Gone Tomorrow


aaron3_icon.gif stef_icon.gif

Scene Title Gone Tomorrow
Synopsis Aaron invites Stef over for a private birthday dinner.
Date October 29, 2009

Hotel Room

Aaron cannot recall any other event that involved quite so much preparation as what he has planned. There was some dipping into his savings, but he's one of those folks who aren't terribly frugal when it comes to a good cause. He left Stef with a voicemail asking her to meet him for a night of relaxation and music. It's not the most luxurious hotel, but it's quite nice. The soft tones of a piano are accompanied by the sweet growl of the saxophone. The room has a rather nice stereo, as it turns out.

A small dining table is set up, complete with candles and wine glasses. A chilled bottle of Canadian Ice Wine is waiting to be served as Aaron, smelling very faintly of cranberries from his recent shower, waits patiently and nervously for Stef to arrive. It's a bit much. It's overkill, he knows. He straightens his short-sleeved button-up shirt as he begins to pace. It's the first time he's worn short-sleeved anything since Peyton's abduction. The scars on his arms that were once self-inflicted scratches from the sheer emotional stress of those abysmal days are little more than faded lines that hardly show in the dim lighting of the room.

Meeting at a nice hotel of all places! It gives a gal a few ideas, especially considering how vocal she'd been about certain things on their second real meeting. Stef didn't dress up, didn't know she was supposed to, really, but the red tank top and big black jacket has something nice about it. The jeans are tight, with small tears in them that show a peek of pale skin with colorful tattoos.

Standing at the door, she looks down at the phone, where she used the notepad to type in the hotel room and the address and double checks the number on the door again. The music leaking through the door reminds her of him. Rapping lightly on it, she makes sure to leave the phone on. In case Shard needs her. She's on call for ass kicking… even if she looks like she could hardly handle it. One would suspect she might have the swine flu if they watched her closely. Or perhaps going through withdrawal.

The light rapping on the door nearly startles Aaron, but he quickly recovers and soon opens the door. The fact that Stef doesn't look particularly well concerns him quite a bit, and there is a bit of sadness in his eyes even as the corners wrinkle as he smiles. "Come in," he says, still not explaining why he's asked her there, although the presence of the little romantic dining situation is clearly not hotel standard.

"Either this is an elaborate threesome that you've talked Gillian into… or she doesn't know you're doing this," Stef says, making a hoarse laugh that almost turns into a cough. She manages to keep it from becoming too harsh of one, as she moves into the room and looks around. Table for two. "Well, that rules out the threesome." Did her mind immediately go toward the gutter? From the dimpled smile that looks mischievous even when she looks like she might have a fever… yes.

"Wow," Aaron says, closing the door and locking it. Paranoid, much? "You can't even ask why I invited you, you have to make up reasons in your head." Ugh. Why is it whenever he doesn't want to cry he turns into such a jackass? He lets out a short sigh. "I thought maybe you'd appreciate a little birthday dinner. I know it's early, and everything, but, Happy Birthday, Stef." He does sound like he genuinely cares when he says it, even if it's edged just a little bit with annoyance at her assumption and another little bit of sadness, given what birthday means in his mind for the beautiful woman he's invited in. He doesn't confirm that Gillian does or doesn't know about this particular idea of his.

"Maybe I'm making up the reasons I secretly want to happen," Stef says, not seeming to mind any kind of jackassness that he might think of himself having, before she looks over at the dinner, and the fact that… Birthday. "I didn't get to celebrate my last one, you know," she says quietly, walking over to the table to touch the chair that she thinks must be heard. Then she shrugs off her jacket. The tank top doesn't cover that much. "Turns out it really is my birthday too. Not just the one that I got when I was adopted." Maybe one of many things discussed when her and Gillian were out of the room together. "Did you cook me dinner?" she asks, that smile widening again.

"Hopefully this will make up for that." Aaron moves past Stef, brushing her midback with his hand before he takes up the bottle of ice wine. "Sit. I'll even tuck your chair in for you if you want." He looks at the bottle of wine with a bit of confusion, "Wrong bottle." As walks to the minifridge that came with the room, he answers her last question, "No. They wouldn't let me use their kitchen, no matter how much I offered to bribe them…." He sounds very disappointed at that fact, as he had indeed looked forward to cooking the meal. "I had them let me try a few things for free, and I found something to go good with the wine…." He pulls out a bottle of 35 South cabernet suavignon, "Filet mignion with roasted potatoes and steamfried vegetables. I won't say what dessert is, but that's what the Vidal there, is for." He brings the cabernet to the table and removes the cork with a corkscrew before pouring some into each of their glasses. The bucket of ice and small bottle of icewine is set aside on top of the minifridge.

"It sounds pretty fancy," Stef says as she settles into the chair, taking most of her weight off of it so he can scoot it in as he said he would. Fancy doesn't seem to be something she's good at, cause her tattooed arms rest on the table, including elbows, as she watches him move around. "You really planned all this out. You know I don't really know you, right? I mean we've only really met a couple times, and— okay, we slept together twice, but that was sleep. This seems a little…" She looks around, a hand going up to her mouth to hold back a cough. "Guess I shouldn't question it." Could be the last meal she has, for all she knows.

"Not that fancy. Would be fancier if they'd let me use their kitchen," Aaron says, "Or if I were rich and could afford truly fancy. But it'll do." He gently scoots her chair in before taking a seat in his chair. "You can question it all you want. You might even get answers if you ask the right question." He scoots his own chair in a bit. "Aaron Michaels crash course, since I know so much about you. I was born in Queens in eighty-four but we moved to Midtown in the late nineties when my dad got a promotion. He was a bigwig in the retail business. I started a band with some schoolmates and my girlfriend, and the band did pretty well until I went to University and had to cut back my hours. I ditched it for my education."

He sounds like he regrets having ditched it. "We were, well, I planned a reunion show with a professor of mine. I never got to share that news with anyone because the bomb happened. It killed everyone. My parents, my friends, my bandmates, my girlfriend soon-to-be fiancee. The insurance company went bankrupt and I didn't get a single dime of the some three million dollars that our condo and my parents' life insurance policies were worth. I was stuck, more or less. I was a vagrant for eighteen months before moving from crummy hovel to crummier. I finally started to regain ground and discovered I was evolved. It was a rude awakening, given the climate at the time."

Aaron manages to keep his emotions rather level, all things considered. The nearly bullet form that he uses helps in that, but anything beyond that is when things got really bad, so he stops for a bit of a breather, taking a sip of wine. Well, a full drink, actually. "Oh, give me a second, I forgot something," he says, realizing he's forgotten his medication in all of the madness of the start of the evening. Out comes a pill bottle, and an ivory and green capsule is procured and taken down dry. Then he quickly moves to the minifridge for a bottle of water, from which he drinks before returning to his seat.

"Sounds pretty similar to my life, except for the whole… I was a Librarian thing. And I didn't lose any of my family in the bomb, cause we all lived in Queens or Brooklyn still," Stef says, following him with her eyes. Does he know that her other half, the real her, happens to be in love with the man who inadvertently blew up everyone that he loved? Would he still care about her if he knew that? It's not a question she's going to pose, but there's a serious expression on her face as she tilts her head to the side and watches him. "I do have a thing for musicians, though," she says, pulling her hair back to show a tribalized treble clef on the back of her neck, just behind her ear. "I got this one while dating a guy who played in a band, and DJ'd sometimes too." The hand falls away, the yinyang symbol visible.

"Should probably eat before our food chills out as much as the wine," Aaron remarks quickly, taking some food. There's a bit of a blush too, before his face goes all serious again. He taps the backpack from which the pill bottle was retrieved from. "Prozac: Nowhere near as effective as I am, if only my ability worked on myself. Or didn't give me headaches, nausea, tremors, hallucinations, vertigo, and pretty much every other symptom under the sun when I don't use it. In varying intensities, of course. These days I get headaches within twelve hours, and nothing short of a healer can touch them, and that never lasts more than a few minutes. Only my ability can dent it. Actually tried to see how far it would take me once, and if it would kill me or not. I chickened out." An almost explicit declaration that he once tried to use his ability to kill himself. That's something he doesn't even recall sharing with his therapist. "Maybe I should stop talking." He takes another drink of the wine, hoping to close the verbal floodgates as he finds himself somehow compelled to share himself in his entirety with Stef.

"Sounds like how I feel these days," Stef admits, reaching to begin to work on said food before it gets cold. The veggies seem to get first dibs. Probably to keep them from getting soggy or hard. But she's not one of those who eats one thing at a time and completely ignores the rest. All of her food get equal shares, it makes the verbal floodgates come to a close, for a time.

At least until the fork gets sat down and she looks across at him. "So how did we meet, anyway? You and Gillian, at least. I know I ended up fainting on you, and then we woke up in a bed together, but I'm guessing you and Jill met in a different way."

Aaron, too, eats his food more or less in equal portions, eating a bit of each. Rinse and repeat. When Stef asks her question, he sets his fork down and swallows some wine. "She was helping Peyton boost her ability to help find a missing cop. It was not pretty, so I came in pretty handy after that. Then she showed up one night because someone got her hooked on Refrain. We helped her detox." He gives a bit of a snort. "And yeah, you and I woke up in a— well, me in a strange place, anyway. After you passed out, I dragged you as far as I could before becoming horrified enough to faint." Which makes him blush. No, he's not used to seeing a girl burn to death and then start to knit back together, and he hates admitting that he had that weak moment. But hey, he'll have to tell his shrink about it. Why not mention it once prior to that and make it easier?

"I'm not even sure what happened, there, but I've ended up feeling pretty bad after seeing some of the stuff I've seen," Stef says, not wanting to admit she threw up more than a few times thanks to her crazy life the last year. It's not over dinner conversation. But— enough of that. "Really? I started using Refrain? That's a surprise. Well— not really. I'd always been kind of into drugs like that. Psychoactive stuff, especially. The kind that makes you see sound. That's always pretty fucking awesome. I never dabbled in Refrain, though. I was kinda getting high on something a little easier to find."

As she says that she breaths through her nose, and then sighs. "Either you're not afraid, or my ability is still dead in the water. Guess I had an easier time since I didn't need to shoot up— but hey, if it meant she met you, then…"

"Human anti-depressant. No side-effects," Aaron remarks. Then he sighs, "Dead in the water." He says it quietly, in hopes she doesn't hear it but at the same time answering her pondering. It also means he's afraid. "I'm not one hundred percent sure what went through her head at the time. Vulnerable moments such as those, even I can't completely comprehend some of the things I've done because of my emotions." He takes a sip of wine. "This is one of the better things I don't completely understand." He returns to his food.

"Then maybe you can make up for what my ability isn't able to give me anymore," Stef says, reaching down to the wine, to take quite a good sized gulp. Wine should be sipped. It doesn't seem like she understands this fact. It may not take long for her to feel tipsy, but at least she doesn't have to think about how feverish she feels if she's a little on the drunk side. "I can kinda get it. She'd just lost a boyfriend, and it was part her fault cause she was in love with someone else anyway. And that one… I don't think things were working out there, even if she still cares about him. At least I never tried to go after either of them."

She had Shard, which… kinda filled in that hole. And she also had an ability that gave her a natural and easy high… "I'll definitely take you up on this anti-depressant stuff, though. Even if it sounds like you get shit for it yourself."

"I suppose I should feel good for helping people and whatnot, but you know, as nice as that is, kinda like a bit of my own peace, you know?" Aaron doesn't seem terribly surprised that Gillian's reasons may have been love-related. What emotional disaster isn't? He got attached to Gillian while helping her detox and nearly got himself killed grieving prematurely. As it turns out, really prematurely. He sips his wine. "So, what have you been up to since … your … birth? For lack of a better term, and I'm so sorry for how stupid that sounded. I'm really, all of this stuff is kinda new and strange to me."

"Been hanging out with Shard, mostly," Stef says, taking a smaller drink from her wine glass this time. Could nearly qualify as a sip that one. "I started out beating up assholes on Staten Island. Muggers and rapists who were scaring people. Used their victims fear against them. Then stole their cash and let their victim go. That sorta thing. And then once I hooked up with Shard I had a job. Helped him out, stuck by him, sex. I'm still gonna do what I can to kick some serious ass, but… Don't get the sex anymore. Never will, from the sound of it…" Pain? Depression? Yeah.

Shard. Same person Peyton's been helping out, and if the night he tagged along is any indication of the usual fare…. gotta wonder if she's not in some way trying to get herself killed. "Sounds…. kinda boring, actually," Aaron says, before chewing a piece of meat. "I dunno. Kinda depends on what excites you." Blush. Totally bad wording. "That, sounded differently in my head." He pours more wine.

"That sounded just fine out loud," Stef says with a laugh, though it retains the hoarseness. Even if she always sounded like she was sick, somehow it seems even worse now. No longer just raspy, but something much more than that. "There's a whole lot that excites me," she adds, before leaning forward so she's looking over her food at him. This also gives a good view down her tank top, including the dragon coiled on her breast. "This normally wouldn't be one of them, but as a birthday present… Gotta say it's an improvement." Not just over last year, either, from the sound.

Well, he's getting close to a thank you from her, though why he should want or need one he's still not sure. Aaron reaches for Stef's hand when she leans over the table, and he holds it hard. His look is very serious even though he looks to be biting his lip a little bit, not to mention the almost constant rosiness of his cheeks from an endless blush thanks to her behaviour. He even fidgets a bit before returning to his food. "Well, I've been known to help people now and again." LAME.

The dark haired woman squeezes his hand in return, lightly. In this situation, crushing strength would have been uncalled for. "I try to help people, but it never seems to work out the way I want it to," Stef admits, that smile showing up again, before she extracts her hand and returns to the food. Her appetite doesn't appear to be destroyed by whatever's happening to her body. "I got one more thing I need to do, then…" She shrugs. Just one thing to do before she dies. And it's helping someone. Not in the way he's helping people, though.

Tears. Fuck. Aaron turns away for a moment to blink them away. It doesn't take a telepath to know where she was headed with that particular line of thought. One more thing she needs to do before she dies. It doesn't matter that he technically hardly knows this Gillian, he still cares and it still hurts. It will still hurt to lose her. He finishes his meal and sips his wine. The portions were surprisingly modest considering how huge a meal is typically served at restaurants, even hotel room service. "Yeah. Nothing ever seems to work out quite how it's planned, does it?"

From the way her eyebrows raise, Stef didn't miss the blink and turn away to get rid of tears. The smile that follows is less mischievous and flirty, and more sad. "You and Gillian are the only one who knows that I'm dying. I haven't told Shard," she says, as if that's really the only one who she thinks would care, really. "I don't plan to go out in a bed, so… he doesn't ever have to know about it. But— I guess I'm glad someone knows. I brought my journals along, too." She looks over at her coat. It's big enough it could have interior pockets. And it has the weight for notebooks, too. The fork is sat down, as if an indication that she's done with her meal. The plate is empty, except for a few vegetables she pushed to the side.

An eye goes to the vegetables for a moment before Aaron slips out of his seat to the room service tray, where he puts the plates, covering them back up. Then he takes out the good stuff. The ice wine is retrieved from the top of the minifridge, as is a rather large bowl of husked strawberries retrieved from within the fridge. A small caquelon is produced from the bottom shelf of the room service tray, two small plates from the top. He sets it all on the table and pulls out champagne flutes into which he pours only a small amount of ice wine. It's a tiny bottle and a very strong, sweet wine.

Aaron tends to the caquelon's tealight first, which he replaces for a new one, before he opens it, revealing the melted milk chocolate within. "I do hope you like strawberries."

Dessert. A dessert of strawberries and wine. Stef sits up higher in her seat, smiling so much she dimples again. It's no longer sad. Instead it's pleased. "I love strawberries," she professes, reaching a hand out toward them with almost childlike delight. Even if she's not at all a child. It's one of the most girly things he's seen out of her, though. "…And chocolate. Fuck, you really went all out. If I wasn't incredibly easy you'd still be getting an offer of sex before the night is out."

There's an actual laugh out of Aaron at her last remark. He's set out little fondue skewers and has already collected about six chocolate-coated strawberries on his plate. It seems he's saving them. "I'm glad you approve of the dessert. And yes, I do typically get a little crazy when it comes to doing nice things, probably because these normal-like things are few and far between." He finishes the last of his cabernet and finds himself sorely tempted to finish the bottle. But he resists. "So how is it that Gillian is so uptight and you're so free-spirited?"

"I don't know what happened the last couple of months, but… I pretty much always thought of myself as temporary," Stef says, taking a strawberry and dipping deep into the chocolate. She waits a few moments before she bites down. "Kinda freeing, in a way, thinking like that. Though I guess… she probably still feels all responsible for everything. Has to help everyone. Feels like she's gotta make up for stuff that's happened— stuff that didn't even happen, too. Not to mention fucking confused. Doesn't know exactly what she wants, yadda fucking ya." She stops talking to sip on the sweet wine and suddenly says, "Damn this is good. Best birthday ever."

"No wonder she turned to drugs," is what slips out of Aaron's mouth. He only covers his mouth a moment before getting up from his chair and bringing his wine to the little coffee table in the living area of the hotel room. The place isn't really grand in size, but it is set up like an apartment, if a little smaller scale. He comes back for the bowl of strawberries and then much more slowly and carefully with the caquelon, since it's rather toasty warm. The final thing he brings with him is his plate, which has now collected nearly a dozen strawberries, and Stef's glass. He reaches an arm out, "Come, sit."

Aaaaaah. Stef makes a cute drawn out sound and grabby hands after the strawberries when he takes them away, with only the one she managed to swipe able to be ate while he carries things over to the smaller and more intimate area. For the moment, she seems to be looking better, less feverish. "You took my drink and my strawberries…" she raises up on her toes all of a sudden and pecks a quick kiss upon his lips, breath smelling of chocolate and sweet wine. From the smile (and the dimples) she doesn't mind very much, though. Especially since she moves along to where they've been moved. And keeps a firm hold on his hand as she goes.

"You just kissed me." Gee, how astute an observation. The fact that she holds his hand now makes him blush possibly harder than he was just from the kiss alone. Are his ears going scarlet? Quite ironic to the situation, once Aaron's settled next to Stef, he pulls her (subtly) closer and soon a chocolate-covered strawberry is pressing itself against her lips, held by his hand.

"Master of the bloody obvious, aren't you," Stef says with a smile, before she leans closer to him and bites down on the offered strawberry. There's that satisfied kind of sound as she practically melts against him. "You have found one of my biggest weaknesses. Strawberries, chocolate and sweet wine. Now all you need is some dance club music, flashing lights, and a bed surrounded by mirrors…"

The hand that was holding Stef's hand slips away as Aaron's whole arm wraps around her. He brings up another strawberry, swirls it around a few times in front of her mouth and then he eats it. "What? I have to have some too," he says with a quirky smile before hovering another one in front of the exquisite beauty who gravitates closer and closer to him by the second. He brings his head around to the back of hers and whispers at the back of her neck. "The bedroom only has the one mirror."

It's like an animal chasing after a treat. Stef leans in closer as he teases her with strawberries covered in chocolate dipping sauce, but lets him get away with it even then. Even if she makes sad little sounds when he bites into it instead. That sound turns to a hoarse chuckle at his words. "One mirror's enough, I think," she says, suddenly moving, turning toward him, and hooking a leg over one of his as a slightly clammy hand reaches up to touch his cheek, drawing short nails along his neck and ears. "You don't do this often, do you?"

The implication of those words totally makes him go red. "Used to. Kinda stopped when my girlfriend got blown up." Aaron's tone there is so completely bitter that even he's surprised with it, and he tears up a bit. "I'm sorry. This was… this was a crazy idea. I shouldn't…."

Suddenly, before he even has a chance to finish, he'll find two hands on either side of his face. The leg shifts until Stef is actually straddling his lap. "Aaron? Stop apologizing," she says firmly, then all of a sudden he's tasting those strawberries and chocolate once again, though without having to bring any to his mouth. It's more on her breath instead as she kisses him. Much more deeply than the peck. It isn't long til she stops, though, to add on, "You know I want this. Can't make that more clear. So unless you want to try to physically throw me out… start removing some clothes already."

There's something there, stirring within him. It's been dormant for so long, only making waves in his mind. But it's there. Some part of him wants this— it's not just a present for her. It's not just a cast-off, even if it seems that way. Aaron returns the kiss, actually get into things this time rather than just being a passive observer. Some of the buttons of his shirt fly in various directions before he reaches to remove Stef's skimpy top and drag her into the bedroom. The door closes behind them, leaving the living room alone to listen to music and smell of strawberries and chocolate. It is a birthday present, but it's something for both of them. Here today.

Gone tomorrow.

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