||[Mar. 11th, 2005|12:30 pm]
Players: Vincent and Alissa
Vincent had been moping for days. While he hadn't had any official word of -anything-, good or ill, Sascha had stopped showing up for his drugs, despite messages left advertising new developments and refinements that he really wanted to try out. He was sure that, somehow, Rebecca was behind all of this.
Unfortunately, casting Rebecca in the unfamiliar role of 'villainess' meant that Vincent had no-one to talk to about the unfairness of life, his mother being entirely too imclined to go and fix things, and his father more likely to pat him on the shoulder and try and make him drink a beer. He did, however, have neighbours. And cookies and counselling both started with 'c', right?
Tentatively, he touched his hand to the door pad. "Mrs. Erics?" In appearance, he looked like a man who'd been sleeping in his clothing.
In contrast, Alissa’s one concession to entropy was a single stray hair curling away from the loose bun at the nape of her neck – a hair that she smoothed back into place even as she opened the door. She smiled at Vincent: just a touch fond, just a touch condescending. “Over to borrow a cup of sugar?” Although every inch clean and pressed, a touch of a shadow darkened the skin under her eyes. What else would you expect from a mother of two teenagers, however? She sidestepped slightly, wordlessly inviting him into the foyer.
Vincent some how managed to turn a slump into an active verb as he made his way into the foyer at Alissa's offer, looking as though he'd not only just been told that Santa wasn't real, but like he'd just caught the Easter Bunny being prepped for the evening's stew. "No... not really," he admitted. "I was actually hoping... you see... Mrs. Erics..."
He paused to compose himself to try and give a little more weight to an essentially teenage declaration: "My life sucks."
Too well mannered to laugh, Alissa rubbed the smile off her lips. “Tea then, or coffee?” She moved further inside, invitation implicit. Three stools lined the counter that divided the kitchen from the living room, the dining room off through a door. She cleared a few printed itineraries from the space next to her, leaving it open for Vincent. “Now then. Do you need to move to something more aggressive than cookies? My sister taught my daughter an absolutely appallingly rich chocolate cake desert: the cake was riddled with ribbons of hot fudge with yet more drizzled on top.”
Vincent followed like a lost little puppy shown a bag of Kibbles'n'Bits. His head perked up a little, he ran a hand through his hair, and he settled obediantly on one of the chairs. His posture was now that of a man attempting not to break, spill, or sweat on anything, and one hand ran nervously through his hair, although the effects of its passage were undetectable to the normal human eye. "I... Um. Coffee would be great, thanks, Mrs. Erics." he replied with his best manners, the tone one employed for meetings with his old program counselor and other academic ministering angels. "And, um, whatever you're having sounds good. I don't want to intrude, really." Despite the fact that that was exactly what he'd done.
Alissa stood to prepare the coffee, taking her own with a strong dash of sweetener, but no cream. “It’s a bit strong,” she warned mildly as she sat down, placing the cup and saucer down in front of Vincent before turning to fetch a small pitcher of real cream and a small container of sweetener, a sweetener that did a damn good job of pretending to be sugar to all sense but sight, being a crumbly black mass. She stirred her coffee with a small spoon and regarded Vincent with a slight smile. “That’s perfectly all right. Far be it from me to worsen things if your life truly sucks.”
Vincent measured out his sweetener with the same precision he'd mix reagents in his lab. Approximately eight teaspoons of it. All exactly leveled off and smoothed. "Strong is great, Mrs. Erics," he assured after taking his first long sip, visibly relaxing under the effects of a good brew, although he made a face at realizing he'd forgotten the cream, and then added a carefully reverent dollop with a bit of a blush and a sigh. "It really, truly does," he confirmed. "I thought I was going to have a chance to really help people, and then the one person I thought would support me ended up stabbing me in the back."
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” Alissa murmured, actually managing the remarkable skill of sounding as if she meant it. No doubt years of listening to her daughter’s various and sundry tragedies helped. “That must be awful.” She pushed a small plate of nibbly things in Vincent’s direction. “And when you were trying to do something so noble, too. Was it a misunderstanding, perhaps?”
Vincent nibbled. He nibbled with the nibbling of a man bereft or a piece of his heart and soul. He nibbled, in other words, probably a great deal like Alyssa's son in a moment of teen angst. "I wish it was," he sighed. "But... she -knew-. She'd just... I'd never imagined a scientist could be so close-minded and to prejudge her data like that! She's not the woman I thought she was."
With a soft noise of sympathy, Alissa sipped her coffee and let Vincent speak on. “It is amazing sometimes what the human mind is capable of,” Alissa agreed as he paused, regret lacing her tone. “Whether trained to logic or not.”
"It's just... she was -Rebecca-, you know?" Vincent sighed, and took a sip of his coffee, innocently spilling out his soul. "She was always after me to be sure I was using my training to help, not to hurt... kept telling me to read Frankenstein --as if I hadn't!" he insisted, with a sudden flash of heat before he returned to moping and scooping the sweetener into the beginnings of a little black sandcastle in the middle of its bowl. "So you think she'd be -happy- I was finally doing something more than make corn and my roses and stuff, happy that I was helping out poor Sascha, because it wasn't -his- fault his mother was dead and so she couldn't make neuropharms for him any more. But nooooo. I think she was... jealous!" he decided at last.
“Oh, how very sweet of you, Vincent,” Alissa said, falling into first-name familiarity as he unburdened his deep dark torments on her. “Helping out an orphaned child—“ She had a moment of confusion, as the name Sascha was so feminine yet she thought Vincent had used male pronouns. She avoided the issue by careful phrasing. “—even when your lady love objects. That really is quite noble, you know. It is only right that we help out the unfortunate,” she said with a soft thread of condescension aimed from on high at said unfortunates.
"I don't know if I -want- her to be my lady love any more." Vincent sighed, oblivious to any condescension and revelling in the familiarity and coffee. "But... I can't just -stop- loving her, even now. Even though she said she was calling security about Sascha, and since I haven't seen him for days now, I guess she must've... he wasn't harming anyone. And he liked my roses!" Indignation had appeared again. "She always either hated them, or made fun of them, and -he- liked them." He sniffed mightily and then carefully drank his coffee. And nibbled.
Alissa nodded, completely sympathetic. “That does sound awful. I’m sorry that your charity triggered her jealousy,” she said. Her voice was soft as she stood to get a small pot, filling it with a refill of coffee that she then brought over to freshen her drink. She offered it to Vincent before interrupting his castle building to sweeten her coffee. “Perhaps she was simply reacting irrationally. Perhaps she felt more strongly for you than she herself suspected.”
"She... what?" Vincent looked puzzled. "She... Rebecca... she doesn't even -like- me any more, I don't think. She just wants to control me." He allowed the undermining of his castle without missing a beat, and began repairs and renovations once Alissa had gotten her fill of the sweetener. "What should I -do-, Mrs. Erics? I'm worried about Sascha. But still... Rebecca..."
“It is true that her behavior seems to have been – rude at best,” Alissa said delicately. She quickly calculated the age difference between Vincent and her daughter, a corner of her mind absorbed in the sort of background matchmaking all mothers inevitably do at some point when greeted with a (relatively) unattached and financially successful man. “I still hope that it is a misunderstanding. Have you tried to look for the boy, perhaps put out a notice?” ‘Lost pup—er, transgenic: vicious, may bite. Please do not attempt to capture or handle.’ Alissa stirred her coffee, half-entranced by the patterns of light. “You should do all you can, but when you can do no more, Vincent, then you must accept that. This applies in both cases: finding Sascha and attempting to convince Rebecca she was in err.”
"Oh, he's not really a boy, he's..." Vincent had no good idea, what with telomeres no longer being as reliable an indicator of age as they once were. "Well, not a boy. But no, not really. I'm... not really sure where I'd start," he admitted. "I mean, Rebecca was right, he -is- from outside of the City, but that hardly makes him an -axe- murderer. Oh, and did you see that holovid?"
“Young man, then,” Alissa said, smoothly modulating her words. “And no, it is unfortunate that such an attitude prevails. People tend to hold up the few examples and think that the stand for the whole.” Alissa sighed, a sigh full of pity of the patronizing sort. “Even scientists. It truly is awful. If only they tried harder, if only people did not judge so quickly—“ She sipped, briskly. “A shame.”
"And then when I try and do something... it all just falls apart," Vincent had returned to moping, the sweetener sandcastle built to the limits of its materials, and left alone as a result. So he hunched over his remaining coffee, and attempted a brood. Being more Jonathan than Angel, it failed rather miserably. "Think globally, act locally... but everyone wants me to act globally, or at least those Reclaim Eden recruiters do, and when I try and act locally..." He sighed. "My life sucks."
Alissa placed a mothering hand on Vincent’s forearm, squeezing lightly. She smiled reassuringly. “Perhaps, but it sucks only because you are trying to do the right thing. There is comfort in that, at least.”
Ohmygoodness! Physical contact! Vincent froze for a second, unsure of whether Alissa was, in fact, squeezing his forearm, and then unsure about what she meant by it. The reassuring smile seemed to do the trick, however, for he soon relaxed and allowed himself to uncoil a little from the memory plastic state his muscles had snapped into. "I guess. Thanks, Mrs. Erics."
With a reassuring little patpat, Alissa withdrew her hand to nudge the plate of nibbly sweets in Vincent’s direction again. “You will get through this, I’m sure. They say that virtue is its own reward, but ‘they’—” She accompanied the word with a half a quotation, her fingers curving in the air. “—neglect to take into account how little comfort that can be. Don’t let others push you around, whether they be women you just might love or organizations who just might love to get their hands on you. You’re a good man. It's our job to help those unable to help themselves.”
"Funny," Vincent admitted, around an obediant mouthful of nibbly sweet before he realized his shocking lapse of manners, and raised a hand to screen his mouth from sight. "Rebecca was all on about how Sascha was probably just trying to manipulate me. But -he's- the one that's gone now... but thanks, Mrs. Erics. It's... it's really nice to hear someone say that. Do you like carnations?"
Barely baffled by the switch of conversation, Alissa smiled quickly. “Actually, yes. Any flower, really. There are so few plants you see for pleasure that do not have a secondary purpose, whether it be food, carbon storage or carbon dioxide exchange. I’ve always found the old images of vast fields of flowers quite charming. A new experiment of yours? ”
Vincent looked suddenly perked up at that. A chance to make -someone- happy had just bloomed large (And punnily) on his mental horizons. "Well, an old one, actually, but I finally got it working just right... actually, I'd better go check on it." he stated, with an ingenuous attempt at covering the fact that Alissa should be expecting a flower box and a doorbell ring in short order.
He scampered out. An hour later, a horticultural box making intriguing rustling noises was left outside the Erics family residence, along with a flatpanel instruction guide on care and feeding.