Start Fresh


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Also Featuring…


Scene Title Start Fresh
Synopsis Eimi finds herself back in New York.
Date April 18, 2018

The Benchmark Center

It's been well over twelve hours since Eimi was shown to a room where she could sleep. Once they were safely at Benchmark, it was nearly all that she could manage to stay awake, and exhaustion (and reassurance that her friends were okay) won over any residual wariness. Exhaustion also means that she didn't fight much when shown to a room, didn't argue… actually, aside from briefly ruffling Rafael's hair and the bare details, Eimi didn't talk much at all after they arrived.

She reemerges dressed (and having managed to take a shower) in the pyjamas that were found, hair still slightly mussed from sleep, and a little bit disoriented still. There's what might be a smile, but it's hidden by an almost deliberately distant expression as the girl teleports down the hall. Towards more food.

Food can be found in a common room not far from her room. Double doors stand open and music plays from a radio, the smell of coffee drifts out into the hall. But inside, donuts are spread out on a platter, homemade and fresh (not by Lynette, though, everyone thank the heavens). Rafael is there, curled up in the corner of the couch with a donut in each hand. A glass of milk sits next to him— untouched.

Lynette sits on the other end of the couch, a mug of coffee in one hand and a book in the other. A close look would show that the book is in Spanish, so at least there's a live-in translator (or three, but who's counting).

The pair appear to be exchanging idle conversation, as if one of them was not only seven years old. But no one has ever accused Lynette of having keen mothering instincts. Which is why her own daughter was already a teenager when she adopted her.

Eimi steps around the corner and through the door into the common room, and pops over to the table with the donuts, and then takes a few (and even a plate to put them on) before moving towards an armchair next to the couch with a sleepy wave. There's a guarded look over her shoulder at nothing at all, but then the teen pulls herself back to the present and focuses on Lynette and Rafael instead.

"Good morning," let alone that it's most definitely not morning anymore. She slept right through morning.

"Good morning," Lynette echoes. "I've been getting to know your friend. My father said you'd both had an eventful trip." Jeremy Rowan, an imposing man with a grin that ruins any sort of intimidation he might wield. Their time with him was brief, but he was a warm person with a protective streak. "How're you feeling?" Good enough for donuts, so that's a good sign. "I'm told there are some people we should contact."

Next to her, Rafael has stuffed an impressive amount of donut into his mouth. He'll need a few to work through it.

There's a nod, and Eimi folds her legs a bit closer to her chest and says, "Tell him thank you?" is said. Not that the teenager didn't tell him so several times herself, but it is reiterated nonetheless. "Um… Eve Mas? Or Gillian if you can't get Eve? The note I left her said I'd be gone a day and then…" She was gone a lot longer, and the teenager proves that the safe zone is actually a damn small world.

"And probably Cas… Caspian. Dussault, I think? He can tell Joe and Lance and Brynn. Colette Demsky…" She furrows her brows, having listed off all of the adults she knows. "I lost my jacket, which had all the business cards. I couldn't remember any of the phone numbers when I was in Mexico. I was going to try to register, that — Cesar was helping me. I lost his card too."

Only after that does she get to the first question, and it's answered flatly, a slightly glassy expression, although her brows go further down rather than back to neutral. "I don't know."

"I will," Lynette says to Eimi's request, her lips curving into a gentle smile. She likely knows that it's already been said, but she knows how it goes when you feel the urge to express such a thing. "I'll call Gillian. Eve's been recovering from— an accident. She's okay, just needs some down time." She's quick to reassure, her hand reaching over to give the girl's arm a squeeze.

"Cesar Diaz? The SESA Agent? Well, him we can contact, too. But I think he'll understand if your registration waits a few days for you to resettle." There's a pause, but her hand stays on Eimi's arm. "You're safe now. You're home. You're going to be okay. I'm sure the Lighthouse— " Kids wasn't exactly accurate anymore, which is something she's still adjusting to. "I'm sure your friends will be glad to hear you're okay, too."

Eimi furrows her brows at mention of an accident, and asks, "Is this with to do with how Eve disappeared that time? And then she came back and…" Shakes her head, her eyes meet Lynette's for a moment, searchingly. Wanting to believe that Eve will be okay but not quite able to, either.

Finally, there's a nod, and after she's finished the donut she speaks again.

"In the past if I ended up somewhere totally elsewhere it never mattered much to me," she observes. "I didn't have a… home as such to come back to." Or friends, but that isn't said. Neither is the evident fact that she doesn't know how to feel about this. "Ending up that far away was an accident. I couldn't control where I landed, I lost my grip on my friends and I thought…" There's a breath drawn in to steady herself even as the already flat words trail off into silence and Eimi breaks eye contact, looks away.

"No, Eve came back from that particular romp just fine." Lord knows how. Lynette looks over at Eimi, her smile turning crooked. "Eve does not live a safe life. Or a careful one. Something you're going to have to adjust to, if you plan on being nearby. But she will be okay, I promise. She knows how to bounce back."

Rafael reaches over to tap Lynette on the shoulder— he's finished his donuts, too— and the pair share a quick exchange before the boy pops up and heads over to the entertainment center. Looking at movies, music, games. But Lynette turns her attention back to Eimi.

"It's difficult, isn't it? Finding out that you care about something. Someone. A place, your people." Lynette tilts her head a little, hands cupping her mug as if she might need her fingers warmed. "That fear is a good thing. It's telling you that you have something here that's worth holding onto. A life you could build. Speaking as someone who spent a lifetime running away from that feeling, it is my advice that you embrace it. And maybe practice your ability more, make sure you don't ever end up so far you can't come home again."

"Yeah." That trails off, and she furrows her brows. Rafael gets a genuine smile out of her, though, and she ruffles his hair a little as he walks by.

"It isn't… I just. I have to see where I'm going or I can't control where I end up," Eimi says. The words have all the feel of a teenager's retort in an argument but none of the heat and none of the evident anger. The argument, perhaps, is not with Lynette, but with admitting the vulnerability in the first place. "I'm not sure practising is going to change that."

She lets out a breath. "I haven't… let myself care since…" It trails off. Whatever since is, is likely not going to surface in this conversation. "It's hard."

"That's how it is now. The limits are in your mind. You have to push against them to find out what you can truly do. We never accept limitations," Lynette says, firmly. She doesn't mind the argument, heated or not, but she isn't accepting of the girl's counter by any means. "We push. We get better. And we never settle."

She has that instructor designation on her registration card for a reason, it seems.

But the more emotional side of Eimi's words— that gets a gentle smile from Lynette. There's a pause while she sips her coffee, watching her companion for a long moment. "One of my earliest memories," she says, sitting up straighter even as her gaze flicks down to her coffee, "is watching my mother walk out the door and never coming back again. And then, when I was not too much older than you, I came home to find my fiance— at the time— had left without a word. And then I decided… letting people in? It hurt too much. They know you, they can hurt you. You need them? They can hurt you. It was very safe. And very lonely."

She looks up then, tossing her hair out of her face as she regards Eimi again. "And then, when the world was falling apart around me, as I was living through my darkest days, I realized that I had no one. No one to lean on, no one to even talk to. And no idea how to even begin to change that, or if I even could. I had to crawl through it on my own and it was not… I don't recommend it. Whatever happened to you? You can't let it ruin you. Eve, your friends… let yourself care about them. Build yourself a life that's worth fighting to keep."

"What if I push against them and end up in the middle of the ocean, instead of in a cave in Mexico?" The words are still flat, but the worry in them is clear nonetheless as she lets out another long breath.

"I… don't like needing other people." Lynette gets a smile though. "I survived on my own for a while, and that was… simpler. But… they're my friends. Eve is my friend too."

After that she changes the topic. "Are… you going to be able to get papers for Rafe?" Eimi furrows her brows. "Caring about people is messy. I… I couldn't leave him there. And I have… a nagging feeling in the back of my head, asking if… I did enough. If I left someone else I never saw. If I could do more."

"Then you teleport yourself to shore," Lynette says, as if this were the easiest thing in the world. She's teasing, though, as a crooked smile comes to her face. "When you push, you do it methodically. On purpose. Not in a panic. A little at a time. It isn't perfectly safe, no, but either are we." The two of them, specifically. Evolved in general. "You deserve to be the very best you can be."

"Simpler, I agree," Lynette says, her smile turning warmer, more sympathetic. "It isn't simple, changing that impulse. But you already care about them. And they already care about you."

Lynette glances toward the boy, her head tilting a bit. "Oh yes. The Ferrymen might be gone, but I still know the right people. He'll be safe here." She glances back to Eimi, nodding to her last words. "I understand. You made a choice in a difficult moment. It was the right one. As for the rest, there's no way you could have known what else was going on there. You got out, you got Rafael out. You got Carlos out and lord knows that isn't easy. You did well, don't doubt that."

There's a bit of a nod, and Eimi looks out the window and pushes to her feet. "I should go show up," Eimi says, perhaps a little bit abruptly, and lets out a breath. "I'd… Joe kinda just decided we were friends pretty much the moment we met. It's… it's hard to argue with." The words are accompanied by a smile as she gets up, pops over to and then walks over to where Rafael is, giving him a brief tight hug and mussing his hair again. She's grown fond of the kid, and protective. "I'll be back," she says, repeating it in her still terribly accented Spanish but it has the tone of a promise.

Eimi lingers next to the window and glances to Lynette, sidelong. "I'll be back?" It's more of a question this time, as Eimi leans on the wall. Seeking permission, approval, something is in the searching expression behind those hazel eyes and the teenager looks to the ceiling. "I'm tired of being lonely. It kind of sucked."

"Joe does make it difficult to argue with him. It's best to just roll with it." Lynette may not usually give that advice, but in the case of being friends, she is. Lynette stands up, too, setting her coffee down as she watches Eimi say her goodbyes to the boy. Rafael returns the hug and turns to looks toward Lynette, too, when the statement becomes a question. "Anytime you like," she says, "bring the others sometime. Tell them I'm very disappointed I haven't heard from them recently." That part comes with a smile, impish in a way.

They're not really in trouble. From her expression, it's possible they never really are.

"Good," she notes, to those last words, "This is a good place to start over. Start fresh." Rebuilding happens all around, after all, in the Safe Zone.

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