Soup And Valentines


elaine_icon.gif rhett_icon.gif

Scene Title Soup and Valentines
Synopsis Rhett is ill, but some discussion of their future is awkwardly posed.
Date February 14, 2020


"I'm sorry," Rhett repeats, with a thick, pained cough, extending a hand to brush Elaine's arm as she passes by. He's been camped on the couch for a few days, having come down with a terrible flu. He's on the far side of it now, at least: he has some color back, and doesn't look like he was auditioning to be in a Tim Burton film!

Rhett sits up more, the flannel blanket warm on his legs as he repositions. He's a little tousled but comfortable, one hand around the warm tea Elaine brought him. He's dressed in similar comfort: a dark blue shirt with a 'Superman' S logo on the chest, and plaid blue and red pajama pants.

"I didn't mean for this to be our Valentine's Day," Rhett apologizes, brows furrowing slightly, as he breathes in the warm steam of the tea. It's more the warmth that helps him, though the extremely, overbearingly strong tea is nice too: he's tasting it a little bit. And that she cares, knows to make it painfully strong, warms his heart too.

"No one plans on getting sick," Elaine points out, moving to settle down on the couch next to him. She reaches over to tuck the blanket in more around him before she leans against the back of the couch, glancing over at him as she does. "You don't even need to worry about it. Besides, we'll find some other time to celebrate. I wholeheartedly believe we're both romantics and that we will make whatever date and time we decide on entirely special."

She nudges his side with her elbow, though it's gentle—she doesn't want to spill his tea after all. "Besides, this is pretty special as is. You're going to get to try my family recipe… chicken soup with egg noodles. To be honest I'm not entirely sure if it's my family's recipe at this point. I lost all that kind of stuff with the first bomb, so I'm just sort of guessing." She smiles. "Guess that means you're getting an original never-before-tasted recipe. How's that for a gift?"

"This is actually… unusual for me. To be sick at all," Rhett sighs. "Usually bugs have a hard time getting in. I don't know how I got this," he admits. He tends to purify most everything he comes in contact with: at least in terms of liquids. "Something hardy. But at least I can't infect you." While Rhett suffers, it is true that he'd have a harder time giving it to anyone either. For that reason he feels safe turning and curling his arm around her knees, tugging her to join him under his blanket more.

He's clearly feeling better; his fever has broken, and he's interacting, a brightened quality to blue eyes. "My gift for you is stuck out on my boat," Rhett says, with dismay. "But if you're okay delaying it, so am I." He attempts to draw her hand up to very briefly kiss the side of her wrist.

Being able to be close by while he's sick has been convenient. It was in Elaine's nature to fuss and she most likely wouldn't have been able to keep away in the first place. "I'm more than okay. Valentine's Day is just the day people decided was going to be special and romantic and about people expressing love to each other. It's nice because of the anticipation, but it's special because of the people and the way they express themselves."

The kiss on her wrist gets a gentle smile. "You do a great job appreciating me every day. It will be special to make plans, certainly, but missing the actual Valentines Day? Not a problem. Also everything gets marked up for the holiday and more expensive so it's really a better deal to make your own." Her smile turns into a broad, amused grin at that.

"I remember the holiday before the war. There'd be nonsense everywhere. Candy in the stores, flowers, all of it. I thought it was… stupid at the time, really. Overwhelming. But now…?" Rhett lowers his shoulders a little, a shrug relaxing through them.

"I miss it. Even if it was capitalism. Not really /this/ holiday specifically. But all of them. With my family. The girls. Making their lace hearts at the kitchen table," Rhett says, turning his head towards Elaine, eyes closing. He swallows, engulfed in the memories for a long minute.

Elaine leans gently against him. It's not some big sweeping embrace because it doesn't have to be. They can lean their weights against each other. Support. "It was nice because it was special. But you make things special, that's how it works. I have friends who hate birthdays and friends who love birthdays. It differs on how you make it mean something." She offers him a gentle smile. "Doing something with family meant something to you."

She looks down, struggling to find a way to bring things back from the realm of family events that could no longer be, but her thoughts backfire. "When I was little, my mom made these little construction paper hearts and stapled them together so it was a pocket. And then she put a ribbon on the top to hold it and filled it with candy or little things that fit in there. She'd hang it on my door the night before, like it was some kind of secret Easter basket that I already knew was from her. She always wanted me to know that I was loved, regardless of the fact that most people celebrate it in a romantic sense."

"My father put together a treasure hunt for Easter, when I was young. I was an only child then, and he had the time," Rhett says, with a half-smile, the smile more coming into his eyes than his features. "Less focus on this holiday, at least that I remember," he says, looking down at her knees where his arm is hugged across her, and moves his fingers against her pants a little, the fabric on her far knee. "Some of it just feels so… old and faded. Like a lost book of photographs," Rhett adds.

"Some teenage dates I remember from back then. A stupid kid that didn't know what he was doing," Rhett says, with a warmth to it. "What were you like in high school?" he wonders.

"It would be nice to have a book of photographs," Elaine says after a moment. Memories are all that's left. Losing everything made new objects both meaningless and meaningful. Meaningless in that she didn't put too much sentiment on many things, meaningful in that it just meant something to have them. Her head moves to rest against his shoulder.

"I had such a passion for history. Family tries, being able to tie yourself to the world as far as you could go, where you came from. It's why I was in Scotland on a class trip when the bomb happened. Saved my life. So I guess you could have considered me a bit of a nerd, being really into one thing specifically. At least, that was the start of high school. I was kind of distant and shy the rest of it. Foster care was more like learning someone's name and then being shuffled to someone else entirely. High school wasn't the best, but I think I grew out of it okay."

"Hmmmm. Okay. trying to picture you with your nose in a book, back in the day…." Rhett looks down at her with a slight squint and smile. "Turns out it's easy, you always seem to have your books," he says softly, bringing his head to the side to kiss her forehead as she sets her head at his shoulder.

"I had a soft spot for pretty nerds," Rhett whispers to her teasingly. "I was… let's see. Fifteen, for the bomb," he says, calculating the math. "But we didn't live in Midtown or near it at the time." He moves his hand to play with her hair next to her ear, curving his fingers softly there. He sniffles a little, coughing, but recovers.

"Any pictures survive of young Elaine?"

"My childhood was essentially erased at that point. If there are any pictures of me, it'd have to be from maybe a friend or if there was some cheesy newsletter in grade school." Elaine pauses. "I mean, actually there may be yearbooks from before high school, but it'd be a matter of hunting down someone who would still have a copy. That's the trick." She pats his knee lightly.

"There are probably some pictures of me from when I was sixteen. Lighthouse Kids might have snapped a few, some of them are pretty sentimental." There's a small laugh. "Come to think of it, as much as I've made a mark in my field and the things I've done… it would be very easy to disappear on paper. There's not much to find." She hopes that never needs to be a thing, but it does happen to be a fact. "You get the real thing, though. Not as embarrassing as young pictures of me but I promise I'm less awkward and probably a bit friendlier."

"No disappearing from my life," Rhett reminds her, skimming fingers against her ear and hair gently again, and giving her a slight playful, but direct stare. He's loosened up quite a bit over time, willing to show more emotion to her, that mellow quality giving way to some deeper things. It shows through as he brushes the edge of thumb against her cheek.

"If we disappear, we do it together."

"I know," Elaine chuckles. "I wouldn't just disappear on you. If I did? Wouldn't be by any choice of mine and I know you'd come find me." She shakes her head. "But that's making a lot of assumptions and 'what if's. Even if this is a strange and complicated world, we're in it. We have to adapt to whatever comes our way and I feel a hell of a lot better knowing I'm not doing it alone."

She glances over at him a bit. "I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to survive on my own. Years of it. I figured out pretty quickly that life isn't great by yourself and I don't understand people who think that. There are so many things that are better when someone's there for you and you can give your best to someone. So you can solidly know that I'm not going anywhere."

"Yes, I'd have to come break open the mirror that took you," Rhett responds, with a slight narrowing of eyes. He lets his hand drop from her hair, settling it at the side of where her neck meets her shoulder, palm warm but light.

"No more creepy ghost mirrors, please," he chuckles. One is enough, for sure. "Speaking of not going anywhere. What would you think of a trip? Once I'm healthy again, that is," he says, trying to suppress a cough, and reaching out to pick up his warm tea to have a deep drink of it. "Maybe later in the spring, or summer. Somewhere further."

"This is all I've got as a connection to my family at this point. On one hand, It really is kind of creepy. On the other hand, it feels like some way to connect and say goodbye. Hard to pass that up. It's closure that I've never found in another way." Elaine does smile a bit, turning to face him just a little more.

"A trip sounds nice. Are you thinking the boat?" There's a laugh. "Did you want to just escape all of this for a while? Because I don't blame you. I can't remember the last time I really took a proper vacation either. It… really would be nice."

"I understand that. It's a scrap from the missing photo album for you. Some answers," Rhett says thoughtfully. Concerned for her, though. "I'm worried it's more unanswered questions." He wants her happiness, and safety, and leans in to kiss her between the eyes, a soft affection. He'll help her regardless.

"I was thinking the boat, yes, but if you had something else, well. The price is right, but if going into deep water worries you, I can understand that." His hold around her tightens just a little. The recent difficulty and nearly seeing her drown are still recent and a little too close for comfort. "I feel like it'd be good for both of us to leave the city for a little while. There's more outside of this place."

"Even if it presents more questions, it's at least something. We'll take it one step at a time if something comes up with the mirror. I just want… something. History has always been important to me. Family history has been even more so. Just… tell me if it gets to be too much for you, alright? This is important to me and if you really need me to back off… I will. Something I have in the present is always going to be more important than answers from the past."

Elaine reaches a hand up to his hair, playing with it gently as she just watches him. "The boat is fine. The water is a little intimidating, but I'm in good hands. We'll take extra precautions if you leave the boat so nothing like that happens again. You can help me practice swimming… and it'll be more than just games this time." She offers him an amused smile. "Going a little farther out would be good. It would be nice to take some time off from work, some time off from everything. Except you, obviously."

"Time off from work that doesn't involve having a fever and laying in bed," Rhett amends with a wince and deep drink of his tea. "I can say I only catch something maybe once a year: so for the most part, this won't happen. You won't have an excuse to fuss."

"…Unless I am hit by a boat propeller." That did happen, didn't it. And it was one of the reasons they are, in fact, together. She cared and helped him. "Also rare, I'll have you know. A rare window of opportunity." He turns his head to kiss her wrist, and smile at her, expression gentle, softened.

"I like fussing. I'm good at fussing." Elaine points towards the kitchen. "I made you soup. Who gets homemade soup like that? Only the truly important who have people to fuss over them." The kiss on her wrist gets a smile and she continues to gently toy with his hair. "But no boat propellers either. Who knows what a second time would be like." Who knows indeed.

"Really, I work too hard. I've worked a bit less since you showed up in my life because I actually wanted to make some time for someone, but I still work a lot harder than most. It would certainly be weird taking some time off to relax. Still, it'd be nice. Nice to remember there's more of the world out there."

"Hmmmm," Rhett says, drawing back a little bit, to attempt to guide her to turn and lay more into him, to his chest. He'll wrap his arms around her, keeping her close, and settle his face near hers. "There is. And the rest of the world, right here," he says, giving her a squeeze. His smile is soft, a little quirk, his tone serious: the tone he gets when he tells her he loves her. The words are different, but the tone conveys the same.

"Well. It's just an idea. We can see what life brings us this spring," Rhett says, quietly, relaxed.

Elaine's smiling a bit as she repositions, settling against him so he really has the chance to hold her close rather than sitting side by side. There might be the slightest bit of color in her cheeks, but she's playing it cool rather than letting herself get flustered. "We make a pretty good world, I'd say. I prefer it here, most days. You make it pretty easy to come home from work and stay home."

She returns her hand to his hair, though her fingers tangle in it more and it's an affectionate ruffle rather than simply playing with it. "It's a good idea and I take it seriously. We can just take things as we go."

"There's something else I wanted to talk to you about, related to our world," Rhett says, relaxed, smiling gently as she brings her hand up into his hair, turning his face to brush lips to her wrist. His tone is more quiet, private, just between them.

"I know family is a little bit of a rough topic," Rhett says, with a care to his voice. He clears it a little with a small cough; his voice is lower than usual, due to the illness in it; a raspy quality. "And if I'm being honest, I suppose I'm a little afraid that I'm not the man you're fated to build a family with, but…"

Rhett pauses. "We should talk about what you'd think… of that," Rhett suggests. He moves his other hand down to touch her knee, then hook it under her thigh, comfortable, keeping her close.

"What I think is that you should stop assuming that I'm 'fated' to be with someone else, to start," Elaine doesn't sound annoyed, more tired than anything at the remark. "For all we know, there are a million different timelines where anything could happen. There could be equally as many timelines where you and I are happy and together and the world is great."

She takes a moment to nestle in against him. "We're just seeing the ones that decided to become a little more active in relation to our own. The ones that crossed. But that being said, in our lives, in our timeline, I like what we have. And I would like to see about building something with you… I mean, if that's what you're interested in. I know we've only sort of talked about this and even then it was back before we were in more of a position to think seriously about it."

"Maybe we should make something that makes… any other Elaines question if their lives could be as good as ones with Rhett," Rhett says, with a ghost of a little smile, stroking his fingers down her forearm, down and then back up. "Though I do think… all of the events here, in our world, was needed to bring us together. Maybe it won't happen other places. And maybe it's okay to be one in a million."

Rhett pauses, then goes on, with a hopeful trust. "I do want us to stay together. A family to me does mean… children, if they're possible. I don't know if they are. And I don't know how comfortable you are with this topic," Rhett says. His bravery is decent, but he doesn't want her to be hurt by it, either.

"I like children. I spent a lot of time during the war working with kids, so I'm pretty confident that I work well with them and I enjoy the entire experience." Elaine rests her head against him a bit, pressing her lips together as she tries to find the words that work for her. "I do want a family. It's something I've thought about but I wasn't sure if…" She pauses in what she's saying, looking back at him.

"I know being unsure if we can have any is something that distressed you a bit before, so I wasn't really sure how to even be talking about this because I just wanted you to be okay. I want you to be okay with everything. You're the most important thing to me. That being said, to be entirely straightforward, I would enjoy having kids but that's entirely up to how you feel about it."

There's a pause, as Rhett makes a slight face. Tension maybe. Very slight; he's often so mellow, and now is one of those times. "When we're ready, we could… try," Rhett says, finally. His jaw flexes slightly, and he rests his chin against her forehead. He's not clean-shaven at the moment, since he's been ill: there's a slight dirty blonde beard coming in. It brings a slight weight into his expressions, as if the beard imparted greater wisdom.

"For something that might have to be tried over and over, well… I can think of worse things to repeat," Rhett jokes, deadpanned, to try to alleviate his own discomfort about it.

"I've never really felt ready to try before. But I'd try with you." Rhett brushes his slight beard against her forehead again.

Her arms hug him, just slightly. It's a gentle bit of support, just a physical outpouring of something emotional. "How I feel about this is fairly straightforward. How you feel about this is obviously more complicated and there are more factors involved. Do you want to talk through it?" Elaine tips her head a bit so she can look at him a bit.

"This is exactly the sort of thing that requires a bit of transparency. I want to know what worries you, I want to know how you feel. So what gives you pause? What's still on your mind?"

"If it's not something I can do as is… I could potentially take a blocker for my ability, temporarily," Rhett answers. "If my purification is in the way of it." Rhett's being more technical, but he has thought about it, most clearly. That there could be ways around the problem, if they think creatively.

Something about the technicality was a good stall tactic for Rhett, to give him a moment to adjust to the other part of it. "I miss my sisters. Nothing will… replace the family I lost," Rhett says, finally.

"We'll figure it out, Rhett. You're right, it's not like trying's an unpleasant thing." Elaine does look amused. "We'll try and if it doesn't work, we'll try another way. It's not something I think we really need to worry about too much." She's certainly positive about that, but his mention of his family is what gives her pause and causes her to squeeze him again.

"I know. Seeing my mother's face hit me a lot harder than I thought. We lose people, but they're with us. I know that always sounds so cheesy when I hear people say it, but it's true. You have memories of them. They aren't forgotten. I hate not being able to tell my mother how things all turned out. I hate that I didn't get to introduce you to her. I know in the same way you probably miss doing things with your sisters. Having a family after that isn't a replacement."

She gives him a tiny nudge. "In some ways, it's an honor to their memories. I doubt they'd want you to be sad. I imagine they'd love to see you go on to do things that make you happy. I've spent a lot of years dealing with the memories of the dead. I like to think that the most important thing is for us not to be caught up in our grief, and to learn to be happy, even if it takes a long time."

"I know my mother would be… overwhelmingly thrilled," Rhett asides, as if it were a secret. "She wanted 'grannybabies', she called it. I was on the path to be a doctor, and do that. No pressure at all," Rhett says, but it is in a good-natured way. It didn't bother him in the least. But Rhett's resilient to pressure.

"I think it does honor them. Our parents, in particular. To continue the family. To teach what they taught us," Rhett says, slowly gliding fingers along her arm, a tender brush. "I know I can't just keep looking backwards. At my own family, or of the past things that happened in other past, defunct 'timelines'. We should be here. Present. Looking at us."

Rhett draws his head back to look down to her face. "Is everything too fast? I don't know. I feel like we're just ready to stop suffering, and live."

"Who says it's too fast? And who says we can't just live how we like?" Elaine looks back up at him. "Basically everyone who could possibly be judgmental in my life is either dead or not in any sort of position to really make a difference in the grand scheme of things. And, even if there was someone whose opinion I was worried about… would it matter? Would my personal happiness be less important than them thinking I was simply moving too quickly?"

She tips her head up just a bit and plants a small kiss on his chin. "I'm pretty sure my grandparents met and married a month later. They took that bullet, so whatever we decide to do and whenever is fair game now."

"I don't think this feeling of… wanting things, is just us, either," Rhett says. "I think so many of us lost so much, and were delayed out of things for so long, that finding something this good? I don't want to let it pass me by. I want to hold it close." Rhett smiles and abruptly tugs her close and tight, kissing her forehead firmly. "To seek some kind of normalcy. To get those dreams from before. I want that for you, too. What you wanted."

Rhett leaves his arms around her, secure and strong. "I guess I'm saying that after things settle a little, with school…. I'm open to this."

Elaine hugs more tightly now, secure in her position nestled against him. "I'm not afraid of moving forward, not really. It's time to go for the things we want, I think. To shape our lives in whatever direction we want." She keeps her head where it is, but she looks up in his direction. "So we let things settle a little, and then we just see what happens."

She smiles up at him. "You just keep me well-informed as to how you're feeling about things as time progresses and I think we'll do just fine."

"There's never a 'perfect' time," Rhett says, with a softened chuckle. He's flushed, but positive. It's probably not a fever; he's past that part of his illness, he's doing a lot better: there's energy to his gaze.

"I don't think we need to actively try yet," Rhett adds. "But thinking about it, and what if.." There's a beat of silence, and another kiss for her. "I'd be really happy, honey," Rhett tells her, softly and honestly, a little catch in his voice.

"No, you're right, there's never a perfect time, but we'll figure it out as we go," Elaine says, smiling warmly back at him. "And the thought is certainly nice." She laughs, just slightly, but it's less of an expression of amusement and one of just joy. "I'm happy already now, and I only see things improving for the two of us. Just always stay with me."

It's not really a request for constant physical presence or even a needy desire for the relationship—it's just her way of making sure they're together on the same page, side-by-side.

"I'm not sure what more I could say that would show you how much I am interested in staying than what I suggested tonight," Rhett says, with a flare of a blush, but he chuckles back at her, and plants one kiss on each cheek. He turns his head to cough slightly, but returns soon enough to resume their closeness, squeezing her lightly.

"That I want you on my team, as my partner." Rhett sighs deeply and closes his eyes, resting with her, in comfort.

"I know," Elaine says, the slightest hint of a sly grin on her features. "I just wanted to hear you say it." It's the touch of mischief, the playfulness that comes out, though she's still being gentle—he is still sick after all. She squeezes him back. "So should I get you a bowl of that soup, or is my presence alone comfort enough to get you through this cold?"

She glances towards the kitchen. "Or you could have me and the soup. Why choose."

"Hmmmmmmm," Rhett chuckles, raspy, as she teases him. "I'd love a bowl of the soup, love. But I do know you're coming back with it." Rhett releases his arms from about her, giving her a softened smile. She'll return soon enough, he knows.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License