2007-03-20: Much Ado About Jessica

Starring:

Niki_icon.gif DL_icon.gif

Summary: As Niki gets ready for training at the bookstore, she and D.L. get into a heavy morning conversation about money (what else?), not to mention the Company and what role the mysterious organization should have in dealing with Jessica… if any.

Date It Happened: March 20, 2007

Much Ado About Jessica


Monica's House, New York

With the job-hunting, actually finding a job, albeit a minimally paying one - the first day of which is, surprise, surprise, today - going to regular appointments at the "hospital" every few days, and everything else life likes to throw at her unexpectedly, Niki has started to find a routine in the past couple of weeks. The house may be inhabited by only two of its four occupants this morning, but that doesn't mean it's serene. With Micah off to school mere moments ago, and an undoubtedly interesting day ahead of her, Niki is heading through the house on a mission. "D?" she calls out upon not seeing D.L. right away, having said goodbye to Micah at the bus stop since she had some minutes to spare, but her destination is the bedroom. There, she promptly opens the mirrored closet door and starts going through the sparse selection of her clothes hanging within.

"Hey." D.L.'s voice is pretty calm. Where's he coming in from? Who knows at this point. Somewhere else in the house. Maybe the kitchen. He is carrying a glass of orange juice. He hasn't been particularly active in recent days. What with Niki finding a job and managing to, once again, become the Man of the House. Here he is, doing that thing that means he's not really providing for the family like he's supposed to. He's torn up about that, on the inside. But he's been managing to hold it just inside. No reason to worry the family about his shortcomings, right? "You should go shopping. We've got money left, you know." He too can see the sparse selection in the closet.

"Hey," Niki says over her shoulder warmly when he appears before returning to the task at hand. Hangers screech as she shoves various articles of clothing about - the typical search for /just the right thing/ to wear. Given that D.L. was the one who packed clothes for her before he… liberated her, and her wardrobe hasn't expanded much since then, her hunt is not very epic. "Yeah, but there are better things we could be spending our money on. Like savings for Micah's tuition if we manage to pull him outta public school." That was a lengthy answer to a simple comment, but these things are always on Niki's mind. She pulls a plain white blouse out, spins around with it held against her chest, and asks D.L. with a skeptical and, well, vexed expression, "Does this say 'hi, I want to sell you some books?'"

"I'll take care of it." D.L. states, though he doubts she's going to listen. A sip of his orange juice and he's leaning up against the wall to see if he can't just take a better gander at what she's holding up. He blinks and shakes his head. "Not really feeling books with that one. Maybe you should try something more… colorful?" He shrugs his shoulders, clearly not the right person to be saying anything about fashion. He walks around in a wife-beater everyday. Which means that he's not Fab-U-Lous at all. "Listen. Take some of the money. Go buy yourself something nice. We'll have money coming in now that one of us found something…" He looks down at his juice, the inadequacy slipping in for a moment.

Niki twists her mouth to one side, considering, and shoves the blouse back in the closet. She picks out a light blue shirt instead, more casual but not particularly inappropriate. She tosses it, hanger and all, onto the end of the bed for later. "This bookstore thing isn't exactly … lucrative," she points out. She walks purposefully around the spare room-turned-bedroom, eventually taking a pair of slightly dressy pants from the dresser, instead of the standard tight jeans she threw on earlier. She sinks onto the edge of the bed. "I can get a second job."

"I don't want you workin' the one you have now." D.L. is not happy about this development. Not at all. He doesn't even want her to be working in the least. He's more upset about this whole working thing of hers than he's happy about it. Money is evil. People should be allowed to live for free. Seriously. "Look. I'll talk to the fire department. See if I can work something out. Okay?" It's not like he's actually being hounded about it, but he's certainly just going to be defensive enough. Oh, time to drink some more orange juice before he gets all cranky.

The look Niki shoots D.L. is surprised, even though, perhaps, it shouldn't be. "What's so wrong with me having a job?" Gripping the edge of the bed unconsciously, her brows knit as she watches her husband. "I know you want to be the man of the house, D, but you know how it is. Even if you do find work— " Hope sounds a lot like skeptisicm. "We're gonna need all we can get. We're practically starting from scratch here. So," she shrugs one shoulder. "I can find a job for my off days, and nights, at least 'til you find something legit." Key word.

"We don't need something legit. We just need enough money to get our own place and get Micah in school." D.L. finishes off his glass and steps into the room to set it on the dresser. Might as well get ready to let this argument happen in a much smaller space. "After that, we can go legit. I mean, why don't we do a couple more jobs for your favorite hospital." That's the sarcasm coming from the big black man for once. He usually doesn't do this, but he's all about talking sly about the stupid facility. He hates that place. And, well, he broke her out for no reason. Waste of time!

"I don't think it works like that," Niki points out in a low voice; there's warning in her gaze, blue eyes tracking D.L. as he gets closer, but she keeps it subdued. "If they ask us to do something? Then fine. We do it, 'cause they'll just hold something else over us if we don't." See? She knows how it is. Her "love" for the hospital she's been visiting is not exactly steadfast.

Rolling his eyes, D.L. heads over to the bed and drops down onto it. He sprawls back onto it, taking care not to put his legs all over her clothes. He's annoyed about this whole situation. Very annoyed. "I don't like being controlled. I'm not a puppet, Niki." He looks up at the ceiling, clearly getting more and more pissed off the more he thinks about something like this. "When's your last treatment anyway? Or haven't they found the cure yet?" Yeah, he knows they're just prolonging this so that they can have Bonnie & Clyde at their disposal whenever they need it. He's not that stupid!

"Neither do I, but it's always the same. Linderman, the Company. I'm tired of it," Niki says frankly, looking over her shoulder as D.L. lays down. "I don't know if there will be a last treatment." The woman twists about, sliding a knee up onto the bed to half-face her husband. "I might have to go to them always. What I am… I don't think it can be fixed. Whatever they do— it just keeps her down long enough for me to get to the next treatment." Whatever the hell these treatments are, right? Niki has not once explained what happens during such sessions.

"Maybe I was right. Maybe they're just not working." D.L. is trying to work whatever angle he can to get her out of this. "We should just go back to Vegas. Get away from all of this. Everything." He doesn't really seem to be too worried about offending the hospital through Niki. "Or. We could just do that thing where we figure out how to stop this… ourselves. Like I said in the beginning." See? He offered to help her keep this in house. But nooooooo. Nobody ever listens to the black man!

Niki listens to D.L. But when it comes to this… the blonde sighs and lays on her side, propping her head up with her hand. "How, D.L.? It /is/ working," she insists, a hint of desperation in her voice. She just wants him to /understand/, to see where she's coming from. She reaches for his hand, gliding a thumb across the back of it. "I don't know how, but whatever they do in there, it's— it's different than the psychobabble stuff the shrink tried in the psych ward," she says, her voice gradually lapsing, moving between a soft voice and a whisper. "The Company, they know what's really happening to me. Their doctors stop Jessica from coming out." Apparently, she's not worried about the /other/ one. "As long as they've been treating me, I've been fine." Niki isn't lying in the slightest. She just has no idea what's really going on. "We've already done what they asked with those paintings, maybe they'll just let me get treatment in peace. We can get money another way."

"So, what you're saying is that you go there, they do something, you have no idea what and then you leave and you don't turn into Jessica? That sounds logical. Definitely." More sarcasm. He -really- hates those guys. "Maybe I'll go pay them a visit. See if I can't figure out what's going on. Maybe even punch a couple of them. I haven't had a good fight in a while." Not violent, no. Just pushing the buttons to see if he'll be 'allowed' to look into things. "I'm worried about you, Niki. What if there's side effects? What if you're -supposed- to be Jessica?" He definitely doesn't believe he's saying this, because Jessica's out of her mind, but still. "Like… y'know, my Casper thing."

"They give me a injection and talk to me— it all sort of… blurs…" Her brow furrowed, frowning, Niki glances away from D.L. while he speaks. "Supposed to be Jessica?" Her downcast gaze flickers up, searching out his eyes. "Bob said-sometimes when people have these… powers, a fracture happens," she says slowly. "I don't know. Much as I wish she'd just disappear for good, she's a part of me." She pushes up on one arm, looking down at D.L. with a measure of fright. And pleading. "Even so, D.L.! You /know/ that I need to get her under control," she says, her voice unwittingly cracking halfway through, her sentiment is so strong. So desperate. "Talking's one thing, but if you go in there looking for a fight, they might not want to help me anymore."

"I still say you'd have an easier time trying to get it under control, rather than being drugged up to keep her away." D.L. shrugs. He's not really well versed on having multiple personalities. "I'm thinkin' Bobby may know what he's talking about. If she's a part of you, maybe you should like embrace her. Make her a part of you, not the other way around." He figures that Jessica's the more dominant one, which could be the reason why she can't control her. "This may sound crazy, but have you tried, I don't know, talking to her?"

Niki is looking more and more unsure the longer she listens to D.L., which ultimately results in: "Okay. Hold on a second, D. Are you sure /you/ didn't have a brain fracture?" Because seriously? D.L. talking about embracing Jessica? He must really be desperate, here. More seriously, Niki presses a few fingertips between her brows, closing her eyes, shaking her head. "Not since… …not for a long time. I started to reason with her. It was working, but she's…" Niki draws both legs up onto the bed, bare feet sliding over the top blanket as she brings her knees in close. She looks at D.L. and admits, very honestly: "She's /stronger/ than me. I thought maybe— maybe she was gone for good when I 'tapped in' to my power or whatever word the doctors used but…" Trailing off, she adds in a troubled half-whisper, "You know what she's like. It's safer for everyone the way it is."

"If you say so." D.L. doesn't want to argue. He's just going to have to go see Bob himself. Maybe he can get something else going. A second deal. "Therapy. Therapy works." D.L. sighs and looks at her, love and cherishing all in the mix. He's not really wanting to leave her to her own devices. This whole lab rat thing is not the best life for his wife. As far as he's concerned. "But you just said it. You said you started to reason with her. Can't you just… do it again? For good?" He doesn't believe this whole thing about it being safer. Because now they're attached to the Company for as long as she needs 'treatment'.

The way Niki looks back at D.L. seems to express how very much she understands where he's coming from, and that she completely agrees with every word he's saying, at odds with her answers. "…I am scared to try, D.L.," she admits tremulously. "I don't know if I can take that risk. What if she hurts you? Or Micah? If playing it safe means I have to go to the hospital for the rest of my /life/, that's a small price to pay for coming home my family every day," she continues, her expression softening here and there when she talks about D.L. and Micah. "I'm not locked up, we're together…" Round and round they go! "What time is it? I have to be at Enlightenment before ten!" This has been an intense conversation to have so early in the morning.

"You have to trust me to protect Micah. And you, baby. You have to trust me." D.L. needs something to hang on to. He can't bring money in. He can't get a good job. He can't do much of anything but walk through walls. But he's definitely capable of handling Jessica. "I've handled her before and I can do it again. This is a family affair, Niki. We can do this. All of us." But that's it. He doesn't push the fact. Instead, he just gets up from the bed. "Come on. I'll drop you off." He's a little worn in the brain about all of this himself. Talking in circles. He's going to have to prove to her, somehow, that she can control Jessica. That's the only way they can get clear of this Company.

Following suit in standing up, Niki touches D.L.'s face - a hand along his jaw, making sure he looks at her. "I trust you." But is it enough? Time will tell. For now, she plasters on a light-hearted smile - a silly smile, truth be told, given that she doesn't feel light-hearted at all - and stands up nice and straight. "I need five minutes to get ready before I learn how to sell books on UFOs."

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