Wounds a Mile Wide, a Fathom Deep


sebastian_icon.gif tamsine_icon.gif

Scene Title Wounds a Mile Wide, a Fathom Deep
Synopsis Sebastian and Tamsine meet at a support group and find an odd camaraderie
Date April 6, 2009

Brooklyn Public Library

The central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was designed to resemble an open book, two wings stretching out along the bordering streets, with the main entrance located at their hinge. Inside is the heart of one of the nation's largest public library systems; the Central Library alone contains over 1.5 million books, magazines, and other materials. It also contains the Brooklyn Collection, an assortment of references and ephemera that chronicle the history of the borough, and a Multilingual Center for non-English speakers and linguistic scholars. A cafe on the first floor sells coffee and snacks, while a restaurant on the third floor (open weekdays only) sells cafeteria-style meals. Internet access is freely available throughout the building.

The library meeting room is quiet but for the sparse murmuring conversation that are occurring around it. Parents have stepped aside to talk quietly, friends offering support, some weeping softly. Others stay off alone, looking a little uncomfortable. Sebastian is one of those, by the rented coffee machine and filling himself a styrofoam cup full of the bitter dark liquid. In the middle of the room is a circle of chairs, fifteen in all, the others all neatly leaning against a far wall. A sign hangs over the snack table where Seb stands, claiming this is the room for 'Compassionate Friends' - a support group for adults who have lost a child in their life.

Tamsine is still sitting in the seat she occupied during the meeting, her gaze off to the side, avoiding eye contact with anyone who might try to talk to her. She looks so very alone, as does Sebastian — most of the others come in pairs, couples who are grieving over a lost child. Two of those, a tall, paunchy man and his thin, perfectly coiffed wife, steer themselves in the young redhead's direction, drawing her sideways glance to the forefront. Time to move. Evade. Run. She jumps up and grabs her purse without making eye contact, and heads to the coffee station — it seems too early to jet for the door itself. "Worth drinking at all?" she says in a soft voice, nodding to the coffee machine.

As Tamsine get closer there's something about the man before her - Sebastian looks guilty. It's barely there, but there's just something in the way he looks at the ground, almost fidgets. Her voice, so suddenly interrupting his reverie, makes him jump a bit, his black coffee sloshing over one side of the cup and onto his hand. He hisses and mutters a soft curse - at himself - before looking up, abashment coloring his face, "Oh.. sorry.." he says, and sounds like he means it - as if he did something wrong, "It's no Starbucks, but it delivers the goods." His voice is as quiet as hers - only a few people even noticed the spill, but nobody approaches the pair. Perhaps they sense the differences in Tamsine and Sebastian from them.

She winces a little as she startles him. Sure, run from personal contact and enforce it on someone else trying to avoid it — how does that make any sense. "Sorry," she says softly, almost more to herself as she acknowledges her selfishness in her escape. She reaches for a cup and pours a bit, then adds cream and sugar. "As long as it has caffeine and doesn't have a house in the Hamptons," she says with a little bit of a wicked smile, clearly meaning the people behind her who watch her escape with sympathetic concern on their faces. The wife murmurs something in the husband's ear, and the husband nods in a sage sort of way. Professionals at this — sometime during the meeting, they said it was their 10th meeting.

Sebastian is very much not the professional - not at this. he does wear a nicely tailored gray suit, a plain white button-down beneath, and dark polished shoes. He smiles a little and looks around, catching the looks from the parents before making a small face himself and looking back at the girl who invaded his space, "No… sorry. No need to apologize. I was… in my own little world." He smiles a bit weakly, but there's actual effort there on her behalf. He even manages half-hearted chuckle at the joke, "That it does," he agrees. He looks around, and back, "I feel … well. This is my first meeting. It's a bit… strange." Someone else comes towards the coffee maker, and he moves away a bit - though his gaze invites her to follow - to stand by the pastries instead.

The redhead nods. "My first too. Let's not talk about why though. I don't think I can handle another dialogue about it at this very moment, no matter how unhealthy it is to push it all away," she says with an almost defiant smirk. She takes a sip from her cup of coffee and makes a face. "Not Starbucks, for sure. And I don't even like Starbucks that much." Of course not. She's the type to favor mom and pop shops over corporate brands. "So I don't intend to ask you any personal and painful questions at all, just so we're clear. But let's stand here and look like we're working through everything together so no one else tries to help us do it, 'kay?"

Sebastian takes all that in with a slowly growing bemused smile, his eyes appearing more and more grateful as the moments pass. As she gets to the end of her speech he just nods, adjusting his position some so he blocks both from the prying eyes of the others in the room. At least a bit. "Agreed," he says at the end, and nods, "Ya…" he eyes the coffee in his hand pointedly, a few grinds floating in it, and without looking up at first asks, "I'm going to ask one personal question though, if that's OK?" Without waiting for a response he lifts hazel eyes upwards, but not before letting his gaze travel over the woman, taking her in in a moment before he gets on with it, "What's your name? I'm Sebastian…" His free hand is offered.

When the innocuous "personal" question is asked, she smiles n relief. "Tamsine," she offers, putting a small hand in his. Short, unpolished nails, silver chunky rings. She's not rich, and from the accent, she's a native New Yorker, though she doesn't have too much of an accent even so. "Sebastian," she repeats, leaning back against the wall of the meeting room the sad group is cloistered in. "I'm not sure I'll be coming back, so if I don't… it was nice meeting you."

Sebastian grins softly as she leans back, obviously a bit more at ease in his company. "Tamsine. I like that…" he admits, and takes a quick drink of coffee. His grip is firm, but not overpowering - it's the grip of a business man, one who knows just how much pressure to apply. His own voice carries traces of an accent, but of a northern New Yorker - he's not from the City. When the idea of not returning is mentioned he glances down, "Well, that's a shame. I will be, and I'd hate to be all alone with these…" he looks back over his shoulder, and when his gaze returns it's again a little guilty, sad, "People."

Tamsine smiles, though it never quite seems to meet those dark, solemn eyes. "The problem with a group like this," she says, with a wave of her hand to indicate all those in the room, "is that the people only have one real thing in common. Mr. and Mrs. Hampton there? They'd never have chatted with me at a PTA meeting, if our kids went to the same school, I guarantee you. Unless they felt it was some act of charity on their part — be nice to the poor little single mother, you know? But here, we're all supposed to support one another, even if we'd never talk to one another in the real world. It's like… that movie, from the 80s. Breakfast Club."

"I suppose. I've been to meetings like this before," and he glances aside, "But those were different, I guess." He seems to be gazing at the Hampton-couple. He watches them for long seconds before he turns back, "And they may not have said anything then - but still. There's a certain bit of comfort in knowing you're not alone, I think." He smiles, his eyes having no problem meeting hers, compassion in them. When the Breakfast Club is brought up he simply grins, and nods a little before replying, "They don't need to support you - you have me. And we know each other now, so it's OK." Another short drink of his coffee is taken as he lets you consider that bit.

"They mean well," Tamsine says with a shrug. "And I guess it's good to know you're not the only one going through it, except that no matter what, you still are. Everyone has their own private brand of loss. And I think for some, this becomes a crutch. Mrs. Hampton wants to make all the newcomers into her little flock to take under her wing, and I'm not in the mood." There's a bitter cynicism under the grief that encompasses Tamsine. "Sorry. I shouldn't speak so .. unkindly about people. Especially if you're coming back." She gives him an apologetic look.

Sebastian's gaze drops sometime during that talk, and at the end he slowly nods, "It's OK. I don't really want to come back." He doesn't explain though and instead says, "I don't blame you for feeling how you do." He shrugs a shoulder, his voice quiet but not hurt sounding, at all, "People are just like that sometimes. But some of them really do have your best interests at heart - the kind that won't walk over to you trying to save you. They tend to just… be there." He seems to be talking about someone he knows rather than himself, a certain tone in his voice that speaks volumes of his own feelings on this. "I won't pressure you to give it another shot though." His shoulder shrugs, and he looks around, "And don't apologize, really, it's OK." Someone leaves the room after giving a final wave and exchanging numbers with the Hamptons, and Seb watches them go, a hint of desire to the same showing in the way he talks a slight step back.

She looks a little chagrined. It's true… there are those there, like her, who are there to see what they can get out of it, and who probably genuinely do care about other people's loss, even if, like her, they aren't asking the personal questions. She glances at the door and frowns a little. If she leaves now, she won't be the first person out of the room, at least. "Making a run for it?" she asks, as she notes his backward step. "Want me to cover you?" she quips, holding up a finger like it's a gun, and she's a cop — nothing further from the truth, of course.

Sebastian blinks a bit, and turns back, "Oh. I… I don't know. Maybe." He bites his lower lip a second and gives the door a second glance, "You'll cover me huh?" When he turns back there's a question in his eyes, voiced a moment later, "That depends. If we get out of here, think I can convince you to go someplace else? I… don't feel like going home just yet - I just don't want to be…" he looks about as someone almost pointedly sobs softly in the background, "…here." The little 'show' of the gun earns her a more real smile, "There has to be a better coffee shop nearby at the very least." He doesn't seem to have noticed and hurtfulness on his part, and instead looks rather hopeful that she'll say yes.

Tamsine nods quickly, the sob making the decision. Don't want to be here but don't want to be alone either. Not yet. "Deal," she says, hiking her purse up around her shoulder and tossing the coffee cup in the trash can nearby, still sloshing with a half a cup of the bitter, burnt fluid. She turns to give a vague, polite smile to the rest of the room and a quick wave of her hand, to indicate leaving, and heads for the door, assuming Sebastian is on her heels, to protect her from anyone trying to speak to her on her way out.

Sebastian is actually a bit slow to follow. He steps out of the room a minute later, tucking something into his inside jacket pocket and smiling apologetically, "Sorry. Had to take care of something first." Luckily the escape is made without anybody bothering to interrupt - perhaps noticing that the pair is leaving together perhaps not. Sebastian moves to walk alongside Tamsine, and glances over, "Thanks," he admits, his own coffee tossed in the process of coming out, which leaves his arm open. The gesture is so autonomous that his elbow is offered without him realizing he's done it as he says, "So, where /is/ there a good coffee place.?" His free hand is used to push open the door leading to the exit.

The redhead looks a little uncertain at the offering of his arm. There's something sort of vulnerable and innocent about her, aside from the grief that wraps around her like a black shroud. She tentatively tucks her fingers in the proffered elbow and shrugs. "It's New York. There's a coffee shop on every corner, and they all have to have better coffee than that was, right?" she says with a slight grin. They head out of the maze of meeting rooms, through the library foyer and out into the dusk.

The small hand taking his elbow makes him look down as he notices it, his cheeks coloring, though he makes no move to stop it. It feels… comforting if not exactly right. As the pair moves out into the streets he chuckles, "True enough," and he nods, turning westward and heading that way, "Pretty sure I saw a coffee place this way," he explains. His pace is even and slow enough so the redhead should have no problem keeping up, "You have the accent - been in new York all your life?" He watches the ground ahead of him, every so often peering over. All around are the sounds and scents of New York city - horns and trash and people and perfume.

"Yeah. Born in the Village, live in the Village, will probably die in the Village," she says with a chuckle, before frowning a little as she uses the word die so very lightly. She bites her lip and glances down at the sidewalk, before shaking off the feeling of blasphemy that overcomes her for a moment. "You? Buffalo maybe?" she guesses, noting the difference in the accents.

He glances aside at the word as well, giving her a moment to re-compose herself before he nods a bit, "Close. Rochester," he clarifies and steels another sidelong glance at his companion. From the library is the sound of a few others walking out, soft thanks and short conversations had before a taxi is called. Seb merely moves along and comments, "The Village … is a good place." A short hitch there as he keeps from saying /was/. "I only just arrived a few months ago, still getting settled in I think." Just a half block away and across a street is indeed a coffee shop sign. "Ah, see, knew I saw one."

Tamsine smiles. "It's New York. If we walked the other direction, there would have been one, too," she says with a nod toward the east. "We New Yorkers like our coffee. And our bagels. And our pie." She grins. Stay on topics that are harmless — food, weather, sports. They don't know how one another's children were lost, so maybe even those topics aren't safe — what if his son was killed by a food allergy or a strange football tackle? She doesn't wait for him to open the door for her, to the no-name coffee shop. She opens it herself, and holds it open for him as she slips in ahead.

Sebastian's arm slides away as she holds the door, no discomfort from the man as he lets her show him in. "All right, fair enough, but at least I was /sure/ there was one this way." he steps aside to let her go in ahead of him, before moving towards the counter and looking at the choices. As if her words had some impact on him he orders simply, "A black coffee, and…" just in luck the place also has donuts, go figure, "One of those. No… the other one. Ya, glazed. Thanks. Whatever she's having too." He looks back, letting her order as he's already pulling out his wallet, "You can get next week," he tries.

She makes a small face at the mention of next week. There might not be a next week, not for her, not at that library. But she shrugs, her eyes glancing up at the menuboard. "Cafe mocha, and a wheat bagel, light cream cheese, toasted," she murmurs. She nods to a seat nearby as the food will take a couple of moments to be prepared before being brought to their seat — well, his doughnut and coffee take less time than hers, of course. "Thanks," she adds for his "treat."

He pretends not to see it, moving up to pay and then heading to take a seat at the table. His eyes hold a certain… almost desperation in them before he turns his eyes downward and settles into a chair. "No problem," he replies, and then once more bites at that lower lip, taking a moment to think, "So…" he begins, and then trails off, his gaze moving to the window, once more that guilty look returns, his hand moving to tap the table a moment before he looks back, "What is it you do for work?"

She places with the napkin dispenser, her features growing a little confused at the question. "I'm a social worker," she says with a sigh and a glance at the window. "Social Services. I'm taking a little time off, though." Dangerous territory. She works with kids. Tamsine nods back to him. "You? You look all… corporate like. Wall Street?" she asks, tilting her head, glancing up at the coffee shop owner who brings them a tray of food. She smiles and nods to the woman and then brings those somber eyes back to Sebastian.

He's just making small talk, or trying to. At the response he nods slowly, and then glances down at his outfit, "Me? No…" He looks over, giving a small 'thanks' as his food and coffee is dropped off, before turning back to continue, "I think the suit is out of habit. Not that my job complains. I do network security for a small bank branch over in Morningside. This is… from my old job." He takes his coffee, taking a small breath in before trying a timid sip. "Much better," he mutters and looks pleased with the comparison of library coffee to here.

She picks up the coffee and sips, and smiles. "Much better," she echoes. "Oh? Network security?" she asks. "Like, keeping hackers and stuff out of the computers?" she asks. Much safer topic. It's too complicated to talk about hers, and the reason why she doesn't really want to do it anymore. She sighs a little at the effort of small talk, how difficult it is to not … hurt… one another when the invisible wounds are a mile wide and a fathom deep.

He nods, "Sort of. It's a bit of that, a bit of server stuff. Some data protection. They call me a Security Admin, but it's basically a whole IT department in one guy." He seems a bit more comfortable - this is a safe topic, for the most part. And perhaps he senses her own sense of comfort, and so tries to go with it, "I have support from headquarters, but for the most part it's just me. It's actually… sort of boring and technical, really." He chuckles, and shrugs a shoulder, "But it pays me enough to keep a roof over my head, right?" Just outside, the Hamptons are walking by, Sebastian quickly turns his head aside and mutters for Tam to do the same, gesturing with his eyes towards the window and murmuring their 'name'.

Tamsine giggles a little at "hiding" from the "Hamptons" — it gives them a sense of "us versus them" perhaps, but in a way, they are different. Single parents, versus a "team" that can find and lend support to one another in the form of a couple. Of course she doesn't realize that Sebastian's loss is so utterly different than her own, but she already said that was true for all of them, so does it make much of a difference? Only time, and honesty, if they get that far, will tell. She ducks away, though with her red hair, it's likely she'll get noticed anyway. "I feel like a kid hiding from the chaperons," she says with a grin.

They likely do notice the couple, and promptly recognize the ruse for what it is. The couple moves by without further incident, Sebastian glancing over to see if they move on, before grinning, "Well… I donno. They'd come in and want to be all.. whatever." He shakes his head, giving another peer before he sits up, "I think they're gone." He looks back at the chaperon comment and smiles a little, turning back to say, "Anyway. Thanks.. for coming for the drink. I know in the city it was probably something you'd normally say no too, so.. you know." He shrugs a shoulder, hiding his sudden awkwardness with a short sip of coffee.

"It is. Something I'd normally say no to," Tamsine says a little awkwardly as well, her eyes flickering to the window again. "I… you know. I pretty much didn't date at all, being a single mom. Not that this is a date," she hastens to add on the end. "But going anywhere with a guy I just met… something that just didn't happen." She chuckles, her pale cheeks growing a bit pink. "I guess it's a while new world now." Not a good one, she doesn't have to add.

Sebastian blinks, and smiles at the faint blush, "If it helps, I'm glad you did. I mean, not that this is anything more than it is - but still." It's clear that it's been some time for him as well. then simply nods a bit, "And I suppose it is, a new world…" He studies his cup for long moments, then finally looks up, "I… I have to confess something," he says, and looks out the window, smirking as he realizes the strangeness of it all. He feels guilty for having a son who is alive, even though he'll likely never see him again. But at the same time, he understands that she's probably about to get up and walk away - he's a faker, his child IS alive, and he knows that. It's just not the same. He seems to wait, as if expecting permission to be given, or at least get a feel for her reaction.

She looks up, her hands moving to her coffee, wrapping around the cup with both, as if to draw any strength or warmth from the beverage she can. "A confession?" she echoes, her voice curious and a little wary. To make light of the tremor she hears in it, she eyes him suspiciously, then says, "Do you have a house in the Hamptons?" as if it were the worst he could confess.

The man across the table blinks, and then laughs, and though it's a true sound, there's a slight note in it - he's nervous. "No, not from the Hamptons. I…" and he sighs, taking a long look at his coffee before he looks up, "My son…" he begins, licking his lips, "He's not… dead. But… he is very much… gone for me." He gives that a moment, and then, as if panicked a bit says, "I… Just it's not the same, and I don't want you to think…. well. I feel bad. Guilty." He finally lifts his gaze and hazel eyes meet dark brown, "I feel like you should know. If you want me to leave… I understand." Clearly this has been bothering him all night - it's probably why he put off going to the meetings for so very long.

She frowns a little, looking up at him in confusion, then stares back down at her coffee cup, listening. She shakes her head. "If he's… out of your life… it's still a loss," she says quietly, her head trying to wrap around that sort of loss. What is it like to know your child is in the world but you can't see them? A different kind of pain. Still, an unbearable pain, no doubt. She can't imagine it. "Don't feel guilty," she says quietly. "It must be torture," she adds. So much for safe topics.

It had to happen. It's there - the grief - just under the surface. And with that added guilt gnawing at hi, he couldn't hold out forever. And besides - what else is that meeting for, but to bring people uniquely qualified to understand one another? "I … well. I can't help it. I felt like an impostor at that meeting, you know? And… on the off chance you do come back next week, and we find ourselves out for coffee again… at least… it'll… be even." He frowns at his wording, not sure how to put into words what he's feeling. After a minute he frowns a bit deeper, lines forming on his face as he says, "It's not easy," he admits, and then looks up, "No worse than what you feel, I'm sure. His name was Lincoln…"

"Is," she says with a gentle smile. "He still is Lincoln, somewhere. Maybe some day you can know him again," she says gently. It's not bitter — it's not to rub in his face that his child is alive, and hers is not, and it's not meant to make him feel more guilty. It's a sincere hope for him that perhaps the loss is not a forever one. She doesn't offer the name of her child, her lost Lily, not yet.

He shakes his head, frowning deeply at his own mistake. "Is… yes. And I doubt it," he comments. "We… my Ex and I… well. I doubt it." He offers a small smile, a sad smile, "But thank you, for your hope. I just felt like you should know, you know?" He keeps that same sad smile in place and looks down at his hands, which have moved off of the table and into his lap, "Sorry. I know you didn't want to talk about these things." When he lifts his gaze he shakes his head, "It's just been a long while since I had someone to talk to about it." He does a good job of keeping his eyes dry, his voice even, regardless of how fresh it still is in his mind.

Tamsine's brows furrow and she nods at the last bit. She can't not talk about it if he needs to talk about it — she's empathetic by nature, and a fixer to a fault. "Don't be sorry, Sebastian," she says, breaking off a bit of bagel that's been yet untouched, something for her hands to do. "If you want to talk about him… you can. I'll listen." Her eyes shine a little, sparkling in the fluorescent lighting in a way that suggests her eyes aren't as dry as his.

His gaze drops to her hands - or one would hope - and then for a moment he looks positively horrid. Quickly he gathers himself though, and says softly, "I… I don't know what to say?" He looks up, and his smile is more smirk, his eyes unsure, "I mean.. I was there when he was born. And when I… I saw him again a few times after I .. moved out." His tone lets on he's leaving something out, not only the pause, but also the fact that there's little doubt that he wanted to spend every waking moment with his son, "And when I finally… well. Things were over between Andrea and me. And she took him away. There's not a lot else to say." And he snorts, "Geez… all this fuss… and nothing to… say…" he keeps his gaze focused on anything but your hands, and finally a sparkle appears, a slight twinkle in his eyes, quickly swiped away.

She nods. "And… for some reason, you can't… have visits or partial custody or anything?" she asks quietly, not wanting to pry, but the question is obviously there, unspoken: if your child is all right, and alive in this world, what could possibly keep you away from him? She brings the bit of bagel to her mouth, chewing slowly, her eyes down on the counter still, to let him answer without her intense gaze upon him.

"No. I could go back to court but…" he shakes his head, and frowns, "There's no way a judge would give me rights. Not without some miracle. There are… factors… you see." He looks up and watches her a moment, and finally he says, "Besides, she's already threatened me. If I try to get close without… well. I could get in serious trouble." He coughs, and blinks, frowning at himself before he takes his donut in his hands and begins pulling it apart, bit by bit. He looks ill, his face more than a little red now, his fingers brushing off on a napkin when he realizes he's destroyed his pastry.

She's a social worker. She knows what kind of things it takes to keep a parent from seeing a child. Bad things. Very bad things. People with rap sheets a mile long usually still get to see their kid, as long as they pose no actual danger to the child. She just nods. "I see," she says a little uncertainly. "I'm really sorry," she adds, and she still means it, even if a hundred scenarios are playing through her mind about what he must have done in his prior existence.

As if reading her mind, his eyes open a little, and he quickly shakes his head, "Oh… god. You must think…" he shakes it again, and lifts his hands, "I'd never do anything to hurt him…" and he means it, a hint of anger in his voice, even if the thought was never expressed. "I…" and his voice lowers, his body leaning a bit closer over the table so that he can speak in almost a whisper, "I'm a ex-con. But…" and he sighs, knowing how it sounds, "I didn't do anything. I was framed. Regardless… it was a big crime. I got out a few months ago, and when I saw Andrea with her new husband… I hit him. Please… don't think whatever it is you're thinking…" He turns and looks at the door, now considering escape, or maybe just trying to look at anything but the woman across from him.

She nods. "Look, I'm not judging, Sebastian. It's just my job, you know, I'm used to horrible people getting their kids back to them, even after I say it's the wrong thing to do. Your judge might have had a vendetta or some hangup that made him take your case personally for whatever reason. I just … well. You might be able to appeal it. Maybe if that judge retires or something, you can get a fairer read on it all, whatever happened." She looks like she believes him, or at least like she wants to believe him.

Sebastian nods a bit, but in his eyes is the surety that his case is, perhaps oddly, hopeless. He nods a bit, and finally lifts his face once more, meeting his table-partner's eyes, "Thank you. For not… I don't know. Walking out." He smirks, "For not judging, or… walking out." He takes a breath, and lets it slow, finally giving a small chortle and lifting a hand to rub at his forehead, "Wow…" After a second he says softly, "Thank you," his voice soft and meaningful. There's no doubt that Sebastian wants to ask her about her child, his eyes hold those thoughts plainly, but he respects her choice to remain silent on it and forces a grin, "Wish you'dve stayed with the Hamptons?"

A weak laugh and a shake of that vibrant red hair. "No," she says with a grin. "I don't get along with those kind of people, Sebastian. They mean well, yes, but… like I said. They'd never have talked to me if they could have helped it if we didn't have that one thing in common. Not them in particular, but people like them. My kid… Lily," there, she said it, "she was at one of those nice private schools, an academy, because she was so smart I wanted to do what was best for her, but I know we were judged." She takes a breath and sighs. "My daughter was fourteen. People judge. People like the Hamptons judge." She seems to imply that she doesn't judge. Or at least tries not to.

He nods a little, and offers a smile as she gives up the name of her loss, "That's a pretty name," he comments, and then nods again, "Ya, I know what you mean - about the Hamptons," he clarifies, "And I know about them. I … well. I was like that, I think. Before… everything." For a moment he sounds jaded, but he's not so ashamed to admit it - after all, he's grown since then. He wants to say something, to comfort her, but what is there to say? "I'm sorry… for everything you must have gone through." He looks at his coffee then, and snickers, "Maybe we should have gone to a bar?" He looks up, smirking.

She laughs. "I'm not much of a drinker," Tamsine admits. "My parents were hippies. In the Whitaker family, we drown our sorrows in wheat grass or green tea," she quips. She frowns a little. "I think though, you might be right about… people not understanding about Lincoln. People like the Hamptons — they might not." Yes, she's prejudging them, but she's also probably right. "If you go back, are you going to tell them, or just see what … healing you can get from the therapy?"

The laugh, surely some melodious sound coming from such a lovely young thing, brings a real smile to his face, and a momentary look in his eyes that is … interested, as if for the first time tonight he's seen her as a woman rather than another parent. He quickly banishes the thought, and then nods, "I actually haven't had a drink in… almost six years." He doesn't /say/ it like a recovering alcoholic - he doesn't sound proud - it's just an admittance. "So I doubt I'm much of one either." At the wheat grass thing he chuckles a little, and then thinks about it, "No, I'm not. I have to go, it's a therapy thing, part of my early release. But I don't have to talk. SO at least I won't… feel like I have to lie."

Tamsine smiles at his admittance of not drinking in so long, and nods at the rest. "I see. No wonder you said you'd be back," she says quietly. "I'm not sure if it's … helpful for me. I don't know what would be helpful for me, though. Aside from time, and even then, I don't even see that being very helpful." There's an honesty in that despair — this is a woman whose entire life was turned upside down, much like his, but in such a different way. She sighs and looks away. "I'm not alone — I don't need to go to that meeting to know that. There are 35 other families dealing with what I'm dealing with. I just feel alone."

Sebastian listens to this all in silence, and then realizes what event she was referring to. He takes a moment, and then says, "I don't know, Tamsine. It might help, it might not. It's not just …. not being alone. It's having someone there to talk to." He glances at the table, back up, "And… if worse comes to worse… you could sit in the back with me, and we can poke fun at the Hamptons?" He gives a weak smile. After a second he gets more serious, not that he wasn't incredibly serious before, "At least… give it one more week. You never know. If you… hate it… you can leave early, or maybe we can cut class. But I think one session…" he just shrugs a shoulder. It's then that he notices his coffee is empty, and has been for a bit, and he looks… sad.

The woman glances out the window and nods. "There's no one else in that particular group, from… from Lily's school," she says softly. "It's why I chose that group. Brooklyn, instead of one in Greenwich Village," she explains. She sighs a little and offers a sad smile. "I'll keep your secret, if you keep mine. I don't want them to know the details. It's different for me. Their children…" her voice chokes a little, "their children were in accidents or had cancer or whatever else. Mine…" she waves a hand. That is one thing she can't say yet: Mine killed herself. "I don't want them to wonder why I wasn't there for her," she whispers.

For a moment he looks like he'll get up, and in a display only just earlier the pair wished to escape, offer you his arms. He nods slowly, and instead takes his hand from his cup, and moves it just a little over halfway across the table. He doesn't say anything, only offers you his hand to take. His eyes say he wants to understand, but again, there's that… difference between you.

She glances down at his hand and slips hers into it. Just touch… someone who is not a member of her family and someone who is not someone who knew Lily, offering compassion and condolences and sympathy. "Thank you," she says softly, somehow managing not to cry. Her eyes flicker to the window again, looking there instead of his face for something to keep her grounded. His eyes, so full of sorrow of their own and sympathy for her, will not do.

His grip is a bit more firm this time - not like the business-like shake of before, but instead something more.. reassuring. Caring. He doesn't break that touch, instead letting the woman draw her hand away when she is ready. He too glances outside now, just watching as cars and people go about life, and smiles sadly. Finally, he says, "I guess I'm out of coffee…" he turns back, "I should probably let you get home at some point, hm?" Not that he's trying to get away, there's definitely that about him that desires to stay, but…

"You live in Brooklyn?" she says with a nod out the window. "We could split a cab. Where's your neck of the woods?" she asks lightly. It's not an invitation to her place, but a way for them to keep one another's company as long as possible, until each has to go to their separate, lonely homes. "Unless you're one of those creatures I've heard about but never actually met, and you have your own car."

Sebastian shakes his head, "Upper West," he says, looking a little guilty about it, or is that some other look, regret perhaps? "But we can still split a cab, and for a bit further." He smiles some, and shakes his head to the last question, "No, no way. No car for me - taxi's and subways work just fine. And walking - or jogging." As the subject shifts a little he seems to ease down into comfort. "Wanna get out of here?"

"Yeah," she says, leaving a tip for the cafe owner before slipping out of the booth. "We can split a cab, because trains and subways at this time of evening aren't my cup of tea. And I do insist on splitting," she says with a smirk, lest he think he have to be the gentleman and pay. She leads the pair outside, and hails a cab with a raise of her hand.

Sebastian chuckles, making no argument about splitting the cab. He's a gentleman, sure, but cabs are pricey. Or moreso than subways at least. As the vehicle pulls up he gets the door, proving said gentleman-ship, and climbs in after. He waits for Tamsine to give her address, then comments on his own. "So… think you'll come next week?" he asks, part way through the likely otherwise quiet ride.

Tamsine sighs and looks out the window — apparently it's her defense mechanism. Well. The one that won't get her branded as a freak, anyway. "Maybe. I'll think about it," she says quietly. She turns back to smile at him. "But only because the coffee's so damn good."

He smiles, "I thought it was the company, but the coffee is acceptable." He smiles a bit friendlier at that. Then he seems content to let the ride take its course, though at some point he does slide his hand on the seat towards his partner in the car, "Thanks for coming out. I… it was good. And I'm glad you at least went tonight, if nothing else." Then he looks over, recognizing the Village as the cab enters the burb.

She smiles and squeezes his hand. "Thanks. It was… nice," she says, with a nod and a faint blush on those pale cheeks. "And at least we have one friend to talk to… well. I know I haven't really opened up, not like you have, but it's nice to know I could." After a few moments, the cab pulls up to a row of brownstones. "This is me," she says, her hand on the handle. She leans quickly over to give Sebastian a quick, one-armed hug. She glances at the fare on the meter and reaches into her purse to find her part of it, pressing it into Sebastian' hand.

Sebastian smile, squeezing back. "It was. And… don't worry about it. Maybe next time." he winks, and lets you out of the cab before settling himself in, "Good night, Tamsine. It was a pleasure to meet you." He offers her a brief parting smile, still a touch sad, but there's certainly some pleasure there in at the very least, making a new friend in this city where friends are hard to come by. As the door is closed, his voice can be heard telling the cabbie to wait, and make sure she gets inside OK. Once Tamsine steps into her building, the cab pulls off of the curb, and heads north.

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