Good Authority


bella_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif

Scene Title Good Authority
Synopsis Good Samaritan meets bad seed. Authorities are invoked.
Date October 23, 2010

The Octagon

Thirty years ago, the Octagon tower on Roosevelt Island seemed like a multi-sided peg in a round-hole world; a weird, purposeless, leftover fragment of the New York City Lunatic Asylum, built in 1839 on what was then Blackwell's Island. Now, after its wings were demolished and it had deteriorated to a point just short of collapse, this once-grand building — or at least what was left of it — has being brought back from the brink of ruin.

The Octagon was originally built in 1834 and is an historic octagonal building located at 888 Main Street. It originally served as the main entrance to the New York City Lunatic Asylum which opened in 1841. The five-story rotunda is made of blue-gray stone that was quarried on the island. It is the last remnant of the hospital and after many years of decay and two fires was close to ruin. In 2006, a newly constructed residential building was built on the site, modeled on the original structure, however just one month after the inauguration of the Octagon's opening, the catastrophic explosion in Midtown left the expansive residential complex uninhabited.

In late 2009 the Octagon was purchased up from the private company that had owned it by the ReGenesis foundation and has since been renovated from three long years of abandonment to become an upscale residential complex operating at staggeringly low rental rates in an attempt to bolster the economy of Roosevelt Island, with the caveat of only being open to legally registered Evolved.

Like hell Bella was going back to an empty apartment day after day. It is amazing how quickly you learn to not live alone, and remarkable how much you can miss having someone around. Not any specific someone, necessarily, thank you very much and don't anyone get the impression that she's particularly bothered by what is effectively an unsurprising absence and…

Actually, let's not get into that. It's complicated, like they say on a certain well known social networking site. But Bella's circumstances are, in many ways, stunningly simple. She is right on the same island where she works, on the first floor of the Octagon, crashing with her colleague Dr. Price, and no longer needs to feel frightened walking around at night. Though it is not night. It is, conversely, fairly early in the morning, and Bella has decided to run out for coffee. A surprise, really, for a hostess who has been so kind as to prevent her from dragging her sorry self back to Chelsea every evening.

However clever and well educated, though, Bella occasional forgets things. This is just par for the course for a regular cannabis user - some memory can get a little hazy. But this time, she forgot the house keys and this leaves her stranded in the lobby of the well secured Octagon building, a foam tray in hand, two coffees nestled into its open grooves, a white chocolate mocha and a pumpkin spice latte. The smell is quite lovely, but only makes Bella more frustrated as she tries to figure out how the hell to use the buzzers, and whether or not she should use them since the rude awakening of such a buzzer might cancel out the kindness of getting coffee.

Life. It is so very hard.

It's not just users that forget things- Delilah has, before, and at those various times it was simply forgetfulness rather than drug use. She hasn't forgotten her keys today, no sir. In fact, she is just returning from her own morning activities. The very pregnant redhead exchanges a few parting words with a young woman outside the doors of the lobby before coming in; at her side, attached to a snug and very short harness, is Samson, the mild mannered. Many times she needs others to walk him, but sometimes he has those certain doggie days that make him especially mellow. She takes those chances when she can, even if it only means taking him out to sit in the park for a little bit. She needs fresh air too.

Samson keeps at her side, walking at Dee's pace rather than her making attempts to keep up with him. Even a dog such as he can understand when someone is about to pop. Maybe he's a little nervous, lately, to boot. He looks at everyone twice, he keeps an eye on her, he stops altogether when he seems to think she should too. Delilah fishes her ID card from the front pocket of her autumn jacket when she gets into the Lobby, the little piece of plastic being her secret way past the buzzers. Like a hotel, right?

Delilah is hard to miss, and even if she were the slightest of waifs, Bella would have latched onto her in hopes of bumming access. As it is, though, the sheer pregnantness of the younger woman gives Bella momentary pause. Quite the opposite of a sentimentalist, it's fair to say that Bella sort of dislikes pregnancy, infants, child rearing… pretty much the whole swath of domestic femininity.

And Delilah is so young. Bella is caught somewhere between pity and disdain, an emotional mix that is in no way made less muddled by Delilah's bearing, confident and graceful, at least for someone swollen to that size. It's a bit twisted, but Bella feels as upset by Delilah's lack of shame and regret as she is impressed by her poise.

Samson gets a rather delayed glance, and is viewed with a certain mild respect. Bella thinks well of young women who invest in big dogs.

But none of this matters, at least not in the present moment. Bella lifts her coffee-less hand in greeting, her smile apologetic. "I'm really sorry, but I managed to lock myself out. Would you mind letting me slide in after you? I'm staying in 108, I'm a legitimate guest, I promise."

Delilah keeps one hand curled around Samson's harness as she maneuvers her keycard; she is largely unawares of Bella's scrutiny and various misgivings about her and her situation, keeping her bright brown eyes on what she is doing. Truthfully, Bella is not the first. She is not the last. Chances are, once Walter is born, the same issues will still apply, save for more dirty diapers. Dee is only faced with the task of being gracious and forgiving about people in general- because she already was, it has been very easy in brushing off criticism or ignorance in general as well. The dog looks over at Bella a moment before the other redhead speaks.

Lilah looks up at the voice, finding Bella and offering her a very polite smile when she explains. Judging from the coffee and the obviously bummed look, if this lady is actually lying, Delilah will eat a ball of mud. The card swipes, and the automatic door whirrs open. "Sure, that's okay. Have you just moved in? I don't think I've seen you around before." Though there is something- something about this woman that is familiar, but there is no luck placing her or thinking of why that might be.

Bella smiles her gratitude and steps through the doors quickly, not wanting to require any more favors from this total stranger. A fellow ginger, though, so that's points in her favor. The dog, the accent, the hair… it's all something of a portrait, and Bella feels the worst of her bile subsiding. This young woman lives in the Octagon for God's sake. From what she knows of its inhabitants, they have often fried bigger fish than a miniature wombonaut.

"Oh, no, I'm just staying with a friend," Bella explains. She extends the tip of her foot in front of the door, making sure it doesn't close on Delilah midway or anything. That would be poor thanks on Bella's part. "I work in the Suresh Center, though, so it's very convenient. The idea of going back to my usual commute gets more and more unpleasant with each passing day," she says this with a laugh in her voice - it's humor, not terribly sharp and not terribly funny, but she's trying her best to be pleasant. She owes Delilah courtesy at the least.

There is a moment's consideration, during which Bella tries to gauge this woman's interest in discussing her… condition. It must be the first thing anyone mentions, and Bella can imagine getting sort of sick of it. But that isn't the sense she gets, and so, figuring that praise of the Great Mother is just one of those rituals hu-man beings perform: "You're almost there, it looks like," Bella says, nodding at the distended swell that is Walter's current base of gestations, "I admit, I'd be pretty nervous. It's inevitable, at this point. It'll just happen when it happens."

Delilah chuckles a bit, and no, the door doesn't close on her. It stays open long enough for dog and girl and belly to make it through. That must be why this woman looks so familiar- Delilah has been to the Suresh Center enough to qualify as familiar there, but there are always people coming and going on staff as well as patrons. Bella is also quite right about Dee's not being terribly bothered by comments; Samson watches on as she gives Bella a slight nod, her fingers tucking her key back into her coat pocket.

"I try not to show that I am. Nervous, I mean. I'm about two weeks out, though really, that's only when I expect him. He could come any time he damn well pleases, but good authority tells me early November." It doesn't take a total genius to get a hint- good authority as in, the same authority that boatloads of people also know from the beginning of summer and what incidents took place. "I'm trying to not do any funny business either, I don't want to explode all over a bus or at a friend's place or anything."

"You seem quite serene," Bella says, lingering just a little. She doesn't exactly know how long she'll be imposing on Dr. Price's hospitality, so she feels it's best to invest just a little in the neighbors. Not to mention her curiosity about what ability, precisely, Delilah must - as a resident here - possess, and what that might entail thanks to the cascade of hormones that must be thundering through her. This is the trouble with certain lines of work - you never quite leave it at the office.

The mention about November doesn't go uninterpreted. Bella has not spent a great deal of time dwelling on her own unpleasant vision (though she presumably will escape intact, if absent cohabitants are to be trusted). "On the day itself? I apologize if I'm being intrusive, was what you saw the actual labor?" She brings a hand up over her mouth, "I'm so sorry. That was way over the line. That's none of my business. Jesus, I don't know what I was thinking," she dips her head, "I've a professional interest, but prying into your life with questions is not in any way professional."

"Eh." Delilah visibly shrugs once and smirks, glancing down at Samson, who sits himself down to watch the stranger. "I don't mind. I do that too. Ask too many things sometimes, if something seems interesting." So, something in common. Who would have thought?

"Yep. Labor. Birth. I saw him, too. for just a few seconds." Delilah goes vacant for a second, recalling it. "I wasn't a a hospital though. And I have a friend, she's an EMT, she had the same one. It was so real that I woke up thinking that he was missing from my hands. I'm confident that he has a time and place he wants to come, and even if it's changed from what I saw- well- somehow I still think it will be that day. Not to say I'm not going to be ready if it's not-" She laughs, now. "But I know when to try and get to a ward, now, right?"

"We're all of us holding our breath for that one day," Bella says, glancing down the hall in the direction of 108. She can't dally too long. She wants the coffee still hot. But… "I think it may be wise to consider what comes after. Particularly in your case, though I'm sure you haven't lost sight of that. Still…"

Bella reaches into her purse, an awkward little reach and rummage with only one hand free, but soon enough she's extracted a small white bit of card stock. A business card. It's extended towards Delilah, a forthright offer. "When your pregnancy comes to term, your body will be going through all sorts of withdrawal as its chemical levels settle back into normalcy. This can be very very hard on new mothers - rates of postpartum depression are higher than the pregnancy industry likes to admit. It's just chemicals, having nothing to do with your authentic love for the child," that's where oxytocin comes in, Bella thinks but DOES NOT SAY, "so if you feel you're having any sort of difficulty please… I'm a psychiatrist, specializing in the needs of the SLC-Expressive. I'd be more than happy to help you through what is a difficult and trying time for all women."

Delilah really isn't sure what to say when Bella offers this spiel and hands her a card. Samson grunts, helpfully. "Hm. Yes, I've-" Searching, searching. "-been acknowledging the fact that this is going to be hard on both of us. I'd explain but you might think I'm totally bananas already, and I'm not about to do that in front of a psychiatrist." Haha, yeeeah. She tucks the card in the same pocket with her identification, giving Bella a last cursory once-over.

"I'll put your number up, and if I need someone to get me through something-" She does have friends for that- "I'll keep you in mind. Thank you."

"Please," Bella says, a brow lifted in ironic imploration, "being a psychiatrist doesn't mean tagging people as deviant. At least, not the way I practice. We're all the product of our pathologies. My job is to make living easier for people. There are a lot of stresses and social pressures around child rearing. A lot of people get up in your grill, and our whole culture is out to alternately deify you or scare the hell out of you. Therapy sessions could give you a space away from all that," she nods, "if you need it.

"I'm Bella, by the way," her hand goes out, this time to offer in a shake, "I should get this coffee to my friend before it gets cold, but it was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for letting me in. I wish you the best of health and luck."

Delilah shakes her hand, if just because it is the last polite thing to do. "I'm Delilah. It was nice to make your acquaintance." She smiles and nods in thanks to the older woman, nudging Samson in the rear with one foot so that he gets up again. "I'll see you around, then." Probably not in therapy, but at least she seems to have accepted the offer. "Come on, Samson. I owe you a treat, don't I?" See turns her face to the dog, and shifts to move for the nearby elevator.

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