2009-12-10: *Bleep* Those Animals



Date: December 10, 2009


Lego make up, only to be conspired against by the animals in the apartment.


NYC - Sydney's Apartment

It would not come as a surprise to Lena to discover that both Sydney and Jade have been making a conscious effort to be Away From The Apartment, recently. And it certainly is suspiciously quiet, this morning. Normally the kitchen would be bustling, with females laughing and stepping around each other, trying to make breakfast or get coffee or get out the door to work. Right now, it is silent, and empty. The living room is likewise quiet and lacking in any occupant other than the kitten sleeping on the back of the couch. Sydney's bedroom door is shut but the therapist has already slipped out for the day. And the guest bedroom…well, that door is wide open to reveal a rumpled, empty bed.

Lena is in the bathroom, see. She'd stayed up late last night but finally dropped into a restless sleep. Now she's crawled out of bed early in order to take a long, hot, steamy, scrubby shower. This is a blatant attempt to remove as much of the gunk from her skin as humanly possible. It also means she won't be able to hear the door open, over the hiss of the water.


Yet another sleepless night for Tiago - though this time, a bit modified. Rather than lie in bed, looking at the accusatory ceiling with a heavy head and an even heavier heart. No, yesterday was an enterprise. After all, Jade /had/ chewed him out for sulking on his ass all day…so it's only right for him to go out, get drunk, and productively try and forget about all of his heartache, right? It's only natural for him to wake on a bench in Central Park, completely hung over?

With all the grace of a stupified zombie, Tiago trudges into the apartment building, a low groan escaping his lips. Clutching at his head, he barely remembers to shut the door behind him - loudly, clumsily, before he makes it into the kitchen, glancing around for an advil. As for his appearance - he looks less than presentable. In addition to the horror that is his hair and the unruliness that is his clothing, there is the faint stench of alcohol and smoke clinging to him, and his jawline is rimmed with 6 o' clock stubble.


That steady hum of water hitting plastic and tile finally cuts off, leaving silence in its wake. After a moment, the shower curtain is pulled back, and Lena can be heard puttering around in the bathroom. Drying herself off, toweling her hair, puttings on clothes…these things take a little time, leaving her utterly oblivious to the wreck of a man in the kitchen.

Finally the bathroom door is opened, Lena and a wave of steam both escaping. She's decked out in her favorite comfy jeans and a black turtleneck shirt. Her wet hair has been scraped back from her face via a plastic headband. And she's humming under her breath as she approaches the kitchen. It's one of her favorite 'my world has ended' emo songs.

It ends abruptly upon turning the corner and seeing someone there, looming, dishevelled and stinky. With a squeak, Lena vaults backwards, tumbles over the arm of the couch and clutches at her heart.


Tiago has found Sydney's stash of Advil. Somehow. But finding a usable cup isn't going so well. He's finally opened the correct cabinet and is about to pull out a glass to fill with tap water when a distinctive squeak emits. Normally, he would automatically snap to attention at that squeak. Today?

He lets out a girly squeak of his own, falling backwards from the cabinet and covering his ears with his hands. "Ahh - Lena!" He snaps petulantly, face contorted with something akin to pain as he turns to look at the woman - his woman - the one for whom he suffers so much for. "Not so /loud/, m'kay? Jesus - damn near killed me…" So much for a greeting. Slowly, he makes his way to his full height and grabs the cup once again, pouring himself the water he necessitates.


Her first instinct, after connecting the dots and realizing the big picture is of someone who's painfully hungover and grumpy at her for it, is to snap back. But after a few panting breaths, Lena's able to quell that impulse. Silently she climbs from the couch and pads back into the kitchen, and silently she scrutinizes Tiago's looks. That narrow-eyed look might be easily interpreted as critical. But, with Jade's cautions ringing in her mind, the brunette finally steps forward and winds her arms around the man's waist from the side. She slips herself under his arm and turns her cheek, pressing it against his ribs.

"I'm glad you made it home safe, Chi," Lena says, quietly.


One can easily explain away the fact that Tiago is not looking towards Lena because he's drunk and looking for a remedy to his headache. But that would be underestimating his sense of the woman. It would be underestimating the shame he feels, the embarrassment of being subject to that judgmental, critical look he knows is burning through him right now. The Advil is popped into his mouth, then dry swallowed, then a swig of the water is taken, soothing the passage of his throat before the man proceeds to close his eyes and slump against the counter.

He had been prepared to stand like this for a good amount of time, only to have his plans derailed by the brunette. Immediately, his body stiffens at the unexpected contact - but unlike before, it relaxes immediately afterwards, even leaning into her in an almost inviting manner. He is unable to keep the shock out of his look, and as his eyes fly over to his girlfriend (ex?), green eyes are wide, only adding to his apparent slowness.

"You…y'are?" He inquires, raspy in voice, before licking his too dry lips. "I mean…you aint like…pissed?"


"I'm pissed at you all the time, just like you're always pissed at me, but mostly I'm glad you're safe. It'd kill me if anything happened to you, Chi. It really would."

The confession (for confession it sounds like) is accompanied with Lena's head tilting back, her own blue eyes wide and earnest as she looks up at him. There's a tension to the set of pursed lips that hints at either nerves or pain; she's keeping her expression so tight, against the expectation of rejection, that her face is almost mask-like except for those gleaming eyes.

The arms around his waist draw snug, on the off chance that the young man might attempt to twist away. "Look. I know you have every right to be pissed at me. I know I fucked up. What I did wasn't right, and I was never trying to dodge that. We're…we're fighting about two different things, I think. And I want you to know that you're totally right about me lying and being distant and not coming to you first. That was wrong," she says after a brief hesitation.


But Tiago has no intention of pulling away from her. He shows no hint of resistance, whatsoever, to the clutching of the young woman at his side, nor does his expression hold any malice, or anger, or indignation. Mostly, the young man looks confused. When she looks up to him, that hard expression on her face drawing an uncomfortable gulp from the lad, with his brows arching up somewhat. "I do?" He offers once she assures him that he had every right to be angry and proceeds to apologize for this. Baffled, the man casts his gaze around the apartment, as if half expecting to see a camera crew set up or something so outlandish, like a walking cactus, that this can only be some sort of fevered dream of his.

Ahem! This is real life, presumably. Which means…she's probably waiting for something. "Yeah…yeah, it was." Beat. "Bu'…it's okay. I mean, it /can/ be okay, yeah? If…if shit like that don' happen again? If…y'don't lie or not…the other stuff."


There are no camera crews, no interviewer, no audience at all, except for that snoozing kitten. Oh, and the beagle in the corner of the living room, who is quietly snoring. It's become quite the zoo. Poor Sydney. But the animals are oblivious, leaving Lena and her man to their reconciliation.

She releases him, but only to use a fingertip to trace a cross over her heart. "I swear to God and you, Chi…I won't ever lie to you again, and if I'm going to do anything, I'll come to you first," Lena says with all of the solemnity such a vow deserves. The promise made, her arm returns to its place around him.

"I let it get bigger than it should've been, starting with Dex. It was just dumb. I know you wouldn't have left me if you knew what she'd had me do. And I know you don't think for real that I'd run off with Peter." Pause. "Going to Washington alone was…well, that was probably the dumbest thing of all. If you didn't want to talk to me ever again because of it, I'd understand."


Tiago is smelling of rank substance abuse. He is grimy, and dirty, and suffering from a serious splintering kind of headache. And yet, the smile on his face is broad, genuine, and brighter than it has been in days. The corners of his eyes crinkle slightly with the strength of his smile, and there is his expression holds nothing short of fondness as he gazes upon the girl plastered beside him. Then, gingerly, his arms lift up, moving of their own violation to wrap around her shoulders. "Don'…it's not that I ever wanted ta not talk ta ya ever again. Ba- Lena, you don' know. You don' know how much I…I never want ta not talk ta ya. I was jus'…"

Clearing his throat, he looks around him hopelessly, looking for inspiration to communicate his next sentiment properly. "Jus' worried, is all. Worried that I mighta…that I pushed ya inta this shit with me, 'cause you didn' want ta in the beginning either, yeah? An' you said you were lookin' for a way out, an'…an' I had ta give ya that. That way out. So I don't feel like I trapped ya none…"


Lena presses her ear to his chest, appearing to enjoy the way his voice booms inside and outside of her head by nestling against him that way. Her eyes have closed as she listens. "I keep telling you, Chi…it isn't that I didn't want to, or didn't want you. It isn't that at all, it never has been. It's that I don't wanna hurt you, or make you sick, or…or worry you. And that's all I seem to do. Sometimes by being stupid and…and sometimes just by being me."

She pauses then to draw a breath, the sound of it thick, suspiciously thick and close to tears. But they're held back for the moment. It is imperative she get this out before her throat closes up.

"If I wanted out I wouldn't have come back when you texted me," she tells him softly, eyes scrunching even more tightly shut. "I had money, I could've just disappeared.


Tiago tightens his hold on the brunette, and the intensity of the hug that follows is such that the man is capable literally lifting the woman off of the floor if only for a brief moment. His hands ball in the material of her sweater, unwilling to release her. "Y'don' get it, do ya? It hurts more when y'leave. I get more sick, an' more worried, an'…an' all of that bullshit."

Gingerly, he loosens that vice grip he held on her sweater, but only so he can straighten himself out and look down to her more comfortably. "I missed you, Lena. I always miss ya. Don'…don' do this ta me again, okay?" Clearing his throat, he purses his lips primly, looking to avoid the emotional histerics that have characterized him for the past couple of days. After all, it's bad enough he's broken down in the presence of two different souls entirely - he doesn't want Lena leaving him 'cause he's too much of a baby. "Does…does this mean we're good now? Good for like…for real?"


"Eep!" That is the vocalization of her squeak when she is lifted bodily from the floor, but it is also a happy sound, her own arms convulsing so that Lena is left clinging to him even after her feet have been returned to the ground. By the time Tiago has looked down at her, and gotten control of himself, she is wearing what could only be described as an ecstatic grin.

"I promise, Chi, not ever again. Cross my heart, hope to stub my toe." Because mentioning dying is not a suitable topic of conversation, under the circumstances. "I'm not going anywhere. Except maybe to the new house…we…I think we're good, yeah. For real, like."

There's a brief pause as she catches her lower lip between her teeth. Perhaps that isn't it, after all. "If…if you're okay with waiting to…to touch skin to skin, until we can get that medicine. I mean…I know it's hard. It's hard for me too. I just…I get sick and worried too, Chi, thinking about what it could do to you. Day in and day out. You know? Is…is that okay?" she asks softly, eyes gone soft and apprehensive with anxiety.


The squeak, high decibel as it is, prompts an involuntary wince from the man suffering from that hangover, but he powers through it. "Are you still sleepin' in the livin' room?" Tiago inquires, something inherently boyish and petulant about this inquiry, for the way he fixes his eyes on her person is vaguely searching. "Or are we still…s'it still for my own good an' that shit?"

His question is somewhat answered with her next display of concern, and though the man lets out a slow, deliberate sigh and he does pull away from her, his intentions become quite clear soon enough. With his fingers wound around her forearm, looking to tug her after him into the living room. "No…like, y'dun know. It's /hard/. Like, hard hard." And he tosses a furtive look to the front of his jeans. "But…I mean, it can't be /that/ long, can it, yeah? He'll…he'll find that cure soon, righ'?"


"I told you, I'm only gonna sleep on the couch if you want me to. I'd rather be beside you, if you think we can…we can be like it was that first night we were together. When we didn't do anything. And only until he finds the cure, yeah. He will, Chi. He's gotta." Lena hesitates a moment as she's drawn along. Then she digs her heels in to draw him up short. Quite deliberately, moving slowly, she lifts to cup his cheek in her gloved hand. It's safe contact, that. But immediately after, she draws his head down towards her as if angling for a kiss.

"But because I was an ass, and because I love you, you can have this to tide us over," she murmurs before pressing her mouth to his. It isn't designed to curl toes, that kiss. It's intimate and affectionate and soft…and delivers a tingling warmth meant to dull the pain of hangover with the pink clouds of her own ability.


It's disorienting, being forced to a sudden stop by the woman. Surprise colors Tiago's features, and he ends up coming to an abrupt halt, craning his neck to the side to bring the brunette into his line of sight. "Bu' what if he doesn't, Lena? What if there aint no cure an'…" He finds himself immediately silenced by the subsequent actions that come to pass. Especially sensitive to such phenomena, it doesn't take the Brazilian very long before he understand exactly where she's going with this.

There is a flash of a smile spread over his features before the contact is made, before he allows his lips to brush over hers. The texture is different, thanks to the heavy stubble gracing his cheeks and prickling her skin. The taste is different, thanks to the cigarettes he had indulged in prior to stumbling home. But, most of all…his appreciation for the display of affection is different. Suddenly aware of what it's like to not have any at all - he knows just how precious moments like these actually are. He knows he'd give just about anything to stay like this fore-


And forever is cut short, thanks to the kitten climbing up Tiago's legs and sticking his nails into the Brazilian's calves.


It is better, for having had nothing at all for too long. And no making up session is complete without a kiss, right? One of Lena's arms curls over the man's shoulders to hold him to her as that contact lingers. It's a moment made for movies.

Naturally, the sweet intensity of it means that it couldn't last.

When Tiago cries out, Lena's startled enough to let out a little squeal of horror and fright. She jumps backwards, releasing him and looking wildly around for the threat. And finds it, in the form of one wee bit of grey and white fluff. "God damn that cat! Why the fuck did I rescue you, you little shit?" It's probably a good thing that felines have never, and will never, be cowed by stern voices and finger-wagging. Post-tantrum, the girl looks up at Tiago, aggrieved…only to burst out laughing a second later.

After all, it isn't her calf that's suffering puncture wounds.


"What? No - no, that don' count! Do over, do over!" Tiago pleads, looking from the kitten over to his girlfriend with brows arched up and pure disappointed horror on his face. "Hold on, babe - gimme a second, yeah? JD! What the fuck're you doin' - you're blockin' me, man!" With this, his own (kinder) version of chastizing completed, the man proceeds to shake his leg off, before bending to actually physically displace the critter. "I'll get ta you later, damn!"

Now that that's done, he can return his full attention to his girlfriend, taking that solitary step forward to enter inside of her personal bubble once again, pressing his body flush against hers. And, after a second of learning closer to her, undoubtedly chasing after the interrupted kiss, he hesitates, before pulling back. "Lemme…lemme go brush mah teeth or somethin'. If…if this is the last I got, then…then I wanna make it a good one. Okay?"


"Okay but you better hurr—godDAMNIT! No, Uncle Fester! Bad dog, bad! Not INSIDE!"

This is the cry that chases Tiago into the bathroom, followed not long thereafter by the jingle of the leash, the click of dog nails on tile and the slamming of the front door.

When the Brazilian emerges from brushing his teeth, he will discover the apartment empty…save for the tidy pile of beagle poo on the kitchen threshhold.

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