The Red King Is Dead


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Scene Title The Red King Is Dead
Synopsis Long Live the Purple King!
Date April 13, 2019

Raytech Corporate Housing, Elisabeth's Apartment

It's the perfect time to PAINT. Or so Liz informed Richard. Despite her hangover headache from a Girlz Night, she's mostly feeling pretty good. And she promised Aurora that she could paint her room. Lili and Ricky have decided that they, of course, cannot miss the fun. Harmony laughed her ass off and sent them all out, telling them "Good luck with that!"

With what little furniture they own and the carpets throughout all covered in plastic sheeting, the painting party has begun.

"Daddy, daddy, we gots purple for my room, LOOKIT!!!" The sprite is practically dancing, her pigtails bouncing joyfully about her head.

"Had to talk her back from making it the same color as your shadow voice," Elisabeth informs him drily. The paint in the can is a very soft shade of purple-gray, one that should be easy enough to paint over when their daughter outgrows her purple phase. If that ever happens. "You are no longer the Red King, love — Purple King will have to do." She's totally laughing at him.

“Oh, you’re laughing now,” Richard replies, his lips twitching in a barely-repressed grin as he looks back over to Elisabeth, gesturing to her with a clean roller, “You’re the one who’s gonna be washing purple paint out of those pigtails.”

Then he’s stepping over with a broad grin, “We do have purple, don’t we? Have you ever used a paint roller before, little rainbow?”

Ricky has his hands on his overall-clad hips, staring up at the wall. “Does it have to be all one color? Can’t we paint pick-tures?” Lili lightly smacks him in the shoulder with a paint-brush’s soft bristles (foretelling a time in the not-so-distant future where everyone has paint all over themselves) and observes with a roll of her eyes, “We need a base so we can paint pictures later, Ricky.”

Her laughter is easy as she sets down her own paint roller, covered with the soft cream color that she is almost finished using on the bathroom wall. A bedroom and a bathroom is more than enough for one day, and she started the bathroom before her painting party arrived.

"A base for painting. Tell you two what. When it's time to paint your room, Ricky, we'll figure out a way to put pictures on the wall. Like stencils or something, okay? But I think for Aurora's, were gonna keep the walls all one color. At least for now. That means everyone gets a paintbrush and you get to paint outlines of the room first. Paint all along the tape on the bottom of the room." She's gonna make Richard climb that ladder over there. He can totally see it coming.

Aurora capers about, waiting for her father to dump paint into the small trays that the three troublemakers get to carry with them. There's a reason the WHOLE FLOOR IS COVERED IN PLASTIC. "I can use the roller, Daddy???!" The pixie is beside herself with excitement. She's never painted on anything but paper! Walls are definitely a no-no.

Elisabeth smirks in return. "I might have to wash the pigtails, but you're gonna get to wash the twin terrors." Cuz… haha! Harmony's washed her hands of all of this!

“I think one of the Lighthouse kids is a chromakinetic, maybe I can call her to just… re-color them afterwards,” Richard suggests playfully, dropping down to one knee beside the paint cans. He fishes the keys out of his pocket and uses one of them to pry off the lid with a pop of sound. The keys are put away with a clatter, and he hefts up the can to start filling up the trays.

Ricky’s literally bouncing with excitement as he waits for the trays to be filled, and even Lili’s looking excited, although she’s trying to pretend she’s all calm and adult like always.

“Now, you don’t need to get all the paint onto the brush at once,” he says as he fills them, “And we’ll want to do slow, long strokes if we can, all in one direction. I’ll show you first, and then you can go, all right? And you can use the roller, yes, baby girl.”

Liz retorts on a laugh, "I wonder if that would work… it might be a heck of a lot faster." Her gaze skims affectionately over the three small beings. As she picks up one of the buckets to fill a small roller tray, low notes thump gently in the room. "A long long time ago, I can still remember how that music used to make me smile…."

When her eyes shift upward to glance toward Richard, she pauses to wink at an astounded Aurora, whose hazel eyes are wide.

"And I knew if I had the chance, that I could make those people dance… and maybe they'd be happy for a while…" He wanted her to sing when she was happy. Elisabeth isn't sure why the song hit her, but now that Lili and Ricky are also both looking, she gets a little theatrical about it, skipping over some lyrics because they're not what she's going for. "Do you believe in rock and roll? Can music save your mortal soul? And can you teach me how to dance real slow?"

She's deliberately teasing Richard with those lyrics, with a playful expression. Lili points out solemnly, "Daddy can't dance."

“I can too,” Richard smirks over to his oldest daughter, “I just don’t.”

A broad grin is flashed over to his lover, then, eyebrows raising as he offers back, “Do you recall what was revealed the day the music died?” He winks, and then he offers a paintbrush over to Ricky, “Alright, alright, here you go, kiddo. Okay, now get some paint on that brush, and once we’re all started I’ll show you dancing.”

"We started singin'!" is the laughing retort that he gets. Laughing outright simply because it makes her happy to see the grin on the man's face and the elation on all the children's, Elisabeth takes a knee and grabs the paintbrush she's got, puts it into the paint, and then holds it out to Lili. "Okay… remember long strokes, sweets. Make them sideways." That way the roller will take out most of the brush marks. There are several small-sized rollers that were brought in for little hands too.

Aurora finally stops staring between her parents and hisses to Ricky, "Don't dribble!" The enthusiastic first dunk has already left a streak of dribbles on the plastic. This is why there's a metric ton of plastic. She's very careful as she puts the roller in the paint, putting her hand under it to carry it to the wall. So now she's dribbled on instead of the floor. That's better, right?? "What did you sing, Mummy?" she asks. Because Mummy said they started singing!

“That’s part of the song, baby,” Richard laughs at his daughter’s question, giving Elisabeth a wink, “Why don’t you sing the whole thing? It’s a classic, after all…”

As the paint dribbles all over Aurora’s hand, he shakes his head ruefully. There’s going to be a lot of washing after this, but he knew that to begin with. He moves over to crouch near to her, directing, “Alright, now do long strokes from bottom up, okay? And then the next one a little to one side, so there’s some overlap…”

Lili’s very good about the long, sideways strokes, focusing on what she’s doing and the instructions. Ricky? A little less so. But he makes up for it with enthusiasm, grinning a gap-toothed grin the whole time.

As she helps steady small hands on the roller, Liz chuckles. There's no music on, but she can create a low backbeat to go with it as she sings the chorus for the children. Aurora rolls her roller enthusiastically, the fine mist of a roller moving too fast spraying both her and Liz. Which of course means the paint wars are going to probably begin soon. But for a few minutes, all is calm enough — Elisabeth's hands guide Aura to move more slowly with the roller. When she steps back to see how the little one does independently, there's a glint of mischief on her features.

"You know the words too," she points out at the end of the chorus. Which makes Aurora look surprised. "Daddy can sing?" The roller stops briefly while she eyes her father skeptically. Cuz Lili said he can't dance either. So she looks at her sister. "Really?" She doesn't believe it unless Lili tells her so.

“I can do a lot of things,” Richard points out, smirking over at the girls.

Lili gives her father a look and then tells Aurora, “He kind of sings.”

Laughing, Richard raises his hands, “Come on! I’m not that bad, you know! Alright, alright, let me think, it’s been awhile…”

He pushes himself up to his feet, head tilting back as he tries to remember the lyrics. “A long, long time ago… I can still remember how… that music used to make me smile,” he sings out, haltingly at first. It has been a long time.

Ricky, the little smart aleck, points out to his sisters in a whisper, "Mum already sang that part." Aurora hisses back, "Ssshhh! You'll hurt Daddy's feelin's!" She runs the roller slowly, apparently fascinated by the sound of her father singing… or perhaps the color of that singing.

"And I knew if I had the chance, I could make those people dance," Elisabeth sings softly with a grin at him. See? He knows the words too. "And maybe they'd be happy for a while." She ruffles Ricky's head, just cuz he's being a typical kid.

That brings Aurora actually around, her hazel eyes narrowing slightly and then closing. Her head tips inquisitively, but the sound of both voices together seems to be a good thing. She murmurs to Lili, "Well, fuuuudge," she drawls in a perfect imitation of Kain. "I gots the color a bit wrong."

“Daddy says that nothing’s ever perfect but it gives it carack-ter,” Lili whispers back reassuringly to her sibling, nodding with the sage knowledge of one not yet ten years old.

“But February made me shiver,” Richard sings out easily, “With every paper I’d deliver… bad news on the doorstep. I couldn’t take one more step…”

Elisabeth can't help the soft giggle that erupts when Aura sounds like that, and Lili's sage information is received with an equally sage nod from the younger girl. "I wan'ed t' match it t' Mummy an' Daddy's color togevver. But … it's close," she decides.

Looking up at the man who fathered the trio of interesting beings in this room, she twinkles a grin at him and gets theatrical, pressing both hands to her heart. "I can't remember if I cried when I heard about his widowed bride," Elisabeth croons in a ballad cadence, "something touched me deeeeep insiiiide… the day… the muuuusic died. So…."

She winks a blue eye at him. "Bye, bye, Miss American Pie…"

“Drove my chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry— and them good old boys were drinkin’ whiskey and rye, singing’— “ Richard looks over to Elisabeth with a grin, waiting for her before joining in, “This’ll be the day that I die…”

Lili’s eyes widen, “Oh! Right! You see colors.” She looks at the paint, then the two adults, “Is that their color?”

The adults in this room are having far too much fun singing along to a song that only they know. Ricky is giving them skeptical looks as if his dad's lost his marbles. Aura, however, nods immediately and points at the wall paint. "It's almost right. Uhm…I think maybe it should be… darker? And Mummy's adding more blue than I thought. But … I guess it's just a lighter blue-purple than them talking, really." She puts a hand on her hip, pursing her lips and studying the paint with an intent expression that is totally her mother. "Yeah… it'll do," she decides.

“Do you think Aunt Kaylee could let us see the colors too?” Lili’s face screws up in consideration, wanting to share whatever her half-sister’s seeing. It’s not fair that she doesn’t get to see the colors!

Richard, still singing with a grin, picks up one of the other rollers and rolls it up the wall to show Aurora how it’s done - up and down, slight deviations to spread out from the first line of paint-colors on the wall.

Elisabeth's bopping along to the lyrics as well, simply enjoying the light-hearted work while the girls debate this matter. They sing their way through the question 'do you have faith in God above' and music saving your mortal soul, and then she's laughingly wrapping her arms around Richard's waist from behind, "And will you teach me how to dance reeeal slow?" A beat. "Well I know that you're in love with him, cuz I saw you dancin' in the gym…"

Aurora ponders the question asked of her and shrugs. "Maybe. Aunt Kaylee can do lots of stuff in yer brain. She used to talk to me sometimes." Not here, though. "But you can almost see it!" she points out to her sister. "This is almost right. Maybe needs a bit more blue." And that's when things go from good to ohmygod….

Ricky, thinking to help, points out, "Maybe if we mix them!" And he swoops up the roller with the creamy bathroom paint on it, thrusts it into the roller pan, and yanks it out to put a new swatch on the wall!

Paint flies. Richard, Liz, Aurora, and Lili are going to come out of this not speckled but streaked with lavender-gray mixed with creamy ivory.

“You both kicked off your shoes,” Richard sings as he rolls the roller up the wall and down again in a streak of purple, “Man, I dig those rhythm and blues! I was a lonely— oh no Ricky, be— !”

He’s laughing as he breaks from the song and reaches out to try and stop him, which of course means that his arm is /covered/ in paint as the roller’s yanked out more than a little close. “— careful! Oh, jeeze— “

Ack! Elisabeth jumps back, nearly toppling the can of lavender paint while Richard gets his body parts swiped with a roller. Aurora squeals and throws her hands up over her head, forgetting she's holding a roller and thereby putting the equipment up over her head…. Where it drips. Lili manages to miss out on the lavender swiping, just getting spattered with droplets, but she also leans against the wall that she just painted. "RICKY!"

And Liz… just starts laughing.

In the midst of all this chaos, Richard turns his head slowly to survey it. He reaches out a free - paint-dripping - arm to push Aurora’s roller back down, the lavender streaking her hair already. “Well, this happened earlier than I expected,” he states, taking a step closer to Liz, shaking his head.

Then he reaches out with the roller in his hand and rolls it, lavender paint and all, down her chest.

For a moment, Liz has absolutely no reaction except to look stunned. She looks down at her front — an old pair of jeans and a ratty T-shirt from who knows where are not exactly a problem to have paint on — and then back up at him. Her shock shifts to a laughing outrage. "What the heck?!" She is unarmed at this moment, so her retaliation is limited.

That being said, the kids now see their opportunity and throw themselves wholeheartedly into the attack as well. Well…. Ricky and Aurora do. Lili's always a little more reticent about getting dirty. Aurora takes her roller and smacks it to her mother's butt and rolls down her legs. Ricky plows into Richard's legs to try to knock him down to be painted on. And Lady Lili — just for the moment — puts both hands on her hips and looks a miniature of Harmony.

“Well, I can’t let you get away with not getting paint on you,” Richard explains with a broad grin, motioning with the roller - and then Aurora charges in, and he laughs, “That’s it, kiddo, get ‘er. I’ll— oof!”

He probably really isn’t knocked down, but he at least pretends to be as he drops to his knees and rolls to the side, laughing, “Betrayed by my own son!”

Elisabeth once commented to Harmony when they were infants… Lili was going to be the one to watch out for. And the little girl proves that. Waiting until Ricky is full into the tickle-fray with his dad, the little girl heaves a sigh as if to say 'oh fine then'… and she walks right into the battle with her paintbrush and swipes it right down the side of Richard's head. Bold as you please and twice as calm.

Dropping to her knees to engage the trio of terrors, Elisabeth reaches out to swoop Aurora into her arms and tickle the girl mercilessly. Ricky gets pinned between the two adults, so he gets a good tickle too, leaving Lili an open target for her father.

As a fresh line of paint is streaked down Richard’s head, he yelp-laughs, “That’s my hair, you— !” Twisting around, he reaches out to snatch his daughter up under her arms, rolling up to his feet in the same movement and lifting her high in the air to spin around with her, “Little scamp! I knew I should’ve kept an eye on you!”

Lili's calmer facade breaks into giggles and then squeals. Ricky laughs and rolls around on the floor while Elisabeth tickles both him and Aurora, and then Aurora manages to extricate herself. "Me too, me too, Daddy!"

Now he's done it. Painting has degenerated into all-out tickle wars and playing airplane!

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