Next Week May Never Come


melissa_icon.gif kincaid_icon.gif

Scene Title Next Week May Never Come
Synopsis Melissa gets a visitor at Tartarus on New Years Eve. Kincaid has some explaining to do about the Christmas present he'd had delivered to her the week before.
Date December 31, 2010


"Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

That is the sign that rests just above the double doors that lead from the small foyer into the club proper. Once through the doors the music is all-encompassing, the heavy bass beat filling the room and senses of the club-goers. The decor is all dark, the walls painted black, the bar a sleek dark wood. The lights all have a reddish tinge to them, with the bar and DJ booth being the only places in the club proper that have more normal white light.

There are high tables with equally tall chairs circling a large dance floor, and booths set along two of the walls. But while socializing is a big part of the club, the dancing is the priority. People, some Goths, some punks, and some just people who like to dance are all packed on the dance floor. Weaving through the sea of people are servers, men and women both, dressed in black pants or skirts, and tee-shirts that have "Tartarus" written across the chest in red lettering. Likewise there are security people at the door and mixed through the club, in similar outfits, only their shirts have "SECURITY" on the back.

Usually by now Tartarus is nearly empty, whether a weekday or weekend. On New Year's Eve? It's still got more than a few partiers, and most of them are well on their way past drunk to shitfaced. But even so, Tartarus staff is trying to steer some of the people out, preparing for the closing that'll happen before too much longer. Stupid curfew wrecking New Year's Eve.

Melissa has shown up dressed for a party, in her favorite pinstripe corset and pants, but has a short tophat on instead of her usual fedora. It's festive, honest. She's also done a bit of partying while on the job, having already gone through several drinks. And as they prepare for last call, she finds herself sitting at the end of the bar in her usual spot, with yet another drink in hand. Mmm. Hard liquor.

While the staff does their best to shoo people out, someone slips though the door with soft assurances that he's not planning to stay long. Likely, those at the door think Kincaid's come to pick up some poor shitfaced drunk and drive them home. He's dressed nice enough, but not party-goth-style, so one could easily make that assumption.

And unlike many others, he did drive and park nearby. As close as he could.

It's not a shitfaced drunk he's looking for, but a young woman in a tophat. Though she seems to be on her way to starting. Dressed in dark slacks, a white shirt and dark blue jacket, he doesn't look out of place so much as a little too stylish. Since she last saw him his hair has grown shaggier, but his eyes are just as dark. "I was hoping you'd still be here."

Looking over, Melissa's eyes narrow just a touch. Probably not the usual reaction someone might have when faced with someone who sent them a Christmas present. "And I was planning on tracking you down sometime after the New Year. You barely know me. Why send me a present? I didn't get you anything. Obviously."

There's a mild shrug, but the smile that creeps up seems rather awkward. As if Kincaid is embarrassed by the question being asked, as much as perhaps the question itself. "I like giving presents when I have an idea what to get people. I knew what to get you… and I thought you would like it. That's all." Scratching at the back of his neck, he hesitates a moment, looking down toward the drink she's nursing.

"Did you like it? I know you didn't really get to do much on the ice skating, but… It's more fun once you get the hang of it. The skates can also be resized for the next two months til you get the right fit." That had been included in the package, a gift recipt for fixing, no mention of the price, they were after all, custom.

Melissa frowns at him for a moment before she sips at her drink and leans back against the bar, one elbow resting atop it. "How did you figure the pink? When have you ever saw me wearing pink?" True she's more likely to wear pink than any other color, when it's in skull form, but that doesn't mean he knows that. "But yeah, I liked it. Tried 'em out the other day."

For a moment, Kincaid opens his mouth, as if he's going to answer. Then he closes his mouth and blinks a few times. "I— don't actually know," he says with a shrug. "That was the design they had and it seemed to fit you…" he trails off, shaking his head as if he's honestly not sure where it came from. But! "You tried them out already? That's great. It'll take a while til you get the hang of it, but once you do it's like flying."

A brow arches slightly and Melissa just stares at him for a moment. "Uh…huh." There's a long pause after that, with more staring, then she shrugs. "Well, thank you. Though that makes precisely two times that I've ever been ice skating. And this time I did fall on my face a couple of times. Ass once too. That was fun, lemme tell you. Especially when there was this kid, nine or ten or something, out there zooming around and doing spins and jumps and stuff." Her voice lowers to a mutter as she adds, "Show off brat."

"I was never good at spins and jumping," Kincaid admits with a sheepish scratch at the back of his head. "But I never learned figure skating either, I just liked doing laps, cause it always felt like there was no way I could possibly move faster than on the ice with a pair of old skates… You probably could learn the figure skating, though, if you can handle all that work."

"Nah. I don't have enough time in the day for all the shit I'm doing now. And I hear those people wake up before the sun's even up to practice." Melissa shakes her head, taking another drink. A deep one. "Not for me, at all. How'd you get into ice skating? Seems like most guys don't bother. Figure it's girly or something unless hockey's involved."

"I was raised a little different," Kincaid says with a shrug, looking away from the woman with eyes narrowing. It seems he's looking at the groups of people specifically, before he glances back. "I was taught to cook before I could reach the top of the stove by myself— but the ice skating… that was… It's difficult to explain. It was something I always wanted to do, and kept asking to do every year, but… It never happened. So when I was older, I found a pair of old ice skates that could fit me, and there was a frozen over pond, and the rest… well." He raises his hands in a gesture that seems to say the word for him.

The rest was history.

"You really think that 'difficult to explain' gets you off the hook?" Melissa asks with the faintest trace of amusement on her features. "I live a difficult to explain life. I couldn't even begin to list them all for you, for various reasons. But you? Just sounds like there's a story." She pats the stool next to her. "Have a seat and tell me a story. And why you learned to cook that early. I never learned. I burn water. Literally. It's not pretty."

"I don't really have a lot of time," Kincaid says, looking around to settle on the clock. "I know you're curious, but it's really…" he sighs out, even as he moves to sit down. "I learned because my parents wanted me to. It's pretty much that simple. As for the ice skating…" he looks away again. There's tension in his jawline, and his voice has a softer and rougher tone than before.

"My mom died when I was six," he finally starts on the story. "Before that happened, the last two winters, she kept saying we would go ice skating together. She always said we would, but there was always so much else going on. It was always 'next week, Cade', 'next week.' Always next week…" Until there wasn't a next week anymore. "That's the story— not a very good one, but— that's the story."

Melissa's expression softens and she nods, reaching out a hand to pat his knee lightly. "No, not a good one. Sorry you never got to go skating with her. I…sorta know how it feels. Not to that extent, but I do sympathize. Why wouldn't your dad ever take you? Too busy too, or just not much of a skater?"

There's a glance down at his hands, Kincaid focusing on them instead of the woman in a top hat at the table with him. These aren't stories he likely ever wanted to tell. "I never asked anyone to take me after that… Not until I took myself." And found those skates. "And then I mostly skated alone. Less people showing off or getting in the way all alone on the ice— though it's fun with people there, too. Just… less obstacles."

That makes Melissa frown a little. "So then why'd you take me there for our date? I know you said you thought it'd be better than just sitting down and talking business, but…it sounds like something a little too…mmm…personal, I guess, to do with someone you hardly knew."

"Ten years ago it would have been personal," Kincaid says with a small laugh, as if he finally gets the line of questioning. "It became less personal as the years went by— and I'd never gone skating here before that, and if I was going to have to skate around a bunch of people, I might as well actually be there with someone." There's a pause, and he starts to stand up again. "You didn't have to get me anything, though. For Christmas."

"Well that's good, since I didn't get you anything." Melissa pauses, then says in a less abrupt tone, "Sorry. I like giving presents too, but I just didn't consider someone I barely knew. I really bought all of three real presents, and two of those were for kids."

"I don't consider you a stranger, but— I don't know a lot of people in the city," Kincaid admits, smiling faintly, though he's definitely getting on his feet. "I only got people presents that I had ideas for. I'm one of those— if I give a gift, it's going to be meaningful." And as if he has something of the like in his pocket, he touches it and smiles faintly. "Until I get an idea, I don't give people gifts. Better to give nothing than give something without thought."

The touching of his pocket has Melissa glancing down, then back up with a curious look on her face. "Got a present for someone else in your pocket or something? Or thinking of giving someone a roll of quarters?" she asks, even making airquotes for the last three words. "I get you though. I'm the same way. I just come up with ideas all too easily." Which makes her sigh and look down into her drink for some reason.

"Some people are easier to shop for than others," Kincaid says, pulling out what he was fingering in his pocket. It's a bottle that rattles, pills inside. The label claims them to be caffeine pills. "This was my gift this year, and surprisingly, when I least expected it, it had a lot of thought put behind it… She wasn't really someone I expected to put a lot of thought into gifts… but there it is." A bottle of pills a thoughtful gift. But considering what he had told her about stimulants, it makes sense. "Anyway…" he puts the bottle away, glancing toward his feet for a moment. There's an odd circular scuff in the middle of the toes of his shoe.

"I should get going, I just wanted to see how you were doing, if you were here." When he looks back up he quickly adds, "Make sure you actually did get the present, too."

"Ahh. Yeah, caffeine pills make sense," Melissa says, nodding. "And I'm always here. I live here and at the Center. I just sleep at my apartment. Usually." She shrugs, draining the last of her drink. "See you 'round though. I look forward to being on the show, and hearing about when it'll be for that matter."

"Well that— it's being delayed a bit," Kincaid admits with a shift on his feet. "I actually haven't been to work since Christmas Eve. I'm using my vacation time." Which he likely doesn't actually have yet, being a new hire. But— "The show's also likely to change, too, when it does happen, but— I'll let you know. I'd still like you to be there, if it fits into your schedule."

There's something unspoken in his voice, something a little dire. As if he's not sure he'll be there to do it.

"If what I'm planning works, though, it could be the best ratings grab of the new year."

Brows lift and his face is studied intently before Melissa says, "Yeah, I'll fit in it, one way or another. It's important, even if you are just doing it for ratings. Just keep me informed, though, and I'll be happy."

As he starts to move away, suddenly Kincaid seems to think of something and spins to meet her eyes. "If you want to get me a late Christmas present, then you can do this for me— take a few days off to spend on yourself. There is such a thing as too much work. There's a lot of other things you could be putting off, telling yourself there's always next week. When right now is the only thing we can really be sure of."

Next week may never come.

"That'll be a good present for me, I think," he adds with that same lopsided smile, before he turns and moves toward the door again.

"I'd love to," Melissa mutters softly, watching him move off. She sighs and shakes her head, doubtful it'll happen. Then it's time to signal for last call and get herself one more drink before they start closing up.

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