The Eruption of Mount Giftsuvius


nicole_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title The Eruption of Mount Giftsuvius
Synopsis The first morning spent as The Millers is off to an explosive start.
Date April 5, 2020

Bay Ridge: The Miller Residence

One last scrape of fork against plate before the utensil clatters onto the ceramic surface, set aside on the nightstand. Nicole licks some residue off the tip of her index finger and leans back against the pillows propped up behind her with a contented sigh. Breakfast in bed on her first morning as Mrs. Miller was the right call.

Even if it only came after packing up their hotel room, messing up the sheets again one more time, checking out, and making the drive home, where Zachery insisted she get her pregnant butt back into bed and go be relaxed, not lazy. “I could get used to this.”

No, she couldn’t.

Standing by the window and squinting into the light before he turns around, Zachery replies, "I'm sure you could."

No, he's not.

He lifts a painkiller or two (or three) to his mouth, then a glass of water. He's looked less disheveled but it's allowed for just today, and the fondness on his face when he looks Nicole over is a clear enough sign that most of yesterday still stuck just fine. "You took your vitamins and everything." Hangover-dulled smugness is not quite as strong as it otherwise might be, but he still tacks on, "How did you survive without me."

Other than just fine.

The comment about taking her vitamins immediately brings about a bright chuckle from the woman on the bed. Her eyes sparkle with amusement as she admires her husband — worse for wear though he may be — like she’d like to say something, but will content herself with having thought about saying it instead.

“We may never know,” she murmurs, rather than defend her own capability. “Am I allowed to get out of bed yet?” Nicole asks with a grin, starting to creep one leg toward the edge of the mattress like she means to sneak out.

"Much as I would like to say no outright," Zachery starts to answer slowly, with his voice lowering a little bit for every word that leaves him, "I feel like the majority of the people I met yesterday already suspect I might be keeping you here against your will, up in the non-existent attic with some water and bread."

If he harbours any real concerns about this, he fails to show that they sting any more than his headache does.

He lifts the glass for another healthy glug of water, pausing to say over the rim, "So go on, have your freedom."

Nicole’s laughter comes easily again. “Oh, don’t be so sour,” she entreats as she edges to the side of the bed so she can plant her feet on the carpeted floor before stretching her arms over her head. Then, she pushes herself to her feet and starts adjusting the cinch of her robe.

Gathering up her plate, she casts a glance to the other side of the bed and where Zachery still stands with his water. “Thank you for breakfast.” She tips her head toward the door to the hallway, requesting that he follow her as she takes her dishes to the sink.

“We should open some of our gifts,” she tells her husband over her shoulder. The stack of them sits in the living room — over the coffee table and around it — brought in after the reception by family on their behalf. One less thing for Nicole to have to coordinate and worry about. “Are we supposed to meet Damian and his terrifying wife for lunch later?”

There's a sigh behind her, followed shortly by a dry chuckle. Zachery's obviously seen the pile of gifts already, but somehow it has not gotten any less shocking since then.

He ends up wandering towards it rather than following Nicole all of the way, peering curiously at some of the less immediately identifiable gifts while a bit of incredulity slips into his voice. "She's not that bad, is she?" Quieter, he ponders aloud as his brow is furrowed, "A little… poshed up, maybe. Like she definitely owns fitted dressage attire but has someone else deal with the back end of the horse business."

He gives a shake of his head. "Either way, yes. Regrettably. Maybe. I'm not sure yet. Maybe she's a little terrifying. But she also has a plane to catch shortly after."

Nicole slants a dubious glance over her shoulder at Zachery as she runs water over her dishes before leaving them in the sink. Yes, she means to say, Aisha is absolutely that bad. “You didn’t see the looks she was flashing to me all afternoon.” A small shudder runs down her spine.

Drying her hands on a tea towel, Nicole makes her way to the living room to join her husband now. She slips one arm around his waist, standing hip-to-hip with him to survey Mount Giftsuvius. “Did you see the coffee mugs from Corbin yet?” She points toward one of the boxes, which is already divested of its wrappings, but still closed up nicely.

Zachery stands unmoving, snapping out of his bleary stare only when Nicole joins at his side. Drawing in a breath, he steals a look at her face, and then turns his attention back on their intended destination again.

"I haven't looked at anything up close just yet," he admits, lifting an arm slowly up and over his wife's head to lay it lazily across her shoulders. "I've been staring at it from a distance, wondering if maybe somewhere in the middle of it all there's one of those… candid camera people slowly suffocating amidst a mess of bubble wrap."

He pauses, then says dryly and as though it needs saying, "Nope. Still no one there." One more pause. "Maybe a drone."

“Look at this pile of fucks people give about us,” Nicole teases, snuggling into Zachery’s side with a happy smile. “The mugs say,” she clears her throat, “Groom. Under new management.” She tips her head to slant her grin up at him. “Bride. The new boss.” Her brows lift at that, amused.

Her face scrunches up cutely with another silly smile before she rests her head against his shoulder again. “And of course there’s the camera Don gave us.” She’ll be finding the confetti that exploded from that box for weeks, she’s sure.

Aforementioned groom clicks his tongue, face lifting as he stares down at the offending mugs. "That's almost clever. Though it does assume I can be managed." The doubt is heavy on his words, even if it is with an attempt at wit threaded in.

"Now a camera, that's a gift I can get behind. Or, well, you can, and I'll be sure to admire the pictures you will inevitably take of…" His shoulders give a lazy shrug. "Trees, or artsy coffee stains on magazines."

“It does assume a little much with that,” Nicole admits of Zachery’s manageability. But she’ll try valiantly all the same.

His assessment of the camera causes her to smile. “I wonder if he knew I used to practice photography. I haven’t really… indulged much since even before the war, but I’m looking forward to getting back into it. There’s something that’s just a lot of fun about developing photos and having physical copies.” She nudges him gently in the ribs in exchange for his ribbing her about her subjects. But she doesn’t say he’s wrong, because he absolutely is not.

"Is there, now." Zachery's eyebrows lift, and he weathers the not-unexpected rib poke, pulling her slightly closer before his arm leaves her shoulders and he's off to survey the other side of the mountain.

"I don't think I knew, either. You do realise you're going to have to put together photo albums now, right? Can we be those people?" He throws Nicole one more questioning glance, his voice lilting upward as if in genuine curiosity.

Or maybe the curiosity is for the next gift he looms over. A plain but sturdy dark blue travel suitcase? Leaning forward, he reads the tag attached to the handle aloud to himself. "'For when you come visit. Signed, the prettier one. P.S. Fancy blender inside'. What."

I can be that person,” Nicole confirms with a grin as she watches Zachery round the other side of the table. “I like putting together albums. I used to have so many ridiculous photos of Colette and I together.” Her grin fades into something sadder. “Lost all that when our apartment got destroyed in the first bomb. I didn’t have the heart to get back into it.”

Her gaze lifts from the pile of gifts back to her new husband. “Until now.” The strength of her smile returns. Photographs may have been lost, but not memories. Now, she can have both again.

Nicole laughs after Zachery reads the tag on the piece of luggage. “The prettier one? Colette?” Of course Nicole would immediately assert that her sister is the prettier of the two of them. But she had already given her gift.

Then she realizes it’s not her sibling having fun. “Oh!” Nicole gasps and pulls her face into sort of an indignant pout. “Is that from Damian?

"I— guess?" Zachery replies, from under a hand scrubbing at his face. Prettier one, sure, sure.

Only then does he seem to register the rest of what Nicole's said, and promptly straightens to level a hard stare at her.

"Hold on. You think Colette is pretty?" He sneers, momentarily pulling his head back as if in some attempt to recall a version of Colette that could qualify. "I mean— she's alright," comes a quick amending, his words so unconvincing they could be on a Fox News report, "but in a, you know, a starved… lone, angry carrion bird on its last, desperate legs sort of way?" His voice trends upward as his hand does, to gesture vaguely at his own face. "You know, with the… membrane."

The more Zachery talks, the further Nicole’s head slowly tilts to one side, staring incredulously as her husband tries to put down her baby sister’s appearance. “Wha—” Her eyes squint, nose wrinkles, and brows come together in a tight knit. Membrane, she mouths.

“Of course I think she’s pretty!” Nicole leans back and gives her head a shake. “She’s basically the ghost of Nickels past.” That is to say, she believes she and her sister look very much alike, just that Colette is just a decade behind.

The more Nicole talks, the less inclined Zachery looks to do so, mouth slowly pressed into a thin line. When it's his turn to speak regardless, he opens his mouth again to let about seven and a half different noncommittal noises leave it before one finally manages to form itself into the beginning of a sentence-

"Hey what's this one?" He throws a hand out toward a random point on Mount Giftsuvius without looking.

With her point having gotten across, Nicole laughs, venting her own nerves at the exchange and willing to let the whole thing go. It’s very likely he’s learned a lesson. That if he wants to build her up, the way to do it is not to tear someone else down. Especially not Colette. She shakes her head and sighs. “It’s nice that you think I’m the pretty one.”

When he picks up a box, Nicole cranes her neck as if to get a better look at it. “Mm,” she ponders. She could easily grab the tag attached to it to see, but she’s trying to go from memory. “I think that one’s from Cooper — Ah, Thomas Cooper. Works with me.” She figures he might need context. “Go ahead and open it.”

She neglects to provide the context in which Cooper is the office prankster.

When Zachery removes the top from the cylindrical box, a spring-loaded snake goes launching out — which causes Nicole to shriek and jump back — as well as an explosion of glitter and countless dollar bills.

The snake goes flying, hits the ceiling with a papery slither, and comes hurdleflopping down across Mount Giftsuvius before ultimately sliding into a spot of repose down on the floor.

Leaving, in its wake, Zachery with his eye(s) closed and his entire self covered in glitter, a dollar bill still curled up on his shoulder. The can is lowered, humourlessly slowly, like molasses uphill, in winter, on crutches.

"If not for the fact that I still get the girl in the end," he grates, peeking reluctantly out again while his expression settles on a brow-creased fighting to not look or sound like this is in any way funny, "I'd argue this is a point for karma."

Nicole’s only response is to double over in riotous laughter, holding her stomach with one hand and pointing at her husband with the other, as though it might clear up any confusion about what she finds so uproariously hilarious.

She’ll be frustrated later, when she fully realizes that she’ll be vacuuming glitter up off the carpet for weeks to come, if not months.

Yeah well guess where the fuck else that glitter's about to be.

"Oh, this is funny?" Zachery asks, lifting a hand to thumb some glitter away from his mouth as he steps forward. "You find this funny? You won't even laugh at my very smart jokes half of the time, but this is funny. I am your husband," he reminds her with glittery eyebrows raised, as though it makes literally any fucking difference to state the obvious. There remains some annoyance in his voice, but it is easily overpowered by the amusement which he tries and fails to keep off of his face as the dollar bill flutters off of his shoulder and falls behind him.

Because he's on the fucking move, and fast, reaching to pull Nicole in close by an arm. "WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER NOW."

The shrill peels of laughter that continue to come from Nicole signify that, yes, she does find this funny. It starts to abate a little bit when he points out that he’s her husband, after all, and she worries he might actually be offended. Even if she can’t quite keep her giggles bottled up behind the press of her lips when his glitter-dusted eyebrows go up.

She’s just about to get legitimately concerned when she notes his own amusement. It doesn’t register in time for her to realize what’s about to happen, though. He grasps her arm and she squeals, staggering forward and into his glittered arms. “Noooo!”

She is secured, into an shiny embrace of oh god it's fucking everywhere - it's over the arm Zachery snakes behind her back, in his shirt and probably in his mouth at least a little bit.

Not that it stops him when he pulls her in closer and kisses her face, though blessedly and purposefully missing her mouth and going for cheek instead, then the side of her neck. There's enough glitter raining down from his hair anyway. Finally, struggling to keep her close in the face of her token protests, he permits himself a laugh that mingles with the squeaking sounds she’s making in response to this onslaught, even if his is breathed out in the guise of a statement: "You are worth this."

Even with a hangover.

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