2007-04-18: No Simple Solutions


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After being told by Ling that the rival mob may be after him, Lachlan tells Cass that he's moving again. And tells her that she should move in with him.

April 18th, 2007:

No Simple Solutions

Lachlan's Apartment, Brooklyn

After the events of earlier this morning, Lachlan's been in a rather unpleasant mood — not /sour/, but brooding and thoughtful (shocking as it might be). He's not been very talkative and sloughed through all his appointments and job interviews with a lackluster demeanor. Naturally, he was on such a short fuse that he /lost/ half those appointments, whilst the others were either very patient or not so stupid as most of his customers. All-in-all, it has not been a good day, and so he decided to take a shower before that thing called "dinner". He's just finishing up in the bathroom, letting the spray soothe the aggravating, itching hell that has become his stitches.

Stretched out on the loveseat with her legs dangling off the arms, Cass has open her notebook, scribbling things down in numbers and crossing things off. Knowing that Lachlan is not in the best of moods, she's been trying to stay mostly out of the way and not ask how those interviews went. As that's what she's decided is the reason for his downturn in attitude. She's brought food with her and has already put the plastic bag filled with Indian take out on the table, ready and waiting for Lachlan to be done with his shower so they can eat.

Off goes the shower, followed by silence as Lachlan dresses (boxers) and steps out into the living room. Wet hair just accents the fact that he's semi-bald on the back of his head, and the jagged wound across his back looks like it's coming along beautifully, outside of the itchy slightly reddened scar tissue that's begun to form. When the Scotsman spots Cass, he grunts out a greeting of "hey", then starts immediately for the kitchen. Mm, food.

"That's all I get? A grunt? I ventured out on an injured leg to bring back dinner." Cass is definitely teasing, but she's trying to lighten his mood, too. Getting him to talk would be a good start. "Bring over the chickpeas!" Those are her favorite. And since she did all that walking, she doesn't really want to move all that much more. Swinging her legs off the arm of the loveseat, she pulls herself up into a more normal sitting position, keeping the notebook in her lap and sticking the pen behind her ear for safe keeping.

Indian cuisine isn't exactly the sort of food Lachlan usually eats, so it takes him a little while to identify the chickpeas. Actually, he doesn't identify them at /all/ and decides instead to bring out the whole shebang. Hey, it's not like it should go to waste, right? He brings it all back to the couch and sets it on the coffee table before dropping into the spot next to Cass with a sigh. "Hey, thanks," he grunts, adding an extra word to his previous greeting. Despite his earlier desire for food, however, he doesn't go sifting through the bag right away. Instead, he remains seated a moment, pauses, then starts to rise again. "Need a dri— " oh, wait. He frowns deeper and settles back on the loveseat. "Nevermind."

While it may not be part of Lachlan's regular food rotation, it's one of Cass' favorite types of food. Shifting through the bag, she grabs her beloved chickpeas and some naan, she closes up her book and carefully sets it where it won't get greasy. "I can get you something non-alcoholic," she looks over at Lachlan with a bit of a frown. "Was it really that bad?" She's talking about the interviews and why he's been in such a bad mood all day.

"Nah," Lachlan mutters to the offer of something non-alcoholic, frowning more. The stubborn streak has set in, and he's decided that he'll just sit and stew about the lack of scotch in the apartment and refuse to be placated by something like water or juice. /So there/. And now he's not even /hungry/ anymore. This is how Lachlan does angst: take it out on something totally unrelated. "Yeah, was bad," he adds in a mumble, then goes silent again for a few seconds, rubbing at his face with one hand as though warding off a headache. Nnnngh. Day just needs to be over. He drops his hand again with a sigh, the scowl gone and replaced again by a brooding frown. "'M movin' again soon." Another brief pause before he glances vaguely in Cass' direction, staring at something near her knees. "Ye should move in with me."

Well, Lachlan better eat some of the Indian food as there is certainly too much for just Cass to eat all of. "I'm sorry, baby." She puts a hand on his knee for some sort of comfort, though she doesn't know how comforting it will be. Seeing how upset this is making him has resolved her to start helping him search. Even if he won't know that she's helping him. That damn Scottish pride and all. What he says after that makes her frown in a different way. A confused way. "Again? But, you just got this place. Why?" And then that last statement is met with a very long, very stunned silence from Cass' side. She's waiting for him to elaborate or to 'just kidding'. When that doesn't come, she finally says, "I. I'm waiting for the punch-line."

But there is no punch line. Lachlan's serious. Of course, he means it for entirely different reasons than what Cass might think, but he's not about to air those reasons. He just goes silent for a while as he leans forward to dig around in the back for a carton of something that looks and smells somewhat edible. "Place's too 'spensive fer me righ' now," he responds. "Dunna like the buildin' anyway."

Too expensive? Don't like the building? Those are pretty weak reasons to move again, in Cass' opinion. Okay not the too expensive part, but the not liking the building. He just got here. He should have /known/ what he could afford, shouldn't he? "Lach." She frowns and gives him her best version of a piercing look. "What is going on? Why do you need to move again?" She's trying to think through all the possibilities and she's coming up with a blank. Other than why he had to move in the first place. "Is it because of that guy who assaulted you? Right after we first met? We should go to the police. He shouldn't run you off. You have /rights/ Lachlan."

Lachlan is being interrogated. He doesn't like it. It makes him /uncomfortable/. Rather than try to argue his way out of it, his tiredness makes him snappish, and he retorts with a short, "Doesna matter, a'righ'? 'M movin', an' ye should come too." /Stab/ goes his fork into the carton of Mystery Food, then he pulls up some sort of vegetable covered in some sort of sauce and squints at it. Just what the /hell/ are /you/, foodstuff?

"Yes. It /does/ matter, Lachlan." Cass frowns at him and pauses in her scooping up of chickpeas with naan. "You shouldn't have to run from some punk who…actually, I never knew why he was assaulting you." Pause. That's something that deserves thinking over. Finally, she just shrugs and shakes her head. She's not meaning to interrogate the Scot, but she's curious and this is coming out of nowhere. "I'm not going to move in with you, Lachlan. I've got an apartment and I like it."

But … but … this apartment is /not safe/. Lachlan becomes agitated at the refusal and snaps his head around to frown at Cass in a very worried manner — but then he stares quickly back into his food and scowls. Goddamn it. "Does /no'/ matter. S'no' … ye should /really/ move in, a'righ'? Yer 'parment's no' safe." /Shit/. Think fast. "Ye've had it broken inta too much."

"Not /safe/?" Cass puts her food down and turns to face Lachlan. This is now starting to worry her. "Okay, now, yes this does matter. What do you mean? My apartment got broken into /once/. And now I've upped the security on it." She shakes her head and stares at the Scot. "Moving in is a /huge/ step, Lachlan. And I'm just not at all ready to take it yet. Plus, I've lived in my apartment since I moved to New York and I don't want to give it up."

Goddamn it. Why does Cass have to be perceptive? Why can't Lachlan be a better liar? /Why/ must he /continue/ to get himself /into/ these sorts of predicaments? /Stab stab stab/ goes the fork — he's picking at (/on/) his food rather than eating it. It's probably a very good thing he wasn't asking Cass to move in /because/ he was wanting to take that huge step she's talking about. And now his stitches start to itch again, and he irritably leans forward and reaches back with one hand to scratch at them harshly, growling out a soft "bloody stitches" between gritted teeth. "S'just no' safe fer ye, a'righ'? An' it's no' safe fer me ta stay here." /Fine/. He can just be /vague/ about it.

Cass can't help it that this doesn't make sense to her and that makes her curious. And because she's curious she asks questions of Lachlan. That's just the way she operates. His sulkiness isn't really helping his cause, either. "What do you /mean/, Lachlan? Why isn't it safe for me? Or for you? I just. I just want to understand what's going on." But, he's not looking at her and he's being his avoiding self as to this subject and that's not something that Cass wants. "Lach. Look at me. What is going on?" She even goes so far to try and put a hand on his cheek like she's done so many times before. The worry is plain on her face and in her voice. As is the confusion. Perception only takes her so far. She's not a mind reader.

Nnnnn, not the /face/. Not the /eyes/. Not /that look/. Lachlan can't help but look at Cass directly when she tells him to and puts a hand on his cheek, and even though it's not a very long look, it's enough to crumble what little resolve he had left. His expression softens, then tightens again at some inner conflict. He finally gives in with a sigh and a glance down at the couch cushion. "Look," he mutters, "I've no' allus been a good guy, a'righ'?" /Obviously/. "Used ta do things tha' were no' 'zactly … /good/. 'M out o' it now, yanno, but it's come back ta bite me. Some people're after me, an' I dunno how much they know 'bout me righ' now. Dunno if they know 'bout ye, an' if they … they're no' nice people. 'F they figure they can use ye ta get ta me, then … an' … I dunna … if somethin' happened ta ye …" He trails off with an uneasy frown. It's not a lie, really. As far as he's concerned he /is/ out of the business. It's just that one last push — a two weeks' notice, if you will.

Cass frowns. At least he's being honest with her. As far as she knows. She won't push him more on what he may be hiding as this obviously was a bit of a confession for him. There's enough there that she can infer and gather what she needs to from the situation. "Then let's go to the police. You're out of it and they'll help you. You don't have to run." Keeping her hand on his cheek, she tries to bring his face up so that he's looking at her again. "And me moving in with you isn't going to magically protect me from anything. If they know about me…then they know about me and there's nothing I can do about that other than be careful. And you, too." The concern is easily readable. "I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you."

But Lachlan can't go to the police. Not without seriously implicating himself, and he doesn't want to spend time in jail. Plus, he doesn't want to piss off /two/ major crime syndicates at the same time. It would /really/ not be safe for either himself or Cass. However, he /does/ considering it for all of two seconds before these reasons set in, and the hopelessness from earlier hits. "Canna go ta the police," he sighs. "'F I tol' 'em wha' I know, I'd go ta jail, an' tha's no' safe neither. An' if the people tha're lookin' fer me found out I'd been talkin' …" Well, now he's back to that whole "dying and Cass-torture is bad" thing.

This is something new to Cass. The whole 'law might not be the right thing.' Sure, she was a rebellious kid, but she's always had a pretty good idea of right and wrong. And this is sort of warping her views. She thinks the law is good and should be followed, but she also thinks Lachlan is good and should not be in jail. However, the two are competing with each other. Plus, the idea of two mob bosses trying to kill Lachlan does not sit well with the store owner, either. She lets her hand drop back down into her lap as she thinks this through, a pronounced frown evident on her face. "Okay. So, no police. But, then how do we keep you safe?" Just moving doesn't seem to be enough, does it? "Even if you move, can they track you?"

… well, yeah. But Lachlan was semi-relying on Ling's ability to protect him to hold /that/ at bay. Of course, Cass is Way Way Way Smarter Than Everyone, so maybe she's got an alternative — or maybe he just doesn't want to let on about Ling. The Scotsman shrugs a little, wrapping an arm around his throat to reach back and scratch idly at the part of the stitches nearest his shoulderblade. "Mebbe. But it's safer'n stayin' here." A bit. Maybe.
Cass's smarts kind of are limited to the more legal realm of life. Keeping Lachlan from getting attacked by mobsters is a little out of her expertise. She frowns. "Okay." Well, what else can she say? She's not about to try and convince him to stay in an apartment that may not be safe. If moving will give him a better chance of staying unhurt and alive, than that's what he should do. "Then I'll help you move."

Well. Not exactly the answer he was expecting, but Lachlan will take it. He nods a little, then peers at Cass again, frowning. "Wha' 'bout ye?" Because, well, the whole idea was to not only move /himself/ but also Cass to avoid that whole bit about the torture and death and things. Hmm.

Frowns seem to be the expression of choice for this conversation, because Cass continues to wear hers. "Me?" She shrugs. "I don't see how me moving would make any difference. If they know about me, then they know about me. And they'd just wait till you weren't around before trying anything. That's what I'd do." If she would ever actually hurt anyone. The very idea is unlikely.

"Yeah, but I'd get Dobermans. Train 'em in a week. They'd no' come near ye." Dobermans are the answer to everything, really. Cass needs to visit a scary doctor guy who might lock her up and torture her with experiments: take along a Doberman and Lachlan can sit outside in the car. Cass needs to visit her father who might lock her up and torture her with experiments: take along a Doberman and Lachlan can sit outside in the car. Cass needs to be alone in an apartment where Camparelli-Zukhov syndicate goons might lock her up and torture her with experiments: take along a Doberman and Lachlan can sit outside in the car. Or, well. Somewhere. Not in the apartment. And the Doberman would kill them all. Simple strokes for simple folks.

Dobermans certainly seem to be Lachlan's solution to everything. And while Cass can't say that she didn't find Bonnie's presence a comfort when spending nights all alone in her apartment, she's not sure this is the correct answer. "Lach…really, I know you want to protect me. And I appreciate that. But I don't know if moving in is the right solution." She sighs. "I don't know if there /is/ a right solution. I've never had to think through something like this before."

Well, neither has Lachlan, really. At least not something involving another person he cares about. Had he been /alone/ in all this, he'd just pull up stakes and get the hell out of Dodge, quietly in the night. Previous experiences have been while the only other person he cares about was living in Jersey. This is new to him. It's /confusing/. And it's scary. After a moment's pause, he starts to pick at his food again — much less violently than before. "'F ye think I should go ta the cops," he mutters, "I will." Only if they can offer some form of protection — for both of them.

The mention of going to the cops when he was so adamant at not going before surprises Cass to a certain extent. It's a strange helpless feeling that she's experiencing right now. Not knowing enough to help someone she cares about is bugging her and it's not like this is really something she can research on her own. "If you don't think it's safe to, then no. I don't want to see you in jail. And I don't want to see you hurt." She sighs. "If you think moving will be enough to keep them away from you, then I'll trust you."

It's not /just/ himself that Lachlan is worried about, though. Someone /did/ break into Cass' apartment once before — in fact, /two/ people have, himself included (though his motives were nothing more sinister than a desire for an ice pack and a carpet) — and even with heightened security, he's scared. Still, he nods a little, then glances down at his now-cold food and sets it on the table. Scratchscratchscratch at his stitches once again. He's lost his appetite. Now he's just plain tired.

Strangely enough, Cass has lost her appetite, too. All this talk about danger and mobs and moving in has made her stomach all tied up into knots. Not even bothering with trying to pick at her food again, she sighs and moves to lean on Lachlan. There's not much else she can say on the subject other than, "We'll figure it out." Or she'll try to puzzle what she can. Added in with training sessions, opening a lab, and running a store. "I'm rarely at home much anyway."

All this talk about danger and mobs and moving in has made Lachlan less than happy too, and he's more than willing to let it drop for now. Okay, so Cass won't move in with him. She can keep Bonnie, at least, though the dog by now has been spoiled beyond all hope of ferocious guard dog training. Sigh. Nobody would be intimidated by Bonnie until she reached Big And Mean size anyway. The Scotsman wraps his arms around Cass when she leans on him, then starts to wriggle, rubbing his back over the couch cushions in an attempt to /make the itching go away/. "Bloody— !" One arm leaves Cass to reach back and scratch furiously. Having just come from a shower and having not applied lotion, it's worse than it would be. "'ll bloody rip these things /out/." And he'll do it, too. Don't think he won't.

"And then Doctor Applebaum will yell at you, put in more and you'll have to wait another week before we can have sex again." Cass replies in a dry tone. Her eyes are already starting to close and she doesn't seem to mind the jostling or the attempt at him trying to make the itching go away. "Go get that lotion stuff you're supposed to be using. I'll help you put it on." And it's true. Cass has spoiled Bonnie more than is good for her, but it's really just in her nature to. The dog never stood a chance to keep it's ferocious training by staying with the bookseller.

/Frown/. /Pout/. Lachlan slumps back against the couch again and tightens his grip around Cass' shoulders momentarily. "Dunna like tha' stuff," he grumbles. "Smells funny." Anyone who knows him would know that the Scotsman is /hardly/ one to talk about funny smells. "An' she dinna gimme a lollipop." This is an offense that will forever be at the forefront of his mind when speaking of Doctor Applebaum.

"Poor Lachlan. Denied a lollipop." Cass is laying on the teasing fairly heavily now. "Maybe it was because you were a bad patient. You were being pretty grumbly when I showed up." Readjusting, she wraps her own arms around Lachlan as she lies against him. "Maybe if you're extra good when we go to get our stitches out she'll give you one. Make sure you say please."

"Was /no'/ a bad patient," Lachlan defends. "She wasna 'zactly bein' a bloody nice woman." It's a lie: she was totally professional and excellent. He was just grumpy. It's everyone's fault but his own when he's grumpy. Cass being all cuddly and warm, however, signals that perhaps it is bedtime, and he's not about to spend the night on the loveseat (he's done it before; it was not comfortable, let alone with another person). The Scot sighs and rises, then twists a little to extend his arms and attempt to heft the woman next to him into his arms. Carrying to bed time. If he's allowed to, that is. And on the way, he'll stop by the bathroom to pick up that lotion stuff, because she /said/ she'd help him apply it.

"Mmhmmm." Cass doesn't really sound like she believes Lachlan. She was there for the end of it. She knows who was acting in what manner. When he attempts to pick her up and carry her to the bed, she doesn't protest or attempt to wriggle away. Instead she gives a sleepy giggle and wraps her arms around his neck, allowing herself to be carried off.

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