Mysteries Of All Kinds


kaylee_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif mateo_icon.gif

Scene Title Mysteries Of All Kinds
Synopsis Kaylee is introduced to Lynette's husband, solves some mysteries, gains new ones.
Date March 5, 2018

The Benchmark Center

With Joseph working down stairs, it was only a matter of time before Kaylee was invited up for a visit. Mostly once moving boxes were out of sight and the Ruiz family got themselves settled. The common room's doors are open, the smell of coffee drifting through the hall to help anyone who might not know where to go.

Inside, the room is wide and comfortable. Plenty of seating, a small kitchen, even a piano. It's got everything. Well, many things, anyway. The radio is on, tuned to WSZR— of course— and Lynette leans on the kitchen island, paperwork in front of her and a foot tapping to the song that plays.

After a stop through to say a quick hello to her husband, Kaylee made her way up to the apartment of the Ruiz family. Having not seen the woman since before the war, there is a little anxiety about this meeting, but one that she has been excited about. Meeting up with old friends from the old days of the Ferrymen is always a welcome one.

And if what Joseph has told her, Kaylee is especially interested in meeting the man that Lynette has married. Cause, in the telepath's mind is a faded memory of a certain man that she saw in Lynette's mind.

Reaching the door, the telepath does not presume to enter the home without first rapping knuckles on the open door. "Hello? Lynette?" The hum tells her that someone is there, but she is not so rude to look and check.

Lynette straightens up at the knock, looking toward the door with curiosity first, and then a smile when she sees who it is. "Kaylee," she greets, "come on in." She shuffles her paperwork off into a slightly sloppy pile, dropping it on a small table near a couch. "You want some coffee?" It's the only vice she has left, and she is determined to share it with anyone who comes through the doors.

There is a stark difference from the old days. Her smile comes easier, for one. There's a warmth about her that was never there before, if she could help it. She even looks healthier, despite the scars she got in the war.

From another room in the apartment, there's a soft sound added to the constant background noise of thoughts that the telepath always hears. This isn't like usual sounds, though. This isn't thoughts. It's like the ocean, rolling against the sand and rocks. That soft whispering sound like holding a sea shell up to one's ear.

And then suddenly, from what qualifies as their bedroom, a man who looks very much like that image from so long ago. With a few exceptions. Thicker hair on his head, a slight tinge of gray at his temples, casual dress, but better than what the shot man had had, better skin tone, better fed. Over all her looks much healthier than that man who had been dying in the Institute. "Are you giving away our coffee again?" Mateo teases, cause, well— he often does. It's a joke. Even if coffee is a commodity.

"Coffee would be amazing." Kaylee lives off it most of the time, being in a position that requires many hours working on some rather boring paperwork. Perks of owning a part of a business. "This is amazing, Lynette." A hand motioning to the place as a whole. "I mean, Joseph has been telling me about it, but I'm glad I got a chance to see it in per— " Mateo is spotted. The telepath blinks with surprise. " —son."

There is a moment before she looks at the other blonde, brows lift, her voice soft enough for Lynette's ears. "So.. I was right. You did find him." The hum of his mind is different, but not unfamiliar… the man that tried to kill her blanketed his thought with music. So, she can't help but tense up, suddenly wary… Though she does not intrude on his mind, she lets the waves beat against the walls of her mind.

None of that tension shows, if Kaylee is good at anything, it is putting on a false face. A friendly smile is offered to Mateo. "It is a pleasure to meet you in person. Joseph has had some good things to say."

When Mateo makes an appearance, Lynette visibly brightens. It's embarrassing, really. But Kaylee understand newlyweds. "Yes, I am," she says to the accusation, matching his teasing tone, "but only for good friends." She gestures to Kaylee then, "Mateo, this is Kaylee Ray-Sumter. Kaylee, this is Mateo Ruiz." Formal introductions over, she moves to actually pour the coffee and to set cream and sugar out on the table.

"Right, in a way. The mystery turned out to be a little… strange." As if it wasn't strange to begin with. "That one was from a different time, we think. This is our proper Mateo," she says with an apologetic glance toward Mateo. "Sorry, mi vida," she says in his way. "Kaylee was very supportive after the Arcology." No mentioning the telepathy. Or the stabbing. Or the traitor. Not without Kaylee's say so. The smile she gives the other woman is a bit of a wry one, though.

The topic seems to make that soft seashell whisper swell for a moment, before it settles back down. Every time they talk about Mateo's other half, it surfaces a little more. To add to it, it sounds for a moment like someone turned a fan on, the soft hum of air being pushed through blades. There's something about it that seems to be calling. Almost like it's a language all it's own that's trying to express something in the sounds. But since she's not focusing on it, it doesn't get much louder for her. Just more there.

"I'm definitely a little strange," he responds with a joking tone. Cause jokes are easy. "We met a little over a year ago. But that wasn't exactly me in the … Arcology. It's nice to meet you, Kaylee. Any friend of 'nettes." The way he says 'Nette is very similar to the way the other one did. In all the ways they seemed different, they also seemed the same.

"Really?" That gets a curious look. Kaylee doesn't see it as surprising since she has flitted around in time and been visited by others from future times… her own step-daughter even. "Though I don't think any of us can claim to be anything but little strange."

The sound of the ocean continues to tickle at the edge of her senses, beckoning her to pay attention… she was losing this fight. It was a flaw for the woman… her curiosity. "It's a pleasure, Mateo, to finally meet you in person, no matter the version it is. Though I think she gives me too much credit." A hand moves to rest briefly on Lynette's arm, "I think she was just as much of a support, "After that nightmare of tragedies and the loss of her best friend and father. "Of course, we both experienced a lot of… Things we wish we could forget."

It's almost like Lynette can't hear it, too, but in reality, it's just that she knows him well enough to know it's a difficult topic. She reaches over to put a hand on his face, her thumb brushing his cheek. "Maybe a little, but in an interesting way," she says, to his joke. And hers is also a joke. Or, it's half of one anyway.

"I suppose that's true. We're all a little bit." Neither of the woman blinked at the notion of time travel or alternate timelines, for instance.

Her smile softens at Kaylee's touch and she covers her hand with her own for a moment. "I will second that," she says to those last words, "Things are much better now. I mean, Raytech is one hell of a thing." That is a jump in the subject, but since the obvious weirdness has been covered, she's jumping to other things. Things that are less strange.

When he's touched by Lynette, Mateo smiles and that sound in his head almost completely fades away, becoming an even softer whisper than it had been initially, almost like the slightest gust of wind against the trees. It also seems to deplete that… tugging sensation that came with it. Whatever it had been. When he hears the mention of Raytech, he straightens in surprise. Dess. The briefest thought slips through everything. After all, she'd just mentioned Raytech to him not too long ago.

"I'd heard about Raytech. You wouldn't happen to be hiring janitors, would you?" Not that he hates his current job, exactly. He's just tired of all the rats. He'd rather clean up after people. Not ratshit.

Even though he's kind of kidding, he wouldn't be against putting in notice and working somewhere else. Though now he does offer his hand out to Kaylee to shake, should she want to. "I should have guessed from the Ray part of your name. Though it's probably not a rare name."

There is a touch of relief at the change of subject, though the mention of Kaylee's family's company earns a sheepish look. "Well… we wanted to build a brighter future for everyone and our children." That is, of course, what they say… though it goes much deeper than that.

The whisper of that name, it pulls Kaylee like a moth to a flame - or maybe a snake to a birds nest, doubly so the way the sound of his mind changes. "So y'all are familiar with us? Good. We are always hiring new people. I'm sure there is a place for you, there. Janitors are may have a spot for you. We have a lot of new projects coming along, and my sister Valerie is going to be heading a team to help with cleaning up parts of the city."

A look moves between them both, "Y'all should come down to the office. It isn't as fancy as out factory in Detroit, but… you can still check us out. See if it is a place you might be interested in."

"That's an admirable goal," Lynette says to Kaylee, her words sincere. "I have been feeling for a while like… I wish that we'd had the freedom to think about the future more. With the Ferry. I'm happy to hear you have your eyes on it now." She thinks herself a bit distant from the more wide sweeping issues these days. Her little facility. Her small flock. Her new family.

"He's an electrician, really," she points out, taking Mateo's hand to give it a squeeze. "Just working on getting certified to work in the US. But he's good at the work. I have a facility in Mexico that can attest to it." Since her word might be a little bias. "Let me know about Valerie's project. I'd love to help. And we always have people here who… need a project." Yes.

"Electrical engineer, I actually worked at a few power plants. All in South America, though." There's that sound again, this time like the crackling of a fire, even louder than when they talked about his other halfs. But Mateo just keeps talking, as if he's trying to ignore it. "But the systems are basically the same no matter where you are. Just need to pass the tests so that I can work here, and the tests only happen once a year, in April." He sounds hopeful, he's even gotten some books to refresh himself on everything, catch up on what innovations had been made and specifically what the Safe Zone will actually test on.

"But until then, janitor. It's not as fancy or as well paying, but I didn't want to just live off of Lynette's good will anymore." He'd done that enough in Mexico as it was— now that they'd married, he wanted to contribute. In more than just helping out around the Benchmark.

Cleaning up a city is admirable, but he's sure that, one day, he might well be able to get a job at one of the places that supplies power to this city.

"Well, my brother spent to much time stopping the worst futures, he felt it was time to build one." Lynette at least would understand that reference. Since Kaylee's father Edward Ray was well known to the Ferrymen.

"I am the woman to talk to about jobs, I am the COO for the company. People and contracts are my thing." Hands are spread with a smile. "I can talk to our legal department and see if there is a way we can use your talents before the test." Her smile tugs to one side, brows furrowing a little, though not about what she is talking about. "We are doing a lot of work in solar, trying to get the Safe Zone sustainable so that brownouts are less of an issue for the residents."

It is taking everything in the telepath not to ask about what she is hearing. Telling people about her ability, it is a delicate subject that can often drive people away. But, this is too much like when her attacker covered up his approach. However, finally, it is too much… the anxiety of it driving her to suddenly ask, "So, I have to ask. Has…has Lynette ever talked about me. What I do?" A glance goes the woman in question curious.

"I liked the idea of having a househusband," Lynette says, grinning into the rim of her coffee as she takes a sip. "But he insisted. And he wasn't living of my good will, he worked in trade." His jobs around the center were many and varied, after all.

Lynette nods at the mention of Kaylee's brother. "Well. For what it matters, you all have my support in that."

She seems content to let them talk about work and legal things, but when the questions come back around to powers, she sits up a little straighter. "No, of course not," she says, setting her mug down. She remember the looks Kaylee used to get. But even as she says it, something clicks and she looks at Mateo, then back to Kaylee. "Oh god. You can hear it." The words slip out, really, but Lynette is too busy looking concerned for the both of them to notice.

In trade. "Is that what we're calling it?" Mateo has to laugh, genuinely amused by, well. Some of the things he did to work off his personal debts in Mexico. Though they'd never have called it that, surely. It's still amusing, though, makes that sound settle back down again, for a moment. Sure, he'd helped rewire the place some, did some odd jobs here and there, but a majority of his time had been spent as entertainment. For her personally, or for everyone with the piano and guitar.

"I don't think so, no," he responds, trying to think of anything that he might have heard about this young woman's help. He knows she's not Nicole, the Nemesis to her Zeus. And he knows she could not have been another one of the Olympians he'd heard about… He knows what had happened to them.

But then Lynette seems to realize something, and what she says… She can… hear it? For a moment his thoughts creep through, until that noise explodes again. This time it show son his face, like tension, like a sudden headache, tilting his head away as his hand goes up to his neck, to rub at his hairline. And it sounds worse, like the gnashing of teeth, the crunching of bones.

But thankfully, the lights don't flicker.

"S-s-so he's not…" Kaylee winches at the sudden explosion of sound in her head. No, he is definitely not trying to block her out. A hand comes up, as if she could block it that way, eyes pinches as if trying to ignore a loud sound in the room. "Oh my god…" She huffs out, finally looking at him again.

"I…. I'm sorry." Kaylee steps away from them, putting a little distance, though it doesn't help much. "I didn't mean…" she starts… trails off, then explains, "The… man that tried to kill me, knew what I was and covered up his thoughts with music… I thought," Kaylee tries to calm her nerves, "I thought maybe you had told him I was a telepath," The last directed to Lynette, her tone says it was just an innocent question.

Lynette gives that joke a sidelong look, but there's also a smile for it that might be classified as knowing. Not that they ever called it that.

The amusement isn't to last, though, because Lynette leaves her coffee behind to come over to Kaylee to put a hand on her back. Her own mind seems to purposefully calm, the mental sound of breathing to ease her own tension. For both Kaylee and Mateo's sakes. "No no, he's not. You're safe," she says, her voice echoing that calm. "I'm sorry, it didn't occur to me that you would hear it or I would have warned you. It's part of his power, he's not doing it on purpose."

With her hand staying on Kaylee to help ground her, she looks over at Mateo. To check on him, too. She looks ready to go back and forth between them, should the need arise. "We had a traitor," she explains for him, but as simply as she can, "back when we were in exile. He tried to kill her so she wouldn't find him out." That situation was a mess. This one might be a bit of one, too. "You're okay, Kaylee," she says back to the other woman, "You're okay." It's a mantra, one Mateo is familiar with, trying to be calm and steady to help Kaylee be calm, too.
She can hear it.

Well, Mateo had already known it was all in his head, but that she can hear it also gives a clue as to what her ability is… A telepath. Even with the noise, some thoughts do still make it through. At first she hears his disbelief, his concern. And then a soft like mamá. While some of his thoughts might be in Spanish, mamá is easy to identify.

As Lynette tries to comfort her, and explains why such things might have impacted her, he just nods and tries to concentrate on one of the few things he knows that quiets it down—

The woman next to him. If she did look at his mind, past the sounds, she'd see flashes of Lynette. It's enough to quiet it back down to that whisper. Enough to allow him to stop looking stressed. "Sorry. It— I'm not used to anyone actually hearing it. My ability's just kind of a noisy bastard." Whether he's using it or not.

"I'm okay." Kaylee says softly to Lynette, nodding her towards Mateo who obviously needs her more.

Taking a deep calming breath, the telepath nods. "You could say that again," she offers with a small chuckle. "Normally, all I hear is a distinct hum or the occasional loud thought. Not you though." Now, that the proverbial cat is out of the bag, she asks, "Do the sounds always change like that. Like when I first arrived your mind was like the sound of the ocean." Kaylee's head tilts a little, though only to consider the man across from her.

Lynette lingers, just making sure Kaylee is really okay (or getting there), before she steps back over to Mateo. Her hands move to cup his face, and she leans in to rest her forehead against his. He doesn't get the mantra, but she steps into him, like sheer closeness might help settle him.

"I trust her," she says to him, perhaps to help him gauge how much to say. She won't answer for him, much like she didn't tell him about Kaylee's ability. Everyone gets to explain as much as they're comfortable with. But before he can, she presses a kiss to his cheek and then the other. And then she eases back from him, but not away. Her hand trails down to take his, so she can keep hold of him. An anchor in all that ocean Kaylee's hearing in his head.

With a nod in response, Mateo quietly confirms that, yes, it changes like that. "It's always noise, often something very… with a nature sound to it. Destructive nature, normally. The beach isn't unpleasant, I'll admit." It's the others that get worse and worse. That's what it had sounded like, an escalation of sound from safe to outright dangerous. As those kids from another future might have even called it, primal.

"It's actually how my ability sounds when I use it, in its rawest form," he explains. For a moment, if she's paying attention, she could see the flash of a ring of dark lightning, surrounding a swirling, gapping maw. That sound almost filters out, like all the sounds all at once. And a beckoning. Not unlike that snake that whispers in her head sometimes, telling her to use her ability.

His just doesn't use words. It feels more like gravity, like a pull.

His hand tightens against Nette's, using that physical closeness to help keep it quiet— er. Even at the softest whisper, it never quite goes away.

Kaylee understand the call of power, even now she can feel it wanting to unwind and stretch, almost seeming to react to the other call of power. It has her head slowly nodding, understanding, from what she allows herself to see of his. Afraid of letting herself fall down that rabbit hole. “I… understand the annoyance of a noisy ability.” A motion is made to her own head. “And…” she sighs, “…the call of that power, though not in the same way. My ability, it whispers to me… tempts me to use it. Joseph…” Her head tilts a little, as if listening to something… mostly a certain humm in a crowd of them, her shoulders relax a little. “Grounds me and gives me focus…. Gives me strength to fight it.” She doesn’t really tell people that, of course, he husband knows.

“Much like Lynette does for you,” Mateo is given a soft smile, offered to her friend as well. Kaylee gets it in her own way.

Beaches might not be unpleasant, but they are their own type of destruction. Slowly, over time. It's a thought that brings a frown to Lynette's face and her free hand moves to cover his, as if she might be able to stop it somehow.

Her attention turns to Kaylee, though, her head tilting a little as she listens. Her expression turns sympathetic, her thoughts, too. She didn't know that about her friend's ability, but she knows it can't be easy to live with. Her own ability is different. A sense more than a noise, a tingle under her skin. The odd man out, but she understands all the same. "Maybe you two could help each other," she notes, since below them are rooms full of people who find solace and comfort in shared experiences. It's her thing now, even though she rarely partakes herself. "Fighting against something like that all the time, it might be nice to have someone to… connect to. To call on." She certainly doesn't mind being Mateo's support, and she knows Joseph doesn't mind being Kaylee's, but support is one of those things a person probably can't have too much of.

Whispers. The constant reminder of power— Yes, Mateo understands it, even if his ability doesn’t use words. Just the crushing sound of destruction. Slow or fast, but destruction. Turning his hand, he grasps his wife’s right back, liking the feel of her arm. “She’s my tether keeping me from falling away, sometimes.” He’s not even afraid to admit that out loud. He’d pretty much said as much to her before. The connection that keeps him from just closing his eyes and letting it all go. He doesn’t even know how he lived with that noise until he’d met her.

Then again, he really hadn’t. He’d avoided people, avoided areas where he could do the most damage, and practically lived out of a bag in the scrublands, sleeping on the ground. The only thing that had ever come close to quieting it had been when he played music. And when he’d rescued Silvia. The first thing he’d ever done that made him pleased with himself in a very long time.

“My— “ he glances at Lynette, then back to Kaylee as he continues, “My mother had telepathy.” Talking about his mother had always been a sensitive subject. This, however, he’d never told Lynette. He’d hinted he knew about abilities for a while, even before it had been revealed to the world with the first Midtown Bomb, but never why or how. “I don’t know if hers urged her on like ours does, but I do think we could help each other. At least to empathize.”

Part of him thinks of Dess again, for a moment. The way his mind says her name is odd, not Dez, like in Desdemona. But Dess. Like Odessa.

“Maybe…” Kaylee concedes studying Mateo for a long moment. “I fear what I would become without Joseph… and even now the kids. If I would finally give into it. I will always be walking a tightrope, with my ability.” She motions to him. “Much like you if feels like,” she admits with some humor, a smile touching her lips.

“I’ve… heard of others who have given into it…” Kaylee looks down, not really able to look at them for the moment, her fingers twist the wedding ring on her finger, a nervous habit when her anxiety is up. “But, I don’t think I have ever met anyone who continues to fight it.” She gives a small nervous laugh, looking up, eyes brighter with the threat of tears. “There is a little comfort in knowing I am not the only one fighting something like this… but I’m also sorry, that you have, too. It’s a hell of a thing.”

"He says that, but he's the one doing the work. Like you are. I wish— " I wish I could take it away— "it was easier. For both of you." Lynette's urges are of a different nature, but she can understand a little. Enough that she knows how easy it would be to let go, and how much work it is to hang on.

"I didn't know it was like that for you, Kaylee," she says, "I'm so sorry, that must be so difficult." And times like these, her own nervous habit was always cigarettes. But there aren't any of those around, so her fingers twitch against Mateo's hand, as if one might manifest there for her. "You're always welcome here. I know you know that, but— Everyone downstairs, they're like Joseph. They know what it can be like. If you ever want to partake." She'd offered the same to Mateo, when she first learned about the pull of his ability, too.

She looks over at him, her head tilting when he mentions his mom. It isn't a subject she's asked much about. There are sort of a number of things like that between the pair of them. "Did she?" Her words are quiet, like she's not sure she should speak at all.

“I think it was different for … my mother,” Mateo hesitates, obviously wanting to use the more familiar name. His mind’s repeating it enough when he tries to say it, but his mother sounds better when he uses it before others. And it distances his thoughts from the memory of what happened when he lost her. “But I never really got a chance to talk to her about it.” That’s as much as he’ll give on that, but it seemed like the only time he would ever bring it up, with the current topic of a telepath in the room.

There’s that pull again, that sound. This time more like a buzzing of electricity. That’s the most dangerous sound of all, for him. The lights flicker. But the electricity doesn’t solidify into anything, as he takes in a slow breath. The electricity in the air dissipates even before it has a chance to form. Mateo lets out a breath he didn’t realize he’d held for a moment. “The counselors here are good. I haven’t had to talk to the ones here, but the ones in Mexico helped. As much as Lynette. She trained me in control.”

A year ago, he would not have been able to stop after that flicker. Lynette had helped a lot with that.

There is a bit of a dismissal in the wave of her hand, a reassuring look offered to Lynette. “I never talked about. It isn’t something I ever felt like people needed to know… so very few have any idea.” Kaylee smiles a little, as she says, “I think the struggle is a small part of why Joseph decided to shift his goals in life.” More so after helping her through that mental mess she was left in after everything that happened all those years ago.

“Each telepath I have met has been different.” The telepath shrugs a little, turning thoughtful, as she tries to explain. “What our abilities do can be just as different as you and me, but I also believe our experiences in life can affect it, too.”

“That said… I appreciate the offer,” Kaylee chuckles “…but I think having one person in my life analyzing me is more than enough.”

Lynette looks over at Mateo, her head tilting. There are questions, of course. So many questions. But she doesn't voice even one of them. She just gives his hand a squeeze of comfort and looks back over to Kaylee. "No, of course. It's absolutely no one's business." And back in the Island days, any bit of gossip could spread like wildfire, so it was always best to keep your secrets to yourself.

"That's been true in my experience, too. With other electrokinetics. Things can vary so widely. And those who've had calmer lives might not have so much pressing on them." As opposed to everyone here.

The flicker of electricity draws her back to Mateo, even before the lights start to flicker. But she doesn't do anything, just a smile when he gets it back before it starts. "It's the least I can do. I had the privilege of training when I was young. A lot of us didn't. And Kaylee? I understand. If you change your mind, they'll be here."

“I know what you mean, about not wanting people to know,” Mateo responded quietly. “I mean I half thought it was something that… that I was imagining.” In many ways, he knows it is all in his head, but he’d been convinced he’d been going crazy for a while. That it had been a hallucination of some kind. A manifestation in his mind of the guilt, of the pain of having lost his mother. He’d half convinced himself it was depression.

In a way, it had been. It still was. Which might have been why a stabilizing factor had been needed for him to quiet the sheer emptiness that threatened to eat away at him.

“I hadn’t told anyone about it until ‘Nette.” He looks at Lynette, offering her the smallest smile as he squeezed her hand. No one had really needed to know, until her. “If you don’t want counseling, then just me works. I’m not a counselor, so all I can do is listen. We can compare control horror stories.” Cause he can imagine how difficult it might be for her. That voice whispering in her head, the same as the emptiness pulls on his.

“I was never really aware of it, until… Joseph. Until…. I was shown it.” How do you explain the Nightmare Man. “Until then I was blind to it.” Kaylee shrugs. “But yes… “ she says after a moment, a small smile touching her lips, “we can compare horror stories sometime, Mateo.”

There is a moment of hesitation before Kaylee moves to close the distance between her and the newlyweds. “Until then, I believe school will be out soon and Joseph reminded me I promised him I’d come along to pick them up.” Normally, her work schedule did not allow for that, with traveling and meetings. She savored those moments when she could get them.

Kaylee moves to give Lynette a hug, something she has learned over the year, living with a hugger. “I am so happy for you.” The telepath means it. “Thank you, for letting me meet your mystery man, in person.” That last a tease.

It might be strange, that Lynette looks pleased at the pair of them sharing their horror stories. But she does. Not that she wants them to have horror stories, but having an ear helps with the weight. So she eases back from the conversation bits, letting them come to it without her for a moment or two.

"That's not a hard promise to keep," Lynette says with a smile for the kids. Not that she's really a mom mom, and she certainly hasn't been one for long, but the attachment is there all the same. "I hope they're all doing well," she says as she leans in to return the hug. "Thank you," she says, maybe a little sheepishly. She looks back over to Mateo, chuckling at Kaylee's last words. "Of course. I have only begun showing him off." Because he is still gorgeous, whichever timeline he's from.

“I shouldn’t be surprised you have a ton of friends you want to show me off to,” Mateo responds with a grin, not seeming to mind the fact that she wants to show him off, and not even thinking about how he has no one to show her off to himself. All his friends are dead. Or in Argentina. Or both. And some of his “friends” he probably never wants to see again, as Lynette might guess from his reluctance to ever speak of his past. The whispered roar almost blocks out a few flashes of people, almost all latinos. But it doesn’t last long— and one of them, a non-latino, might even have a familiar profile, but she can’t quite place it.

“We don’t want to keep you from seeing your kids, but it was really nice to meet you.” He had someone he could talk to about the noise, the feelings, but it’s different. Part of him wished he’d had his mother to speak to. “Come by again anytime you want to talk, and I may stop in and put in an application at Raytech, too.”

Cause really, he is tired of cleaning up after rats.

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