New Year's Garden


abby_icon.gif alexander_icon.gif anne_icon.gifben_icon.gif brian_icon.gif cat_icon.gif eve_icon.gif grace_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jezebel_icon.gif miriam_icon.gif sonny_icon.gif

Scene Title New Year's Garden
Synopsis In celebration of the impending New Year, the Ferrymen hold a party at the Garden — complete with food, alcohol, and the intent to nuke the world, or at least Grace, Abby, and Jezebel, back to the Stone Age. Conversational subjects vary widely.
Date December 31, 2008

The Garden, Staten Island

Jezebel is greeting Cat at the door. Apparently the party's just getting started. There's lots to eat and drink, a Christmas tree to admire and even mistletoe hung up with a red ribbon.

She is indeed at the door, being admitted by Jezebel. Cat's got her guitar case over one shoulder and a backpack over the other. Contrary to how she normally appears, beyond the gear she's carrying, the brunette's in a knee length navy blue dress with complementary pumps, the heel two inches, and a long coat. "Happy New Year," she greets in return, taking some moments afterward to let her eyes wander. "I can't be the first to arrive, can I?"

Jezebel replies, "Apparently you are. Let's get you settled. What can I take off your shoulders? Did you have trouble getting here, or getting down the driveway? I did my best, but I only affect plants, not snow and ice."

She musters a slight smile in answer to the confirmation of being first, and sets down her gear near her feet so the coat can be removed. "I've just started to think over what to keep in easy reach," Cat states. The guitar case, of course. I've got a small amp in there, and some sheet music I wrote down this morning to show Anne. Hopefully I can talk her into playing with me when she gets here." The coat is handed off gently for the hostess to take. "Thank you for offering, and no, no troubles."

Jezebel nods. "I'll just stick this upstairs," she says as she takes the coat. "Will you and Anne want chairs from the kitchen? I can't imagine how one would play a guitar well on the floor."

"We can think about that when the time comes," Cat answers. "I'm used to standing when I play, anyway." She takes a few steps further into the house and moves for a seat, after lifting up the guitar case and backpack to keep nearby. "I believe, at least, Anne is coming. Stormy asked if I'd be playing here, I said I would, she seemed to think Anne was also coming." A grin forms. "It may be a surprise to her, that I've thought about getting her to play, but surprises can be good."

Jezebel chuckles and hurries off upstairs with the coat. When she returns, she says, "What can I get you? And how did saving Rickman go? I heard he's alive, but no details."

"It was interesting, to say the least," Cat replies, her features taking on a measure of solemnity and uncertainty. It's starting to trigger things she hadn't wanted to think of, to remember, at a party least she become melancholy or worse and drag everybody down. And to speak of business, well, the details are not party friendly.

"It's an interesting story, that one." Her head tilts and a question is asked. "Will the Giants repeat?"

Jezebel says, "Honestly, I have no idea. All I know about football is that the Redskins aren't doing particularly well, which is typical. We don't have a TV here, or I might know more."

"Redskins, please," Cat scoffs good naturedly. "We're New Yorkers, those other guys are just out there." Success. Now she won't get prodded to explain how she had to help put back in the Rickham bits that got outside. When she finds a seat she settles into it, one hand smoothing out her dress in back and legs crossing at the ankles, while hands fold neatly in her lap. Her back is straight, a display of blue blood society upbringing.

"You may be a New Yorker," Jezebel points out. "I grew up with the Skins. They're the only team I care about. Normally I don't follow sports at all." She sits down on a floor cushion halfway between the kitchen and the front door.

Her head tilts, and Cat considers replying to what was just said. The dilemma: to call someone on supporting New York stuff after choosing to live in New York, or let it go. Option B wins. She simply smiles and lets the declaration slide by.

Jezebel asks Cat, "Did you hear something? Perhaps you need a rum ball. It's a secret family recipe. The rum balls work wonders. Two rum balls and you won't care about the Redskins. Three and you probably won't care if the Redskins beat the Giants."

The party seems to be in its early stages. There's a wreath on the door of the house and lights inside. A magnificent pine tree to one side of the house, at least two stories to the house's three, is all lit up in a rainbow of colors.

It would be a perfect time for someone else to arrive and knock at the door, thus sparing her from Jezebel's full attention. Cat, seated on a chair with her legs crossed at the ankles and hands folded neatly in her lap, displaying blue blood social upbringing, is smiling politely in answer to the question she was just asked. "I'll keep that in mind," she states with a smile forming.

Jezebel smiles at Cat. Jezebel is seated on one of the floor cushions, as best she can manage while in a dress. "If you really need cheering up, I can make glogg, but that stuff is dangerous."

And that knock comes. What timing! Standing outside in a stylish coat is Dr. Sonny Bianco. He's holding a rather large tray.

Her eyes travel toward the door when the knock comes, and back to Jezebel. "Who do you think gets to be second arrival, Jezebel?" Cat asks. Fingers remain where they are in the lap of her navy blue dress.

Jezebel gets up from the floor, saying, "Beats me," and answers the door. "Oh, hi! Happy New Year! Let me take the tray. I'm Jezebel, and you are…?"

Grace shows up on Sonny's heels, as it were; there's nothing fancy about her appearance today in the least. She's wearing a slightly-nicer-than-casual sky-blue blouse under her brown coat, along with standard black jeans, and carries a foil-covered dish of her own. While she could reply for Sonny, Grace just smiles faintly and lets him introduce himself.

"Uh, Bianco. Sonny Bianco. I take it I'm at the right place, then?" The doc grins a bit sheepishly to Jezebel, then steps inside. "If you'd take it for a minute, just so I can…oh, hello." He glances back over his shoulder towards Grace.

She stands when the door is opened and a man she hasn't met is seen there, along with Grace, but Cat remains where she is, leaving them time to get through the door and become comfortable before approaching. Her eyes wander a bit, to take in the decor and find something she can keep her mind occupied with, something other than the tree.

Jezebel smiles brightly at Sonny as she takes the tray. "Yes, you are. Come in, come in! Grace, it's very good to see you again. I trust all is well? Did you have trouble getting here? I'll grab that in just a second. The lady with the guitar is Cat, who might play for us later if we're very nice."

Grace smiles at Sonny. It could almost be called a smirk. "Hello," she replies in kind. Then her gaze flicks past him to Jezebel. "'Morning, Jezebel. All is well; Alistair and Scott promised to be along later. Alistair probably wasn't even lying about it," the woman remarks with a hint of a grin. "No trouble, and don't trouble yourself; I can put it on the table."

"Well, at least there's someone here who can vouch for me," Sonny flashes a grin to Grace. But there's something more…troubled beneath the doctor's polite and cheerful facade. He tugs off his jacket and unwraps his scarf, then moves to help Jezebel with the tray. The guitar-woman is looked towards. "Hello Cat. I'm Sonny. I'm the emergency backup doctor when you can't get ahold of people who can heal."

She doesn't actually have the guitar on her person, it's in the case near her feet. When they've entered, Cat makes her way over and speaks. "Hello, Grace," she offers, then turns toward the man. One hand extends to shake; the five foot eight inch brunette replies, "I'm Cat, of many professions." She flashes a smile of playfulness. "I'm pleased to meet you, Sonny."

Jezebel goes to the nearest folding table and sets the tray down, then gets the top off. "It was really good of you to bring things," she says to Sonny and Grace, "thank you. Can I get either of you anything?"

The woman chuckles dryly as she makes her way towards the tables. "You wouldn't be here if Wireless hadn't given you an invite," Grace points out. "I wouldn't turn down a glass of water," she remarks to Jezebel. About as simple a request as there could possibly be.

"Likewise. I'm happy for this opportunity. I feel like I don't meet many people. Though," he glances over his shoulder towards the dark-haired woman, "…as I've said to Grace, that's probably not such a bad thing given my position." His smile is slightly tighter. The doc's dressed in a neat suit and a festive silver silk tie. Quite the contrast from the first time Grace saw him in an old snow jacket and a toque. The tray, when Jezebel uncovers it, reveals about two dozen petit fours of all different varieties. "Uh, well, if there's coffee on, that would be nice? If not, whatever everyone else is having." Then he glances to Cat and reaches to shake her hand. He squeezes gently. "A pleasure. So. Are you going to lead us in a rousing rendition of Auld Lang Syne? Or should that wait until we've all had copious amounts of booze?"

Jezebel begins to walk toward the kitchen. "Grace, do you want ice in that? Sonny, I'll bring the coffee maker out here and make a pot for you. I should have thought of coffee. I'm afraid we don't have really good coffee, or syrups."

The hand he shakes has warm and smooth skin, but with calluses at the fingertips as evidence of time spent playing guitar. Her grip is firm, but not crushingly so, testifying further to her passion for music. Cat chuckles as she releases, and answers "I may, at that. I've a decent rock soprano voice to go along with the guitar. But I'm not certain if getting drunk is such a good idea for me right now." Her smile remains, and she doesn't elaborate on why as she moves along toward the tables.

"You and I can be the sober ones, Cat," Grace remarks. She steps away from the table, looking curiously around at the decorations. "Sure," she calls over to Jezebel. Then the woman smiles wryly at Sonny. "Hey, no one said you had to come. But everyone needs to unwind sometime." She waves a hand at him in a shooing motion. "Maybe you should go ahead and start on the booze." Which is to say, relax!

"Oh, if no one else is having coffee, don't go to all that trouble on my account. Just feels a little early for spirits," Sonny looks from Jezebel, then down to Grace. "I suppose this is as casual a party as I could ever go to. One where people aren't sidling up to me for makeover or political favours." Not that his ego really minds that all that much. He glances back to Cat. "When is getting drunk ever really a good idea? With the exception of crushing break-ups?"

Jezebel calls over her shoulder right before she disappears into the kitchen, "There's eggnog, wassail and mulled cider. I didn't spike any of it. If you want glogg, let me know, but I think the rum balls are a safer option."

"It has its time and place," Cat replies with a muted grin, "but recent days aren't it." Her eyes lower for a moment as she chases something away from her mind and looks back up to make eye contact. "So, anyway, Doctor Sonny, is that your whole name? And would it surprise you if I'm also a Doctor?" As she grabs some bits of food and a plate to hold them, there's a flash of playfulness to her features.

"Pretty much," Grace agrees with Sonny. She peers in the direction of the kitchen, a curious frown creasing her brow. "While Scott would never let me live it down, I have to admit — I haven't the foggiest idea what 'glogg' is," she calls to Jezebel. "Except that it's apparently alcoholic." That deduction is easy enough.

"I have no idea what glogg or wassail is," says Sonny with a grin. "But cider sounds nice. Something warm to chase the cold away." He looks to Cat again and tilts his head, somewhat matching the playfulness. "It wouldn't surprise me, no. And my full name? Salvatore Raul Bianco. Mouthful isn't it?" His eyebrows arch and he chuckles. "Are you a medical doctor, or?"

Jezebel disappears for about a minute. She returns with a real glass, filled with water and ice cubes. Jezebel hands the glass to Grace. "Wassail is good stuff; it's the pinkish punch. Glogg is something Swedish. It's killer stuff, especially since I can never get it to flame right. Always sip the glogg. Never chug-a-lug the glogg."

"Salvatore Raul Blanco," Cat repeats. "I'll remember that." Her hand holds the food she's taken, but none is eaten yet as she converses. "And I'm a Juris Doctor." A few seconds are spent in thought, calling up something from memory, perhaps, and she speaks again, this time in Italian to test herself a bit. Except for Cat it really isn't a test at all. "Do you speak Italian, Salvatore? My full name is Catherine Arden Chesterfield."

Grace inclines her head to Jezebel as she accepts the glass. She takes a couple sips of the water before speaking again. "Doesn't seem all that long," she remarks to Sonny. "I will keep that in mind," is the woman's dry response to Jezebel's elaboration. Since she drinks little (though not no) alcohol, it won't be a different warning to follow. Cat's foray into Italian is met with a raised eyebrow from Grace, who clearly doesn't speak it herself. Though the gist can be interpolated from the use of names.

"That…sounds like exceedingly good advice," says Sonny to Jezebel. "I think I'll play it safe and stay with the cider for now? Maybe if things get a little wild later on, I'll join in." Then Cat's speaking Italian and the doc looks rather sheepish. "My uncle Victor would be ashamed of me, but I got 'do you speak Italian' and then your name. I'm afraid I'm several generations' worth of New York Italian, which means I speak street thug more than I speak la lingua di arte e di poesia." Though he manages to roll that off his tongue quite well. "I suppose, being a lawyer, you'll rattle something off to us in Latin now?"

Jezebel quips, "No, it'll be lawyerese. Fortunately, I speak that." Jezebel helps herself to a glass of eggnog. Perhaps all the talking is making her thirsty.

"I never even looked at a book on Latin," Cat replies with a grin, "so no spouting of it. Except for the various terms from law school. Music is so much more fun than law anyway," she asserts. "Being stuck in a corporate office, I think being shot would be kinder." Her words are punctuated with a laugh. When silent again, she pops a bit of food into her mouth and looks for a cup or glass of something with no alcohol. A glance goes to Grace and Jezebel for a moment. "I'm sorry about the Italian, I like to practice sometimes." Then her eyes are on the doctor again.

The party seems to be underway. There's a wreath on the door of the house and lights inside. A magnificent pine tree to one side of the house, at least two stories to the house's three, is all lit up in a rainbow of colors.

Grace makes a mock-warding gesture at the mention of 'lawyerese'. "No doublespeak at the party, please!" And she waves a dismissive hand at Cat's apology. The ringing of her own phone forestalls whatever the woman would've said, however, and she retreats away from the knot of conversation to answer it.

"That's one of the beautiful parts about being open about my ability. I got my own clinic shortly after that and didn't have to answer to anyone anymore. It's…more like a spa than an office." Sonny looks sheepish and scratches at the side of his neck. "But that was my PR peoples' doing. Since I rarely wield a scalpel these days, they decided on a less medical atmosphere." Hard to tell what Sonny thinks of that from the way he says it. He moves off just long enough to pour himself a glass of cider, then returns.

"What is your ability, Sonny?" Cat asks this with some curiosity, glancing at Grace as the phone rings and she heads off to answer it, then returning attention to the doctor. Her own isn't spoken of at the moment, while a bit more food is taken into her mouth and slowly chewed.

Instead of knocking on the door like most people would, Eve just walks right in. That's ok of course because she sometimes lives in the Garden when not sleeping in her own apartment. She is wearing a golden color dress along with a nice pair of heels. Her hair is done up and she has a little makeup on. She must have had a show today? She carries with her a big pot of pasta. "Hello everyone!" she says and the seer looks plenty tired, she must not be sleeping well lately. A kiss to the cheek is given to Jezebel as she places the pot on the table.

Sonny arches his brows to Cat. "Surprised you don't know. Though, that could just be my ego," he chuckles, then moves to try one of the cakes he brought. "I'm not sure the precise name for it. The short version? I can perform plastic surgery without ever cutting the skin." He doesn't ask what hers is in return. Not everyone in the Ferrymen is Evolved, after all. But he does look at her quite curiously. He glances up as Eve enters. He's wearing a nice suit and a silver silk tie. In addition to the cake, he's also holding a mug of cider. He's standing by Cat.

The stamping of feet, to knock off any dirt and snow can also be heard as Abby returns to a place she knows well. Jezebel's garden. Temporary home at one point. "Hello?" She's not far behind Eve, not anywhere as dressed up as Eve, but she bears an apple pie that looks homemade and could reach the sky. A dozen apples died for this pie. The blue eyed woman looks around, taking in who all's there and makes her way to Jezebel and Eve to deposit and pie with the other food. "Hello Jez. Eve" She plucks her gloves off, loosening them with her teeth first and stuffing them into a pocket. There nods for the rest of the group as they come into her view. "Merry Christmas, to the both of you."

Standing next to Sonny in a navy blue dress which reaches her knees and two inch heeled dark pumps, Cat glances over as Eve and Abby arrive, greeting both of them, and tapping her plate of sausage balls as she looks over toward Jezebel. "These are really good," she offers with a smile, before turning back to the doctor. "Plastic surgery without tools. That's interesting," she remarks. "I'll remember that."

Jezebel sets her goodies down and goes over to hug Eve. "Eve, it's good to see you. Busy schedule? My parents would have killed me if I hadn't hopped down for Christmas. Abby, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Did you make the pie? It looks great. I'm sorry about the lack of furniture. We really, really need someone with a pickup truck."

Eve gathers Abby in a hug and winks at the young woman, "How are you?" she asks warmly and looks at Abby before glancing at Cat, "Hm, Phoenix right? I don't think we ever officially met." Eve says to the fellow musician. Eve grins at Jezebel, "No prob sis, we just need to go and see dad's old auto shop soon. See if it will be worth re-opening."

Hug, it's a hug. Abby endures it with all politeness. It's Eve. "Yes. I got off work early and studied some things while making it." Abby pulls from the hug as soon as is politely possible, sliding off her jacket. 'It looks the same, just, without the bikes everywhere. Conrad has an old VW van i'm sure you could borrow" Oblivious to the fact that the van she got picked up in was stolen. "I'm okay Eve. Ready for christmas to be over and the new year to start. I'm uh, maybe going to school, paramedic. Just waiting now to see if i've been accepted or not. How are you both? I'm sorry I haven't been back here to visit"

"That's me," Cat replies to Eve's question. "I'm with Phoenix, and I'm Cat." Her eyes remain on the dreamer for a moment or three as she takes in another sausage ball and chews carefully, her mouth remaining closed and rude smacking noises being avoided.

Jezebel adds, "The nice man over there is Sonny. Sonny, Eve's my half-sister and this is Abby. The two of you may or may not want to talk shop. Abby, I think it'll be wonderful if you get accepted. Eve, I'm not going out tomorrow. Everyone else will be drunk or hung over."

"It's no big deal Abs. We've all been busy. Paramedic huh? How about I try to dream how it goes for you?" Eve grins and then nods her head at Cat. "Eve, nice to meet you. I'll have to get together with you and the other people of Phoenix, have some things to talk to you guys about." Eve doesn't really want to get into all depressed news and such at a holiday party, so she gives the invitation to talk about it later. Sonny is given a smile and nod, "Nice to meet you." She says softly and then she wonders aloud, "Is everyone here Evolved?"

Sonny lets the women have their introductions and hellos without butting in with any of his own for the moment. He stands near the edge and lifts a hand when things settle down a bit. "I'm Sonny. I'm the guy you call if she's busy," He motions to Abby and gives the healer a warm grin. "And yes, I'm Evolved." Registered. Advertised. Broadcasted.

"If you do Eve, just uhh tell me if I meet anyone with not so nice intentions again?" Abby smiles to the Seer before she nods to Jezebel. "I met Sonny, I just didn't get his name. Was a little busy at the time taking over from him" She offers her hand to Sonny though. "Abigail Beauchamp. I know Cat already. I've met her on more than a few times. I'm not with the ferryman or Phoenix, i'm just… someone they call in. But it's nice to meet you again, and not with a patient. Hello cat" No offer of handshake to the other woman, she alreayd knew her and Abby really wasn't much the huggy person. "Theres umm.. pie"

Her head tilts a bit when Eve says they need to talk about some things. There's curiosity, but also a desire to not talk business here at a party. "Good to meet you, Eve," she offers. "Where would I find you, outside of here?" And Cat laughs quietly, choosing not to answer about her Evolved status. "I'll remember you need to see me," is all she says on that score.

Jezebel offers, "I'll go get something to serve the pasta and pie. Is there anything anyone else would like while I'm in the kitchen?"

"Ahh wait, you are the plastic surgeon." Eve says simply to Sonny and then nods at Cat. "Likewise, you can find me at the Orchid Lounge. I sing there." She tells Cat and shakes her head at Jez. "No thanks."

"Yes I am," says Sonny with a grin and a nod towards Eve. It's the polite, charming smile of his that he puts on in social situations. It does a good job of covering up discomfort or what he might really be feeling. He reaches out to shake Abby's hand. "Sonny Bianco. Did the man you worked on recover all right?"

"I think he was out of there the next day. They didn't call me back again" The healer looks over her shoulder. "I could do with some cofee Jez, if you have any lease" before back to the trio around her. "Plastic surgeon? Thats what you do when your not" There's a motion to around them, keeping eyes and tabs on the on the other two and splitting her attention. "I work at a bar when i'm not.. you know. Doing gods work"

"Orchid Lounge," Cat repeats. "I won't forget." Then she takes a glass of cider and answers Jezebel. "No, thank you," she offers, before giving attention to Sonny again. She didn't answer the question about her status, but she's spoken of remembering or not forgetting a few times now. Is there a pattern, a theme here?

"Don't worry," Jezebel says merrily on her way to the kitchen, "this is an equal opportunity party. Abby, I'll have to make some coffee. I haven't had a chance to go get chocolate-covered espresso beans."

Eve merely nods and then asks Sonny, "How did you get involved with the Ferrymen?" curious that such a public figure would be able to work with the underground resistance members.

"Well, it started out with work just after the bomb. Helping patients. People who had been scarred. Then I met one of your people, and I started volunteering. Secretly, of course." Sonny lifts a shoulder. "I suppose I could change my face, but a little scruff and dressing down does the job almost as well." He looks to Abby. "I do it most of the time. Your wonderful talents means they don't need to rely on me nearly as much as they once did. Which is good, because I can't always make it. And I can't always help."

"Oh, don't worry Jez, I can make do without," Abby assures the woman. Ohh chocolate covered espresso beans.. that's added to her mental list as another caffine delivery system. "I do what I can, when they call me. I can't always help. Some things even I can't take care of" She looks over to Cat. "How Helena? And everyone? I've been occupied and couldn't make it to the library. Everything calmed down?"

"We're good," Cat replies calmly, choosing not to elaborate and bring business into the party, especially not all of that business. "Things are coming together." Then, taking her plate which still has a few sausage balls on it and the glass of cider, Cat retreats to the background to sit and relax, letting conversation go on around her.

Jezebel says, "Okay, but we still need something to serve the pie. I'll just be a moment."

Eve almost asks how Phoenix is as well but she stops herself; let's not go down that road. Eve eats one of the sausage meatballs and then tilts her head up to the ceiling as she closes her eyes. The dream she has recently had flashes before her eyes, the wolf, the bridges blowing up. But instead of saying anything the precog goes to lean against the wall.

Sonny starts to say something else, but then his phone rings. He glances to the women with an apologetic look, then pulls out the phone and steps away. A short conversation later, then, "I've got to go out for awhile. I'll try to come back in a few hours." And after a lifted hand, he goes for his coat and for the door.

One phone call turned into two, turned into three… but finally business is behind her and Grace is free to rejoin the festivities. Even if people aren't looking particularly festive at the moment. "Well, you all look like you're having just dreadful amounts of fun," the woman observes as she slides her phone back into a pocket, ruined voice dry as desert dust.

Which leaves Abby with Eve. She nods to Sonny before she takes up a spot against the wall with Eve. "You okay? Anything I can help with?" Enter Grace, and Abby flashes the woman a smile. "Terrible huge amounts. It is dreadful. How are you Grace?"

"Oh no it's just the usual, dreams of ultimate destruction and the like." Eve says dryly and rubs her eyes and yawns. She leans her head against the wall and looks at Abby, "So becoming a paramedic huh? You'll be great at it." When Grace re-enters. "You know the party doesn't start until /you/ come here." She teases the woman.

Jezebel returns with a serving spoon, a pie server and a plastic cup filled with forks. "Here we go. If you people don't cheer up after this, I will force-feed you rum balls."

Grace raises a brow at Eve. "I've been here, so your theory's off," she replies with a slight grin. "But hello. And hello, Abby. I'm just fine, thanks. What's this about paramedics?" she asks, as she picks up a plate and studies the pie. Choosing the perfect slice is a difficult and important task, yes indeed.

"Going to try, go to school to become one. Ben and I were talking. I put in my application, and now I'm waiting. I don't think God plans for me to work in a bar forever and someone has mused that I won't have to worry about tuition. I registered now as well. We'll see how that goes. I'll have to learn to restrain myself from trying to heal everyone completely before they can reach the hospital or I'll be asleep on the job." The blonde pulls off an internal prayer, moving her hand to brush against Eve's to see if there's anything that could use a tweak, a headache to relieve or anything else of that sort.

A headache would be found by Abby and Eve smiles softly at Abby, "I couldn't see you working in a bar, how is it?" she asks and winks at Grace. "Well now that you are back, let's get the party started."

Jezebel eats pasta and pie. "These are so good. Grace, you must try them. Hmm, we can't discuss sports or work. We must think of something."

Grace blinks at Abby. "Bartending is definitely not the profession I'd expect for you," she agrees with Eve, smiling at the healer. Settling on a slice of pie and absconding with it to eat, the woman turns her attention to Jezebel. "Did Alistair somehow manage to not leave you any games or anything at all?"

Jezebel thinks for a moment. "I believe we have Monopoly and Nuclear Escalation upstairs somewhere. Which is worse, unbridled capitalism or nuking the world?"

Abby's hand still rests on Eve's to help her out slowly. "They call me the Nun. It's not.. ideal but it pays better than the nite owl and the same hours. Isabelle's alot more forgiving if I have to take off or if I come in late. Something I admit, that I'm taking advantage of far too often. I'll still do it through school, I have to pay the rent and eat, but I'll get through, I always do." Games! She likes games. "Nuclear Escalation?"

"Capitalism for two points." Eve says with a grin and then goes to get a slice of pie, then she returns to her leaning against the wall. She smiles in relief at Abby's healing touch and she gives the girl a squeeze of her hand in thanks.

"I have never heard of Nuclear Escalation," Grace points out, around bites of pie. "I like new games. Especially if I can learn them before Scott does and trounce him at them later," the woman adds, with a subtle smile.

Jezebel says, "Scott might know this one. It looks old, but not as old as Monopoly. The game uses cards and a spinner and we get to try to nuke the world. I'll go up and get it."

"oh, maybe that one will be better, take less time" Taking her hand from Eve's since she's helped her as much as she can, a quiet series of whispers to Eve before Abby maneuvers to fetch some Pasta. Pie later. Carbs are heaven. "Who's Scott?"

Eve nods her head and smiles warmly in Abby's direction before taking a bite of her pie. "I'm game for, any game?"

"He's one of my partners, along with Alistair. Tends not to come out in public so much," Grace explains for Abby. Plate cleared, she wanders down the table to refill it with munchie-type-things. "And yeah, he probably knows every 'nuke them all' game in existence. Can't blame me for trying, though!"

Jezebel hurries upstairs and returns in a minute or three with the game. "Here we are. I read the rules once, but no one's wanted to play. We each get dealt population. If you lose all your population, you're dead. If the last of your population wasn't stolen away by propaganda, you get to fire off all your remaining nukes. Propaganda only works until the nukes start flying. Peace breaks out if someone gets nuked out of existence, well, after the final strikes get resolved."

"Sounds complicated. Like changing the channels with Teo's controller." The healer peels away to find her purse. "Back in a moment I need caffine." Redbulls in her purse. "Just give me whatever country!"

The seer will most likely not win at this but she might as well try to have fun! "I want Russia." Eve says quickly and then brushes a few loose strands of hair out of her face.

While Jezebel's gone to fetch the game, Grace clears off a section of table and assembles chairs around it. "Sounds like fun." Seriously. Abby's comment about changing channels being complicated earns her a sidelong glance from Grace.

Jezebel begins to shuffle the population deck. "You get to pretend to be Russia, Sis. This game isn't that realistic. Let's see, we each get that many cards." She begins to deal. "There are some odd cards, like spies, but most of them have instructions right on the card."

Abby caught the glance from Grace. "What? I can barely text message, and there's so many buttons on the controller. I'm just used to my small TV and my dvd player. Not.. 200 channel of lots of things. It's not like i'm… technologically inclined. Isabelle's computers at the bar scare the boogers out of me. Always afraid i'm going to press the wrong button and the whole thing will go up in flames" Abby takes up her own side of the table, plates of pasta in hand and heaped high. She peers at her cards, flipping them up enough to look at them and pay attention to Jezebel.

"You have to catch up on the times. Get computer lessons from Wireless." Eve says lightly and goes to claim one of the seats as her own. Her heels clink on the floor as she settles in.

Taking her cards, Grace coughs at the suggestion from Eve, then pauses for a sip of water. "Um. Maybe not Wireless," she suggests. "But Alistair? Alistair would be good at that."

"I think i'd run from Wireless. She visited my old place once and that was… very quiet" that's the nice way for Abby to put it. "She, I think, wouldn't tolerate me and my .. proclivities when it comes to technology. I like things simple, really. I miss the nite owl and their old register. Hit the buttons, and the drawer pops open. "I'll think about it though Grace. I might drive him crazy as well."

Jezebel finishes dealing population out and begins to shuffle the other deck. "And we get this many good cards. Remember, play population cards first if you can. I've met Hana. She's intense, but that's not bad."

"I like Hana, she's tough." Eve says and then scratches her head as they begin to play the game.

Grace chuckles briefly. "Maybe, but I doubt it. He should've been a teacher. And he needs to get out more anyway." She studies the cards in hand and the board before them quite intently.

"Population cards! Understood! Alistair. I'm sure you know where my new apartment is. Or cna find it. I'll leave the address for you. Just make sure he calls ahead and after noon, since i sleep before then and no. We don't have a computer at the apartment. Who goes first?" Abby shovels a forkful of pasta into her mouth, a slight groan at the taste, in delight. "It's good Eve"

Jezebel says, "I think I'd better. Let's see, I have to set up weapon development." Jezebel puts three cards face-down in a line. "Missiles have to go before payloads. Check. Do I have a secret? No." She then plays a card from her hand face-down to one side of the line, turns up the card at the front of the line and uses propaganda to swipe 5 million people from Abby. Then she draws a card from the deck and sticks it in her hand.

Eve grins at Abby, "Thanks, I know not many people have had my pasta, it's my specialty." As in the only dish that she makes really good. She then lays a card down and BEGINS TO SET UP THE MISSILES OF DOOM. MUHAHAH. No really.

"Not a problem," Grace informs Abby. She starts to set up her cards, following Jezebel's example — then glowers at her phone when it rings… again. "Speak of the devil," the woman muses, pulling it out of her pocket and looking at the caller ID. "Play around me." A beat. "If I come back and find out you've all nuked my country back into the stone age…" Grace warns jokingly, shaking the phone at the other three. Then she steps out to take the call.

On that note, that's what Abby does. No retaliation to Jezebel yet, that will come later and swiftly. jsut Abby going for the throat, Graces, laying down the necessary cards, swiping men, and picking up a card at the end of her turn. "I have alot of specialty's. My mother was always in the kitchen when we weren't visiting sick parishoners and others" She smiles at that, taking a long gulp from the red bull.

"I should have made you stay here and cook," Jezebel tells Abby. A card is laid down in the Train of Doom and one is flipped up, getting played on Grace for two million people.

Eve continues to prepare her forces of doom. "Jez, sis you are going down." Eve says with a chuckle.

"You should have. Now it's Teo and Alexander who get my cooking. Though I had some christmas dinner made over at the Library, you should have showed up there. Maybe i'll have dinner at the apartment soon and invite you both. Your turn Jezebel, grace is going to have some catching up" Abby grins, enjoying the laid back nature of it all for the moment.

Jezebel draws a card, puts one down in the line and flips up a missile that can carry up to fifty megatons. "I'd love to come, Abby. I spent Christmas down in D.C. with my folks."

"Dinner at your house would be fantastic." Eve says to Abby and then looks to Jez, "How was that? Do they know that you found your half sister?"

"That's good, that you spent it with family" Abby grins, holding her cards and looking between the two sisters.

Jezebel replies, "I told Mom. She can tell Dad on her own. The screaming match over me staying out of school was bad enough. I don't want to hear what's going to get said if Dad hears this."

"Ouch, that is right huh? Your dad doesn't know that he isn't your biological father." Eve winces at the thought of having to find out a kid isn't yours after you have taken care of and loved them so much.

Oh wow, that veered into something Abby's not going to comment on. Just eat her pasta, drink her redbull. Adultery for 500 Alex.

Jezebel admits, "He doesn't. I'm not going to be the one to tell him. I'll always think of him as my father, but that's not going to console him much."

Eve nods her head and then looks at the clock on the wall. "Crap, I get going for my set at the Lounge. I'll see you guys soon." Eve gets up and kisses Jez on the cheek and pats Abby on the shoulder. As she prepares to exit.

"Break a leg Eve! Walk safe" The healer calls after the departing woman before looking to her spot on the table. "well, you take half hers and I'll take half hers and we'll attack grace? and then nuke each other?"

Grace returns as Eve departs, bidding her farewell in passing. She comes back to the table in time to hear Abby's proposal, and snorts. "Hey! What did I say about that?" the woman asks, as she slides back into her seat. "And Alistair's game for tutoring in tech if you are, Abby."

Jezebel answers, "Oh well," as Grace returns and begins to split up Eve's population. Eve's other cards go to the discard pile. "Don't worry, Grace, you've only lost seven million people and I'm going to nuke the world on my next turn."

"Nope, I'm gonna nuke you Jez!" Abby puts down her cards, Eve's population giving her a boost. With a wry grin she looks to the Garden runner and then to Grace. "Tell him to go easy on me. Really, I mean, I can't text without Teo looking over my shoulder. Die juz! in a nukey glory!"

Anne is late for this party. Very late. At least if you think she should've ben around for the opening ceremonies, and such. If there were any. But! She actually has a pretty good reason for having been gone. There were things like volunteering at the shelter going on, and that stuff is important. Anyway. With a backpack filled with goodies, she's made her way here, and after a moment to gather her nerves she knocks firmly on the door. Knockknock!

Grace double-takes at Jezebel. "'Only seven million', she says," the woman remarks to Abby. "I didn't think anyone but top brass and bean-counters could be so cavalier about a number like that." Said with a grin, though. She folds her cards in her hands and watches as Abby attacks Jezebel. "Don't worry. This is Alistair we're talking about."

With Eve having just departed, the three women are seated at a table indoors, apparently finishing up a game of 'Nuclear Escalation'. There's food, drinks, and decorations about the room and its tables, along with a Christmas tree and a sprig of red-ribboned mistletoe. "Hey, Jezebel — sounds like more company." Not that Grace needed to tell her that.

Jezebel nods and gets up. "Grace, would you put people into the discard pile after Abby spins the spinner, please? Abby, I'm going to get you for this." Jezebel opens the door. "Hi! Happy New Year! I'm Jezebel and you are… ?"

"Oh i know you will" abby mutters, reaching over the table to bring the spinner to her. "If you say so Grace. I've never met him, I think. I'll try and fit him in somewhere in my days" Technophobe. That's what they'd call abby. Only learning what was necessary in her day to day life. "Did you have a good Christmas?" She asks of the gravel voiced woman as Jezebel goes to answer the door.

It might be a holiday, but that doesn't mean that Miriam was totally free. Any crises on hold for the moment, she makes a late appearance at the party. Her hands are in the pockets of her pants as she makes her way up to the front door. She pauses behind Anne with a smile. Hey, it's good timing when someone is already answering it right?

Anne nods her head slightly in greeting to Jezebel. "Hello, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Anne." She holds out her hand in an offered handshake. That she's a little nervous is obvious enough, but there's hope and a bit of cheerfulness mingled in there as well. "I hope Grace had a chance to let you know I might be coming." If not, this could get awkward very soon. When Miriam comes up behind her she offers the woman a small smile, even though she doesn't recognize that one either.

"Maybe not," Grace allows. "It's hard to keep track of who knows whom." The spinner declares people die, and she moves cards to the discard pile accordingly. "Do…" Wait, no, never mind. "Christmas? Yeah, it was good. Nicely quiet, all things considered." Her duty discharged, Grace stands up to go see who's at the door. "Anne! Miriam! Come on in." Don't be shy. Grace won't let you.

Jezebel answers as she shakes Anne's hand, "She did indeed. Come on in! Cat's here somewhere, if her cell phone didn't literally swallow her up. She wants to show you some sheet music."

'Do I what?" before Grace gets distracted by new people coming in. Abby rises from her seat as well, all proper manners, to come greet the new guests, keeping just to the back and right of grace. Her face lights at seeing Anne. "Did you bring your Flute, or are you not playing for picnics in the park today?"

Miriam gives Jezebel a smile as she moves past the woman. "Happy New Year's." She states. Miriam is hardly shy around new faces. Then again, the pastor might be a familiar face, even if not well known. Grace gets a smile of greeting. "Grace. It's good to see you. Happy New Year!"

"Oh, there you are, Grace! Nice to see you again, and Abby!" Anne chuckles softly, and makes her way inside. "Yeah, I actually did bring my flute, just in case. Also, if Cat brought me new music I might have to kiss her." Well. Not literally maybe, but almost. Almost. Miriam is offered a nod in greeting and a simple "Hi." There's going to be a lot of socializing with new people today. But that's probably a good thing. "What are you folks up to? Oh, and since I'm so late over here, I mostly brought dessert type things. I hope that's okay."

"I think she got swallowed," Grace informs Jezebel. "But I'm sure she'll be back." She waves a hand in the direction of the tables. "Just add whatever you brought to the buffet, grab a plate, and partake of it all. I think Abby and Jezebel just finished blowing up the world," she concludes to Anne. "Or nearly."

"I didn't know you were aligned with Grace and the other Ferryman" Abby confesses to the Teleporter. She'd have to ask the woman what she can do. For now though she offers to take the other woman's dessert. "I'll go put it with the others. Merry Christmas and a happy new year I hope!" Abby nods to Miriam, someone she doesn't recognize at all. "Same to you Ma'am. Abigail" by way of introduction before off she goes to deposit Anne's offering. "No! i'm not blowing it up, just blowing Jezebel up."

Miriam moves to empty a canvas bag on there. "This is a great repository for all the food my congregation thought would make for a happy holiday." Miriam notes, adding a mix of banana and pumpkin bread and a plastic contianer of what looks to be hummus with a bag of chopped up pita. "Apparently nothing says happy new year like hummus." There's humor in her tone as she smiles over to Abigail. "Miriam. It's nice to meet you." At least formally. "What's that about blowing up the world? Are we starting Armageddon today?"

Jezebel takes coats and begins to head upstairs. "We were, or are playing Nuclear Escalation. Abby, I will show you the real meaning of 'nuke' just as soon as I get these put away."

"I don't think I've heard of that game before.. but thanks Abby." She offers the woman a bit of a smile, and goes to tuck her flute away in a safe spot. "As for the rest, Abs.. it hasn't really been true for all that long, but. It is now." Which is enough for getting into fancy new year's parties. That said, she follows Abby to the food table, to get some things on a plate. "I don't think I've met you before though, Miriam. In case you didn't catch on, I'm Anne."

"Really?" Grace sounds dubious on the subject of hummus, and although she studies the container for a bit, doesn't seem at all inclined to take any of it for herself. Instead, she retrieves her plate and loads it up again with other things. Including a piece of that pumpkin bread. "Mostly true. Technically, she's fallen into Helena's company of late," Grace elaborates for Abby's benefit, on the subject of Anne.

"You're a preacher? Who's your congregation?" That perks the blonde healers attention. "I'm sure you will Jezebel. It's your game, your the better at it. Go gentle, please, it's my first time!" Called out loud enough so Jezebel can hear before she looks to Anne "Be careful of her Anne. She's cutthroat! She'll nuke you the first chance you get. You can take my place when she blows me up and the game starts all over again." Abby's passing plates to both women, forks and knives wrapped in napkins. "I met Anne in the park, with.. Ben? Ben. Oh, Grace. I need to give you Ben's number, if you haven't gotten a hold of him. He's not right for Phoenix, but I think you could use him. Even if it's just to fix people up or keep them up till I can come. Trade Ben for Anne."

Miriam takes a plate with a grin to Grace. "That's what I was informed. I'm not sure I believe in the significance to the holiday, but I've had her hummus before. Homemade and quite good." Miriam turns her smile over to Abby. "I'm the pastor at Church of the Living Hope in the East Village. Are we doing trades like baseball teams now?" Miriam turns back to the food taking a bit of the hummus and pita she brought before she moves down to add some dessert.

"Trade?" Anne has to laugh at that. "You know. I don't think either me or Ben are folk to be traded, though if you ask nicely he might be interested in helping out anyway." She smiles a bit and settles down by the table, peering at the game. "And I wouldn't mind playing, cutthroat or not, but like I said. I really don't know the rules, so that's going to be the main problem for me I think." She listens to Miriam and tilts her head to the side a little, looking throughtful. Though exactly what she's thinking about is pretty much anyone's guess.

Jezebel calls out as she comes back downstairs, "Don't ask me. I only rustle cattle." She collects hummus and pita bread, then stops by the game to turn up a 50-megaton nuke on that missile. "Abby, do you have an anti-missile system or Civil Defense in your hand?"

"I'll remember that," Grace says to Miriam with a rueful smile. Her gaze flicks to Abby. "Give him the Hangar address, or just my number, and tell him to drop by when he's got time. I'm pretty sure I do have his number, but he might as well just come look around." Anne receives a grin. "She's joking, Anne. And none of us knew the rules but Jez' before we started anyway, so. We'll just litter the table with nukes and call it good," Grace proposes.

"It was a joke.. the trading thing" Scratch that down on her list. Technophobe and bad jokes. "Church of the living hope" murmured more to herself before she answers Jezebel. "I think I have a civil defense. I'm good as dead, aren't I? Go ahead, nuke me. I deserve it, it's only my first try at the game" Abby looks to Grace. "I'll bring him by and drop him off. I got a scooter back" She gestures to the board from where she's standing. "And you think Alistair can teach me how to not look cross eye'd at a computer huh?"

Miriam takes her food over towards the table with the game. "I don't think I've ever seen this one." She notes blinking. "So it's all about blowing up your friends with nuclear weapons?" There's humor in her voice until she tells Abby more seriously. "If you're ever in the East Village and in need of a safe place, some look me up."

"That's actually rather comforting." Anne tells Grace with a bit of a smile. "And I'm sorry, Abby, I was kind of trying to joke back, but it seems I need to get a bit of practise in here. Mine are getting all kinds of rusty." These things happen when you get out of practise! "It kind of does look like Jez is kicking ass. Maybe if we'd all gang up on her we'd have a chance.. or half a one." It's meant as a compliment. Honestly!

Jezebel tells Abby, "If you have Civil Defense, put the card down on the table, or we can just start a new game. Heaven help you if this is all a wicked plot to marry me off to Ben." Jezebel busies herself with putting out more cider and general restocking and tidying up.

"Something like that," Grace confirms for Miriam. She peers at Jezebel as she heads back towards the cleared part of the table where the board is, then turns her attention to Abby. "Is there a plot to hook her up with this 'Ben'?" the gravel-voiced woman asks curiously. Meanwhile, she picks up the cards and game pieces from before. "Let's start over."

"Grace, I have a hard enough time beating off a bunch of men who are intent on hooking up with "the nun" which my boss has dubbed me, much less time to hook jezebel up with a paramedic. It's not. I swear it on the bible. He just… apparently doesn't fit in with Phoenix, we've talked, and he was asking me if I knew anyone else who can use him since I dont' run with any one group. I told him i'd toss his name to you. I don't know if he's met anyone else beside Anne so far. So… " Abby refills her own plate, coming to take a seat and turn over her civil defense card, which means, that Abby wins, and jezebel dies in a smoldering radioactive hole. "i'll remember that, if i'm in the east village. It's good to know where there's places nearby I can go and rest after i've helped someone" She looks to Anne then. "So what your gift? If you don't mind my asking"

"Too bad it's still a long time until Halloween, or we could try to hook you up with a habit to complete the nun look." Miriam jokes with a smile before she takes a seat eyeing the cards. "Hey, if he's not a good fit for Phoenix, maybe he'll be a better one for us." Miriam says with a look to Grace. Us being the Ferrymen, it seems.

"Really, really quick transportation." Anne replies to Abby, with a bit of a smile. "As in, I'm a teleporter. Since you're asking, though, I… think I'll do so myself too! I haven't a clue what, if any, evolved abilities you guys have. Though you seem to know each other pretty well." And she's never going to catch up if she doesn't start asking. So. She's asking! Then she starts studying Grace as she sets up the game, to try and figure out the rules here.

Taking the time to meet whatever protocols are required to get into the safehouse, in comes a tiny bit of blonde by the name of Helena. She's not dressed up for the party, but she does have a large baker's box, and in it are two dozen gourmet cupcakes. "Hallooo!" she calls out once indoors. "Happy New Year!"

"You'll never catch me dressing up like a nun, ha ha, no" She smiles at the suggestion, showing that she can take a ribbing. She helps Grace reset the game, a nod to Anne. "Telportation. That.. well, you'll never be late for work. I don't have an evolved ability. I'm a faith healer" Spoken with an utter straight face. "I ask god, and he.. answers back" She smiles to anne, takes a hit of her redbull and continues helping Grace even when the cupcake lady is in. "Helena! Ask and ye shall recieve!" Abby's not dressed up, just jeans and a t-shirt. "We're playing Nuclear… nuclear escalation. I just blew up the world, join us?"

No protocols today — just a knock. The party seems to be underway. There's a wreath on the door of the house and lights inside. A magnificent pine tree to one side of the house, at least two stories to the house's three, is all lit up in a rainbow of colors. Inside, the living room has decorations, tables with food and drinks, a Christmas tree, and a sprig of red-ribboned mistletoe hanging in a corner. Grace is seated at a cleared part of the table, dealing out cards for another game of Nuclear Escalation. "Okay, so how many — Hi, Helena! — how many are playing, here?"

Miriam raises her eyebrows over to Abby. "Does God talk to you, too?" She asks with curiousity, and maybe a hint of disbelief in there from the pastor. "Oh, I'm not evolved. No special abilities for me." She looks over to the game and shakes her head. "I think I need to see it played for a round before I destroy the world." Helena gets a smile of greeting. "Happy New Years."

And right behind Helena, there's another knock on the door. Alex still does not look good. He's gone beyond his usual pallor into 'positively spectral', he's weak and worn, but he's also damned tired of being stuck in bed. So he's there, leaning on the doorframe after his knock.

The safest and smartest thing for Helena to do is ignore the whole 'I'm not Evolved' talk. But she does say with a slight grimace, "I'll uh, pass on the nuclear war thing." before heading for the door. "You guys really should keep entrance protocol up. Not to be a downer, but…" She opens the door and lets out a squeal. "Alex! Did Ben say you could get out of bed?"

"No, no i've never had a conversation with him. I don't expect to have a conversation with him until the day that I'm fetched to meet him personally. But he's blessed me with a gift and I use it when he lets me. Which is fairly often… I don't want to disappoint him and have him find me unworthy of it" Alexander is at the door and Abby's chair is pushed back, face positivly lighting up at seeing the gaunt man. "Al! oh heavens your up!" She joins Helena at the door, though she's there to make a fuss over her roommate.

Miriam looks over to Abby with curiousity. "I suppose you could say the same about everyone with a gift, that if used well, it could be a blessing from God." She shakes her head. "But this is a party. That is a conversation that could be saved for another time and place." Miriam turns her gaze up to smile to the pale Alex.

Not Miriam, not Helena, and Abby's gone away. Not a problem. Grace snickers at Helena. "There are other measures in place for the time being, Hel'," she points out. "In the short term, it's fine." And while everyone is busy greeting Alex, she goes to refill her glass. Water, again.

Alexander is totally the Ghost of Rednecks Past. But he summons up a smile. "Hey, all," he says, affably, as Abby come to fuss and flutter at him. "Yeah. He made me promise not to exert myself, but really, I'm cool," It's only half a lie.

Sonny had to run and take care of some business, but on the way back, he stopped at the liquor store. Everyone seemed a bit stiff. What fixes that better than some wine and whiskey? It is supposed to be their New Years' Eve after all. Somewhere between the last time he was there and now, he's ditched his tie and untucked his shirt, so the young doc looks more casual. "I hope the party's not over already."

Helena wags her finger at Alex, but seems content to let Abby take care of him. She notices Sonny, and can't help grinning at his care package. "That looks like a proper party." C'mon, what nineteen year old doesn't like a little booze? And isn't Amish?

Miriam gives Sonny a smile. "Someone understands the requirements for New Year's Eve." She says lightly, though she doesn't get up. She stays there nibbling on pita with hummus as she watches the others. "I think the party is still in full force."

'then you can take my seat Al." Abby orders the red head. Not before she gets in a peck to his cheek. "I'll check you out later, I promise; for now, I'll get you a plate of food and something to drink, go, go sit, follow Helena." Abby in mother hen mode/big sister/listtle sister mode. Not that she's his sister. But it gives her something to do than to discuss whether she's evolved and this is all in her head, or whether she's divinely blessed. Sonny's given a smile as he appears as well.

Grace chuckles at Helena's quip. "There's some sort of punch, too. Wassail, I think Jez' called it." She shakes her head at Sonny; party isn't hardly over. More like it's just getting started for real. For her part, the woman sticks to water.

Close enough, really. Abby's about as near as Al's gonna get to having an actual sibling. He gratefully settles near Helena, and heaves a contented sigh, glancing around. Hm. Outnumbered by women. Oh, that briar patch, Br'er Fox.

"Well, seems the party's grown in ranks since I was here last." Sonny grins around the gathered, then hefts the bags up. "I didn't know if you had any of this waiting in the wings, but I figured a bit of a contribution wouldn't be unwelcome." He sets the bags in his arms down on a nearby table and pulls out three bottles of wine, one white, two red and a bottle of whiskey. "Now. Who'd like a drink?"

Shouldering his way in, comes a rather sullen looking young man. Hood pulled up over his cap, aviators on the man enters silently. His hands tucked into the pockets of his sweatshirt. Most would be able to tell the young man entering is Brian Fulk. Though he does not yet go out of his way to greet anyone. His eyes search the party quietly from behind his glasses.

Helena ooh's. "I'm sorry, Doc." she tells Sonny. "I'm abandoning you temporarily for the wassail." And so she does, but not before giving Alex the gentlest of pokes. "No booze for you. You're probably on meds."

Miriam looks over to Sonny and shakes her head. "No thank you. I don't do anything stronger than caffeine." She says lightly before she stands, taking her plate back over to the table. Alcohol? No. One of those cupcakes? Oh yes. Brian gets a curious look as he enters quietly. "Happy New Year." Miriam greets with a bit more restraint as she lays hands on a cupcake.

AL's plate is getting piled with vittles, enough to fill his stomach twice over. But it's easily plopped in front of the guy, before the healer turns to get him something non alcoholic to drink. The smile on her face though, turns down quite afew notches to nearly non-existant at the arrival of brian. her hand closes around the cola bottle though, and pours for Alexander, ignoring for now her "fiancee" across the room.

Grace chuckles as Sonny apparently fails to charm the girls in the room with his offer of alcohol. She scoops up a clean goblet and holds it out to him. "I'll have a glass of the white, if you please," she remarks, raven's voice amiable but — as ever — not really achieving the description of 'pleasant'.

Alexander looks up keenly as Brian comes in. He doesn't scowl, though he doesn't show any particular enthusiasm, either. He nods, politely, and takes his plate. Helena gets a meek nod, "Yes'm," he says, with a faint sigh. "Coke'll do me just fine." Not that he's totally not eyeing the whiskey, longingly.

"Well now. I didn't realize this was a dry party. My bad," despite this, Sonny tugs the packaging off a cheap bottle opener he bought (what's wine without an opener?) and starts to take the cork out of the white. Once it's open, he gives Grace a grateful look and fills her glass. "Here I was, thought I was being a gentleman. It's apparently like bringing chocolate cake to a dieter's convention." He chuckles. And the bottle of whiskey Alexander is eyeing? It's not the cheap stuff. It's the good stuff.

The door is opened and in walks Eve, a frown is etched on her face and she nods to everyone. "Set was cancelled tonight, so here I am." She says to the group of people and she rubs her arms as she closes the door. Still wearing her golden colored dress and heels, the seer walks over to where Helena and Alex are sitting and she smiles at them. "Hey guys," she says and she tilts her head at Helena, looking at her for a moment longer and then looking around the rest of the room.

One hand comes up to take the glasses off. Flicking them closed, Brian gives a sigh. "Happy New Year." He says tonelessly in response to Miriam. His gaze landing on her for just a moment. His gaze then flicks to Abby, then to Al. He pauses. Why did he come here in the first place. For a moment it looks like he's debating on walking right back out the door. Though Eve catches his gaze for a bit. He stares at her for a bit. The girl that kinda recruited him, hasn't seen her since. He gives an inclination of his head to her in greeting. Then he eyes the door again.

"I don't think the wassail is dry." Helena points out. "Put me down for a glass of the red later, I promise." Brian's odd behavior is noted, as well as people's reaction to him. Good Lord, what now? She gives him a faint smile as she goes to get her wassail, and promptly returns in time to see Eve. "Happy New Year." she says to the older woman politely, and heads back over in Alex direction, bending down to murmur to him.

Miriam gives Sonny a smile. "Hey, I'm not the whole party." She notes, pouring herself a glass of the soda before she moves back to the table. While she's been part of the Ferrymen long enough to possibly a familar face to many, Miriam isn't involved in any of this drama. Nope. She's just going to enjoy her cupcake and watch for the moment.

'Welcome back Eve!" Abby calls out, it's obvious the game's on hold while people get themselves seated and arranged again. ABby opts to hang out near the food, instead of crowding the table, watching everyne find their places in the room.

"Oh, it's not quite that bad," is Grace's opinion. "Helena did say she'd be back." Which the girl herself confirms. Grace also studies Brian's dour arrival with no comprehension of why multiple man's in the figurative doghouse, pausing with the wineglass just a hair's breadth away from her lips. "Hi." And with her free hand, she waves Brian on in. "Don't go disappear on us now."

Alexander shrugs at Helena. "I dunno, I been in a coma, nobody tells me nothin'," he says, before nibbling at what's been set before him. He pats the cushion beside him, though it isn't clear if he's beckoning Abby or Helena or both. C'mon, someone has to fan him with a palmfrond.

Sonny is very much a support member of the 'team' as it were. Most people wouldn't have any reason to know him, unless they had gaping chest wounds. And then they'd have a good excuse not to remember him. He pours himself a glass of wine and takes a sip from it. Brian is glanced to, but he has enough decorum to not stare at the poor guy. Instead he leans in towards Grace and quietly asks, "He's looking a little peaked. Would it be a giant faux pas if I asked in a doctorly way how he's doing?" This in reference to Alexander, which he does without motioning directly to him.

An eyebrow is raised in Brian's direction. Clearly she has missed a lot since her joining up with the Ferrymen. Eve puts that on hold and goes to walk up to Helena, she bends down to whisper in her ear while putting one hand on her shoulder. Her facial expression is calm and her eyes are focused on Helena.

Eyes search the room and for a moment it feels like the whole room is staring at him. Brian gives a little nod to Grace and steps in offering a quiet. "Thanks, happy new year." His eyes dart to those murmuring quietly, he assumes about himself. Though it's too late to leave now. He goes to make himself some food, though he doesn't greet anyone who doesn't greet him first. Though soft smiles are given to anyone who looks his way.

Helena flops onto the padded cushion next to Alex, gingerly holding her wassail and eeping slightly when Eve unexpectedly sticks her face in Helena's ear. Managing not to spill her wassail, she nods at the seer, and gives Alex an arch look. Then she shrugs. Whatever, right?

Brian goes for food and Abby reaches over to scoop up her redbull, drink the rest of it and then carry it to a trash can. "I have to go. I have work, and I promised I'd make up some hours for getting off early last night. Take care all! If you need me, you know the number. I'll bring Ben by, Grace." Not wanting to be uncomfortable, or to make Brian uncomfortable. The little gold cross at her throat dangles over her bag as she leans over to pick it up and dress for the outside weather and her trek.

Miriam continues eating the cupcake. Really, she's got nothing to say for the moment, but her gaze is keen. She's looking around, taking in all of their reactions to this from her seat near the cards of nuclear war.

Grace smirks slightly at Sonny's remark. "Probably," she replies back, her own harsh voice quiet. "He said he was being looked after, and…" Okay, maybe Abby's not here. "Bye, Abby!" A pause, as Grace finally sips from her wineglass. "Well. They'll look after him." She gestures towards where Miriam is seated. "I'm going to sit back down. You're welcome to tag along."

Al is happy to lounge like a pasha on his cushions. He's dispatching the plate of nibbles he was given like he's starving, though he's polite enough not to wolf it down directly. "Later, Abby. I'll see you at home," he says, offering her a grin.

Sonny arches his brows and tilts his head in such a way as to concede to Grace's advice. So instead, he just picks up the bottle of wine and follows her as she goes. She's the one he knows the best here, and they only shared one dinner. That tells you how well he's known in the Ferrymen circles. "So, are we really going to ring in a false New Year's?"

The seer nods and pats Helena's shoulder before walking over to Brian. "Haven't seen you in awhile, what's going on?" she cants her head and studies Brian.

"Abby." Brian pipes up as the girl starts to leave. "You can stay, I'll go." He offers. He tries to keep his voice quiet so not everyone will be involved in the conversation. It seems like he doesn't actually believe she has to work. Then he is distracted by Eve. Turning to face her, a somewhat uneasy smile is given. "Hey." he offers to her. "Uhh.. Not much, you?"

Helena stiffens a bit when Eve pats her shoulder - the woman still hasn't learned to respect her personal space. She turns her attention back to Alex. "I invited Ben to the party, but I don't know if he'll come. He wants to join the Ferrymen though, so hopefully we'll see more of him in general."

"No brian. I really do have to work. Stay, i've been here for a while. Keep an eye on Al for me" Besides, she's already dressed. "I'll be home usual time Al" She clunks her purse over her shoulder, the cans in there making noise at they bump into each other. "Happy holidays everyone, before the blonde ducks out the door to go deal with her scooter and getting across to the main island again.

Miriam gives Sonny a smile as Grace drags him over her way. "I'm Miriam, by the way. Not sure I've caught your name." She takes another nibble of cupcake before she adds. "I have so many names in my head of different people, sometimes it all blurs together." She's still keeping half an eye on the Alex, Brian, Abby thing, but really, she can still be friendly.

"I think we'll wait until the hour," Grace replies. "There should still be some people around then, even at the rate everyone's leaving." She sits down at the table with Miriam, waving Sonny into another seat. "How is your congregation these days, Miriam?" she asks conversationally.

"Sonny," he offers his hand to Miriam. "I'm the one who gets called in if the healer's unavailable," He nods towards the be-coated Abby. "So you don't see me too often." He takes the seat that's waved to. His brows arch, "Congregation?"

She's been somewhere around here for a while, sticking to the background, eating here and there, with maybe the occasional walk about the grounds. At the current moment Cat is coming through the front door, seeking to slip unobtrusively back into the mix of the party atmosphere and avoid attention while getting a feel for what's taking place.

Jezebel calls from the kitchen, "Did I hear someone say wassail? Do I need to make a second batch?"

Eve blinks, Abby and Brian?? Holy crap. She has missed /a lot/. Eve doesn't say anything about it though, instead she replies to Brian, "Pretty good, just singing still. That's about it." She does notice Helena stiffening up and she blinks but doesn't say anything. She didn't mean to offend the other woman but she shrugs lightly, can't worry about it.

"…Ok." He says softly in reply to Abby, though his eye twitches a bit. Brian's attention then returns to Eve, the young man holding himself a bit awkwardly. Stand up conversation in the middle of the room is always awkward. Though as realizing his options are limited, he bears the conversation for now. Being as polite as he can. Though the word 'congregation' catches his attention as well. His gray eyes search around slowly for the source of the word. But then his attention snaps back to Eve. "Uh. Cool. It was nice to see you again." He says, rather distractedly.

Alexander glances over at Miriam, curiously. He's a little woozy from tiredness, clearly, and wearing a determinedly amiable expression.

Helena's commentary to Alex goes unnoticed, but she doesn't blame him too much on account of all the drugs. Instead she looks toward the doorway leading further into the sanctuary with a sigh. "The Garden's so beautiful." she remarks regardless of Alex being oblivious. "My mother would have adored it."

Miriam takes a sip of her coke before she answers the questions. "I'm the pastor at Church of the Living Hope, over in the East Village." She says towards Sonny before she answers Grace. "My congregation is doing well. We're celebrating Christmas, and hey, no one even got arrested this week. It seems an apt time to celebrate light and peace coming into a world of darkness, even if it was not in the expected way."

Grace nods to Miriam. "It does indeed. I —" There's that phone again. "I'm going to turn this damned thing off, and then where will they be?" the woman mutters, as she hauls it back out of her pocket. "Excuse me." This time, she retreats a short ways to talk in relative privacy — and then, with a wave to inform Jezebel she's leaving, Grace heads out the door to deal with whatever she's been summoned for.

As a man of science, Sonny does get uncomfortable when it comes to religion. However, he's also extremely socially adept. There's no clue that the subject is awkward territory when he says to Miriam, "Oh, I see. It has been a nice season so far, given the last few years. Uh, excuse me for…just one moment." He motions to her, then, despite Grace's earlier advice, goes up to Alexander. "Hi there. I don't think we've met. Sonny Bianco."

Moving around the periphery of persons and conversations without interrupting any of them, Cat spots the guitar case next to the backpack she set down some time ago and moves toward them. The panmnesiac, in her navy blue knee length dress and dark pumps, wonders if Anne showed up or if she missed her.

Jezebel waves back to Grace, although she has to balance a plate of sausage balls in one hand to do it. "Did you find your coat? Thanks for coming, Grace! Happy New Year!"

Eve sighs and nods her head at Brian and waves to the party people as she prepares to leave again. "Must get home." She smiles and kisses Jez on the cheek and hugs her. "Ok sis, I'll call you soon so we can talk about getting into dad's old auto shop, kay?" she asks and then proceeds to waves goodbye to everyone and nodding to Helena as she walks out.

Brian gives a nod to Eve, looking over to Miriam. He clearly sees that part, then his attention goes to Helena. He gives a little bit of a wave to her.

Alexander looks up, rather blearily. "Alexander Knight," he says, offering a languid hand to the doctor. "No, we haven't met, I think."

Helena returns Brian's smile and offers a wave of her own. Once Alex is suitably entertained, she rises up and drifts to the doorway that she can see more of the Garden's garden from, her expression wistful.

Miriam watches Sonny move away with an expanding grin. Not the first time that's happened to her. She grabs a second chair to put her feet up, working on finishing off the cupcake.

"Alexander. Nice to meet you." Sonny shakes his hand. "Listen, I don't mean to butt in where it's not my business. But I am a doctor. Are you feeling all right?" His voice even takes on that concerned doctorly tone, almost on instinct.

Once she has her guitar, Cat finds a quiet spot and opens the case, her fingers starting to move across the strings and frets without plugging it in to the portable amp also tucked into the case. Her mind is focused on that, and thoughts form of going out to play in the garden for a bit. She closes it up and moves, finding Helena near the door as she goes.

Brian glances over to Helena, his feet starting to carry him over to her but then he looks back to Miriam. For a moment he looks like he's debating something but eventually it becomes clear who the winner is.

"Hi, I'm uh, Brian." He says softly as he arrives at Miriam, his hand offered out. "I'm with Phoenix. I uh.. Replicate." He says with a soft smile.

Jezebel hugs Eve back, although it has to be one-handed. "Okay. Be careful going home, Sis. There are tons of drunks out there. Happy New Year!" Once she lets go of Eve, she sets the sausage balls down at last. "Do we need anything else?"

Outside, most of the world is asleep for the winter. The big attraction is that huge pine tree, all lit up. Close inspection will reveal that some of the needles out at the tips of the branches are glowing.

Alexander licks his lips, considering his answer. "Well, honestly, I feel like hell. I had an encounter with an Evolved who did some serious impromptu surgery on my innards, as well as fucking shoot me. I've been healed, but I understand I'm still very low on blood," he says, bluntly.

Miriam takes Brian's hand with a smile. "Miriam. I'm with the Ferrymen. I preach." She says the last part with a joking smile. "No other specialty for me. It's nice to meet you, though."

"Miriam," Brian repeats, giving a soft smile. His hand goes back into his jacket. "It's really nice to meet you, too. I'll.." He pauses wetting his lips. "I gotta get going. But I'll be sure to talk to you soon." The young man says, taking a step back away from her. He looks to the door and makes his way out.

Sonny pulls over a chair. "Would you mind if I checked your pulse?" A beat, "Oh, that's such a terribly inappropriate thing to say with a glass of wine in your hand. I am very sorry," He laughs at himself and deposits the glass behind him. "I swear to god, I'm a doctor. And if you really are low on blood, I can likely arrange a transfusion."

As she approaches the garden door and sees Helena standing there, Cat considers briefly whether or not to approach, and decides the weathermaker may want to be undisturbed, so she quietly turns and heads for another area inside the house, with her eyes seeking out Anne.

Jezebel turns to wave to Brian. "Thanks for coming! Happy New Year!" She begins to walk over to Alexander; he does not look well and Sonny is talking to him.

Helena lingers in the doorway, unbothered by any chill in the weather. "Brian preaches." she remarks over her shoulder helpfully. "It's how I more or less met him, actually." She smiles when she sees Cat, and seems content to linger where she is.

Miriam looks over to Helena. "In what church?" She asks curiously, looking after the direction Brian went. Then she stands, moving towards the gardens to look out. "Beautiful."

Alexander obediently offers his wrist, and no real protest. "By all means. I….you know, if I weren't so tired, I'd try and flirt with you. Consider that written, would ya?" he says, frowning a bit irritably.

Sonny chuckles and shakes his head. Then he takes Alexander's wrist and looks at the face of an expensive watch. It's all very doctorly. "Have you been feeling faint? Dizzy spells? Nausea?" He arches his brows. "I didn't realize that Abby couldn't heal blood loss."

Stopping when Helena smiles, and hearing Miriam speak, Cat turns toward the unfamiliar face and nods in greeting without words to accompany it. She seems calm enough, her darker moods of late being chained back. The gathering is being enjoyed, it seems, though she's said so little since speaking with Sonny earlier.

Jezebel finishes making her way over to Alexander and Sonny. "Hi," she says quietly. "Can I get either of you anything, including a quiet place to lie down upstairs?"

Helena grins and looks over at Jezebel offering Alex and Sonny a bed. It prompts an unwitting laugh from her, and a waggle of her eyebrows before she looks back to Miriam. "Our Lady Of The Central Park Soapbox." she says, of Brian's ministry.

Miriam nods over to Helena. "Ah. Well, that's always an interesting congregation." She says with a smirk of a smile before she laughs as well at that offer of a bed. "Playing matchmaker?" She jokes over to Jezebel before she turns her gaze out the garden in winter. "There's something so crisp about this season. At least when you're not on a busy city street."

Ben knocks quietly, leaning the case of beer against the outside wall as he waits. Now that Alexander's up and about, he's found time to shave and junk like that, so he actually looks less frazzled.

"You know, you really should be on an IV. It would help you recover from the blood loss a lot quicker. And I should also say you shouldn't be…" and then Sonny realizes that Alex has zoned out completely. He frowns. "I think he needs to lie down. Is there someone here who knows where he lives or can take him home?" He looks at his watch. "Oh, crap. I've gotta go myself. Listen, when he wakes up? Get him to call me." He pulls out a business card and writes a note on it that he sticks into Alexander's pocket. "If I set him up with a saline drip, he'll recover a lot faster."

It's not just Helena and Miriam who find humor in Jezebel's offer to Sonny and Al. Cat cracks a wider smile, and glances over at Miriam again. No one has seen fit to mention their names to each other, so she takes matters in hand. A few steps are moved, and her right hand extends. "Cat," she says simply.

Jezebel nods. "I'll do the best I can," she promises on her way to answer the door. "He can lie down upstairs, if we can get him up there." She answers the door. "Hello, Ben. Happy New Year! My, my, do you think that case needs more chilling?"

"He's being treated." Helena says, half-defensively, half out of concern, but to Cat she murmurs, "I'll be right back." She hurriedly gets over to Alex's comatose form, and bending, slings one of his arms over her shoulder. It's a bit like David and Goliath, if David was Goliath's designated driver. There is a certain comedy to Helena's effort. She could use some help.

Ben blinks at Jezebel and smiles a little. "Hey. Didn't expect to find you here —- uh, yeah, maybe. It's still pretty cold." He steers himself inside, looking for a place to put the case. "Happy New Year," he adds on at the end there.

"I don't go to bed with my patients as a general rule," says Sonny with amusement in his tone, and a dig at himself so that Jezebel doesn't get all the heat. "Happy New Year to you all. I'm off to my mother's grand affair. Please, no one hesitate to call me." His eyebrows raise at Helena. "Well, I know that. But what harm would it do to let me help as well? It's why I volunteer my time to you all." He eyes the watch again, and sure enough, his phone starts to go off. "Damnit, mother." And then the doc's moving briskly to the door.

Miriam takes Cat's hand. "Miriam. Nice to meet you." She states before she shakes her head. "Do you need help with him?" She asks over towards Helena, moving that way to see if she can offer some. "Happy New Year!" She calls towards the newcomer.

The handshake is brief, her skin warm and soft except for the calluses at fingertips from playing guitar a lot. It has some strength to the grip too. "Nice to meet you, Mir…" Cat trails off as Helena moves to help Al, and she's coming over to support, offering to grab the heaviest part of him.

Jezebel gives Ben an apologetic smile. "I'd better go show them where to put him," she says. "If Abby twisted your arm, let me know. I'll think of something to do to her in exchange."

"Happy New Year!" Ben calls back; he tilts his head up, closes his eyes briefly, and says, "Sec. Let me put this down," he stoops with the case, "And I'll help. He pushed himself, didn't he? For fuck's sake."

"Thaaank you." Helena says to Cat, and flashes Ben a rueful smile even as she struggles. "I told him no alcohol, at least." she informs him, even as they manage to get Alexander upright.

Miriam ends up off to the side. Hey, she'll get doors or something. There's only so much out of it guy to go around. "Ah, the stubbornness of man." She states before she adds, "There was some tension earlier. Probably didn't help the overdoing it. Emotional stress."

Holding part of Al upright, Cat moves along with Helena to get him into bed somewhere. She smiles with gratitude at Miriam as she clears the path ahead of them. "This guy's a bit heavy," she remarks with a quiet laugh. "I'm just glad he's here and with us still."

Jezebel brings up the rear. "Let's hope he stays that way. If you can get him up the stairs, the door farthest to the left is a guest room. It'll only take a moment to get out the foam mat, pillow and sleeping bag."

"Tension? Really?" Ben says with great mildness, abandoning the beer to trail after Alexander and the girls. "How surprising. I'm gonna need a look at him once he's set down again."

Helena mutters under her breath, "Smart ass." Pot, kettle. There will of course be a brief intermission during which the trio get Alex settled in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Miriam gives Ben a quick smile for the sarcasm, moving to help get doors open and things settled, however she can help. "I know, I know. There's never any tension at all in New York these days. We live in a state of constant internal peace." Maybe in the pastor's wildest dreams.

She snickers a bit as she moves with her part of the man supported over a shoulder. "That would truly be a day to never forget," Cat offers blithely. Once the room is reached she sets down her part and helps steer him into bed, then steps back. "Good party," she sincerely offers.

Jezebel replies, "Thank you, I'm glad you're having a good time. I haven't thrown a huge party by myself before. I'm sorry we're not better furnished here, but mostly we get to have whatever I can get home on the Harley."

"It's a nice setup," Ben comments as he waits; he squints an eye shut, glancing around. "Nice, even."

Helena tugs off Alex's footwear, but that's as far as she'll go on that score. "Wait til you see the garden." she comments to Ben, and rising, beckons Cat. "If you're going to stay with him for a few, we'll see you downstairs."

Miriam heads off after Helena as well. Her job as door opener is done, and she doesn't know the guy, so there's no reason to stick next to him. "The garden is great. Especially in an urban area." She heads downstairs, and over for another triangle of pita with hummus.

Out Cat goes, once the mission is accomplished, leaving Al in the care of Ben. Silence is kept, she leaves conversation to Helena and Miriam for now.

Ben's interest is piqued; he's got to leave it alone for now, though, as he checks to make sure Alex hasn't ruptured his spleen or opened a third eye on his forehead or something. He'll be with him for a few minutes at least.

Jezebel goes to the closet, gets a blanket and puts it over Alex. "There, that should help fend off shock. If you need anything, Ben, let me know." She troops out after everyone else.

Helena comes down the stairs, making a bee-line for the garden. Even if it's more prone to the elements, Helena doesn't mind. After all, she carries her own climate control. She doesn't touch the plants, but she seems quietly enchanted as she starts to explore.

Miriam isn't going out into that weather. She's the original model, no extra proof against winter cold. "So, Cat, you play the guitar?" It's polite small talk, really.

"I could be persuaded," Cat answers, as she considers playing in the garden but turns back when Miriam speaks to her. She flashes a grin, and suggests "I hope you enjoy older rock." She gets the case again and opens it, then plugs into the small amp also held in there. The instrument itself is a red Fender Strat.

Ben busies himself checking Alexander and finally stands, rolling his eyes. "You're a pain in the ass patient as of right now," he informs the young man's slumbering form quietly before turning about to rejoin the party. He also helps himself to one of the beers and cracks the tab open.

Jezebel sees the guitar and says, "Oh, good! Anne must have left, Cat, but she said she really wanted to see the new sheet music."

Helena seems content to meander around the winter garden, what little there is of it, before moving back to the door. "My mom would have loved it." she compliments Jezebel. "She was an agrokinetic. You wouldn't believe what she could do with plants."

Miriam pours herself more soda as well and takes it over to lean against the door, listening with at least half her attention to Cat. She does give Ben a quick smile though. "I'm Miriam, by the way. With the Ferrymen. Not sure I've gotten your name before."

Her head tilts to one side as Helena speaks, and she nods once to herself, but doesn't comment. It certainly explains some things, along with the use of past tense in the reference. Cat's speculation is short of duration, though, as she begins to check her tuning at a quiet volume. Once it sounds right, she starts to play. There aren't lyrics, though, just the instrument, it being something she improvises in an upbeat rock style.

Jezebel says to Helena, "I would believe it. What did your mother do with plants? We chose this property with care, but I'm waiting for spring to do major planting or alterations. I thought of lighting up more of the trees, but I thought that might upset the NSA."

"She could make them grow." Helena says. "Make them move, too. It was neat. You know that project where you're supposed to grow lima beans, in first grade? My lima beans were the only ones that actually grew."

Miriam laughs at that statement. "I bet that made you a popular child in class." Miriam says with a smile, turning so that her back is resting against the chilly side of the doorframe. And then it's her turn for her phone to ring. She steps away, answering it. "No. Don't go out. Just wait for me, and I can be there in ten minutes." She waves her hand as she makes for the door. "I've got to go. One of my sheep is in need." There's a quick smile and then she's off.

While playing, as Miriam excuses herself for a phone call, Cat is being Cat. As often happens, a word or a topic in conversation will cause her to call up a memory, and in this case it's of a certain example of graffiti depicting plants in the Midtown Crater, one she could identify and another she couldn't. Her fingers keep going, she's got great skill with the instrument being used to improvise in that rock style, but a question is asked. "Can agrokinetics create new plant species more easily than standard hybridization?"

Jezebel replies, "New species, no. I can't, anyway. Weird plants, yes. With more work, I could make the alterations breed true. I'm not sure if that answers your question, Cat." She says to Helena, "I believe it. Your teacher should have used kidney beans. They're much more forgiving."

Jezebel calls after Miriam, "Happy New Year and thanks for coming!"

"She was always lovely with plants." Helena then looks at Miriam in departure. "Happy new year! Nice to meet you!" She grins wryly at Jez and Cat. "I wish my power had come before she was killed. I could have helped her much better with the garden."

Inwardly, as Jezebel gives her answer, Cat is kicking herself. She did so much research trying to find a plant to match that other one, and never considered it could be something created by combining plants. Resolved, in her brain, to look again, this time seeking similarities in different plants that can combine to match the graffiti. Maybe that's the key.

Helena's words draw her out of the speculation, however, and Cat's eyes come to rest on her. Another thing they both understand, now realized, between them. It's silent, not a word is spoken to ask anything Helena doesn't share on her own.

Jezebel gently says to Helena, "I'm sorry to hear that your mother's dead. I wish I could have met her, if only to talk shop. Gardening, botany and plant biochemistry are relatively recent interests of mine. I'm sure she knew more about gardening than I do."

Helena gives a mild shrug, as if to dismiss the whole thing. Thank god she doesn't have Cat's memory. Instead she offers, "Isn't it close to midnight?"

"I think it is," Cat replies, her fingers going still on the guitar strings. Inwardly she calls up the words to Auld Lang Syne and contemplates how it could be played on the instrument.

Jezebel goes into the kitchen and emerges with fluted glasses, a bottle of champagne and a bottle of Martinelli's. "Who wants what?"

Helena perks. "Champagne, please!" she says. She's old enough to lead a resistance, she's old enough to drink, damn it.

Ben wanders back into view, beer can still in hand. He glances at Jezebel's selection, then at the beer in his hand. "Huh. Don't I feel lower class."

"I'll take champagne also," Cat replies with a grin, her eyes landing on Helena as if she were remembering her praising Red Stripe with 'Hooray beer!' A laugh escapes, just before she eyes the strings and looks for a clock to count down against. She readies to play and sing the traditional song.

Jezebel certainly isn't carding anyone. She carefully opens the champagne, then pours four glasses, taking one for herself.

"Could always upgrade." Helena says cheerfully in reply to the newly arrived Ben, and accepts her glass with a murmured thank you. "I remember when they used to drop the ball…"

"I never really liked the taste of it," Ben asides to Helena. He raises his can a little. "This will do. As long as I drink something, it's not bad luck."

There's no clock, but Jezebel's wearing a digital watch.

She remembers too, the ball being dropped, every moment of watching it when she did so from 2002 onward. Cat takes her glass of champagne and places it on something, her hands remaining ready to play, because by her reckoning, in five, four, three, two, one…

Happy New Year!" she calls out. And the tune is begun, her fingers working it from strings and frets, that rich soprano voice reminiscent of Pat Benatar's style, or maybe Ann Wilson, sings out to mix with the voices of Helena and Jezebel, maybe Ben too if they can get him to join in. There's traces of the fondly remembered being toasted in her singing, but also the hope for happiness and success in the future.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne

We twa hae run aboot the braes

And pou'd the gowans fine;

we've wander'd mony a weary foot

Sin' auld lang syne

We two hae paidled i' the burn,

Frae mornin' sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar'd

Sin' auld lang syne

And here's a hand, my trusty friend,

And gie's a hand o' thine;

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

For auld lang syne,

We'll take a cup o' kindness yet

For auld lang syne

"Should auld acquaintance be… forgot," Ben attempts, squinting an eye and holding his beer can up. "And something something mind!" He's singing quietly. Maybe no one will notice.

Jezebel's voice is nothing to write home about. She calls out after the song ends, "Happy New Year! Ladies and gentleman, I have a toast." She raises her glass. "May we all rise from the ashes this year!"

"Who drinks champagne for the taste?" Helena replies cheerfully, and looks expectantly to Jezebel to provide the countdown. And then it's time for the singing. Helena has a sweet voice, but nothing anywhere close to Cat's caliber. And when it comes to the lyrics, she's as bad, if not worse, then others. "Should auld aquaintance be forgot and something something something something something!" and so on, "…for auld lang syne!" She raises her glass as well. "Skol! Happy new year!"

Once her performance is done, she sets the guitar aside and takes up her glass. It's touched with those of whichever are willing to do so, and she takes a long drink from it. While doing so, her eyes lift to the sky and a subdued smile forms. A face enters her memory, smiling back at a past such celebration with a glass in her hand, and saying 'Happy New Year!'.

She doesn't answer out loud, it's said all in her thoughts.

Cat's glass is raised once more, to the sky this time. 'Here I am, Dani, honoring your wishes, living well and remembering good times. Sorry you aren't here now. Happy New Year!'

Then she turns to focus on celebrating with newer friends, drinking more from the glass.

"Happy New Year," Ben echoes with the others before having a swig of his beer. Jezebel's toast is given a rueful look, but whatever he's thinking, he doesn't say. He just smiles a crooked little smile, has another gulp of beer. "Here's to health and hope this year," he offers, raising his can.

Jezebel says to Ben, "I'll drink to that," and does so. "Anyone have more toasts, or just want more champagne?"

"Here, here." says Helena, seeming in agreement with both toasts. She shakes her head. "I'll save my big speeches for YouTube when I'm all silhouetted and my voice re-digitized." she says with a grin. "It's a lot less awful that way." She too gets a momentary distracted look, thinking of people not present.

Moments later, as Helena's eyes go distant, Cat is standing before her with glass raised to toast those people not present. She doesn't say it, no remark is made to prompt speaking in return, it's intended as a toast of silent understanding and friendship between them. Then she drains hers of champagne and smiles.

Ben's eyes are downcast; he's stuck in his own remembrances for a few moments before he thinks to look up at the others; there's a moment where he just watches their faces, the hurt around their eyes, and for some reason, his lips curve up a little at the corners into a smile. It's good not to be alone; not good to have experienced loss, but good to know there are others who understand. And just when he might actually connect to people for once, he mumbles, "I'm gonna check on Alex," and backs away to turn about and remove himself from the toasting.

Jezebel tells Ben, "If you need anything, let me know and I'll get it for you." She then asks Cat, "Would you like some more champagne?"

"I'm pretty sure Sleeping Beauty's down for the count." Helena offers, but she's not going to stop him. She takes another sip of her bubbly, giving Cat a faint grin. Then back to Jezebel. "So is Eve really your sister?"

"Yes," Cat answers to the question of more champagne. Her glass is set down and left there, as she's taking up the guitar again, intending to play again now. Improvisation resumes, the music being made by her fingers upbeat and lively.

Jezebel pours more champagne for Cat. "Half-sister. Probably. It was something of a shock to us both. We'd know for sure if we could find Eve's father. These days, one can buy paternity tests in drugstores. Unfortunately, we can't find him. I fear he's radioactive vapor, but Eve still hopes to find him."

Ben makes a half-amused noise as he slips upstairs.

Helena nods a little to that. "Good luck." she says sincerely. And then, "Here's the inevitable post-new year ambling…and champagne makes me sleepy. I think I'm going to bugger off."

If she hears anything else said or done around her now, there's no indication of it. Cat's fingers are busy on the instrument's strings and frets; she's gotten lost in the land of musicianship.

Jezebel asks Helena, "Do you want to spend the night? I've got rooms. No one else is really staying here right now."

Helena listens to Cat for a few moments before she replies to Jez. "Yeah, that would be cool. Probably best if someone sticks around to help Alex home." She turns to smile to the woman. "Good night, Jez." And then, she creeps over to Cat, kissing the brunette's cheek before she makes her dart for the stairs.

That, she does respond to, the closeness and contact getting Cat's attention. She nods at the leader with a smile forming, but continues to play. She'll do this, until fatigue sends her to sleep. Sometime. Later.

Jezebel calls, "Good night!" before beginning to put all the food away. Tomorrow's lunch will be amazing.

December 31st: Conversion
December 31st: Irish New Year
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