Not All At Once


elaine_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif quinn3_icon.gif

Scene Title Not All At Once
Synopsis Some company is always good; usually.
Date March 1, 2011

St. Luke's Hospital

In one of the many waiting areas of the lobby, Graeme Cormac paces, slightly. He's spent time pacing, spent time sitting in one place, spent time sleeping in a chair, and now he's been told that he can go in and see Elaine. It's late afternoon now. But he's procrastinating, ever so slightly, before turning to the nurse who let him know, and following her.

Inside the room, Graeme takes one of the chairs, pulls it up next to the bed. "Hey there," he says, quietly, voice a slight drawl. He swallows, and it forces a slight smile onto his face. "How're you feeling?"

While Elaine isn't losing blood now, she's still fairly pale, and she's only been awake for a little bit now. Quinn, at least, was taking the moment to grab food and make sure everyone was informed about Elaine's condition. When Graeme enters, she offers him a genuinely warm smile. "Hey. I'm okay now… thanks for the help. I'm glad you stuck around."

"'Course," Graeme says. "I had to go over and give a statement, a little earlier, but I came back as soon as I could." After he'd gone back to his apartment and cleaned up, but, that doesn't count. For lack of anything that he can think of to say, he just sits there. "I figured you might be able to use some company for a bit." His smile is no longer forced, just gentle and concerned.

"It might be nice. Quinn's probably going to be here a lot too, but… she's letting everyone know I'm okay," Elaine comments, peering back over at Graeme. "So yeah, the company is nice. Are you doing okay? It's… not the easiest thing, watching someone get shot." She knows that from experience.

Graeme seems a bit taken aback, with Elaine's concern for him. "Well, between her an' I," he says, "we'll make sure you have plenty of company." He reaches over, and sets his hand on the side of the bed, head tilting to one side. Then he shrugs. "I will be. What's important is that you're okay." He pauses.

"And yeah, it isn't… it brings a fair few memories to mind for me. But I was able to do something, this time." The expression on his face is sad, and he turns a little away. He's not about to let Elaine see his discomfort.

"This time…?" Elaine questions, turning her body a bit and hissing when she jostles the wound. "I couldn't really do anything when I saw someone shot. It's… kind of what sprang into my head when I realized I'd been hit and that there was blood all over." She offers him a feeble smile. "Sure you're okay?"

Quietly, Graeme nods. "Yeah." He pauses, hesitating before telling. "I taught high school, back in New Mexico. That time, I couldn't do anything, and it was one of my students. It was a little bit after the Linderman Act was passed." The man looks distant, for a time, biting his lip, and eventually he shrugs. "As I said, I will be."

"I'm sorry, that must have been rough," Elaine murmurs, a hand reaching over to pat his. "I saw a cop get shot and killed. I was out after curfew and there was a few of us there and… someone shot her. She bled to death, right there in front of her partner." She lets out a breath. "Not so pretty."

Graeme nods. "No, it never is," he says. "I'm glad you're alright, though." He chuckles, slipping the messenger bag off of his shoulder and across the back of the chair, leaning forward a little. The less pleasant topics are pushed out of the forefront of his mind, and he offers Elaine a smile.

Elaine laughs a little bit. "I'm glad I'm alright, too. I think Quinn would have killed me, though, if I hadn't been alright." Of course there's the irony. "I wonder if Quinn is letting Remi know too."

Graeme tilts his head to one side, considering the possibility. "Remi wasn't home when I swung by to grab a bag," he says. That bag, the slightly larger one, is set on the floor near the doorway, with what in it so that Graeme doesn't have to leave the hospital again for the night. At the very least, he's not planning to. "But if Quinn hasn't told her, she'll find out tomorrow, I suppose, when I go home." Because it's impossible to keep a secret from his roommate, even when she doesn't pry. He shrugs, a bit.

"Mm… well, I guess that'll be good. I don't know if she'd worry, but…" Elaine shrugs her shoulders, which comes off a bit stiffly as she tries not to move very much while doing so. "If you have better things to do, though, you don't have to stay…" She offers, gently.

He shakes his head. "The only thing I'd be doing otherwise is pulling an overnight at the relief efforts for the Dome," Graeme says, quiet. "Being here is much more important."

Elaine offers a smile. "Well, it's nice to know I'm a worthy enough cause. Honestly? I think it'll help having you here. Maybe it means Quinn will actually get a little bit of sleep, you know?"

Graeme grins. It's a bit of a sheepish expression. "Yeah," he says. "I'll try to make sure she does." He glances at the ceiling. "I don't need to, tonight, not for more than an hour or so at most." He tilts his head in the other direction, pondering. "If you're up for it, I brought some of the travel editions of games I have, to pass some time. I have some playing cards, too. And … there's backgammon, and Scrabble, though I think you might beat me at the second one pretty damn thoroughly." He grins.

"Oooh, Scrabble. Yeah, we'll see. I guess we're even if we restrict it to only English words, though…" Elaine teases. "But cards could be fun. I'm sure people will be stopping in, too… so you'll get the chance to meet some of them, if you'd like. Well, at least I hope some of them will stop by."

Graeme reaches out, and sets his hand on Elaine's shoulder. "I'm sure they'll stop by," he says, gently, reassuring. And unlike the reassurance of earlier that day, there is confidence behind his voice now. "And well, I don't stand a chance if we don't restrict it to English, now do I."

"Probably not, because then I'd be at least fifteen times more likely to be able to make a word." Elaine points out, grinning. "I… I don't know. I'm glad this happened, in a way. It's like putting a big halt to everything going on and kind of stops time. Gives me a chance to breathe, as crazy as this week's been."

Graeme nods, understandingly. "Yeah, I can see how that would be." But he doesn't press for details, though he won't stop Elaine if she does choose to talk about it. "Just as long as it doesn't become a reoccurrence." He's teasing, mainly, using that to hide the very real concern in his voice. "So, Scrabble?"

"I hope not. I don't know that I want to go through the shit leading up to this again. The bullet's just the end of a bad couple of days… and I certainly hope that's the end." Elaine murmurs.

Once more, Graeme nods, and he pats Elaine's shoulder once, before pulling his messenger bag around. After removing the still zippered case that the travel game comes in, he leans to one side, pulling over the bedside table thing on wheels, and then reaching with his foot to lock the casters. "See, it zips, and the pieces lock into place, so the board doesn't have to be level or anything, so you can play without having to sit up or anything." Graeme watches Elaine, and smiles. "I hope so too. For now, you need to focus on more pleasant things, like getting yourself better. Negative stuff does nothing to help the body's healing process." And on the bright side, he's come prepared with plenty of things to entertain her, if need be.

"Wow. You sure you don't do this a lot? You've got quite the set," Elaine points out, letting out a tired breath. "I don't know if I'll ever heal then… I've got a lot of negative stuff still in there I'm not letting out. Can't let it out."

Graeme shakes his head. "I don't get much of a chance to play, these days," he says. "You don't have to let it out, that takes time. I'm not even particularly one to talk, here; it would be a bit hypocritical of me. Just that for a little, you should focus on the brighter side of things. Like Scrabble." He grins. "And the fact that one of the nurses told me I would be allowed to bring you ice cream tonight, if you want it. Real ice cream, not the stuff they try and pass off for it."

"Guess you're right. If I don't think about it much, maybe it'll all go away?" Elaine suggests, looking at the scrabble board for a moment. The comment about ice cream, though, has her perking up. "Really? You could? That'd… be fantastic. You have no idea."

Graeme nods. "There's a grocery store a block and a half away, and the desk gave me a list of what I could possibly get. ." He pauses. "So I'll do that when Quinn gets back, or so." He leans forward, shakes his head. "There'll be time for all of it to be dealt with," he says, voice gentle. "It doesn't go away, but there's no need to deal with it all at once."

"I wish that were true. Life just wants me to deal with things all at once, you know?" Elaine nods. "I'd appreciate the ice cream. You're… you know, you're really sweet. I got lucky you happened to be there. Thank you. I mean it." She looks back to him. "Sounds like you speak from experience."

"Well you tell life you're going to do it on your own time," Graeme responds. "You're welcome." He stares past Elaine, for a moment, looking at the wall. "Forcing yourself to try and deal before you're ready to doesn't always work. And … I do, I suppose. Like I said, I'd be hypocritical if I didn't admit that I'm horrible at dealing with things. I try and drown out my feelings in a punching bag, ninety percent of the time."

Then, he reaches, unzipping the Scrabble board, unfolding it. From within the case comes a bag of tiles, a score pad, and two racks, before Graeme snaps the board to open, and offers the bag of tiles to Elaine. "But even with all the curveballs life throws, you just need to not lose track of the good things." He smiles, offering over a little plastic rack as well. "At least, that's the theory."

Shifting a little in her hospital bed, Elaine stares at the travel Scrabble board with a look of amusement. She takes the bag of tiles, shaking them up a bit before she looks to Graeme. "I guess you're right about dealing with things on your own time. I mean… that's why people make psychological coping mechanisms, right? To put off what they can't deal with all at once. I think I do that, a bit. I just don't know how much I can take of things, you know? I try to hold it together but… I just don't want people to worry about how bad it is if they actually saw how bad it is." She can't help but smile. "Maybe I should get a stress-relieving hobby. Not sure I can do the punching bag thing… but… I do have good things, and I don't plan on letting those things get away from me. They're all I've got going."

Graeme offers a smile to Elaine, with a look at the Scrabble board. "You're going to have to go easy on me, yeah?" He grins. "I don't think I've played, really, since moving back out here, just once or so." There's a pause. "I know." Graeme can understand the sentiment that the young woman expresses, and he offers a sympathetic smile, honest sympathy rather than anything else.

"If … if it's anything, I'm always around if you need an ear. Or a shoulder. Or I can help you find whatever services Columbia offers." He doesn't push the matter further, though, and takes the bag of tiles when it is handed to him, in order to choose his own.

When Magnes enters the room, he knocks on the door a few times while it's open, then rubs the back of his neck a bit awkwardly. He's in some blue jeans, wearing a white shirt with a large light blue cross going around the entire thing, and a black unbuttoned suit jacket. "Uh, hey. I'm just seeing how you're doing. I'll go if you want."

Quinn had been off out of the room, out of the noise- well, she'd mostly been seeking the opportunity to smoke without being caught, but she had also been trying to get in contact with people, drop off voice mails, emails, try and get in touch with people directly. The latter, though, hadn't been working out too well so far, and both her most recent attempts to reach Sable and Delilah going unanswered again. So she hasn't sen Magnes arrive, and when she pushes the door back open and finds it suddenly full of most people, she's left blinking a bit, gaze moving from Graeme, to Magnes, to Elaine. "Heya, guys," she remarks wearily, smiling at them all - even Magnes, in case he was expecting anything else.

Graeme waves to Quinn, leaning back in the chair that he's got pulled up to the bedside. "Any luck?" he asks, quietly, as she comes in. Magnes earns a nod of recognition, but Graeme is quiet, for the moment, considering the tiles that he's drawn.

"You don't have to go, Magnes," Elaine comments, offering Magnes a weak smile. "Sorry. I don't hate you, and I didn't mean everything I said." She glances back to Quinn for a moment. "Graeme promised to bring me ice cream later. The nurses said it was okay." She peers towards the tiles in front of her.

Magnes leans against the wall, stuffing both hands into his jacket pockets. "I just want to make sure you'll be alright." He still seems to have a bit of a frown, likely dealing with some mixed emotions at the moment.

"Scrabble?" Quinn must have been gone longer than she thought she was, quirking an eyebrow at the pair as they gaze at tiles. "Well, I'll ahve t' get you some money so that you cang et me some too, Graeme. I could really use some m'self…" She moves over towards Magnes, she pats him on the back. "yeah… I'm sorry about yesterday, I… we had a really bad day. I don't know if Laina mentioned it or not, but I am sorry. ANyway, you're welcome to hang around for a bit." And with that, she starts over towards Elaine, a hand on her shoulder as she peers down at the tiles she has. "You should play those ones," she remarks, point to three that, with what's on the board, probably form a curse word.

"You let me know what sort you want," Graeme says, to Quinn. "And don't worry about it." He raises his eyebrows a bit, moving tiles around on his own rack. "I can cover a few tubs of ice cream."

"We just started… but I'm going to win. Even if I'm restricted to only English words," Elaine points out. She peers towards Quinn. "I don't think you get a bonus score for putting out the naughtiest words ever…" Her gaze shifts to Magnes. "I'm glad you came by. You should stay for a little. I like the company. Makes me feel better. And I feel guilty for yelling." It made her feel better at the time, but…

"It's… alright. Just get better. I need to go do a few things." Magnes is still just as unhappy as when he entered, satisfied that she's not in critical condition, he opens the door and heads out. He only gives Quinn a quick glance, but then he's off down the hall.

"No, but you get to make people laugh," Quinn notes, before looking up at Magnes as he starts to make his way out. "Magneeeeeeees!" she shouts after him, stepping away from the bed. "I really wish he would stay. I'm… I'm going t' go see if I can stop him and get him t' stay for a bit." Because that went so well last night, but here's hoping. "Kick 'er ass, Graeme, bring her down a peg." She winks at the two of them, before starting after Magnes.

Graeme looks down at his tiles. Mostly vowels, but enough that he can work with. "I'll try to, though I think she has a bit of an advantage, you know," he says, watching the Quinn go off after Magnes. He looks to Elaine, and grins, though the corner of his mouth dips into a frown as he glances back towards the hall.

"Magnes…" Elaine trails off, but she's not going to try and yell. Probably wise. She peers back at her tiles, moving to place a word down. "I don't blame him for not wanting to stay, I just… I thought this whole being-in-the-hospital thing transcended borders or something."

Magnes stops when Quinn calls him, and they're sufficiently away from the room. When he turns around, hands are still in his pocket, and he's staring at her. "I came to see if Elaine was alright, I want her to get better. But I'm done, Quinn. I know I made a mistake, what I said was stupid, but I wasn't trying to hurt you, and that's the big difference. This isn't the first time you two have done this, it's like… my feelings don't even matter to you two. I don't care about any excuse or justification, the bottom line is that you two don't seem to think I have feelings. What kind of friends are you?"

He turns around to start walking again, but he's not making a very hasty retreat, he just doesn't seem intent on stopping. "Call me if something happens, but otherwise, just leave me alone. We're through."

"Magnes!" Quinn this time shouts after him, eyes narrowed. "Jesus Christ, Magnes. Will you please at least hear me out?" She moves to follow after him - not too close, not too fast, but she's not letting him leave yet. "I didn't realise I'd made you feel so bad. I'm sorry, I wasn't meaning to hurt you. But jesus, yesterday Elaine got hurt - physically and mentally - by someone we both though never would, and we watched a woman have a mental break down. I'm sorry we overreacted, but…" And then she stops, sighing."You and I don't always get along, I know. But I didn't…" She grimaces, spinning around. This time, she doesn't think she's going to win this fight. "She really would appreciate it if you hung around, Magnes."

"Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't." Graeme nods in response to Elaine, considering what she'd played, with a muttered something about having no good letters. He picks up the pencil, eraser tapping each letter as he counts aloud, then scratching her score onto the pad of paper before snapping his own letters in place and repeating it with his own score.

Not as good of a word as Elaine'd had, and rather than say anything, he offers the same look of sympathy, putting his rack of tiles down to look at the small pitcher of water, before pouring the glass, half-full, and handing it to her, not letting go until he's sure she has a grip on it. "Here. You're supposed to be drinking water and such."

"I don't hear them yelling, so that's a good sign," Elaine murmurs, taking the glass of water and sipping from it carefully. She stares at the words, then at her letters, looking at them intently. She leans back, just a little bit and shuts her eyes briefly. "Wish painkiller worked on more than just physical pain."

Graeme shakes his head at Elaine's statement, pulling his chair a little closer to the bed. He's doing a good job at hiding the fact that the statement hit a nerve, in any case.

"I hear what you're saying, and I understand, but the fact remains that this isn't the first time you two have completely disregarded my feelings as if I didn't matter. Don't think I don't have sympathy for Elaine, or that I don't care, I just… I don't want to see you two. I can't be around people who always expect me to comfort them, but leave me to hurt alone when I need someone." Magnes just continues walking, not looking back. "As I said, call me if something happens. Other than that, we won't be seeing eachother anymore. Elvira has taught me to actually have some respect for myself, and to me, a part of respecting myself is not letting people hurt me over and over again. I trust you to make sure Elaine gets better…"

Quinn stops again, rubbing her hand over her face. "Magnes… Will you talk about this with me? Not t'day, but… I'm sorry if I've been treating you like that. I didn't mean to, I just… we don't always agree. But if I didn't want you as my friend, I wouldn't've tried so hard t' keep you in the band, you know? We do care, it's just…." she sighs, shaking her head. "Things have been hard lately. Really, really hard. So, I'm sorry. Please, let me give you a call later."

"Fine, you can call me later." is all Magnes offers, his mood still shot, then finally turns a corner. He is not in the mood to talk right now, but at the very least he opened up a channel of future communication.

Elaine opens her eyes again, glancing back over to Graeme. "You think that they're yelling out there?" She swallows hard. "I'm glad he was worried but I… ugh, there are just so many complicated things. I just want things to be simple again. You think that's too much to ask for?"

"No, I don't think they're yelling," Graeme says. "For one, none of the nurses would allow it. It's supposed to be somewhat quiet, or something." He sets his tiles on the table in order to be able to place his hand on her shoulder once more. "And I dunno. I've been having a lot of wanting it to be simple recently, myself. Doesn't seem to work that way…" He pauses, trying to word this. "Elaine, don't … think about the painkillers in that context, yeah? It leads to some pretty bad places, and you're better than that. From what I have seen, you are so much better than that." It's not just the responsible adult speaking, but a genuine amount of care that he has for the young woman.

Quinn lets out a long sigh, shaking her head as she walks back towards the room, Quinn mutters to herself. "Well… at least there's that," she says, stepping back into the room with a bit of a weak smile. "Sorry about that guys. He's… sore about yesterday. Don't blame him. He's going t' let me call him sometime, though…" She exhales, shaking her head. "I'll talk t' you about it later Elaine." Mostly because she doesn't want to go over their social problems i front of Graeme. It's bad enough having to deal with them just between each other. "So! Who's winning? Graeme, please tell me you've doubled her score."

"I think there are supposed to be quiet hours anyways, right? Nurses enforce that." Elaine murmurs, but her eyes scan Graeme for a long moment. "I didn't mean it like that, I don't think I could… not really." There some slight hesitation to that before she looks to Quinn as she comes back. "Is really that pissed? I suppose I deserve it."

There's a gentle squeeze of Elaine's shoulder and a smile for acknowledgement, and then Graeme leans back in his chair, crossing one leg under the other. "Yeah, quiet hours start an hour and a half before curfew," he says. He glances at Quinn. "She's still winning, but not by much. I hate to think jus' how badly I'd be losing if there weren't factors leveling the playing field."

"He's…" Quinn exhales slowly, reaching a hand over a scratching ELaine's head. "He thinks we're ganging up on him. That we don't think he has feels. I feel bad, he… he said what kinda friends are we, and that to learn self respect, he had to not let people like just keep hurting him over and over again…" She scratches the back of her head, looking off to the side. "He agreed t' talk t' me again about it sometime, at least." She looks down a bit, then off to the side. "I didn't realise I was that bad t' him. Well, I don't think I am, but…"

"He does that. I do think he has feelings and I think he should expect the same of the rest of us. He's hurt me a lot and the one time I ever really just say everything with no filter he acts like I killed him," Elaine looks frustrated, attempting to shift in the bed a little. "I just wish he'd let me talk honestly for once without taking it so hard. I feel like I can never say anything to him because it just hurts him." She looks at the gameboard, placing a tile. "I'm actually not really that good. I just know a lot of words. Doesn't mean I'm an instant Scrabble winner. I have to think of the words."

Graeme chuckles, slightly, offering a hand should Elaine need it for support or leverage or anything, and he considers the play she made, noting it on the scorepad. "But you're good at it," he says, "and your moves make sense. I'm decent enough at Scrabble, but." He shrugs. Graeme's very careful to let Elaine and Quinn talk, without prying, without too much recognition that there's a conversation going on besides the talk of the game.

He peers at his tiles, rearranging them, and a smile plays onto his face, nearly smug. Though the word that he plays, happiest, with the A being present already on the board, might not be the best of things to play. But it's what he had!

"I know." Quinn continues to scratch Elaine's head, fingers moving down to her cheek. "But I'm going t' try talking t' him again. See why he thinks we don't think he has feelings. I mean… yeah, I'm kinda harsh towards him sometimes, and we both know we don't get along, but Jesus, I've tried really hard, I thought, not t' be that mean t' him. Now it bothers me. So… I guess I'm going t' talk t' him whenever I get the chance next. Don't let it bother you."

There's a weak smile as Elaine uses Graeme for support for a moment to sit up a bit, and she notes his word with an equally weak look. Her gaze flickers back to Quinn, sighing softly. "It's my fault, Quinn. He shouldn't be mad at you. Make sure he knows it, okay? He probably won't talk to me again anytime soon."

"No, if it was both of us. He wasn't talkin' about just this one time… I guess I've been doing it t' him for a while without realising." Quinn rolls her shoulders a bit, sighing. "But I'll get t' the bottom of it,"she replies, quirking her lips. "Like I said, don't worry about it. I'll talk t' him…"

With that, she leans forward, looking between the two scrabble tile sets, and at the board. Leaning down to Elaine, she grins, point. "You should play quasar." A beat. "Wait, shit! I didn't mean t' say that out lout!"


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