You Never Turn Off


cat_icon.gif jenn_icon.gif

Scene Title You Never Turn Off
Synopsis A mother-daughter talk.
Date July 24, 2009

Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

Elisabeth is left stretched out in a comfortable chair, once again dozing from the effects of painkillers from her wounds. Hiro has ceased to be here, and Claire may very well be out searching for her missing uncle. The red Fender Strat she'd taken downstairs some hours earlier is set back on its stand as Cat, alone again, feels the weight return to settle on her. Time for sleep has been given, and it's nearly noon. Mother won't be sleeping much longer, if she indeed has been all this time. She walks over to the guest room door and pauses there, her right hand poised to open the door, as she tries to work through the Tyler-imposed fog and dredge out details. It takes some concentration, but one segment is crystal clear.

Struggling up to her feet, Jennifer's wide eyes are focused on the elevator shaft Colette disappeared down, then up to her daughter as she helps her to her feet. The depleted AK-47 is dropped with a clatter to the ground, and Jennifer's shaking hand grasps her daughter's arm, recognizing her voice despite the mask. "Catherine," it's the first time they've spoken in years. "C Catherine, your your father went to go stop the reactor. We soldiers came, just like Edward said they would. We wer ebeing held prisoner down " She shakes her head rapidly, digging her fingers firmly against Cat's arm. "We have to go." The look in her eyes, the watery quality of her leonine stare indicates all it needs to. Jennifer is a proud woman, a strong woman, and this is the first time Cat has ever seen her even threaten to cry. "We have to go."

The door opens, and she steps into the very comfortable guest room which has amenities like an HD set less large than the one in the entertainment area, but still of a decent size. Her eyes scan the room to find and settle on Mother, and her expression is grim. Her eyes may well say it all before she even speaks.

It's hard to tell whether Jennifer has slept at all, or if she's merely been standing there by the window with the lights out since coming here. But with her back to Catherine, she sees her daughter's reflection in glass of the window panes. Arms folded across her chest, Jennifer turns only after taking a moment to blink away that emotion visible in her eyes, replacing it with one only slightly less genuine; a smile for her daughter.

"I… was wondering when you'd be coming around." In all the time that had been spent at Pinehearst, all of the time back in new York, this has been the only time she can truly say she's spent with her daughter in far too long. It's unfortunate that life had to wait for a tragedy to bring them both together again. "How're you holding up?"

"I'm up," Cat replies solemnly, moving to take a position next to her in front of that window which looks out over another street in the village at the back of the building. A neutral comment, one that perhaps again says what she's come to say without specific words. In the eyes which meet the older woman's, there is loss and grief, touches of guilt, and hope of a slim sort.

"I didn't want to wake you, I let you sleep, Mother," she begins solemnly. "But I've been up for some time, and made contact with a few of the others. I asked about Father, and one of them told me what had gone on below." She lets out a slow breath, takes in another, then speaks again.

"He says Father didn't come out of the reactor. Called it the most noble thing he'd ever seen."

The bittersweet smile that Jennifer forces is one that comes well after she's cried out enough of the pain of loss. "That's the kind of man your father…" the idea of saying was causes her to lose her voice, eyes closing and a dry swallow occupying her throat. "That's exactly the kind of man your father was." Reaching up to take off her glasses, Jennifer slowly brushes a thumb across oen eye, then another, before sliding those glasses back up the bridge of her nose.

"I have a feeling he knew, from the moment we were escaping, exactly how it was going to go." Managing a feigned smile, Jennifer turns towards Cat and reaches out a hand to rest on her daughter's shoulder, squeezing gently. It's the first real show of affection she's given her since before she was a teenager. "I know…" she swallows audibly again, "I know he was proud of you. So… so very proud of you."

She listens in silence for some moments as the woman speaks, watches her face and eyes. Cat's voice is quiet when it comes, she remaining stood there and leaning into the hand which touches her shoulder, then placing her own atop it to return the gentle squeeze. "What happened at the building's been all over the news and there's been no word from Father. He might've made it out of there after he was seen not to come out, nothing's definite, but… I've been here before, last December. Knowing what was likely to happen, or have already happened, but not having confirmation. The odds aren't good, but… it isn't certain he's been lost."

"Proud of me," she repeats, her voice trailing partway through before resuming, "I worked at that a lot, years ago. He wanted me to study political science, then law, all I wanted was to be a rock star, so I found a way to make both of us happy. To find balance."

"I can't find words," she states honestly, "to describe how good it is to hear that said of me as I am now." The rocker chick with degrees in music, political science, and law whose real occupation is Occasionally Violent Rebel.

"What you never figured out about your father," Jennifer says quietly, dismissing the naievete of hope with a smile, "is that he was most proud of you when you were rebelling against him. When you were showing that you were your own woman, and not just someone living in his shadow." There's a hesitant smile offered, and her hand falls away from her daughter shoulder, giving Jennifer the freedom to wander in slow, meandering steps away from the window.

"Your father only even wanted you to excel. Even… even if he knew you weren't our daughter, not in blood, he had such high hopes for you, and I know…" she furrows her brows, words matching in intensity the emotions she's trying to restrain, "I know he was so proud of you. He… he's just— " she pinches the bridge of her nose, shifting her glasses up just a bit, "he was Mason." As if that explains his attitude entirely.

"I don't know about the others," she states quietly. "That doesn't, and probably won't ever, feel real." Cat glances up to restore eye contact if possible as she speaks. A brief chuckle is allowed to escape as she also moves from the window. "Brilliant strategy, his," she admits. "Praise is often counterproductive, after all, it lets the goal seem reached and efforts to lessen. He was Father," she agrees.

Lapsing back to silence, she wonders inwardly if that was her goal as well, advocating she should focus on being a lady of society destined to be the politically chosen wife of some future CEO, Senator, or President. Had she sought to provoke her in the opposite direction as Father had? Now is so very much not the time to ask.

"It wasn't supposed to be this way," she adds some seconds later, sadly, turning away to face the window again. "We knew there was a reactor, and we were careful not to disturb it. I don't know how it came to be in crisis. I… I need to get the fog out of my head so I can find out."

"There was a monster down in the reactor core." It's as honest of a response as Jennifer can give, easing down to sit on the corner of the bed. "He was made of steel, some sort of… transmutive evolved ability. He attacked the security and the soldiers that came to attack Pinehearst. He went straight for the reactor. Your father…" she shakes her head slowly, "he knew what he had to do."

Swallowing awkwardly once more, Jennifer sharply sighs afterwards. "What do you plan on doing from here, now that it's all over?" She seems to be operating under the assumption that Pinehearst was the breaking point. "I know you have… you've set yourself up here, and well. I… I'm thinking about visitng your aunt Sabrina out in Receda. I never did stop by and visit her while I was out there."

She closes her eyes as she listens, tries to drag details out of Tyler's fog, and comes up with only partial data. "I… I think that was Allen Rickham, Mother," Cat provides, "he has an ability. It's why he didn't take the oath. I think he came from a future where things went bad, five years from now. Or was it seven?" Accuracy fails, so she makes a guess with a finger rubbing at a temple.

"He was with the guy on the roof, the one who wore glasses. The older one," she adds. "Making trouble, trying to prevent things from happening. So… glasses wanted to make the place blow up…" There is anger in her eyes now, a storm restrained by will the fog hasn't impacted, at least not in these moments. Some time is spent chasing the anger away before she can answer the question.

"There's still work to do," she shares. "My work in helping the Village recover, keeping eyes open for things that happen. Trouble's still afoot," she explains, before adding cryptically "Thirty-fourth street doesn't need beaches."

"You're just like your father," Jennifer notes with as much of a wry tone to her voice as she can manage, "you never turn off, not even for a moment." Turning her focus up to Cat, there's a worried but also appreciative look in her eyes; parental perrogative lending the look to err towards worried more so than the latter. "You need to learn how to take some time off, Catherine, you need to just— " she closes her eyes, shaking her head as her hands fold in her lap.

Jennifer manages to try and sound less preachy when she finally speaks up again. "After everything that's happened… I know the last thing I want to do is worry about someone else's problems. You might want to consider taking some time off, letting yourself just… just turn off for once; relax. Act your age instead of your father's age."

"It's hard to stop, Mother," she replies in quiet sincerity, sharing things she's told to others. "Right now the fog makes details hard to grasp, but it'll clear. When it does, it'll be there again, all of it. Things I've seen, losses felt. If I let myself be idle too long, I find myself sinking into the pool of all those perfect memories, not all of them pleasant. So I keep busy, keep the mind active, and make new ones of my own choosing much as I can."

But then a smile forms, a thin one. "If it were safe, if I thought I could resume my stage act or pull a band together, I would."

Snorting out a laugh and losing herself in being more like she remembers, Jennifer's chiding comment is delivered with far more gentle care than she ever used to. "I don't mean anything quite… like that," she used to say frivolous, "I'm talking about a vacation. Go somewhere that nobody knows you for a week and just… make some new memories. Christ, Catherine, I think after everything you've been through the notion might not seem so alien."

Grimacing slightly, she pushes herself up from the bed and walks back over to where her daughter is standing. "Think about it. Get some friends together, and just… go. The world isn't going to stop spinning if you take a week to yourself, and God forbid that you enjoy yourself, even if just for a little while." Her hand comes up again, lightly brushing a lock of hair from Cat's forehead. "Your father would want you to take some time to put yourself back together."

"It's under consideration," she replies with a look settling in which says this is true. Cat leans against the wall, mulling over whether or not people get tested when they come to international borders or return to the US, even citizens with passports. But then, there are lots of places in the US she hasn't seen. It would be a few days before she could depart, but… And, of course, if trouble comes here and she has to get back fast, Hiro's not hard to reach. Her eyes close, the head dipping forward when hair is brushed away.

"Father," she whispers. She starts to think of recovering his body, laying it to rest, if there is one brought out of the reactor. Time will come, likely, when Mother is told of it being found. It can be thought of then.

Managing something of a bittersweet smile, Jennifer shakes her head slowly, "You really are your father's daughter." Even without the blood ties keeping them bound together, there is something intrinsic to the Chesterfield family that makes them more than blood relatives, makes them something more than just family; it's a bond of both determinism and confidence that borders dangerously on stubbornness.

"I… hope you don't mind me hanging around here for a little while. I promise not to get in the way of things, here, but it won't be forever." A hesitant smile crosses Jennifer's face, only partially self-deprecating. "I think… right now though, it might actually be time for me to get some real rest." Her eyes lift up, peering over the top of her glasses, "that goes for you too."

"This is your home as long as you need it to be," Cat replies, not saying again it partly has to be since Arthur burnt the other one to the ground. Even though there is that place in the Hamptons and another on Martha's Vineyard. Maybe. There are still questions, like whether or not Father ever actually worked at an insurance firm in Hartford. But she won't ask them now.

"Yes," Cat quietly agrees as she moves toward the door. "Rest. Sleep well, Mother." She exits to allow that.

As the door's closing, Jennifer keeps smiling in her daughter's direction. It's only once the door closes, leaving her back in the lightless room, that all of her posturing melts away, and she slouches towards the window, resting her head against the glass gently. Her eyes force shut, a ragged, hushed sound of strangled emotion cracking through her calm exterior, and one hand moves up to cover her mouth shakily.

She'll sleep eventually.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License