More friends than realized


elisabeth_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title More friends than realized
Synopsis Elisabeth seeks a sympathetic ear from the only woman available for the purpose. Rather to Ygraine's surprise, she manages to provide it - and also some advice that meets with Liz's approval.
Date March 7 2011

Le Rivage — Ygraine's apartment

A comparatively large and well-maintained apartment occupying one corner of its floor. Windows dominate two sides of the living room, illuminating it brightly throughout most days. A kitchenette occupies one corner of the lounge, while several doors offer exits.

Luxurious but slightly worn brown leather furniture is arranged around the television in the main room, with a small dining table and high-backed chairs diagonally opposite the kitchenette. Wall-mounted shelves and stand-alone cases take up a lot of space along the walls, almost wholly filled with books. A collection of full-size geographic, political, and historical atlases have been given pride of place - though academic texts on history, international relations, conflict theory and linguistics are also prominent, alongside a fair collection of DVDs. The one sizable decoration is a blown-up photograph of mist-shrouded Edinburgh castle at sunset, a black silhouette rising out of white and luminous gold.

Of the exits, one (with an extra lock, deadbolt, and a sturdy chain) leads out of the apartment; another to the bathroom; and the next to a small room that has been converted into a rather cramped home gym. A computer desk, filing cabinet, and a single bed take up most of the space in the next room, while the last is the master bedroom - dominated by a double bed (upon which sits a two foot tall cuddly penguin) and more bookshelves (these holding a jumble of magazines, art books, Neil Gaiman graphic novels, and a collection of science fiction and historical novels), with a clearly well-traveled laptop resting on the bed-side cabinet. Here, high-quality art-prints of dragons decorate the walls, while a small cabinet holds a collection of cycling trophies.

Scattered throughout are a variety of ornately-framed photographs of a striking, curvaceous brunette, the shots ranging in style from the candid to the artfully glamorous.

This time, when the security is rattled aside and the door swung open, the householder of apartment 309 is actually dressed. It's a simple matter of a heavy denim shirt worn over a sleeveless top (and also over that sturdy, immobilising sling), paired with tight riding-style breeches… but it looks as if Ygraine has put at least some effort into being presentable. And in the background, the rich aroma of real coffee can again be smelt.

When the door opens on the blonde, she's wearing business clothing. A pair of sleek black slacks and blazer, a dove gray silk blouse. Black heels. Elisabeth looks… like the boss. But those blue eyes are holding a bruised look in them and she says softly, "Ygraine…." Stepping into the apartment, the blonde has this sense of unease about her. A gentle almost-vibration of distress that seems to surround like a low hum just below hearing level. "I, uhm…." She pauses and then looks at the other woman. "I don't know where else to go," she finally admits. It's a difficult admission. "I've been so busy the past couple of years, I don't have very many female friends. The ones I had have either moved or they're inaccessible at best." Abby, Claire, Kaydence, Cassidy, Kat… God, when did she stop being just a person? "I don't know where to go," she admits again, her expression crumpling into one of near-tears.

For a couple of moments, Ygraine busies herself with restoring some of that comforting barrier of protective security, but quickly enough she turns away from the door to try to gently slip her one available arm around Elisabeth's shoulders - her touch carefully light.

"If I can help, I will", she murmurs, expression worriedly sympathetic. "I… haven't been through what you have, but… I can at least hope to empathise with some of the stresses you've been under. And even if I can't manage that, I can listen. I… used to be rather good at that, I was told."

The indrawn breath Elisabeth takes before she leans just a little on that offered shoulder is shaky. "I don't even know where to start," she says, letting herself be led to a seat. It brings a huff of not-quite-laughter from her too. "My life is a train wreck, Ygraine. If you'd told me two years ago we'd be here… I would have put you to bed with medication to fix you." She shoves a hand into her already ruffled blonde mane — it's a move that's clearly been happening a lot today if the disheveled look is anything to go by. "I had… a dream. A couple of nights ago. And I think…. that it's important. But dear God, I don't know who to tell or what to tell them."

Ygraine manages a faint giggle, keeping hold of Elisabeth as she gently guides the older woman through to the living room. "Two years ago, I was… well. It would be just about now that I had a Federal agent I'd never before met, walk up to me in the street and ask how the other people involved in the battles against the Vanguard were doing. At the end of January… well. In one night, I'd helped to stop the death of the world, had come face to barrel with a tank, had held a gun for the first time, had fired a gun for the first time, had shot someone, had been hit on the head by part of Consolidated Edison" - yes, she's one of those 'terrorists' - "and then spent three days too severely concussed to tell my fiancee I wasn't dead and buried in the rubble."

Carefully attempting to sit Elisabeth down, she sinks to a crouch before her, putting herself a little lower than the traumatised cop. "Being put to bed with medication would frankly have been rather tempting, back then. And it's bloody tempting now. But I suspect that if you wanted that, you could have it. So… coffee while you tell me about it, or afterwards?"

Elisabeth starts to cry softly when she mentions ConEd. Burying her face in her hands, the blonde finally loses it. Maybe this was why she came here. Ygraine's been around from the start. "When the Vanguard attacked Washington Irving, I watched over 60 of my kids get crushed. And then Conrad …." Ygraine knows exactly what Conrad did. "Con died. And I think he was the first person I ever thought about a long-term relationship with. And then I lost Norton to a future that he couldn't let go of. And then I lost Richard to a fucking nuclear weapon and buried him too. I am so. damn. tired of losing people that I love, Ygraine. It keeps getting worse and worse, every time we try to make things better!"

It takes a lot to break women who've seen as much and suffered as much as Elisabeth and Ygraine. "Now there are fucking robots hunting Evos in Midtown, and if this dream was anything approaching prophetic…. oh GOD, Ygraine, it's going to get so much worse. Like robots in the streets and robot jets streaking overhead and blowing shit up and having to have PERMISSION from the GOVERNMENT to have kids! I was running away because I was terrified someone had figured out that I was pregnant!" There's a gentle rumble of low-level bass. "Why is it whenever something that I want comes up, everything goes further to hell?!" she demands, shaking. "It's not bad enough he knocked her up after I asked him to have a child with me?? Now I have to wind up getting what I want under the threat of having the government… I don't even know what? Take it away? Kill it???"

Hrmm. Were Liz paying close attention to Ygraine, she might see in her face evidence of the Briton's efforts to re-engage portions of her mind that, in all honesty, have never been quite the same since she got nuked nearly five years ago… and that certainly hadn't yet been brought back online in her most recent efforts to reconstruct herself from wreckage.

Of course, simply staring at Liz for a second or three is perhaps understandable. "I… I had to break the news to Colette", she says gently. "About Conrad. I'd… offered to train her. She chose him instead. Put a lot of trust in him. Accepted him as her mentor. And… one of the first things I did after I regained the ability to walk and talk at the same time was tell her…."

Reaching for Elisabeth's hand, Ygraine hopes to deliver some tactile reassurance. "She didn't want to believe it, but… we were on the radio. We were all mic'ed up. I… hadn't been hit then. Do you know what the last thing he said was? Groovy. He knew what he was doing, and he saved the world. He truly did. We stopped the mortars, but they'd got a back-up - and he personally stopped that."

There are tears sliding down her own cheeks now, though they're quite unheeded. Asshole he might have been, but that's one of the very clearest and most significant memories from her whole life. "He stopped the worst threat we've ever faced. Six billion dead without him, from all I've heard. And he knew what he was doing, and he thought it was worth it. And nothing I've heard of has been as bad since. He gave us the chance to face all this other shitheads who want to make the world in their own image. Without him? They'd have all been dead irrelevances. But with him? We get to try to kick their arses."

Elisabeth squeezes Ygraine's hand and looks up with a laugh through her tears. "Cat came to tell me. But I knew…. I knew when ConEd went down that he'd done it. He and I had… very similar abilities, and I knew." Those tears don't stop though. "The things since then that you don't know about? They're worse. We went… after the Vanguard in places like Madagascar and South America and Antarctica. And in Antarctica, Richard…. absorbed a nuclear explosion that was supposed to obliterate the ice shelf and flood the world. He just… took it into the shadows with him and I watched it explode in tatters of darkness. Shreds… of him…. floating in a mushroom cloud in the sky." Talk about your vivid memories.

"The machines loose in Midtown right now…. they came from the government taking some of the things the Vanguard had developed in South America and Madagascar. They're… adapting them for use here. Against us. And we've gotten intel that most of the highest echelon of the government in this town at least are … Humanis fucking First sympathizers. The mayor. The chief of police… all of them." She looks down at their hands. "In this dream I had… and I think it was a prophetic one, so I need to talk to Eve really bad… I was running. I was afraid and trying to protect myself from anyone knowing I was pregnant. I wasn't allowed to be. Wasn't supposed to be." The terror there is still vivid to her.

Ygraine winces sympathetically at the description of Cardinal's demise, though the just-heard news of the intended bombing of an ice shelf hasn't resonated with her in the same way as her the plague-death of the world have marked her own nightmares. Still, she keeps tight hold of Elisabeth's hand, her other twitching slightly within the confines of the sling.

"I… used to use Midtown for training", Ygraine says quietly. "I hid someone - a young girl - there, when she got in trouble. Humanis, yet again. Discovered then that at least some people knew about the robots, but hadn't got word out. That… led to some rather hasty efforts. And some urgent discussions." Not to mention a lot of spelunking - the subterranean routes in and out of Grand Central now owe a lot to her efforts in rigging lines and surreptitiously marking safe zones.

"I… can imagine the fear. I had to dive back into Midtown, desperately worried that I'd 'rescued' someone and promised she'd be safe only to set her up to be killed. And not knowing what on Earth might come after us while we were in there. But your dream… that… the hints in there. Those are frightening in their own right, quite apart from the robots. Christ. And it certainly explains why that request of mine to have a civil authority appointed in the Dome just got ignored - the guys at the top wanted it to go to Hell and turn into as bloody a battle as possible between Evolved and mundanes. And they were helped by some of the sick fuckers inside. Fuck."

Closing her eyes, she attempts to corral her own thoughts away from yet more pursuit of her own fears, and back onto focusing on Elisabeth. "If you ever need help, I can cheat like crazy in getting around the city. I'm starting to think that I should see about learning the sewers and major tunnels throughout Manhattan. But if you ever have to run or hide, I can get you places no one mundane can reach without massive effort. But I'm hoping that we can still prevent this. Or else why have the dream sent to you? Heck - Robyn even mentioned something about a… strangely vivid dream previously, back before the Dome, I think…."

Elisabeth watches her and asks curiously, "Robyn dreamed the dream about Sumter's funeral too?" She reaches up to wipe at the tears. "Yeah… well, I had to go somewhere before going to talk to Richard about this dream. Because I'm still so anxiety-ridden by the damn thing that I'm not sure I can even talk about it." She grimaces. "And of course, there were no time indicators, but the last thing I want to talk to him about right now is being pregnant. Asshole."

Another squeeze. "I… my… thoughts aren't the clearest", Ygraine admits sheepishly. "I'm still high on painkillers or… slightly distracted while waiting to be able to take the next dose, much of the time. I'd need to think carefully, but I seem to remember that it was a funeral, on an island, and… I think that it might well have been for Joseph, yes. Which… sounds as if it might well be something sent as a warning to a group of people, and… makes me personally worried about why I don't seem to feature. Sorry. Ummm."

She closes her eyes for a moment, then musters a wry smile. "Rude but perhaps important question - are you pregnant now?"

"Hell no — we were waiting til things settled," Elisabeth retorts. "He knocked up his one-night stand!" Hence the asshole comment. And Elisabeth's underlying anger at him. "I heard about the other dream, and yeah… a warning. But a warning 15 years early, from the sounds of it."

"Fifteen?", Ygraine exclaims, before attempting to reclaim her hand, and maneuver up and around to perch beside Liz and enfold her in another hug - only one arm in use making the whole process rather more awkward than it would otherwise be.

"I know, I know. You… told me. While I was falling apart at you about merely having the one person in my love life again", the Briton murmurs guiltily. "I'm just… well. I thought I'd best be quite sure. But… this sounds like someone gave a Malthusian prophecy first, and a… more immediate one later. Ummm. D'you knew what I mean by Malthusian?"

There's a frown. And Elisabeth says, "The term's … not entirely unfamiliar, but no. I don't know what it means precisely." She's missing ten years of her life including a college education. She's forced to laugh at Ygraine. "You know.. the last time I only had one lover in my life, I think I cried too."

That gets a startled look from Ygraine. "You have more than…? Sorry. Not my place, and a bit of a tangent. Ummm. A Malthusian prophecy is one predicting disaster, and doing so convincingly. The best-known ones to the general public were the warnings that came out during the Seventies - continue fuel consumption at present rates and continue oilfield discoveries at present rates, and the whole basis of global civilisation will collapse within a generation due to catastrophic and irreversible energy shortfall. Transport, communications, food production, medicine, the infrastructure of states - all will collapse."

"Those predictions are now often derided - just look at the world! But the point of a prophecy like that is that its very accuracy, the very truth of it compels people to change the future. It's a prediction that would only come true if it hadn't been made. And a warning of what comes to pass fifteen years on, as a precusor to a much more immediate warning - that sounds like someone showing a future they want to prevent, and attempting to highlight a… turning point, or an imminent situation. Something that we can aim to deal with, to forestall, now… and thereby render the first prophecy - accurate though it might well have been in every particular - render it totally irrelevant."

Elisabeth laughs outright. "Yes, Ygraine…. I'm not a monogamous woman. I have several." Tangent or not, the woman deserves to know Liz knows where she's coming from. "I love the asshole with my whole heart and soul — and he says he loves me that way too. But neither of us has ever been the traditional types, and we seem to suit fine. I don't care that he has lovers. I care that he knocked the bitch up!" She covers her mouth and winces. "And there goes that green-eyed monster riding my back again," she grimaces. "Which, just so you know, I hate the feeling of. It seems stupid to quibble when it's not really my business, you know?"

She shakes her head. "Anyway…. " There's a pause as Liz considers Ygraine's thoughts on the dreams. "Honestly, it interests me. The robots in question, I think I know the two people who are actually developing them. So…. I wonder if we can use what was in that dream as a way to sabotage the whole thing," she muses aloud.

Liz receives a rather warm squeeze from that arm around her, as Ygraine chuckles softly. "That sounds more like it", she quietly informs her companion. "And… I might be utterly wrong. Maybe these are random snapshots. Maybe we're in a count-down. But… the fact that at least closely similar dreams are sent to people with connections to efforts to resist the evil in the world, and that these dreams seem to be prophetic… at the very least it suggests that someone wants to push those people into action. That there is something they want them - you - to be doing."

"And as for it not being your business? To use an apposite phrase - bollocks to that. You indicated that you and he had discussed children, and chosen to put it on hold. Him getting someone pregnant is directly relevant to that. Even if it was completely unintentional, it has consequences. And… God, do I know what jealousy feels like. The treacherous bitch who asked Robyn to be hers while I was stuck in the Dome, then - when I got out - came here in secret to tell me that I'd been living a lie… she's apparently been shot, herself now. And I am having a bitch of a time trying not to think of all the things I could go to her and say, now that she has some faint inkling of how fucked-in-the-head I was after the Dome, even before she staged her little stunt. So… yeah. The green-eyed monster is stalking us both. You with somewhat more reason to be tempted by it than me."

Elisabeth laughs softly. "God, Ygraine… " She drops her head gently to the woman's shoulder. "Thank you. For understanding why I'm so pissed off." She reaches up once more to swipe at the stupid tears that still haven't quite stopped. "I feel ridiculous. I have never been jealous in my life. I don't even know what to do with all these emotions, and dammit… there are just more important things going on. And still I'm all hung up on this one. I mean, what the hell kind of person does that make me?" She waves her hand, lifting her head. "I know, I know… human. But it doesn't mean I feel less stupid," she admits.

"Oh, you've got precious little on me, there", Ygraine protests, laughing and offering an encouraging smile even as she sounds quite sincere. "It's… not my core professional specialisation. It's not what I formally did when I wasn't riding a bike. But… I've been trained in the analysis of conflict. Large-scale, primarily - but it's fundamentally an analysis of how systems and structures of communication go wrong, and how people respond to what they perceive to be conflictual situations - perceived aggressive behaviour, wrong-doing, and so on. Because, in… most modern systems of theory and analysis, conflict's about people. It's about how their perceptions determine their actions, and how their perceived situation alters what they perceive and how they interpret it. Things that would be utterly innocuous if done by a stranger or welcomed by a friend become 'dire insults' and 'serious provocations' when done by someone seen as en enemy… it all becomes self-fulfilling, because whatever an enemy does reasons can be found to take it as proof of hostility."

"And… I'm actually good at this stuff. It's part of the reason I was a good translator, and why I got the gig at the UN. I'm good at coming up with possible meanings and explanations and reasons for things to have happened, and how those words might actually really have been meant to mean this, and how in that culture the idiom is actually along these lines which makes that comment a joke and not a personal attack, and…"

The Briton shrugs ruefully. "And when it came to my own life a week ago? A selfish, stupid, conflict-blinded kid - who'd persuaded herself that I was an enemy - had me lose my rag in a matter of minutes. Sure, I was pretty sodding seriously traumatised and if she'd had an ounce of empathy she wouldn't have done what she did - but I could just have told her to get the fuck out. Instead, I let her goad me into proving her right. Partly because I was arrogant enough to think that I could talk her round, and partly because I got sucked into the very traps that I lecture people about avoiding. So I managed to lose my relationship, crap all over my morality, and demonstrate that I can't practice what I preach all in one go."

"You? You're pissed off about your primary partner making a stupid cock-up. Pun not originally intended. Christ. Fundamentally, all he did was one silly mistake. But the consequences? Those could be life-changing. So you have every right to be pissed off. Just try to separate what he actually did from the results, and remember what you want - or you will be as bloody retarded as I've been."

Elisabeth…. stares. That's a whole lotta words. That make sense. "Where've you been all my life?" she demands, only half kidding. "Christ…. I was a hostage negotiator and I couldn't have come with half that many words to make things better." She starts to giggle. "A cock-up."

And… that's the end of Ygraine's incipient, bashfully flattered lock. A snort, and she brings her hand up to playfully tousle Liz's hair. "I did offer you a British pet, if you wanted one. I'm not sure I'm much use for anything at the moment, and given the amount of food-deliveries I'm getting from various people, I kind of feel like one already. So… anything I can do to help, let me know. I had fondly deluded myself that a student of the nature and course of political violence might be considered in some way useful in these times of… political violence… but thus far I seem to be more Cassandra than Malthus. And mostly, I don't even have any significant data to work with. So… you want me to spout twaddle no one will listen to? I can certainly oblige. Or you can just take me for walkies if you prefer."

Elisabeth just chuckles. "Actually… this is the first time since he told me that I haven't had a rock lodged in my chest. I'm still pissed but…." She can breathe. "Thank you," she says softly. "As to significant data? Lady… lemme talk to the man in charge of my little cell of crazy people — he's the one with all the data. But maybe…. maybe between your thoughts and those of a professor we've got working on the problem too… maybe we'll be able to come up with something." She grins a little.

Ygraine lifts a brow, then gratefully resumes the one-armed hug. "You want me to try analysing it, I'll try analysing it", she says quietly. "Right now… I've never had so many visitors, and I'm finding out more about what's going on in this city than any of the organisations have ever told me. Being a half-mad and wounded object of pity seems to get me more information than telling people about my skillset ever did. So if it lets me wind up actually using my mind? That's fine by me. I just hope I don't have to get betrayed, heart-broken, or shot again to keep it going."

Elisabeth returns the hug this time, gently but tightly. "Honestly? I always had the sense that you wanted to be in the Ferry and had no interest in the rest of it. If you want to know, Ygraine?" As she draws back, those blue eyes hold a different kind of pain than what she came with. She knows too many things. "I'll tell you what I know. But you should be careful what you wish for, Ygraine…. once you see it, it's… really hard, if not impossible, to unsee it all."

"I got recruited to go to ConEd, and… it was what happened there, that had Scott tell the Ferry to get off their collective arses and formally recruit me when I returned to New York", Ygraine says quietly. "I piss people off a lot of the time, because I analyse things - because I see different approaches and I see consequences they don't. I come from a culture that differs in some vital ways from what many over here regard as normal, and I'm a student of violence, both verbal and physical, and how it spirals out of control."

She snorts. "As you can imagine, I'm the life and soul of a dinner party. But I've already been sucked into… things. Like the time war. I've been on two trips into the past, and on the second I got fried by electricity until I passed out. But we did save Kaylee…."

A faint smile, then a shake of her heard. "And I'm bloody scared of the way that some people seem to want to push the Ferry into being a paramilitary organisation first and foremost. There was… pressure that way, earlier last year. But… I'm scared that the Ferry's seriously losing its way. That it might be on course for becoming just another squabbling group fighting because its members have been hurt. That's part of the reason for throwing myself into Liberty. It was something that no one else was trying - that I hadn't been able to get anyone else interested in. And I found someone. And she backed my crazy idea. And she was willing to take the risk of being the 'face' for it, even though I told her about the warnings some of the more honest lawyers had given me…. And, frankly, I've been wondering if I should try to make Liberty into something that people from the Ferry can rally around. Those who aren't after a war."

Elisabeth says softly, "I haven't severed ties with the Ferry, as you know. But… they're under new leadership these days. And I'm not sure how far to trust them. A lot of them are ex-Vanguard and have busted their tails trying to fight what almost happened." She shrugs a little. "They're looking out for those who can't look out for themselves. Paramilitary in some forms, but … not out actively doing as Messiah did and trying to make a statement. They're fighting to protect themselves. And I can't blame or fault them for that outlook. I send them what intel I can and try to look out for them, but… I also try to keep my distance some. Because Beach Street was my fault, Ygraine." She looks down. "Everyone has their breaking point… Humanis First found mine. And I told them. I wish…. sometimes… that I hadn't had anything to give them. At least then they would have just killed me and been done with it sooner." Maybe. Maybe not, really. There's a shudder that goes through her. She moves to stand up, visibly pulling her defenses back into place. "Anyway…. that's why I keep some amount of distance. Not because I think they're doing the wrong things. But because I can't… live with the idea of getting more people killed."

Slightly awkwardly, Ygraine rises to her feet as well, dithers momentarily, then attempts to rest a hand on Elisabeth's shoulder. "I… can see why people might have wanted to keep me in the dark about some of this. The… the Vanguard. They kidnapped and murdered one of the very few people I've met in this city whom I'd say I actually trusted. And none too many weeks later… well. ConEd. But… it does fit. And makes me all the more sure that I don't want the Ferry to be the one and only route I have for trying to help. I'm not giving up on it… but some people really do seem to be a very, very long way from what it was like when I first came across it… Christ. Two and a half years ago, now."

Elisabeth turns to look at her and smiles a little. "We're all a long way from where we were two and a half years ago, Ygraine," she says softly. "I used to be a cop. The only reason I'm not in fucking jail right now for blowing up Pinehearst and Sea View is because of the Antarctica mission, which was done for the US government. And now …. Now I head up FRONTLINE Manhattan. Which is, I think, more of an armed truce situation — a way to … keep me on the straight and narrow, or so they think." She shrugs. "But I won't become one of the guards of the concentration camps."

"I've… got a limited amount of protection", Ygraine says quietly. "Not from being killed in a live-fire incident or anything, but… if the authorities decide they want rid of me, the easiest way to get rid of me is to simply rescind my visa. The US has long claimed the right to do that without explanation or appeal, even to citizens of its allies. And since I'm the child of a lawyer and a Professor, and I used to work for the UN, simply punting me out of the country without explanation and then making me persona non grata - that'll be far, far simpler than having me disappeared or assassinated. If they're thinking clearly. So… compared to many, I'm 'safe'. Crappy though that protection is. And that means that I kind of feel, given what I know and the… fact that I possess relevant skills - though nowhere near as many or as strongly as I'd like - that means that I feel that I really ought to try to help. So if you can help me to help? I'll do it. Because I don't want you to even have to make a choice about how you tell them you won't guard a concentration camp."

Blowing out a soft breath, Elisabeth says quietly, "It's coming. And it's coming faster than anyone would like." There's a sadness. "I'll get you the information that I can. Perhaps it will help you craft your arguments, perhaps not. I don't know. But… I'll give you what we've got." She smiles a little. "I should go. I guess I need some time to pull it together."

Another momentary dither, then Ygraine leans in and attempts to plant a kiss squarely on Elisabeth's cheek - not a Hollywood air-peck, but a gesture of trust and affection. "If you ever want me, call me. Ferry, personal, or for 'your people'. I can't promise to always be available, but right now… the odds are pretty good. And I'll make time for you as best I can, I promise. Just… remember to punish Cardinal for what he did, not for the unintended consequences, all right? Those you get to tackle together."

Elisabeth grins a little bit and takes the buss in the way it's meant. Her guy friends are amazing, but sometimes even a gay man just isn't enough girlyness for such things. "Thanks. For everything today," she says, her gratitude sincere and deep.

With a grin at the woman, Elisabeth leaves her to her rather large volumes of food. Apparently she's got more work than she thought. And more friends than she realized.

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