bella_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif

Scene Title Functional
Synopsis yarr
Date June 28, 2011

Bay House - Jamaica Bay

The world has been rendered in blues and indigos, blasted out into stark whites by the light cast by the susserant propane lamp. It sits on three green gargoyle feet on sanded smooth but unlacquered wood of Bella's writing surface. They've been torn out of their original binding, but with something like care - each tear forms a clean line along a crease.

One page bears the whiskered length of a timeline, another has something that looks vaguely like a food pyramid. The last, still subject to the scratch of her pencil, is a list of neatly written words, script a little stilted, a certain natural smoothness restrained.

It's like she's trying to write something important.

There's a buzz in the air about her, a certain angularity to her motions that bespeaks a mood - and not a particularly good one. Circumstances must allow for her disadvantage - she's recently been in the presence of a human well of misery. These goddamn people.

Deckard approaches from the rear.

The preferred angle of approach for all male mammals.

Once he's in through the door and has shrugged his pack aside and stretched and taken a long look at her and her desk, that is. Eyes scorched near to white by unfriendly light, he lets them dim after a pause to better see. Or understand. Why it is that she suddenly looks to be doing work.

His shoulders are loose and his spine is too stiff; there's a coarseness to the grain of bristle at the nape of his neck that suggests still-drying sweat. His t-shirt is damp too, collar dark under the rumple of a once-white oxford that's seen too many washings and not enough.

And he smells. Like liquor and cigarette smoke and scuzz, all quietly offensive on his way to squinting down across the hard set of her shoulder.

She hears him before anything else, but soon she smells him and feels him in the gauntness of his loom. When his movements stop, when he's chosen his place, she takes the time finishes her line - 'some social etiquette' - one she had to pause slightly before, a gap of hesitation. But only when she's done, does she speak.

"Hello," a little low, a tone dip on the second syllable - helLO - "what have you been up to?" The question is too nicely poised to not have some sort of significance - idle questions don't sound like that.


More interested in what she has been up to, Deckard is buffed sluggishly off guard by inquiry into his nocturnal activities such that he has to wager out a dull, "Uhm." while he thinks about what words he wants to use. A slow, reflective breath does not help him to think any better.

But it does give him a puff of air to burp with. Quietly and containedly, but.

"Bar," he says, finally. Dismissively. You-knowish-ly. "I went there and…"

He falls back into a default one-shouldered shrug after five words. Which is five more words than he looks like he wants to spend on the subject. To his credit, at least half of his conversational inadequacy has to do with him being distracted by the weirdness that this — 'this' being the box that includes Bella and lamp and desk and papers — represents.

She sets the pencil down, hands arranging the pages into three panels. In plain view, they make themselves marginally clearer. The timeline, ordered horizontally, spans seventy years, and the first less than a half is actually filled. The pyramid is a somewhat sloppy Maslowe heirarchy - its looks half-heartedly and a little disrespectfully drawn. The list of lines it just that - a list - that looks like it might have been lifted from a resume, viz. skills, qualifications and experiences.

"And you will keep going out to bars and…" she includes the ellipse, filling in silence, "until- when? Until you get bored of it?" She turns hear head, eyes finally cutting over her shoulder to find him. "Will you get bored of it?"

"…" says Deckard. Like a little dart frog or coral snake, this line of dialogue is painted in warning colors. The excess of question marks or. The repetition. It gives him pause. He has to stop and try to feel it out, but his brain's all fumbling and numb and he's only just aware enough to hedge off a sigh into a normal-sounding breath before it can funnel out through his sinuses.

He scratches at the side of his head instead, an audible scff scff scff that he tries to pass off as giving her questions concerted thought. "I dunno," sounds genuine. He doesn't think so? "Is that something… that happens to people?" Is it even possible to get bored of bars?

"I would get bored. What can you possible do there that would be that enthralling for that long?" Bella's fingertip taps down on a point near the middle of the timeline, then draws her nail along to the end, marked with the grimly vague '76~' "Decades. If we're being actuarially generous. Let's say- twenty-five years? Night after night, that will satisfy you?"

"Do you have drinking buddies?" these last two words sound handled, almost scare-quoted, and there's a nastiness in Bella's question that does her no credit.

A slow blink is more indicative of intoxication than any particular impatience. Flint is trying to follow fleetly enough not to make her frustrated. More frustrated.

Doesn't stop his brow furrowing against the onset of a more defensive breed of recalcitrance, though. Self-conscious, or. Generally uncomfortable. He turns his eyes elsewhere, too. Like that is somehow subtler than the irradiated glow he usually coils behind.

'Alcohol' is pretty high up on the list of things he doesn't want to talk about with his female psychiatrist cohabitant.

A shake of his head segues into an obvious answer: "Drink."

Which leads into yet another after a respectful amount of. Vaguely browbeaten consideration.


"So- more nights than not, you go out to some number of bars, and drink. Alone," Bella states, just checking that they are on the same page when it comes to the facts of the case, "and this is what you want for the remainder of your days?

"Is that the horizon of your imagination? Your expectations?" a browquirk, "Functional alcoholism?" A slight narrowing of her eyes, gaze penetrating, or mock penetrating. "What would you do if I died?"

She waits for him to entertain this hypothetical, patience nearly palpable.

Psychological collapse into murder suicide seems likely. Depending upon the means.

Deckard looks the other direction now, discomfort festering into more of a slow writhing unhappiness. Snake under a shovel. The bridge of his nose hardens before the rest of him does, chilly eyes sparking into a flinch that doesn't evoke focus so much as it insinuates a curtailed reflex to wander away. There is a lot of territory in the world for him to stand around in that does not have Bella Sheridan narrowing her eyes at him in it.

And really, she'd be gratified. A certain kind of frustrated solopcist likes to see as much of the world go down with it as can be managed, a grisly fantasy on the light side of ideation. Bella's promise to Lynette Rowan was likely in bad faith, or just bad humor. She doesn't intend to die. From the look of the timeline, she's being very generous about the length of both their mortal coils.

"It was different, living day by day. But that's not for me. I need to plan ahead, or go crazy so-" her fingers lace before her, back still resolutely turned to him, addressing him sidelong, "I need some sense of the future.

"We need some sense of future," hands spread, towards the trio of papers, "so indulge me." It sounds like a request, but it doesn't particularly look like one.

Flint is already less receptive. Gears are grinding in the sunken hinge at his jaw and there's a balefulness about the way he looks sideways back at her imperative request, patience creaking the way her chair does when he finally drags the necessary pair of steps near enough to settle some of his weight against the back.

So that he stinks in stereo.

The straightness of her back holds the memory of school desks. Her pencil in hand, Bella directs the graphite tip along the timeline's blank half. "In the next month," she says, "assuming we're still alive - where will we be? Where would we like to be?" The rustle of her hair indicates she's turning his way again, talking over her shoulder. "I don't mind having a beach so nearby - and I assume if the children are kept here it must be deemed pretty safe."

That also means there are children, but that evidently goes without saying. "I rescued a child today," does bare mentioning, however, in a brief aside. "An urchin who threw a bottle of sunscreen at me." Rustle - she's looking back to the point of her pencil again. "That's got to be worth a couple more years."

"You'll be… frustrated that I'm still drinking," Deckard predicts after enough of an uneven pause to suggest that he's given the matter thought. "We'll be having less sex." Bony fingers brush around her collar. Idly affectionate without being invasive enough to irritate. Probably.

What he is saying has abrasion covered anyway. "That'll make me frustrated. I'll start a fight with someone. Probably the pedophile clown."

Flint's spent more time around the beach than she probably knows, unless she's paid close enough attention to pick up on sand and rusty bits of riff raff drifting in occasionally through his pockets. That there are urchins out there who need rescuing does not seem to surprise him. Possibly he assumes she isn't being literal. He's more interested in the timeline, if anything. Blearily attempting to do maths.

Maybe this is what she's been waiting for; waist deep in her own cynicism and never quick to disagree with herself, she needs a foil, a pessimism to argue against. "As long as you keep your drinking within relative moderation," the key caveat, "I accept that it's necessary self medication." Especially since her own shrink's pad has run dry.

The initial reaction to his touch is a bristle, but it's awfully delayed and awfully deliberate. And it doesn't last very long. Her left hand rises to feel about for his fingers. A greeting party - at worst a chaperone - but not a border patrol.

"I think we can worry about libido a little later than that," she defers, tapping a bit further down the line, "month eighteen- month twenty four- that's a bridge we cross then."

A pause.

"Unless you had other plans?"

"No. I was being conservative with yours." Says Deckard. Of libidos. With a touch of a slur when he has to yawn on the tail end of the s, encroaching touch hardly venturing into impropriety before he tries to slouch away from her and her desk of papers again. "Mine'll be fine."

Medication is omitted from his side of the conversation same as minors; a second yawn is stifled squinty through his nose. "Why do we have to talk about this?"

"Because I'm tired of merely surviving. I need to start living. Or it'll kill me." The pithiness of her own words gives Bella momentary pause. "Because," she pronounces, with more distinctness, "while I may indeed burn up with fever in a week or be electrocuted by a vigilante tomorrow, I'd like to at least like to look forward to an alternative.

"It will help me stave off depression. Which would be very bad for the libido, in the long run."

She's actually turned in her seat by now, one arm draped over the back of her chair. "I require a viable future. And I'd like us to be on the same page. Comprenez-vous?"

She doesn't speak French - her accent is passible, as luck would have it - and the foreignness of it on her on tongue makes it sound slightly malign. On the border of mocking.

Given that their only chair is the one that goes with the desk, rather than settle down onto the floor, Deckard turns to sink himself stiffly down onto the foot of the bed. There's a hitch in his side partway down. It turns over into a blearily critical look after claims of imminent death via inactivity — trying to see if she's serious.

In the end he suspects yes. The glassy clarity with which his eyes are cut unfortunately fails to carry over into chemically impaired perception. Some time spent with the faintly wheezy sound of his own breathing does not help. Temptation to light up a cigarette is suddenly strong — a muzzy haze he's rapped out of by the sound of French at his expense.

His face is hewn such that renewed tension is particularly easy to make out in his profile when he turns his head enough to show it to her. Ha ha. Ho. « I require sleep, » he tells her, plainly and in French haggard with the same desire while he stoops his elbows against his knees and his hands up against his face. "You could run for Ferry Council," muffled through this process is probably not a serious suggestion.

Against her better efforts, her lips twist into the barest indicator of a smile. "You know, I could," Bella says, legs navigating the edge of the chair as she turns and crosses them, leaning over to rest on her own chair-bracing arm, pencil dangling in one hand as it drapes, wrist over wrist. "I'm about to get some excellent recommendations."

Her face tilts at the chin. "I didn't catch that other thing. Could you repeat it?"

"Might have to murder one of them first." The long slant of his face does not reappear and seems unlikely to in any immediacy. His voice remains at a muffle. And he doesn't clarify, repeat or translate.

"Could we get away with it?" Bella asks, estimating the location of his eyes by the slant of his skull, "which one would be the best target?" The intentness of her curiosity, the energy in her waiting for an answer, doesn't necessarily entail a desire for praxis. It may still be creepy, however.

"Probably not." Telepaths and psychometrists and seers abound.

As far as hiding places go, this is not a very good one. What, with being in plain sight and all. "I dunno who's on the council."

"Well- I've been building bridges," Bella says, hand moving to draw the papers closer into her orbit, impatient pencil dragging her back, "Or trying. I'm lucky in that I have stiff competition for the worst thing to happen to most people."

Tac tac tac and graphite speckles on a still-blank line. "If we stay here, I'll need another fan. And a cooler. And a beach umbrella." She peers right through those fingers - he can dish it out, but can he take it. "And some books. Maybe-" she glances over at the half-full page of written items, "I should write you a list."

A blank slate of silence bunches gradually into a stretch at the muscles strapped long up Flint's spine and across his flanks; his shoulders knot and his ribs bow out around a sigh. Resigned. Enough that he then pushes back onto his feet, weight listing over his knees for the time it takes him to motivate into an advance.

Braving the span back to Bella. And the desk.

And the papers.

"Bathing suit," he suggests. Once he's there enough to touch touch. touch. at the back of her sleeve. Evidently he is under the impression that he gets to pick what kind, if he's going to be doing all of this shopping.

Bella's gotten as far as reaching under her rustic desk, and removing a cheap marble notebook. She turns to its last pages with a face-down flip, and starts to crease the last page near the binding. Creased first one way, then the other, smoothed by the side of her nail each times. His insistent touch accompanies her tearing the page free free with a careful draw of her wrist.

The notebook returns from whence it came. She straightens the blank page. Looks back at Flint.

"Flatter me," she says, as her pencil grants this concession.

Deckard smiles. Slightly. Sidelong.

Leers, maybe.


Lech-like and quick to leech back into exhaustion, whatever it is, more in his eyes when he reaches past the arm he'd been bothering to paw dimly after extant markings and diagrams. The timeline and the pyramid.

"That-" Bella says with the primness of instruction, "is Maslowe's hierarchy of needs- as well as I can can remember them. It's sort of a joke." Her hand reaches up and behind to latch onto his scruff. "Not a very funny one, it turned out."

The timeline is a primitive construct compared to the timefoolery diagramming some people in this strange age must compose. A straight, modest line with a generous life expectancy that remains mostly blank. "I'm wondering about one thing more than anything else- when, along this line, do we leave New York?"

The end of Bella's projected timeline doesn't draw Flint's focus so much as the beginning, and any dates associated with it. His eyes mark dizzily left rather than right, at least, subtlety gone with sobriety. Doesn't take much more than a glance at the hierarchy to be done with both papers, though — he sets them down with a nakedly uneasy kind of abrupt dismissal. The way someone of sounder mind might set down a picture of someone's naked grandma they glanced at without realizing what it was.

"I dunno," he says at length, re That Other Thing, which he doesn't look much more comfortable with even as he tries to kind of. Hook her up out of her seat via a hand turned under her elbow. "I didn't know you wanted to."

"There has to be somewhere safer. Somewhere poorer. Somewhere powers can't reach." Bella keeps those forces in the abstract, the diction of the paranoid. The history she's bothered to note are shorthanded, but not so difficult to decrypt assuming you applied the attention. Moments of significance, starting as early as graduation from high school, on through pre-med, medical, residence - then '11/8/06', easy enough to decode - and then the scramble of little events, including - prominently - Flint session 1 - approximated rather than directly dated. The present day spans a mangle of entries, some aborted, and '11/8/10' looms large enough in her personal history.

"And," her nails scratch lightly at the nape of his neck, "honestly? This city is starting to feel very small."

"The desert's nice this time of year." Flint and his being eternally gay for Mexico aside, he tilts to kiss her, making the most of rest denied with all the decision-making prowess of a drunk Deckard. At least he still has room for her in his heart. Somewhere amidst all the sand and lead. And mesquite.

The hand he was using to browse through her papers has found a new home on her ass, also, the better to steer her against him and his breath. Which is. You know.

Bella tries to recall if there was something in contest here, if this advance could be seen as a tactic, and if compliance necessitates surrender. Briefly she weighs the importance of the consideration - would that mean she has to talk about Mexico? She has no idea if he is rational about Mexico.

The soft 'whoop' that what would be a yelp but is rounded out when she finds herself kissed doesn't sound contentious. She takes the turn with a weakness in her leg that requires he compensate to keep her comfortably aloft. So, yes. She knows.

Deckard would be worse at this if he was sober, probably.

But he would be better at standing up. Right now he can only be better at not caring that he's not doing a very good job of standing up, so that an abrupt jilt of his right leg has to balance for both of them. This would be like. A romance novel cover if he didn't have a hand on her ass or wasn't pushing stank breath on her face in lingering relief over not having fallen over instead of still kissing.

It is a pause that may allow for wits to be regained. At the very least, it's a crack for consideration to wedge into before he's recovered enough to graze back in with his teeth a beat later.

She breaks off into laughter, not raucous by any means - breathless, even a little nervous. Her chin dips, making a hasty escape as she catches his- fragrance. Bella lifts her hand to deflect his cheek in a gesture that's tender but if it isn't abortive, it's dilatory.

"Clean up," she instructs, legs taking her full weight again, "give me some time to think of all the things I've decided I need."

There's a ghost of resistance under her palm, cheekbone angled in a shady degree rather than out. Nebulous stalemate. It registers in a failure to blink and a reflexive increase in pressure that's leashed increasingly, unconsciously back in the same turn of his face: he funnels a sigh slow down the side of her wrist and disengages wordlessly one hand at a time.

Shower is over <—- there. So are most of his clothes, so. He reaches to collect a scrubby pair of pants off the foot of the bed on his way.

There remains some lingering doubt as to if anything has been settled, whether the ease that Bella has just about to allow herself has been earned. It seems, this officious little so-called realist within her insists, that she is simply retreating into the moment. And so, indeed, there are no further marks on the timeline. Paper is paper, and time may fold and tear alike, but that's none of Bella's business.

She watches the gaunt architecture of his back as it slopes towards the shower. Hands move to clasp the back of her chair as she rises to the balls of her feet, then tilts forward, briefly trying to approximate his considerable height and unsober gait at rest. She can't keep it up. She falls back on her heels.

"I love you," she reminds him. That's the story - she's sticking to it. "And- shave, please?"

He has to shave too??

Nose rankled bitterly into the bathroom, Flint drops his pants across the sink and snaps his towel off its hook. Too lazily ingrained to be a flounce. More like an irritable tail flick on his way to levelling a look out after her once he's reached once (twice) to push the door most of the way closed.

The toilet flushes. There's some scuffing around and at least one thud where he might've tripped over the rug. And then the water sets to running.

When she's reasonably sure he's made it through the most dangerous parts of the operation, navigated the treacherous slopes of porcelain and jutting fixtures, Bella turns about and slips back into her chair, ankles crossing as she tucks her legs under her seat, taking up the pencil and - after examining its tip - removes a pen-knife and cuts the tip sharp again. It's a rustic little operation, and one whose novelty she still relishes. This will not last, of course. Novelty is by its nature a function of unfamiliarity. She does not concerns herself with this, however. Instead she puts pencil to paper, and starts to fill in the gaps of her more petty desires.

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