2008-02-05: Comedy, Tragedy, His Story


Joule_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif

Summary: Lee, burning off some nervous energy after his video and subsequent suspension from work, surprises Joule.

Date It Happened: February 5, 2008

Comedy, Tragedy, His Story

Joule's Apartment - Brooklyn

Lee was actually exhaustingly busy the first day he was suspended - interviews with Teacher's Union officials, mounds of paperwork, more interviews, more paperwork, the 'oh my god will I be fired' jitters and floor-pacing and snappishness, but the second day is marvelously quiet once he makes it clear to the various Internet media outlets that track him down that he will not be commenting. Thus, he spends the morning walking the city and the afternoon doing what Joule discovers when she gets back to her apartment - picking out fresh meat and veggies and a bottle of wine at the best shops, cooking a meal, lighting the candles, snagging a new obscure Brazilian-jazz trio CD from a guy selling them on the street, and bopping in the kitchen waiting for her to get back from her latest shoot. He remains nervous, he still doesn't know if it's going to work or not, but it appears Joule will reap the rewards of his nervousness and free time.

Joule has had her own jitters. The night before was spent sleeplessly, without Lee, pondering the wisdom of taking the job as Gal Friday to the man down the block. The son of the scientist her father died trying to find.

The following day has been strange. She had been too preoccupied to pick up the newspaper, so was rather startled to have men following her and whistling at her. More than usual. And singing the lyrics of "Represent" at her. Fortunately, obnoxious confidence is a Joule Dahanukar trademark, so blowing them off was not much more effort than she'd ordinarily exert. She, too, made no comment, other than, "You'd have to ask our lead singer. He's the brains behind the whole thing."

By the time she gets home, she's more or less made peace with both strangenesses in her life, and trudges tiredly up the stairs. She pauses at the scent, and smiles appreciatively, opening her door.

"Lee?" she asks, startled. "Hullo, luv."

Lee says, "Joule! Hey, how are you? I kinda thought I should do a big shebang in case I get fired and have to eat beans out of a can and live in a boxcar for the next three months while I look for work." He smiles confidently - he knows she'll like it, and embraces her warmly. "How are things going? Are people recognizing you from the video?"

Joule kisses Lee warmly; well, as warmly as she can before getting out of the coat. "They are," she admits. "I didn't know you were going to spin another connection to get it aired in Times Square. Not bad. You really went balls to the walls for this one." She's impressed. She sloughs off the winter clothes, and ruffles the static out of her hair.

Lee says, "I wish I could say I knew that was going to happen, and I have a feeling that when the debt comes due for it I'm going to be the Dungeon Master for Temple of Elemental Evil Week at the gaming club." He perks at her compliment, "Thanks. I had fun. It took my mind off things, got me out of the house, and I figured I owed you a big thank you."

Joule shrugs, stretching like a cat. "Oh, not at all. It was a blast. I had fun. Which was, after all, half the point of this exercise." She hums a few phrases of "Represent," and settles on that trunk she uses for a coffee table. "And if the taped-together-eyeglasses crowd did you a solid, being the Dungeon Master is the least you can do. But hell, I'll take being cooked for in the meantime. It smells fab."

Lee says, "It will taste even better. So how's things going? How was the shoot? I have a big lot of no news until the union rep hears back from the school…the pressure is staying on. I feel bad for the kids stuck with a sub, though. At Brubaker that's pretty much just a babysitter."

Joule tucks her feet under her. "Didn't have a shoot today," she says. "I was doing some window shopping. For …" a dramatic pause. "Sensible suits." She pauses again, before going on, full steam ahead. "I'm going to be taking a part time administrative assistant job. Well, partly administrative assistant, partly um, what do you call it — life coach, I suppose."

Lee says, "Really? Some Upper East Side trophy wife being dragged towards forty kicking and screaming?" He seems surprised. Joule's not who Lee would pick for a life coach, despite the benefits she's brought to him personally.

"Actually no. Dr. Suresh," Joule says, with quiet triumph, as she regards Lee from her perch. "I gave him Dad's notes. Still have to bring him his disks. But he says he needs someone to help out now and again. Remind him to eat. Help around the apartment. Run errands. That sort of thing." She brushes her hair out of her face. "And he'll see what he can sort out so I don't need to be bloody bells lass forever." She shakes the bracelets meaningfully.

Lee says, "You found him? Well, that's great!" Lee doesn't know there are two doctors Suresh. "You know, you never did explain to me what the bracelets were all about…"

"Not Chandra," Joule clarifies. "His son. Mohinder." There's a certain unconscious breathiness about how she says his name. Maybe it's just that he's also of Indian heritage, and she's pleased by that. "Yeah. We've spoken a couple times. Bought him a cup of chai for scaring five years off him. And oh, the bracelets? I …well, my power leaks a bit."

Lee says, "Leaks? In what way? Oh, so this is the guy's son, carrying on his father's work? Does he have a grant from anywhere?" Ah, Lee. He has this idea of academics. And he doesn't notice the breathiness.

"Leaks, as in I cause people headaches, and random aches and pains if I don't wear them. It's like …keeping me from conducting, I suppose, when I don't want to." Joule shrugs. "And noplace you'd recognize, I think. Benefactors who wish to remain anonymous." Which makes her pause, as she considers it more closely.

Lee also pauses, as he pops the cork on the wine bottle: "That sounds terrible. How can he get IRB approval without giving up his funding source? Are they even going to let him publish?"

"I'm not sure that he's interested in publishing," Joule admits. "His father was all but laughed out of the academic community. He's happy enough knowing his father wasn't barking, and in using his father's knowledge to help people like me." Not 'us'. Lee's ability doesn't seem to be anything he has a problem with other than ideologically.

Lee says, "Still, it doesn't sound like he can be expecting to make much progress that way. But that's great!" It is? "You found someone who is following your father's research, congratulations." He offers her the wine and lifts in an experimental toast.

Joule accepts the glass, and lifts it toward Lee. "Thanks. I'm happy it's happened. Think Dad'd be pleased. Maybe even proud. Gonna go out to the graveyard and have a word with Dad about it when it warms up, I think." Because Graveyards in the cold, grey winter? Even more depressing than graveyards in the middle of a moonless night. She has a sip. "Not bad. What is it?"

Lee says, "It's from this little vineyard in East Nebraska…" Of course Lee picks out the most obscure things he can, probably on the recommendation of a blog with four invite-only readers. "He would be proud or he would be wrong." he says with grace. "So how come the bracelets help, I mean, is it actual, real electricity? Not that I'm complaining at the sparks, mind you."

"How…did you find wine from East Nebraska in New York?" Joule stares at Lee with both brows knitted together in confusion. "How did you have time with what all's going on?" She has another sip. "It's not precisely electricity, no, but something close enough for horseshoes." She smiles, though, at the gently affectionate turn of phrase. "If I lost my temper or otherwise got shaken from my control, I could affect other people without meaning to."

Lee says, "Oh…well, I'm glad for Ikea, then." in a way that would be cryptic to anyone who wasn't here on that terrible night. "It wasn't easy…unfortunately, time is all I've got right now. It's this or pace around my phone yelling at O'Donnell to cave. I don't think she can hear me and I don't think she'd listen if she could."

"With all the press it's getting, Lee, you are gonna be back in by Valentine's Day," Joule assures him, getting up to pour another glass of wine and give him a kiss sweetened by obscure Nebraska wine. "The video is in rotation on the radio, you know. It's turning up on blogs, I've heard." From the guys trying to get her to shake her ass for them in the street. Brazen! "And the kids are going to learn these things. It's so catchy, they can't help it." She whistles the chorus, which sounds almost like Prince's 1999, but not quite close enough that the Artist himself would sue.

Lee says, "Thanks…I worked my ass off on it and…well, you know all that. I've told the story to like five different union officials and…oh! There was one call from a state legislator on the education committee. So I think there might be some pressure from the test its…" He is distracted by the kiss, returns it with fervor. He needed the reassurance, the embrace.

Joule is content to return the kiss as long as Lee is inclined to indulge his nervous energy in this way … at least, if it won't burn dinner. But she does eventually let him up for air. "Shhh. It's okay. You're going to be fine." She concentrates, tilting her head slightly. There's a strange ripple of something through her eyes, taking them from brown to burnished gold, and some of the tension in his muscles releases, as though she'd given him a massage. Though her hands are still linked behind his neck, and haven't moved. "Your gamble will pay off. You're the hero in this story, aren't you?"

Lee says, gently, "Sure, but is it a comedy or a tragedy, or worst, history?" He grins abashedly. As the muscle relaxing energy spreads through his body, his eyelids flutter and he sighs. "Okay, so if I ever say paranormal abilities aren't practical, just hit me in the back of the head so I remember today." he murmurs. Then: "All right. Let me get the food on the table before we get too distracted. By the way the union rep wanted your phone number for an 'interview'. I told him you'd been tragically hit by a speeding stay-away-from-my-girlfriend."

Joule laughs, heartily, at that, and smiles with approval as Lee relaxes visibly. "There. That's much better, innit?" She raises a brow and smirks as Lee informs her of her tragic demise at the razor-tipped points of Lee's wit.

I'd be delighted to conduct an interview," Joule assures Lee. "Of course, your union rep might find himself too distracted to properly discipline you when all was said and done…" She may be teasing. Then again, she does like to raise hell. "Let's eat. And get your mind off all this, hmm?"

Lee says, "One thing at a time." The meal is full of flirtations like that, and hers, and many more, and the payoff for them afterwards keeps Lee away from his non-ringing phone. She soothes his nervousness, reassures his insecurity, and he responds with gratitude and warmth. For an afternoon and an evening and a night, anyway, he is able to give her everything he wants to. Suspended in more than one way, Lee slumbers by her side as the cold night turns onwards beyond her window.

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