A bag was thrown her way by her supervisor before she headed home for the night. "Waitress got food poisoning; we offered you to fill in, free of charge. Shouldn’t be a problem, right?" He knew she couldn’t say no. So here she was.
"Exactly," Lyla exclaimed, nodding. "the fettucine’s pretty good — they make the bacon extra crispy, which is always good, in my humble opinion. You know, one of the kids I look after thought fettucine was a type of mustache." She snorts, shaking her head at the memory. Then she remembers it’s probably better to leave the factors of her job out of the equation. Getting mixed up in matters of PROTECT and Nexus would turn the conversation sour. But she decides to answer the imminent question rather than leave it hanging. "I work with kids as part of a new program," she offers casually. She hopes that will be enough for Riley. Of course she would love to talk about her job, and the kids she’s met and helped through trauma, but that’s not reality with her best friend. She’s willing to sacrifice those conversations for friendship.
It always made Lyla proud to show off her baby niece. She liked experiencing what other people felt when they saw Fiona; sometimes her eyes too pricked with tears at the sight of the little redhead smiling into the camera. “Yeah, no problem,” she replies quietly, taking the phone back from Riley. She bumps Riley’s shoulder gently. “if you wanted to, you could come over again and we could Skype them together. Sophia would love to see you, I’m sure. And then you could see Fiona in action. She’s a pretty lively baby.” Lyla knew Sophia had left behind a lot of people when the Alessi’s moved to Washington; perhaps it would make everyone feel better to catch up.
Lyla’s smile brightened. She knew she worried too much about upsetting other people — she was told she had an overactive sense of emotion. Setting her feet on top of the coffee table, she nods, responding, “Good — great. Yeah; it’s been way too long since we saw each other’s faces. I missed having you around in my life. Okay, so, I guess we can do all those things. Or at least we’ve checked off one of those boxes, except you haven’t told me what you’ve been up to in the past few months.” She pokes Riley’s shoulder lightly. “I’ll order the food now so we don’t starve.” She pulled up the number to the Italian restaurant, which she had added as a contact a few weeks ago. The call took a little longer than expected; the bartender, who took the orders, had a hard time hearing her over the noise. Lyla made apologetic faces to Riley while annunciating their order until he got what she was saying. When he hung up, Lyla released a breath and fixed her hair. “Sorry — I guess it gets really noisy after seven,” she says.
Riley’s mouth watered at just hearing extra crispy bacon. She was now very hungry—but patient. She equally wanted to eat as she wanted to spend time with Lyla. “A mustache?” She repeated, eyebrows raised with a small grin spreading on her face. “I guess if you cook the noodle, it could be a mustache.” She gave a shrug, but then realized what Lyla said and her grin shrank to a small smile. Before Riley could ask though, she was already given an explanation. “How rewarding,” Riley commented, considering Lyla lucky to be able to work with children. Although she can’t possibly think of what program would need children. “You no longer work in the, uh, archives, was it?”
She bit her lip to keep herself from saying ‘Sure!’ Because as much as she would like that—and she would love it—she can’t help but feel the envy in the pit of her stomach. Not only because Sophia had a child, but because she left. ANd maybe resentment was mixed with Sophia’s departure as well. “Can’t imagine anything less from Sophia’s baby.” She chuckled, going back to biting her lips. “I’m sure she’s busy though.” Riley looked over at Lyla momentarily. “Wouldn’t want to take her time away.” She hesitated for a moment. “Keep me updated, though.”
Riley wanted to come up with some good accomplishments she had done over the past few months, but there wasn’t anything noteworthy. Just another dumb birthday and nothing else. “Ah, don’t worry about it. At least they got our order.” Well, her therapist said she was making progress but that wasn’t something to be mentioned. “I did this breast cancer run in June.” Riley mentioned, not knowing what else to say. “Kind of working on doing longer marathons.” She chuckled a bit. “Might have to hire a personal trainer to be ready to actually complete one.”
Hm? Oh, yeah, we probably should. Gillian frowns and lowers her line of vision to block out the sun as much as possible. She’s never cared either way for daytime or nighttime, but heavy sunlight was completely unbearable, especially in Afghanistan. Trekking around for kilometers with all of that equipment on her back in the heat? Nature’s abomination and torture. I think it’s, uh, this way, she says, pointing down the street, Yeah, definitely this way. She starts walking with Riley, and they get to the pizza place within a few minutes. When she gets to the door, once again, Gillian holds the door open for Riley and follows her inside. She whistles at the aroma of, well, New York’s specialty. Pizza after a workout, she comments, raising her eyebrows jokingly, Great idea, right?
She’s distracted. Always is. Riley’s used to it. And not because she’s spent so much time with her coworker, but because Rae was the same. Sighing, she chose to cloud her thoughts with the sights instead. Silence took up most of their time spent and while it made Riley uncomfortable, that was just another thing she figured out how to handle and not take personally. Yet another thing that wasn’t new to her. Dom too could spend minutes in silence and not feel as if anything was wrong. She sometimes wonders what her old friend is up to. “I don’t recall you ever having a problem with that before.” She speaks in a similar tone before walking in and getting in line. “I’m so hungry,” Riley whines with a slight pout on her lips.
Pretty crazy working where I do, how much diversity you see.. in normal people and posthumans alike. It’s actually quite extraordinary — helps me keep my beliefs in coexistance one day. But I’m not a precog so I dunno. Maxwell catches himself rambling again and quickly clears his throat before gathering his thoughts and getting back onto the topic at hand. Yeah I suppose you’re right, I mean she is quite the chipper, kindhearted little gal but I guess you could just call me the typical stubborn man. My first instinct is to find my own way with something and doing everything to avoid asking for help.. or directions. The man lets out a lighthearted laugh. Besides, I only miss my family because of the distance — when I actually get around them I remember how crazy they are.
She drops her head, giving a smile, but unable to make it genuine. It’s polite at best. “Maybe,” she attempts at widening it, however. She disagrees with him. Coexistence won’t ever happen. Not that she doesn’t want it to happen, but she doesn’t even think that would be possible. “It’s nice to imagine, to hope,” she picks up her head to look out the window and into the crowded street. When he continues, the smile on her lips becomes more genuine. “Ah, so I take it she keeps you on your toes?” She hummed her chuckle, turning to face him. “Yeah, it’s good to see family sparingly. Too much time and you’ll start to wonder what convinced you to visit them in the first place.”
She smiles and nods before getting to work on the punching bag. In between swings, she speaks. Okay, I must have. I work security, so I get around a bit, too.
She takes a gulp of water, admiring the other woman’s moves. “Do you?” Riley can’t help but smile, always having had a good relationship with the security personnel since she first arrived. “Are you one of the newer staff? I met one a while back. Her name was Eve, I think?” She tries to recall that moment, and is pretty sure the woman had said Eve.
Gillian’s been hiding in her apartment for a good three weeks or so, shaking and trembling and making a mess out of herself. It’s been about three weeks, and in those three weeks, she’s dropped so far into her own rock bottom that it’s hard for her to tell what day it is, what month it is, or even if it’s day or night. The sunlight is there - she can look out the window and see it shining, but it just doesn’t register with her quite yet. What if she’s hallucinating the sunlight? What if nothing’s real and she wakes up in, like, the Matrix? It’s… definitely been a long three weeks. The first week - the worst one, in her opinion, but they were all pretty bad - she couldn’t stand in the shower without collapsing on her knees and praying to God that He would make this terror go away, that he would ward off the demon that the devil had sent upon her. But, God didn’t listen, or maybe there wasn’t anyone there to even pray to. After the first week and a somewhat concerned email from Nexus, she made up the lie that she had mono and had been in the hospital for a week. Mono, thankfully, varied with each person, which gave Gillian her bedridden excuse for the next two weeks that she hadn’t shown up at work. However, her being her, she still liked her job and requested some virtual paperwork be sent to her and she’d fill it out, print it, fax it back - whatever. It gave her something to do so that she didn’t have to concentrate on that person talking to her every single day.
She hasn’t really stepped out of her own apartment complex in three whole weeks, so the feeling of sunlight on her face was enough to send her back into a small panic. It is odd, really, how she’d survived so many tours in Afghanistan and come back without any sense of panic, yet what ends up getting her was… herself. The cab ride to Riley’s place is tough, and she clamps her mouth shut, trying not to respond to Michelle’s arguments. They’ve been going on for days, and Gillian fished out a Bluetooth earpiece just to make it easier for her to talk in public without looking like a crazy - not that she wants to talk to her own hallucinations or anything. What makes you think she’ll even believe you? Or, think about it, support you? Are you aware of the social stigma against people who walk around talking to thin air?It sounds like a different Michelle, entirely, and Gillian has come to realize that she should’ve noticed before - changes in attitude and behavior, it’s all a battle against herself. But, what’s supposed to be the end result? What’s the goal? Are you aware of how much I would like to set you on fire right now? she mutters, rolling her eyes and adjusting the earpiece on her ear. It’s the first response she’s given Michelle the benefit of that hasn’t been calling her a ‘demon’ or a ‘package from the devil’ or just in general ‘you lying bitch’. But, she’s pissed off as… hell, so it’s perfectly okay to not indulge in talking to herself - that’s healthy, anyway.
She stumbles out of the taxi when it arrives at Riley’s apartment complex and pays the driver with shaky hands and maybe a few dollars too much, but she doesn’t notice and doesn’t really care and is in too much of a hurry. Her breathing grows heavier in her chest as she climbs the stairs to Riley’s apartment and Michelle does everything but shut up. Why are you even going to her? What can she help you with? Is she going to tell you that God will listen to your pleas and you just have to wait? Gillian knows what’s coming next, and it hurt the first time Michelle said it but she eventually built a tolerance over the next few times. Now, it still stings, but she can keep a straight glare. God has never been there for you, but I have.Her jaw clenches as she pauses outside of Riley’s door, trying to keep her composure. She gives Michelle a brief look that could kill - she wishes it would, You lied to me. I think that efficiently nullifies every time you’ve ever been there for me. She puts a finger to her lips and whispers, Now, shut the fuck up.
Gillian knocks twice on Riley’s door and, at the last minute, does an examination of herself and tries to fix her terrible appearance. But, there’s no use, anyway. Her eyes are colder than ice but, at the same time, deprived of all spirit in a way that was different from before. Before, she was just always angry or bored. Now, she’s… nothing. Her hair’s not at its best, probably because she simply rolled out of bed this morning and ran a brush through it once and left it at that. Her clothes are, thankfully, clean but wrinkled because she didn’t find the motivation to iron any of them. And, there’s a laziness in her posture because what’s the point anymore? Her once rigid, back-straight, head-high, shoulders-even stance is gone, replaced by a casual leaning against the outside door frame as if it’s her support beam as Riley opens the door. Hey, uh, long time no see, she greets, thinking about trying out a smile but then realizing better of it and settling for a quiet nod instead. Ummmmm, she draws out, already losing her thoughts - but, at least, Michelle is keeping very quiet and not distracting her, Can I come in? I need some, uh, - What is it that she needs, exactly? Help? Advice? God’s wrath to chase her demons away? Yes. Help, Gillian settles on that word and frowns at its content. How is she supposed to get help for only something she can see? Is that even possible? It’s confusing. I, um, have some… problems. To put it lightly.
It was stupid, Riley knew that the moment they locked eyes. Her mind wouldn’t stop telling her how stupid it was since Riley decided to smile at her. Alcohol couldn’t be used as an excuse. Riley had been sober for a long time now and she wanted to keep it that way. Just ginger ale and water for her here on out.
Maybe that would have drowned her conscience, but she just kept at it. The flirting, the touches. She had thought she had gotten rusty, that she wouldn’t have been able to do it. A rush of a familiar yet old sensation overcame her that night. She knew from how she was being looked at, she was actually wanted. For the first time in a long time.
Riley invited her to her place and she was embarrassed once they actually got near. However, the state of her apartment didn’t seem to matter. Not even her own current state. She had always joked to herself that she would remain celibate after Rae—and not necessarily by choice. Who would want to be with her? Sexually or romantically. The darkness did well to ease her insecurities. This was the first time someone would see her nude in an intimate way after the incident. Although, the woman didn’t treat them differently than the rest of her body. She kissed it all the same. Riley couldn’t help but lose her breath at that moment and keep herself from crying at her body being cared for by someone else again.
In the morning, Riley awoke with a smile before turning around to wrap her arms around a warm body. Only that wasn’t the case. The woman was gone.
Before she could think much of it, there was a knock at the door. She got up, believing it was the woman from last night. Maybe she had gone to get breakfast and was locked out. The door had a habit of doing that. Grabbing her sleep tee and pulling it over, her bare feet padded along the floor as she walked over to answer the door. To her surprise and sadness, it was not the woman from last night; it was Gillian.
"Hey," she responds softly, though her face was laced with concern at what brought her friend here.
Riley doesn’t need an explanation after her request to come in and simply answers with another soft “yeah,” before stepping aside and allowing Gillian to come inside. She looks out in the hallway, but nothing.
Shutting the door behind her, she makes her way to the kitchen, although it’s easily visible from the living room.
"Can I get you something to drink?" She asks, already pouring some water in the kettle to set it on the stove. Even if Gillian didn’t want any, Riley did. She needs it.
"Hold on a minute please," she mumbles before walking over to the bathroom to at least look decent. Even if decent is just splashing some water on her face and brushing her teeth. She can’t help but feel saddened that the woman she met last night didn’t stay. Then again who would? Rae didn’t.
"Shit," she spit out the toothpaste and rised out her mouth, then threw water at her face to keep herself from crying before coming back to Gillian, still plagued by her thoughts and sleepiness.
Jacob forces himself not to react to the hand Riley briefly places on his shoulder. There’s no direct contact, so there’s no harm in it. Besides, it seems like she needed the reassurance that he was real. I died? Over a year ago matches up with when he woke up in the hospital. Though she seemed pretty sure of his demise. The Jacob part of his past was terrifying him, but he had to know more. Riley, I don’t even know where to begin with how utterly crazy and complicated this is, but I am Jacob. But I don’t remember a lot about myself. Almost two years ago I woke up in the hospital with no memories, a bullet scar on my head, and this ability. He paused as he tried to figure out what he could ask without scaring her anymore. Riley,if you can answer this I’d be really grateful… Who am I?
Riley doesn’t know what to say. She never saw his body, but that didn’t mean it didn’t happen. Especially with the way Christina acted—Christina. She wondered if she knew. Riley hadn’t spoken to her in so long. “You’re Jacob Miller. A Nexus agent. Or was, I guess. I never heard anything about you being alive when I was an agent. Doubt I’ll get anything now.” She sighs, unsure about this whole thing. “You also couldn’t do that face change thing when I last saw you either.” She steps closer, arms still crossed. “Do you… do you really not remember anything? Not Nexus? Not even Christina?”
I have loved you for many years
Maybe I am just not enough
You’ve made me realize my deepest fear
By lying and tearing us up
Aye, and he wasn’t some sort of OCD Martha Stewart type, he’d let towels go musty and leave bits and bobs out all over the counter. Which is fine until you go stepping on an open bottle of hair gel at three in the bloody morning and almost go and trip when you’ve just gone to use the loo. He shakes his head at her question, a wry smile on his lips. Not properly, no. Did some off-Broadway, nearly made it to the big time. And that’s a lot of dancing, a lot of stretching and all, I’d not done it for ages so I was completely out of condition. Mind you, I never did the boxing.
She grimaces at that. I don’t know which is worse, honestly. I’d like to say I’d rather have the former, but then again I don’t want to get yelled at three in the morning because I forgot to screw the cap on the toothpaste or our toothbrushes are touching. She laughs a bit. Oh, how impressive. Are you trying to get back into it, then?
Yeah, unfortunately everything that seems necessary comes with a headache nowadays. Just the world we live in.The man’s shoulders hunch to a msall shrug before sipping his coffee, before hearing her comment about wishing to have the ability to teleport whenever you needed. Well actually.. Maxwell chuckles. Technically I could, but I wouldn’t be so selfish as to ask my co worker to use her ability so casually.
She sighs. Tell me about it. She shakes her head, but leaves it at that. It’s too much negativity to bring to a conversation. You have a coworker that can teleport? She raises her eyebrows, not in surprise of having a post-human coworker, but one that teleports. I’ve always found that really neat. But if it gets you to visit your family more, maybe she’d have a big enough heart to allow it.