Speak to Me


calvin_icon.gif nora_icon.gif

Scene Title Speak to Me
Synopsis 3:00 AM's as good a time for a chat as any.
Date December 12, 2010

Calvin's Place / Pollepel Island

There's no reason to leave the warmth of her bed, but for some reason, Nora chooses to anyway, blankets draping around her thin frame as she seeks her little nook of the castle. Perhaps it's because at this time of night, she can be almost 100 percent confident she's alone, that no one's staring at her without her knowing it. She's grown so used to the darkness she's been plunged into by now that she can move through the room she shares with the others without bumping into beds or tripping on belongings, as long as they're put back where they're suppoed to be, that she doesn't wake any of the sleeping bodies of the little room.

Once she's found the corner she's come to think of as "hers," she settles into it — this time prepared with a pillow to rest against the cold wall. Sitting, Nora pulls her legs in toward her chest, a tiny ball in the shadowy corner.

There's no musical selection today, just her voice coming through suddenly. "Hello, hello, hello," is murmured, soft but insistent, something plaintive and needy in the sound as she echoes his call. It's 3 a.m. in the morning; if he's not seeking her, he's most likely asleep, she knows.

"Mmmnno 'm awake."

The sound of Calvin's voice is muffled low into his pillow, not quite a groan when he resettles the grip he has on it and squeezes his eyes shut all the harder.

It's dark in his apartment, orange bands of light filtered in sallow through the single window to fall across spent socks and the wooden chair he tipped over at some point when he arrived home. He lies prone beneath the black pall of his peacoat, hair a mess, nose nested to filter stale breath warm under the brace of his shoulder as the rise and fall of his back eases into a drowsier rhythm.

Then he sits up.

Abruptly. Kohl smudged and blue eyes ringed wide alert, he scans hard once 'round the claustrophobic box of his bedroom through the fog of his breath before tripping sideways off the mattress and lighter over to the radio.

He has to tip the chair back up onto all fours before he can drop himself down into it, right hand felt blankly after the mic so that he can wheeze a cough into his wrist and click his thumb down in time for a sleep-gravelled, "Morning."

At the gruff greeting Nora smiles, leaning her head back against the pillow, and she hugs her knees tighter to her chest. "Morning," she repeats, her own voice soft though it doesn't need to be on her end. She's either respectful of his just-waking state or simply in a quiet mood.

"I didn't mean to wake you — I didn't think it would if you were asleep. How loud do you have me at? You listen to your music too loud, mister. You're going to go deaf one day, and then where will be?" comes a playful admonishment. "I won't be able to see you and you won't be able to hear me, and it'll be like some really bad sitcom from the seventies. We just need an obnoxious friend — oh, Howard will do — and some crazy landlords."

Silence drifts and drags like the slow fade of carbon dioxide through the black and puce of Calvin's ill-lit digs while he sinks thumb and forefinger in alongside the bridge of his nose and tries, tries to wake himself up all the way. His mouth is dry and his bare toes are stiff with cold — splayed and flexed with a vaguely grouchy curse that he keeps to himself. Nora can fill in the blanks on her own. He is attempting to be polite.

"I am," he replies at length, delivery still weighed slow with the hour, "sharply attuned…to my surroundings. Practically fffucking Batman." The f word wriggles out like a little snake, insidious despite efforts made to temper himself. He pauses again, this time to collect a stale bottle of water on the floor a couple've feet away. "I can think of some even more obnoxious options, actually. S'everything alright over there?"

"Speaking of ffffucking Batman," Nora's voice prolongs that fricative f playfully, "I'm playing around with fucking radar, man, it's pretty cool. You know, I mean, if it's like… not a short-term thing."

Her blindness — vague pronoun meant to gloss over the fact that her entire world has been turned upside down from that little glitch on November 8th.

She returns to the conversation at hand, however. "Yeah, better anyway. We need to stay, so we're staying, even if we could leave, which… I donno," she says, indecision coloring the tone of the words, a stark contrast to her playful banter a moment before. "Barbara — she's one of the council? She was saying she wants to see if they can get me a doctor's appointment or something on the mainland, but I'm not gonna go without the rest, and I really don't think they'd let us all take a field trip on account of a little tiny thing like the future of my eyesight."

"Oh yeah?" Calvin's brows actually lift, appreciative of the potential for something that isn't eternal sightlessness for all that he's still a bit apathetically slurry. "S'good news. Cool news. I mean. Radar." Hard to think of a way that wouldn't be cool, really. Cal hoods his brows again at his own awkward diction, eyes masked once more by a lift of his left hand while his right hovers hooked 'round the mic near his mouth, elbows and shoulders slumped in low over the desk and radio.

"I could take you. It's been, um. It's been." It is possible he's still slightly drunk, actually. The thought occurs to him like a suspicious smudge through the clarity of a shotglass he's only just noticed. "A while since I've seen you."

"Yeah," she says softly in response — to the fact they haven't seen one another in a long time. A tear slides down her cheek as she leans her head back, head tilting up as if she were staring at the ceiling, though her sight is much more distant than that. "Maybe. I mean… I don't want to get separated, you know? I told her no, not til we can all go, or something, but…"

Nora is quiet for a moment. "It's been a while. What's the date, anyway — I've lost track of time. I've been here, what, a month?" Too long, whatever it is.

"How are you?" is a tactical subject change on her part, and one that suggests she'd rather not dwell on her own emotions or well being, he knows her well enough to guess.

"Yeh." Calvin slides the set of his left hand away from his brow long enough to squint a his watch, coat and jacket and dress shirt sleeves pushed back from the ridge of his wrist one after the other. "S'the twelfth."

He sits for a beat after that, slouchy. Blank.

His eyes slide left to right, bloodshot blue washed yellow by streetlamp's bleed until he turns his nose down again to itch dimly at it.

"Busy," is the best he can answer her last question at first. More thought is required to elaborate. "Busy'n. Keeping occupied, I suppose. Between work and. Meeting people. They're all bustling 'round trying to sleuth out who offed Zarek."

"The 12th, you say?" comes just a touch too glibly, before the radio makes a staticky blurt of sounds, as if changing through various channels before settling on the Beatles' "You Say It's Your Birthday" for the first verse.

It cuts back to silence for a moment. Nora sits on Nora's end, arms tightly wrapped around her knees, chin coming down to rest upon them as she listens to his end for a moment, to try to decipher from sound alone what he's doing, what he's feeling. "Happy Birthday, Calvin." The words are soft, almost sad. "I wish I could be there to give you something better than just a song and a wish on the radio. Do me a favor and buy yourself something nice and tell yourself it's from me, right? I'll pay you back."

Calvin is quiet. Uncharacteristically so, maybe, and harder to decipher for that. In the privacy of his place, he is free to look slightly lost while he listens to her listening to him. No laughter. No sudden movements, either. One foot slides slowly to press cold over the other, black sole to knotted vein and tendon against the wooden floor.

"Alright. Y'don't have to pay me." She doesn't have a job. Too young to get hired most places. Also other things. "Thanks for remembering."

That quiet moment is just a touch too somber for a touch too long — out of the ordinary for the two of them, and thus uncomfortable. "Make sure it's something that I'll like and so I can steal it later, too. Those are the best presents… the gifts that keep on giving, right?" she says, the attempt at humor a touch manufactured.

"I should let you get some more sleep — I just wanted to… say hi. And you know, happy birthday." She pauses, sighing so the puff of air blows up a strand of her too-long bangs before they fall back into her face again. "Be careful."

"Right, right. Fair enough." Tandem sobriety shaken off in the same beat of recovery, Calvin squirms unconsciously in his seat. Uncomfortable. Enough not to say the next thing he was going to say, goatee traced over absent-like now that he's marginally more awake. He used to be better at talking.

"Sorry, s'just. Late, you know. I'll make sure whatever't is is pink with extra rufflies for you."

A snuff of nose to knuckle is enough to sufficiently distract him from former thoughts and he looks back to his bed, measuring the distance and also whether or not he intends to make a detour to the kitchen. "Get some sleep on your end and be careful yourself, alright?"

"Right. Ruffles. That's more Howard than me," Nora retorts, having heard about the illusion Shannon had cast over their mutual friend."

There's a moment of silence as Nora stands, blanket adjusted carefully around her shoulders so that it doesn't drag on the floor while she walks — the last thing she needs is a tripping hazard. "Thanks for listening for me, Cal. It's nice to know there's someone out there when I need there to be." The words are softer than anything else she's said yet. She doesn't wait for a reply this time; there is a fuzzz of staticky white noise and then silence once more, leaving him alone once again as she pads silently down the hall of the cold and dark castle.

Initially a shade perplexed, Calvin's able to recover himself after a few more seconds spent sussing out volume and tone. So that he smiles! Slightly. Privately. …Toothily. And curls his toes and throws himself back over into bed face first and spread eagle. Like an ape.

In a suit.

With dreads.

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