Sleepers, Awake!


aaron2_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Sleepers, Awake!
Synopsis Peyton gets a new roommate.
Date August 11, 2009

Peyton's Place - Upper West Side

At some point in time, Aaron managed to kick off his shoes. As he slowly comes out of the haze that was a fairly restless sleep, he can't really remember when, nor can he figure out why he feels so achy. It's not until he realizes he can barely move that he notices he's managed to get himself completely wound up in the sheets and bedspread, despite the fact that he had not gotten under them when he quite literally crashed into bed. His head throbs like he has a hangover and for the moment he just lays there trying to muster the energy to get up. Part of him wants to flee from total and utter embarrassment, but the logical part of him wills him to stay for fear of what the emotional part of him will do if he's left to his own devices. It was that same part of him that made sure he left the bedroom door open.

Somewhere out in the apartment, one can hear music playing, softly — perhaps music that might surprise Aaron, given what he knows or thinks he knows about Peyton. An orchestral version of Bach's "Sleepers, Awake!" plays on the very ritzy stereo system. There is also the smell of — could it be? — fresh baked cookies. Peyton is in fact baking chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen, humming along with the music. If her humming is any indication, she actually has quite a good voice.

It's only after about a minute of Aaron's head making the motions of a conductor's baton to the music that he begins to untangle himself, and the song has nearly come to an end by the time he gets to his feet. He makes a stop to the bathroom to clean up, and longs for a shower after the total and utter nightmare that has been the last twenty-four hours, but for now merely makes himself presentable before he follows the smell of cookies to the kitchen. "Is that breakfast I smell?" he asks before looking around for a clock, nearly oblivious to the watch on his wrist in his still somewhat dozing mind. He's retrieved his bottle of Excedrin and made it a point to start his breakfast with them. If he weren't so pale, he'd probably be blushing from the sheer embarrassment of his botched suicide attempt.

Peyton turns at the sound of Aaron's voice, pulling out a batch of the cookies. She's not as domestically inclined as she may seem — there's a tube of cookie dough on the counter, but hey, it's a start. She puts the pan on the stove and smiles at him. "There's coffee… or water or milk or orange juice in the refrigerator. If you want real breakfast, there are eggs but I can't cook them very well so you're free to try." Her voice is quiet but light in tone, as if nothing's wrong. "Or there's oatmeal and there's granola bars."

That's how Aaron makes them, on the rarest of occasions that he actually makes cookies. Or eats them. As good as cookies sound for breakfast, he decides a real breakfast would probably be best, but he first treats himself to a cup of coffee. Then he goes rummaging through the refrigerator. "Have any corn chips and salsa?" he asks as he pulls out the egg carton. That's definitely an odd thing to be asking about for breakfast.

"Um. Probably." Peyton turns off the oven and heads to the pantry, rummaging around and coming up with white corn chips and a jar of salsa. "There's some cheese dip, too, if you like." She holds both up and brings them to the counter, setting them down. "I have a housekeeper. She buys groceries, so I never know what's in there." She moves back to the cookies, picking up a spatula and beginning to transfer them to a plate. "It's noon by the way."

"Only?" he asks as he brings the eggs to the stove. "That explains why I still feel like the living dead." Six whole hours of fitful sleep. Woohoo. Aaron rummages around a bit through cupboards until he comes up with a whisk and a frying pan. God forbid he ask where anything is. Canola oil is sought out, which he uses to season the pan before setting it on the stove on medium heat. Then he cracks a number of eggs into a bowl, adds some salt and pepper, and some salsa. He whisks that up and sets it aside, opening the bag of corn chips and — by hand — crushing a few handfuls of them into the pan. Only once they're lightly browned does he add the eggs. "Wooden spoon?"

She makes a face at him. "God, you act like I cook and know where anything is." She frowns and opens a drawer. No. Another. No. "Ah!" They're in a stainless steel container sitting next to the stove. "There." She points with her spatula. "Why does it have to be wooden? It's not like the whole avocado turning black thing, is it?" She hops up onto the counter, picking up a cookie and taking a bite.

"No, just what I'm used to using," Aaron says as he grabs it and starts to scramble the eggs about, making sure they get lightly browned. Tastes better that way. "I forget that you're probably used to eating take-out?" He certainly can't afford to do so. He almost asks 'how can you live on your own and not know how to cook?', but realizes he knows the answer. He also realizes he's acting like her right now. Acting like everything's fine, when it isn't. He pulls out two plates, which he discovered in his search for other items, garnishes them with a few crushed corn chips and a few whole ones on the side. Then the eggs are added, and topped with a bit of salsa. "Voila: Mexican scrambled eggs, or at least, that's what I was told they're called."

Peyton knows what he's thinking. She has this huge apartment, a house keeper, someone who shops for her. "I usually eat with friends, not necessarily take out. And the housekeeper, she makes things that will last a few days, when she comes once a week." At least she's not a live-in, right? "It looks good," she adds with surprise, as she hops off the granite counter top and opens a drawer to find a couple of forks. "Thanks." She picks up the plates and brings them to the table nearby — the small kitchen table rather than the elegant dining room on the other side of the wall.

The smaller, more intimate table. Aaron takes a seat at the table, appreciative of the fact that she carried the plate, while he set the frying pan in the sink, which he'll wash later. Yes, he washes his own dishes. Imagine that. Granted, he knows so little of Peyton, he shouldn't be thinking of things like that. She's lived on her own a while, she must be self-sufficient. "I have to admit, it's nice to get the chance to cook again," he says. So there's a plus. He takes his fork and begins to eat, almost expecting an awkwardly silent brunch.

"Well, it's always nice to be cooked for." Even if she is every week. Maria doesn't count. She gets paid to do that. She gets up and heads to the refrigerator, grabbing a bottle of Evian and bringing it back to the table. "So are you feeling all right?" She finally prods the white elephant after circling the bush a few times. Her dark eyes study her eggs as she uncaps the water bottle and takes a sip.

City water being what it is, Aaron doesn't blame Peyton for drinking bottled. He sips his coffee and continues to eat for a moment, trying to say something all the while. In the end, he merely looks down at his plate and shakes his head. There are so many things that don't feel right, not the least of which is the fact that he assaulted Wendy in the first place.

Peyton frowns. Why did she ask the question when she isn't prepared to deal with the answer? "I'm sorry," she says quietly. "Is there anything I can do to help?" she asks, reaching across the table to touch his hand lightly. "You… Wendy'll get over what you did, okay? It won't ruin her life. You know how she is. She bounces back. She'll be fine, back to not having a drop of sadness in her, however she manages it. You don't need to punish yourself for that, okay?"

Tears come to his eyes at the mere touch of her hand on his. "She didn't seem like she was over it this morning," Aaron says, moving his food around with his fork. Even he knows that it's absurd to expect her to get over it in less than a day. "I still don't even know what came over me."

He rubs a hand down his face to help wipe away the tears. His head continues to ache to the extent that it begins to nauseate him, more so than the drugs he started his breakfast with. Combined with the stress of the past sixteen hours, a few bites of his food is all he managed before his already diminished appetite dried up. When that happens, he pushes his plate aside and rests his head in a hand with his elbow propping it up.

"She will. Eventually." Peyton squeezes his hand. "I don't think she's going to be your best friend ever, but you don't want that anyway. But she'll get over it. She may not admit it. But she will. Hell, I doubt it's enough to even keep her away from Refrain." She frowns at his uneaten food, and brings her hand back, pushing bangs out of her face. "What can I do to make you feel better? I have movies — I'll even let you pick. Or I can let you sing to me. Or —" she frowns. Why isn't easier to think of things to do that cheer people up?

Perhaps because there are so few of them. Aaron looks sad for a moment when Peyton takes her hand back but then merely shakes his head at her question. "My throat's still killing me, I won't be singing for at least another day." Which means he won't be back at Old Lucy's and would have to play solo piano if he gets a gig at the Serenity Lounge. "Maybe I should go back to sleep."

She reaches out to touch his hand lightly again. "Do you want tea? We have tea and honey." Apparently her weakness makes her a good hostess — she needs to try to please people. She needs to be liked. Take away the glittering, beautiful people, and she's actually rather sweet, as that need to please is set in more mundane settings. Like her kitchen. "And you can sleep as long as you need here."

Aaron grips the hand a bit this time before sinking back into his chair. "I think I'm going to go back to my apartment," he says. "Get out of these grungy clothes, get a hot shower. Probably help my throat a bit, too. Then I'll come back for tea." And more sleep, but he doesn't say that. He hasn't really decided on anything one way or the other.

Aaron grips the hand a bit this time before sinking back into his chair. "I think I'm going to go back to my apartment," he says. "Get out of these grungy clothes, get a hot shower. Probably help my throat a bit, too. Then I'll come back for tea." And more sleep, but he doesn't say that. He hasn't really decided on anything one way or the other.

"All right," Peyton says. "Do you need me to call a cab for you?" she offers, her hand squeezing his, noting his need for her touch. "If you need anything, call, all right? I … you shouldn't be alone. I've known a couple of people…" she doesn't finish that sentence. She's known suicidal people before. "You shouldn't be alone," she reasserts.

"Please?" he asks with regards to the cab. Aaron certainly has on intention of walking back to Greenwich Village, after all. "I need to…" he starts, before fishing through his pants. No, he's not wearing his usual cargos, so it must be in his jacket. "Get my cell phone," he finishes, before retreating from the kitchen to his jacket, where, surprise-surprise, he pulls out an old cell phone. Once he's back to the kitchen, he slides the phone across the table, "Program your numbers in mine, I'll do the same on yours."

She looks around, finding hers on the counter and hands him the pink, rhinestone-studded device. "All right." If his curiosity leads him to scroll through her address book, there are numbers for Paris and Lindsay and Justin and the like. If it's THE Paris and THE Lindsay, who knows. She types her own information in and then takes her phone back, dialing the speed dial for the cab company. She murmurs the address into the phone, then rattles off a credit card number to pay for it.

Aaron is surprisingly not that snoopy, and only goes to add himself into the pink phone. If Peyton's curiosity should lead her to scroll through his address book well, it's surprisingly empty, save for two entries: Old Lucy's and Work. It doesn't take him long to punch his name and number in, and he's soon slid the phone back across the table for Peyton to call the cab company with.

She hangs up and goes to a drawer — the junk drawer that all kitchens have! — and rummages through it before coming up with another key card for the apartment. "Here. Just in case I'm out or whatever." She hands it to him. "I trust you not to go through my underwear drawer or my diary, all right?" Like she's the type of girl to keep a diary.

"You're giving me a key to your apartment?" Aaron asks, as he takes the card up and looks it over, "Or card key, I guess." See, that right there is so weird to him. He's used to those nifty, precisely cut pieces of metal. He shakes his head and almost — almost — cracks a bit of a smile, "Of course I won't." He makes sure his cell phone is in his pocket and then heads for the door. "I'll be back. If I'm late, call me." Of course, what late is, even he doesn't know.

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