You Are Not A Stranger


abby_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title You Are Not A Stranger
Synopsis Francois drops by unannounced to check in on his friend who has more than he anticipated, dropped in his lap, and stays for dinner.
Date September 26, 2010

Le Rivage - Abby's Place

Robert should show up, might show up, likely show up. It's not easy being a Lindergoon. Not easy being one of Linderman's head lindergoons. Which might say that it's not easy being the wife of one, but Abigail's far used to the men in her life not showing up when they're supposed to, or spending a night alone and the roomies all crawl in at odd hours. It's why she has a dog, and a cat and hasn't relinquished Pila when in truth, she should go to Francois now.

There is casserole of some kind, baking in the oven in anticipation of him coming home late at some point, boxes tied up flat and leaning against a wall ready to be used when he should find them a place to attempt to merge households and things gotten in order just in case of a great many other things. Things which she doesn't like to think of but they stay lingering there in the sides of her mind. Gracious good luck has got her a dog walker and animal feeder in the form of a ten year old one floor up.

The dog though, Rhett, is in a bedroom, gnawing on a rawhide and otherwise staying out of her hair, the sat settled in a window somewhere and the budgie busies herself with grooming in the ornate cage in the corner of the living room.

It's not her husband, that eventually makes it to her door. Not even in some hypothetical future that any of them know of. Francois is not so drunk as to be a shameful presence, at least, but with two glasses left in the bottle of red that Teo had left him in coded apology or simple gift giving, he is not completely respectable. The dye of red stains the inside of his mouth, bruises lips rosily, and he's wiping his mouth with the side of his hand before that set of knuckles raps sharply against the door. Knock knock.

There jeans involved with his attire, which do nothing to make youthful the hounds-tooth pattern of his jacket, or the brown wingtip pattern of sensible shoes, although his shirt is neutrally age appropriate, closed with buttons and dashingly forest green.

It brings about a furrowing of brows, wiping of hangs on a dishtowel and tidying of her blonde hair pulled back in a barrette so that waves of corn-silk fall down her back instead of around shoulders before she's answering the door. It's possible, it could be Robert and that he's neglecting to use his key. A quick glance through the peephole shows brown, instead of blonde and a longer peek produces a Frenchman and not an Englishman. Wrong side of the channel.

But still as much a welcome presence in the place as locks are undone and the door opened so that he can gain admittance. "Francois" Surprised to see him there. Long sleeves pushed up past elbows, bare feet on wood floor, her eyes drop to the bottle of wine. "Come in" Not that she needs to invite him in. "Come in, before Rhett comes out and thinks it's time for a walk" Hustling him in, a glance to see if Robert's behind him before closing the door, thunking a lock into place.

Francois is a little surprised to see him here too. A little abashed, as most people are after periods of relative reclusiveness. The bottle of red is gripped two-handedly, the shifting of brown bag sheathing over its long green bottle crinkling along with a fidget as he moves inside. Forgoes an embrace, or rather, doesn't immediately offer one, the ambiance of the place snagging his attention and causing him to halt maybe four feet within the apartment. The aroma of baking, as opposed to the telling shapes of flat boxes.

He glances back at her, hesitantly; "You are expecting someone?" It's an offer to go as easily as he came, which some days he feels he could possibly do, knife invisibly back into a different time-line, like being temporally displaced as gravity involved. This time, he simply means vacating the premises.

"Maybe. he hasn't called to say when he'll be here, if he'll be here. Might not be until I fall asleep, or he might send a message that work is keeping him and not wait up, so don't worry. It's just Robert" It's just Robert. He might purse his lips to hear her say it, though much like other things, she doesn't mean it the way it comes off. "I wasn't expecting you, but… now that you're here I can say that I'm glad you are. Have you had anything to eat or.." There's a telling glance to the bag in his grip. Did he want to stay for dinner? Bring wine to share? "Someone tell you I was in the hospital and you needed to make sure I was alive for yourself?" Or…

"Did… did he come home? Was he found?" Her hands come out, laying them on his arm in hope before her face falls. No, he wouldn't be here if he had.

Yes. Yes. No. No. In that order, at least, in response to the out loud things. None of which Francois gets an edgewise to vocalize, save for that last two, with which he chooses to respond with a sound rather than words, a growly revv to indicate no, eyes going hooded, briefly. He shrugs, the rough fabric of jacket shifting impassive beneath her touch. He twists tornado seams in the neck of brown bag, thumb brush along the cap.

"I heard you were Registered. I wish I had been there, at the hospital. How are you healing?"

He drifts for the kitchen, now, figuring at least the time it takes to share the remnants of a wine bottle is acceptable, even if Robert Caliban did walk in — Francois doesn't even take off his jacket. The bottle is set down, and pale hands go up and out to open cupboards and find glasses.

"You've heard right. I have court dates at some point, Catherine is my lawyer and is dealing with it. They're still trying to figure out what tier I am, I think and I have to wear an anklet" That thing that produces the displacement of fabric around her left ankle of thin cotton bottoms. "The burns are healing. Itchy but nothing that won't eventually be fine. Tight. Robert stayed with me Francois. Cat too to do legal stuff. I'm sure you would have"

She pads behind him, following into the open kitchen so she can open the cupboard door that houses the cheap wine glasses for him to grab. "You're granddaughter stuck her nose in. Said something about… seeing what she could do to help" Do this or else is really more appropriate but she won't tattle to Francois about the blackmail his singular known relative was playing on her. "Are you sleeping?"

Whud-thud, Francois closes the doors he had been investigating, getting out two glasses as exposed and setting about pouring drinks, his movements efficient despite the slightly numb quality to his fingertips when it comes to the most minor of motor control movements. Thick red blushes deep in the glasses, and only bilge is left over in the bottle by the time two modest helpings are divvied out. "Most nights," is his answer, reasonably honest, dimples bracketing in his cheek in a half-smile, tightly delivered.

One glass is slid over, the other picked up. "And I mean I wish I had been there to cover the blood tests. I know you are dating Robert," isn't defensive at all, or a touch proud. "I can tell Sarisa to leave you alone. She might listen."

"And if you had been there this time, what about the next time Francois" She quietly cautions. "If wishes were horses, you and I alone would have a very grand stable Francois, filled with Arabians and… a great deal of thoroughbreds" She takes the glass designated for her, fingers curling around it's stem. "Sarisa got what she wanted from me, and the best that I could give her. Whether she can do anything, who knows. Time will tell. It's okay Francois. She busy trying to keep you from being killed apparently"

She shifts the glass along the counter, swirling it around, making the ruby liquid creep up and round the bowl of the glass. "More than dating. We married. Thursday. In city hall" Her other hand dives to drag forth the chain that normally would hold a little gold cross. It does, but it lays in the shadow of two rings. One a plain gold band, the other a triple, with two small flowers composed of diamonds. "Abigail Caliban"

Well obviously— obviously there would be no next time, no hospitalization, obviously, no arresting or being put in danger or anything of the kind. With the expectation that Abby never develop cancer, I guess. Francois doesn't argue, anyway, taking a deep sip of red that dips his nose past the rim, eyes hooding with the taste and scent of Californian wine-making. His green eyes flick a stare over that translucent rim to eye those two rings dangling like truth on the chain.

She says her new name, and that sip sliiides into a full gulp as Francois tips his head right back enough to finish his whole glass in one go. Hopefully, the alcohol wasn't that expensive.

The shy smile that had found it's way to her face, soon finds itself backtracking, sliding right back down the way it had come to be replaced with uncertainty as to whether it just really took him by surprise, or whether the gulping was perhaps french disapproval. The wine bearing hand is soon lifting, offering it out to him. In case he feels like he needs to gulp the second cup down soundly, fortify his mind a bit more even as her shoulders drop a fraction south.

No this is good, it's totally normal to come to someone's house to finish your own wine there. Francois does need a few seconds to recover between the time it takes rich red to slide down his throat and hit his stomach like cement, giving a sharp exhale as he sets the empty glass down. He does take her's, but doesn't sip from it, simply— holds it and divines kitchen lights in its rich surface. "Why?" is a rude question, but honestly spoken, and he seems to recognise this error as soon as it's done because he amends this with—

"I mean— it is love? You love him?"

"Of course not. No. I abhor him Francois, completely and utterly. I can't stand the sight of him and I want to throttle him in his sleep" She says it so seriously, releasing the wineglass to him, folding her arms across her chest as her head cants to the side.

"I wouldn't exchange rings with him Francois, if I didn't. I wouldn't have asked him if I didn't. I wouldn't sit up in my armchair at night and watch him sleep when I can't sleep, if I didn't love him. Even Robert Caliban is deserving of love and he gives it back in return"

This is a terrible conversation! Awful things are coming out of Abigail's mouth, all at once like a flock of birds taking flight, disrupted together by Francois' stupid question. He stands helplessly and regretfully, and doesn't bat an eye at 'even Robert', because unlike many, the man's connections and life-decisions are not the point. "D'accord," is offered. "I was just making sure. There are a lot of reasons to marry, such as— loneliness and feeling unsafe, or—

"Settling." He's trying not to ask if she's pregnant, basically, and ultimately pussies out on communicating that in words. Surely she'd tell him. That. "This is all very sudden. I think. Isn't it?"

"I am not settling. If I was settling, I would have gone out and found Gillian's brother and married him. I love him, fully and completely. He was the first person I called when I was conscious again. Before it would have been Teodoro, would have been you or Peter. It was him. He kisses my lips even though it hurts him to do so Francois, he sleeps in the bed beside me even though we can't do much but think about what we'd like to do. It would drive lesser men crazy. I'm not settling."

Is He settling for her? No. She's sure of it. "I'm impulsive Francois. Surely you know this by now. Wandering away from home and meeting strange french men in woods. Jumping through time to save them. Flitting to Vegas during an apocalyptic snow storm with just some female friends" She wraps her arms around her waist, fingers clutching at the small of her back, the necklace out and it's contents laying across the white of her shirt.

"I proposed to him. I told him I would buy him a ring and love him. Maybe.. someday, when you get him back, you and Teo will do the same"

That last part isn't why he relents. That last part mostly just makes his heart hurt a little, strangles him. Less consciously, it's some mutual acceptance and maturity that has Francois placing a hand on her wrist to squeeze gently. The knowledge that she called Caliban first, and that he came to her side.

"Then I am happy for you," he says, without slur, after some consideration to make sure he really is happy for her, and decides that sparking flares of appreciation in sodden unrelated misery will suffice just fine. Even smiles a little, halved though it is. "If you were not yourself then I would not be here at all, oui?" And he leans in to kiss her cheek, pull her into embrace that's been lacking, other hand absently keeping his/her wine glass expertly level.

'No, You wouldn't. You'd be be worm food, and we'd be all the worse for it. Utterly and completely and who would I get drunk off of wine with Francois? It would be Robert, and I have yet to ever see him drunk. I don't think it's possible" The man's self restraint is far better than Abigail's, that's for sure. As if Francois's but the common denominator in such is that both have quite a few years on her.

She closes her eyes, pecking his cheek in return even as one arm slides under his shoulder to hold tight and the other liberates the glass, seeking safe ground for it on the counter before that arm too makes it's way around the Frenchman and buries her face in the crook of his neck and holds tight. "When do you run off to be rescue Teo?"

His arms close better around her, with his hand freed and acceptance granted. The fabric of his jacket is rough, but skin and cotton shirt are warm enough, flushed with heat, even, which is what happens when you've just knocked back a full glass of Merlot. His jaw rests against her skull, in that protective trap like when Eileen keeps sparrows against her throat. There is still scarred flesh that interrupts the swoop of his neck, just in her line of vision.

"I don't know," Francois says, as he keeps a grip on her. "I'm due to find what I can find, and the other ones want to interrogate someone from the Institute. I suspect I will only know when on the day itself, when things come together." If things come together.

"No matter what variation he might be, he still interrogates" Cornflower blue eyes study the marring right there, relish the heat that comes off of him, instead of her and traps him just as well in her own arms. "Sarisa is looking for Formula for you. She thinks that it would give you healing back. I told her not necessarily, look at me. I don't know if Tamara will give her some, if there's even some left. But you should know, she's trying to protect you"

"IS that why you're drinking? Because He's planning on interrogating someone? He did it to Eileen once. She tried to gut him like a fish. Butter knife in his belly. Oh but I raged at him Francois. For having her in a room locked up, and for being so stupid as to get nearly gutted. I admit, I was not gentle with him when healing and he didn't like it one bit." She remembers spilled coffee and steaming mad looks while fingers poked around in his intestines just cause.

"I am drinking because— " Because. Francois' head lifts off its lean to look at the resting glass of red on the counter, currently unappetizing. He's not that hardcore. He'd prefer a white right now, at least. "Because the young one bought me it. And it seemed like a good idea to do that and also come by, and see how you are." A weak smile, before he's drawing back, placing a hand on the flat, flared bottom of the glass and pushing it towards her.

He has a moment where he might explain Sarisa's motivations, say that it's okay now, but it does seem like too much effort by the time green eyes are assessing blue, a minor shake of his head. "Drink this for me. I should go, leave you to your dinner."

"Stay for dinner. Please. You shouldn't be alone. You should meet Robert, I don't think you've ever met my Robert and you of all people should meet him, if he's going to be here on time for dinner. I have more wine, someone left a bottle of whiskey, we can go out and buy some rum and we can have coke and rum and watch television and just… we can sing soft kitty Francois. In french even, I think I remember how."

She pulls away when he does, obeying his request as she closes her hand around the wine glass, lifting it towards her lips so she can tilt it and let the ruby liquid fall into her mouth, test out what he so obviously was consuming prior to coming here. He has good taste in wine, soon maybe, she might eventually start to as well. She has good taste in Vodka, she knows that. "You're my friend, a very close friend and he knows that I invite them over for dinner and he wants to make an effort to get to know mine. He tried with Teo" Fail. Sorta.

"There's enough food and you are not a stranger"

The tip of wine is analyzed, assessed, and Francois will take it as further confirmation what her words had already more or less confirmed. He leans lazily against the counter, obviously at the very least thinking of taking her up on such an offer. It is highly likely he did not plan to leave so soon after arrival, but he finds his stare wandering to the rings on their chain, his own hands curling in loose fists. "I know Robert. He brought weaponry in Russia.

"But I have not meant him in the capacity of my friend's husband, non. Should I be soberer, non?"

"You'll still be fine if you have another drink Francois. You are not a mean drunk. I willlll finish my drink. You can have coffee or some tea, and when he is home, we'll share some wine. There's some.. expensive bottles under the cupboard, you can choose what goes well with mushroom pork-chops and rice. You can meet Robert the husband, when he's not in full regalia or ruddy nosed from the cold" Or knocked unconscious after his wife had been kidnapped by crazy Russians.

"You're always welcome Francois, even when I move, wherever I move to in this city with him, to knock and invite yourself over for dinner. You're like family. Not like. You are family" She offers him her glass to take a mouthful from if he wants.

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