The Best Part of Waking Up


calvin_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title The Best Part of Waking Up
Synopsis …is boning ur coworkers. — Wait. That's not it. (Isn't it?)
Date January 12, 2011

Suresh Center

The second floor is an idiosyncratic combination of small medical center and psychiatric hospital. In the back of the building are several lab rooms, equipped with everything from blood-test equipment to an MRI; despite its size, the facility is competitive in a features sense with many larger and more mainstream hospitals. The core is dominated by a multipurpose room, usually serving as a cafeteria but sometimes transformed into a game hall or ad-hoc movie theater; on either side of it are the two permanently-staffed nurse stations, the balcony at the front offering a view of Roosevelt Island and the opportunity for plenty of sunlight.

One wing of this floor has been given over to a medium-term ward, intended to house medical or psychiatric patients for only a few days, perhaps a couple of weeks at most. Most rooms are double-occupancy, particularly for medical patients, but in some cases they may be allocated as singles; all have large exterior windows and are surprisingly not painted in generic institutional shades. Rather, they each have their own personal theme, from ascetic to modern, oceanic blues to autumn reds and browns. Rooms are allocated primarily by what environment a patient feels comfortable in. The opposite wing is the Suresh Center's juvenile ward, designated for the care of Evolved children and teenagers coming to terms with their abilities. It has its own rec room, several single-occupancy rooms, and at the end of the hall a larger shared room for siblings, friends, and children who do better in company. As for the adult ward, the d├ęcor is engaging and inviting rather than blandly uniform.

Visitors are required to check in at one of the stations before going anywhere else on this floor, and in some cases may be provided with an escort for the duration of their visit.

This General Practitioner shit is for the birds.

The sentiment carries an even stronger current of ill when it's held by Odessa Price, whose hatred for feathered creatures is massive. Save perhaps for her chosen (pseudo)namesake, the nightingale. One hangs at her throat - not a real nightingale, that would be gross - made of white gold with an emerald for an eye, its precious metal wings spread.

The pale colour of the jewellery around her (scarred) neck, with the muted greys of her cashmere sweater, and the short skirt over opaque white tights, and silver sequinned shoes (her favourite pair - they match her purse and her eye patch) give her an almost chilly appearance. Her white hair has been swept up on top of her head in a youthful ponytail, hanging shaggy with its uneven layers, leaving the silver shadow and dark grey (not quite black) liner around her visible eye to be highlight of her face. Her bangs are styled to the side over her left eye, mostly obscuring the glittering patch there.

Only 8:30 and Odessa's on her second cup of coffee, processing labwork herself as a welcome reprieve from actually having to deal with patients. Ugh. They don't even come in with exotic injuries like they did at the Company. That was at least interesting. If she has to tell one more mother that her kid just has a cold and not the goddamned H5-N10

Calvin is not a general practitioner because he is not a doctor. Really, the only thing he is this morning is late, flecks of snowmelt still glittering like glass on the shoulders of his coat when he ducks into the lab here with his briefcase and his scarf.

Old bruises all but gone along the slope of his cheek, he's dutifully made up in eyeliner and shadow and dreads and maybe a touch of mascara to keep things even.

He's not hungover or even tired, the circles that have a habit of sinking in dark around his sockets conspicuously on the more absent side of the insomniac spectrum when he deposits his case on an unused table and makes the snappy transition from overcoat to labcoat with limited exposure for the dapper grey suit he has on between them.

No coffee for him yet, but he smells it in here — he may even look to Odessa's cup before he looks to the rest of Odessa. Still tweaking at the stiff of his bleach white collar while he eyes her. "What's the problem, Sourpuss?"

"Is it that obvious?" Odessa asks without glancing over her shoulder. Calvin's voice is almost as distinctive as his person. "This do-gooder altruism gig is starting to get to me." There's a sigh as the younger woman turns around and leans her back against the workbench and the equipment she's been staring at.

A second cup of coffee — was it there a moment ago? — is held out toward the dread-ed man with a bit of a tired smile. "Morning, Cal'." Odessa can't quite conceal the fact that his presence has apparently brightened an otherwise miserable morning in some fashion. "Sugar, no cream," she supplies as to what's in the tall paper cup with its white plastic lid. She remembers. And is somewhat proud of this fact, apparently.

"Playing nice can be difficult," commiserated in a queerly parental or backpatty sympathetic-propaganda-video-reel kind of way that may or may not be taking the piss at her expense, Calvin sashays over as Calvins do, taking his sweet time to inspect bits of laboratory equipment detritus along the way. It's all very official-looking. And clean.

She brought him coffee, though! The workspace can wait long enough for him to take the tall cup up in his grasp as if he expects to see whether or not she actually remembered as accurately as her recitation would have him believe through the paper. "You. Are. Ammmazing," he tells her, then sips. "I'd fuck you right here if we didn't have to worry about contamination."

Rather than blush, as she would have done a scant month ago, Odessa grins widely. "You are my favourite co-worker, Mister Rosen," she informs him with a bit of a giggle. "We could always go for a nooner in Exam Three," she jokes, jerking a thumb in the vague direction of where the exam rooms are on this floor. Maybe she's joking. After you've screwed in an alley on the edges of curfew, it may be tough to discern where the boundaries of Odessa's sense of decency actually lie.

Taking a sip of her own coffee, Odessa picks up on the less inappropriate thread of conversation once more. "It's not so much the playing nice…" She has to stop and consider that for a moment. "It's just that this is boring. I don't feel like I get to do enough around here. I feel like my talents are being wasted."

There's a slight curl to her scarred lips at that. "Seeing patients and diagnosing sniffles is not what I expected to be doing here. I'm a surgeon. I want to be doing complex things." Another heavy sigh. "At least being out on the ocean," polite office speak for going after Mazdak, "was exciting. Need more of that, but with one hundred percent less crazy ability-stealing sons of bitches." Not quite as polite office speak for Samson Gray.

"Maybe a little closer to noon," agreed with the same brand of joking no-but-seriously-this-might-happen affect that entails an unthinkingly straight glance at his watch to measure how many hours 'til then, Calvin muffles further elaboration on that track into a longer swallow of coffee because she's started talking about like, serious(?) things in the interim. And he has to pretend to look intrigued.

He does a pretty good job of it too, gingery brows knit level and jaw set. This place is boring, not enough to do, talents being wasted, sniffles. "I dunno," serves as lead in to maybe the most unhelpful thing he could think to say: "I think it's nice here. Little lab. Little — classrooms for meetings. Therapy. It's quiet, y'know? Been months since anyone's tried to burn it down."

Odessa seems to actually consider this for a moment. Finally, she agrees. "You have a point. I haven't had to kill anyone with a fire axe in the sub-basement lately. That is always a plus." She turns back to her work not quite dismissively, but because these things do require some supervision or they tend to go awry - not that she couldn't just put things in some state of hold with her handy ability. She'd just have to wait longer for results.

A glance is flicked over the woman's shoulder, a brighter smile than her earlier attempt at cheer. "At least the company's good."

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