Your Own Hell to Pay


calvin_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Your Own Hell to Pay
Synopsis An initial misunderstanding leads to a message much better understood. Except for the parts that aren't.
Date June 9, 2011

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

Calvin likes to be early. It's a learned behavior, rather than an inherited trait. Harder for someone else to get the jump on him, that way. With the added benefit of a certain amount of passive aggressive guilt implied on the opposing party's part from the start, like they've made him wait by being on time.

In this case, it's a beautiful, warm June day in Central Park and Calvin has reclined and claimed one wrought iron bench as his own near a murky pond with ducks, bare feet clawed griffon-like around the warp of one arm rest with his briefcase serving as a makeshift pillow for his shoulders against the other. The grass is soft and green and so is light filtered in through sweet leaves rustling overhead. His suit is a light, ashy grey, crisply tailored edges meant more for boardrooms than benches, at odds with the vaguely wild bristle of his mane. Makeup. Scruff.

He looks slightly better. Or at least less miserably tired. Also probably too tall to be lying slouchily on a bench in wait with his cell phone ticking click-click-click through relevant headlines. Weiner reaches out to Bill Clinton and 2 killed as bear flies through SUV. "Goodness."

"Not quite." Mock apology cuts through other ambient sounds of life and recreation in Central Park. Odessa Price, refusing to feel any guilt for being a whole five minutes early, even if that means she's later than Calvin, approaches the bench he's sprawled on. "Don't get up on my account," she muses, stomach pressed to the seatback so she can lean over to peer at the man's cell phone curiously.

Or actually to give him a view down the front of her eggplant-coloured halter top. Because between the black patch and the way her white hair curtains one side of her face, she can't possibly see the screen. Her bottom juts out carelessly, clad in denim shorts. The kind that come fashionably pre-cutoff. "Hello, sweetie." Odessa smiles and lifts one green Converse hightop off the ground as she bends further in for a kiss. (She hopes.)

Getting a peep of his bear flying through SUV story becomes doubly impossible when Calvin presses the screen of his phone flat to the breast of his jacket, a reproachful hood at his brow eased off in the same turn of his head that brings her — daisy dukes into view. Two things then happen at once: he forgets his reproach, and he winds his right hand round to feel up past the near cutoff. Around the same time she bends over further to kiss him, so. That's surely nice for any fresh-out've-school lads out for walks in the park to see in passing by.

His sensitivity to the issue of publicity addressed with a full-palmed squeeze, he — hesitates. When she calls him 'sweetie.'

The same hesitation draws him back from what inevitably would've been a kiss otherwise, nose wrinkled and then turned aside to offer up a cheek distracted and automatic-like. His hand retracts.

How uncomfortable.


Well that's disappointing. Odessa's nose similarly wrinkles as she draws back up. "Oh, c'mon. I'm just trying to be nice. I'm not asking you to put a ring on it. Next time sexy or… I don't fuckin' know. Cookie?" She shrugs her shoulders and reaches to sort of tug the hem of her shorts absently just in case she's showing too much cheek yet. And she fishes her own cell phone out of her pocket to check the time, or messages, or something.

"We need to talk," she informs him as she tucks the phone away again. "Sorry. I know you hate it when I need to talk. Just… humour me and I'll buy dinner tonight." Why does she always feel she has to bribe people to get them to listen to her? Oh, right. Because no one ever actually wants to listen to her. "It's about why I've been… About why I was so sick."

No, too late. It's already weird.

The fact that Calvin is looking at her like she is weird in an unappreciative kind of way likely doesn't help — those two syllables a substantial enough setback that recovery requires conscious effort.

She's already moved on anyway, by the time he tunes back in, his agreement to listen decided for him such that he doesn't protest, either by interrupting or by standing up and wandering away. Just tucks his phone away so that he's free to paw down the sides of his face with both hands and says, "Alright," accomodatingly when she gets to a pause where it seems like he should.

Christ, he is so infuriating. If he weren't so- Or maybe if he didn't- No. This problem is all due to a lack of self-respect on Odessa's part. And that particular thought must have been planted in her brain by Calvin's mother. Even in her absence, Bella manages to rock the boat. "I got one of those kits. Those…" One hand moves uselessly through the air as though Odessa might be able to reach out and pluck up the right word. She can't, but she finds it anyway. "Test kits. The kind you can get at the pharmacy."

That hand balls into a fist briefly, then opens again to flutter up and rest her fingers against her scarred lips while she takes a breath. Her fingers are trembling. "It turned blue, Cal. The fucking thing turned blue. That's not supposed to be able to happen." Gaze wide and bewildered, Odessa looks down at him like he might have answers.

Oh — Jesus. One've those kits. At the pharmacy.

Shock, mirrored bewilderment and exasperation at both blank and blanch at Calvin's face turned up after her, gingery jaw slacked open and pale eyes wide to account for unsteady language and trembling hands.

"But," he begins at length, already nasal voice pitched a little higher against the onset of panicky denial and a search of his stare quickly across her person on its way back to her face:

"— y'don't even have a fucking uterus."

"What?" Odessa forgets to be scared for a moment because she's just been completely confused. "What does that have to do with— Oh. Oh." Her hair clings to her lashes as she shakes her head rapidly. "Oh! No. No no no. Not that kind of- Ew. God. I wouldn't even bother to fucking tell you if —"

Now she buries her face in her hand and groans. "I'm not pregnant, Calvin. I'm human! Non-Evolved." An Evo test kit. And now she remembers to be nervous. That single cobalt eye peeks out between a gap in Odessa's fingers, watching Calvin's face for his reaction.

"Wh…what do you mean you wouldn't tell me?"

Still high pitched, now more incredulously defensive without necessarily knowing why, Calvin pushes himself up into a straighter sit against his briefcase. Brow furrowed.

He soaks news of her humanity without any obvious change in expression. Maybe a shrug through the stiff of his near shoulder. Quintessentially dismissive. An undefined so? Still stuck on horror lingering itchily uncomfortable under his collar like dryer lint after the pregnancy scare. Thing.

"That's it?"

"You don't even want me to call you sweetie!" Exasperation and frustration again overpower nerves and her hand falls away to lightly slap against the front of her thigh. "Why would I think you would want to know if you knocked me up?" Her face scrunches for a moment, "And it doesn't even matter. Because, as you so delicately pointed out, I don't even have a uterus!"

She's raised both pitch and volume of her voice now and suddenly becomes aware of it, hunching her shoulders and looking a little sheepish without actually looking about to see if she's attracted any unwanted attention. Though with the two of them, any attention is unwanted. "Yes," Odessa mutters quietly. "That's it. It's kind of a big deal for me." Jerk. "That flu is fucking nasty. There was blood everywhere."

Odessa moves around to the front of the bench. "Calvin, what you're doing is… The right people aren't fucking dropping like flies, babe. All you've done is give Humanis First a reason to hate the Evolved more. This is wrong. And because Yana fucking shot off her damn mouth, people know it's her behind it." Her hands splay out in front of her in a gesture similar to one she would have used to stop time. Now it's only to vent absolute frustration. "I can't just fucking cap her, because she's keeping me alive. But fucking Liz Harrison cornered me in a goddamned Starbucks and threatened to kill me if I don't make this shit go away!" This time, she keeps her voice down, even if it is about an octave higher than when she started. Breathe, Odessa. Breathe.

"Yeh, but. That's another issue entirely. You can't just vanish an entire — fetus." Baby seems a little too soft, somehow. "I mean — "

Calvin's indistinctly flustered again, the right words too telling or otherwise personal, rapidly giving way to the wrong ones leaping around in his brain retarded-like. Mexican jumping beans of scattered dissent.

"It'd be half mine," winds up being — the best half-reasonable reason he can come up with. And despite lending no particular importance to the issue beyond that, he seems awfully stuck on it. He has to drag himself back around to acknowledge whatever else she's going on about now loudly and then more quietly with an unhappy look sideways and a harder clutch of his feet to black iron. Resentful.

"They will. Die. It's fringe biology, not a fucking line of dominoes. Anyway," he rolls himself slowly off of the bench and gracefully enough up onto his feet, "she won't be able to stop it or I would've shot her in her face." Tidy as that.

"They aren't dying quickly enough for my tastes. People will know that the Evolved are responsible for this. They will find out Yana is responsible. People already know." Odessa makes an aborted reach for Calvin, curling her fingers into lose fists and forcing them to stay at her sides for the time being. "When push comes to shove, she'll throw you and I both under the bus. Do you think she won't?" She swallows uneasily. She wants to look away, but afraid that if she does, he'll take it as leave to walk away.

"She says she thinks she can stop it…" Lower lip is sucked between teeth and worried at for a moment, lashes fluttering with thoughtful blinks before she adds, "And I think she should." But something else gnaws at Odessa, because he spent entirely more time on a misunderstanding than she expected he would, cutting back into the subject of death with a question of life. "Do you want a baby?" It's an honest enough inquiry.

"Yes, AND?"

Reach or not, Calvin finally rounds on her in all caps rather than strike off at a march, teeth shown and nose rankled, eyes less lucid than he'd like to think. They are. In the wake of such a witty riposte, accusation and arrogant expectation of failure re: her response distinctly reminescent of another ginger she knows. "Why should I expect otherwise? What makes you think I don't already know?"

Demand lingers just long enough for her not to have time to answer, coarse mane stirred slight in the wind while he stares her down. He doesn't actually ask, Do you think I'm an idiot? but he doesn't need to. It's there.

"Listen to her. Look at her. 'Doctor Blite.' She'll squawk as soon as she's squeezed. And I tried to keep you out've it, but oooh no. In you went, nose-fucking-first, soon as you found out we were up to something." Exasperation is a kinder force than outright derision, maybe, but not. By. Much. There's a controlled lilt to his lecturing, at least — maniacal edge curbed back with more control than he generally looks to be capable of commandeering.

"I'll answer for what I've done. And no." He smooths stiffly down a rumple at his lapel. "I don't want a fucking baby."

"I was already involving myself when I found out you were a part of it," Odessa shoots back. Rather than shrink back when he rounds on her (and she probably should), she bristles. Then uses one of those fists to take a swing at his arm with a brief flash of clenched teeth. "I'm worried about you, you stupid fucker. I don't want you to answer for this. I want you to get away with it."

Odessa sets her jaw and stands up a little bit straighter, half preparing to receive a punch in return. "Why did you want to keep me out of this? I don't think for a moment that it's because you think I'm set on betraying you. I will kill Blite to keep you safe. You shot her when she lied to you about why I was sick. Isn't it because you thought she made me sick?" It's what Yana thinks, at any rate. And Odessa isn't so sure she's inclined to disagree, despite Calvin's protests that it's never about her. She perhaps suspects the man doth protest too much.

"So you wouldn't be punished for it." Christ. The punch is absorbed without a return swat, the rest of what she's said discarded with a you're an insane bitch kind of look that falls well short of flattering. An open-handed shove anchored down across her sternum should be enough to sit her forcefully down on his abandoned bench; a clench of the same hand lashes a strip of antiquated iron warm round her wrist, rooting it to the armrest across his briefcase.

Which he then extracts with an exaggeratedly snappy tug out from beneath her elbow. A-thank-you-very-much.

"I shot her when I tired of listening to her. Why not? The box is open. The virus cannot be undone. I have 'gotten away with it.' And you're extremely high maintenance for a fucking mad scientist, you know? Why don't you sit here a while and think about how the reason you've never succeeded at pioneering world change may be related to your inability to see further than five-to-eight inches afore your pretty face." Which he pops lightly on the cheek before he turns to strike off in earnest. Hopefully without being bitten.


Odessa goes tumbling back with only a huff of surprise that's very quickly gotten over. Except when her wrist is trapped by the metal wrapping itself around it. "No." She lunges forward awkwardly to try and grab hold of Calvin when he goes for his briefcase. "Don't you dare leave me here. Please don't leave me here." Nostrils flare with an annoyed inhale. As it happens, she doesn't bite. "You aren't a prize either, sweetie. If you would just…" The anger is fleeting, however. Her voice lowers, as does her gaze. "Nobody's ever cared about what happens to me. Why do you care if I go down for this?"

Sweetie she's said again and the iron coil about her wrist flexes in on itself until he's twisted clean out of reach and eased it off again with a slow breath. Difficult, but not impossible to escape. With help from a friend. And time.

Which, unfortunately for her, she no longer has endless amounts of.

"That's what family's for, I think," he tells her as he goes, tread spent unevenly backwards for a few paces until he turns. And exuents, stage left. "Accounting for my limited frame of reference."

A hitching hiss accompanies a quiet ow! and Odessa finally releases her grip on Calvin in favour of mercy for her own wrist. "Calvin…" she murmurs as he starts to withdraw. "Cal, don't. What you mean fa- Come back here." Her gaze widens when she realises he's really going to leave her here. Embarrassingly cuffed-after-a-fashion to a bench. "Calvin!"

Odessa stares down at her wrist with a resigned groan. Staring blankly at the cell phone she's tugged out of her pocket again and the list of contacts it contains, she comes to ask herself a very important question. "Who the fuck is even going to come get me?" White head tips back, and she grudgingly does exactly what he's instructed her to do. She sits, and thinks. She'll give her pride half an hour before she finally starts calling out for help.

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