[GAU] Mikey's House (Michaela, Lilly) 2/3/15

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[GAU] Mikey's House (Michaela, Lilly) 2/3/15

Postby Laurel » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:45 am

<b>Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)</b>
(2/3/2015 8:59:05 PM) (2019829)

Lilly was actually serious about bringing the laptop over.

I didn't quite know how to react to this, but I had cleaned up the small place where I live and given her directions how to get here. There isn't much I can do about the scrubby yard, mostly dirt and crabgrass, and the lack of a car in the driveway will probably surprise her. Not for the first time, it crosses my mind that the two-bedroom home with its nondescript brown paint where I live is...kind of a dump, and there's a degree of embarrassment at her, this rich girl who's probably never had to switch out a fuse or kick the water heater to make it turn on, coming to see where I live.

But there isn't much I can do about it, except refuse her.

To be fair to me, it could be a lot worse, but one teenager, with school and athletics, and everything else, can only do so much. Mom is no help, but I banished her to her room. We'd had that out long ago; I know the one thing Mom fears that the booze hasn't made her forget, and I'll use it against her if I have to. Someday, I might for her own good. Right now, I have too much else on my mind to think about it much.

So, when Lilly arrives, I wince a bit, dressed in a faded T-Shirt with the image of half a dozen rats in track uniforms racing towards the viewer and jeans that, were they any more battered, might qualify to enter an abuse protection program. The shoes I wear are in almost as bad shape; I'm hard on shoes. BUt the house is clean; I made sure of that, and I make an effort at a smile as she arrives, meeting her outside.


That's me: hospitality, grace, and eloquence.

The house itself is small, but sturdy enough, and more than big enough for myself and my mother. Of course, there are things that need tending to that I just can't do, and that the money isn't there for; there's a few spots on the roof that could probably use repairing, and the paint is peeling; the whole place could probably use a good pressurewash or three. I'll admit. From the outside? It looks kind of dismal. But when I lead her inside to the interior, it's a different story.

Our furniture may be threadbare and old, but I vacuum once a week and use this stuff that leaves the carpets smelling nice. I can't do anything about how ugly that carpet is, but I can at least be sure the house doesn't smell bad. It's clean; I can usually get Mom to do her share if I bully her or threaten to clean out her stash. I ask Lilly to leave her shoes by the door.

"Mom's in her room," I tell her as we come in, "and she'll stay there." I lead her back into my room, which is a small haven. Emphasis on small, I suppose, but I've never needed much space. Now I wish I had another chair, to go with the one snugged under the small desk kittycornered to the low bed with sober coverings. There's a small bookshelf, but it's packed almost to bursting, books of all sorts, an eclectic mix of YA fantasy, science fiction, realistic fiction, and even a romance or two. Nothing steamy. The window is open, to show that the backyard isn't much prettier than the front. I don't have time for yardwork.

I'm visibly nervous. My eyes skitter around the faded wallpaper, the stuccoed ceiling, everything in the house looking faded, worn, and tired. And for the first time, maybe because of Lilly's presence, I'm ashamed of it. I sit on my bed, twisting my hands in my lap, not quite able to look her in the eye.

"So." I say, and clear my throat to try again. "So, um. Welcome to my castle. I guess."

<b>Liliana Rivale (Damiana)</b>
(2/3/2015 9:09:43 PM) (2019836)

I had brought Marco's computer along with me to school yesterday and intended to give it to Mikeala then. However, an impromptu slumber party had taken place and I'd given no thought about the shy athlete and my promise until after the bad dream and waking up to Kelly in the garage. After that? Mikaela was absolutely on my mind but I spent the first two periods trying to decide how to approach her. In the end, I decided that using the laptop as an excuse to visit her house after school today was the best option. There's questions I want to tenatively ask her best done away from prying ears and gossiping tongues. It was bad enough that I got to hear all about how my brother and Trevor Bennett had put on some kind of impromptu commedy sketch during Marco's TA time in Mrs. Friske's Alegebra I class.

<i>"So Lilly... is Marco bisexual or just, you know, metrosexual?" </i> I was asked today by a girl named Amy Leighton who is part of the A-Crowd. She had the nerve to come up to me at my locker. I turned and gave her a stone cold glare.

"My brother? Have you ever met my brother?" I say in my most haughty voice. "Are you asking because you are homophobic or because you touch yourself at night imagining a threesome with my brother and you and David?"

David is her boyfriend. He's a boring blonde on the swim team with no real personality and only passable good looks.

Amy is absolutely flustered and falls over herself apologizing as I flip my hair adroitly and walk away. No one else dared ask that kind of question.

My brother. A metrosexual. Please. He reads Victorian novels and dresses in black turtlenecks. He might as well be a character right out of some Jane Austen novel.

But that conversation and other news from my brother himself- that he totalled his car but the Stepmonster Stephanie loaned him hers today while she took his to the auto repair fills me with a great deal of malice and spite in his direction. He gets in a car wreck and isn't punished???

Yes, I'm glad he is alright and not hurt of course. But where is the justice in the fact he got to run amuck at school, then skip classes, then get in a car accident and there did not appear to be consequences or repercussions from anyone???

Marco does offer to take me and Kelly home, dropping me off at Mikeala's first along the way and then taking us to go look into the pawn shop. I didn't tell him why we were going, of course. He seemed amiable to just about anything I wanted to do tonight- as long as Kelly was involved. Normally, I'd be annoyed but since his presence comforts her as well? Today I let it slide.

I wince in sympathy at Mikaela when I approach from across the street where Marco is parked- in a white mustang convertable. That, you see, is Stephanie's car, which dad bought her after her boob job last year. And of course its in Mikaela's line of sight, pointing out even more of a discrepancy between her life style and mine. The top is down, however, and Kelly and Marco stayed behind while I came out, carrying a leather laptop bag which I extend towards her.

"Hi. I'm sorry I didn't get this to you yesterday. Things were hectic." I pause slightly, looking around uncomfortably. "So... how are you? How is your arm?"

<b>Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)</b>
(2/3/2015 9:31:22 PM) (2019855)

"I lived without it this long," I answer, shrugging the strap of the bag over one shoulder to carry it comfortably. "I appreciate this, Lilly, really. This'll make....well... a lot of things easier."

When she asks about my arm, my eyes flick to the car, wondering who's in it. I don't comment on how nice the car is. To be honest? I've heard most cars are monsters when it comes to gas and maintenance. Everyone I knew who had a car bitched about it. I never saw much point in saddling myself with a big problem on wheels. Besides, I already know her family's got money. There's someone in there -- a couple someones. Are they just going to wait?

I hold up the arm to show her: unmarked. I even flex the hand and wiggle the fingers. "Good as new," I say, "by the time I woke up. Which is good, as I had to get a math lesson from Konrad. Who told me to my face that I looked like hell and should get some sleep. And he was right." The laugh that comes out of me sounds like something breaking. I slide past the moment by looking down at the laptop that is now, apparently, mine. "Can you, um...help me set up? I've never had a computer of my own before."

<b>Liliana Rivale (Damiana)</b>
(2/3/2015 9:47:04 PM) (2019882)

Her house is so....
... ordinary.

I want to compliment it, some part of it. She's clearly feeling embarrassed and I would too. I'd caught what she'd said about her mother staying in her room and it was definitely not important to ask any details there. In her room itself, I felt more comfortable and joined her on the bed.

"I'm really glad. Kelly and Marco both pulled their shoulders yesterday, not at the same time. They're out in the car so I can't stay really long. We have other errands to do but of course I can help you set it up. Here. Is it alright if I use your desk?" I take the leather carrying bag and pull out the laptop, explaining about batteries and the power source and those kinds of things for a few minutes while it gets plugged in and I gesture for her to sit in the chair while I lean over her.

"You might want to password it. We can do that first." I don't bring up anything more about the fire right now. Let's see if she talks about it first.

<b>Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)</b>
(2/3/2015 9:59:52 PM) (2019898)

She asks if she can use my desk, and I laugh, this one sounding like actual amusement. "Go ahead. I hardly ever do." The bed is hard, though that's by choice rather than poverty; I've never been able to get comfortable on big, soft mattresses, so I have a futon instead. It's firm enough to support.

"They both did?" I ask, surprised. "Are...Are they okay? Do you guys need a hand with anything?" I mean, because I didn't pull anything -- and even if I did....I jerk my mind away from that thought. "I mean, you've been....well..." I flush slightly, and look away, rubbing my hands together unconsciously. "I just...feel like I should help. Or something,"

I watch and listen as she sets up the computer, taking it in. I'll probably ask more questions later. Maybe I'll pester Konrad. She's just said she can't stay long, I'm not gonna try and keep her here with a storm of questions. But then she offers the password option, and I nod decisively. "That's a good idea. I know what I'll use." Her closeness is distracting; I pull away a little.

"Do you wanna maybe take some pictures again sometime?" It's out of my mouth before I know I'm going to say it, and that's about the point where I actually wish I could die, just kind of fall down on the spot. It's worse because when a blonde blushes? It REALLY shows.

<b>Liliana Rivale (Damiana)</b>
(2/3/2015 10:08:43 PM) (2019908)

"No, they both seem fine. Marco was driving Trevor Bennett home and something happened and they got in a minor wreck. But he was driving our step-mother's car today just fine. Kelly's shoulder is still sore from a shelf in her garage falling down on her but I don't think there's anything you can do." I glance at her out of the corner of my eye.

"We're going to the pawn shop on Crowley Street." I check to see if that triggers a reaction. If I'd noticed or been bothered by her pulling away, I make no sign. "Okay.. here."

I lean over and open up the options and take her to the screen where she can set a password. "I spent the night over at Kelly's and only talked to Marco at lunch at school today. I didn't tell him about what happened- but Kelly knows now. She's pretty shaken up by the day you guys were out and got attacked. Don't be upset that she told me. We tell each other everything."

"What do you think happened to her that day, Mikey?" I use the nickname I know the other jocks use for her and I've seen her accept at face value. Hopefully that won't come across as too forward or cavalier. "She told me about the armor. What did you see?"

<b>Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)</b>
(2/3/2015 10:22:09 PM) (2019921)

I'm setting up the password when her question about Crowley Street hits, and I freeze, my expression going blank, and for a moment, I feel that knife again. The cold steel spike, the hot slick agony of its withdrawal, the taste of blood in my mouth. My breath quickens, and I suddenly realize I'm pressed against the far wall from her, which is not incredibly far, panting like I'd run my limit and kept pushing for another mile. I feel lightheaded, and I have to fight not to faint.

"I....I don't know," I say, woodenly, not going any closer to her, watching her with the kind of wariness normally reserved for very large dogs and very angry people with weapons. "I don't know what happened. I <i>don't</i>." The insistence is almost desperate. I don't <i>want</i> to know what happened. I don't want any part of it. I accepted what I could do, and wanted to avoid ever having to do it again. But she presses forward, asking what I saw, and the panic on my face is as clear as good glass.

"I didn't..." The lie dies on my lips. I've always been more or less honest. I'm not a good liar, so I never saw the point in trying. I lick lips gone suddenly dry, bourbon eyes skittering around, looking everywhere but her. <i>Jesus, Mikey, get a grip.</i> Deep breaths. I deliberately slow my breathing, making a concerted effort at regaining control. The panic isn't gone from my eyes when I'm finally able to meet hers, but it's pushed back.

"I've been trying to forget," I tell her quietly. "Barely slept for the past week. It was horrible, and I don't want to remember, and I don't want to know. I don't even ...." I run one shaking hand through my dishwater hair, and shake my head, furiously. "I don't want what I have. Whatever it is." Another shaky breath, and I manage to peel myself off the wall, to actually stand on my feet. I even manage a laugh, again, like crockery thrown to the floor, with bitterness like old coffee grounds mixed in. "Upset? Why would I be upset?" I ask, trying and failing to keep a hysterical edge out of my tone. "She saw it too. Not like it's anything she doesn't already know."

<b>Liliana Rivale (Damiana)</b>
(2/3/2015 10:43:39 PM) (2019963)

I draw back, giving her space. Poor thing. I really didn't expect it to upset her to this degree but then I've had time to start thinking about the positive side to all of this.

"Okay. I don't think any of us know what is happening," I pull it into a present tense. "But something so obviously is. To you, and Kelly, and to me. Kelly said something about the new girl at school too. I feel like little things are turning into bigger things and we can't afford to ignore it. But at the same time? It doesn't have to be bad. For example, you were already an amazing athlete. Do you think its possible that not only can you heal yourself, but your metabolism is overclocked in other ways? Has anyone tested your speed? Maybe you can run even faster now."

I want to give her a hug but she looks like she might bolt or vomit and I don't want to presume.

"We need to get answers- or at least I need to get answers." My tone is definite on this. "I want to find out why Kelly has that bracelet and why your body is changing and how and why I can set things on fire and why there's crazy homeless people chasing me and Kelly and why I'm having bizarre dreams and why she's seeing people who aren't there."

Now I do reach for her hand. "I'd really like it if you helped us get those answers. But you don't have to."

<b>Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)</b>
(2/3/2015 11:02:58 PM) (2019996)

I stare at her and her hand for several moments, not saying anything, still standing, taut as a harpstring.

Finally, as if the words were pulled out of me by hooks, I say, "It....It isn't. I clocked myself. I always do. Even did a stress test." Which is dangerous without someone else there, but I haven't been on solid psychic footing for a while now. "I just....heal. I'm not a superhero, Lilly," I say heavily, finally able to step toward her. "I'm just....me. A freak, now. Maybe Kelly with that thing on her arm, or you with the fire -- I saw her, and she was <i>powerful</i>. She beat one of them with a car bumper until <i>the bumper broke</i>. You set an entire <i>building</i> on fire. I just...I'm no kind of superhero. You don't stop bad things by suffering them."

But I do take her hand. And a deep breath.

"But I can't go crazy either. And....I think I am. Will. If I don't do something." I look over my shoulder, toward my mother's bedroom, and there's a powerful sorrow there on my face. "Someone's got to take care of her," I say, quietly. "She can't do it for herself anymore."

I look back at Lilly. "I'll....I'll do what I can."

And then, just to prove I am crazy, my grip tightens on her hand, and I pull her into a hug, and cling to her for a moment. There is gratitude and desperation and fear, all at once.

"Thanks." Too small a word. I don't have anything else.

<b>Liliana Rivale (Damiana)</b>
(2/3/2015 11:14:59 PM) (2020013)

"You were brave."

I look right at her with a serious expression. "When you got attacked? Kelly described it as fearless. And when I was the one in the ghetto screaming and shaking? You kept your cool. There's a thousand different super heroes and villains in all the comics. Some of them even have really lame powers. Like Ant Man and Animal Man. But you know what all of them are?" I gesture right at her.

"They're brave. They put themselves out there because they can't imagine not doing it. But I bet all of them had days like you are having before they ever put on a costume. Don't worry about it, don't freak out about it- and I'll make you a promise." Now my gaze goes over towards her mom's door and then back at her.

"If you and your mom ever need something? Just call me. She'll be taken care of. But pretending life is normal won't help us because its not normal. So we need to the initiative and find out the truth. For everyone's sake."

I pat the laptop. "I really have to go. Marco is probably ready to kill me at this point. But I hope you enjoy the computer and there's a book in the laptop bag to read, some manual if you need it. Call me or Marco or Kelly if you have trouble, okay?"

And I just acknowledge her tanks with a slight smile.

"You are welcome." Then I turn to go.
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