a little ways down from Lucrezia… who already has her bare feet in his lap to be warmed and caressed. He looks terribly embarrassed.

This doorknob thing will trouble Teo forever. Something with the tumblers or wheels being crooked or the key being bent, he doesn't know. It always requires a rather forceful slam of his knee or hip to unstick it. It's his shoulder this time, before he falls in sideways, his teeth still ringing pleasantly from the shock of impact through his bones. Her boy has grown up more since the last time Lucrezia saw him: the long lines of his frame finally massed out from the wiry promise of youth, his hair the same dark roots that concede a dirty shade of blond only to the sun, the faint flaws of his nose at odds with the debatable clarity of his eyes.

Teodoro Laudani inherited most of his colors from his Finnish father. Most else — his abhorrence of cold weather, temper, and other vices — Lucrezia and his mother were wont to take credit for, and that remains true to this day. Nevertheless, he's currently wearing an expression that would be better at home on his nebbish padre's pale face. Surprise. Shock is a better word: no clear horror, nor obvious delight.

"Mio carissimo!!" Lucrezia's sudden exuberant exclamation coupled with a pointed lack in the abrupt departure of all her errant limbs from Alexander's lap somehow mystically manages to channel Teo's unspoken delight and dismay. Instead of rushing over to great her beloved nephew, she throws her arms open wide and unabashedly lets fly with a whole slew of deliciously articulate Italian: "Vieni qui, bello! Manco te." And then, of course, the puckering up in preparation for hail of kisses. It's a European thing.

Al is….grateful. "Your aunt's here," he notes to Teo, inconsequentially. "Just got here a little while ago," he explains, to the empty air more than either of them. He stands up, and whisks away the footbath that was sitting before the couch - a present bought for Abby, to soothe her after her long days tending bar.

She hasn't aged a day. Well, that's not true, and intellectually Teodoro knows better, but if he was thinking with his head all the time, he wouldn't be her favorite anyway. And, to all evidence, he still is. Despite being staggered, unbalanced by her unexpected arrival and the, uh, circumstances in which she made herself comfortable, there's a smile coming, the same one that snuck back around after the inertia of his wasp-stung sulk or a bloody blackout fit of rage, gradual but distinct, crooked, all joy if only a little innocence, splitting his cheek as her arms come around him.

He lets her kiss him of course, dropping his rumpled head obligingly. Over her shoulder, his eyes flit to Alexander. "I didn't know you were coming, zia Lucrezia. English, please," a stage whisper, his nose in her hair. "Al's Italian is shit."

Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety. The bard's quote about Cleopatra is in Al's mind, as he watches the touching little reunion. "My Italian is nonexistent," he corrects, studiously mild. Apparently a night out and then the tender foot attentions from the beautiful namesake of La Borgia are enough to smooth over his previous temper. "I'm sorry."

Perfectly manicured hands clutch possessively at the back of Teodoro Laudani's scruffy head while perfectly manicured toes are delicately dumped from the lap of her new-found friend in the wake of his swift retreat. Ah well. It was good while it lasted. Reverting to English as requested, Lucrezia replies to Alexander with her lips still perched next to Teo's ear, "Something to be remedied, perhaps, hm?"

She then reluctantly releases her darling nephew from her clutches, only to think twice and tighten her grip at the last minute, fingers holding on to upper arms as she regards the man-child for a moment of inspection. "Look at you! Such a man now! So handsome…"

Whether because of his aunt's scrutiny, the distaste of the rest of the audience, or his own erratic but ever powerful sense of self-consciousness, Teo promptly goes red. He loses weight in the winter. Most people prefer his hair short. And— "Ehh. Looking like my father more and more every day," he answers, by way of denial, his gaze jumping off the small walls and furniture behind her head as if searching for somewhere to hide. It ends up on her face. Counterintuitive, maybe, but instinctive all the same. "I'm happy to see you're out of mourning," he adds, hiding the color of his cheeks in the shadow of hers, a kiss at the plum-colored corner of her mouth. "I didn't know you were coming. Does Romero? We would have picked you up at the airport."

"It was a surprise," Al explains with surprising sweetness. Beauty really does soothe the savage beast, it'd seem - there's none of the barely concealed irritation he'd usually greet a surprise houseguest with. He's still hovering like an attendant spirit, trying not to stare at Lucrezia and succeeding only partially. It has him watching her from under pale lashes like an uncertain pup.

Bless Alexander for sparing the woman from a thrice uttered explanation of her sudden and remarkable arrival. The raven-haired goddess of hips and lips paints on a pretty grin and accompanies it with a pair of bouncing brows and laughter in her eyes. "Surprise," she purrs just before wrapping both arms around Teo's right bicep, momentarily doing her best impression of an inflatable blood pressure cuff before — oh! A light dawns in her dark eyes and she announces merrily, "I have presents!" before abruptly disengaging her grip and prancing barefoot over to where she'd neatly discarded her coat and tote near the door.

Momentarily deserted by his aunt, Teo finds enough room and seconds to breathe. He looks at Al, and recognizes something there that isn't merely his recently restored face. Bizarrely, he feels neither fear nor shame, no real resistance; he accepts it the way he does his sundry other familiar despairs, with a half-grin — or the ruin of a smile, and one step ceded toward the door. Physical as well as metaphorical. He drops into a squat at his aunt's bare ankle, and looks up expectantly. "I hope it was nothing expensive," he says.

Not for him, of course. So Al marshals his expression into one of polite interest, arching coppery brows, over an equal sick despair. At least he gets to watch her move, which is more than a show on its own.

January 7th: Heal the Body, Heal the Soul
January 7th: Addendum
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