2010-06-07: Lord Help The Mister



Date: June 7, 2010


…who comes between me and my sister. And Lord help the sister who comes between me and my man!

Uh… for reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYZbgG4D2oA

"Lord Help the Mister"

Janet's Apartment

It's certainly been a weird couple days for Erin. Actually, it's ween a weird month; after being possessed by an imprinted personality, Morgan was separated from her and is now her own (admittedly scared) person. That in itself is really weird, and Erin always worries about the possibility that the personality could just lose its grip on reality, and…
Best not to think about that. Best to just hope for once.

Of course, there are a few things to take care of, greatest among them is a visit to Janet to tell her what happened, and that she's no longer possessed by Morgan. Poor Morgan, who was only just trying to live when Janet kind of shook her a bit and yelled at her to GIVE ERIN BACK…
Erin leans her head against the door to Janet's apartment. Please, please go well, she thinks, before stepping back and knocking on the door.

The knock at the door causes some stirring in the apartment. But just a little and way in the back corner where Janet's room is. Her voice rings loud and clear, "Someone get the door!!!" Her tone is impatient and moderately flippant. When no one responds, a realization dawns on the doctor: she is alone. Alone.

With a creak, Janny rolls out of bed, pulls her housecoat over her salmon-coloured scrubs and uses an elastic on her wrist to pull her hair into a messy ponytail. Her eyes are blood-shot and encircled by dark shadows, her lips curl downwards into a kind of perma-frown, and her tone is deathly pale. Janet is a mess, and has managed to avoid the shower for several days.

Slowly she trudges to the door. As she unbolts it she begins to call irritably, "Mrs. Rodriguez, if this is you I will cu— " she stopped midway as Erin enters her line of vision. Janet twitches. Not Morgan-Erin. She can't handle Morgan-Erin right now…

She can hear that 'SOMEONE GET THE DOOR' from her sister inside the apartment. It sounds… irritated. When is Janny ever irritated??! Said irritation makes Erin slightly more irritated herself, and she knocks on the door again. Get your medical butt out here, Janet McCarty, or I'll—

Oh, there she is. "What the hell happened to you?" are Erin's first words. They were supposed to be something like 'don't worry, it's not Morgan,' but that was before she saw her sister's terribly unwashed hair and extremely tired-looking eyes. Sister-mode takes over fairly quickly as she pushes the door open, grabs Janet around the arm, and pulls her toward a couch. "All right, what happened?"

The first question is met with giant crocodile sobs amidst loud hiccups gasping for air. "Soidfosjfi" she explains nonsensically as she's beckoned towards the couch. Moments later she's sitting on Parker's makeshift bed, face buried into her hands as she sobs into them. She gasps for breath before using the sleeve of her housecoat to dry her eyes. She hiccups again and gasps for air before finally muttering, "It's no-thing…" she sniffles loudly.

Erin can't translate that. Really. At all. She tries, eyes glancing upward and to one side as she tries to make words out of 'Soidfosjfi,' but nothing in the English language comes close. Apparently, the discussion about Morgan is going to have to wait for a little while, but she can at least say one thing. "Janet, this is Erin. Morgan's… Gone." Another story, to be sure. A long, involved story.

Sitting next to Janet, Erin's hand hovers above one shoulder. Janny's supposed to be the sensible one. "I don't think— " she starts, then her eyes narrow and she frowns, dismissing the rest of the statement that she doesn't think she's ever seen Janet so despondent. "C'mon, something's got you upset. Who do I have to give rabies to?"

"Nnnnnh," is the articulate response Erin receives as Janet clears her throat. "I.." sniffle. "Am." Sniffle. "Fine." Sniffle. She rubs at her eyes again before she doubles over. Her eyes droop as she shudders in her warm housecoat. "Are… are you really Erin? LIke… I mean… really Erin? I … I don't want to talk to some fake version… or wannabe… or … something…" She blinks hard.

"I… I… want to know… I need you to be Erin. That might help. I'm just… just… something." Her face pales further as she sniffles loudly.

"Are you hurt??" Erin asks, taking hold of both Janet's shoulders in a sort of awkward embrace. Sliding off the couch and onto the floor, she takes Janet's wrists and moves them away from her eyes so she can meet them. "I promise. I'm really Erin. One-hundred percent the real thing. I'll tell you how later, okay? Right now, I need you to tell me what happened to you."
And who she has to beat the stuffing out of. With SARS.

"Just what? C'mon, Janny. You're obviously not fine. You're cryin'." Then, once Erin manages to calm Janet down, she's going to shove sis into a nice warm shower while she runs to the store and gets a tub of Superman ice cream, 'cuz of the pretty colours.

"Just… I dunno," Janet finally answers. "Like everything, I guess. Like with you and that other person in your head controlling you and like me without a job, betrayed by my last employer and content to be a bum because Parker paid off my loans… and because… I was smitten… with an amazing guy… who…" Her eyes well with tears again. "Who may or may not be cheating on me, AND I want to know but I don't…."

Erin smiles, just a bit. Okay, all this stuff is stuff she can deal with. No one's come after Janet or hurt her, which was her main concern. "Look, you don't have to worry about me anymore. So that's one thing off your list, right? That's good. The other stuff we'll deal with after…" Erin's arms go under Janet's and the short woman bodily lifts her sister to her feet. "…You take a shower, because that will help you feel better. And after I run to the corner store and get you some Superman ice cream. C'mon. Not everything is as bad as you think it is. Why didn't you c— Nevermind." Janet wouldn't have wanted to call Morgan.

Erin drags Janet toward the bathroom. "I'll be back in a half hour."

Sad panda Janet is easy enough to usher into the shower. She's moderately relieved that Erin seems to be back. The water against her skin is refreshing in a way. A half hour later the bathroom door opens and Janet steps out, dressed in her white bath robe with a Spongebob Squarepants towel wrapped around her hair to draw out the moisture from it. She steps into the living room and flops on the couch.

"I like Superman ice cream," she observes quietly.

Erin's run to the store didn't take as long as she thought, so she had time to scoop out a big dish of ice cream for Janet as soon as she returned. Both are actually waiting on the couch when the shower is finished, and Erin passes the bowl over. "I know. I'm your sister."

For awhile, that's all she says, allowing Janet her comfort food. So there were three things contributing to this breakdown, one of which has already been taken care of. The second, a job, shouldn't be too hard to resolve. But the third… "So this is mostly about a guy," she says. This seems to be the main point of interest, because obviously Janet still has her apartment, and financial backing. Losing a guy would be excruciatingly difficult for anyone, especially if he's 'amazing,' as claimed.

"Y'know, coming from me, this is probably … I don't know. Hell, I hardly communicate with people I'm comfortable with." Erin rubs the back of her head guiltily, leaning back on the couch. "You won't know unless you talk to him. And the sooner you know… The sooner I can kick his ass for you. Or not, depending."

Janet scoops a spoonful of the ice cream into her mouth. This is her favourite yet something about it feels tainted. Jaden likes Superman ice cream. Pursing her lips together she then pushes the ice cream away, "I'm not hungry." Her face reddens slightly as she leans against the arm of the couch, just to feel some sense of security, some kind of grounding in the world.

"I don't know if I want to know," she says quietly. "Have you ever met anyone it just worked with? Like… like the person that made your own life make sense? Someone who didn't think you were silly or ridiculous or talked too much? Someone who liked every quirk you had even if every other person ever— other than your BFF— found it annoying or weird…"

Janet not eating Superman Ice Cream? Something really is wrong. Erin has to ask, "Really?" before reaching for the bowl to take it to the kitchen and put it in the freezer. As she's standing there with the door open and Janet's asking her about what she supposes is the ideal guy, Erin mutters a quiet "No." Not even Taine just accepted her at first, and before him, she'd never really had any long-term boyfriends.

"But I know what you mean. Look, you should know. Seriously, Jan, when have you ever avoided a problem?" Returning to the couch, she sits next to her sister, one arm thrown around her shoulder. "This should be no different. And what if it's some misunderstanding and you're upset over nothing? Do you have any proof?"

"He's the first person I've ever gotten to not explain myself to! EVER. EVER EVER.

"It was on TV. About him and some girl he's parading around Paris," Janet sniffles. "It's incriminating. I mean you have to admit that, I mean who goes to Paris? Randomly. On a whim? Seriously who does that? And he wanted things to not be exclusive and I didn't think anything— he did it soooo craftily. Telling me he didn't want me to feel trapped or something… or something… but I never intended to see anyone. NEVER. Not once. Even though there was that really good-looking guy I removed some shrapnel from…" She sighs.

There are two things which Erin can thus far derive from this conversation. First, that her sister is dating some kind of celebrity, and second, that her little sister is actually a sexual creature, which is all kinds of wrong for some reason. It's totally shattered her whole worldview. But anyway.

"So, this guy's in the spotlight?" Yeah, it's a little suspicious that he's telling Janet all the stuff about not being exclusive, and he's made Janet cry, so he's going to have to pay for that, but besides that… "C'mere for a second." Pulling Janet up by the arm - again - Erin heads for her computer.

"He's wealthy. His name is Jaden. Jaden.. Cain. I'm so stupid— Parker told me they were all skeezes. Why are they always skeezes?! Why?! I mean… maybe it's nothing. He runs a company. Maybe he's in Paris for a good reason or something. I… I really…" she stamps her foot impatiently at herself. "Everything was going so well and then the politician— who might still arrest me— and you with your crazy-crazy and my lack of a job and now Jaden… I just… it's been a lot… AND I've been lying to Parker and I'm pretty sure he knows…"

Janet is easily pulled towards the computer as she pulls the towel from her head, causing her brown locks to fall towards her shoulders in a mess of wet brown waves.

Jaden Cain… Why does that name sound familiar? It should, given a few recent circumstances that led to him acquiring the show, but Erin can't put two and two together at the moment. "Hey, not all celebrities are … skeezes." She uses the word cautiously, because it's weird and it's a Janet Word that she'll probably never use again. "If he's got money and he //Does Stuff — //" Capitalised, of course, "Then there may very well be a good reason he's in Paris. Hell, I've been to site shots before in other states, where I woke up one morning, had to be three-hundred miles away by nightfall, and then came home the next morning. You remember?" It basically summed up Erin's whole childhood.

"One thing at a time, Jan. I'll get to my crazy later, I promise. And I wasn't crazy." Giving the other woman a Look, Erin opens Firefox, goes to Google, and types her name in. Holding control, she tabs open a handful of windows. "Media will report on anything they see. Look." The articles Erin opened include things like 'Erin McCarty dating Co-Star Shane Brody!' and 'Is Erin McCarty cheating on Taine Whitaker with Co-Star Greg Kinnen?' "That was before Taine and I were even dating," she notes, before scrolling to the next article, which is 'Erin McCarty, Lesbian? EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS!!' "See? And there are probably hundreds more. I'm not even that famous. If I was seen outside of the set with anyone, it ended up in the tabloids, or on the news. I saw one the other day…" Rather, Morgan did, because Erin was still in her head, "Stating that Taine and I were getting a divorce. We're not even married."

"Huh. I wondered if… so… he didn't?" Janet's eyes reflect that positive hopefulness that made her such an asset in AP headquarters. "I… I reaaaaaally like him. He watches cartoons. And plays video games. And makes his own Superman ice cream sandwiches just like me. I mean… you know how I buy the Breyer's ones and scoop out the vanilla and then put in Superman? He does that too. Like actually. Annnnd. He's cute. And funny," her tone has changed to something different; almost dreamy. "And really sweet. The kind of guy that's just fun to be around and hang with. Easy to get along with. Easy to talk to…" And now she's rambling again.

"None of these are true." She doesn't say that guys cheat on girls every day, and it's actually possible that this 'Jaden Cain' really is… skeezy and is in Paris doing so right now. For once, Erin isn't keen to shatter the dreams of someone else. Also for once, Erin ended up being the logical one, and the world has stopped spinning, the universe has divided by zero, and this is all happening inside an existential reality that can only be located in the mind of someone else. Or not.

What she does say is, "The only way to know is to ask. Give it a couple days. Really think about it." Giving it a couple days will enable Erin to find him and confront him for hurting her baby sister, dammit. "And if you don't want to lose him, call him. Got it?"

"I'll… I'll wait on it then. And then I'll get in touch. I reeeeeeally like him. Like a lot. A lot a lot. We have like everything in common. And I know we said we weren't going to be exclusive but he said… kind of… I don't know. Maybe he didn't say anything. I'm loopy, you know, I get really excited and into stuff and run away with myself…" Janet shrugs just a little. "I'll call. I will. I swear."

She forces a smile. "I figured I knew him. Thinking of him as a skeeze just didn't feel right… he's so… " her cheeks flush as she shakes her head and her lips edge into a smile. Waving a hand flippantly in the air, she shakes her head, "So… Morgan…? Gone for real or…?"

"It'll be okay. One way or another, I promise." Erin has promised a lot today. Really, though, she can't see something like this bogging her sister down for good. Hopefully it turns out for the better, because if there's one person in the world that doesn't need to be more jaded, it's Janet. The cheerful, sunny disposition is often a godsend.

When Janet asks about Morgan, Erin presses her lips together. "No, not gone. It's a long story… Hang on, I'll get your ice cream." It isn't long before Erin returns with the bowl of ice cream, which she hands back to Janet.

"So awhile ago, Taine and I went to the theatre to see Lion King on Broadway. Best I can figure, someone touched my elbow." Erin hold up her arm, to illustrate the site of the contact. "I got all dizzy, and then… I was Morgan. But I wasn't. It was like I… me, was seeing out through someone else's eyes. I was still there." Confusing. Erin takes a break to lean back, thinking about how to go about explaining what happened.

"And I know that my ability hurt you. I'm sorry. Morgan had no idea how to control it. I'm glad you're okay. And she… Went to work for me, did the filming, and all that time, I could see what was happening. I couldn't speak, or talk to her, or anything. I was pretty scared."

"Woah. You're… you're okay now though?" Janet pales some, but digs into her ice cream. Or she plays with it at least. Her eyes widen just a stitch. "So… where is she?! What happened? Is se coming back… I don't want her to come back. You're you. You're my sister not some fictional character who sits around and turns into porcupines and knows nothing about anything, you know… like this one time I worked with a patient who had amnesia that was so hard it was like a situation from H-E-double hockey sticks, ya know? It was bad. Like bad-bad… aaaaaand now back to your story…"

"Oh. Yeah, I'm fine." She'd thought about how to explain this before, but the words are just not coming. "It was this… freak accident on set. One of the stunt guys fell. He's okay, too, do don't worry. One of the paramedics was this guy, Peter Petrelli, and, I mean, he and I aren't friends, really, so that kind of worried him. Morgan was talking to him like nothing was wrong, so he— He got into my head. He could hear me screaming. I don't know what he did, but he made it so Morgan and I could at least communicate."

Eying the ice cream that Janet's just playing with, Erin goes on. "Anyway, Peter found this Jane Doe in a hospital that no one's claimed. Braindead, on a respirator. She's young, prob'ly in her late twenties. Morgan didn't want to die, obviously, so he… Imprinted that personality onto the Jane Doe."

"Oh. Yeah, I'm fine." She'd thought about how to explain this before, but the words are just not coming. "It was this… freak accident on set. One of the stunt guys fell. He's okay, too, do don't worry. One of the paramedics was this guy, Peter Petrelli, and, I mean, he and I aren't friends, really, so that kind of worried him. Morgan was talking to him like nothing was wrong, so he— He got into my head. He could hear me screaming. I don't know what he did, but he made it so Morgan and I could at least communicate."

Eying the ice cream that Janet's just playing with, Erin goes on. "Anyway, Peter found this Jane Doe in a hospital that no one's claimed. Braindead, on a respirator. She's young, prob'ly in her late twenties. Morgan didn't want to die, obviously, so he… Imprinted that personality onto the Jane Doe."

Janet stirs the ice cream around, continuing to play with her food— pushing it around rather than eating. While she may be showered and somewhat more happy, lack of appetite is one of her I'm still upset modes, but all things considered she's more herself than before. "That's a crazy story if I ever did hear one, but then I guess there are a lot of crazy things these days. I'm sorry I was so spastic with … her? You? I have no idea what I should be calling fake you, and now that she's her own person that's like super weird. What is she going to do? I mean, find Jane Doe's family or just start from scratch as some random…?"

"She's a person, Janet. Someone… Made her. It's like she was a soul created from scratch. She laughs, she cries, she … I mean, it's like she's my twin, really. We're almost the same person, when you think about it. Except she's…" Erin tries to think of a way to put it, but shrugs it off. Morgan is quite a bit nicer. "So look. I want to take you to meet her one day, but please, please try not to say anything like— like that. About her being a fake person. 'cuz even if she wasn't real before, she is now. Okay?"

Erin sits forward on the couch. "I know all this is weird. I mean, she's…" Erin shakes her head. "Just try to be nice, okay? Just imagine her as someone you're meeting for the first time or something. I dunno what she's going to do… No one came forward in the hospital to identify her, and I guess she was hurt pretty bad. About to die, I guess. There was no brain function left, and they were gonna pull the plug."

"But Erin she was created by someone! She wasn't born, didn't have parents, and didn't live out a childhood— it's hard to imagine being like that and coming out of nowhere." Janet stirs her ice cream again, it's effectively turning into a soupy mess. "I get what it means to not have brain activity, but you know even as doctors people surprise us sometimes. What if the brain starts working and someone ends up being in there? People have come out of comas after years without brain activity… I'm not saying that'll happen but." She shrugs.

"Jan, try to have a little compassion for once. What if you learned that you weren't real?" Erin asks. The actress seems almost uncomfortable, pulling her knees up to her chest. "She remembers all of it, you know?" Erin can understand why Janet doesn't get it. It's a weird situation, and is the sole reason why Morgan isn't going to tell people about this. Because some people just won't understand.

"We know, because Petrelli's a healer, too. He tried everything to fix the body. Whoever was there before was just… gone." No personality, no life.

Suddenly realising how much she really missed Janet, Erin leans against her shoulder. "Whoever created her was really thorough. There are a few holes in Morgan's memory, but other than that, she thinks she's had a full life. Can you try to be nice? Please?"

Erin's lean is met with one from her younger sister until the doctor straightens, cringes, and places the now half-melted ice cream on the coffee table in front of the couch. "I'm always nice," she says somewhat indignantly, pulling herself up from the couch. "I was never mean to her, I was fighting for you. There is a difference, I think. I wasn't going to give in to the idea that she was going to be in control of your faculties for the rest of your life. But I was never mean to her… all I did was tell her the truth. Her memories, her perceptions, her life… never actually happened."

"I know, Janet. I know. I'm just… Feeling a little defensive." Erin is annoyed by this, just a little. For years, she just didn't want to let anyone into her life. It was less complicated that way! Now, she's got a person who she created living in her apartment. It's weird. It's unnatural. It's… Real.

"And she knows she's not real. She knows that all this is… You know, fake. A little tact, though? Just a little?" It might be too much to ask from her somewhat high-strung little sister. "You wouldn't be telling her anything she didn't know, but… Okay, look." Erin sits up again, turning on the couch to face Janet. "How would you like it if someone came up to you and said - very factually - "You don't have a job and you're living off someone else's money," and then just… walked away?"

"The thing is I could have a job if I wanted one," this part is said quietly. Yup, she's gotten offers. 'But I was used by my last one. Manipulated. And I can't tell anyone abut it. Other than the government guy who will probably have me arrested now. He even knows where I live!" Janet's eyes are wise, but she pauses and gets back on topic. "She was born of fiction. Created in the mind of some writer in the back of a room. And no I have no intention of telling her that unless she refers to her wealth of experience as a wereporcupine! And for the record… how would you like it if I lost my mind? I'm pretty sure you wouldn't just feed the delusion— " she sighs, straightens and plucks the bowl from the table before disappearing just a few moments into the kitchen. Shortly thereafter she reappears and sits down at Parker's keyboard. She hasn't the talent he has, or the skill for that matter, but she fires it up anyways and clumsily plays the interlude to Phantom.

"No one's gonna have you arrested, Janny." Erin pauses. While Janet does have a point, Erin's going to become totally pissy over it, because she can't quite understand. Erin didn't go crazy. Someone manipulated her, made an entirely new personality in her mind. And that personality was alive. As Janet sits down at the keyboard, Erin looks at her hands, feeling sorry for herself for that moment in time, rather than angry.

Sometimes, she wonders if she should bother at all.

Why does it hurt so much?

Janet's hurting, herself. She thought Erin was insane, she has no job, and her boyfriend may be an asshole. To that end, Erin isn't going to yell and scream or make a big deal or just walk out without saying goodbye. She has to bite her lip, though, which she literally does for a little while as she listens to the keyboard. Eventually, she stands up and heads over to the keyboard. "You know, I actually didn't know you could play."

"I can't… really," Janet states with furrowing eyebrows as her fingers try to find their places. "But the fault is my own; I never really practiced like I should." Her lips curl upwards just a little, "Parker is the real musician in the apartment. He sings too. Really well might I add." Her eyes twinkle just a little. No matter what anybody says, she already lives with her soulmate, but the pair are destined to never have romance.

"And I could be arrested." She continues to play. "I had a meltdown over a hot dog with a congressman on the street." She blinks somewhat blankly while her fingers pause, unaware of the next note to play. "He was the first time in a long time that saw through me. Probably in years." And then she remembers the next note. With the faintest smile, she finds it and her smile returns.

Erin smiles a little, too, and then slides next to Janet on the bench. "Yeah, I didn't really get much practise, either, Erin says. "You know, one of these days, I'm gonna have to meet your roommate. I keep missing him somehow." As Janet continues playing, Erin looks for 'C' on the keyboard. Because once you find that note, you can supposedly play anything.

"Y'know how mom always pushed me and stuff?" Erin plunks out a couple notes - that are obviously wrong - and her eyes narrow in concentration. She tries a couple more, even as Janet takes up the tune again. "I don't know if I ever thanked you for being there." A couple more notes. Wrong, wrong. "I wouldn't worry so much. Not everyone is out to get you. Heh. I'm the last person who'd — " Erin shakes her head, and finally finds the right notes. It's the melody to 'Sleep, Baby, Sleep.'

"Parker is a doll," Janet says with the faintest of smiles. "Sometimes I think he knows me better than I do." But then he doesn't know about the AP or what she'd been doing all of this time. Biting her bottom lip at the change in tune, Janet carefully returns her hands to her lap, straightening a little at the song that's both comforting, and because of a certain nightmare, haunting.

"I was just me. Bright. Naive. Upbeat," her cheeks flush a little as she adds, "Dimpled. I thought for so long that was enough." Her smile reappears though it's wistful in a way. "I never thought anyone was out to get me until that got popped, I was one of those people who believed when you lived a good life, did good things, were committed to being good that good things come back…" Her smile softens some as her voice quiets. "But maybe life isn't supposed to be sunshine and lollipops. I want it to be. I guess there are some things not even pretty coloured ice cream can fix."

Erin is not very good at playing. She had other things to worry about, like being at four million auditions at five in the morning. Still, she can carry a tune, one note at a time. She has a good memory, at least. And this song connects them; it kind of even brought them together. "Yeah, the world's always a little bigger than you think it is," Erin says. She stops playing as she speaks, because she can't concentrate on two things at once.

And then, she laughs. "Janet, do me a favour. Don't ever lose that, okay? What, you wanna be like me? Nah." Plunk, plunk— Oh, that note was a little sharp. "There's no reason you can't be happy and, you know… Knowledgable? At the same time. So things are different now." Pause. "Very different. You want to see some good in the world? Come with me. I'll show you what I do sometimes when I feel like everything's on my shoulders." She pulls her hands from the keys. "We're goin' the the hospital."

"The hospital?" Janet quirks a skeptical eyebrow. "I guess… I guess I should get dressed or something." She's still wearing her bath robe. Definitely not something to wear around the hospital, a place where she's connected to so many colleagues. She slides out from the bench and disappears down the hallway for several minutes before returning in… blue coloured scrubs. One things for certain, she'll blend.

"I thought about working there again for awhile and specializing in something. Like surgery. Or… something." She shrugs.

"So why don't you?" Erin asks. "You can't just be suspicious of everything. I bet they'd take you right away." Who really knows what kind of people work anywhere? If Erin assumed that everyone was out to get her, she'd be huddled in a corner somewhere, away from all civilisation. "So promise me you'll at least put in a resume while you're there, okay?"

Making sure the ice cream is safe in the fridge, she heads for the door. "I know this'll cheer you up. There's a lot of sick kids there, you know? Like with the flu, or other stuff. And I just look at 'em through the door, or touch 'em for the harder cases." The AP probably suspected someone was doing it. And hell, maybe that's how they found her. But hell if they're going to take that way. "But don't tell anyone I do this. Wouldn't want to damage my reputation or anything…"

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