Hand Made Family Portraits


brian_icon.gif lene_icon.gif

Scene Title Hand Made Family Portraits
Synopsis One Sunday morning, Brian Winters and Lene Marley discuss the origins of family…
Date January 2, 2011

Redbird Security Solutions

Gray blue orbs hover just above the counter, a nose pushed into the edge of it. The orbs are fixed intently on one specific facet of the kitchen. Dripping black liquid.


Another drop releases from the heavens of Mr.Coffee plunging into the deep descent that delivers it to the depths of the darkly colored mug.


The blue eyes narrow slightly as if disappointed with the pace of this constipated coffee rain. Another drop explodes down and makes a tiny tidal wave into the rest of the hot black beverage.

One hand snakes on top of the counter, gingerly poking at the mug. As if expecting something else to happen. Nothing does. The cup is taken and pulled back away from Mr.Coffee.

Rolling acrobatically, his back twists smoothly to slump against the counter. Sitting on the kitchen tile, the mug is brought down to touch his lips hesitantly.

"God damnit." It comes out hoarsely.

It's been a few days since Delia has been carted off.

Despite having little to no reason for remaining in the Redbird apartment, Brian has done exactly that. In the kitchen, a small coalition of random shit has formed around his perch. A few books in cantonese, a few stolen FBI badges, and a few of his IDs. Fake ones, less fake ones. Brian is taking the day to organize all his bodies identities. Sometimes it just has to be done.

Sighing and reaching up, the coffee is placed back on the counter. Winters touching at his now slightly burned lips gingerly. Reaching down a registration card is picked up and Brian is on his feet.

Wearing a pair of sweats and an undone white shirt, the man examines the card as he crosses the kitchen towards the door. Andrew Fox. He had forgotten why he chose the name. His middle name and a last name that started with F. Simple enough. When he was a kid, playing spies. His chosen alias was always Andrew Fox. Most likely because his favorite animal was a fox but… He was the only kid with a pre-planned alternate ego on the playground. Some people found that odd…

Flipping the door open to the rest of the building, his ID card is slid into his sweats. Taking a step out into the hall, his fingers go to button up his shirt slowly.

"Why did I come out here?"

"For your mail!" is the sudden and unexpected answer when a familiar face from the Gala presents herself from around the corner, brandishing a large metal bin in both hands stacked full with envelopes. "I was gone all weekend so stuff's sorta' piled up in the front office!" Jolene Marley looks as inscrutably peppy as she did at the Gala, dressed more business-casual than gala-glitz in a Librarian-chic sweater vest, button-down shirt, skirt and stockings. Her unruly burgundy colored hair is wound up into a bun behind her head, red-framed glasses perched on the bridge of her nose and a smile crooked across her lips.

A new color accents her ears, however, a pair of amethyst stone earrings glittering purple on each ear. Bracing the metal mesh bin to her stomach with one hand as she walks, Lene begins sorting through the mail with her fre hand, nose wrinkled and one brow raised. "Whitney, Whitney, Cardinal, Whitney, Whitney…" green eyes alight ot Brian as she starts closing the distance.

"I dunno if anybody loves you, I don't even see an advertisement with your name on it," she admits with a wry smile.

Oh. This must be why he came out. To watch the adorable little puppy hand out mail! Finishing the last button, he watches Lene shuffle down the hallway emotionlessly. That is until she gets there and announces that no one loves him.

Brian gives a soft frown in response to Lene's declaration. "Nothing?" He asks somewhat pathetically. "No sports illustrated? No national geographic?" No Murderers Quarterly?

"That's okay.I don't love anyone else either." The retaliation is weak as his eyes take her in for a long moment. "How'd you do? After the gala, I mean." Tucking his hands into his sweat pockets. "You alright?"

"Fine," Lene admits with an askance shift of her eyes to one favorably red-colored wall. "It's not the first time I've been close to a bomb or nothin', I wasn't in any real danger." Shifting her attention back to the bin, Lene paws through the collection of letters, then exhales an apologetic sigh, blowing an erramnt curl of red hair out of her face. "Sorry," she sheepishly admits, "not even a Sports Illustrated."

Shifting the bin to rest against her hip, Lene leans inspectingly towards the door Brian had come out of, one brow raised, then looks back up to him. "So d'you do this sorta' thing often?" One of Lene's brows pitch up at the question, right before she clarifies it a little more. "I mean… pretend that you're not like, twenty-seven or something on the FBI's most-wanted list?" Lene's eyes flick from Brian's door, back to him with a sheepish smile.

"People say I'm reckless," Lene admits with a quirk of her head to the side and an impish smile, "I ain't got nothin' on you, though."

"You hang around bombs often, do you?" He smirks a little bit, watching her a little skeptically now. "You do seem like the bomb crafting type. So that's what you do, is it? Mechanical.. Whatever it's called?" He glances into the bin of letters. "You can just give me one of Cardinal's. He won't mind, and it'll make me feel better about my life."

His lips turn downward somewhat at the question. "Twenty six." He corrects. And then there's a casual shrug. "Once you're used to dying. It kind of takes fear out of the equation. The only thing you get scared for is the people you care about.. And you start to learn to keep the number of those people, kind of low."

He leans against the doorframe as he watches her. "Why are you here, Jolene?" It can be assumed that he's not talking about the mail bin.

Pawing thorugh the mail, Lene's green eyes pause on a magazine, then slide it out of the bin and offer it out to Brian. It's January's issue of Milsurp Review a military-surplus sales catalog, one that happens to have Richard Cardinal's name on the printed tag across the cover. "I'm delivering mail," is her straight-faced answer for about a moment before she slaps the magazine gently against his chest and cracks a smile.

"Oh and… uh," her green eyes cast askance to the wall, then back to Brian. "Nah I'm not like, a…" That he heard her explain to Warren what she could do has her tense, awkward and somewhat flighty. "It's— I'm just a telepath, actually. Read his mind, thought I could pull a fast-one on him and help out. You know, ah, two heads being better than one and all that stuff." Nose wrinkling and brows furrowing, Lene looks down to the rolled up magazine held against Brian.

"I guess people might have good reason…" Lene murmurs thoughtfully, "For calling me reckless, or something." The magazine crinkles in her hand as she alights her stare up from it to Brian's eyes. "Just a telepath who doesn't want her secret getting out. I figure if anybody can understand why I didn't want to register, it'd be you."

His hand comes up to defend from magazine-chest-slapping a little too late. Closing around it, he goes to tug it gently from her hand. Eyeing it for a moment, he shakes his head. "Dickie is so boring." The magazine is then turned on its former master and a light thwap is delivered in return to Jolene's head. "That sounds like bullshit." He says, amiably. The words may be harsh but the tone is friendly.

"Go in my head then." Brian invites, watching her levelly. "You are reckless." He agrees, smirking softly. "I think people have the same thing on me. No matter how careful I get, how much I learn, how paranoid I am. I always boil down to that fire to get me through." Another little thwap-thwap. "You know what I mean. Fire?" The magazine is lowered as he tilts his head at her. "Go on then. Go in my head." He gathers himself, ready to defend himself from the telepathy.

"I try not to listen in as a matter of principal," Lene admits to the aforementioned call of bullshit and invitations. "Never know what a twenty-something fella' like yourself's gonna be thinking around a vulnerable young woman," her freed hand comes to touch at her collar, "such as myself." Cracking a lopsided smile, Lene shifts the weight of the mail bin against her hip and braces her weight against one foot more so than the other, snubbing the toe of her other shoe against the floor in a tap.

"Besides, maybe you have telpathy too and it's some trick to give me the feedback squealies," which is a mature, technical term that she uses in front of other adults. Feedback squealies. In effort to turn the conversation in another direction, Lene raises her brows and purses her lips thoughtfully. "Do you always call him Dickie by the way? And does he let you get away with it?"

"Buulllshiiit~" Brian calls again. In a much more sing song manner. "And I'll already tell you. I'm thinking about firetrucks." He waves the boring magazine again as if urging her to take him up on the invitation. He smirks a little bit at her. "I'm in charge of.. being ubiquitous." He reminds her. "And if you know I'm twenty six on the list.. And you know I'm reckless. Then I'm guessing you know what I can do."

"Maybe this is a trick to give you the feedback squealies, though. Very true. But if I was a telepath and I really wanted to squeal you, I could have already done it." His lips purse, much in the same manner that she does. "Yes. I always call him Dickie. And.. I think he threatened my life a few times but… He's not as big a badass as everyone seems to think. Your little friend seemed to do pretty well against him. That little underground scrap." It's true, Brian wasn't there. But he seems to have detailed knowledge about it.

One of Lene's burgundy brows arch slowly, green eyes widening. "He told you about that?" There's a crack of a smile slowly creeping up on Lene's lips. "Well," she shifts the bin around again, rolling her shoulders awkwardly. "To be fair one of my friends kind of helped him out too; cheated, I mean. He's a good guy though, well— both of them I guess. Mister Cardinal," is a formal way to refer to Richard, "is a nice guy at heart, he just… thinks he's responsible for the entire world, and gets disappointed about stuff too easy."

Looking down to the bin of mail, Lene's green eyes flick back up to Brian. "My friend, Calvin," is pointedly offered, "is a good guy too. Helped make sure that Joshua's big dum meat-head didn't break anything on Mister Cardinal that couldn't be fixed afterward. So I guess," Lene's nose wrinkles, "I'd say they're both important people in my life."

Lene takes one slow step forward towards Brian, her head ducked downa nd eyes partway lidded. "My roommate, she's… she sees the future," is offered in a hushed tone of voice, "and she might have said something about my friend Calvin being in some sorta' trouble." Green eyes flick up and down Brian.

"You ever met a guy named Calvin?" One of her red brows rise slowly. "Foppish, kinda' looks like the Predator if he was a ginger?"

"Maybe he is." Brian remarks about Cardinal and the world. He nods a little bit at the 'cheated' part. He thought as much. Winters half turns and glances into the apartment. "You want to come in?" He asks, gesturing inside. "Dickie won't mind if the rest of his boring mail is a little bit late." Without waiting for her answer, he steps back in the apartment gesturing for her to follow. Retreating from Jolene's advance and his back turned his eyes close momentarily.

Times like these he wishes he could have Cat's stupid power for just five minutes. This is why he needs to start writing everything down. There was a girl there. With Calvin and the dum meat-head. That could be her.

"I have. Actually. At the gala." He easily admits. "You friends with him? He is a good guy. So you must know Benji and Nora too." His eyes swing over rapidly to watch the woman for a reaction. He gestures towards the couch while he watches her.

Since occupying this apartment it has been littered with his stuff. IDs, paperwork on his backgrounds, fake college degrees. Amongst all the items copious in fraudulent material there is one book that is an island of genuinity in an ocean of diarrhea. A picture book. The picture book Gillian had made for him. The scrapbook of when they were kids. It's open to a picture of he and his twin sister sleeping with their mother.

But on to unrelated things. "You like the Predator?" He asks randomly. "I could never get behind it, or Alien for that matter. Never seemed.. I don't know. Cool. Always seemed kind of stupid to me." He frowns lightly though at the roommate thinking Calvin might be in trouble. "What kind of trouble?"

Casting an askance look down to the mail bin, Lene's brows furrow before she glances back into the apartment. There's a strained sound in the back of her throat, then a roll of her eyes upward to the ceiling and a resigned sigh. "Yeah sure why not, nobody's here t'pick up their mail right now anyway." She takes a few steps forward to follow Brian's trail of invitation in to the apartment, her square-heeled leather shoes clunking on the floor as she walks.

Questions of Nora and Benji are avoided without remark, green eyes flitting to the clutter of Brian's apartment instead of meeting his eyes. "I dig action movies," Lene admits with a quirk of her head to the side. "Predator's about as aciton as you can get, right? I mean that part where the dudes mow down the jungle with a minigun or like— when Arnold is covered in mud and holding a torch and all rargh screaming in the jungle is fucking primal."

Lene pauses on her path through the apartment, catching sight of that open scrapbook. Her brows pinch together, head alights to one side and the basket is set down on the tabletop. "Is— " her voice hitches in the back of her throat. "Is this you?" Leaning forward, Lene eyes the photograph more closely, squinting at the picture of Gillian and Alison Winters together. When she leans forward, her necklace slips out from between her dress shirt and sweatervest, swinging like a grimy pendulum.

"I like Willow." The movie with Val Kilmer and a midget trying to save the kingdom. "There's a scene where he waves a little wand and gets stuck in a tree." He smiles admirably while thinking about the movie. "It's primal." The word sounds strange coming off his tongue, it tastes weird leaving his mouth. But he moves on without too much thought.

Eyes dipping to the necklace, his brows knit some before he gives a light nod. "Yeah.. My sister and I. Don't really remember my mom too much. The bits I do, I like to remember a lot." He gestures to the scrapbook. "I was a cute little guy right?" Taking a step forward he peers at the necklace. "Don't want to step out of line here. But I think it might be time for some new jewlery." He bobs his chin towards her sweatervest. And to remind the poor ADD puppy.

"What's wrong with Calvin?"

"Dunno," is a quietly offered lie, "my friend says he's in trouble, though. So…" Lene's brows furrow together, and when he comments on the necklace she's quick to grasp it in one hand and cover it up, quickly tucking it back beneath the unbuttoned collar of her dress shirt instead of betwen it and the v-necked vest.

"It's not something I picked up at a store," Lene defensively comments about the necklace, "it's important." It also looked to have been burned in a fire, judging from the blackened surface and warped exterior, melted facade and generally battered appearance.

Looking up from the scrapbook to Brian, there's a briefly emotional expression in Lene's eyes. Difficult to discern the source of, but that look she wears is something intense and restrained visibly by conscious effort. "I don't remember my mom much either," Lene admits in a hushed tone of voice, standing up straight and looking down to the floor. "I never got to know my father," is added afterward. "He… died before I was born."

"How does your friends power work?" Brian asks quietly, going to take a seat on the couch so that he can better look at the scrapbook. "Don't know anything about what kind of trouble?" Reaching to grip the page, he smiles at it. "Gillian says she's older.. But if you look at the picture. I think it's clear my head is larger which means more time to develop. Which means older." A brief smile flashes along his lips. Watching the necklace disappear rapidly. "Gillian has something like that. Important necklace. She got the locket, I got this." His hand patting down on the scrapbook.

"Never got to know my dad either. Or mom. They were both killed." He falls silent, glancing up at her. "In a fire?" He offers her a sympathetic look, placing his hands on his lap. "It's rough.. Thankfully I have Gillian. And.. well you make your own family. Has been my theory. Friends. Close friends. They become your own family." He watches her quietly. "You have other family? You an only child?"

Lifting a hand up to wipe at her eyes, Lene bobs her head into a slow nod of agreement. Yeah, she has family. "No biological family," she explains in a hushed tone of voice, "none— none I ever got to know, anyway. I grew up with my friends, mostly. My best friend, me'n her lived in…" Lene looks down at the scrapbook, then away. "Portland."

Clearing her throat, the young faux-redhead takes a few steps away from the scrapbook, lifting up a hand ot rest at the center of her chest, hovering over where the locket is kept. "I had a brother," Lene says softly, "he… died with my mother." There's a subtle twinge of her lips up into a smile, then a look back at the scrapbook at a distance.

"You're right," Lene admits quietly, turning her stare up over the slouched frames of her glasses to Brian. "You make your own family, and it doesn't make them any less real— or less important than family you're born to." Managing a faint smile, Lene looks down to the floor, curling her fingers against the fabric of her sweatervest.

"My friend… sees the future in writing. If she reads an article, the text jumbles itself around, and she sees something that hasn't happened yet. That's how I knew about the bomb at the gala, that's how I knew about what happened to Calvin. She— she was reading this article online about a girl being kidnapped out in California…" her eyes shift to the left slowly, "and… it started talking about how Calvin was kidnapped. He'd never hurt anybody," she feels compelled to clarify.

Placing an elbow on a knee, he rests his chin in his hand. "Portland." He repeats. "That's a depressing place to live." Brian seems to think so anyway. His eyes go downward at her dead brother. His lips softening. "What was his name?" He asks softly. Turning the page of the scrapbook. "This is.. Jeffrey." His finger laying down on the picutre of Jeffrey Winters. It then slides along the page. "And Allison. I like to think she went by Ali though. Because.. that's a cute name."

He gives a nod of affirmation to her. "That's why I'm reckless. And why i pretend like I'm not twenty seven on that.. list." He yanks his thumb as if the FBI's most wanted list was in his apartment. "I have my family to think about." The Lighthouse kids. Samara. Even Veronica. "Gillian and them.." He gives a light shrug. "I'd do anything for them."

When she comments on Calvin, he gives a light shrug. "He might." He counters. "He seems a little secretive. A little cold."

"Everybody's got their secrets," Lene admits with a furrow of her brows, looking down to her feet. "Me, you, Gilian…" Lene's green eyes flick down to the scrapbook, then back up to Brian as she folds her hands behind her back, awkwardly rocking one of her feet from side to side on the corner of her sole.

Lene looks lost for a while, her eyes searching the floor for something that they never find. "I'd do anything for my friends— my family too. Calvin's one of the people I trust my life with… he's— sweet, cares a lot about somebody dear to me. So…" Lene's brows furrow slowly. "So— I just hope I can figure out how to get him help, figure out who has him, maybe— maybe I can do some sort of heroic rescue thing."

There's a faint creep of a smile across the redhead's lips as she looks up to Brian from the floor. "I know if I don't, some of my other friends will. One way or another, right?" Burgundy colored brows lift slowly, and Lene offers a sheepish smile to Brian, having avoided the topic of her brother entirely.

"Some seem to have more than others." Brian casts a look up at Lene. "I like you Jolene. But.. if you think you have me pegged. You have to remember that my mind swims a million miles a minute. And some things don't add up. I get a lot of questions. And a lot of questions are avoided." His eyes steady on Lene's face. "You and your group of friends seem to be very connected. How do you all know each other?" The way he asks then continues talking suggests he is already decided she's going to dodge the question.

He goes to stand up, the scrapbook is flipped close. "I care a lot about my family too. And like I said I would do anything to protect them." Like makeout with a weirdo then kidnap him.

"Like Benji or Nora.. Or Howard?" His arms go to fold over his chest. His teeth go to bite down on his bottom lip gently as he watches her carefully. "I'm sure Calvin will turn up sooner or later."

One chunky heels moves away from the other as Lene takes a hesitant step back. "We're all the family we have," is her answer about her group of friends. "It's a long story, and one that isn't my place to tell. Not all the people you mentioned are my friends though," comes with an unusual narrowing of her eyes, as if questioning some of the associations that Brian has drawn between them.

"I hope he does," turn up, Lene implies in a hushed tone of voice. "I— should be going, Brian. It— it was nice to get to talk to you, but I've got some stuff I need to do once I get the mail delivered. I— don't want to endanger my job." The nervous smile offered grows more timid as Lene backs away towards the door, her eyes slowly averting down to her feet.

"It— it really was nice to get to talk to you," is offered in reinforcement, followed by a tuck of Lene's chin downward, her hand resting over that necklace beneath her shirts.

"Nice to talk to you too, Jolene." Brian says softly, dropping back into the couch. Folding one leg on the other, his hands splay out in his lap. Watching her go quietly, his eyes slowly move back to the magazine he had left on the table. Guess it's about time to look at the boring things Cardinal reads.

"Bye, Jo."

Brian's voice haunts Jolene all the way out of the apartment, until she's shut the door behind herself and slouched up against it in the hall. The entire mail basket is forgotten on his table, her entire reason for leaving such a feint that she forgot to even carry out the one thing she needed to do. She can go back in, go reclaim what she'd left behind awkwardly and go about finishing her job.

But for the moment, Jolene Marley is going to focus on getting her emotions under control, and to stop herself from crying the way she is threatening to at the moment. A shaky hand lifts up to her eyes, one finger wiping away a tear. She swallows, audibly, and as her jaw gives subtle tremble her green eyes flutter shut behind the lenses of her glasses.

"Bye, Brian," she whispers to no one but herself.

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