Hope And Hope Not In Vain


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Scene Title Hope and Hope Not In Vain
Synopsis The last full day in paradise is bittersweet, but with more sweet than bitter.
Date January 15, 2011


The last full day in Hawaii dawns with a bit of sadness. Tomorrow they'll be leaving the island that's brought them together and given them so much fun and enjoyment. But it also dawns early, since Melissa has decided that they're going to squeeze every last drop of enjoyment out of the day.

She woke early, earlier than she ever wakes up, even back at home, and made sure that Perry was awake too. He may not be a girl, but dammit, if she was getting up, he was getting up. It's only fair, right? And the first full half of the day was spent at the hotel spa that resides next to a small waterfall. A perfect place to relax if there ever was one. Perry was, of course, invited to partake of whatever he liked, but she insisted that he at least be there at eleven, which is when they had a couples massage. Really, what could be better than that?

Lunch was had, along with some shopping, where Mel bought enough souvenirs to give everyone she knew something. And she dragged him along to one of the island's coffee plantations, where she bought enough coffee to last her a year. Coffee is goooooood. Soon though, sunset approached, and before they went dancing, there was one more thing Mel wanted to do.

Walk along the shore, hand in hand with Perry, at sunset.

The notion of an early morning isn't anathema to Perry. Long divided from the dredges of the (current) tradition of masculinity, to him the idea of rising with the sun is, in fact, about as manly as it gets. Up there with hard work, bread winning, and other such provinces of archaic man. There are benefits to being with someone who's a bit out of touch.

Plus getting up to get taken care of at a spa isn't exactly a tall order. And the massage is most certainly needed, Perry's own masseuse commenting on the tightness in his neck and back, product of too many hours hunched over wires and books and other projects. He accepts the comment with embarrassment mixed with weird pride, as if doing so much for his mind necessarily had to take something from his body. But it's given back, and with it a sense of looseness Perry didn't even know was possible.

And thus in ease and relaxation, Perry strolls in time with Melissa, hand clasped in hers, at that most magical of hours even by island standards. His gaze shifts from shatter topaz sea to the face of the woman beside him, tending to linger more on the latter. Of course.

One of those times when he looks at her, Melissa smiles and stops to kiss him gently. "Gonna be weird leaving tomorrow," she murmurs when she stops walking again. "Going home and seeing everyone else again…" She seems to be working up towards something, but isn't in too much of a hurry to get to it.

Seeing everyone again. Perry tries to suss out just what this means. The people he knows, with some very few exceptions, are all known through business. Through what was once Messiah. Seeing everyone again is the same, to him, as going back to work. Something he wants to want. Something that's hard to go back to. But it's not everyone's fault. "I- I think they'll be happy to see you- uh- happier," he says, daring to suggest that she is in fact happier.

"Some of them, maybe," Melissa replies, nodding. "Was actually thinking about that. Me'n Kendall…we had sort of a falling out. A friend sort of got us back together, but we're still not on the same terms we used to be. And I haven't met his girlfriend yet, don't even know anything about her other than she's Kaylee's sister. Was thinking…a dinner, with the four of us, sometime after we get back?" she suggests, looking towards him.

Perry recalls Kendall, has some inkling of just how important he is in Melissa's life, though he, Perry, was not yet such a part of Melissa's life as to really get a sense of that importance. He's not sure just what would be at stake in what Mel is suggesting, but that doesn't mean he won't take the lea. "That- uh- that sounds great," he says, "who- uh- who is Kaylee?"

"She's one of the Ferry, and a telepath. She's the one who told me that Rupert had mindfucked me three times," Melissa explains, shrugging a little. "But that was more just a little sidenote, not the important thing. I want to meet his girlfriend, get back on good terms with him and…I want him to get to know you better."

Oh, just awful, just really reprehensible. The kind of person that would use coercive persuasion on someone who trusted them- such a person Perry cannot imagine any good of.

No good at all.

"May- uh- may I ask why you fell out?" Perry inquires. If Kaylee is the sidenote then Kendall is the main paragraph, but Perry lacks the necessary annotation. "What- uh- what happened? I remember- uh- remember seeing you two together."

"He came by, after the eighth. We both made jokes that fell flat with the other, caused bad feelings…He thought I was trying to keep him a kid and everything. I wasn't, but that's how he took it, and we didn't talk for a while. We sort of loosely made up when a mutual friend invited us both over to dinner, but it still doesn't feel right, you know?"

Perry nods. He has never lived a situation, but he can imagine. "Things are unresolved," he says, "you- uh- you should definitely have dinner. I'll- I'll be happy to attend. I mean- I would always, anyways, if you asked, but- but this is clearly important." He leans over, kisses her cheek. "What- uh- what we can make well, we will. I'll help however I can."

Melissa smiles and gives his hand a squeeze. "Thanks hon. 'Cause it wouldn't be quite the same if you weren't there. And you wouldn't get to know him better either. And I want you to. And him to know you. It'd make me happy. Happier, rather."

"Anything for that," Perry says, smiling back. Seafoam tickles their feet as they continue upon a path that's getting more familiar now. Just in time for them to miss it upon leaving. "I want to get to know- uh- get to know him as well. Someone so important to you- I feel like I should."

"Well he's my brother. There's no blood between us, but somehow he became my brother." Melissa laughs a little and shakes her head. "Sometimes he likes to torment me, by calling me mom. First time he did that I freaked a little. Too young to be a mom and all that. And now I really sort of am, since Junie's like a daughter. I tried doing Aunt Mel, but everyone kept saying I was more a mom than an aunt."

"What- uh- what is a mother, really?" Perry inquires, and it's not wholly rhetorical, "if it's who- uh- who gave birth to a child then no, you're no mother. But if- uh- if it's the sole most important- uh- important caregiver in a child's life- well, then that would certainly make you a mother. I think- uh- I think the latter is really a more stringent definition. You- uh- you prove a better mother than many other mothers, who have blood to their names."

"Good god, but that would make Kendall right, and I can't be mom to a seventeen year old guy!" Melissa says, laughing and shaking her head. "It's not so bad with a nine month old baby. I'm almost twenty-seven. Nine months is much more acceptable than seventeen years!"

"We- uh- we maybe just don't have a word for what you are, not in English," Perry says, casting a smile over at Melissa, "except, perhaps, 'good'." Though he knows she takes issue with being described as such.

"I may be good at some things, but I'm not good," Melissa objects, coming to a stop and turning them so they can look out towards the setting sun, her arms sliding around his waist. "Let's not go into that right now though. Let's just enjoy the sunset, then go up, change and go dancing. I wanna see how you shake your booty," she says, smiling.

Perry's not quite sure how he shakes his booty either, having never made the attempt before. His eyes turn sunsetward, muddy gaze cast towards clear water and upper curve of sun, his own arm looping about Melissa in turn, hand coming to rest high on her hip. "Very- uh- very well," bracketing discussion of Melissa's goodness, "this- uh- this should be a journey of discovery."

"That's the first time I've ever heard a night of dancing described that way," Melissa says with a laugh, arms squeezing a little to give him a warm hug. "It should be interesting though, yeah. And fun. And don't worry, I'm sure they'll play some slow songs."

"The- uh- the stylistic difference being?" Perry asks, "for dancing to- uh- slow versus fast?" Needing the details. Requiring information before the 'journey' begins.

Grinning, Melissa moves around until she's standing in front of him, arms lifting and sliding around his neck as she presses close. "Slow dancing means I hold you like this, and you slide your arms around me, and we just sorta sway to the music," she murmurs, smiling up at him.

In past days, and with only explanations to enlighten him, Perry might have said something like 'that constitutes dancing?'. With Melissa right up close against him, his arms slipping around her with more instinct than instruction, he has absolutely no interest in arguing its validity. Or in changing their positions. "And- uh- the rules of etiquette around- uh- kissing your partner during?"

Normally Melissa might make some smart ass comment about fucking the rules. But now she just continues to smile as she starts to sway slightly, using the sound of the surf as her music. "It's perfectly acceptable. It's even encouraged. Highly encouraged. Especially by this partner," she says softly.

So this is his first lesson? Easy enough so far. Perry sways in time with Mel, moving with her (though he wonders, momentarily, if he should maybe be moving against her - he's not sure!). And, being someone who responds will to encouragement, especially by this partner, he dips his chin and kisses Melissa on the lips, eyes sliding shut, caresses of the waves a physical metronome, keeping beat even as much of his thoughts depart to elsewhere.

It's a kiss that's returned sweetly, Melissa getting so much more comfortable with acts like this. Ones that speak more of emotions than physical desire. She doesn't let this kiss consume though, as so many do, but keeps it light and sweet, still moving to the sound of the waves.

No need to truncate the moment, no need to ask more from it. It is as it is, and in the last light of the day, it's a moment perfectly framed. Only at length does he part their lips, to ask, softly, "Practice enough?" he smiles, "ready for the real thing?"

"For now," Melissa says, lips curving into another smile. "I suppose that means we gotta go get dressed now, huh?" But she can't resist giving him another kiss, though this one is kept brief. Her arms slide down, until she can lace her fingers with his to start walking back towards the hotel.

The walk to the hotel is quiet, peaceful. Nothing really needs to be said. There is a lot of smiling and stolen looks though, especially from Melissa. Changing is just as quiet, as Mel slips into a dress. Not the colorful one of the other night, but her little black dress. It was necessary, since they're hitting a club rather than dancing on the sand. At least at first.

When they reach the club, it's hand in hand, while a fast song plays. It makes Mel grin. "You sure you're up for this, or should we get a drink while waiting for a slow song, start off easy?"

Perry was building himself up the whole way! Readying himself for the plunge, he thought he was up for this, whatever this is. Melissa's offer to ease in shakes his resolve, however. If she thinks he may not be ready, maybe he isn't? He casts an uncertain glance down at her. "You- uh- you're the teacher here. I- uh- defer to your superior wisdom."

Melissa studies his face for a moment before she grins. "I think you'll be fine." And then she's heading towards the dance floor, drawing him with her as she weaves around people and tables until they're in a small open area on the floor. She stops and turns towards him, still grinning, and she starts to dance. While she's talented, she keeps things simple for now, easily mimicked movements, so as not to overwhelm him.

A lot of dancing has to do with confidence, in not worrying about pride or dignity, since both those notions are stiff and unrhythmic and thus cut off your connection to the music. Shame has no place on the dance floor. Perry isn't well equipped to overcome these impediments, a white boy who can't dance in the proverbial sense. But Melissa has a way of dissolving those hobblings, and as she coaxes him into action, he dances with some promise, if no real skill, yet.

When he starts to move with her, Melissa's grin warms. She eases a little closer, an arm draping around his shoulders. Not only does it let her help guide him a bit, but she just can't resist touching him again. It's gotten addicting over this past week, and she's not really one to deprive herself of her addictions. "Not bad baby," she compliments.

Addiction and basic human need share some similarities, addiction often being a need that overwhelms itself. Touch is a need, as fundamental as hunger or thirst, and emotional sustenance that can't be substituted. Perry blushes at the flattery, but draws Melissa closer all the same. "I'd- I'd like to aim for more than that…" he says, smiling lopsidedly.

"You'll get better. You have to, 'cause I'm gonna drag you out dancing on a regular basis," Melissa promises with an impish grin. "Just wait until I drag you on stage one day at Tartarus, to dance for the masses."

Perry looks actually frightened at the suggestion of 'dancing for the masses'. Don't push him in the deep end without water wings! "I- uh- I am an elitist, you know," he says, "I prefer- uh- prefer to dance for a- uh- favored audience." Of one. Of her.

"You'd be dancing for me, they'd just be able to see." But now Melissa seems to be more teasing him than seriously wanting to drag him on stage. The music begins to fade out, and soon another song is taking its place. Another fast song, with a slow, heavy bass line, and it has Mel's movements shifting. Dancing closer, pressing against him now, and smiling a bit wickedly. But it's still decent as far as non-strip club dancing goes.

Oh, oh, so this is why people dance like they do in modern times. Modesty being yet another barrier removed most skillfully by his dance partner, Perry draws Melissa in, following her lead, words dropping out of the equation as he simply fights the desire to straight out kiss her. Why he fights it, he's not sure. Doesn't want to distract from the lesson, maybe.

While she dances Melissa's eyes remain on his, as though they were the only two people in the room rather than it being crowded with people. But dance she does, without kissing. Maybe this time she's letting him be the one to initiate it in front of others, unlike the previous night in the bar. Either way, she's enjoying herself. Greatly.

Living in New York, it's easy enough to get used to pushing the crowd into the background. And as the surroundings dissolve into simple, senseless sound and motion, they might as well be alone, each dancer linked to their partner, or seeking one. Perry and Melissa are very clearly not open to intrusion. The impression is cemented once his lips find hers, that restrained kiss tumbling out as the rest of restraint continues to crumble.

Eyes close and arms tighten, drawing Melissa more into the kiss and into her partner's arms. It's a perfect moment, as perfect as kissing on the beach as the sun turned the sky into a red-hued rainbow. For such a moment the music fades, the lights fade, everything does but for the points of contact between the man and woman.

Eventually they must return to the world. They must leave this moment, in time the club, in time the island. In time. For now Perry holds Melissa in the close thump and roll of the bass that courses through them, the kiss quite entirely unashamed, not light like on the beach, but dark and overwhelming, as befits the interior of the club.

Melissa smiles, not yet opening her eyes, and she continues to move. She doesn't need to see to feel him against her, or feel the music. "Oh yeah…you're getting better at this," she murmurs, and just smiles more when the song again shifts, this time to something slow, letting her rest her head on his shoulder.

It's like the wind in the reeds, the quick shake and rattle of the fast song giving way to a gentle sway as gust becomes breeze. Perry brings a hand up to the back of her head, clasping, keeping her there. "I try not to disappoint," he answers, close to hear ear so as not to shout over the noise of the club.

There's the faintest shake of her head. "You couldn't disappoint," Melissa murmurs, rubbing her cheek lightly against his. "I expected to be disappointed on this trip, and I haven't been. Not once. It's almost scary. But in the very best way."

"Things that are too good are frightful," Perry agrees, "but- but we aren't about to lose this." Assuring himself as much as her. For all Melissa's troubles with love, Perry is still simply blown away that he could curry her favor at all. His eyes dip close as her cheek brushes against his. "I'll- I'll wear out my truck's tires coming to see you."

"Just sucks that I live on Roosevelt and it's still hard to get on the island if you don't live or work there," Melissa says with a soft sigh. "I think I'll be coming to visit you more often. Where do you live anyway? I don't think I ever asked."

Oh, that's not a totally awesome setup. Melissa doesn't know where he lives and, more importantly, doesn't know how he lives. In bachelor squalor. Amidst wires and books and bits of bombs. It's hardly the place you take a girl back to, which has until now never been a problem or even a concern. Perry blanches just slightly. "M- uh- Morningside Heights," he answers.

The way he responds has Melissa leaning back so she can look at him. "Do you not want me visiting or something?" she asks, brow furrowing lightly. The first concern about their relationship since giving in to having a relationship. Eep!

Perry looks startled at the suggestion. "What? No- no!" he exclaims, "no, not at all. Not at all. I- it's just-" he wrinkles his nose in shame, "it's not a very nice place. Not- uh- very tidy. Or pretty. I- I don't mind but-" oh just say it like it is, "I guess- uh- I guess I'm just a little embarrassed by it."

Melissa laughs. "Baby, let me see the place and it'll be clean in no time flat. It's sort of a compulsion. I have to clean when I see stuff dirty or untidy. I mean, just look at our room. The only thing the maids have had to do is take out the trash and change the sheets. Everything else has been immaculate."

Perry has noticed that, though this doesn't totally allay his worry. As the slow song carries on, the relative lull allows him to think and speak where before words were barred. "It's- uh- it's more than mess. It's just- I don't- not like a real place, you know? Like I- I have a bed. And some stools, and some- uh- some milk crates and some desks but- uh- not a lot else. No- uh- no sofa even."

One arm unwraps so Melissa can rest a hand lightly on his cheek. "Perry, it doesn't matter. The place isn't what's important. But if it bothers you…and you can figure a way to get on Roosevelt, you can do all the visiting. It doesn't matter to me so long as there is visiting at some point," she murmurs.

Perry gives a small 'heh'. "So I'd- uh- I'd have to register, then?" he says, "to get onto the island. That's- that's what I'd have to do." He frowns. "Couldn't- couldn't you move out into the city? Roosevelt is- it's a corral for us. You're- uh- you're under their eye and-" he frowns, "they could- could snatch you up in an instant."

"Trust me, I don't like living there," Melissa says with a faint smile. "But living there is part of my probation. Luckily that's up in…well, the first of March. Then I can live wherever I want. Since I can't get my house back, I may…talk to my parents and see about getting the down payment for a house somewhere in the city, off the islands."

Perry tackles this knowledge with careful consideration before speaking, slowly. "You- uh- you should visit me," he says, "I'll- I'll take time to make the place a little- uh- a little better. And then when- uh- when March comes, then- uh- well, we can afford to change things around a little."

That 'we' has Melissa's head tilting, though her hand remains where it is, and it takes her a moment before she speaks. "It sounds like you have something in mind."

Does he? Perry wonders at the implications of his own words, what it reveals about his expectations. "In- uh- in mind alone. In- uh- imagining and hope and- uh- inexperienced conjecture."

That's considered for a moment before Melissa nods slightly. "We'll see what happens when March rolls around. For now though…I'll definitely visit you. Lots. I'm getting used to seeing you, and of waking up next to you in the mornings. It's…really, really nice."

"I- I know," Perry say, and he does, "I'll- uh- I'll miss you for even a single night. I'll- I mean, I'll bear it. But- but I'll miss you." He lifts a hand runs it through her hair, down to her shoulder, drawing her close. "This is so new to me, Melissa. I don't- don't want to miss anything."

"I know what you mean. It's new to me too. I've never been in a relationship, you know that. I may have been more…experienced…in certain areas, but for the most part I'm just as clueless as you are," Melissa says, smiling and kissing him lightly.

"I- uh- forget that sometimes," Perry admits, "you- uh- you seem to hold all knowledge. But maybe it's just- just because I love knowledge and you- uh- uh-" he stammers off into nothing here, words failing, just in time for the slow song to slip into fast once more.

Melissa laughs and shakes her head. "Not all knowledge. Maybe just enough to not fuck up too badly. Hopefully that much." And when the tempo shifts, she does too, just a little, enough so she can start to dance again, rather than just swaying to the music.

He's getting the hang of this. Perry draws Melissa in close, kissing her again, hands low on her hips as he feels her move in time, her body his timepiece. "Hope," he murmurs in her ear, "and hope not in vain."

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