2007-04-02: Confessions of a Dog Man's Mind


Lachlan_icon.gif Cass_icon.gif

Summary: Lachlan returns a day late to pick up Bonnie and his phone and guilt drives him to confess his latest indiscretion. Sometimes honesty is not the best policy.

Date It Happened: April 2nd, 2007

Confessions of a Dog Man's Mind

Cass' Apartment, Brooklyn

When Lachlan left Bonnie and his phone behind, he had fully intended to return later in the evening with a bit of dog food and to retrieve the cell. Unfortunately, that evening turned out /completely/ differently than he had expected — and not entirely in the good sense. It's taken him most of the day to recover, so it's sometime around sunset that he finally manages to get to Cass' apartment. The hangover has been tamed into a mild headache. In his hand is a plastic baggy of mixed kibble and wet food, and he's dressed in clean and relatively unrumpled clothes (laundry day was quite recently). He steps out of the elevator once he's on Cass' floor and ambles down the hallway. Goblin and Troll are absent.

It was quite a surprise for Cass to wake up at night on the couch with no Lachlan beside her and Bonnie curled up on the floor. Shifting in her sleep, her hand trailed off onto the floor and as soon as the woman started shifting, the puppy started licking and whining. She needs to be walked! And fed! And given /attention/. Confused, Cass checked around and found Lachlan not in the apartment. But, his phone and dog left behind. Strange. Also, since his phone is with /her/ there's no way to call him to ask when he was planning on coming back. Crafting a leash out of a scarf, she walked Bonnie and did a little shopping. Half an hour later, a very happy Bonnie was munching on some dog food she picked up at the local store and running about the new apartment like the puppy dog that she is.

Finally, though, realizing that Lachlan probably is not coming back that night, she went to bed. And let Bonnie come on up and sleep on the bed with her. The spoiling begins. The next day, she took yet another mental health day from the store and has been using it to research. The more she doesn't think about whatever happened to her, the better. At the moment, Bonnie is curled up at her feet with a chew bone she picked up with the dog food and Cass has some old medical books open in front of her, taking notes.

Knocknocknock. It's not very loud nor urgent — not like the /last/ time Lachlan was here. Bonnie perks up and dashes excitedly to the door, because OHBOYMASTEROHBOY is out there. Her long tail swishes enthusiastically behind her, mouth open in a broad canine grin, ears up and forward as she prances before the door. Ohboyohboyohboy!

Cass isn't immediate at answering the door. She's right in the middle of writing down a note when the knocking happens. Dressed for a day of study, she's once again in cut offs with a big Columbia sweater keeping her warm. "Coming!" she calls out, furiously scribbling down what must be the longest sentence in the history of textbooks as she starts to stand. Even going so far as sliding the notebook with her to the very edge of the table, finally, she finishes what she needs to get down before running to open the door - mindful that Bonnie doesn't go rushing out into the hallway.

Bonnie obediently stays in the apartment and back away from the opened door, though it's questionable whether this is from Cass' vigilance or a little telepathic help from the man on the other side. Lachlan is not wearing the sunglasses usually donned whilst he's hungover, so the tiredness on his face is quite evident, despite the somewhat strained smile he offers Cass. "Hey," he greets blandly. "Came ta get m'phone an' m'dog."

Cass smiles at Lachlan, but her head tilts a little at the tiredness so evident on his face. "Hey. You confused the hell out of me last night. I woke up with your dog and your phone but no you." Opening the door wider, she allows the Scot in. "She was a good girl. I didn't know what brand of food you usually get her, though, so I just kind of got something that looked good. Hopefully it's not actually cat or something."

"Oh, I brough' food." Lachlan holds up the bag for Cass to see, but Bonnie's probably the only one /really/ interested in it. He gives the dog an affectionate scratch behind the ears and clicks his tongue at her, then returns his attention to Cass. "'F ye gave 'er cat food, she'd be shittin' all over yer carpet." Just sayin'. "An' … yeah. Meant ta come back last nigh', but … I fergot." Yeah. He seems vaguely uncomfortable with this answer, but in an effort to change the subject, he glances at the table and its contents. "Werkin'?"

"Hopefully that's not for us," Cass raises a skeptical at the bag. She's no expert, but she's pretty sure that that's dog food. "Ah. Well. Um, she hasn't done that yet, so I'm assuming it was good old dog food." The vague answer makes Cass frown. She's heard his vague answers before. "Out drinking?" Her tone is mostly neutral. "I'm just brushing up on old medical texts. I was really more theoretical in my medical research in school, anyway, but I didn't really go as deep into genetics as I probably need."

/Out/ drinking? No, not really. /In/ drinking is more like it. Lachlan rubs at his jawline, scratching at the scruff that's ever-present there. "Yeah, s'fer the dog." He glances over to the table again, nodding along in the usual manner (in one ear, out the other) as Cass explains. He remains silent a moment before scrubbing his face again. Argh. This is awful. "Look, uh. Got a minute?" It sounds Important.

Not exactly tidying, but straightening, Cass pushes the notebook back toward the thick books that make up her studying texts. When she looks up, she's already suspicious and wary. She's no idiot. The look on his face is enough to show that this is probably not a talk that comes bearing good news. "O…kay." It's hesitant, but she's not really about to deny him speech. "Sure." Already she's on the defensive.

Which is probably not helped by the fact that now Lachlan has pulled out a cork and can't stop the inevitable flow that is to follow. But boy, he kinda has the feeling that he'd /like/ to now. Redo, redo! "Uh." He absently pushes Bonnie's nose away from the bag that is still in his hand, then stuffs it into the pocket of his jacket. "Look. Uh." His gaze goes to the couch. "Let's sit." Stalling much? He already heads to the couch and will essentially collapse onto it once he gets there.

"Okay…" Cass is now /very/ wary. Because Lachlan looks so serious and wants her to sit down and things. He's acting…strange. Following behind him slowly, she doesn't so much as collapse on the couch as slowly sink onto it. "What's going on, Lachlan?" Because she's not sure if she /needs/ to prompt this conversation. Or if she even wants to.

It's possible she doesn't want to. /Lachlan/ sure doesn't want to. He continues to fidget with his hands and face, trying to work up the courage to answer. He finally winds up sitting forward with elbows resting on his knees, wringing his hands. "Ye … d'ye remember wha' I said ta ye 'bout foolin' 'round. How I wasna gonna do it anymore?" Yeah, this is a /great/ start, isn't it? Totally is. He tries to push onward without waiting for an answer: "Last nigh', I … I was at m'partment, a'righ'? I was just sittin' an' relaxin', playin' a bit onna guitar. An' then Eliana shows up bawlin' 'er eyes out talkin' 'bout how Jack's sleepin' 'round on 'er an' I let 'er in an' gave 'er a drink — an' she chucked the bloody stuff in m'face." This is added as a bit of an afterthought, as though he just now remembered it. Things are semi-hazy. "But anyway, we had a bit ta drink an' were a bit pissed, an' we were singin', an' then she did 'er thing with the … with the gas, an' …" Maybe Cass doesn't know about the former writer's abilities, but Lachlan doesn't know that, and /it's important to the story/. He leaves the sentence unfinished and fixes his eyes on the carpet near Cass' feet.

Immediately, Cass is frowning. That is really not a good way to start the conversation since that already kind of shows her the direction that this whole thing is going in. She's not sure what to say here. There's all these warring emotions going on in her head. What she's assuming he's saying here is that he slept with someone else. Again. /Her friend/. But, it's not like they're actually together so she can't really be /angry/ at him. Except for the fact that it's /her friend/ that he's alluding about this with. And she doesn't know Eliana's abilities, but that's kind of taking a backseat to the rest of the conversation. "Okay." That's all she can manage right now. It's, once again, neutral. She can't really pick an emotion that she wants to feel right now so perhaps it's better to just turn off. She's not looking at Lachlan, either now. "So, what?"

Wh-where's the angry flailing, the snarling rage, the throwing-out and demands never to see her again? Lachlan is unsure about this … neutral reaction. It's probably best that he doesn't pick up on the "friendship" factor. That would only make talking all the harder. He just stares baffled at the floor before he finally manages to generate a response: "So … I though' I'd tell ye the truth." This is Lachlan trying to be honest. It's not easy! "An' I … s'no' … it was stupid. Just got outta hand, an' with the booze an' the gas, I dinna even know wha' was happenin' 'til I woke up t'day. An' I'm sorry." Wow, Cass has no idea /how/ sorry. The first time, it was a mistake he made without really knowing it was wrong. This time, he /knows/ he did wrong, and he had promised /not/ to do it.

"Well. Thanks." Cass is still not looking at Lachlan through this. But, she really doesn't know what to make of this situation at all. Frowning, she stands up and goes back over to the table with her text books on it. All she can really muster up at the moment is trying to maintain distance. She just feels so stupid for having thought she could trust him again. They're always sorry. She's not really quite sure what she can do over here with her text books, but it really seemed like the thing to do to get away from that couch.

Not good. Really, really not good. Lachlan doesn't like this. He should've kept his damned mouth shut. It might never have gotten back to Cass. Eliana had agreed that talking about it would hurt Cass and neither one of them wanted that. But no. He had to feel guilty. He had to think that being honest was the thing to do. He remains seated on the couch for several long seconds, not looking up when Cass walks away. After a pause, he looks up and stares at her back, studying it before he finally speaks in a quiet voice: "Yer mad." Please be mad. Please throw things. Please do /something/ that isn't /this/.

"I don't know what I am." Cass rests her palms on her kitchen table and looks down at the swirling pictures of DNA helixes. They're upside down from her point of view, but she's not really focusing on them anyway. And it's true. Maybe once she can find the overlying emotion she'll pin it down and throw things or yell or kick him out. But until then she's not going to do it for show. "I'm just…I'm so sick of feeling like this, Lachlan."

That's almost worse than being yelled at and assaulted and kicked out. Lachlan wilts, ducking his head and closing his eyes, clasping his hands tight enough to turn the knuckles white. "I know." But he deserves to be made to feel like shit — that's precisely what he is. "'M sick o' doin' this ta ye. S'just … 'm fine when I'm sober. 'M fine when I'm drunk, but … y'know wha' Eliana can do, don'ye?"

"Then maybe you should stop." It's ridiculous to just keep staring down at the table so she turns around. Leaning up against it, she keeps a firm grip on the edge, the frown still distinctly on her face. It's a strange sense of calm that's washed over her. "No. I don't. She never told me she had an ability."

"I did — I /was/ stopped. This … I dinna— " But he's getting a chance to explain himself, so any frustration he's started to feel about Cass' statement subsides. Lachlan takes a couple of calming breaths. "She … ye 'member at the pub where we met? How things started ta get all … an' then ye an' I went ta the store an' …" Yes, Scotsman, she remembers. Idiot. "Tha' was Eliana. She made it like tha'. She lets off this gas tha's like X, an' X makes ye really like touchin' things, an' it does shit ta yer mind. An' tha's wha' happened last nigh'."

Cass opens her mouth to retort something, but then closes it to think back about the night she met Lachlan. Yes, she does remember that feeling of being drugged that couldn't have been the alcohol. Or, well, it could have been, but didn't /feel/ like being drunk. "Right. Okay." She's processing and thinking that. Trying to factor X into the equation. No pun intended. It doesn't really make things all that much better in her head, but at least it's some sort of explanation. "So, what, she drugged you?"

Well … yeah. That's it, essentially. Lachlan nods in the affirmative, finally lifting his head to look at something other than the insides of his eyelids. "Yeah. We were both a bit pissed; she dinna mean ta do it." Judging by the morning-after regrets on both parts, it wasn't something that either party has been harboring secretly for months. He looks directly at Cass, brow furrowed. "But I wouldna o' done it if no' fer tha', I swear." Even when he was drunk, he wasn't thinking about that sort of thing, and he /did/ think about stopping before the drug kicked in. He knows that much. He's /sure/ of it.

"Look, I don't know what you want from me." Cass goes for her tried and true arms crossed in front of her position when she starts talking. She looks away from him, but doesn't quite look down at the floor. Nor does she look up. It's more like she just looks over to the side. "It's not like I have some claim over you or something. We're obviously not exclusive and I don't have any right to get angry."

Not exclusive? No claim over him? Then … what about all that stuff with Napkingate? Lachlan obviously was not under the impression that they had been broken up. Now he's just /confused/, and it's evident. Confused and … hurt? And confused /about/ being hurt. It's very confusing. He peers at Cass as though she just babbled something at him in Swahili, hesitates, then utters, "A'righ'." It's the sort of "a'righ'" that says, "I don't know what you said, but okay?"

It's obvious that Lachlan doesn't understand what she's saying and Cass just gets frustrated about the whole thing. "Nevermind." /Now/ the anger is starting to slip through and it certainly feels poisonous and unwelcome. "I'll get the food I got Bonnie for you," she replies curtly. Slipping away from the table, she goes to find the small bag of food and starts to search around for something to put it in.

But no, now Lachlan is just very confused, and when there are no immediate explanations, he just gets /more/ confused. Cass' change in mood makes him afraid that the Whatever that he couldn't grasp is Very Important and he should probably make efforts to figure out what it is. So after a moment, he gets to his feet and moves to the kitchen doorway after the bookstore owner, though he doesn't attempt to aid her search. "Wha' d'ye mean tha' we're no' 'sclusive?" he asks.

"Nothing." Cass finds the plastic bag that she actually carried the food home in and drops the bag into that. There's a sigh. "I don't know. I just can guess where this goes. If we gave this another shot, it'd be great and then three weeks would go by. Maybe months, who knows. And then you slip up because of some drug. Or too much drinking. And I end up right back here in the kitchen with a bag of dog food with you telling me how sorry you are. I just…I can't keep /doing/ this to myself. It's not just some faceless woman in a bar, Lachlan. Now it's /Eliana/. It's /heartbreaking/." The more she talks, the more adamant she gets about the subject.

Whoa, wait, hey. This … sounds very bad. This sounds like /ending/. Lachlan doesn't like this at /all/. A look of panic passes over his features. "Nah, c'mon, Cass," he manages to splutter. "Gimme 'nother chance. 'Ll …" He'll what? He /knows/ he can resist women. He's done it. Well … one woman. In the past week or so. But he /was/ resistant to the /other/ one too before all that. "'Ll do better, Cass. 'M /tryin'/. Ye've gotta gimme 'nother chance." He sounds and looks downright desperate.

"That's what you told me yesterday," Cass shakes her head, trying to keep on her stern and unhappy face. But, really she just looks unhappy. "And the other day before that. I started to give you another chance and we're still right back where we started. How many chances would it take?"

The fidgeting has returned, and Lachlan's hand is shaky when it goes through the usual motions over his nose and chin. Nonononono, this is bad. This is /so bad/. How did he get into this mess? He lied and got in trouble, then he told the truth and got in /more/ trouble. He's completely at a loss here. "One more," he pleads, searching Cass' face for some semblance of mercy. "Just gimme one more. C'mon."

Cass is close enough to see Lachlan's hand shaking. And the pleading and, dammit. She was /angry/ before. Remember the anger. "/Dammit/ Lachlan." Okay, she's still angry, but more at him making her resolve melt slightly. Just enough. "Stop confusing me." It's not really an answer, but that's because the answer she had before is slipping away.

Was that a joke? An attempt at humor? Because Lachlan doesn't find any of this funny. It's /scary/. What's happening here is terrifying. He stares at Cass in pathetic bewilderment, as though he just poured out his soul and someone laughed in his face. But … no. It sounds like she's just angry. At least she's not throwing him out. That's hopeful. He swallows hard and crosses his arms over his chest to hide those trembling hands. "'M sorry," he mumbles, "just … gimme 'nother chance. Please. Ye'll no' regret it, I promise." However much weight that promise holds right now.

There's no attempt at humor here tonight. Cass is just as serious about this situation as Lachlan is. It's just that as clear as Lachlan is in his intentions, Cass is as divided in hers. When Lachlan crosses his arms, Cass just puts her face in her hands. She takes a few deep breaths before finally saying, though her hands, "I…look. I can't promise you anything." Still, not an answer. But, he was honest with her this time. And the least he deserves is an honest answer back.

It's not really an answer — but more importantly, it's not a "no". Lachlan remains optimistic, just as he always has. If it's not a "no", it could be a "yes". He takes in an audible, steadying breath through his nostrils and nods a little, though Cass probably can't see it through her hands. He falls silent otherwise.

It's not a no, but it's not a yes either. The two are back to trusty gray area. Cass doesn't notice the nodding of the head, but he's not pleading any more, which is a good sign. Letting her arms drop, she frowns at Lachlan. "Just let me think about everything," she finally adds to her last statement.

Another nod, this one accompanied by a quiet, "A'righ'." For a moment, Lachlan figures that this thinking will take maybe five minutes, tops — but then he remembers that Cass Is Way, Way, Way Smarter Than You, and thinking takes longer for her for some reason. Maybe because she does too much of it, who knows? Whatever the case, he realizes that a definitive answer is not going to come tonight, and so he snaps out of his reverie and rubs over his chin, jaw, and the back of his neck. That's his cue to get out of here. His eyes go to the bag of dogfood in her hands. "Keep the food," he adds in an equally soft voice, "I, uh. Dunna use tha' brand." But that brings to mind what else he came for, and his eyes go back up to Cass' face. "Phone?"

Keep the dog food. For that dog she doesn't have. Right. Cass is not about to argue with it, though. "Fine." When Lachlan looks at her again, she keeps his gaze. it's still distant, but she's not crying and she's drained from her anger. "It's on the table," she says, waving vaguely in that direction.

On the table. Okay. Lachlan nods a bit and moves to the table. A little searching around locates the thing and he glances at the display to check for missed calls and messages before pocketing it. Then he draws out a leash and clicks his tongue to Bonnie, who pads over and happily submits to having the clasp attached to her collar. "'Less ye wanna keep 'er here fer a bit? Wouldna mind." The last is asked with a questioning glance.

Cass frowns, looking down at the dog and then up at Lachlan. "Okay." It was good to have her for a bit. And she definitely felt safer. But…that's keeping Lachlan's dog for a bit. And that certainly might be weird for her. However, until she gets Nima to help her fit out both her apartment and the store with some better security, perhaps it's better to be on the safe side. Plus, she's already got all this dog food. "Thanks."

"Nah, s'no' a pro'lem." He removes the leash, then places it on the table along with the baggy of wet/dry food he brought. "Just take care o' 'er fer me." But Lachlan knows Cass will spoil the dog rotten, so he has no doubt that Bonnie is in good hands. Content that he's taken care of business, the Scotsman lingers a bit. Huh. Awkward. Last time he left, he got cuddles beforehand. Now what does he do? After a moment's consideration, he reaches out a hand to pat Cass on one shoulder, though the gesture seems extremely ridiculous and not at all what he /wanted/ to do. "'Ll see ye later." With that, he turns to head out of the kitchen.

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