2010-03-01: Not On The Table



Date: March 1st, 2010


It probably happens, but not on the table!

"Not On The Table"

Cody and Erin's safehouse

Once Tori has gone, Cody climbs into the driver's seat and starts up the van again. Taine might feel a few corners turn, and if he's counting (he might be… Cody does) at least ten minutes have passed by before they stop once again. This time it's just a pause and then they lurch to a start and stop for good.

Wherever they are, it's completely dead silent. Cody leaves the van and not a minute later the side door slides open and she's back. "Come on, easy now, up you get." She guides the soap star by one arm while her free hand picks up the small satchel by the handle. They walk for a little while before the clatter of the gate belonging to an industrial elevator is heard. "It'll just be a minute before you can see her."

When they reach the apartment all of the shades are drawn. Cody's been working on this for at least a day. She's already cooked supper, it's in the oven. It's some kind of bird… with sides. They don't move so it's all good. The table is set for two, and there's a candle. She seats Taine in one of the chairs and then lights the candle. "Honey! I'm home and I brought you a present!!"

The whole situation is beyond awkward, as he gets marched into the room and dropped into a seat. With his hands still tied behind his back. Taine shifts a bit, though he's careful not to shift much. Last thing he wants out of this is rope burn, if he can avoid it. "This has got the be the strangest date I've ever been to. I hope we don't have to do it like this next time I want to see her…" Who is this woman? Why is she doing this? Arguing might keep him from seeing Erin, so he doesn't give his arguments.

Well, not real arguments, anyway.

"I hope you don't expect me to eat with my hands behind my back. I don't want to be bloody spoon fed."

It's a minute before Erin appears at the top of the stairs. "Jesus. You didn't have to tie him up," she says, though her tone is more amused than it is disappointed or angry. Taine will then hear the sound of light footsteps coming down a flight of stairs; it's awhile before they reach him, though.

"…Or put a bag over his head. Seriously. Relax, Taine, it's all right." Reaching for the bag, she pulls it off, exposing his poor, sensitive eyes to the bright lights of the apartment.

Erin looks okay. To anyone who saw her before she was taken, though, there would be some significant differences. Makeup can't hide the dark circles under her eyes, or the cut on her forehead, or the fading bruises around her wrists. Also, more subtle, the smile she offers him is one he's likely never seen before, because she's never quite felt this way before. It's hard to describe, unable to fit as either peaceful or sad; it's somewhere in between. "Hey. I'm alive."

Digging the wire cutters out of the satchel, Cody uses them to snip the zip tie from around the star's hands. Once he's release, she drops the cutters back into the satchel and turns to Erin. "I told you I could bag him. I meant bag him. No one can know we live here." Except the pizza boy, but that's life and death. "No one can know you're alive. If they do, they'll start hunting you again." She doesn't seem to care that Taine is listening to all of this, it might reinforce the fact that Erin's life is in immediate and very real peril.

Turning away from the both of them, the agent pulls off her gloves as she starts walking toward the kitchen. "I made supper… by the way you're never allowed in the kitchen after the horror stories your sister told me today. Get used to leftovers." The bird is pulled from the oven and set onto the counter closest to the table, then the side dishes are laid out around it.

Once Cody finishes setting up the 'date', she wipes her hands off on each other and crosses the vast room to the stairs. "I'll be in my room for the rest of the night. I have plans to make." Plans that involve not getting killed, especially after seeing her own termination order earlier in the day.

"Thanks," Taine says with a grouchy sound to his voice as he squints against the sudden light, and shifts his arms now that he can again. Though he'd just been sat down, he immediately tries to stand as he sees Erin. Alive, not with some kind of tube in her, and looking okay… Not wonderful or glamorous, but okay. He stumbles, body not liking to move yet, but still moves in closer. It doesn't take much. She's close enough to remove the bag. And he's hugging her.

"Thank you, kidnapper," he says toward said kidnapper, looking over girlfriend's head as he does. It doesn't last too long, because he pulls back to look at her again. Dark circles, cut on forehead… "I should have driven you home. They might not have grabbed both of us." It's wishful thinking? Or self-blame. "Your sister?"

"Yeah, I know." The amusement in her tone becomes much less than it was before. This is all for Taine's safety and hers, even if it's far from ideal. Erin's not sure she'll ever be able to walk around in public again… But at least she's alive.

"Thought you weren't gonna talk to her," Erin says, stopping just short of using Cody's name. "…For her safety. Anyway, you can't believe anything she says. I'm awesome around the kitchen. If you like fires." Stay out of the kitchen? No problem, really. Erin cannot cook to save her life. At least one of them can cook, huh? Erin kind of ignores the food for the moment, though, because Taine's hugging her, and she's crying again. She has no idea where these tears come from! It's annoying!

When he pulls her back, the smile is gone. She just looks defeated. Hollow. "Uh-uh. No." She shakes her head. They wanted Erin to use her. Taine doesn't have a power. "They woulda just killed you and taken me. That's what they do. Janet— Janet got me out of there. She…" The smile returns. "Faked my death and I left in a bodybag."


"I could have told them you weren't the best cook. I'm Australian, the only thing we cook is on the barbie, and I'm still better than you at that," Taine says with a lopsided grin. Though the seriousness of the situation isn't lost on him. She had to fake her own death to get away from them. They wanted to use her as a weapon. But in all honesty… he's just glad she's here, able to speak, and alive

"I wish there was something I could do. I almost told the police about this whole thing when they questioned me, but then I'd have to tell them about… all of it." And all of it would not be in Erin's best interests. "I'm glad your sister helped you out. And whoever that was who kidnapped me. I— guess I can't call Tracy to let her and Beth know you're alive?"

"I think anyone would be," she says. Maybe Erin should learn how to cook at some point in her life… It'd probably be conducive to keeping her soap opera figure when she's all old.

"You can't tell anyone anything, Taine," she says. "Not the police, not… Not even Beth and Tracy. The fewer people who know, the better." And then, she'd be wanted for murder on top of it. "It'd just be a mess. I mean, it's not like it's controlled now, but add the police into it, and… Reporters, the rest of the world… The people who took me? I don't think they'd be above just exterminating everyone with an ability so that no one else could have them."

She looks down, before sitting in the chair. The food looks good, and it's too nice of Cody to have done this for them. Erin doesn't want to waste it. "They kept me chained in a cage. Told me they'd only give me freedom if I let 'em put a collar around my neck." Looking behind her, she checks for Cody, before lowering her voice. "I mean, sitting there, I really— I really started to— To wonder if that's where I was supposed to be. I couldn't not. Then— " Biting her lip, she shakes her head.

"You don't," Taine says firmly, even as he moves to sit back down and look across at her. Eating isn't something that he needs quite as much, as he ate before he left— he was on his way to the police station to see what they thought of the letters, and try to keep his name clear. Clear as possible, that is.

"You don't belong in a place like that." Even if she murdered people? Even then. "I won't tell Beth or Tracy, though I think should probably know. Hopefully there's some way that they can be stopped so they can know. So that everyone can know. Afterlife is trying to write around us, but… we could always move on to another project after this." If there is ever an after this.

"I know," she says, her expression blank as she says it. "I know, but… After what they did to me— " Erin hesitates to say what exactly they did to her. It's hard to bring it up again. Scooting her chair toward his, she takes his hand. "I… ah. I guess I'd call it torture. I have nightmares. They kept me in that cell and cut off the nutrient line and sedatives. I mean, they left me on that… whatever it was that kills my ability. I couldn't get away from that, and without my power, my immune system is, like, totally shot. I just kept getting sicker and sicker. It was probably pretty easy for Janet to fake my death.

"So one day this guy came in, and he turned on these loud screaming sounds. High volume, like my ear was pressed against a speaker. Then there were— lights. They flashed on and off the whole time. I think… I think I had a seizure or something, 'cuz I blacked out. That went on for sixteen hours. Taine, by the time it was done, I … just wanted to end it."

What does someone really say to that kind of thing? Taine thought hearing about what she did before was hard. But this… If he had had any appetite, he certainly doesn't now. "I'm sorry," he says, wincing, though it's not the kind of sorry that places blame on himself. Not this time. What they did to her is their own faults, and they deserve to be taken down. Maybe her and Tracy were right—

Even if he doesn't want to believe it.

"I don't know what I should do. Other than just not say anything."

Erin doesn't expect Taine to say anything. It's just something that he has to know if he's going to live with her - the nightmares are frequent… So is the waking up disoriented from them. It's getting better, with Cody's help, but there will be times when the fear creeps up on her. And she was very afraid.

Blue eyes glance at the food Cody left. It's very romantic - a candlelight dinner, a nice apartment, good food. "My friend's gonna be mad if we don't eat somethin'. She's got a temper."

But Erin makes no efforts to eat it. "I'm sorry. For whatever I did, and whatever… I'm gonna do. I don't know how this is gonna affect me long-term. Maybe it won't." Obviously, it already has. There's a definite change in Erin, more than just her appearance. "I just want to be with you for awhile. I want to know I'm… still wanted." Her voice is almost a whisper when she says it. "I feel like it's my fault I have this power, you know? I wish I could get rid of it. But I know I can't, 'cuz my immune system's so shot to hell that I… If Janet hadn't gotten me out of there, I would have died. For real. It was that bad."

"There's no reason to get rid of it. It's part of who you are, like my eyes are part of who I am. Crikey, every single person in existance is capable of commiting atrocities. You don't need to be able to create viruses with a thought to do that— what they're doing to you proves it," Taine says, frowning at the food he has no appetite to eat. "I never guessed it was all roses, or even a happy prison made for actors needing rehab or something. I knew it would be bad. I get that it's really bad."

But he still disagrees with some things. Like murder, like stooping to their level. "I'm glad your friend— or whatever you want to call her… I'm glad she came to get me. She said I can visit again, that all I'd have to do is call and she'd send someone to get me. Hopefully without the tying up and bag over head part."

"I want it all to go away. I just wanted to live my life, Taine. But I'm gonna have to hide here for… Maybe the rest of my life. Or, well, I guess we'll have to move once in awhile… You know. In case they find us."

She leans back in her chair, looking down at the food. Mashed potatoes seem okay; instead of putting some on her plate, she just drags the whole bowl over and starts licking the serving spoon.

Some things will never change.

"I liked who I was, what I could do, the people I could help… God, for awhile, I even felt like a hero, and it was nice."

Smirking, Erin rolls her eyes. "She's a page right out of a secret agent story. Not sure why she doesn't want you to know her name. It's…" She looks over her shoulder. "It's Cody, by the way. Don't tell her I told you."

She uses the same serving spoon to chop at some of the chicken-turkey-duck-whatever it is. A knife would have worked far better, probably. "I'm sorry I couldn't contact you sooner." There's a pause, then, "Does anyone miss me, or are they glad I'm gone?"

"Cody…" Names are just names, but it's nice to put a name to the faces sometimes. He only just saw her face, anyway. He'd been bagged! Taine listens to her, and at her question he puts down the silverware he hasn't even ate with and stands up again, moving around the table to reach his arms around her and pull her head back against his chest.

"Of course they missed you. Don't be an idiot. Beth and Tracy are worried sick, and they probably don't like me anymore, cause I was mad at Tracy for having anything at all to do with why you were missing. Filmings on hold, the police thought I'd killed you and brought me in for questioning— I've even seen stacks of fanmail about people worried about you." And the person who missed her the most may well be standing right behind her, pulling her close.

"So don't be an idiot."

"Yeah but— "

Honestly, she didn't know people cared enough to be worried about her. Before, Erin was fine with that. Now, the world seems like a really lonely place, and she could use just a little comfort.

All she wants to do is lean into Taine's arms, which she does, finally managing to hold back tears. It's little victories like that that make her feel better - if she can take charge of all this emotional bullshit, then maybe she can kill the bad dreams, too.

It takes awhile for all that to sink in, and by the time it does, Erin's smile has returned, just a little. It disappears rapidly, though. "What're we gonna do about filming when — if I can go back? What'd you tell the police?"

"Remember that fan that kept writing me, even at my home address?" Taine asks, keeping himself close to her as he asks that rhetorical question. How could anyone forget when he showed up at work and there was a stack of them, or when he'd come home, to his unlisted address, and there was mail sitting in his box. From a fan. "Some of the things she'd talk about were really off the wall, so it seemed as good an explanation as any… Most likely they'll just question her and tell her to back off. Since we know she didn't really have anything to do with your disappearance."

But what if she can't go back? "And of course you can come back. Once these assholes get in trouble for doing what they're doing, you and me can go back to our crazy soap opera actor lives." Wishful thinking? Maybe.

That stupid fan. "So if I go back, how to we explain where I've been? Amnesia? Hah." Even though she's asked the question, Erin really isn't interested in considering it right now. She'd much rather just sit here. Or maybe…

She doesn't get romantic very often. She has before, so it's not impossible. Still, this seems to come easier for her than it has in the past. "I bet if you went and sat on the couch with me for awhile, I could sleep without nightmares." She pulls away, long enough to look up and smile at him tiredly. "Cody can take you back whenever… Look, though…" She leans her head against Taine again. "You really can't say anything to anyone. And I know you won't, 'cuz you've kept the whole thing a secret so far. But if you even… If you even hint that you saw me, they could find us, and I don't think I'll be as lucky a second time."

Erin stands. She's so short compared to Taine! "If this ends? It's all gonna be swept under the carpet. No one's going to have to answer for any of this." …legally. Erin, of course, has exacted her own justice already. "I wanna say this before that has the possibility to happen. I love you. And if they take me again… I have a responsibility to… They're not going to take me alive. If you want me to be dramatic. I just wanted you to know that no matter what…" She pauses, looking down. "Don't make me say it again."

"Or you could say you got swine flu and it was so sever you… didn't know who you were for a while?" Taine shrugs his shoulders. He's not really caring how, as long as she can. The media will make something up. A lover's quarrel, that she was cheating in Aruba with a prince, that she was in rehab… It could be a billion things, all as equally stupid as the last.

And very far from the truth.

"I won't say anything. I'll just stop by a bar on my why home and make it look like I was bar hopping or something." He's Aussie, such a thing is possible. He just won't drink too much. He can fake it too.

"And don't say that again, ever." He won't make her say it again. Not to dying if she has to. But the loving part is okay. He likes that part. "I'm not going anywhere for a while, but I won't do anything to put you in danger either. Cause I love you too." Even if she's so fatalist it's scary right now.

"Taine, I invented swine flu," she says. Though the smirk on her face betrays nothing as to whether she's serious, or whether she's joking. Hopefully the latter?

She has no doubts that the media will make something up, but what about the set crew? The producer? The director? They'll want the truth - or as close as Erin can get to it. She shouldn't plan ahead right now anyway, huh? Who knows where she'll be tomorrow. "Can we just go sit down for awhile? Before Cody barges in here and whisks you away."

"Let's find a place to sit, and lay," Taine says, keeping his arms around her. She got some of her eating in, and he already had dinner. He'd much rather spend what time he has with his girlfriend cuddling. Much preferable to anything else. Especially when the last time they were intimate, she ended up vanishing on him…

"There's no where that would function for a bed is there?"

It's not like they don't get seen in compromising positions ALL THE TIME on set. It's just different cause they aren't actually doing anything…

But right now he'd like to be doing something.

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