Meet Me Out Back


cooper_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Meet Me Out Back
Synopsis After the events of theThe Long Hello, Raquelle reaches out to some friends for alcohol and advice.
Date April 29, 2019

Cambria Salon and Day Spa

Behind Raquelle's Salon.

Behind the Cambria Salon and Day Spa, is a porch like area. Well it's just the alley behind the shops but there are a few lawn chairs and side tables set up for after work chats and god knows what else. There is also an awning that keeps the people who rest there mostly dry.

“Hey. Need to talk. Meet me behind the Salon after 6.” That was the message left for the two other men. The usual flirty or teasing tones replaced with a tone of voice that few people hear from him. It's flat, a bit husky from either crying or screaming. All three of the men invited, are the men who are familiar with this tone of voice.

And so he’s settled in the back of the building with a six pack set on a side table. It’s rainy and miserable and the hairdresser is currently sitting in one of the lawn chairs. He leans forward, black leather jacket worn with a dark grey beanie. His elbows rest on his denim clad thighs and between two fingers is something he gave up years ago. Slender and white and smouldering, the cigarette is obviously not his first if the ashtray by his booted foot is anything to go by. He takes brings the cigarette up to his lips and exhales a cloud of smoke, closing his eyes and just shaking his head as he left knee bounces up and down with the nerves that even the tobacco isn’t able to calm.

Those blue eyes stare off at nothing in particular, staring at memories that play only in his head in the grey and fading light of the rainy evening, he hasn’t even bothered to try to completely fix his makeup. He just retouched his eyeliner, eyes that are still red rimmed and watery as he smokes and waits.

Oh no, was Richard’s thought as he listened to the message, to its flat tone, He found out somehow about the engagement and he’s going to kill me because I didn’t tell him first.

“You look like hell,” observes the executive as he steps around back and gives his friend a long look; leather jacket wrapped close around his body, a fedora keeping the rain off his face, worn jeans finishing off a look that’s less executive than he usually wears. “Bad sign. What’s going on, Raq? This can’t be because I’m late for my monthly trim.”

He walks over slowly, boots treading over wet ground, and reaches over to take one of the beers from the six pack before dropping down into a chair.

Maybe not that after all.

When it comes to Raquelle, Cooper tends to know that tone in the man’s voice. Might not ever recognize it in a woman… but this singular person? Yes. Something was really wrong with his BFF. So when the agent shows up at the shop, he has two bottles, one in each hand. “Alright, Raq,” the bottles are held up as he strolled down the alleyway. He’s wearing worn jeans, a henley and his typical converse sneakers which were looking pretty worn out. “I’ve got tequila and vodka. I sent Ellen to hang with the girls and I called in sick.”

The bottles are offered to Raquelle like an offering. “We’re getting shit faced tonight and you’re gonna tell me who the bitch is that me and the B-man need to cut.” He’s been around Raq long enough to pick up some colorful phrases. “And don’t think I won’t.” Clearly by the state of the man, someone needed to at least be punched… knives might not even come into it.

Right about then Cooper realizes that someone else was there. Cooper looks over and blinks in surprised to see the Richard standing there. He gives a little jerk of his chin toward the man and then looks at Raquelle, while motioning at Richard with a bottle. “We’ll take Richie Rich here, too.” He was willing to improvise. Then his attention swings back over to Richard and he flashes a grin to the Raytech CEO, “Hey man. Long time no see. How’s the family?”

Absently, no reflexively a hand does come up to flip Richard off at the ‘you look like hell’ comment and Raquelle snorts softly, taking another drag from his cigarette and turning his head to the side to blow smoke in the opposite direction he just shrugs a shoulder. “Technically, tomorrow you’d be late for the trim.” He replies with a small shake of his head.

Cooper’s arrival makes the hairdresser look up again, cigarette stubbed out in the ashtray near his foot as he just nods towards the bottles. “Vodka. Please.” - Its that kinda evening, hand extended and he’s still trying to consider how to answer Richard and Cooper. But there is gratitude in his eyes.

He takes a deep steadying breath and then just lets out a breathy, mirthless chuckle. “Saw my dad today in person for the first time in decades. Showed right up at the door.”

This is new, Raquelle doesn’t talk about his father much. Beyond the ‘yep, I have a dad’ and references to phonecalls or background noise type mentions but mostly, he talks about his mother. He’s seen neither of them for years so he just wrinkles his nose and fumbles with uncapping the vodka with a shake of his head. “Didn’t come to just say hi though because when the fuck do mostly absent parents /ever/ just swing by for the hell of it? Hm?” A quick shake of his head as he rubs a hand over his face.

“Apparently, that expressive shit is hereditary or something because he too is ‘gifted’ only his ‘gift basically turned him into a shitty microwave from the 80s that leaks low level radiation and they /just/ recently found out that it gave my mom cancer. Ya know. Because of her decision to go to Japan to live with him and all so they can be together.” He takes a long swig from the vodka bottle and then sniffs. “So there’s that.”

“Cooper,” Richard greets with a raise of the beer in an easy toast to the arriving man, a faint smile curving to his lips, “Good to see you. Family’s good. Larger. Kinda weird, but it grows on you. Liz came back from the dead, so that’s nice.” The comment just as casual as if it were about sports score. He lives a strange life.

Once Raquelle starts talking, he pops open the beer with a crack-hiss of escaping carbonation, taking a swig of it as he listens. Eyebrows lift at the mention of his father, and then at the mention of the man’s ability he grimaces.

“Induced radioactivity is an… unpredictable ability at any level,” he admits quietly, “Harmony can control it, but if she ever lost it— well. Midtown. Christ, Raquelle, I’m sorry. Is it treatable…?” Giving the man a concerned look, glancing back to Cooper and then back to Raquelle again.

The bottle is handed off without a thought, just a look of concern as Cooper queues in. Stepping back, Cooper drops bonelessly into one of the other lawn chairs. He looks a bit shocked at the news. “Whoa, dude. Seriously?” A part of him wants to be mad at this guy. “This is when he decides to come back into your life?!?” The tequila bottle is set on one of the other tables — for margarita’s later maybe? — and leans forward to grip the other’s arm. Of course, he doesn’t like to see his best friend like this.

“I… I am so sorry, man,” Thomas offers quietly, thought if feels so hollow saying it. “Anything I can do?” There probably wasn’t much he could do, really, but he offers it up anyhow.

There is another mirthless chuckle as Raquelle shrugs almost helplessly to Richard, covering his mouth with his hand as he closes his eyes and swallows the next mouthful of vodka. Head just shaking, he finally responds. “Maybe. They want to try a bone marrow transplant? Some shit like that? Obviously my dad can’t do it. He’s on suppressants and all. So then there’s me.”

He can only nod slowly to Cooper with expressive ‘I know right?’ Eyebrow raising. His grip tightens and loosens and tightens and loosens in a pulse that almost matches his own heartbeat as he blinks a few times. The hand on his arm is noted, with a pat from one of his own hands and a sharp exhale.

To business. “My dad’s here on some type of work contract with Yamagato. Made some kinda deal, allowed to travel for a set amount of time. They don’t fuck around in Japan when it comes to people like us.” He gestures between himself and Richard. “Its so much more strict. So she’s there, in Japan. I could also be there, to help. If I let myself be registered on another goddamn list.” He takes another swig of vodka and exhales softly. “But my girls, both of them are expressive and they have not manifested yet so they wouldn’t be allowed. And…I don’t think they’ll see Bolivar as my spouse even if we were married.”

He sweeps an arm out in a ‘so there you have it’ gesture.

Richard’s thumb taps a few times on the side of the beer bottle as he regards Raquelle for a long moment, and then he nods a little. “I can likely get you to Japan,” he says, already working on how to solve the problem - just as he always does. “I know some people who work with me are heading there soon. I can try to pull some strings to get you there on some kind of visa, maybe — could put you on our payroll as a consultant, or something like that, make everything on the up-and-up. I doubt they’re as severe about outside business partners visiting, it’d be bad for their economy.”

The beer bottle’s tilted his way, “Could you bring her back here, though? That might be easier overall, Raquelle.”

Cooper points at Richard and nods. “That last bit. There has to be a hospital in the US that can take her. If not here, then somewhere. I’m sure Bolivar and I can see what hospitals can help.” Government has to know these things… right?

Leaning back in his chair, Thomas’ brows furrow in thought, “Though I dunno if I agree on the business portion. I imagine Japan would be more interested in keeping their people safe.” A single shoulder lifts and he shoots Richard an apologetic look. “What’s a downturn in the economy compared to keeping evo-terrorists out and protect their government and people. I mean, we all know what the rest of the world thinks of our country.” He doesn’t want to think about the possibility of the others getting ambitious and seeing an easy target.

Suddenly, the beer doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Cooper leans forward just long enough to snag one. “But, if you do decide to go to Japan, register and all that… you know I’ll help Bolivar with the girls while your gone.” Though he sounds like he isn’t too keen on Raquelle traveling to a less friendly nation. “Or I can go with you… not in any official capacity mind you. Lord knows I don’t take time off, I’ve got the leave.”

The hairstylist takes another swig of his Vodka, squinting slightly at Richards as options are offered and discussed between him and Cooper. Raquelle just gives a small nod, leaning forward to set the bottle down near his foot as he goes back to leaning forward, elbows resting on his thighs. “Hm.” Another nod. “That’s what I was thinking. Bring her here. Get her treatment. Do the transplant.” There is a long pause as he considers what to say or how to respond from there.

There’s a quiet sniff as he swallows, looking down and then shooting an appreciative glance over to Cooper at the offer of vacation time spent braving the wilds of super strict Japan. He sighs softly. “What I don’t understand is why my dad led with an offer of bringing me back with him and not..’oh yes son, we’re trying to get her to the US’.” His brow furrows and he shrugs a shoulder. “How hard would that be, do either of you know? Getting someone who was made sick due to being in proximity to someone with abilities transferred to the US for medical treatment?”

“Maybe,” Richard’s nose wrinkles slightly at Cooper’s words, admitting his point, “Japan’s always had a somewhat… isolationist leaning in some ways, while being the opposite in others. Weird country.”

Draping an elbow over the back of his chair as he adjusts in his sprawl, he says simply, “If we could get her here, I could get her in. God knows I’ve gotten people from further away legally settled into the Zone before.” Really further away. “That, though… do you think there’s something shady about it? Your dad’s situation, I mean?”

A brow tips up at Richard’s offer, though the SESA agent doesn’t say anything, just takes another drink of his beer.

When he does speak up, it is with reluctance. Thomas grips the beer between both hands as he talks, sounding almost guilty. “Safe Zone can’t offer her anything, Raq. Elmhurst has nothing for something like that. They are still recovering as a hospital. Who knows how many more years until there is a cancer treatment center.”

Looking up finally, Cooper lets his gaze drift between them. “You are looking at Kansas… possibly Detroit.” Both cities having mostly survived the war.

Raquelle worries his bottom lip and bows his head again, taking a deep breath. He listens to the options and the information being provided and he rubs the nape of his neck. AFter a moment of silence he takes another swig of his vodka. “I’ma need your help then Richard.” Actual name, no nickname. “To get her here.”

But it's Cooper that gets his attention with that declaration and he gives a small nod. “I know in Japan, with their technology…it was be a breeze but I cannot leave so. Makes it all. Ya know ``he sniffles. “I don’t want to think its shady. I just don’t like the timing, ya know? Nothing is ever simple with this bullshit.”

“I just need to get her here. I can figure out the treatment and all that after the fact, okay? The how and where.” A firm nod and swig of vodka. “Just need to keep my family together.”

At the look from Cooper, Richard lifts one shoulder in a shrug. What? He knows people.

“We’ll work something out,” he says firmly, “Regardless. I’ve got some people heading to Japan soon, actually, if you want I can set you up with them - might help in getting to the country and all.”

He starts to lift his drink, pauses, then clears his throat, “And you’re right. Nothing’s ever simple, do you want me to— ah— look into his story and all?” An apologetic look. Offering to investigate family is awkward, but he’s loyal to his friend. Not his friend’s father.

Cooper can only nod, “I know, buddy. We’ll get her here.” He falls silent then, letting Richard and Raquelle talk. His hands are tied in many ways due to his job, but not Richard. THought hs does add, “I might not have the same strings to pull as Richard, but I can look the other way with the best of them, while things get done if need be. Just gotta let me know what you need.

There is a long pause as Raquelle just stares down at the ground. He finally takes a deep breath and gestures towards Richard with his vodka bottle. “I…do. Want to get her here, and want to learn more about this ‘deal’ he’s struck with Yamagato to get over here.” Then he thumbs the side of his nose and just looks between the two. “Thank…you both. I didn’t know who else to call. I have to go home, tell Bolivar and the girls. And then, ya know. Figure out what the fuck I’m going to do next. But first, need to bring her home.”

Another swig of vodka. He hears the rain, the sloshing of liquid and then the words from his father echo in in his head as he closes his eyes again and just sits quietly. Another rare time where he just doesn’t have any more words.

“Get me his information and I’ll see what I can do… and I’ll get you in touch with someone about going to Japan,” Richard says, raising his beer slightly in a toast, “We got your back, man, every time.”

Cooper raises his own beer with Richard in agreement. “Everytime,” he repeats before adding, “And you know Ellen and I will help with whatever you need. Getting the girls to and from school, keeping them a weekend, grocery shopping, you name it.” Raquelle gets his foot nudged by Cooper’s “You know I love ya, dude; and I owe everything to you. We got your back.”

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