The "Avoid It" Stage


gillian_icon.gif megan_icon.gif

Scene Title The "Avoid It" Stage
Synopsis At least Gillian isn't avoiding talking about the Lighthouse Kids when she runs into Megan. It's just the failed attempt at a relationship she's avoiding, on top of other things.
Date April 24, 2010

The Garden

Situated in a copse several miles away from the nearest stretch of asphalt, the Garden is accessible via an old dirt road that winds snakelike through the woods and dead-ends at the property's perimeter, which is surrounded by stone wall plastered with wicked coils of rusty barbed wire to keep would-be intruders from attempting to scale it. Those with a key can gain entry via the front gate.

The safehouse itself is a three-story brickwork cottage over a century old and covered in moss and ivy. It slants to one side, suggesting that the foundation has been steadily sinking into the wet earth; incidentally, this may be one of the reasons why its prior occupants never returned to the island to reclaim their property when government officials lifted evacuation orders and re-opened the Verrazano-Narrows shortly before its eventual destruction.

Inside, the cottage is decorated in mismatched antique furniture including a couch in the living room and an armchair nestled in the corner closest to the fireplace that go well with the safehouse's hardwood floors and the wood-burning stoves in some of the spare bedrooms. A heavy wooden table designed to seat eight separates the dining area from the rest of the kitchen, which is defined by its aged oak cabinetry and the dried wildflowers hanging above them.

The meeting is over, but one redhead is far beyond pissed. So far beyond pissed that she stopped for a few quiet words with Eileen where she bummed a cigarette. Standing outside in spite of the cold, Megan is in a corner of the building where the wall can block the wind quietly smoking. And yes… she's freezing her ass off, but she doesn't much care. Smoking inside is something she won't do. The long drag makes the ember burn brightly in the dark as she takes the smoke deep into her lungs and holds it there, letting the burn and the vague sense of lightheadedness soothe her rage. As she exhales a thin stream, the sound of the door opening behind her has Meg glancing back and making sure she's not where the smoke will blast someone else in the face as they step out.

The cold air blasts a face more than enough, anyway. The door to the Garden opens and closes quickly, to spare those inside as much as possible. Gillian looks as if she's been crying, rather than fuming, but almost as soon as the air hits her it changes the way her face looks, freezing moisture on her cheeks, and making her eyes decide to keep their tears to themselves. It's a shock treatment, and it seems to work. Gloved hands cover her face for a moment, before tugging the scarf up— and then she sees she's not alone. "Megan? Shit, I don't imagine you have another one of those, do you?" she asks, spotting the cigarette as she moves closer, so they can talk, puffs of air visible around her mouth as she speaks. Totally different reasons for needing it, though…

Megan laughs softly and offers the smoldering butt to Gillian in a leather-gloved hand. "No — I keep quitting. If you don't mind sharing, though, you're welcome to. Had to bum one off Eileen. I think this must be the fiftieth time I've quit," she comments.

"I'll just stand next to you," Gillian says with a shrug, moving into the trail of smoke. It's actually better than the air right now, which smells like it's trying to freeze her body with each breath. She never thought New York would get close to Antarctica, but it's sure trying… The smell has a certain effect too, which seems to help calm her. "It's good I caught you. I needed to talk to you about Hannah and Jimmy. Joseph dropped them off at the Lighthouse last night."

"I know," Megan says quietly. "They shouldn't be there long. They've both got parents in the network and now that they're recovering from the flu, they'll be rejoining them. Hopefully to get the hell out of this icebox. I think Hannah's family is on the next trip out. Jimmy's needs another two weeks of paychecks, but I'm going to see if I can convince them to get out sooner. The cold's too much." She keeps the cigarette and takes another hit off it.

"Oh. I didn't— " Gillian trails off for a moment and then nods. "That works, then. They should be fine there for a while unless there's a medical emergency and I can't get ahold of the Ferry in time." Which in this weather is possible, and could mean hospital would be more likely to be needed as a last resort. "I was going to say they're more than welcome to stay there, but if they have parents, then that solves it. They should be staying inside. Even if we lose power there, we're fireplace heated, so we can hold out."

There's a nod and Megan smiles faintly. "Thanks, Gilly. Of the kids we had at the Den — the ones I brought, anyway — only the twins were orphans. They lost their parents at Beach Street. Lila didn't survive the flu, and I've got Lori placed elsewhere. I took her out of New York. If you can hold onto Hannah and Jimmy for the next four days or so, that's when the next batch moves out. I want to have both of them in it, but even if not, Jimmy'll rejoin his mother now that he's not contagious." She sighs heavily and goes quiet. "Wanna tell me what's eating at you?" She didn't miss that Gillian was upset.

"What's bothering me is— stupid," Gillian says, pulling the scarf up a bit to protect against the wind, but also shielding her face some from view. "Do you ever just wonder if it's all… you? That when things go wrong or when people are assholes, that it's because— you're not good enough. Not tall enough. Not pretty enough. Not smart enough. Too… fucking damaged to— it doesn't even matter. It's just stupid things that in the grand scheme of everything that we have to do, it doesn't really matter."

Megan takes a final draw on the cigarette and then crushes it out against the wall next to her without dropping the filter to the ground. She'll dispose of it in the trash. Letting the smoke stream slowly from her mouth, she replies, "Nope." Her tone is firm and calm. Perhaps one of the advantages of being nearly twice the age of a lot of the Ferry operative is perspective. "Bad shit happens to everyone, kiddo. Things go wrong because they just do. Men are idiots because they just are. Nobody's got it easy in life, not even the 'beautiful' people. You just learn to take it in stride and keep putting one foot in front of the other." She studies Gillian. "Do I want to know which guy in there was an asshole to you, or should I just commiserate and tell you I totally understand?" She smiles faintly.

"No, not really," Gillian says, still avoiding eye contact even if she's not talking to a sympathetic ear. She didn't go outside for one, anyway— she went outside to get blasted with cold air. "I thought I was dealing with it, and then his fucking girlfriend offered to work at the Lighthouse and I don't really want to work around kids with the girl who's sleeping with the asshole who treated me like shit for no good reason. Not in my own home, in front of the kids who treat me like a…" She sighs, a huff of air that doesn't contain smoke.

There's a quick nod. "Sounds pretty reasonable to me," Megan replies. She's not unsympathetic — more that she's a realist. Pragmatic. And perhaps a little pissed at some guy herself at the moment. But she keeps her attention on the subject of the kids, their welfare her first priority. "The Lighthouse isn't a Ferry-run safehouse, so you don't have any reason to allow that. That's yours and Brian's so far as I'm aware. And anyone who isn't registered and doesn't want to be registered should steer clear of the place as much as possible. Especially right now, with the sweeps going on. It's already been hit once. It needs to be above suspicion for the sake of the kids you've got there."

"After the last sweep I don't think it'll happen again for a while," Gillian says with a shrug, not going into how everyone there right now isn't even registered. The kids, yes, but not all the people who help out. "I was more concerned about the whole… not wanting the kids to feel the tension between us. Cause kids sense that sorta things, some more than others. One of them is kind of an empath who gets majorly effected by negative emotions."

Megan grimaces. "Shit," she says succinctly. "Yeah. Don't make their one haven full of stress," she advises quietly. "Because you're right; kids are extremely observant creatures." She sighs. "I'm sorry," she adds quietly. "That some guy acted like a jackass to you and you have to face his new lover. That's pretty shitty when you're still in love with someone." She shakes her head. "Is there anything I can do for you? I can offer a stiff drink… or at least a bottle of wine, if you need a place to be where you can cut loose and bitch a blue streak." A faint grin quirks her mouth as she remembers a similar offer from a friend. She wonders for a moment what Jake's up to these days and then dismisses it.

"I can't help but think I deserved it, though I can't see why. Everyone kept making it sound like it was my own fault," Gillian mutters quietly under her breath, before shaking her head. "I may take you up on that sometime when I need to get it all out, but right now I need to get back to the Lighthouse before the temperature drops anymore. Good thing it's not too far from here."

Megan snorts derisively. "You ask for it only if you keep going back to be treated like shit, Gillian," she opines quietly. "You can't help feeling what you feel — the heart does what it does. It's what you do about it that matters. You love him, you know he's an asshole, and eventually you'll work through it and find someone worth having. Sounds like this guy who has your heart right now isn't worth it — but it takes time to work through the rest of it to get there." She smiles faintly. "The door's open whenever you want it, okay? I'll poke my head in up there to pick up my kids in the next couple of days — if you want me to look over any of your kids while I'm there, get me a list of what's up and I'll make sure I check them over. All right?"

"Yeah…" Gillian says quietly, though her tone carries the tired quality that sounds unsure. Like she's not sure she'll ever be able to get over him. Whoever he is. Or maybe she thinks he had been worth it— in another time. Just more proof she's not anywhere near the out of love stage, and instead still firmly in the 'avoid it' stage. "That'd be great, thanks. I think they're all healthy, but— I'm certainly not trained for that sort of thing, and neither is anyone else out there. So a check up would probably be a good idea."

Megan nods. "I'll bring my gear when I come," she replies easily. Briefly, the redhead reaches out and squeezes Gillian's shoulder. "Hang in there, kiddo. It gets better. Eventually." She purses her lips and glances back toward the meeting. "I'm going to head for the Center to check on a patient myself." She looks back. "Go safely," she says softly. The meeting was what it was; at this point, she just needs to consider some things.

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