2008-01-09: Fractured Dreams

Starring:

Kory_icon.gif Randall_icon.gif

Featuring: Kory's nerdy fanboy, going by Leslie_icon.gif 'Dusk' this week.

Summary: Kory feared it: "it's over when the phone stops ringing" and runs into Randall before he was ready to have the conversation. But the result is more or less the same.

Date It Happened: January 9, 2008

Log Title Fractured Dreams.


Location - Somewhere in Central Park

It's just past suppertime in the Big Apple. It's also January. But that makes the Zoo about perfect for Kory's purposes this evening. She's managed to dig up some CDs from some tiny record stores in the Village, and having ripped them to MP3 is blasting them on a boombox while she skates to think over the dance-ability factor. The majority of humans have already headed home, and the Polar Bears and Penguins don't mind. The other animals either, but they don't mind from inside their nice warm caves and enclosures.

The DJ known as Iah is currently listening to something by the Chemical Brothers, mixed tentatively with Art of Noise. She's skating in a slow circle, brow knit with concentration.

While Kory turns her musicality outward, Randall's more limited level of appreciation is turned inward: a stock copy of Harvey Danger's giveaway album piped through a set of headphones. He's taking a break from the day's worth of portraiture with a largely abstract bit of landscape sketching, knees drawn up toward his chest with a sketchpad leaned up against them. With his gaze focused off in the distance, he takes no notice of who's approaching.

Kory completes the circle, eyes downcast. Her shades are back on over her eyes, too, but there's nobody dreaming nearby. She startles, as a shadow falls across her from the streetlamps — a shadow she wasn't expecting. She glances up, apology on her lips, and backskates to kill the dance mix. It's a second before she realizes she recognizes the hair.

She pinches the bridge of her nose, under the shades, and ponders saying something. He's obviously not with a customer. "Roll for willpower," she murmurs to herself, turning the tunes down, but not off entirely.

Shortcutting through the zoo in a movie usher uniform, faux-Dresden hat and coat over it, is the guy who's going these days by Dusk. He frowns at the music, until he sees whose music it is. At which point he ducks behind one of the big ornamental boulders, to watch her skate.

Kory decides turnabout is fair play, though, and skates up behind Randall, reaching to pluck the right headphone off his ear. Maybe he's short and can't pay the bill. Maybe he's lost the phone. Maybe she's just been a nervous wreck for nothing. "…fancy meeting you here," she says quietly.

The phone isn't lost; it's there in his pocket, as usual. He turns quickly at first, startled, then slowly sets the pad out of the way as he sees who it is. "…I know, I'm sorry," he finally manages. "But I— I didn't know what to say to you, and I figured saying the wrong thing would be even worse." He takes out the other earbud and lets it fall to the bench, his hands resting helplessly in his lap afterward.

Kory is blinking in confusion; not that it's obvious, given the shades. She shakes her head, mouth opening and then closing. What is Randall talking about? The last time she saw him, everything was fine. She was snuggling up to him in a cab, dozing off, and he saw her home. But now he doesn't know what to say to her?

"…I don't…understand," she finally manages, voice a bit less confident than she'd probably prefer.

Dusk crouches behind his rock, listening. She doesn't sound happy, and this makes three evenings in a row the woman who paints the sky blue in his eyes has been unhappy. The cause must be found. And removed.

It's just as well that Randall doesn't notice who else is watching him, as it would probably just make things uglier. "I was worried about you," he explains, "I wanted to know what you were pushing yourself for. So I went back and read the comics, like you said…"

His hands wring together; he's been forced to make snap decisions that he wanted to postpone further. "Helping a cop keep himself together is one thing, but… this? A serial killer? What were you even— you know, it doesn't even matter, the point is you're risking yourself so directly—" He doesn't know about the dream disguise, but even if he did, it wouldn't make that much difference; after all, who knows how well those would hold up under that much strain?

"I'm sorry to have worried you," Kory answers at once. And that's genuine. She bounced back within hours after he saw her home. The neighbours dreaming revitalized her. And she nods, as he explains he picked up the comics. And then — "I …" She frowns, visibly, over the shades. "Hold on just a second. I express worry about you pursuing your dream, and you're finding you're —" She pauses, trying desperately to use the proper, psychologically appropriate terminologies. But she's a woman in love. Who is finding that love conflicting against the one thing she does out of sheer human kindness.

"It wasn't directly," she manages, after a moment of choosing her words. "He wasn't in the same room with me, and has no idea what I look like. And even if he did, I wasn't by myself."

Dusk's eyes brighten, and his mouth drops open. Are they LARPing? She's been too upset for this to be wintery roleplay, he decides. But what are they talking about? Serial killers and direct risk? He furrows his brow, draws his fedora down over his eyes, and leans against his rock, still eavesdropping shamelessly.

Randall turns back to face the far edge of the park, leaning back against the bench. He can't bring himself to meet Kory's gaze directly. "I'm not pursuing my dream into corners like that. And if I did happen to run across one, I'd run like hell." There's no anger behind it, though, just fatigue.

Finally, he does turn, reaching out his hands. "I do love you, Kory. And it does sound like you took enough precautions, but the fact that the first thing I thought was that you didn't… I just need some more time to process things, okay? Get my head around the idea that there's still a hundred things I don't know about you, good and bad both." Slowly, his gaze droops downward, toward the seat of the bench. "And the idea that we might lose each other someday. You're right, neither of us is really living a safe life…"

"Randall…" Kory has to pause around a lump at her throat. "I love you too," she says, sitting hesitantly on the corner of the bench. Beside him, but not quite next to him. "I've been crazy about you since the first time we talked at any length. That's not gonna change." She reaches toward him, but stops her hand as he says he needs time to process. She draws her hand back and clutches it closed over her chest.

She pushes her shades up her nose as Randall's gaze turns down. "Let me explain, at least," she says, with a note of pleading in her voice. "I've been doing this since I was a teenager. Almost half my life. This isn't the first time I've encountered someone dangerous. I'm still here."

Dusk probably doesn't think of himself as dangerous. But his thoughts are always so clouded, so muddled when Kory's around. She's a single point of clarity to him. And the pain in her voice is cutting him. His fists clench. She really loves that moptopped weirdo with the engaging smile. Even though he isn't even being supportive. He forces himself to stop chasing his own thoughts around so he can keep listening.

Randall sighs, his own feelings continuing to war with another. He reaches a hand out— but, instead of wrapping it around her, he merely rests it against her arm. "In my head, I hear you, I believe you. In my heart…" Looking up again. "You caught my attention the first time we met. I wasn't thinking of it in terms of dating, back then, but—"

"Listen," he adds, gesturing with his hands as he speaks. "I'm not leaving you. And I'm not passive-aggressively wandering away, either. But… you know what I was about to say, before you explained further? I was gonna suggest that you see a therapist. Which means I'm obviously not giving you the level of respect you deserve. And I can't build up that level if I let myself keep getting distracted with charming little things, and fooling myself into thinking I have."

Kory listens to him, and her clutched hand drops into her lap to clasp tightly against the other. She catches her breath as he touches her. She nods, and swallows, unable to answer him as he tells her she's not dumped. "How…" she asks, after a moment. "How could I talk to any therapist about this? About what I can do? Even if I could prove it — which I can — why? Do you think it's insane to want to help people? I got the degree to go with my gift…" She realizes she's giving herself a charlie horse in her leg from perching on the end of the bench, and gets unevenly to her feet again. Still on the skates, she glides back a bit, shaking her head in confusion. "…so what is this, then? What are we to each other, if…" and she trails off, unable to find a way she likes by which to finish the sentence.

Dusk has heard about all he cares to at the moment. The guy is obviously leading Kory on, and she's falling for it — hook, line and sinker. Disgusted, he stalks into the dark. "She deserves better," he mutters to himself. "And I'll prove it to her."

Randall shakes his head. "No, of course it's not insane— but this is really dangerous stuff. Cops are trained to deal with danger. Doctors. Your psychology degree, I guess, it's just…" Slowly, he rises to his feet, shoving his hands in his pockets so he'll quit fidgeting with them. "I want to accept this. But I can't, not yet. Give me… a month, say." His botching up her phone number burned up almost twice that much time. "After that, either I'll be all yours, or—" He can't bring himself to voice the 'or'.

Kory turns and goes to get her little boombox. Or. There's an or. She thought she'd found him. The one. The one every little girl's mommy tells her is out there waiting for her. "No," she murmurs. "…just…just don't, okay? I can't…" Her shoulders shake, and again she doesn't manage to finish the sentence. An obvious deep breath. When she speaks again, it's her voice that shakes. "You can have all the time you need. I…I guess I'll seeya in a month." Or. Just in time to miss Valentine's Day. She tucks the box back in her backpack. "Take care, Randall."

Dusk wasn't quite far enough away to have heard all of that, but he heard Kory's 'seeya' and 'take care'. It's over between them? He can't keep walking. The hope freezes him in his tracks, better than an icy New York wind could.

Randall's shoulders slump as he sits back down. And here he thought he'd found his own favorite thing in the world, someone who would keep surprising him… only to find that there were some surprises he wasn't prepared to deal with. Before he can break down and change his mind about the self-imposed exile, he reaches down and picks up his sketchpad, tucking it under his right arm as he wanders off in another direction.

And a short time later, after arriving home, Kory makes herself a cup of the fragrant herbal tea that Gare— er, Dus — Leslie made her, and picks up her phone.

Kory dials the number 283-0163. It begins to ring.
PHONE: The other end answers, "Hello?"
PHONE: Kory says, "Hi, Kelyssa. It's Kory." She sounds terrible, her voice mushy, thick, and
hoarse. "Did…Did I catch you at a bad time?""
PHONE: KeLyssa sounds concerned as she speaks. "No…no. Not at all. Is somethin' the matter?"
PHONE: Kory is quiet for a moment, perhaps collecting herself. "I…I'm just gonna need you and Tito
to run the store without me for a few days. Okay? I won't be totally out of reach, but I just need a
few days to take care of a few things."
PHONE: KeLyssa says, "Yeah…of course, Kory. It ain't no problem what so ever but…is everythin'
all right? Ya don't sound good. Is there anythin' else ya need me to help ya out with? Just tell me
and I'll be right there to help ya, ya know that, right?"
PHONE: Kory says, "I…I know, hon. And thanks." Kory takes a breath.
"I…I'm just not ready to talk about it, yet. Maybe in a few days I can take you up on that offer?"
PHONE: KeLyssa says, "Yeah. O' course ya can, Kory. Of course. Just let me know, and I'll be
there." There's definite concern in her voice, but she doesn't push the issue any more. "Don't be a
stranger now, ya hear? An' if ya need anythin' at all, just let me know. Give me a call."
PHONE: Kory says, "I will, KeLyssa. Let Tito know too, will ya? I think I'm gonna crash early
tonight. And thanks again."
PHONE: KeLyssa says, "Yeah…of course. I'll let him know right away."
PHONE: Kory says, "Great. Have a good one, 'Lyssa. I'm out."

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