What Did You Mean By Everything?


cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title What Did You Mean By "Everything?"
Synopsis Liz fills Cardinal in on the last couple of days.
Date Nov 3, 2009

Elisabeth's Apartment

Fuck it. It's been a shit couple of days, Elisabeth's exhausted….. but finally somewhat relieved in certain respects. She sends Cardinal a text message that says merely My place for dinner. 7:30. and takes the entire afternoon off work to go home and cook. With a capital COOK. A homemade light alfredo pasta with fresh shrimp, crab, asparagus, and broccoli. A french bread warm and toasty from the bread machine. A bottle of wine on the counter, and a positively evil-looking simple trifle on in a glass bowl on the counter. Other baked goods did make an appearance through the afternoon, but most of those she has put aside to send with Richard later. Along with a beef stew that she has in the crockpot. As the time rolls around for him to show up — and it's dark enough out by 7:00 that it shouldn't hurt his eyes even — the apartment is well-lit, though with soft light. It doesn't particularly look like she's setting the stage for seduction. Just dinner.

As usual, Cardinal doesn't knock. After all, he can't walk up the stairs here for fear and worry of alerting IA or something, so he might as well flow directly under the door and come up in the apartment. "Well, something smells good," he observes, walking along into the kitchen, brows raising as he looks over the counters. That's a lot of food. Uh oh. Something's wrong.

Looking up from the table where she's setting out the basket of bread, Elisabeth manages to contain the sudden jump at his appearance and smiles faintly at the look on his face. "Don't panic," she says wryly. "I made a couple of batches of things that you can keep in a cooler and just reheat over there in the microwave. A pot of soup. A pot of stew. The rest of this is just… dinner." Yeah, sure, it's therapy too, but hey!

"Uh huh." Cardinal crosses the room and over to her, stepping up to where she's standing and sliding his hands over her hips — pulling her in a bit, he notes in dry tones, "Do I look like someone who doesn't know you, Liz? What happened?"

It makes her laugh, at least. She looks… perhaps a little less stressed than in recent days. She turns to him as he approaches and slides her arms up over his shoulders, snugging herself to him. "My, my… I'm going to have to change up the routine if you're getting that comfortable with it," she murmurs softly, her lips rubbing lightly across his scruffy jaw as she speaks and punctuating the comment with a soft kiss. "I promised my dad I'd eat even though my appetite's crap, so…. think you can eat while we talk?" Besides, he's been nagging her about not eating enough too. She's lost enough weight at this point that she's starting to look on the too-thin side.

"You need to eat, so, we can eat while we talk," he replies rather firmly, returning that kiss; a light brush of his lips to yours before he steps away and over to the table, pulling one chair from the table's edge, "You're losing weight. So what happened — you only cook this much when something's upset you, babe."

There's a faint sigh, and Elisabeth heads back for the kitchen to load the pasta dish onto the plates she had waiting. It's quick work, and she sets down both plates and brings two glasses of wine before she joins him at the table to eat. She's dressed casually enough, in jeans, a V-necked T-shirt, and bare feet. "Saw Teo yesterday," she admits quietly. "It wasn't…. fun. And then I had to tell Denton today that he has to back off his vendetta. That we can't run him in for Minea's murder." The words are soft, if bald.

As the pasta's set down, Cardinal reaches out to draw the plate closer; fork drawn up in his hand, he spears through the food upon the dish, looking over at her explaination. "Ah, hell," he grimaces, pausing with pasta a half-inch from his lips, "So he did kill Minea? Why?"

Shaking her head, Elisabeth says softly, "I don't… really know." She's toying with her pasta more than eating it. Looking at him, she says quietly, "I didn't really get a straight answer except … that I think it had to do with the fact that she turned a bunch of intel over to the Company." She grimaces a little. "Revenge? I'm not sure I understand anything in his head. But Denton's pretty pissed…. Remember that message I sent you about Teo trying to turn himself in? Well…. the reason he frog-marched my shrink into Homeland headquarters was to get to Dalton, the head of Homeland or the Company or whatever she is. He asked for a selective mindwipe, apparently with the intention of turning himself in and being unable to expose Phoenix. And Dalton's blocking that move; she thinks he's more valuable on the ground." Elisabeth pauses and adds softly, "I get the impression that he's in position to pass intel on the Remnant and their nuke plans. They're recruiting. And I think they've tapped him."

"The Remnant aren't going to be blowing anything up… they're going to be helping find the nuclear weapons, at least so they claim," Cardinal stirs his fork through the pasta, his gaze hooding in thought as he frowns at the discussion about Teodoro, "He hasn't been the same, not since— Ghost. Fuck. I don't really know him, not anymore."

Elisabeth shrugs. "I misspoke. I meant that what's left of Volken's loyalists may have tapped him. Not the ones helping us already. Or so I get the impression. He wanted to know if he and I were on good enough terms htat he could pass me intel if or when he got it." She shakes her head. "I'm not sure anyone really knows him since Ghost took him over, Richard."

Cardinal's nose wrinkles in a bit of a grimace. "Well, we need the intel," he admits, pausing to take a bite, chewing, swallowing before looking back across the table to her, "…the cowboy took it poorly, did he?"

There's a long moment while Liz eyes her plate, and she takes a swallow of the wine in front of her. Then she makes a pointed effort to pick up her fork and take a bite, to chew and swallow before answering. "Yeah… well, finding out that his boss turned loose the man who murdered someone on his team? Didn't set well." She stirs the food on her plate a little. "It doesn't exactly set well with me that Minea won't ever have justice either. But … it's for the greater good, right?" Another bite into her mouth.

"The Company, doing something ethically shady? A big surprise there. I always wondered if the cowboy really knew what sort've people he worked with…" The fork's set back down, and Cardinal reaches over the table, fingers brushing against hers as he says quietly, "I kind've liked her too. Sometimes, we have to make sacrifices—I just, I wouldn't put too much trust in Teo these days. Not until we figure out what the fuck's going on with him."

And they wonder why her appetite's shit. Elisabeth looks at the enticing food on her plate. It didn't take all that long to put together, it's not like it's a difficult dish. Just requires a little timing on the components all getting done at the same time. Thinking about that at least for a moment takes her mind off the parts upset her stomach to the point that she can't eat anything. She sets her fork down and turns her hand into his, looking up to meet his gaze. "I don't know if I trust anyone anymore, babe. Except you and my dad…. who is pissed off to high hell at me right now." She hesitates and says quietly, "I unloaded on my father last night." She bites her lip. "Everything."

"Everything?" Cardinal's fingers graze over her palm, brushing there in a warm contact before he clasps palm to palm in a warm grip, his brow furrowing worriedly as he meets her eyes, "…what'd you tell him — how'd he react?"

Which part of 'everything' was unclear, Elisabeth wonders for a moment as she looks at him. "We had this … thing. When I was a kid. If I needed to tell him something really important, some secret… I would hire him. As my lawyer. Give him a dollar. It put anything I said to him under double indemnity — dad confidential and lawyer-client privilege. So… I gave him my dollar and told him…. everything. I only told him last year about being Evo. About why I'd left the force and how long I'd known. So… I picked up with Washington Irving, and I talked…. all night. And I told him… everything else. The Narrows. The virus. The bombs on the bridges. The nukes in play now. The Company. Pinehearst. …. " She trails off and looks at him. "Humanis First. And you."

"Oh, Jesus…" That's an actual wince from Cardinal, although he doesn't release her hand; gripping it more firmly for a moment before relaxing that clasp, a frown pursing to his lips, "…and he didn't take it well?"

Elisabeth laughs softly. "Well…. let's just say that … Dad might actually like you eventually. In principle, we're in agreement about the idea that everything I've done has been… for the right reasons. Maybe not the right way. He's pretty goddamn livid that I've been keeping these kinds of secrets and getting my head blown off and keeping him out of the loop so much that …. no one would have been able to tell him why I'd died if Deckard hadn't been able to help me." Her free hand comes up to scrub at her lips with her fingertips, and she holds back some of those all-too-ready tears. "So I think…. maybe he took it as well as he could, considering that he's a pretty law-and-order kind of guy? He's wondering how the hell he raised a woman who …. what'd he say?" She pauses to repeat verbatim, "thinks she's fucking BATMAN," there's a bit of a watery chuckle, "but uhm…. he's not going to blow the whistle or anything, either." She hesitates and murmurs, "He's pretty pissed."

Cardinal's lips twist in a wry curl up at one corner, "I can imagine. Did you — did you want me to talk to him, or anything? I mean, I don't know if it'd help or hurt, you know him better than I do…" He leans back, reaching over for his drink with a shake of his head, "At least he sounds — reasonable about it."

That wrings a chuckle out of the woman who holds his hand so tightly. "Well…. there was a lot of yelling involved. I don't think I've ever seen that man so mad in my life. Of course… I'm missing a few years, so it's POSSIBLE that I missed something," she manages to quip. "But… all in all…. yeah. I guess he took it as well as can be expected. Even pissed to hell, he's not going to turn me in. And… actually, sort of offered if anyone needs a lawyer, they could come talk to him." She starts to giggle a little. "Not that his specialty is criminal law or Evo anything? But you know…. he might just make it his business to MAKE that a specialty from here out. He was… " She bites her lip. "Ever since I told him that I had an ability, we've kind of skirted around that. He didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to say. We …. talked more last night than I've probably talked to anyone in a long time. In spite of the fact that when I left this morning he was still fuming, I think…. maybe … we'll be okay." She gestures to the kitchen. "But… stress. Cooking."

"I could try and explain that what we do is kind've important, but given that I'm a wanted felon that's done a lot worse than I'm actually wanted for, I doubt that'd go over well with him.." Cardinal's nose wrinkles up, and he tips the glass back to take a sip of wine, setting it down and giving her hand another squeeze. He meets her eyes, and says quietly, "I hope you'll be alright."

Elisabeth snerks gently. "I didn't really mention the thief part. Or the whole ….. well, you know, dads don't want to know about the sex thing. Just the organizing a vigilante group to tackle the nukes and the guy trying to sink Staten Island part." She grins at him a little and brings that hand holding hers up to brush a light kiss across his knuckles. "I, uhm… it wasn't planned. The bathroom lights blew while I was in the shower and I kinda… freaked. Turned into catatonia girl," she grimaces. "Just when I think I'm beating it, right? But anyway…. I'm okay." She meets his eyes and reiterates, "I am. I figured I'd invite you to dinner, since stress equals cooking and you don't eat well enough anyway."

She adds quietly, though she's been skirting around it, "And if you'd like to meet my father… I'd be honored to introduce you. I just…. don't want you to like squick out on me — the whole meet-the-parents issue or something."

Cardinal's fingers free from hers, curving to her cheek as she brings his hand up. The mention of what happened in the shower causes him to grimace as well, "Shit. You'll work through it, Liz, it'll just take time…" A pause, and he shrugs, "I wouldn't mind — meeting him. I just don't wanna cause trouble for you, is all."

That cheek turns against his fingers, and Elisabeth looks … perhaps a little surprised. But she smiles slightly. "I'll make arrangements when he's had a little time to cool off," she promises quietly. "You meeting my father can't cause me trouble at this point. The only things I left out last night were some names — I gave him your alias, and I sort of fudged over some others for his safety more than anything." She rolls her eyes, and comments with a grin, "Let me know if you change your mind. Cuz you know… wouldn't want to give you the impression that we're serious or something," she teases lightly.

"I suppose it'd be hard to explain to your father," Cardinal admits, a laugh woven through his voice as he leans back, reclaiming his hand and reaching for the fork upon his plate, "Yeah, this is the guy I sleep with… but we both sleep with other people too… mostly each other, but…"

Elisabeth shrugs easily, her earlier better mood somewhat reasserting itself as she picks up her fork and chuckles softly. "I'm an adult. I don't have to explain that you're my lover, my best friend, the guy I trust to have my back. He's going to know that as soon as he sees us in the same room together — he's not stupid, Richard," she says drily. "Now… tell me what new and fun ways you've found to get into trouble lately while we eat."

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