melissa_icon.gif russo_icon.gif

Scene Title Noncommittal
Synopsis It's what Russo is, and what drives Melissa nuts.
Date November 2, 2010

Westview Apartments: Melissa's apartment

With Tuesday night being Melissa's night off, and with her living along and not expecting any guests, she's gone into lazy comfort mode. She needs these times where she's not worried about work or appearance, with as busy as her life is.

Tonight's schedule calls for Chinese, delivered, and enough for three people. Or left overs, in Mel's case. There's also a movie playing, the first Adamms' Family movie, and she's lounging on the futon, barefoot and wearing pajamas. Jose Tequila pajamas. Which means black pants and, gasp, a white shirt. But it looks comfy.

The apartment is less empty than last time Russo was here. The TV is a big change, snagged from the house on Staten, along with a coffee table and a small table by the window with an orchid that looks like it's staying alive only by the grace of god. Mel is clearly not the gardener Brad is.

There's a small rap at the door indicating Melissa has a visitor. With the incoming cold, any visitor ought to be dressed in a heavy coat at the very least; Bradley Russo is not. He met his father yesterday, but his father didn't really meet him; not as his son, only as September Russo's son. It's left him in want, somewhat numb despite his best efforts to keep himself in check.

And so, he stands dressed in nothing more than a large oversized green sweater and a pair of dark wash blue jeans. He's edgier than usual, and any medical professional would say this was because of the withdrawal. Dependency occurs to easily for the addict, but he's trying to quit. Again. His forehead glistens with sweat, even after his trek outside— he'd chosen not to drive today, instead exposing his body to fresh air.

He knocks again before shifting in front of the door and resting his forehead against it.

Resting his forehead against the door probably isn't a good idea, since Melissa opens it quite abruptly, her bare feet all but silent, the movie left to play in the background. She's seen it a hundred times, she doesn't have to see the movie to know what's going on anymore. But the sight of Russo on the other side of the door after not seeing him for almost a month does have her surprised. "Brad!"

She takes in the sight of his clothes, and the chill in the air, then she reaches for his hand to draw him inside. "What's wrong? Are you sick? Come inside, sit down. You want something to drink? Is everything okay?" she asks, instantly concerned.

The motion of the door actually has the already-edgy Russo jumping to attention like a soldier in front of his superior officer. He straightens and manages a weary smile, "Heeeey. How are you?" Withdrawal from speed has always been the weirdest for him, deenergizing while simultaneously anxiety-inducing.

He clears his throat as he's tugged into the apartment. He offers her a shrug in response, a non-committal response before quipping back, "I'm fine. Not sick, just very very out of it." His lips curl upwards further, exposing a single dimple on his right cheek.

"Just… alive. And well. And enjoying the nice weather," the last statement has him stifling a merry-less chuckle. "For real though. I'm fine. Annnnnd— " while he would like something to drink, "— can't drink. Shouldn't. Can't. Almost the same, right?"

Despite his protests, Melissa closes the door then ushers him towards the futon before making a sit down motion. "There's drinks that aren't alcohol. I've got water and juice. For, yanno, mixers, but doesn't have to be mixed. Soda too. And why you out of it? Haven't seen you in, what, a month? You sure everything's okay?"

"Out of what exactly?" Brad asks as his eyebrows knit together tightly from his place on the futon. "And I know there's drinks without alcohol. Believe me I know there's drinks without alcohol." He's been drinking them non-stop for four days. No liquor. And he'd gone to a meeting (and again, managed not to talk). "But I'm fine. Not really… thirsty, I guess." He shrugs and offers a half smile, there but not.

"I've been in the past. Like.. the past." His eyebrows arch expectantly as he whispers the last words for emphasis. "First 2009. Then like… the sixties. Then… I had to get vaccinated for everything known to man and checked over multiple times so I could get back to work because some poser stood in for my show." He gapes again now as he simultanously speaks and processes the words.

Melissa sits down next to him, brow furrowing. "The past? You met Hiro?" At least he didn't go back to 2006. That's a plus. "What…what was in oh nine and the sixties?" she asks, lifting a hand, resting it lightly on his cheek for a moment, then brushing his hair back with a gentle touch. "And I'm sure the poser wasn't nearly as good as you were on screen, honey. How could they be?"

"Hiro," Brad repeats as his smile fades; he's less than pleased with Nakamura. "Now I know his name," he murmurs in a husky voice. "Look. The guy pretty much kidnapped me and threw me into the past to fix things without really explaining anything. If I see him again, it'll be through my lawyer." Or not, it's not like pinning down a time traveller is easy. He'd said it to Kristen and he'll say it again; he missed three weeks of work thanks to the escapade— in television time, that's a lifetime.

"Yeah. 2009." There's a long pregnant pause before he finds himself squinting, "It was to save you. From some woman with a truck. Somewhere on the Utah interstate. I… I rolled a truck to stop her." There's a small pause before his eyes are narrowing, "Which was actually kind of badass." There's the faintest of smiles at the memory of his first exploit; he'd never crashed a car before, it had been exhilarating.

While Melissa looks sympathetic with the first part of the explanation, she's very clearly startled at the mini-bombshell he drops on her next. "I…what?" She shakes her head. "I don't remember any woman in a truck in Utah. I got the hell out of Utah as quick as I could. There was no truck rolling. And I know I don't remember you." Though she's studying his face more intently now, brow furrowed a bit in confusion.

Then she makes herself smile, just a little, and she slips an arm around his waist and leans into him. "Sounds like you've had a hell of a month though. Sorry I didn't help any, the beginning of last month. With the jail and space thing and everything. But I could share Chinese? And just…let you relax?" she offers.

There's an almost distance in Brad's eyes even as Melissa speaks like he's not quite hearing her despite himself. "Then I ended up in Vietnam. Turns out 'Daddy' and I have like the same face. Or we did. Back then. Well not then. But at like the same age. So. That kind of sucked. We got shot at. A lot." His eyebrows knit together tighter as he takes another deep breath, wholly unsure of everything that's just happened and how it happened.

He freezes a little at the embrace, the question that's weighing on his mind finding its grounding in speech, "Is this a normal thing? I mean.. for you? I left the military after my service without making a career of it so I wouldn't have to shoot anyone again. I may have the training, but I'm not… I'm not a fighter like that anymore. It's not in me. I…" And then his words fail altogether, relegated to silence.

When he mentions getting shot at, Melissa does her best to discreetly look him over for any signs of a gunshot wound. "Normal? I wouldn't say normal, no. Not unusual, not for the last couple of months." Her gaze slowly lifts to meet his. "But that's why I left the voicemail, Brad. I wanted to tell you that…I'm done with it. The fighting fighting. The stealing shuttles and getting shot at and shooting at other people."

She lets her head tilt, but rather than resting it against his shoulder, the tensing has her leaning it against the back of the futon, though her arm does remain around him. "When I told you I had scars, I wasn't kidding. Two gunshot wounds in my left shoulder. Another on my right arm. One on my stomach. The rest were…more incidental. I got attacked, randomly, at a friend's house, which left the scar on my forehead. Was out for a walk, near a registration center, when Humanis First exploded a bomb, which gave me the scars along my arms and back. I'm tired of getting more and more scars." She smiles a bit, sadly. "I'm tired of going from disaster to disaster."

The arm around him tightens a bit, instinctively, it seems. "I've started looking into forming a non-profit organization. One for evolved rights. You were right. When you said that there were other ways to fight. I'm not sure that I'll be able to do it, or that I'll be good at it, but…I've gotta try. I want something normal. A family, even though the white picket fence doesn't suit me. A life, whatever that may be. And I figure…if I fight with words and public opinion, now that I'm no longer a wanted criminal…I…might be able to get that."

"Not normal. Not unusual," Russo repeats, still shell-shocked although still trying to be okay with everything. "I thought that was just hate crimes, some symptom of a systemic problem, but this… this was something entirely different. I don't know what happened to piss off that woman, but she was determined to do what she was doing. And I wasn't going to let her hurt you, but Missy, I've never had to be thrown into the past to rescue anyone and then it happened twice in the span of a few short days." Beat. "It's a lot to process." He sighs heavily and tilts his head to watch her, his nerves continuing despite himself.

"So. A nonprofit. Tell me what you're looking to do. You have a plan?" He lifts a hand to his forehead, it's an attempt at being supportive.

"Oh, the time travel?" Melissa shakes her head. "I only did it the once. And I have no idea who that woman was. I honestly don't remember her or you or trucks in the desert. It's…seriously bugging me. You'd think I'd remember something like that. I mean, I told you the whole Moab and escape thing just a few weeks ago. You know I didn't mention any of that," she points out.

"Mmm. Plans. Sort of. Vague ones. I know what I want it to accomplish anyway. I want to educate the public so they're not afraid of us. I want to push counseling programs for people who have evolved family and need to deal, or evolved who have family and want them to deal. Programs, to help the evolved learn to control their abilities, maybe some shelters, or scholarships. Sorta like what the Suresh Center does, but on a larger, more focused scale. The Center is just one place. But there are evolved all over the country, the world, who need help. Kendall? His parents booted him out of the house, disowned him, when they found out he was evolved. Stuff like that shouldn't happen."

The observation about her story with Moab actually has what is likely the opposite effect to that intended. "Right," is all he manages before Brad finds himself sliding off the futon. He actually trudges to the door with slow shuffled steps. "I should… go." He shrugs a little before issuing her a very slight smile. In all of it he'd already felt crazy like he'd been on some bad trip; far worse than any binge he'd had before. But if that's the case when did he take the initial drugs? And had he imagined Hiro there all along? And how would Delia have known about their trek to Vietnam.

There's another flicker of a smile as he reaches the door, "It sounds like a great dream, Missy." He doesn't want to be discouraging, but right now he's struggling to figure himself out. "Look… I'll call you in a few days or something. I'm just… I need to figure some stuff out." And what he's supposed to do next aside from meet up with his father again.

"Wait, no," Melissa says, shaking her head and standing, to try to beat him to the door and lay a hand on his arm. "Brad…please. Stay," she says softly. "I'm sure you did do what you said. I have no doubt. Memory loss isn't that uncommon." Especially not with Rupert around. "I know for a fact I've had at least two memories taken from me already. And I…just…please?" she asks, giving him a look that's nearly pleading. She's so lonely, living in this small apartment by herself instead of in her house, surrounded by friends.

"I've missed you," she admits quietly. "And not just because I'm living alone. But because…I missed you. I had this whole thing planned out. The voice mail? I was gonna tell you about quitting the violence, and have this whole…date set up. Something relaxing and sweet."

There's a slight shake of his head at the urge. "I… It's not… I just need to collect my thoughts. There hasn't been time." And then with a fleeting shrug and an equally fleeting albeit worried smile he murmurs the excuse as to why, "Work." But if he's honest, he's freaked. Even with her warnings, he'd never envisioned himself having to travel back in time to rescue her… or getting kidnapped and thrown back in time. He sighs quietly, still unsure, but collecting the little nerve he has left he forces his thoughts into words, "I can barely handle my own life; I can't… I can't cope with more. You know when you talked about my loss I really thought, 'What are the chances of that happening again?' But this. This… it's a lot. I just need to figure out if I can do it." He shrugs again before he manages, in a quieter voice, "It's great. This thing you want to do. It's perfect for you. It's like I said, no one can really hear you when you're shouting."

His response has Melissa looking sad. Disappointed too, but more sad. She's quiet for a moment, a long moment. "I'm not sure it's perfect for me, but I had to do something. And I hoped…" She shakes her head and takes a step to one side, leaving the door free for him. "Nothing. I guess…I'll see you around," she says, jerking a shoulder into a bit of a shrug.

"We'll talk soon," Brad counters, still none-too-sure about the entire situation and more than that Melissa's dejected expression. "Seriously. I'll call you when my head's a little clearer. I feel like a space cadet; the only thing keeping me focused at all… work." And the prospect of running for public office, nothing like having to clean up his image. That said, he reaches for the door knob, turns it, and disappears out the door for the long walk home, his thoughts weighing heavily on his mind.

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