Going Home


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Scene Title Going Home
Synopsis Like all good things, Hawaii must end, and Perry and Melissa make their way back to New York.
Date January 16, 2011

Hawaii, JFK, and Perry's Apartment

The last hours on the tropical island went by too quickly. But it's Sunday, their last, and they both knew that it had to end sometime. Neither wanted it to happen so quickly though. But they're on the plane, with their luggage checked, including the extra bag that Melissa had to buy to hold all the souvenirs she bought. The carry-ons are stashed and they're settled in their nice comfy seats in first class.

Unlike the last flight, there was no immediate calling for alcohol, so things have definitely changed. Also unlike the last time, once they were settled Mel reached for Perry's hand, linking her fingers with his. "Sorta sad to be going home. I don't want it to be over. But…and here's the really bizarre thing…I miss Junie."

Fingers laced with fingers, Perry looks over to catch Melissa's eyes. Change has been thoroughly wrought, a remarkably robust tan settled in place of his shut-in paleness, his brown eyes looking now more natural without glasses than with. Relief, too, at Melissa's eschewal of drink. And a peace and ease that is highly irregular in a young man usually so preoccupied and tightly laced.

"Bizarre… why?" Perry asks, head tilting.

"Well…I didn't want a baby. And I told you that she scared the shit out of me at first. I cringed every time I picked her up. I'd never held a baby before her," Melissa says, shrugging a little. "But I guess she's like Kendall. She's become family. I've gotten used to her. Being around, playing with her."

She smiles. "When I first got her, I went shopping for baby stuff, 'cause of course I didn't have anything. Went overboard. I was staying at Quinn's apartment at the time, 'cause Roosevelt was closed off. I filled that place full of stuff. Especially baby goth clothes. You should've seen her in this cute little black and purple dress. Or in the onesie with a skull and pink bow on it. I got her an ornament for Christmas, one of those baby's first Christmas deals? It was even goth colored."

And though she may not realize it, there's a definite warmth in her eyes and voice when she speaks of those things. She's fallen in love with the baby.

Perry observes this look with a simple interest, the whole notion of infant caregiving sort of new to his conceptual radar in anything but the abstract. In time, he smiles. "I- uh- would warn you to be careful," he says, and careful of what, one must wonder, "make- uh- make her fashion too much your own and- uh- she'll start wanting to dress in lace frills and pink taffeta, just- uh- just to rebel. Once she's old enough to want to."

That draws a horrified look from Melissa. "Good god, no. I won't have it. And I do dress her in regular stuff…sometimes. And it's not like I'll force her to dress the way I want her to once she's older. I just don't know any other fashion as much as I know goth fashion. So…baby goth."

"And- uh- and if she ends up becoming a- uh- girly girl all the same?" Perry says, smile widening at that look of horror, teasing with an ease that would have been impossible on the flight over, "What will you do then, oh mother?"

Melissa looks like she swallowed something that tastes reaaaaaally nasty. "Would disowning her be a valid option? I'm a fan of some girly things, like make up and having boobs, but…I don't do pink. And frills. And like, sequins and stuff."

"Imagine that you'll- uh- love her enough to accept frilliness," Perry suggests, mildly, trying to contain the eeevil of his smile, "imagine being glad to see the look on her face when she- uh- she thrills over the Barbie you got her, just- uh- just like she asked for. Wouldn't that- uh- wouldn't that be the ultimate testament to your love?"

"You're a horrible, horrible man, Perry," Melissa says, eyeing him. "I think I'm gonna make you hold her and change her diapers and stuff, just because you said mean things like that."

Perry's face cracks, and he grins right at her. "I'm just- uh- just testing the presuppositions of your- uh- child rearing. Pushing love to- uh- to it's imaginable horizon. And you know what," he leans over, as if imparting a secret, "I think you'd do it. For her. You would. Much- uh- much as it would madden you."

When he leans closer, Melissa does too, resting her forehead lightly against his, her voice dropping to a stage whisper. "Dirty diapers, not just the wet ones. It's a fitting punishment. No more talk of pink and frills and crap like that. I'll have nightmares, and I have enough of those as it is." Then she grins and gives him a kiss.

Perry catches her chin, holding the kiss for perhaps longer than she intended, turning the closeness into a temporary trap. He's grinning again as their lips part. "Your threats don't- uh- don't faze me, you know. Dirty diapers aren't past the horizon of my love."

It's not a trap that Melissa particularly wants to escape from either. But then he says the 'L' word, and in relation to her rather than a baby. Baby love is innocent and safe. Love for her from a grown man isn't so safe. It has her drawing black slightly, her head canting to one side, and after a long moment she says softly, "You love me?"

Oh boy. Turns out it was a trap within a trap, and Perry tumbled right in. He blinks, once, twice. "Yes," he says, very simply at first, "but- but don't be- uh- don't be scared by- uh- by- uh- by my saying that I'm-" he pauses, trying to collect his thoughts and words, "I am- uh- not trying to make it a- uh- grand statement. Some- uh- sometime when we-" he cracks a smile, "when we know it's- uh- not just the island, then, you know, I'll- uh- I'll make that leap. For now I don't- uh- I don't need for you to hear- uh- hear 'love' as a strong, hard word. I can- uh- I can mean it softly. I think- uh- I think I should. But- uh- no less true for its softness."

There's silence from Melissa at that, and her face doesn't help let him know what she's thinking. It's a minute, perhaps longer, before she speaks again, her voice soft and full of emotion. "No one's ever loved me before, whether it was a soft or hard love. I…It is a scary thing," she admits. "It's not going to make me run away though, don't worry about that." But that could be partially because she thinks it is the island, rather than her. "We'll just…see how it goes, okay?"

"I- uh- yes I- uh- yeah, that- uh- that seems wise," Perry says, nerves setting in with a vengeance, "I didn't- uh- I didn't mean-" another pause, "there's- uh- there's love and there's- uh- 'in love'. Right? Take- uh- take my love as- uh- just love. We- uh- we can worry about 'in love' later. I- uh- I would never ask for it so- uh- so quickly."

"That's the thing about love though, isn't it? You don't ask for it. You can't make it happen. It just happens when it happens." Melissa leans over to him, to kiss him, sweet and light. "Let's not worry for now though, about anything. We'll be home soon."

"I- uh- I suppose it asks things of you more often than not," Perry conjectures. This is, of course, all theory to him. The field research is still being performed. "And- uh- soon is sort of- uh- relative, isn't it?" Hours upon hours on a plane can feel so much longer than it is. Then again, flying over he didn't have quite the same companionship with his companion as flying back.

"True. But the days on the island flew by. I'm sure this will too, because the plane is carrying us back to reality," Melissa says, shrugging and giving his hand a squeeze. "And I plan to sleep at least some of it too. Though, for at least part of the trip, I will be dragging you off to join the Mile High Club," she says with a wicked grin.

Hours later, at JFK Airport

True to Melissa's prediction, the flight did go by relatively quickly, with the sleeping and fun and even a movie, and once more they find themselves at baggage claim, grabbing their bags and heading for the exit. There was a pause, to grab coats out, since New York is much cooler than Hawaii was, but Mel pauses just before the doors so she can glance to Perry.

"I don't think I want to go home just yet. I think…I could call and see if they can keep Junie one more night, and we could have one more night of vacation. At your place?" she asks, trying not to sound too hopeful.

At his place. Right.

Perry swallows his trepidation at being revealed for the single white male he (up until recently) was. A careful nod, like he's making sure he wants to agree even as he agrees. "Sh- uh- sure," he says, "just- uh- give me five- uh- five minutes to put- uh- put my room in some semblance of order." And to put away the really loony books he's got stashed in there.

Melissa laughs and nods. "Sure, though I really don't mind. But if it'd make you happy, I'll wait. I can always make a few phone calls. In fact, if you can get this bag, I'll make the most important one on the way to the car," she says, offering him the handle for one of the suitcases, so she can dig out her phone.

Perry can handle suitcases. Blessed with the dubious gift of testosterone, life shortening but upper body building, the young man takes hold of the suitcase and bears his burden down the jetway, eyes cutting over to Melissa, trying to eavesdrop as politely as possible.

The phone call is short, nothing really that interesting to listen in on, and when it's done Melissa grins. "We've got tonight. Sounds like they're enjoying having a baby around. I'll pick Junie up tomorrow. I'd like you to come with too, to meet her. And…have you ever met Quinn? She's…well, she was my DJ, at Tartarus."

"I- uh-" Perry begins, trying to remember. The name… sounds familiar. "…Irish, is she?" Good guess.

"Yeah. And if you haven't, no worries. You can meet her tomorrow. And her roomie and cat. But Junie most importantly." When they reach Mel's car she pops open the trunk, which…isn't quite large enough for everything, so one of the suitcases gets shoved in the back seat. But since the car is immaculate, that's no problem.

Once they're in the car and it's started, the heat turned on full, she looks to Perry. "You said you lived in Morningside Heights, right? Don't think I've been there before."

"Oh- oh no, I- uh- I believe I did meet her," Perry says, "very- uh- very skinny, right?" That, at least, is what struck him about her.

The young man settles into the seat next to Melissa, shotgun being a perfectly acceptable place for him. He gives a nod. "Yes," he confirms, "it's- uh- well, it has quite a history. I- uh- I like it. It has its nooks and it- uh- it isn't too harshly policed."

"Sounds a hell of a lot better than Westview, where I live. I have to flash my registration card to get on or off the island, and I can only do that because I live there and work there," Melissa says, shaking her head and starting to drive. Apparently she knows where Morningside is, even if she's never been inside.

"Just- uh- just look forward to March," Perry suggests, smiling as best he can, "and- uh- be glad we don't have go on the lam. Squat in- uh- in Midtown. Ruined grandeur is- uh- nice to visit," he grins, "nice for making speeches but- uh- I don't think I'd- uh- like to live there."

"Yeah, I can't wait for March. And I wouldn't live in midtown unless I absolutely had to. It's no place for babies, after all," Melissa says, grimacing faintly. "Having Junie does make things a bit more complicated, but she's worth it."

"Was- uh- was she- uh- impetus, in part, for your giving up direct violence?" Perry inquires, brows knitting but only in curiosity, "having a child- uh- having some- uh- something to look to as an example of- uh- innocence? Knowing you- uh- you have to take care of her."

The question brings about a long silence. "I wanted to give up the violence before I got Junie…For two reasons," Melissa begins, speaking slowly. "The first was the nightmares. I've had them ever since I killed the first person in Montana. I'm surprised I didn't have one in Hawaii, actually. The second…" There's another pause. "It was for a guy. A guy I'd now like nothing more than to hurt. Severely."

"You- uh- you promised to give it up on his behalf?" Perry inquires, treading lightly. Details like this about things like this are not recipes, he realizes, for happy times. And today is, according to Mel, still a vacation, despite the cold grey that crowds around them, the bleakness of the city.

"In a way. He kept saying that I could achieve my goals in ways that didn't involve violence. Told him I was going to try." And here Melissa's expression and voice darken. "Then he went on national TV and got engaged to some bitch. I hope they're very miserable together. Jackass."

"That- uh- that seems- uh- sort of tacky," Perry says, blinking, "a- uh- a little coercive, too. All- uh- all those eyes on you. And- uh- making a public display of- uh- a private thing? That- uh- honestly seems a little- uh- obscene…"

"It's more than obscene. And if I happen to run into that gutless little bastard, I'm gonna make him wish he'd never made a fool of me," Melissa says, teeth clenched, words nearly a growl. Clearly this is someone who can hold a grudge. "It was the jackass whose show I was gonna be on, talking about Humanis First. Kincaid's one of his producers. I'm sure he'll understand why I have to tell him fuck no."

"If you- uh- need that distance, take it," Perry says, hoping tacitly that distance is exactly what will be maintained. He hates to think what Melissa might do if she's in the mood for vengeance. Evolved individuals attacking a public personality would do pretty much the opposite of defaming Humanis First. "It's a- uh- a shame, but- uh- but I'd rather you not be associated with- uh- an individual and a program that- uh- goes in for such cheap spectacle."

"Me either. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like Kincaid. Hell, I owe him for making me take the trip. But the rest of them? They can all kiss my ass," Melissa says, forcing herself to relax before she leaks pain all over Perry. Never a good thing, hurting your boyfriend for no reason at all.

And Perry would appreciate this if he knew. As it is, he notices just Melissa's upset, hard to miss, and reaches over to set a hand on her shoulder, squeezing lightly. "Media pushers," he says, "useful tools but- uh- ultimately just tools. They talk a lot so they- uh- don't ever have to do anything. They are- uh- beneath our consideration."

The touch relaxes Melissa more, and he can feel the tension begin to fade. "Yeah…yeah, you're right. I had to do some of the things I did. I had to hijack a shuttle. I had to be in on blowing up a hospital. Those things were necessary for survival. I shouldn't let some dickless wonder make me feel guilty about them."

Perry gives a nod. Dickless wonder is not the term he'd use. He'd call him a 'last man'. But dickless wonder will do. It conveys a pretty similar notion, philosophically. "Follow- uh- follow his programme and we'll end up with- uh- with a very vocal opposition to armed battalions. Do you- uh- do you imagine how long camera angles and- uh- guest stars will last against tanks? Flamethrowers?"

Finally, a smile, and Melissa glances over at him. "I get the point hon. I'll stop dwelling. Besides, if he hadn't been such an ass, I wouldn't be here right now, and you're totally a much better guy than him, and so much better for me." A minute later the car stops and she shuts off the ignition. "And…we're here."

"Then I'll- uh- count it as redeemed," Perry says, leaning over and kissing Mel on the cheek. He glances up. Here they are indeed. He steps out of the passenger side and moves around to the trunk, tapping it lightly with his hand. Ready to unload and bear the luggage up to his demesne.

The trunk is popped open and Melissa climbs out, moving around to help shift her stuff out of the way so he can grab his bag, while she takes only her carry-on, since she's just staying for a night. "Lead the way, hot stuff. And I'll stay outside while you tidy up," she says, grinning.

Perry internally boggles at this new moniker. 'Hot stuff'? Perry had never, in his wildest dreams, imagined such a label ever, ever being applied to him. Half stunned at the impossible fact, too, that he will be having a lady caller over this evening, he heads up the stairs and, quickly as he can, scours the worst of the worst. Tidying up the dubious literature, stowing away the weapons and bomb bits in his bedroom, trying to hide anything the reveals the genuine depths of his personal obsessions. Nothing, of course, that she doesn't already know about, effectively. But they needn't be reminded of what they're getting away from when they're still trying to get away from it.

Eventually, Perry draws open the door and ushers Melissa inside.

Inside, to reprise for the newly arrived: wires and books. And ad hoc furniture. Such is the landscape of Pericles Jones' apartment. Bacheloresque in its clutter and drabness, it is, at least, clean and organized. Shelves and work surfaces have been constructed from milk crates and plywood, bound together neatly but with no sense of aesthetics whatsoever. Books, most second hand and yellowed, adorn the shelves, while the desks and work benches are adorned with projects in various stages of completion, all wires and transistors and capacitors and resistors and batteries and soldering irons and on and on and on?

"Home- uh- home sweet home…"

Melissa grins and enters the apartment, glancing around for a moment before she finds a chair to set her bag in. She moves back to him, arms sliding around him and pulling him close, kissing him. "It's perfect. I expected more clutter, actually," she teases.

There are some actual chairs, yes, and some things that just function as them. The difference is sort of immaterial, actually, once Melissa draws him in. Perry returns the his, his own arms looping about her. "Well I did clean up a bit," he says, "but- uh- don't call it perfect. Perfect is the enemy of the good."

"How is perfect the enemy of good?" Melissa asks, laughing. "But seriously, it's fine. No more nervousness about it, okay? Let's just settle in, order some pizza or Chinese, and veg out. I've got my laptop with some movies, and you said you did have a bed, right? So we can curl up and watch a movie while we eat?"

"It's- uh- something Voltaire wrote," Perry explains, a little ruefully, knowing Mel doesn't really go in for all that, "just that- uh- trying to make something perfect you- uh- you make it so hard, focusing on perfect that you- uh- don't bother to just make it- uh- good."

But no, not the time. It's still vacation. Perry nods his agreement. "I do have a bed," he confirms, "I'm- uh- not that monastic."

"Hey, with you, I never know," Melissa says, grinning. "And okay, it's not perfect, it's just good. Really good. You wanna order the food while I get the movie ready to play? Or you wanna take a post-really-long-flight shower first? 'Cause I'm good with whatever."

Oh, choices choices. Perry quirks his lips in careful consideration. "The- uh- the water takes time to heat up," he says, "maybe- uh- maybe I can start the shower and you- uh- you order whatever you think best. There are- uh- menus on top of the fridge. Then when- uh- when the shower is over we won't have to wait long for the food." As far as plans go, not bad.

"Pfft. Who needs menus?" Melissa is the queen of take-out, thanks to her inability to cook. "But that sounds good. Just no hanky panky in the shower since the food'll be on the way," she teases, shooing him off to start the shower while she pulls out her phone. Numbers are on speed dial of course. They top most of her friends in her faves, owing to the sheer number of times she's called.

"Virtue, always," Perry says, setting hand to heart before dipping over to the bathroom. Bathroom is something of a misnomer, there being no bath, only the stall shower. He leans in, carefully adjusting the somewhat treacherous apparatus within, prone to scalding one once the heat kicks in properly, when nudged just a degree too far.

Perry gives a near shiver at the surprise kiss, craning his neck around as he lifts his hand to the stream of water that splutters from his shower head, a device that was likely the cutting edge back in the 70's. He gives a nod. "Yes. It's- uh- pretty much perfect," he gives a lopsided grin, "it's- uh- a delicate science, you know."

So with the shower nearly perfect, Melissa and Perry enjoy a quick, but refreshing shower to wash away the grime of hours on a plane. The pizza arrives almost as soon as the movie is ready to be played, and they end up curling up on the bed, eating pizza right out of the box, and watching a movie on a small laptop screen.

It may not be a perfect evening, especially after everything they did while in Hawaii, but it certainly is pretty damn close.

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