Morning Routine


tasha_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title Morning Routine
Synopsis Vincent's begins with coffee, joint cracking, and a not-so-routine phone call to his daughter.
Date July 7, 2010

Over the Phone

Grey-blue light is breaking cool blue across the Financial District with the dawn, orange sun little more than a feverish smear near the horizon when Vincent is directed into the open space available before the great glassy sprawl of his flawless window. Thirty-seven stories up, every atom of available atmosphere in his office smells like coffee and there is a hand braced warm across the back of his neck and another rolling thoughtlessly at his left wrist, arm extended and bent brusquely away from his side. Neither hand is his, naturally. His left currently in custody past the crisply pinstriped white of his shirt sleeve, he utilizes the right to dial his Blackberry.

The sooner he gets off the phone before it really starts ringing, the more time he'll have before his coffee cools. Theoretically.

Usually Tasha is a hard sleeper, oblivious to the comings and goings of Colette in their early nights together. But one sound somehow pierces through the haze of slumber, instantly bringing her to the surface, adrenaline flowing and heart pounding: the sound of her phone. She tumbles out of bed to grab it, murmuring to Colette to sleep more even as her thumb hits talk, not looking at the display until it's too late. She would have answered, of course, anyway. It's not like he calls just to say 'hi' so she assumes it's an emergency.

Though the phone makes the sound of connecting, the playback tune of Greenday's "American Idiot" cutting off, it's a few moments before Tasha can pad into a bathroom and close the door before she brings the phone to her ear.

"Hello? Are you okay?" she murmurs, voice hoarse from want of use, soft so that it doesn't travel down the hallway, but alert, nervous.

"Probably," says Vincent after the allotted silence, his voice droll as it is familiar across the line. What took her so long? He does not have terribly long to look suspicious, as the taller fellow in a tweedier suit to his left wrenches something in his shoulder that makes everything in his neck stand out in sharp relief.

Quick enough both of those hands are at his neck and he's free to shake his arm out in not-entirely-appreciative relief, caught breath exhaled with a sea-foamy whoosh while he is probed and prodded and politely molested before the sunrise. "Are you?"

The exhalation on the other end makes her brows rise. "Are you … what are you doing? Is someone hurting you?" Why else would he call her at the crack of dawn, which is worse than the middle of the night for someone her age? "I'm… I'm all right," she says, though it's not quite certain. Like his probably isn't the most confident of answers.

She sits down, back against the bathtub, her bare legs drawing up in front of her. She stares at the pink rug on the floor beneath her feet, the first gawdy girly pink accessory for the room that has yet to be painted to Colette's request. Staring at her navy-blue-painted toenails, she chews her thumbnail, the familiar clicking probably audible on the other end.

Yes, but only because he's being paid to. "No," naturally, is the answer she gets. The bridge of his nose felt over with his freshly freed hand, fingers flexed in and splayed more carefully open once they've fallen away, Vincent allows himself to be silently coaxed into switching his phone from one hand to the other to allow for similar work to begin again at his right side. This time with odd emphasis against lattisimus dorsi; he has to lift his elbow to accomodate his specialist's stoop.

"Okay, well," is sort've a poor start for the cause of continued conversation. The fact that he is distracted probably isn't helping. The fact that he is distracted probably is not unintentional, either. "I thought I'd check in and make sure."

"I'm sorry," is breathed out suddenly as she presses her head into her arms, talking downward at the rug, tears springing to her eyes again as she tries to find some way to be more honest with both of her parents. "I … I should have said no when they asked me to go with Cat, and I don't know what they thought would come of it, but I didn't … I never meant for any of this to … I'm sorry." Tasha either speaks in rambling run-ons or in short fragments that never get completed when nervous. Last night it was the former. This morning is the latter. Maybe because she just got woken up.

There's another shaky breath before a more direct confession: "I don't know what to do. I believe in what I'm doing, but I don't… do you hate me?"

"If you allow yourself to be made into a tool then you will be utilized as one. It's as simple as that, sweetheart." Sympathy on his end is in short supply, much to the surprise of no one who's ever been within arm's reach of him. Vincent speaks clearly and precisely, light as ever on the endearment in his terms of endearment. "Your new friends are understaffed, undersupplied and underinformed. They are opportunists by necessity." Crack.

Lazzaro jerks stiffly upright only to relax out've it more swiftly than before. Breathe in and out and out again further with a faintly discombobulated nod for present help. "Never assume the best of anyone. Never assume that your well-being is a priority. And always ask questions. If something doesn't feel right it probably isn't." Vincent allows his right hand to be taken up once more as he speaks, scar bitten into a shallow divide 'round his wrist and across tendon pale with tension. "I don't hate you. But if you make stupid decisions I will hold you accountable for them, and no amount of crying will be of help to either of us."

Her eyes close as Tasha listens to the advice, about as endearing as Polonius' to Laertes and Ophelia's — that is to say, not, but for all that it's not endearing, it's also good. Wise, even. She nods, though she realizes that can't be seen, she clears her throat. "Okay. Thank you." Her voice is still whisper-soft but no longer tremulous.

"Is… you were just calling to check on me at six in the morning, or was there anything else? You sound… busy." Cracking of joints doesn't go unnoticed. "I assume Mom told you I got back into a school. I'll go in the fall. I'm not going to drop out this time. Parsons, so it's local."

"Morning routine," says Vincent. Not without a thread of dry resentment either, dark brows lifted in distracted self-deprication. His bespectacled friend has moved off a few feet to scribble notes for him at his desk. The Department's seal looms steel grey over the whole affair, doubtlessly cast and mounted with intimidation in mind. It works pretty well.

"She mentioned it. Listen, it's nearly six. I should go. I mean. I'm glad that you're going and also I should go. I didn't wake you up, did I?"

Tasha actually laughs softly at that. "Yeah, actually. Most people aren't awake at six in my world. I'm still just a kid, you know," she says quietly, something that sounds remotely like affection in her voice for his cluelessness that she wouldn't normally be up at this hour. For all that she's now a terrorist or a tool or whatever else he might see her as, she is also just an eighteen-year-old girl without a 9-to-5 job to wake up for.

"Thanks for calling, though," she adds. "Maybe we can actually … do something… sometime, soon. I'll come cook for you again, or whatever." She pauses a moment, hating the uncertainty in her voice. There shouldn't be that sort of tentativeness in a conversation with one's father. "Have a good day, Dad."

"Right. I was trying out something new — I think the 'kids these days' are calling it sarcasm." Affection is mutual in a way. At a distance and through bulletproof glass while he trails back to his desk to start sorting through the tangled straps of his shoulder holster thrown leathery brown across the black of his jacket.

"Go back to sleep," doesn't sound very promising re: actually doing something (or anything) but he doesn't sound angry when he hangs up and tosses his phone down to free his fingers up for the purpose of retying his tie. So that's something.

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