One of the Others


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Scene Title One of the Others
Synopsis Delia and Ingrid become acquainted over breakfast.
Date January 28, 2011

Jolene and Ingrid's Apartment (Also Joshua's)

It's too overcast this early to tell if it'll be a really good day. Nevertheless, Delia has awoken quite early in a small attempt to surprise her hosts with something. The faint snores of the man in the living room mask whatever noises she manages to make when getting up and out of her wheelchair. It's difficult trying to maneuver the small kitchen without breaking anything, but being really slow helps.

Around six thirty-ish, the aromatic scent of french toast fills the apartment. It's simple enough, cheap enough, and Delia doesn't actually feel bad about making a lot of it. Everyone loves French toast. It's a rule. Even people who hate the French have to love French toast. The table has been purposely left naked and free of setting, the guest has no idea what time everyone gets up or if they even eat together. The redhead hasn't been especially observant of the comings and goings of her 'room mates'.

Her clothing is all fairly loose fitting, a gift from her brother who is practical enough to want her to actually grow into things. So far it just makes her look scrawny or frumpy, not that she cares so much. The long red hair is tied into a tail at the back of her head and left to curl down to the middle of her back. It's ratty, as always; with months of improper care, she still hasn't managed to get all of it tamed.

While Delia might not have been especially observant of the comings and goings of the other people staying in the apartment, at least one of them has been careful not to be observed. She's caught only fleeting glimpses of the young woman who volunteered to give up her bedroom for their house guest, and when Ingrid emerges from the flat's only bathroom to the smell of breakfast cooking, she's surprised she doesn't detect a burnt odor in the air as well. A glance at long, feline shape of a man sprawled out on the floor next to the couch where she's been sleeping the past few nights confirms that Joshua is exactly where she left him, and on her way to the kitchen she crouches down beside him, adjusts the blankets haphazardly thrown over his lower half by pulling them halfway up his chest.

She pauses there, chin lifted, and studies his face beneath her lashes, a fond expression shaping her mouth, blue eyes gentle. "Lene?" she asks then, with a glance over her shoulder in the general direction of the kitchen. "What smells so good?"

Spatula in hand, Delia's torso snakes to the side and she manages a peek around the wall. Her blue eyes meet the ones of the woman whose bed she's usurped and a small sheepish smile twitches on one side of her lips. From the height of her head, it can be assumed that she's in her wheelchair. "Uhm.. No, it's uhm.. just me." The stammer is telltale of nervousness that's almost a second nature to the woman now. "French toast," she emits quickly as she ducks back into hiding, like a turtle recoiling back into its shell.

Edging the squares of toast around the pan, the redhead concentrates on not burning breakfast rather than conversing. It's a tactic that was used quite a bit with her father and her sister, not her brother who insisted on doing all the cooking and making it a 'family' affair.

Ingrid rises from her crouch on the floor beside Joshua and tucks a stray piece of blonde hair behind her ear. Fine brows arch in surprise and lips with a fresh coat of petal pink gloss pucker around a faint oh of surprise when she sees that the redhead in the kitchen isn't the redhead she was expecting. A robin's egg blue blouse with ruffles adds an element of playfulness to her outfit, which is made up of a navy suit jacket, a matching knee-length skirt and tinted nylons. She hasn't yet picked out a pair of shoes to go with it, feet silent on the squeaky floorboards as she tentatively creeps into the kitchen with her neck craned.

"You don't have to cook for us, you know," she says, not unkindly.

"I know," is the quick reply, though Delia doesn't stray far from the position over the pan. One of the pieces is flipped up and over to a plate nearby, landing slightly askew the rest of them. "I can't pay anything, it's the least I can do."

She turns then and gives the blonde woman another slight smile, though this one is a little bigger and showing a thin sliver of white teeth. "You look nice. You work in an office?" The tone is conversational, friendly, and of course a little curious. Delia doesn't know much about her hosts at all. Their first names in brief introduction is really all Kincaid provided, along with a promise of safety, not that she asked. Even after her duffel bags were moved in she didn't ask any questions, which made for some rather awkward silences.

"I wanted to say thanks," she adds as she glances at the tall stack of toast. "You guys let me stay here even though — well I could get you all in a lot of trouble if you got caught with me here."

"Sometimes I work in an office," Ingrid says, circling around the small table that takes up most of the space in the eat-in kitchen. "It's an internship. Part of the program I'm in at Columbia. Sociology. I have to work around classes to get all my hours, but it's paid so I don't have to worry about finding a part-time job to. You know. Pay rent."

She regrets the words as soon as they've left her mouth, face tightening into a flinch. "Not that we want you to or anything. Kincaid— Mister August, I mean. He sort of explained your situation, so." She spreads her hands, so. "Is there anything I can do to help?" she asks, fingers curling around the back of the closest chair. "Besides promising you that we won't get caught, because I can't, but I like to think we're pretty crafty."

There's another awkward silence.

Delia's red face is pointed down toward the pan as she busies herself willing it to cook faster. "Uhm.. no.." she finally says, her voice cracking just a little. If asked later, she'll claim it's lack of sleep. "Maybe a plate or something— eat before you go, I'll clean up." When the last piece is flipped out of the skillet, she reaches to turn the stove off, leaving the pan on the burner to cool on its own for now.

The spatula is placed quietly into the depths of the sink before the redhead attempts her escape. It's clumsy at best, full of wheels and jerkish movements but she finally manages to wedge herself near the dining room window to look outside. "Why do you call Caid, Mister August? He said you were friends…" The turns her head to glance over her shoulder at Ingrid, the blush fully faded from her pale cheeks.

"I wasn't sure if you knew his name or not," Ingrid says quickly, in the clipped kind of tone people use when they know they've been caught in a lie. She has to mount the stepping stool in front of the stove to gain access to the higher cupboards where the dishware is kept, and she takes four plates down — one for herself, two for Joshua and Jolene when they wake up, and one for the girl in the wheelchair. Three get stacked on the counter. She opens a drawer, selects a clean fork, and then uses it to transfer a piece of toast onto the remaining plate.

"My mom used to make this sometimes. She'd powder sugar on it and cut up pieces of fruit when we were lucky enough to have them. Strawberries." She sets the plate aside and opens the fridge, rummaging around until she finds a plastic box of not strawberries but raspberries hidden behind a carton of milk about to go sour. A tub of whipped topping comes out with it. "Did he tell you who I am? My friend Kincaid?"

"No." The short answer is accompanied by the fiery curls turning back toward the window to stare out as the sun rises up over the horizon. She can't see it but she knows it's there. Too many buildings are in the way, the curse of city living. Maybe later she can watch it come up over the building next door and watch before it disappears out of window range. "He just said I would be staying with his friends. I didn't know if he hired you to look after me or what the situation was." She doesn't add that it was her brother that slid her over to Kincaid. It was probably in his request to them… or something.

"My dad used to have a garden, he grew strawberries every season. That was before— before we had to go on the run the first time." When she first became a fugitive of justice goes unsaid. "I got mad at him one day because he didn't come home again and I killed it." With a baseball bat. "I guess I feel bad about it now, he loved his garden." Her eyes drift from the window toward the man sleeping on the couch and she hushes for a moment, until he starts snoring again. "I used to have syrup on my toast," is an effort to keep the conversation on a lighter topic.

Ingrid's eyes grow solemn when Delia mentions her father and the corners of her mouth fold down around something like a frown but isn't one, not really. "June through August," she says of strawberries. "We grew ours in hanging pots outside the house. You're lucky you remember him.

"Your father. I don't— I don't really remember mine. He died when I was real little." Manicured nails peel back the lid covering the container of whipped topping. Her fork slops a dollop of the stuff onto her toast. She studs it with raspberries in the shape of a flower. "Robin's a pretty name. Prettier than Ingrid. That's mine. Ingrid. Like Bergman. I'm pretty sure that's why Mom picked it. But Robin's sweet. Most of the little birds are."

She goes about making a plate of food for Delia as well while she's standing, drizzling pieces of fried bread in pancake syrup plucked from the fridge the next time she opens it to put the whipped topping away. The raspberries she keeps out in case Delia wants any herself and drops them off at the table. "Is the wheelchair forever?"

There's a distant expression on Delia's face when Ingrid begins talking about names, almost as though the redhead doesn't identify with the topic at all. "I guess so, I never really thought about the name Robin, except with Batman or the bird. I suppose they're almost the same thing, since Robin is named after a— oh." There's something of a stunned look that passes through her blue eyes before the young woman offers a wane smile and nods quickly. "Yeah, it's a good name."

It never actually hit home before, the fact that no one's called her by name.

Delia doesn't reach for the raspberries, though she does look at them for a little while before shaking her head. The plate of food that's been prepared isn't actually touched either. "The wheelchair? No. Maybe. If I get better, no. If I don't get better, yes." Perhaps the simplest explanation possible.

Ingrid scoots one of the seats away, making room for Delia's wheelchair at the table. She leaves the plate next to the box of raspberries and another fork. Hers she eats standing up, using the edge of her utensil to saw off pieces of toast in place of a knife. A tight schedule dictates that she make quick work of her food, but she has the manners not to talk with her mouth open between quick bites and swallows.

She runs her tongue over her front teeth to clear any crumbs trapped between them. "You will," she says, and she sounds so sure. "I can feel it."

Delia's eyebrows twitch a little, as a small thought niggles into the back of her brain. "You're one of the others, aren't you? The ones that Jasmine mentioned?" She doesn't expand on that, allowing her unabashed stare on her host linger for a little while as she watches her eat a few bites of her breakfast. Finally, she pushes herself square with the table and picks up her fork, using it to cut a small triangle corner from the toast.

This small bite is what she pulls through a spill of syrup along the side of the larger piece. The crust scrapes along the surface, almost silently but not quiet. There's enough of a sound to remind the two of them that there's yet another awkward silence between them. "I'm glad you can feel it, because I get discouraged a little too easily lately. Since I woke up."

Ingrid dips her head. "I— I don't know any— Jasmine," she says in that same, tight tone, and — delicately — she drops her plate on the counter, half-finished. She suddenly doesn't have much of an appetite anymore, and she knows that Jolene and Joshua will probably polish off what she wasn't able to, and then some. She darts a worried glance back at the young man on the floor, taking her lower lip between her teeth.

"I should go or I'll be late for work. Traffic—" She makes a hasty exit from the kitchen and crosses the living room with the speed of a rabbit streaking into the safety of a thicket, with about as much daintiness and half as much hopping, moving on the tips of her toes. Ingrid bends at the front door, scoops up a pair of strappy shoes, and wrestles down a heavy red coat from a hook on the wall. "If you need anything, don't feel bad about waking him up. He'll sleep more'n a fat old cat if you let him, and he's actually really nice."

There's a jerky nod from the redhead as she pulls away from the table, not having eaten a single bite. Returning to her spot near the window, Delia's pale face gets split into two tones, one being the golden color of morning and the other her natural white with a bluish tinge. The gold expands slowly, drawing down over her eyes, causing her to squint, and finally scaring away the last of the moon palor. In this light, her hair is as bright orange as fire, tinged with amber highlights.

"I didn't mean anything by it, sorry if it scared you. I'm not poking into anything." Meaning their heads, though they'd probably know it if she was. "I just don't understand a lot of things anymore and I don't feel like I belong anywhere. Not anywhere awake."

Half into her coat, half out, Ingrid snags fingers on the door's handle, hesitating. Bonk, then, goes her head, light against the heavy wood. Her eyes squeeze shut and her mouth moves around something, silent words meant only for herself. She turns her face just enough to tuck her chin against her shoulder and to regard Delia over it when she opens her eyes again.

She makes an effort to meet the redhead's gaze. "You belong here— with the people you care about," she says finally. "Awake and asleep. It's all the same thing. What's up there," and she lifts her chin to gesture to the top of Delia's head, "is the same as what's everywhere else. We just see things differently when our eyes are closed, that's all."

She does not bother putting on her shoes. The door creaks open, creaks shut, and then she's gone.

A key turns in the lock behind her.

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