I Miss You


elaine_icon.gif robyn_icon.gif

Scene Title I Miss You
Synopsis Don't waste your time on me, you're already the voice inside my head… I miss you
Date April 2, 2018

Cresting Wave Apartments: Elaine's Apartment

It's late. Later, really, then Robyn Quinn should really be in here tonight. She isn't sure what happens if they close the gates while she's still here, though she imagines her SESA badge could get her out if necessary - there are active investigations going on, after all. She could be here for any reason. Never mind that she told herself she wouldn't be coming back.

But really, what it means is that she can't be here too long.

But she has to see someone. After what she saw in Manhattan. And… there was only one person who would possibly understand how she felt right now. SHe'd come back into town for this. There was no chickening out now. Her knuckles rap against the door to a futuristic apartment - something which, by no means, Robyn had expected to find, considering where she lived.

The rhythm comes in drawn out staccato beats. One, Two, Three, Four. The same knock she always gives these days.

It's late but not too late. After all, Elaine's still up. Padding her way across the white carpet, she opens the door one-handed, the other holding a glass of white wine. Garbed in yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt, her hair in a messy bun, she's clearly not expecting company, but as soon as she sees Robyn she backs up to let her inside.

"Robyn! I didn't expect you to come by. Come in." She gestures inside with her wine glass. "Need a glass of wine?" Need is the keep point there—Elaine's not stupid. She can tell something's up.

Robyn looks to the wine glass, lips quirking side to side. "Please." Eyes back up to Elaine. "Hello, Elaine." She almost feels bad for the delay in the greeting, but she pays it no mind. "Sorry I didn't call." And that, at least, is true. "Not interrupting anything?" Her choice of attire makes it hard to tell, and is a notable contrast to the business formal outfit she wears - she did have to stop by the SESA office to drop off her March reports, after all.

A hand straightens her white tie, before idley tugging at the lace accents at the ends of her sleeves. Without another word she steps in, hands held in front of her as she looks around the apartment. This, too, is an astounding contrast. She's never heard what the rooms in Yamagato Park are like. It seems, much, much better than her and Dirk's place in Bay Ridge.

Elaine lets Robyn handle shutting the door, just making her way into the kitchen as she pulls out a glass and pours a glass of riesling out of a half-empty bottle. She returns from the kitchen and leads the way to the plush white sofa, beckoning her former lover to follow as she offers forth the glass.

"Please, sit." She glances around. "Hope you like the place. I'm a workaholic for a reason—Yamagato takes care of its employees very generously. I could have never afforded this ordinarily. You're welcome by anytime. But this isn't just some social visit. What happened?" She might have her own recent situations to bring up, but for now she is focused on Robyn.

For a moment, Robyn just stands near the door, uneasy about venturing further in. "Good reason to be," she remarks, offering a brief, nervous smile. It's better than her reason for being a workaholic. And when Elaine cuts to the point so very quickly, Robyn hesitates midstep forward. A part of her hates that - is upset by - the fact that after all this time, her ex-lover still knows her so well. Or maybe she'd just been wearing her emotions on her sleeve more than she meant to be.

Silently, or at least as silent as her shoes will allow, she makes her way to the sofa, glancing to Elaine and then to the offered wine. Grimacing, she reaches down and takes the glass of wine, a long sip from it acting as a prelude. She doesn't yet sit, though. "Needed to talk to someone. Well, to you. No one else would understand." Quiet words, followed by another sip of the wine. "I went to our old home."

Elaine patiently waits for Robyn to come to the couch, waiting still for her to sit. When she speaks instead, Elaine turns her head to study Robyn carefully from her own seated position. "Our old home," she murmurs. No, that certainly is something no one else would understand. "Glad I got out of there, much as I loved that place. Much as it was home."

Silence reigns for a moment longer, before Robyn can finally see no choice but to sit down on the couch. Straightening the band over her eye, she slowly lowers herself down on side of the couch. "Richard Ray." A beat. "Cardinal. Do you remember him?" Another sip of wine. "He runs a company now. We're friends. Got to talking about music, a bit back, and I made mention of my old record collection." She stares ahead for a moment, having not yet looked at Elaine since she sat down. "He thought it might still be there. I mean, and that wasn't all, but-" she doesn't want to get into that. Not here.

"Pushed paperwork through, at SESA. Got us clearances, and we went into Manhattan." A shiver, visible to Elaine even despite how Robyn tries to hide it. "It's awful. It's… it's awful. Hope I never see anything like it again." Another long sip of her glass wine, and faster than she realises, it's gone. So she sets the glass down on the table. "It's gone, Elaine." The words are practically a whisper. "All of it."

"Mmn." The sound Elaine makes is a displeased sort of tight-lipped answer. It's the kind of sound one makes when one is not certain how one wants to answer. She tries to speak a few times, isn't sure what to say, then just takes a big swallow of wine before setting it decisively on the coffee table. "You know, part of me hoped it was still there, sitting like a tomb, waiting to be raided. Waiting for you." She rubs her forehead. "I'm so sorry Robyn. I'm so sorry."

"I'd never thought about it." It's a quick admittance. Probably not the best one to make in present company, but it's true. "That it could be just… gone." Her eyes are cast down from her glass to her feet. "It's not just the records. I wasn't going just for me." Lips twitch, and a hands runs down her face. "Was going to get whatever I could. Vinyl. Pictures. Anything I could find that wasn't ruined." And instead it all was.

"Never really… thought about what I left behind. About my mistakes until recently." And that lies squarely at Elaine's feet - seeing her again had started a chain reaction. "Even now, still making them. But to just… see the last thing that I thought was left, gone except for that fucking bench outside?" A sniffle follows. "I'm so sorry, Elaine," might seem like a random apology were it not for what precedes it. But it's honest, and so are the tears that start to follow it.

Was Robyn apologizing for other things? Elaine wasn't expecting this. She reaches for her glass of wine, taking another big swallow before setting it back on the table. She digs her sock-clad feet deeper into the carpet, unsure of how to proceed. "We all make mistakes, Robyn Quinn. Some are just bigger than others. It's all about how we proceed, how we move forward once we've made these mistakes, and how we let them change us." She bites her lower lip, unsure if she wants to leave it at that or open up.

"Sorry." A different kind of sorry, this time. "Didn't come here to… cry at you. I just…" She takes deep breath, still choking something back. "I'm sorry." She falls silent for a moment, before pulling her band off her eye. She keeps an eye over it, though, tossing the band of top of her purse. She's been crying too much lately with that on.

"I thought you might… understand how that felt. Share it. Was your home too." And now she feels like, maybe that was a wrong assumption. Maybe she was right, and some pasts stay buried. Elaine's rather philosophical advice would probably sit well with most people, but it simply makes her think back to her recent conversation with Adel - one she's sure Elaine has heard about by now - and that just acts like punctuation on the idea of still making mistakes.

"Give a moment to compose myself," and then she'll be on her way. Before she makes another mistake.

"I do. Understand, that is. There are things I lost in all of that, but nothing as precious as what you lost. Feeling sadness over my favorite coat or some notebooks isn't the same as your music," Elaine turns to fully face Robyn, looking at her seriously. "You lost a lot, Robyn, there's no shame in mourning it. I… probably would have cried, seeing it. It's easier to distance myself this way. I've gotten good at distance." There's a pause.

"Don't leave. Stay, finish your drink, hell, finish the bottle with me. We can talk about what we loved about our apartment, the things we had in it. And then when we're finally done with that, then you can go. It'll be cathartic."

"You're not serious!" Or maybe Elaine is, and she's just not taking this as hard as Robyn did. "I- I can replace vinyl. Already have, a lot of it. But-" Eye flits off to the side for a moment, rubbing at her still covered one. "I don't believe that. Nothing as precious." She scoffs. "C'est des conneries."

She lets that sit for a moment. "I have too. Distance." She eyes her glass. Normally she'd be begging for a refill, but right now she isn't sure she entirely trusts herself to not make a complete idiot of herself. There was always the art room when she gets home to get drunk in. "You keep saying that. Everyone keeps saying that. That I've lost a lot."

"I don't agree," she says after a moment. "But it's hard to ignore, after seeing that."

Another moment of silence.

"I miss that stupid ukulele Melissa gave me. The harp, from you."

"It feels better to admit that, doesn't it?" Elaine smiles faintly, but she doesn't reach for her glass. No, she's focused on Robyn now. "I miss the photo album of my parents. The one with all the ticket stubs from movies we'd seen together. We both lost objects we loved, memories we had. Beyond that we lost our lives together. That was the last bastion of us."

Well, there that is. Robyn had already offered an apology in that vein, even if it wasn't seemingly taken that way. But there it is, plain as day. "It was," she says quietly. Maybe that's part of why this hurts too, as much as she doesn't want to admit it. Everything is just memories now. Like the world before the war didn't even exist.

"I miss the kitchen, and the brownies," she offers up next, finally sitting back up a bit. "The Glass Wonderland vinyl I mounted on the wall, and that stupid picture of us all down at the Rock Cellar." Which, by extension of being part of The Verb, is also gone.

"The brownies," Elaine laments. "Those were some good brownies. Fuck, why do I miss the brownies so much, I can just make brownies." She rubs her face and looks to Robyn. "I miss it all. The smell of the freshly washed sheets on laundry day and piling all the laundry up and making a little cave to hide in and read. I miss cooking for you when you'd get home late."

She lets out a slow, deeply held breath. "I miss what we were. I miss that Elaine and that Robyn in that time. It's like a time capsule, the Verb was, and now it's gone. And all those things we miss are all gone. We can still remember, but we can never return."

"The spare bedroom we used for whatever the hell struck us at any given time," is the next thing that comes to Robyn's mind. "The couch that we usually ate at instead of the table. The stupid posters I insisted on having on the wall. The two amps I always kept in the corner."

And then it finally gets said, and Robyn falls silent again. She reaches down to her purse, pulling it up into her lap as her hand falls from covering her eye. She pulls out a small white container - contacts - and leans back as she drops one into the eye that had been covered. She never wears both contacts at once, so for a moment, it doesn't feel right.

As she lowers her head back down, she lets out a shaky sigh. "I'm sorry," she repeats again. "I miss it too. I- didn't mean to dredge this up, but-" She finally looks over at Elaine, grey eyes half lidded. "I miss you." That feels so weird to say. "I always did, until I couldn't think about it anymore. You were always the person I left behind, and I'm sorry."

She glances off to the side, down, and then back out ahead. "I'm still figuring out who I am now. Contradictions everywhere. One day, the past doesn't matter. The next, I'm getting it tattooed on me. One day, a friend. The next, a bitch. One day, a good mother, the next…" She shudders a bit.

She needs a distraction. Something to do with her hands. To move for the wine is too much of a move, it'd break the moment. Instead her hands grip each other. Not in a neat, folded way, but the kind of way you hold your hands when you're massaging them because they're in pain. It's something to do. Something to do because Elaine is feeling things and is unsure of how to proceed.

"I miss you too." Her voice is soft and she doesn't speak immediately after. "I accept your apology and I… I forgive you."

They had reached this conclusion, once, or something resembling it. The day that Robyn and Elaine first saw each other again. But to Robyn, this feel more genuine, if more somehow more awkward. Still, at least now she feel like she can talk to Elaine. She had few words back at the end of December.

A few months can make all the difference.

She doesn't have a response. She doesn't know what ones there possibly could be. She certainly hadn't come here tonight prepared for this. She'd been prepared to commiserate about the ashes of the place they once lived with the person she had lived there with.

…and yet again, on reflection, Robyn Quinn is unsure exactly what else she expected.

She isn't sure how to proceed. What to say. She looks to the bottle of wine, but not back at Elaine. She takes a deep breath, thinking. What does she want to do next? There's too many possibilities, and few of them seem like a good idea.

There's an eerie sort of blend of comfort and discomfort that falls over the pair. Elaine isn't sure how to proceed, at least at first. She lets the silence hang in the air around them, listening to the two of them breath before something comes to her.

"Something happened to me the other day. I don't know if it was someone's Evolved ability or… well, what else could it be. It happened once before, but different. The first time it was just a memory, a few moments in time but strong ones. The second time… it was scary, Robyn. For a few minutes, I didn't know who I was. And I don't mean in the metaphorical sense, I mean I couldn't remember. And then eventually I did remember but I got all these flashes of memories that I think were other people's. Like a video all spliced together of different people."

She isn't sure at all how to feel in this moment. She knows what feelings she has combatting inside of her, some welcome and some not. She can't decide if she wants to press her luck or find a distraction, neither of which sound appealing. She's no stranger to the neutral path, but for once it does her little good.

So, when Elaine changes the subject, it's unexpectedly welcome.

Robyn looks up in surprise when the silence is broken at the mention of one event she was present for, and another she was not. "W-I-" She frowns. "I, um." SHe shakes her head. "I was there. For the first one. I saw- something awful from the war. I didn't- think about it. Didn't want to afterwards." And Elaine lived here, so of course she would've experianced it too.

"That- sounds horrifying. I can't- I can't imagine…" She looks back up at Elaine with genuine worry on her face. "Get everything back? Nothing lost? No one… tried anything?" Her first instinct is to report this to SESA - there's something deeply unsettling about all of this. But, she imagines SESA would be the first people anyone would be in contact with, and she remembers Ceser being there too.

She'd have to look into it if she had time.

"You were there for the first one? You were in Yamagato Park?" The question is partially asked, but not directly. It's a passing question anyway. Instead, Elaine focuses on the situation, what happened. "It was terrifying, not knowing what was going on. We all checked our wallets to figure out who we were. Most of the people in there were Yamagato employees, I remember seeing Cassie there, she's a friend I met at Eve's bar… but we couldn't find a link. Turns out, the entire Yamagato Park experienced it."

"The entire…" And that's why Robyn had left the first time. Something about that struck her as uncomfortable. Reminded her too much of the string of flashforwards caused by the Institute, once upon a time. "That's… unnerving." And not something she can do much about, since Yamagato is considered foreign soil. "Eve… Eve was there the first time too…" Robyn rubs at her chin a moment, thinking about possibilities. "It sounds like someone's ability gone awry. It still happens. Usually SESA is brought in for matters like this, but…" Yamagato gets to be special.

She's avoiding the first half of that question, pursing her lips as her mind drifts back to it. "I came by Yamagato that day," she says quietly. "To see you. Before we went to Manhattan." She rolls her shoulders nervously. "See if there was anything I could save for you." But, well… they've already been over how that trip went.

“The entirety of the park, yes,” Elaine says, shaking her head a bit. “It does sound like an ability, but if it is they’re getting broader in range and more dangerous. The first time I felt a little off but alright, this time I got a migraine and felt exhausted. Hopefully Yamagato Security can figure something out… there was one I met during the incident that seemed capable. Gregory Mott. Maybe I’ll check with him and see if he can tell me anything.”

Then there’s the matter of the question of what Robyn was doing in Yamagato Park in the first place. “Oh. You came to see me?” Elaine definitely looks surprised, but understanding. She nods slowly. “That was a sweet sentiment. I would have liked that photo album, but that’s long gone. The thought counts, though, I’m glad you thought to ask me.”

"Mmm." Robyn nods, two fingers wrapped around her chin as she thinks for a moment. "Can ask if there's anything that's been reported. Can't do, much though. Yamagato is Japanese soil." And this, she has no jurisdiction unless Yamagato decides to call in SESA themselves. A finger taps on her chin, and a sigh issues forth.

"Wasn't just my home, life," Robyn remarks, reinforcing earlier comments. "Couldn't… not." Except, ultimately, she didn't. "Sorry I didn't follow through. At least there's no empty promises, now." Crossing her legs, she stares back on ahead, hands folded into lap. "Hopefully nothing else happens." At Yamagato. Particularly since these events make Robyn all sorts of uncomfortable.

“I don’t think there’s anything official out about it. I don’t think anyone knows what happened. I can ask some people from Yamagato Park if they experienced anything different… it seems like a localized area though, and not something to do with the individuals involved. I mean it was the whole restaurant, wait staff and cooks included.” Elaine shakes her head slowly.

“It’s okay. I like to think if you could have saved something of mine you would have tried. But it’s just thoughts now. That’s all that’s left.”

Robyn purses her lips, looking off in the direction of the door. She doesn't offer an immediate response. They keep coming to that. // It's all just memories. //Just thoughts now. All that's left. It's what Robyn herself believes - that the past is the past, and sometimes the past stays buried. Sometimes, it's gone and there's nothing you can do to get it back.

"Problem with thoughts," she finds herself saying before she realises it, "with memories is that they linger. They haunt." Fingers drum on her legs. "What was it like, forgetting? Not having memories?" She's actually genuinely curious about this. "What would you have done, if it'd stayed that way?"

“We’re always gonna think about those things, the vinyl and the brownies and the photo book. It’s a matter of what we do with those memories. Do we treasure them and learn from them, or do they just make us sad, make us ache for what we lost?” Elaine’s good with this philosophical thing, but it feels more… distant somehow. She feels distant.

But the question brings her back to a much more real place and she leans forward a bit. “It was terrifying. At first, I didn’t know what language to speak. They were all natural so I spoke a few all at once. The Yamagato security officer, Mr. Mott, heard me speak Japanese and responded. I realized soon after that I knew English too and that finally settled me down. That was terrifying, and even when I figured out my name I wanted to find something familiar. I sort of just felt connected to the security officer, I think because I knew he was security and that he’d figure it out and I was desperate to figure out what was going on. You know when you go through something traumatic and you search for something that seems stable again? That’s what I tried to do.”

There’s a long pause. “If it stuck around, I would have called you. You’re… you’re my emergency contact.”

"Neither." Robyn's answer is almost low enough to be under her breath. "No right answer. Never learn all the right lessons, either way." Not that her third path - burn it all down and start again - does any sort of good either. "It's a losing game," she opines. shaking her head. "A beast of a burden, a miracle of the world."

As Elaine goes over how her experience was for her, Robyn remains silent, looking down to her empty glass, and then to the analog watch on her wrist. It's getting late, but not too late. Not yet, at least. She seems to stare he watch almost as if hypnotised - at least until Elaine speaks those final words, and Robyn's eyes widen

"I'm what?" The response comes with a heavy dose of disbelief. And then, quiet for a moment before her hand reaches up and drags down her face as a frustrated sound escapes her lips. "They haunt," she repeats. "We've been haunting each other, ever since December." Ever since they saw each other again. "Longer." Because… really, were they ever not?

Again she falls silent, folding her arms around her midsection. "How are we ever going to be friends?" There's not doubt in her voice, but rather, concen. It's a genuine question, not out of malice.

“I put you as my emergency contact because you’re the person I trust the most. If something was wrong with me, I’d trust you to help. We may not be together, but we were friends even before that and that means we have a certain connection that will always be there. So I trust you.”

Elaine rubs her face a little bit, studying Robyn. “I don’t know how we’ll be friends though. It’s going to be hard and awkward, but I’d still like to try. We just have to take it one meeting at a time.”

Leaning forward a bit, Robyn props her chin on the back of her hand, looking off into space. "Memory is a minefield. One wrong step, and it consumes you." She looks to her purse, leaning down and picking back up he band she taken off earlier, though she doesn't yet put it back on.

"Every time I see you, I'll be walking that line," she admits, quietly. "I will never see you, and not feel." Slowly, she rises up off the couch. "But that's on me, I know." Otherwise, she wouldn't have apologized earlier.

“Are you saying you don’t want to be friends, Robyn? Because it sounds like you’re talking yourself out of it by talking about minefields and being consumed. I don’t like to believe that at all. Memories are what you make of them. They can be a minefield or a field of flowers. You determine their power over you, if it overwhelms or envelopes.”

Elaine’s eyes stay on Robyn as she gets up, and she herself rises. “Honestly knowing you still feel makes me feel better. Means going through what I did wasn’t because you were heartless. It might not have been a good reason, but you had a heart that cared in there.”

"Heartless?" Robyn almost sounds offended, regardless of if she has the place to or not. She turns back to Elaine, looking her into the eyes. "Did you really ever think that? I don't think we knew each other nearly as well as we thought if so!" Okay, now she sounds a bit more dialed up.

"I left because I thought I had/ to! That it would keep people safe, that I //couldn't go back! When that island fell, it took me life with it, Elaine! You know where we had to go, fast as we could so that the Government wouldn't fucking find us and shoot us off the bat? Canada! Sure as hell isn't Manhattan. Which is a fucking graveyard now."

She stares at Elaine. "Couldn't even protect my own mother," she adds after a moment, shaking, but her voice quieter. "It was stupid and I regret it, but I never had the chance you did. So please, don't ever think of me as heartless!" The words almost become a plea at the end, tears beginning to well up in he corners of Robyn's eyes again as she stares at the one chrome woman in front of her.

"I-" She shivers again. "I don't know what I want. Should probably go."

“When I said heartless it was more of me saying it was nice to know you cared, that you always cared. I apologize if I set you off. You did what you had to do and I understand that. I think it could have gone differently and I’m sure you think about that every day, but I don’t think you’re heartless for what you did.”

Elaine steps out of the way to allow Robyn to move towards the door if she wants. “If it matters to you, I still want to try to be friends. Even if it hurts, I think it’ll be worth it eventually. We’ll fall into some kind of comfortable something at some point.”

As Elaine steps aside, Robyn looks over at her, and then away, down. "Sorry." For like the fifth time. "Hair trigger." She reaches back up, scratching at her neck. "No one else… sets me off like that." She offers a nervous smile to Elaine, though it fades quickly. "The only person I seem to lose my cool around."

Can she really be blamed? She would expect the same of Elaine. ANd it's not entirely true, but she's usually better at not showing it.

"I told you I did. I do." Want to be friends. "But I… I wonder if I can." Robyn looks back down towards the floor, dropping her purse back on the bed. "You had the chance to move on. I didn't." Not really, in her eyes. She missed Elaine until diving head first into a war forced her to put her out of her mind.

"I don't think I can put us through that."

“So maybe this is your chance to move on. You see me and you have to face the facts that things are different. Painful, but it heals, like cauterizing a wound. I mean, that’s a brutal analogy but maybe it fits. If you run away from our potential friendship… I don’t know if you’ll heal. You’ll always leave something unsaid, something unfelt and it’ll eat at you.”

Elaine faces Robyn head on.

“You have to deal with your feelings, as complicated and as rough as they are. You feel something and you need to work through that, not run from it.”

A hand curls into a fist - a gesture of frustration, rather than a threat. The pace of her breathing quickens enough to just be noticable, eyes locked with Elaine's. The other hand raises, a finger held out, as if she's about to make a point. Robyn opens her mouth to say something. She did well enough so far.

And then she remembers her meeting with Adel, and the way she'd felt after all of that.

And she thinks better of it.

"Is that what'd you'd do? Honestly?" If their positions were reversed, somehow.

“It’s exactly what I’d do. I’d want to find a way to heal. I’d be tired of hiding it, and I’d want to face it head on.” Elaine reaches a hand forward, perhaps to take one of Robyn’s, but she leaves it there, just hanging for Robyn to decide what to do with it.

“Don’t get me wrong, I feel, still. It’s just not what it was. I’ve figured out how to be okay and I think that’s something you should be able to do as well.”

Robyn looks down at Elaine's hand and frowns. "Si tu le dis." Despite this affirmation, her lips thin a bit more. "Nous allons essayer à votre façon." She reaches out, but she doesn't take Elaine's hand. Instead, it is gently pushed back down. Her hands fold in front of her. She looks back behind her, back to the couch, and then back to Elaine.

"It's late," she notes. "Can stay a bit longer." To see exactly how uncomfortable, or comfortable, this can be. Still, she doesn't move back to the couch - she seems more comfortable standing, slowly wrapping the band back over her face. She doesn't need it, not with the other contact still in. But it feels weird, having her eye uncovered, and she can only handle so much uncomfortableness at a time.

Maybe that was the first test.

Elaine’s hand moves back down as it is pushed, and returns to her side without any reaction from Elaine. It’s as if it never happened. “I suggest a series of meet-ups and just see if we can be comfortable with each other. Casual situations. Maybe alone, maybe with other people. Just to see how you feel.”

Elaine folds her hands behind her back. “It is late,” she agrees. “Do you need to go?”

Robyn visibly rolls her eyes at the mention meet-ups and casual situations. "Not fucking children." This, despite her questionable behaviour earlier. "If this is how it's going to be, making it so… silted won't help. Becomes just going through the motions." And that won't help with anything, not in Robyn's eyes.

The mention of it being late deepens her frown just a slight bit more. "I worry," she says. "About getting locked in." She doesn't know how Yamagato feels about people leaving at all hours. This is probably the longest she's been here save for the last time she spoke with Elaine. But she's reasonably sure neither of them want her gettings stuck in the Park.

"Probably won't be in town again for a least a week or two. We can at least talk."

“I just meant it as a way to ease into it. I mean, this clearly didn’t work as intended.” Elaine gestures all around them as if their conversation could be quantified and qualified and be seen all around them. “Look, I’m not a pro at this. I don’t have all the answers. I just know that I miss you and want to be your friend again. I’d like to sit on this couch and have pizza and laugh. You think we can do that?”

Her gaze shifts back to her couch. “If you ever are in Yamagato Park and need a place to stay, my couch is open. I can assure you it’s comfortable… I’ve fallen asleep on it several times myself. That is, if it doesn’t bother you. It’s nice here. This apartment is nice and it’s safe. I sleep much better than I ever have. So please, let your choice be made on comfort.”

Robyn levels her gaze with Elaine. To her, sleeping there isn't an option. Not even for any sort of risk, she just thinks it's a bad idea. "We can do pizza," she remarks, "but I will always leave before I can't." Just a fair warning. Which also means no more wine, because it would do wonders for her reputation at work - and at Wolfhound - if she was caught drunkenly trying to get home. No, that's what home is for.

She glances back at the couch again. "Don't doubt it's nice. You always liked couches." She says it to prove a point, but even as she does she knows that is going to have to come to an end to, if they're going to be friends. "We'll see. We'll see how this goes. Que sera, sera. Or something."

There’s some part of Elaine that looks disappointed, but that brief flash of a feeling is quickly obscured by a passive expression. They can’t quite be the type of friend that Elaine might want and she mourns that, silently, hidden behind that calm expression. She nods after a moment. “I’ll be sure to schedule pizza for earlier on in the night, for your convenience.”

Pressing her lips together into a firm line, Elaine nods once. “We’ll see how it goes. I hope it goes well.”

For her convenience. Robyn's jaw clenches at that. It's clear that this situation isn't one either of them wants, not exactly. Robyn isn't exactly sure even what she wants. Seeing her ex-fiance always stirs up feelings, it was bound to - and this time, magnified by the intense sense of loss and nostalgia she had felt when she got here.

Now, though, she just feels frustrated and angry. At herself. At Elaine. At the whole situation. Contradictions. This is all her fault, ultimately, but she did what was necessary. She has no desire to return to the past, and yet she can't let go of it. She sees Elaine, and all she feels is disappointment and regret - and then hope and a sense of warmth.

This could've been her life and she'd love it, but she'd never change the ones she has. The ultimate contradiction.

And it leaves her unable to more than stare at Elaine for a few moments. Calculating a next move that should come naturally, but doesn't. She wants to leave, but she wants to say. She doesn't want to leave, but she knows she has to. Knuckles crack as her fingers curl into a tight fist.

"What do we do," she asks quietly, "if we reach an impasse. One wants what the other doesn't." It's a possibility, they both know it. Or Robyn does, and hopes Elaine does. That's really what worries her the most. What if feelings can't be shaken, from one or both of them. Once again, she finds herself wondering if this is how February Lancaster felt, long ago. If this is what that felt like for her all those years, but all at once.

There's something going on in Robyn that Elaine can't pinpoint. Things that worry her. She can tell there's some conflict, but not what or how. Is she angry? And then she's asking a question. A difficult question.

"Well, I like to think we're both adults who could talk something out," she starts, reaching for her wine glass, simply for something to hold. At least, that was the intent. Instead, she downs it. "I think…" She stops herself. "Are we already at that impasse?" She looks conflicted for a moment, then abandons the glass and instead rubs her face.

"Robyn, I want to be friends. I want to do all the stupid stuff we did before. I want to eat pizza and watch a movie together, make brownies and chat. I want to be comfortable with you and you with me but there's a line we can't cross. Even if both of us decided we want it, we can't. For both of our sakes. Does that make sense?"

Robyn watches the rise and fall of Elaine's glass of wine silently, judging her words - and herself, for a long moment. "No." The statement is flat, and an answer to several things at once. "Came over just to talk, about the Verb, look where we are. Last time, just to talk - look where we ended up. That first time, look where we ended up."

A deep, shuddering breath, and Robyn closes her eye. "Pizza and a movie will never feel right. Chatting will never feel right. Making brownies will never feel right." There other things she could refute, but instead she looks off to the side. "N-"

She doesn't get to finish speaking before her purse starts buzzing incessantly, derailing any further thought. A grimace forms on her face as she sucks in another deep breath. "Didn't think I had a signal," she grumbles, kneeling down to her purse and drawing out her phone, a look of consternation on her face as she reads the name on the display.

Nicole Varlane

Her hero, in this moment. She raises a finger up to Elaine, and answers the call. "Nicole? I'm-" She wrinkles her nose, eyes flickering to Elaine. "Right now?" A sigh of relief. "Hold on a second."

Robyn looks back up to Elaine, unapologetic as she motions to the door. "We will finish this another time. I have to go."

“We’ll finish it another time, and another, and another…” Elaine says, her shoulders slumping as she moves towards the door to escort Robyn out. “We’ll talk again later, Robyn. We’ll see where things take us. Again. Until we get it right.”

She doesn't need the escort, but Robyn offers a half smile, choosing not to offer a response. Another and another implies there will be future meetings, and Robyn is willing to leave it there for now. To see where things take them, as Elaine puts it. She has her doubts, but this phone may have saved her from doing something stupid. Given her a moment of clarity.

But it doesn't quite stop her from turning once she reaches the door and putting a hand on Elaine's shoulder - her immediate instinct, in the presence of her former lover, being a kiss on the cheek as she leaves.

She stops herself self just as the motion to lean in starts and instead she gives another shaky smile. "Soon." A beat. "And happy birthday, Elaine." She doesn't wait to see the other woman's reaction, turning and stepping out into the hall, waiting for the door to close.

Once she hears that click, she finally releases a breath she didn't know she was holding. "What? No, sorry. It's nothing," she says into the phone as she starts to walk away from her ex-fiance's front door. "Yamagato Park. Dirty Pool? I can be there in a half hour." She rolls her shoulders as she steps into the elevator, hitting the ground floor button.

"Could desperately use a drink."

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