The Secret's Out


lynette2_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif toby_icon.gif

Scene Title The Secret's Out
Synopsis Toby finds out about Lynette's little problem. And then Lynette finds out about Ryans finding out about her little problem. And also, baby steps.
Date October 14, 2010

Gun Hill: Lynette's Apartment

This apartment is somewhat decadent. Plush couches and expensive lamps defy the fact that it sits in a worn building in the middle of the Bronx. Comfort and warmth are the name of the game here, found in every bit of the landlady's apartment. Soft blues and tans dominate the decor, and it doesn't seem like she allows anything that doesn't fit the scheme to stay in sight.

The kitchen and dining room are stocked and prepared to have guests, with a nice set of dishes, glasses and silverwear sitting in a chest in the dining room, but it's clear she lives alone, if one were to spot how many of those dishes sit unused.

The one exception to the color scheme is her office. It's always locked when she's not in it, but when it's open, the walls are a shocking red, the furniture black and the accents white. She offers no explanation for the dramatic shift for this room.

Wednesday's news was not good. Not good at all. And the shuttle accident on top of the assassinations, Carmichael, Messiah, finding out Dema's alive, Delia hovering over her in her sleep, and the general state of 'omg they're after us' that is Lynette's life… it was just too much icing on her bad news cake. Which is why Thursday morning finds her laying in bed, an empty vial still resting in her limp hand. It's hard to say how long she's been like that, but it was long enough for her watchdog Rugby to notice something wasn't right.

Of course, the really disturbing part is just how thin she's gotten, how disheveled her normally clean apartment is, and not to mention the garish looking injection sores on her arm. Which probably explains her long-sleeved wardrobe better than the weather. Her laptop sits open on her bedside table, playing out some ironically gentle music, and her phone rests next to it. There is an unchecked message.

Rugby is not precisely the smartest tack in the drawer. Her absences into Refrain have been easy to miss, mostly; after all, he has a short attention span. But this time, it's just been a while, and he has to go, and he's not able to hold it in much longer, so he sits at her bedroom door and barks, scratching at the door. Bark bark bark! Come walk me! Please! I'm not supposed to piddle inside! Bark! Bark! Lynette! I need to go! Wake up and take me! Bark bark bark!

Poor doggy. It's one of the sad side effects of drug addiction, other things fall to the wayside, despite their importance. Lynette doesn't even stir at the barking. Normal people would be awake by now!

Rugby lets out a sharp, urgent whine. Come on, Miss Lynette! Wake up! He dances in a circle, squirming, whining, and letting those whines escalate to barks.

Luckily for little Rugby, at least someone's on the ball. If Toby didn't hear the barking, he felt the telepathic pings of his buddy in distress. Either way, a key rattles in the lock to Lynette's door and he steps in, frowning at the sight of it. "Goodness. Looks like we should slot a cleaning day. Rugby! Good boy, holding it in like that. Come on, let's go get Lynette, shall we? It's almost three! Lazybones." The man strolls over to her bedroom door and raps three times with his knuckles, calling, "Lynette? I'm just going to take Rugby for a walk. You okay in there?"

No answer.

Toby rattles the doorknob, and then opens it, to peek his head in. "Lynette?"

What he's greeted with is a pale, completely trashed Lynette. Now, he's seen her walking up with hangovers before, but this is different. Worse. The good news is that she does seem to be coming to, but it's slow. Her eyes blink and then stare up at the ceiling. Her fingers curl around that empty vial. There are a few signs of life! It's good news!

Toby blinks, and stares at his prone friend. His blue eyes take in first those signs of life — good! But then the vial. The tracks on her arms. The lack of food on her frame. "Dear mother of pearl," he exclaims under his breath, before moving to her side to check her breathing and her pulse. He even gives her face a few short, syncopated slaps. "Lynette, honey! I need you to wake up. Come on, princess, focus on me."

Rugby, meanwhile, whines at the door. I GOTTA PIDDLE, GUYS.

There's a pulse, there's breathing, she's just really out of it. The slaps get her to blink again and she looks blearily over Toby's way. It's hard to say if she recognizes him, but a heavy limb does slowly come up to shove at that hand slapping her. It's fairly ineffective.

Toby sighs and wraps his arms around Lynette, hauling the drug-addled woman out of her bedroom and into the living room where there's more light. He lays her out on the couch, and then goes to start making coffee. Eventually, he returns with strong, black coffee, and a tall glass of water.

Rugby, however, gives one more urgent bark-whine, and Toby stands with another sigh to let Lynette work on sobering up for a few minutes while he goes to let the corgi out. It's really a brief outing, only ten minutes tops, before the pair return.

There's a groan as Toby lifts her up out of bed, and he ends up with Lynette-sized dead weight, but hey, she actually doesn't weigh all that much right now. Silver lining? In the shuffling, the Refrain vial drops out of her hand and clanks to the floor in the hall, which makes the woman tilt her head to try to look back at it.

Out on the couch, there's a few blinks and confused looks. How did she get here? Why is it so damn bright? Where did this coffee come from? But the good part is that she pushes herself to sit up in order to drink the coffee as Toby and Rugby head out. And when he comes back, the coffee's empty, the water hasn't been touched, and Lynette is curled up in a corner of her couch, holding one of the decorative pillows in her arms so her chin has something to rest on.

Toby reappears in the doorway, and he folds his arms sternly at her. "Miss Lynette Terra Rowan, you are in trouble," he huffs, one hand moving to plant on one hip while the other points in her direction. "You drink all that water. Your system is probably dehydrated as heck. Now, what in the name of all that's good and fuschia started you on these kind of hard drugs?" There's concern there, but no real accusation. The man is familiar enough with drug-friends at least, considering.

Trouble? Lynette looks over his way, her expression somewhere between tired and irritated. "Good and fuschia, darling?" She's dodging, but at least she reaches for the water to take another drink. And then there's another blink and she looks over at him. "You used my middle name." Forgive her, her brain is slow right now. She sniffs a little before she looks back to her glass. "It's nothing to worry about. I've… I'm handling it." And so well, too.

"Yes, and yes," Toby replies, moving over to sit next to her on the couch. "No, my dear, you're not. Your apartment is an astounding mess, which is just so unlike you, and poor Rugby couldn't wake you up to pee, and you look like you haven't eaten in months. Not to mention, your arms look like they've been assaulted by a woodpecker with a grudge! This isn't handling it, darling. What are you on? Is it heroin?" He looks her over and then points at the water. Drink more!

"I've eaten," Lynette protests, her brow furrowing over at him there. But she can't really deny her apartment or the state her arms are in, so she just sighs a bit. This is such a hassle. Ugh.

Her brows lift at his guess and she waves her hand dismissively. "Don't be so dramatic, it's not heroin." She even rolls her eyes. Heroin, so gauche.

"Not nearly enough. Or at least you don't look it." Toby knits his brows as he looks at her, concern written all over his features. "I will be dramatic, because quite honestly, Lynette, darling, this looks like heroin. Now, you can tell me what you're on, or I'm going to go looking."

At first, there's no answer as Lynette leans over to pull a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of the drawer in her coffee table. She's just full of bad habits these days. Pulling one out of the pack, she looks over at Toby, silent for a moment. Perhaps deciding how to handle this particular situation. "You don't have to go looking. It isn't like I have some stash or something. It's just a recreational thing."

Toby looks more appalled at the cigarette than he did about the perceived heroin. He snatches it out of her hand and gestures. "Lynette! These will give you bad teeth and a terrible smell! Smoking inside? Really?" With a sigh, he knits his brows and frowns at her. "Why did you start all this? No one just starts hard drugs and cigarettes for goofs and giggles. Are you in trouble? Do you need to talk?"

"Wha-hey," Lynette protests as Toby takes her cigarettes away, too. And then her shoulders sink some and she tries to stand… buuut she's a little shaky. However, instead of sitting back down like she obviously should, she just braces herself on the back of the couch. "Do you have any objections to a martini, before I pour one and end up with you tossing it down the sink?" GAWD. "I'm not in trouble. I'm just… still recovering." Which is true! She was kidnapped! It was traumatic!

"I have objections to you pouring one. Let me do it for you. You know I make a mean martini." Toby stands and heads over that way. "Then we should find you other ways to recover, darling. This is awful for your health. Hard drugs are terrible for your complexion."

"You do do that, darling." Lynette flumps against the back of the couch, her arms folding and her expression seems to slowly fall from annoyed to neutral… and right to depressed. "I didn't… want to go on the drugs, Toby," she says softly, "But now I can't stop. I think about stopping… and then something happens and I can't… take it. I don't know."

Toby starts mixing up a martini for Lynette, hunting around for the ingredients and such. As she starts to open up, the naturally ebullient man looks sympathetic. "Perhaps we can wean you off, my darling, and find you a better way to cope. I don't think I could stand to lose a friend to that stuff, especially not you, poor dear."

"Yeah," Lynette say noncommittally, "Maybe someday. Not today, though. I just… need to not be here today." What she means by here is a little up in the air. Her hand rubs over her face, and she shakes her head a bit. "It's been a rough couple of weeks. A friend of mine got arrested, and then I think another one might be sick and not… telling anyone. You know? Men, so stubborn. And then someone I thought had died showed up and… And then last night… Did you see the news? The shuttle accident? I knew someone who was supposed to be on it." She lets out a mirthless and brief laugh on an exhale and sinks herself down toward the floor. "I miss when life was about parties and who was the best dressed," she says, her voice muffled as she drops her forehead against her knees.

There's a gentle tap of a martini glass against her hand, and Toby settles beside her, wrapping an arm around her. "Oh, darling…that's awful. Why don't you tell me these things? Surely I could help distract you. A little music, a little wine… a little competition for best dressed." He offers a smile to her, and then nudges her. "Did you get the message I left you on your phone?" As there is not one, but two unheard messages on it.

"I don't know. I don't want to seem like I'm being… overdramatic or something." And that bit about being naturally guarded doesn't help. Lynette takes the glass for a drink, the act of which seems to help her relax a bit. "I didn't. When did you call?" She was probably on drugs at the time. >.>

"To be quite honest, my dear, I'd prefer overdramatics," Toby says with a gentle pat. "I called about two hours ago. I think you'd like to hear the message." In the meantime, Rugby hops onto the couch beside them and lays his head in Toby's lap, looking up at Lynette with big brown eyes.

Lynette leans over against Toby, her hand falling to pet Rugby when he jumps up, too. She just takes a minute there, collecting herself, perhaps getting the gumption to do anything built back up again. "Sorry, Rug," she says to the dog before she pulls herself up again, a little steadier this time. "It's Refrain. By the way. They put me on it, when I was with the Institute." It's an explanation, at least. And then she head back to the bedroom to grab her phone. And it's from back there that there's a little surprised noise from the woman. Either his message is just that good… or maybe there is a stash of drugs back there! Who knows!

Toby lifts his brows in surprise. "Refrain? Oh, shoot. I've heard about that…" And as for how she got into it, there's a very sympathetic look about him. He frowns and pets Rugby's head, nodding. And when she makes that sound, he stands to go see how she's doing. Because he doesn't remember it being too surprising, just a funny little ditty he heard and decided to leave on her machine.

Back in her room, Lynette is sitting on her bed looking at her phone. It's a text, apparently. "He fucking made it," she says when Toby gets back there, a smile on her face and everything, "Jesus, I can't believe it." It's a relief, apparently.

And abruptly, she tosses her phone on the bed, and goes over to her closet to start pawing through her clothes for something to put on that isn't pajamas.

"Who? The shuttle?" Toby perks up, and smiles brightly, Rugby following in on his heels with a little bark. Stuff is happening! "Well! That's excellent news! That's wonderful!"

"Yes, the shuttle!" Lynette tosses some clothes out and picks a pair of shoes and everything. Motivation acquired, apparently. And since it's just Toby, she even starts getting herself dressed. "Jesus Christ, I was worried, too. You know he came over to basically tell me he was probably going to die because it was a dangerous mission and everything?" Suddenly, she's talking very fast, too. It's quite the flip. "It was just evil."

"Oh, goodness. What kind of mission was it?" Toby leans down while she's dressing and plucks up the empty Refrain vial before settling on her bed. He fingers it a little idly, but he really is mostly just paying attention to Lynette, dressing or not. "That does sound quite evil of him. And you say he's safe? Who is the man?"

"Oh, you know. Steal a shuttle, go to space, save the world," Lynette says with a wave of her hand. She says it so casually, too. "There was a satellite, the Institute got control over it and basically could have used it to track all the evolved. They were going up there to take care of it." And as she's tugging her shoes on, she looks up at Toby at that last question and she pauses a moment before she glances back at her shoes again. "Ben Ryans." Hey, he lives here, even!

There's certainly a lift of eyebrows at that. "Mother of pearl," he exclaims. "That's… Well, quite heroic! Did they manage it? Is it gone?" There may be some personal interest there, of course, but Toby cants his head much like his canine counterpart would. "Ben Ryans? The fellow from the Company?" Is that a little arch of a brow? A knowing glint in his eye? A little smile? Could be. Could be.

And speaking of that canine counterpart, Rugby is busy snuffling along the floorboards, at all the interesting smells, since although he's been visiting Lynette for some while, he's rarely been in her bedroom. New place! Smells like…sleep, and sweat, and Lynette, and drugs. The squat, potato-shaped dog waddles in a little circle as he peruses the smells of her bedroom, stub of a tail wagging.

"I have no idea if they managed it. We'll have to ask him when he gets back. I just know he's alive." Lynette just looks at him at that little expression, and she huffs playfully and smacks his arm. "Hush you."

But before she can confirm or deny his query, there's a loud, sharp knock on the door, and the blonde looks that direction, then back at Toby. No way. She doesn't even seem to mind the dog hunting around, she just strides herself out to the door, shoving s few things under the couch with her foot to make things look a little more together around here, and checks out the peep hole first. And then she leans back, taking just a moment before she pulls the door open, crooked smile already on her face and a hand moving to rest on a cocked out hip.

"Well, well. If it isn't Ben Ryans. Did you bring me a moon rock?"

When the door opens, Lynette is first greeted by a figure in a long brown duster and a fedora that is tipped down, obscuring the face. Then slowly that brim lifts, giving way to chin of stubble, peppered with gray creased with a small smile, a familiar hawkish nose and finally those blue eyes. He looks a little on the tired side, but in all healthy. "Lynette Rowan." He rumbles out softly, the smile deepening the lines at the corners of his eyes, hand reaching up to pull the hat off his head and holds it lightly against his chest.

"Unfortunately, there was no time for sight seeing, else I might have brought you and the girls something." Playing along, the old man's smile tips up a little higher. "I guess you all will just have to settle for me being alive." Ben comments lightly with amusement.

The scampering of nails on the wood is what first heralds the presence of another besides the two, and Rugby comes darting out of Lynette's bedroom with something in his mouth. Toby appears shortly after, in his pink silk shirt and khaki dockers, chasing after the dog. "Rugby! Rug— ah! Mister Ryans! Pleasure to see you alive! Pardon me one moment. Rugby!" And the dog is in a playful mood, because he darts away from Toby, some kind of fabric in his teeth as he scampers towards the pair at the door.

"Oh, well. I supposed I can live with that." Lynette opens the door a little wider and gestures him in. The apartment is still disheveled, like the last time he saw it, but she welcomes him in anyway. "Sorry for the mess. Ah, have you met Toby yet? He's been my co-operator here and took care of the place while I was gone. And that's Rugby," she says, the last part a little wry. "Are you… I mean, you look alright. You're not hurt or anything?"

"Thank you." Ryans murmurs, moving to step inside the apartment, smile leveled down at her, till feet scramble across the floor near him making him look down at the small pup. The unfamiliar figure and voice has him angling a look at Toby, features shutting down into something much more neutral. Call it instinct and being naturally cautious, but he does incline his head to the other man. "Nice to meet you."

Of course, the antics of the dog truly draw the eye to the rest of the apartment, a single brow arches slowly as he sees the condition. "I'm alright." He finally reassures the blonde, a barely concealed concerned glance turned towards her. "While the view up there is stunning, but everything else is not as advertised," he muses softly.

Rugby skids over and wriggles excitedly at Lynette's feet with… a pair of her underwear in his mouth. Ew, drooly. Toby just rubs a hand through his hair and gives Rugby a stern look. "Well. I suppose I ought to be going. Lynette, you and I, we have Things to talk about." And there's a very stern look there. There will be talking, Lynette. You can't get out of it.

Lynette gives a bit of a sigh and crouches down to take those back, tucking them into her pocket… as discreetly as she can. Oi. But she looks up at Toby, and looks a little sheepish as she stands to her feet, "Yes. I'll come by later…"

But she turns back to Ryans and nods toward the dinning room again. "If you'd like to sit… maybe something to drink? I want to hear all about the trip. Derring do and all that."

A corner of his mouth pulls up into a hint of amusement, but there is no embarrassment over the puppy panty raid. Blame twenty years of Ryans being surrounded by girls. It just doesn't seem to phase him all that much, or maybe it's just how he looks.

A glance goes to the table and while he considers it for a long moment, Ben finally shakes his head. "I shouldn't stay long. I haven't slept since we started the assault on the launch pad a few days ago," and he looks it. Studying her, there is an apologetic look there. "I just figured you deserved to see I was alive and well. Only a few bumps and bruises and aching joints.

"And — " Ryans starts after a moment. "And I wanted to see you, before I crashed."

Toby pats Lynette's shoulder, and bobs his head in farewell to Ryans before ducking out the door to give them privacy. There may have been an impish smile there. Or it may have been their imaginations. Regardless, he shoots a glance back to the dog briefly, and then vanishes into the hall back to his own place.

Rugby doesn't want to relinquish his toy, but abruptly, he does let go, ears planing back a moment as he looks over to Toby. Then he flops down on the floor and deflates a little, looking put out. Darn. Spoilsport.

There's a farewell smile for Toby, and she manages not to give him another Look for his impishness. Damn man. It's with an indulgent sigh that she turns away from her co-operator and his dog to look back to Ryans.

She reaches out to put a hand on his arm, while turning a smile up to his face. "I'm glad you're back. And that you decided to stop by. But I do with you wouldn't use the word crash in this particular case," she says with a wider, more crooked smile.

A single nod goes to Toby as he passes, eyes following man until he's out of his periphery, but Ryans is mostly silent for the departure. Not that he dislikes the man, it just takes the older man time to warm up to people. A glance goes down to the dog at their feet, watching him with curiosity now.

It's the hand on his arm, that pulls Ben attention back to Lynette. Already she can see him relaxing, despite the look of exhaustion in those blue eye. His larger hand covers hers, where it rests on his arm, allowing himself to smile for her. "You're right, of course. I apologize."

His gaze drops to their hands, brows furrowing deep, looking like a man searching for words. "I — I was married for nearly twenty years, when she died." Of course, he doesn't look nearly that old. "She was my world for a long time, and I loved her." blue orbs are filled with a sort of sadness as he speaks. "When I was up there in that shuttle and looking down, it was amazing. It made me think of her." Quickly, his hand lifts to forestall and words, as he's clearly not finish.

"I had a lot of hours to look down, and I realized that she wouldn't want me to wallow in her memory." He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the handkerchief she gave him, a gentle smile on his face. "Then I thought about you and I realized I might have been given a new chance at living again." Fingers roll over the thin cloth, looking at it.

"Despite the danger, and the near death experiences — the aches and pains — all of it." Benjamin looks at her now. "It was an enlightening trip."

"It was just a joke, Ben," Lynette says to his apology, her expression a little amused. But warmly so. And when he starts to talk about Mary, that expression gets softer, understanding. Her hand even gives his arm a sympathetic squeeze. And it's a good thing his hand stalls her, because she was just opening her mouth to reply, too. Something comforting, perhaps. Encouraging, maybe.

So when he goes on, there is no small amount of surprise on her face. Her gaze does flick to the handkerchief, which makes her smile a bit, but when she looks back up at him… it's clear there's an internal debate situation going on.

"Ben… I…" She looks away for a moment, but the state of her apartment is just a cruel reminder, really. So she looks back to Ben instead. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't interested. Ah, very interested, even. But… there's some things about me that you don't know and I just…" She doesn't quite finish, but lets out a harried sigh as her free hand runs through her hair.

"I know about the Refrain." Ryans offers up with a rueful smile, small as it is. "I'm not sure what to think of it, I know it is not your fault — only the fact that you continue to use it, but then — you probably haven't had a support system for it." She can probably make a pretty good guess on how he found out.

Fingers reach out to touch her jaw, pads of his fingers rough from years of hard work. He looks almost confused as if, like her, he seems like he's still struggling with his own battle. Yet, he's attempting to reach out. "I want to help you, Lynette. If you'll let me." Ben smiles a bit, his head tilting just a little bit.

"Don't worry — I can see it there on your face — I'm not asking for commitment, Lynette, I'm only asking for a chance to get to know you and to help you." Taking a step closer, he rests his palm against her jawline, thumb brushing briefly against her cheek. "If you want me, too."

Well that news gets a groan from Lynette, and she drops her hand from her hair back to her side in a flop. "I don't… like needing help," she admits sort of slowly at his mention of a support system. "I had someone tell me not to try to handle everything that happened over the summer on my own. But I don't know any other way."

When he touches her jaw, she leans a bit into that touch, smiling just a little at his confused look. It's comforting. "Getting to know you, I can handle that," she says with a gentle smile. As he steps closer and brushes her cheek, that expression fades, but not from displeasure, and her eyes close for a moment. She knows she needs help and when she looks at him again a moment later, it's even clear in her expression that she wants to say yes. It's just that pride getting in the way. "I don't want you to think I'm… weak," she explains softly.

"You forget who I was." Ryans says gently, the roughness of that deep voice more comforting then anything. "I've seen the reports on that stuff and I know where you were." Hand falling to her shoulder, gives her a little shake as if to wake her up and see the truth. "You're not weak, but with something like this… you can't do it alone."

Reaching up, he tucks a length of her blonde her ear, fingers brushing along the edge of her ear as he does. Ben's gaze flickers to a point beyond her, a corner of his mouth twitches, but it's unclear if it's amusement or disappointment. "I think the start will be me helping you clean this place up, next time I come by." He gives her a knowing look, brows ticking upward just a little.

Lynette chuckles just a little at the shake, a little nervousness in the sound. "I didn't forget who you were, I promise," she says, her own hand lifting to touch his cheek, "I'm just so taken with who you are." There's a half smile there, as if she's not entirely sure she wants cheesy compliments taken seriously just yet.

She glances back at the mess, too, and her hand drops again. "Oh, that," she says in a more familiar, dryer tone. "You know, normally this would really bother me, but lately… I just can't be bothered." Which is likely a side effect from, ya know, addiction. But she's not offering that part up.

"Another reason I want to see you beat this." Ryans murmurs, studying the mess for a moment longer, before looking down at the woman in front of him. The smile she sees is gentle and understanding, "I want to get to know the true you, not the one that's struggling with an addiction."

His fingers brush against her's where they rest on his cheek, before curling around to take her hand. "For now —" Benjamin's head turns to place a kiss on her palm before letting go of it and moving to put his fedora on his head " — I'm going to leave you in favor of a comfortable cot and some much needed sleep."

There's a bit of a sigh, but it seems protests about getting her off the drugs are going to come another day. Maybe when he's not being so sweet and kissing her hand, which pulls a smile out of her. "Alright, I suppose you've earned some recovery time after all this. As much as I'd like to keep you around."

She lifts up onto the balls of her feet to press a kiss to his cheek in return. "Welcome home, by the way."

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