Trying to Help


tamsine_icon.gif victor_icon.gif

Scene Title Trying To Help
Synopsis Victor knocks on Tamsine's door, offering sympathy and guidance for those parents whose children killed themselves in the "36" suicides.
Date March 31, 2009

Tamsine's Brownstone Apartment, Greenwich Village

Knocking briefly at the door, Vic stands fidgetting nervously outside the house he believes belongs to Tamsine Whitaker. Most people aren't so hard to look up. He had an easier time than most might since it was near here that he and Magnes stumbled upon her some days ago. Hands clasped behind his back, he has the air of a worried missionary, here with a message but not really dressed in the white shirt and tie you often find on such people. And with a much less blithely confident air about him.

If he has keen hearing, he might hear her approach the door, probably peeking out of the peephole to make sure it's someone safe. She frowns, unseen by him on her side of the door. She recognizes the young man, and wonders what he's doing here, again. It can't be coincidence. She doesn't believe in coincidence anymore.

The door opens, not quite all the way — she's grown up in New York, she's not naive, despite her youthful looks. She's wearing a pair of torn up jeans and a t-shirt. Her feet are bare, and her fiery red hair is up in a ponytail. The face that peers out is pale, though her eyes are perhaps a touch less red today. "Hi…?" she says softly, dark eyes glancing up at him. "It was … Magnes… no, Victor. Magnes was the roof hopper…" she smiles a touch.

"Yes ma'am. Victor." he corrects, smiling a little as well because they're contagious. The light nylon Mets jacket he's wearing hangs loose over a T-shirt with the adage: If at first you don't succeed don't try skydiving! "I've been trying to work up the courage to come talk to you. And I'm not even sure you wanted to talk. But I kind of thought I'd offer." Great. The way he makes it sound it's like he's trying to work up the nerve to ask the lady out, and that is like the opposite of what he's trying to do. "Listen, maybe you could help me with something?"

The petite redhead leans against the door, keeping her knee on one side of it, should he turn out to be a deranged murderer, so she can push it shut on him if need be. "Um," she says profoundly and eloquently when he begins his explanation of why he's there. If he can peek behind her into the rest of the house, he would see a house that's a bit in disarray. The living room, in view beyond the entry way, is a mess of blankets on the couch, tissue boxes, and some fast food bags. At least she's eating. The entry hall itself is lined with pictures of a beautiful girl, from infancy up to teen years. She's darker skinned and darker haired than Tamsine, but has similar facial features. But the house inside is quiet.

That wasn't a good sign. "Mrs. Whitaker, my sister was murdered last December because she was Evolved." Victor says, laying it bare. He's grieved it now. He's even had some species of revenge for it. "My other sister is missing and won't have anything to do with me anymore. All three of us were Evolved people." He doesn't sound particularly sad, no sob stories sought here. Just the neutral presentation of someone stating history. "I don't know any of the other families of the kids who were involved in this, but I was kind of hoping to talk to some of them. Tell them my side of things and what I know. Do you think it would help them?"

She frowns, at first in sympathy, and then in something else altogether. "No. It won't help." These words are said coolly. "Hearing about people who get murdered, people who are missing, people who are having horrible lives because they're different, isn't going to make this better for anyone," she says. Her eyes are hard, narrowed, but on closer inspection it's merely because she's trying to keep from crying. She already made a fool of herself in front of this young man once before. "Maybe if they have other kids who are Evolved, people who need to know how to protect their other children. I can't speak for them. I don't have anyone else."

Vic is quick to amend, "It's not just to report the bad stuff that happens. I'm at a peace with the things going on in my life right now. I just want there to be a way to help other people find that." The nervousness from before has kind of shed, replaced instead with an earnestness that Vic uses often. Probably because it's his normal way of being. But he's still standing outside this poor lady's door until she closes it on him.

Tamsine shakes her head. "You'll have to find them and ask them all individually, but I won't be the one to give you their names and numbers, Victor. I'm sure you mean well, but… grief is something that's very private. Everyone does it differently, as I'm sure you know. I'm not close to those other parents, so I can't tell you who would want or need your help — I'm a single mom, I work full time, I'm not the typical mom whose kid goes to that school." She doesn't add that she's at least ten years younger than most of the other parents, as well. She hasn't shut the door on him, but she looks weary as she stands there, leaning her cheek against the edge of the door.

"I don't want you to give me their information, Mrs. Whitaker." Wow. What kind of person does she think he is? Vic knows the answer almost right away. She DOESN'T think he's any kind of person. Because she's a total stranger to him and he to her. "I just was hoping you'd tell them about me." One of those uncomfortable silences threatens to follow.

Uncomfortable silence, and worse yet, tears. Her narrowed eyes can no longer act as floodgates anymore, and the tears come, welling up in those dark depths and spilling over the lower lashes. "I'm not friends with those people, Victor. I don't have friends. Sure, we chat with one another at a recital or soccer practice, but I'm not the kind to go out for coffee or shopping with them. And I'm not going to call people I barely know and tell them some boy I barely know wants to talk to them about the futures that their children might possibly have had if they lived." She still, somehow, doesn't slam the door in his face — perhaps a testament to how alone she actually feels, that she'd rather yell at this stranger than close the door and be within the confines of her silent house once more.

Suddenly, she looks up at him, her eyes narrowing again. "What do you do anyway?"

Great. He made her cry. Vic runs fingers through his hair and looks away as he answers quietly, "I'm a police cadet." It occurs to him immediately that this is not even close to what the lady meant when she asked him that and he amends in the same voice, "I have superhuman speed." If he sounds guilty or looks guilty, it's only because he is guilty.

She closes her eyes and sighs. "I'm sorry. I really… don't sob at people every time I see them, not normally." She nods to the rows of pictures on the opposite wall, opening the door a little wider, apparently trusting him enough not to murder her. "That's Lily. Liliana. My parents, they live a couple blocks away, and her are my entire family. I don't really have friends, so I feel… awkward, doing what you ask." She takes a bit of a shuddering breath. "But I realize you ask because you're trying to help. I just don't know that anyone can."

"I feel wrong for bothering you here. I really do." counters Vic in that same hushed tone as he looks at the indicated photos and can't help but think to himself that she looked like the kind of girl he'd ask out. Or would've asked out. Imagine having this woman as a potential girlfriend's mom. But of course the dynamic of events makes those thought processes go all a-wither. "I think I know what you mean though. I don't really have the friends I used to. I used to be tight with everybody and…now I think aside from my parents there are two, maybe three people that give a damn I exist. And I guess the reason I came here to day was because I wanted you to know that I give a damn about your daughter. And what happened. Okay?"

Tamsine nods. She's still a nice person, underneath all that grief and sorrow. She can't help but feel bad for this kid standing on her doorstep trying to help someone who doesn't want his help. "Thank you. It's nice to know that someone who never knew her cares, will remember her," she says, brushing away a stray tear from her cheek. "If anyone contacts me… and seems to need someone to talk to, I'll pass on your information, if you like." She glances over at the little table for keys and mail, a business card sitting on it. "I still have your card." She pauses a moment and looks back. "Your roof jumping friend - he's okay? He should be more careful."

"That's good. That'll be fine. Please do." agrees Vic easily. Because it's something and it offers an out. As she asks after Magnes Vic says, "He's not really a careful guy. Magnes is kinda cool but he cheats. Because his ability has something to do with gravity. So I don't think falling is very dangerous for him." Truth to tell Vic is more of a daredevil than Mags ever is, but he's not about to say that. Taking a step back from the front door, he starts to end this little visit. "I'm sorry for bothering you, Mrs. Whitaker."

"Tell him I said hello. Maybe I'll order one of his pizzas one of these days," she says with a sad smile. "I do appreciate you coming by. I'm sorry I'm not more welcoming. The house is a mess… I'm a mess… and I just… there's nothing for me to gain from the sort of thing you have to offer. But maybe someone else can." She must be a sucker for door to door salesmen. She can't quite just say no and shut the door. "Goodnight, Victor. And call me Tamsine… Ms. Whitaker, I think that's my mother." She smiles.

"Okay Tamsine. Thanks. And really just call me Vic. I think I'm in trouble when I hear Victor." It occurs to him to make it easy for Tamsine to just shut the door, because he notices she isn't doing it. So he simply waves and says, "See you another time. Please call me if you ever need me. I mean it." And then with a burst of motion Vic tears off down the street, vanishing from view so fast that there's only a hint of which direction he went in to go with the gust of wind generated.

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