No One Got Hurt


magnes_icon.gif bella_icon.gif

Scene Title No One Got Hurt
Synopsis Bella learns that Magnes has been busy with girls, erased memories and some hypothetical vigilantism. On all matters, caution is advised, though it might be Bella who's being cautious.
Date September 22, 2009

Bella's studio apartment office.

The sky outside is overcast, and Bella is running a bit late. It's still in the mid seventies, the true chill of autumn still sequestered to later hours but, nevertheless, Bella is sporting a slightly truncated pea coat in dark brown and a checkered scarf in complimentary earth tones. Along with the red swoop of her hair, whether intentional or not, she's shifting her colors to match the seasons, blending by aerial view into the turning leaves of the trees that punctuate the sidewalk outside her office's building. She's holding a cardboard cup of coffee in one hand, and has a small brown paper bag in the other. As she mounts the steps to the entrance, she glances both ways down the street, a nervous little gesture to check for today's client. She hates not having time to settle in, but of all the people she could be seeing while off her game, Magnes Varlane is by far the least stressful. It's almost therapy for her, as well.

Quickly making his way down the street, wearing an unzipped black fleece with a faded blue shirt with a Superman symbol under it, a pair of neatly fitting black jeans, and matching black sneakers, Magnes shows up at the building a few seconds after Bella. He looks her over, tilting his head. "This might sound weird, but seeing you outside is like seeing a chair magically escape from my house."

Bella gives a sunny, slightly bashful smile. "Matter of context," she says, "But since we're both here… mind giving me a hand?" She lifts coffee and bag, demonstrating that her hands are full. "Get the door for me?"

Magnes' hand brushes over the bag, which suddenly seems rather light, then he opens the door for her, smiling. "By the way, I told her. I'm still just as sexless as before, but she was understanding. Her cheeks kind of lit up."

"Lit up cheeks? Let the countdown begin," Bella says, with a touch of playful rougishness, "Oh, thank you. So much." For the lighter bag and the open door. She steps inside, ushering Magnes with a small tilt of the head, "Any other developments? Have you, say, met her parents?"

"Her parents.. somehow I don't see that happening for a long time. She's, uh, got very important parents, not people I can just meet. But uh, we had our first fight. I wouldn't say it was huge, but it was still a fight. I think we're fine, I mean she kissed me right after, and a few days ago I laid some flowers down where she could find them while she was walking down the street, I added a note and everything that said I was sorry." Magnes explains as he follows her in, smiling the whole time at his thoughts. "The flowers were Abby's idea. Yeah, I asked the girl I used to like for relationship advice. I'm kind of surprised Abby's already dating another guy, but I never really saw her staying with Victor, I mean, he's a poor man's me."

Bella guides them both to the elevator, using her elbow to prod the button. As they wait for the car's descent, she takes a small sip of her coffee. "Do you want to talk about this little altercation?" Bella says, "It sounds like you have it well in hand, but if it's on your mind I'd be happy to hear about it." There's a small 'ding' and the elevator door slides open for them. Bella steps inside.

Magnes slides right in after her, pressing the button for her floor, then the button for the doors to close. Shortly after that, he finds himself once again touching the wall of the elevator, though doesn't say why. "I can't say exactly what we were arguing about, it's kind of about a secret she told me. She blames herself for not doing something she couldn't have possibly been expected to do when she was younger. I told her it's not her fault, but she doesn't believe me, and well, we fought about it."

"Well, not that I want to poke my nose into the whole of your life," Bella says, "But if she needs to talk to someone, well," she smiles, "I do have this /profession/ I sometimes practice." The elevator reaches their floor and with another light 'ding' the doors slide open.

"I'm not so sure these are problems she could talk to you about, but I'll let her know." Magnes exits the elevator with her, holding the door, just in case. "Completely hypothetical. What would you think of someone doing the Batman thing and going out to do detective work in a mask?"

"Depends on how many people got pummled in the process," Bella replies, brow arching at the hypothetical. They arrive at her door and she tucks the paper bag under one arm, hand going into her jacket pocket to fish around for her key, "Vigilantism is risky business. I'm not saying the law is just, but at least there are protections in place for everyone involved. Theoretically at least." But best not to get into a discussion of law/justice right now.

"Let's see virtually no one got hurt in the process, the vigilantee was mostly just doing detective work under the radar, you know, to feed to the cops and stuff." And stuff. Magnes reaches for her bag so she can have an easier time looking for her keys, nodding. "I'm just saying, if someone had the resources, shouldn't they use them?"

"In general, yes," Bella says, "But it all depends on context. There is a fine line between concerned citizen and informer. The question is: what sort of crime is this hypothetical informer trying to put a stop to, and why is it that the police aren't able to handle it themselves?" The door unlocks and swings open for them.

"The police are bogged down with paper work and a number of other things, maybe the informer knows a lot of people who can get a lot of information that could take the police years to gather, and by that time Refrain will be all over the country." Magnes suddenly smacks his hand over his mouth when he slips the word Refrain. "Shit."

He takes a seat on his usual couch, watching for her reaction.

Bella actually has to hide her reaction. Refrain is an object of no small interest to her. With a rather liberal idea of what drugs can be considered therapeutic, the idea of an Evolved-only-effective drug with psychoactive properties has quite the power over her attention. "The cat's out of the bag?" she says, taking her own seat, "We can just coast on or you can go into detail, whatever makes you more comfortable."

"I know how psychologist ethics work. If you think I'm a danger to myself or others, you have to tell the cops. So maybe we should move on." Magnes decides as he lays back on the couch, sighing. "I have this problem, it's a girl issue. You remember Delilah? The other girl I said I tried to date before?"

Bella inclines her head, "I'll let it go only with this bit of advice: please be careful," and that's all she has to say on the matter. Lingering concerns, and even lingering curiosity, is neatly shuttled to the back of her mind, invisible in the interaction, "I remember you mentioning her, yes. Go on."

"I'm faithful to Claire, I really like Claire, I wanna make that clear right now. But is it normal, I mean, when I'm with Delilah, I have to keep telling myself that I have a girlfriend?" Magnes asks, tone full of worry and confusion due to his lack of experience with the situation. "Shouldn't this just not be a problem at all? And is it cheating if I still kind of like another girl, even if I'm not doing anything with her?"

"No, it's not cheating," Bella replies, entirely forthright, "If you were Catholic, sure, you'd probably have to confess your 'impure thoughts'. And… I guess that's sort of what you're doing right now, with me. But I'm not going to tell you to be guilty. It's perfectly normal to feel desire for others. If monogamy were easy or natural, why would people have such a hard time with it? It's the struggle to remain faithful that makes faith so important. Don't feel bad that you feel attraction for another woman. Feel good that, despite your attraction, it's still more important to you to be true to Claire."

"Delilah does mean a lot to me as a friend, hell she means even more than that, I'm not afraid to admit it, but I do feel guilty. I'm not leaving Claire, I'm not cheating on Claire, I have no intention of messing up such a good thing, I just, I don't know, I needed to hear that it's alright to have feelings for Delilah." Magnes sits up, placing a hand on the pit of his stomach. "I feel like I'm hurting Claire, even though I'm not even doing anything, it's a really sucky feeling."

"Just be very aware of your feelings, and very clear about the lines you won't cross," Bella says, "It's easy to get into a slippery slope when you continue a relationship that has more than just platonic feelings. You shouldn't have to feel sick, that's not good, punishing yourself for things you haven't done. But it is important to be watchful," she smiles, "I'm sure you'll be fine, Magnes. Delilah knows you're with Claire, right? She's not holding a torch for you?"

"I don't know what Delilah feels about me, she's turned out to be a lot more complex than I thought. Well I do know that if I wasn't with Claire, she'd be sleeping with me, but she knows about Claire, she wouldn't mess that up for me." Magnes answers quite confidently, trusting in Delilah's word. "Can I tell you something else? I've had, well, a kind of lapse in memory I wanna tell you about…"

Red flag! As the steward of Magne's continuity, issues of memory are top priority for Bella. She keeps her expression well tamed, venting her immediate anxiety through a look of sympathetic concern. "I can imagine that might be unnerving. Tell me about it."

"I know this is gonna sound very crazy, but come on, I can break the laws of physics, hell, I practically write the laws of physics, so, keep an open mind?" Magnes requests, suggesting that he likely doesn't remember enough to have gotten any real memory back. "Recently I think I was in some secret organization, not sure who they were, but they erased most of my memories, except personal stuff with people I can't really remember. I wrote a note to myself, so I know whatever it was, I consented to this whole memory thing. The thing is, I don't know, I feel like I have this loss of purpose and now I have to find a way to make up for it. I haven't really told anyone this, Claire would probably flip…"

Bella's head tilts. There is a small pause. "Crazy? Yes, it does sound like a schizoform delusion. But so does the belief that you can command gravity, so we know that the facts are often crazy-sounding. Assuming that this is the case, that you worked for a 'secret organization' that erased your memories… do you think you could live with that knowledge, or rather that lack of knowledge? I can't really speak on the matter of conspiracies, but I've read enough books and seen enough movies to guess that it's a bad scene."

"I can live with it, it doesn't bother me much. It's kind of comforting to know that I have so many other friends. I just can't imagine why I'd want my memory erased. The note said I did it for Claire." Magnes shrugs, he seems to have thought about it a lot, and if nothing else, he does trust himself. "I just wish I could talk to them, y'know? But I'll be fine, and I think I'm doing well with the whole sense of purpose thing. I got this tarot reading, my first. It was so accurate, though the woman said it was more to figure my feelings out and what I should do. It seemed like some sort of psychology thing. Can you do something for me?"

"Fortune telling isn't so far from psychotherapy. It creates a screen that the client projects their own feelings on, without the natural censorship of consciousness," Bella agrees. She's no spiritualist, but what works works. "And I can try. What do you want me to do?"

"Could you go to this woman and get a tarot reading, then tell me what you think?" Magnes requests, reaching into his pocket for a piece of paper with the address, holding it out to her. "I know it's a bit much to ask, but I just kind of wanted your thoughts."

Bella is taken momentarily aback. She leans forward, taking the card and lifting it to eye level. But, in the end, there isn't much hesitation. Just surprise. "Sure," she says, "It'll be a novel experience. I haven't had a reading since high school."

"You're the smartest person I know, well, except maybe Doctor Suresh, he's like the son of the guy who wrote Activating Evolution, I think." Magnes watches her, awkwardly rubbing the back of his neck. "So, uh, I guess I'm ready for that sex talk."

Bella looks genuinely flattered at this, and her smile is lopsided with a touch of fluster. "Well, thank you. I consider you a fine judge of character, so I will take that as a high compliment," she leans forward, expression serious; sex is no trifling matter! "So. We'll start with the basics: erogenous zones. Three most important: clitoris, Gräfenberg spot, collequially known as the 'g-spot', and cervical lining. Get to know them. They are your best allies." And thus lesson begins.

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