2008-03-02: Paranoia With A Side Of Eggs

Starring:

Peter_icon.gif Trina_icon.gif

Summary: Paranoia can lead to tension. Or breakfast.

Date It Happened: March 02, 2008

Paranoia with a Side of Eggs


Trina's Apartment

Contractors, true to Nathan's word, have been in and out of Trina and Jack's apartment, slowly replacing and restoring tile, sheetrock, rugs, hardwood floor, granite countertops, paint and counters for days. Right now, she's perched on a barstool as she watches them sand down the replacement floorboards, a blanket hung over her shoulders with all the dignity and pride of a defeated Superman.

She's watched this process in this exact way every minute of its transpiring, blue eyes observing them with a hollow, impassive sort of expression. There are smiles, born out of politeness alone, every so often as she has to interact with conversation. Mostly, however, she just sits. Sits and watches.

Unaware of all of the activity of the last few days, Peter approaches the apartment on foot. He can tell there's work going on, and from the sound of it, he doubts it's the young woman doing all the work. A contractor van parked on the side nearby also gives a clue as to what's going on. Good thing he didn't decide to teleport in, or anything. The bruises on his neck have faded almost completely, with little sign that they'd ever been there, and he's done with limping. Still looks tired, but it's early enough he hasn't opted to curl up and fall asleep.

Once he reaches the door, he knocks and waits a moment before saying, "Trina?"

Pulling herself to her feet, Trina offers a passing, almost warning glance to the man running the noisy sander over her floor as she hears the knock resound across the apartment. When she finally makes it to the door with her blanket still pulled over her shoulders, her features betray a hint of surprise. Surprise melts into something else, but that something else is much more difficult to immediately discern. It does, however, come with a tight smile as the fabric is pulled more tightly to her. "Hey, Pete. Whatcha doin' here?"

"I thought I'd check on you," Peter says, looking past her and into the loft that he'd helped destroy. Help, but didn't do all of! The only thing he really could have done to lessen the damage would have been to leave sooner, which he regrets having not done now. "Looks like you're getting some work done. It's already looking better," he says with a hint of a smile. Not as wide or genuine as it could be, but it's still there. "Jack…" he hesitates a moment, as if there's something he might want to say differently involving Jack, or the name Jack itself. "He's doing better. I think it might be okay for people to know where is, now… Give him more human contact."

Jack. The dark haired motorhead looks over her shoulder to look further inside the apartment for a moment before turning her atention back to Peter with a sigh. "I… I don't think that's a good idea," she finally decides on, head dropping to hide her behind a curtain of black hair. They're both so awkward, so unsure. As she power sander goes back on, she closes her eyes as if it might help her suddenly summon patience. It would be a thing a long time in coming, clearly, but she's grateful when the machine cuts off again.

"If you're sure on that…" Peter says in a softened voice, glancing toward the sander with a mild flinch. It is loud. From the look she has, she's had to endure it a lot longer. "I do have a phone number you can call him on, if you want," he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a card, with a number hand written on it. To a pre-paid phone that he slid to the man not too long ago. He's been checking to see if the minutes are being used. Maybe someone calling for him will make him answer. He holds the card forward, though, and then adds, "Do you want to go for a walk? I think it'd actually be quieter listening to honking taxi cabs."

The card too is denied, Trina not even bothering to stick her hand out to claim the piece of paper. "I… I can't really leave this guy. Your… Your brother sent him. I'm…" Oh, great, and now there's the hammering. Mah sets her jaw and sends her gaze skyward. It isn't until the hammering has passed that she's returns her blue eyes to regard Peter anew. She rolls her shoulders, clearly uncomfortable. "I don't wanna leave him alone in here." She smiles at that, apologetic.

That… Peter puts the card away and looks over at the noise a little more suspiciously than he'd done before. "Which one sent him?" he has to ask, voice rather thick. The card is tucked away for definite, now, but he can't help but grit his teeth. This wasn't supposed to happen. But then again… "Why is he helping you get this place cleaned up?" The longer he has to mull over this, the more alarmed he starts to look when his eyes make it back to her. An alarm that carries in his voice, and in the next series of questions, "Did he ask anything of you? Are you okay? He didn't hurt you, did he?"

Which one. With another roll of her shoulders, Trina drops her eyes to look at the small bit of floor between them. Her brow creases and her lips purse into a tight frown. "He's lookin' for Jack." Every other question is pointedly ignored.

"Damnit," Peter curses mildly, looking away from her to mutter under his breath. "I'm sorry, I should have figured he'd try to find you to ask where he is…" He shakes his head, hoping she had a better encounter with him than he ever did. Paying for repairs doesn't sound like the darker half of his brother. "Are you okay, Trina?" He notices she skipped answering all the other questions. "I'll not tell you where he is if you're afraid, but… I still think he should talk to you. Maybe I can… get the two of you together somewhere soon. So you can… talk. You don't have to know where he is most the time."

"I ain't scared," Trina snaps, eyes shooting back up to look at Peter with all of the intensity of a cornered mongrel dog. As soon as the words are out of her mouth, however, she looks startled at even herself. With a sigh, her expression softens and her eyes close. A hand comes out of her blanket to drag it roughly down her face before she shakes her head softly. "I… I'm sorry. I ain't sleepin' right. Look, I'll be fine. I just… I really don't think that's a good idea if…" A pause fills the air for a moment — except for the sound of a pounding hammer — before her lips purse again. She doesn't even know how to explain all of this. "It's just not a good idea."

The intensity makes him step back, putting some physical distance between them for a few moments. Peter's not moving away very far, though, and he settles down when she does. The apology earns a small nod. "It's okay, I'm not sleeping as much as I should be, either." It has to do with having not slept for months and then suddenly needing to. He does look a little torn by what she has to say. "Not a good idea for who?"

"For Jack. Look, Pete, it—" As an inordinate amount of quiet hits the air, Trina's head pricks up. She turns around, peering back inside the apartment. She doesn't immediately see the contractor, and she holds a finger up at the taller Peter. "Hold on just a second." Without waiting, the woman turns on her heel and steps further into the apartment, leaning forward as she creeps along.

"Jack needs to talk to you too, though," Peter says softly, not sure how much more he can argue this point with her when she lets the quiet get to her and starts moving further into the apartment. He blinks. She had gestured for him to wait, but he's not exactly the wait-in-the-car type. He's the one who would get out of the car and get killed or save the day. Save the day getting killed. No handcuff keeps him where he needs to be, so he follows after her, squinting ahead of him. Listening. At least he's trying to be stealthy…

Once Trina gets far enough along to notice that the burly contractor is just measuring down the next gap of planks, she heaves a sign of relief. She straightens and turns around just in time to nearly run into Peter. She startles easily, visibly jumping until she can calm down enough to settle her hand over her resting heart. "Anyway, I… I /can't/, Peter. How do you know Jack even /wants/ to see me? If he /wanted/ to, he could have called me. He coulda asked you to get me. He didn't because… because he doesn't want to deal with it. And… And if your brother comes back…" Her eyes close as she draws a deep breath. She still feels the bruise on her back and the cuts on her feet from dealing with him. The cold of the knife against her throat. A hand reaches up subconsciously to rub at the place where its serrated edge lay. "It's…" Her blue eyes reopen to look at Petrelli from forth a down-turned face, chin tucking down against her hand. "It's just better for everybody if I don't know anything."

"All right— I'll wait until he asks to see you. But it's not just his decision. He's… he's off the drugs and he's getting better, but he's kind of losing sight of all the things that he's supposed to be fighting for," Peter keeps his voice soft and serious, sincere, even as he glances toward the contractor. What little of him he can see. There's a small pause as he looks back at her, studies her for a moment. There's something in the way she stands. He might not be able to see the injuries, but… "What did my brother do?" He repeats his question again. "What happened when he came here looking for Jack?"

Trina watches the older man in front of her for a moment. For a moment, it looks like she's not going to say anything at all. Eventually, however, she leans in to offer the truth in a sharp whisper. "He scared the livin' piss out of me, Pete. I mean, it was my fault. I said some stuff. He said …some stuff…" Her face contorts as she starts her dark confession. "He threatened to—" A pause. She restarts. "He held a gawd damned knife to my throat, Peter, and — I swear on all that's holy — I'm not gonna do something that could come back to hurt Jack. I won't do it." She looks to Petrelli once more, her eyes softening to something a little sadder. "If he's off the drugs, why hasn't he come home?" She pauses just long enough to make it clear that it's a question, not long enough to actually let Peter respond. "I'll tell you why: because home ain't enough anymore. He doesn't want to be here."

Knife. To her neck. Peter closes his eyes for an instant and just stands there. It's obvious he's supressing some kind of emotion. It might well be fury from the twist of his lip. Logan keeps going too far. And the man's going to push the wrong person some day and his brother will pay the price for it. "I'm just glad you're okay…" There's that much. "Jack… thinks he needs to become someone different for you, Trina. Someone… not Jack. I can't convince him otherwise. Maybe you can, but it doesn't mean he doesn't want to be here. He does. But he doesn't know who he wants to be here. Him or… someone else. Someone who is him but isn't him. Maybe he lost the phone. There could be other reasons why he hasn't contacted you yet…"

The sound of a circular saw flaring to life, tearing through wood, is enough to make Trina practically jump out of her skin. She jumps again, her exposed hand pressing the blanket closer to her as she shuts her eyes and tries to calm back down. Her nerves are shot. She takes a few slow breaths before she softly shakes her head again. "Alright, Pete. Alright. I can try, I guess." For what little good that it'll do. "But I'm not makin' any promises that it'll make a difference."

"I'll still talk to Jack first… we can do the meeting in another location if we have to, so that you don't know where he really is." Peter explains. There's a pause. He could even dreamwalk her into his dreams… if he knew how to take other people with him. He's no Kory. He's not that good at it. "We'll make sure that he's safe… if we have to." There's a hesitation. He looks at her neck, her frazzled nerves. He can't help but worry about what would happen if his brother came back. Either of them. "You could always ask the contractor to leave, you know… You could probably do the rest on your own. You're good with tools. I know you mostly work on cars, but I'm sure you're capable of a lot more than that too."

"Floors are tricky," Trina says with a rueful smile and a roll of her eyes. "The sanding has to be done just right or you get all these little dips and stu—" She stops, dropping her eyes back to the floor sheepishly. "I… used to date a guy who installed hardwood." And then with the hammering again. Finally, the dark haired woman whips around, snapping again. "GOD. Get a beer out of the damned fridge and give me fifteen minutes! Just fifteen minutes. Out in the hall. NOW." When her exposed hand lifts again, it just rests over her eyes. The contractor, while he doesn't look particularly enthusiastic, he does, at least, move to go get the promised bottle out of the shiny new fridge in the kitchen before leaving. Trina is perfectly content to just let him step out with her face buried in her hand.

"I can't say I know much about that sort of thing," Peter professes honestly as she gives details on hardwood and sanding and other such things, and then yells at the man to go outside with his beer. He watches until the man has stepped outside, then he moves closer to her and reaches up towards her dipped head, the hands covering her face. "Do you have a headache?" he asks, knowing he can at least lessen that, with an ability of his, but the fact that… "You should try to get some descent sleep tonight." There's a pause. "Is there I can do to make this easier for you?" If she lets him touch her, and if she nod about the headache, he can try to take that away, having her own body kill the pain and get things moving again…

A hollow chuckle escapes Trina's lips, even as she waves off Peter's hand. Don't gotta do that. "Sleep. Right. I think I remember what that is." She shrugs. "I don't think I've been able to sleep more'n a few hours at a time since Nathan was here." Pulling away once the front door is closed, Trina moves to the contractor's tool pile and stoops with a wince to start rifling though it, looking for anything suspicious. "I just… I don't know how much longer I can keep this together, Pete." She looks at him, blue eyes narrowing underneath her knitted brow. "I feel like… Like I'm the one goin' crazy."

Nathan. "I know what you mean," Peter says softly, letting his hand drop away. No need to soothe a headache if she doesn't want one. She's jumpy. She's scared… and she has every right to be. "You can't sleep… not because they're repairing your apartment, but because you felt helpless," he says quietly, understanding that much. It's a realization that he's coming to. She's paranoid. Scared, even.

The world is becoming darker by the minute… "You're not crazy. You have every right to be scared after everything that's happened to you. But I know you're strong. I know it… I know you can get though this…" He pauses and looks in the direction of the kitchen. "Does the kitchen work yet? I can cook you breakfast… make sure you at least eat right. If you want me to." The future dictates the present once again…

Breakfast? Under the praise and softness, Trina gets decidedly uncomfortable. But… food. Cooked food. That would probably be more appealing if she'd bothered buying anything to go in that shiny new refrigerator. She slips a hand under the edge of her blanket cape to rub at the back of her neck for a moment, before going back to her work of rifling through the contractors belongings. She plucks out a chalkline and pries open the rubber stopper to peer inside before closing it and setting it back down into the man's supplies. Nothin' inside there except boring, blue chalk powder. "That would be awesome, Pete, but I ain't got nothin' to cook. They just got the fridge in yesterday. I could make you a toaster strudel if you're hungry." Now that he's here, he might as well stay, right?"

There's no man in the loft at the moment, but Peter still glances over to the door and says, "I was offering to cook for you. If I didn't think I could do it on my own, I wouldn't have offered." He steps toward the kitchen, looking to see what kind of utencils she still has. If the stove still works, the toaster. In his girlfriend's fridge, an egg suddenly vanishes to appear in his hand. He sets it down on the counter. A moment later another one sits beside it, carefully places so it doesn't roll off and break. His girlfriend likes bacon, so he transports a small package from the freezer, followed by a potato, and a second… "I think you deserve a little more than a toaster strudel."

Peter's use of her boyfriend's talent earns for him a rueful little smile from the dark haired woman and a gentle shake of her head from where she stoops. "Alright, then." The knives remain unreplaced, as well as the coffee pot and several other odds and ends. But Jack did several things very right when buying for his beautiful and beloved kitchen, and buying heavy pots and pans was one of them. They, thankfully, survived. Utensils enough for Peter's work are there, and Trina slowly abandons her madman's task to carefully push herself back up to her feet, fold up her blanket and make her way towards him with her jaw set. Just a little too close to the incident with Nathan for her to be comfortable in the kitchen with a blanket and his younger brother. She sets her hands instead to collecting a spatula and a heavy cast iron pan, only exchanging a brief glance with the contractor who's glaring at her as he steps back inside.

"See? I knew you could still smile," Peter comments, returning what he sees with a half-smile of his own. Lopsided, but most of his smiles are. Cheese is added to the pile, an onion, as well as any salts or peppers he needs that she doesn't still have in the kitchen. The two of them really messed this place up… and he knows most of the knives are gone. He'd meant to return them, but how can he really say that they had once been lodged rather painfully in various parts of his body. It didn't seem proper. And who would want to cook or cut meat with knives that had been hurled across the room into someone's body? Or held against the woman's neck for that matter… At least he knows how she likes her breakfast, thanks to a couple weeks of cooking for the Saints in the future. Preparing breakfast is something he's pretty comfortable with. Especially when it brings even the hint of a smile to someone's face. Taking the pans and spatula from her, he glances at the contractor and then back to her. "I can bring this to you when I'm done if you want to sit down." He did notice the uncomfortableness.

Another look to the contractor, and then another sharp look back to Peter. The balding man is noticing, it would seem, that she's been through his things. Trina's quick to shake her head and make her way to one of the barstools at the island. Where she hopefully won't get yelled at. "Uh, no. That's… I'll just sit right here." Her forehead creases as she looks tentatively in her cook's direction, shoulders hunching up in the thick, oversized grey sweatshirt she wears and denim-clad knees rubbing against each other as she shifts uncomfortably. "If… If that's okay?"

"It's your home, Trina. Wherever you're most comfortable." Which, under the circumstances, won't be very comfortable. Especially with the man getting back to work in the loft. Peter can at least give some of her senses something to look forward to… even if the noise will continue to wrack her nerves. He doesn't even ask how she likes her breakfast potatoes or her eggs. He will have to use a knife, but he makes sure to keep his back to her when he does.

There's… nowhere comfortable anymore. Trina pulls herself onto one of the stools and watches Peter cook with a vacant sort of look that finally betrays just how poorly rested she looks, folding her arms atop each other on the island and then resting her chin atop the slender pile. Her skin looks all the more pale against her nearly black hair that falls on either side of her face to pool onto the counter in messy piles, and the circles under her eyes all the more apparent. It doesn't occur to her that he's making everything the way that she would make it for herself if she were doing it; after all, that's how it should be made, right? There's comfort in the smell and sounds of it all — the clanging of the skillet, the sizzling of butter — and even the return of the palm sander's roar cannot steal that from her.

It's not gonna fix things forever. She knows that. But it fixes for right now. And right now?

That's all that matters.

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