lucrezia_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Heartless
Synopsis That would make life easier. Still going? I'm not sure. MATOFASE, LUCA, MAKE UP YOUR MINDS
Date March 3, 2009

Ritz-Carlton — Lucrezia's Suite

Sweet suite.

It's coincidence or convenience, that Teodoro tends to visit the Ritz-Carlton at night. Always. He's a reasonably familiar figure crossing the mirror-smooth finish of the lobby's marble and then a noisy demand for ingress drubbed against the door and then a salutation pressed against the oblique bone of the Lady's cheek, coat off, two boots pulled off one by one, a gift of ten delectable tangerines in a brown paper bag.

"«How are you doing, auntie?»"

Greedy as a cat a heating vent, he's managed to heap into her personal space without providing too great a physical burden of weight on his aunt's frame. One citrus fruit's leathery hide is coming off under his fingernails, gracelessly, steered by a frowning, narrow-eyed look of tactless concentration, belligerently unmindful that an errant drop of sticky golden sugar water might marr her linens. There is a fist mark on his jaw, healing stitches peeking out of his sleeve.

Lovely Lucrezia has always and only ever had eyes for her sister's son ever since he came into the world as her favorite birthday gift. The way she subtly watches him go through the motions of this routine of unique policy never fails to provide her with some measure of pride; she's always been apt to credit herself instead of his mother for his good manners and careful deeds.

"«I been well, darling, well. I cannot complain.»" There's the natural pause of a beat wherein she quietly claims the tangerine that Teo's failing horribly at conquering without overmuch mangling. She begins to gently penetrate the rind with a manicured pair of fingernails, insinuating her digits between skin and flesh of the fruit with skill and care. All this, while she can't even be bothered to give the orange treat her full attention; her eyes are on her nephew's sullied cheek. "«And you?»"

"«I'm glad. And I'm better now,»" he replies, without even a trace of irony, sullied cheek or no. That pensive frown has been swapped out in favor of one of genuine annoyance: being bested by a tangerine doesn't seem like an auspicious start to March, but he's ill-inclined to throw a fuss about either that or Lucrezia's gentle interference on his behalf. Instead, Teo sticks his fingers in his mouth to clean them off, quickly, expediently, fructose and color scoured away with a swipe of his tongue.

He's better. A little physical injury is a small price to pay for the headway that's been made in the innumerable conflicts and conundrums Teo has found himself confronted with over the past two months. "«It's better than waiting around.»" He can't complain. "«But—»" his eyes flit up, between the fruit rind and his aunt's quiescent features. "«I need your advice.»"

Large swaths of tangerine skin are discarded casually on the bare surface of a nearby wooden endtable and Lucrezia eventually claws her finely-painted fingertips in so that she might split the exposed flesh ball into its component parts and summarily offer one to Teo; she's holding the fruit up toward his face and not so much out toward his hands as if she intended to feed him manually instead of allowing the lad to tend his hunger on his own. "«I hope whoever did that to you sorted out worse,»" she says with her chin tucked down toward her cashmere-clad chest.

When the prospect of required advice crops up, she perks her eyebrows a bit to suggest a renewed but still casual interest and offers, "«What can I help you with, sweetheart?»"

Like a dog, Teo's head seizes forward, puts white teeth around the lobe of fruit and gnaw it flat between flat molars. However delicate the skin and flesh he's biting through, he inevitably does this with enough zeal that the subtle lines of muscle show corded under the discolored skin. He has to stop stray droplets with the side of his hand, a sheepish grin flaring briefly over his face. Very briefly.

"«One of them is missing an eye,»" he replies. "«The other comes later.»"

This isn't about them, though, and nor particularly is the sudden renewal of Teo's sobriety, despite that Flint Deckard's eye means a great deal to him, Abigail's tongue no less, and he didn't appreciate being maimed all over with permanent marks for a hundred dollars, either. No. This, apparently, is about—

"Salvatore." That sentence wasn't supposed to end there; he'd merely lost track of what he had originally intended to say, apparently. Ordinarily sanguine lips flex around a thinner, paler line, and Teo digs his heel into the surface of the mattress as if it were capable of squealing something sad evidence of pain that might sate his frustration. "«He's getting curious. He wants to get more involved, and know about me. I don't know what to do.

"«It isn't safe.»" But that wouldn't be all, would it? His beloved aunt owns her gilt and scrimshaw pedestal, sworn past allegiance to terrorists the likes of which he once saw fit to murder, and still he comes to her. Asks for help. Offers trade secrets freely, and comes here, dragging his fretful faces past her craqueleure walls and tracks blood on her carpets, wears her spiders or moths in the same clothes he stores knives and pistols.

News of greater injury given to Teo's unknown enemies is at least enough to bring a slight smile to the woman's lush lips. Again, she's just as proudly smug of her borrowed son's carnal and violent exploits as she is with his successful navigation of the civilized world.

Ah, Salvatore. The expression scrawled over Lucrezia's features is conveniently disguised by her pursed lips pressed to the flesh of the fruit, sucking away at the succulent juices before demurely devouring the expended pulp. "«You let him, dear. You let him. If he wants to be involved in your life, you let him. Unless…»" Another piece of sticky tangerine is torn from its brethren and fed to Teo from between two manicured fingers while their owner goes on to explain, "«…that isn't where you want him. I tell you, darling, dividing your loyalties between love and duty will only hurt your heart in the end.»" She isn't kidding. She speaks from brutal experience.

Feeding Teo segments of fruit is one of the less thoroughly explored methods of shutting him the Hell up, but immediately and tangibly effective.

The boy is also distracted trying to read his aunt when she doesn't particularly wish to be, and that's endearingly pointless of him to try and do. His face ends up all knots and shadows and stuffed with food. He pulls her words and meanings apart in the same method that Lucrezia eats her citrus wedges. The color and passions wadded out first, the cellulose skin and drained structure second.


Sentimentality proves sweet. Stings a little, too. He rolls onto his hip, belly flattening out against linens; he rests his chin on his fist, stares up at her the way with the same wist that a restless child regards the lady on the moon through his latched bedroom window. Not that latches were ever much proof to his whims. Or hers. "«Why did you choose Cyrano?»"

"«Because he made me breathless,»" she says. Lucrezia's reply is delivered so matter-of-fact, it hardly seems possible that the woman could be experiencing any sort of sentimentality and, yet, the look in her eyes has gone glassy and distant; she may be looking at the boy on her bed, but she's certainly not seeing him. The slightly knobby knuckles of a sticky-fingered hand reach out to trail fondly over her Teo's stubbled cheek and she even sighs somewhat listlessly as her memories creep reflect back on a past that seems so distant it can be recalled with no more clarity than a vivid dream. There it is. There's that forsaken sentimentality. Leave it to Teo to find the key to something that might make Lucrezia seem more human and less discarded dress-up doll.

"«How does Sonny make you feel? When he walks into the room…»"

Neither of them managed to inherit Amadora's talent for love. It's one of those sad things, constituted of parts like cowardice, greed, and the sort of self-consciousness that came of looking at the mirror too closely. From a distance, they look normal, whole.

Up close, Lucrezia has the blood of orange on her fingers and a hole in her soul, and there's nothing that her boy can do except to grumble fretfully in the bottom of his throat and close his eyes to kiss the small round bones of her wrist, chastised first by the difficulty of the question, and chastised again by the awareness that he has brought her pain that doubtlessly dwarfs his own.

"«Happier.»" When his eyes reopen, they're glancing elsewhere. "«Safer. And there's always lust—»" Teo trips over that word, ridiculously enough, though not because he's suddenly remembered to be ashamed (he never forgets); there's a note of uncertainty there. That's how it's supposed to be, isn't it?

Lucrezia lounges languidly before echoing the last word to tumble from between Teo's lips. "«Lust,»" she says, turning her head to the side in order to regard her nephew more intimately, thoughtfully pressing her cheek and chin to the pillows piled beneath her back and pushed up against the headboard. "«The mayor's son isn't the only one you lust for, hm? Lust cannot be trusted. It is the body's way of betraying the heart…»"

Oh, hey. Speaking of bodies and betrayals, what's the story with all of the men's clothes that have come to subtly be displayed in the suite, anyways? A pair of someone else's shoes by the door, a dinner jacket hung over the back of a chair, a silk tie decorating a door knob. Has Amato Sallucci actually living in sin with Lucrezia in her borrowed hotel room??

First with Alexander, then designs on Felix, and now hints of a more more intimate brand of attention being paid to Amato… has she always been so particular in her prey or is she just trying to raise old ghosts behind someone else's blue eyes?

She hadn't really loved him, though— or so some part of Teo had always insisted to himself. Not really. Not back then, before he died, but maybe it's as true for people as the poems they contrive, that absence makes the heart grow fonder. At this point, Teodoro imagines — perhaps falsely, but with all the considerable sincerity he can muster — that he could forgive Jesse Knight for anything if he'd just get his skinny white ass home.

"«Preferably we should return to a yeast form of reproductive urges.»" He's frowning, the curve of his mouth palpable against the fragility of the nerves in the underside of her arm. He puts his nose in the crook of her elbow, kisses a vein, and then the strength goes out of his neck; his face disappears into the smooth stretch of fabric across her belly, either sullen, possessive, or a convenient mix of both.

"«Maybe I'm not gay and I'm just heartless.»"

With a voice peppered by chiding but laced with amusement, Lucrezia pats her nephew's cheek gingerly, with a care not to provoke an unnecessary sting from skin still clad in old bruises. "«Now where would be the fun in that, hm?»" She isn't apt to complain about Teo's chosen change in posture and position and, indeed, seems to favor a tactile intimacy over trying to maintain the sincerity of eye contact.

Tangerine-flavored fingertips curl up and over the curve of Teo's ear before making a slow crawl across his closely-shorn scalp and then dragging all the way down to the base of his neck and before climbing back up again. Scritching. She's scritching him as if her were her favorite pet. "«I don't think you're either, my love.»" Neither gay nor heartless, she means. "«You and I are the same. Earnest in pursuit of our heart's desires. Selfish, perhaps, but I've always thought that too much charity of the soul was never a good thing. It makes you weak. Overcoming obstacles in order to get what you want? That makes you strong.»"

"«I don't really want to let him go.»" The confession arrives on a tangible rumble through the surface tension of Lucrezia's skin, the favorite pet's acknowledgment of his mistress' affection and inert expectation for more. Uncomfortably, the confession doesn't sound like an edifying declaration of something sweet or lasting; it sounds like what she said. Selfish, if not heartless.

Safe, happy. Neither are commonplace commodities in his life these days. "«This is confusing and fucking stupid,»" he announces, finally, the paragon of maturity peeling his face loose only to rest his ear above his aunt's navel, angle a look up at her, the brow above his single eye knotted with aggravation so tightly that, after a moment, he closes it. Opens again.

It's sequitur. Subtly. "«What is it that you want?»"

Lucrezia's dark gaze sheds no affection even as she draws her brows in tight together as a previously unacknowledged realization dawns, "«Why should you then? Is someone else of a mind to make you do so??»" Is that what this is? Has history come to repeat itself with heartbreaking irony? The Vanguard's very own Black Widow grows darkly dubious of her nephew's quandary for several long and calculated moments until he asks his next question.

"«What do I want…?»" she echoes thoughtfully. Her brows unfluster and once again maintain their distance from one another atop her unpainted eyes, which she closes in order to focus on the buzzing thoughts in her brain instead of her nephew's tender countenance. "«I want you do be happy, my heart. Don't make the same mistakes I did. Have a care — or don't — as you see fit. but… be careful who you open yourself up to. Trust can be so easily betrayed in a kiss.»" Which reminds her. She opens her eyes and delivers the next line while look right at her sister's son. "«I am sorry if I hurt you.»"

And her sister's son is all objection, earnest and perhaps pathetically incapable of rancor. "«Not at all. You didn't.»" Couldn't, is what he would have said, however untrue or simply ignorant the feelings behind them might be; Teodoro's talent for breaking hearts draws more from her than from his own mother, and his isn't as sturdy a thing as his reckless handling of it might lead one to think. She could hurt him. It would be easy. He is a quick study, but not a particularly thorough one.

There is no recognized limit to the faith in the boy who looks up at her now. He might be too much at home with the vocabulary of the Catholic psyche — of righteousness, repentance, tests, just desserts. For all the battles he wages in the world, there are things he finds too easy to accept.

Certain types of pain. "«If you hadn't been with him, I wouldn't have found out what — kind of man he is. And he wouldn't have had something beautiful to think about while he's rotting in fucking prison.»" It's an awkward and twisted dichotomy of extremes, the subtle condemnation of Teo's first words, the wist of the second. His features go bleak before adoration brings them back.

"«You should want things for yourself, too.»"



March 3rd: Mutual Friends, Mutual Acquaintances
March 3rd: It's Our Country
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