Karma Calling


bella_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Karma Calling
Synopsis A seemingly contrite Peyton calls an equally apologetic Bella and the two plan to meet.
Date July 20, 2010

A Telephone Conversation

It's taken a few moments to get up the nerve to call, to put herself in the right frame of mind and to remind herself why she's doing this. Cell phone in hand, she paces the length of her apartment, the hallway between the bedrooms all the way to the front door and back again, conjuring images of the red-haired woman whose number she has keyed into the phone, the "talk" button yet to be pushed.

Peyton finally pauses, the surroundings of the Upper East Side apartment fading away as her pupils dilate until her eyes look black instead of brown. She concentrates on using just her vision and not the newer audio aspect of her power, her vision shifting to that of Bella's perspective as she presses send.

The world through Bella's eyes - that's something to see. Though actually much less exciting than you'd think. There are occasional, lurid instances where one would find oneself gazing impassively at an Evolved test subject, hooked up for readings, being exposed to injections and asked to performed augmented tasks with their powers. This constitutes the first and gravest of her crimes. Her only other crime, from the looks of it, is a penchant for smoking cannabis sativa hybrid, which is quite the experience for one hitchhiking behind her eyes, slipping into a word that is both blurry and more focused, staring up at a ceiling while smoke plumes up from invisible lips.

But today, no clearly criminal or unethical activity is being performed. Instead, Dr. Sheridan is at a hardware store, perusing rows of electronic clappers - those devices that old people use to turn lights off and on when they have trouble getting around. When Bella was still limping on her twice injured leg, this would make a lot of sense. But now that she's recovered, her reasons are somewhat mysterious. Though, as far as mysteries go, sort of boring.

The sound of Bella's ringtone is the Presto movement from the Summer of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. A furious sawing of violins, meant to evoke a midsummer storm in the canals of venice. Bella loves this piece, and she's yet to become frustrated with it when it rings. In part, because she answers promptly. The phone swings into view, the number listed but unnamed - Peyton isn't amongst Bella's contacts, it appears. There is the momentary hesitation that always comes with an unfamiliar (or just barely familiar) number, but then Dr. Sheridan flips the phone open and lifts it to her ear.

"Isabella Sheridan speaking."

Peyton is quiet just a moment, before she clears her throat behind her hand and then speaks, a little nervously. "Doctor Sheridan? This is Peyton… Peyton Whitney. I hope I'm not calling you at a bad time — I found this number for you but wasn't sure if it was still in use for your work. I was wondering if we could speak… like you said, for Aaron's wellbeing. Obviously things aren't improving for him."

She pauses, blinking — her eyes shift back to normal so that she can see her apartment. There she walks to the coffee table to pick up the paper, scribbled with notes about this plan of action. "I do apologize for my words the last time we spoke, and … whatever else, he's my friend, and I need to try to put my own issues behind me to help him," Peyton adds, her voice a touch tremulous. She's not acting — she's nervous, and the fact she's using Aaron's problems as bait pulls at something inside, a pang like she's never felt that makes her dislike herself at this moment. She swallows hard, and stays quiet, to let Bella speak.

There is a pause on Bella's end of the line. Her gaze, as Peyton can see, moves from the clappers and shifts to the end of the aisle, gazing out of the distant front window of the hardware store. It settles there, and loses some of its focus. Bella isn't really looking at anything. She's thinking.

"There's no need to apologize, Peyton," Bella says, "Your reservations were and are entirely understandable. Please, let me apologize for being so ill-mannered to you when we last spoke. I showed considerable disrespect to you and your concerns for your friend, my client. I acted out of a sense of personal injury rather than clear-headed interest in Aaron's welfare."

Quite the speech of reconciliation. Of course, it's always easier to apologize second. 'I was wrong' - 'Oh, no, I was wrong'. One imagines the tune would change if Peyton agreed with her and said 'Yeah, you're right, you were the wrong one'. "If you're willing to put this behind us for Aaron's sake, I couldn't possibly be willing to do the same. It is my professional responsibility, as well as a matter of basic courtesy and respect, which I'm due to show you a little of," there's a sound that's sort of like a laugh, a muffled sound of mirth in her nose, sounding like a gust of wind through the cellphone mic, "And which I promise you, I possess, despite contradictory evidence."

Peyton presses her lips together, brows knitting as she listens. Bella sounds very different from the two times she's met the woman — the last time with the two of them arguing over Aaron, the first with the woman giddy and high from Aaron's power. "Thank you," she says quietly, slowly. "I'll disagree with you and insist that I do need to apologize, but arguing over who was wrong and who was wronger is probably silly, right? Anyway." She swallows and glances at the paper again. She's done dangerous things, breaking into labs and television stations and the like, but it's been some time since she's done anything that could be considered criminal.

"I … I get a little nervous talking about things on the phone and such — I've got friends who are phobic of things like technopaths and the like, right? And Aaron, I don't want to discuss his problems where anyone might pick up on them that shouldn't, you know? That's private… There's a park just a couple of blocks south of the hospital he's at. Can you meet me there? Maybe if we come up with a plan we can both agree on that's good for him and us, we can go propose it to him. As a team."

Bella laughs properly now, "I think we can agree to both be sorry for letting our better reason be clouded by… whatever you'd call it. Clouded it was, though. I'd be more than happy to meet you, yes. I'll just have to shuffle my schedule a bit," her eyeline shifts down to her purse, for whatever reason, before moving over to the clappers again. She's already making arrangements in her head, ordering tasks. "Could we convene in, say, two hours? And could you text me the address? I'm not the best with remembering directions, and I don't want to have keep calling you back for clarification."

The phone she's calling from is not connected to her name for precisely this reason. "Sure. I'll have to look up the address myself… I just think of it as that park by the hospital," Peyton says with a chuckle. "So I'll look it up and I'll text you and see you in a couple of hours. There's a statue on the north end, a bench near that. I'll be in a yellow sundress." No one would possibly kidnap an evil mad government scientist in a yellow sundress right?

"I look forward to seeing you," Bella says. She gives no identifying information of her own. She's more than happy to find Peyton herself. She'll be traveling semi-veiled, as she almost always does when in public. "In two hours." And then she hangs up.

To one watching through her eyes, the next thing she does is flick through her contacts, selecting 'Work 2', and pressing send. The phone disappears, lifted to her ear as she waits for the rings to roll through. A man answers on the other end of the line, one with a gruff, rough business-like tone. The sort of voice used by ex-military people with all the viciousness and discipline of a soldier, but less of the quasi-national idealism and brainwashed allegiance. That's how Bella thinks of it, at least. She knows well the military purposefully breaks people, one of the oldest conditioning methods there is.

"This is Dr. Sheridan," she says, crisply, like one addressing someone in charge of a utility, a valuable inferior that maybe you don't share much in common with but need, "I'm taking time for private practice. I'm meeting a Peyton Whitney at an address I'll forward to you as soon as I get it. Just so you can keep tabs. It shouldn't take long. Just pass it on." This all sounds routine. Bella doesn't sound like she suspects anything - she's merely reporting.

After hanging up, Peyton focuses once more on Bella, listening and seeing the world from the doctor's point of view. She frowns as her name is mentioned by Bella to some unknown entity. That may complicate things — but Peyton has faith that Cardinal will know what to do about that, that he will hatch a plan that will keep her safe and free of suspicion should Bella go missing.

The clairvoyant listens a few moments more, before calling her "boss" and debrief him on the situation — time is of the essence.

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