2010-05-10: Pokerface

Starring:

Parker_V5icon.pngJanet_V5icon.png

Date: May 10, 2010

Summary:

Some people have pokerfaces, Parker sings about it, Janet doesn't have one. In the end some people just aren't good liars.


"Pokerface"

Janet (and Parker's) Apartment — NYC

Midday. By now, most sane people should be awake, and the others are allowed to suffer by rule. Them that took advantage of this brilliant — and vaguely significant — Sunday get to have lunch, those that didn't… are currently being serenaded. At least in one apartment building.

When Janet's became equipped with a snazzy Yamaha keyboard, even the resident, herself, may not be aware. But that's not the point. The point is that, it is being played: by a Parker in a stretchy white shirt, flattering black vest, and a debonair hat tipped low over his forehead as he swings his head back to the ringing pound of the keys.

"Oh, oh oh oh! Oh— oh ohhhh oh. I'll get'cha hot, show you what I've got. Whoa— ah oh oh. Ohhh, oh oh oh. I'll get'chu hot… show you what I've got…

Fingers spread over another chord, interrupted only by the player skipping several fingers to attend to the spoon in a bowl of Coco Puffs sitting right above the board's speakers. Utensil in mouth, the next lyrics are somewhat more muddled even as the playing continues.

Down the hall, Janet can hear the music. "Craaaaaaaaaaaap crap crap crap crap — " Parker is awake. When does this ever happen?! Stay later, she'd thought. It won't hurt anyone. And now? Now she has to sneak into her own apartment like a thief. Greeeeeat.

Taking a deep breath she slooooooooooowly reaches into her purse in the hallway and extracts her keys. A glance is given to her high heeled shoes which are promptly kicked off as she slooooowly unlocks the deadbolt.

She picks up her high heels and turns the doorknob equally slowly, carefully, as quietly as she can. The door inches open and Janet — dressed in a little black dress, a tan trench coat, and a pink scarf, tiptoes into her apartment. In her panic, she leaves the door open behind her. Smart.

"Can't read my, can't read my, no he can't read my—"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK6aHSYOlJo

No, Parker doesn't have any kind of strange bloat-out-the-sun-now-look-what-I-can-do magical ability with the selective might of Evolution… he just knows his roommate, his BFF, his SISTAH. Who is currently sneaking around on him.

His hat ambles even lower to one side when he spares a glances over his shoulder towards the door. Beyond Janet's knowledge, it's one he's been checking every so often out of a instinctive expectance that she will take advantage of his playing to come tickle him upon her arrival; the state of the door being open and no surprised woman with claw-hands prepared standing right over him like a girls' slumber party version of a horror movie is disturbing at best. Which is weird, cause you'd think that would be reassuring.

Back on the keyboard, his longer fingers don't miss a single note, and he swings into the spot deftly and on cue to announce: "— Pokerface — she's trying to sneak on by me. Can't do that, can't do that, no, as if I don't see you there~"

There's almost a moment of victory as Parker continues singing — Janet wants to celebrate, but her urge is premature as she actually listens to the lyrics. Oh dear. There's a pause as she considers ignoring the phrase and continuing on her merry (yet frowny for lying to the one person who knows her best) way with her little secrets. Forcing a bright smile she pivots on her heel to face him. "Par-ker~" she sings.

Yup. Now she's playing it cutesy. Dropping her heels, she hops towards the keyboard. When did that get here? "I was trying to be quiet so I wouldn't wake you, honey-bunz~" Yeah. Because she couldn't hear him singing from the hall at all. This makes perfect sense, Janet. Big toothy grin. Sell it.

The playing orchestrates Janet's approach, until she's close enough that Parker separates one hand from the keys to wrap an arm up and put a hand to her cheek. He gently suggests she lean in for a nuzzle of cheek against cheek, the motion threatening to knock his hat completely askew and possibly off entirely. Those fingers yet on the keys seem to have not noticed anything else is going on because they happily switch melodies mid-chord, finding a place in part of the tune to Don't Stop Believing; he only has to speed up his movements to make up for being one-handed at it.

"Heeyyy~ Ja-nana," he chirps, seemingly wrapped in her act and apparently on the verge of having her join him on this bench — is that also new? — to complete the undoubted duet. "You know I like to start out my Sundays with a chocolate smoothie — when I don't want a strawberry one, or a scone, or —"

His eyes track quite naturally to her body, and in a way having nothing to do with why guys normally make such a glance. In a single blink, he's gone deathly suspicious. There's a struggle for some kind of faint benefit of the doubt, because it's McJannetty of all people, but the diva wins out. The diva, and a sinister eye for apparel. "Janet." Oh God, it's her actual name. "You wore that yesterday."

"Hiiii," she chimes as she nuzzles Parker's cheek. Smoothing her dress, she slides next to him on the bench which, she hasn't seen either. But maybe she should have? So Janet makes no comment instead she leans against her BFF for a few moments. "Mmm. Smoothies — a good way to start any Sunday — "

And then he's eyeing her. Yup. Should've gone with the ignorance is bliss idea and headed for the bedroom to change before coming in closer. She could tell him that she forgot and wore it twice in a row, but that seems implausible considering she can't go hours without washing her hands at least once. Staring at the keyboard she shakes her head, "Nope. You must be confused; I wore it last Saturday. I just washed it. Seriously." But then, since when does Janet leave the house looking that put together on a Sunday morning?

It might have been better, leaving a denial without explanation. Parker's head rears back slightly, eyebrows falling at the suggestion that he — he — is confused about something clothing related, not to mention Janet-outfit-related. "You washed a little black dress, that omg girls wear this for evening parties when they're trying to look killer little black dress, that you wore yesterday, to go out on a Sunday morning?"

With an irritated sniff, he jerks his head to look forward, banishing the sight of her tell-tale outfit from his range of vision. In contrast, his hand rises serenely to the keys to join the other — in pounding out Where Is The Love?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9H1r1BMmGbc

"If you're going to make up something," he declares flatly, "At least respect me enough to not make it about fashion."

The change in music is met with a small cringe from Janet as she slides off the bench and smoothes her dress again. Taking a step away, she shakes her head, "No no no no no no. No. No. It's laundry day there was nothing to wear so this is what I'm wearing and you keep getting on my case about wearing scrubs out of the house that they aren't good if I'm not actually doctoring and that no one wants to see that blah blah blah so I wasn't going to wear them, I need to do laundry." She did it yesterday. It's unfortunate, really, but thinking on her feet AND lying are two things Janet isn't so good at.

"Drycleaner. Wash. To me it's all the same. You know that. It's like putting it in the laundry. And other girls would wear this anywhere it's not the kind of thing that I just wear out" except it is "because then that would mean that you're implying I wore this yesterday and then wore it again today which really is preposterous considering that I can't go like a couple hours without washing my hands — an unhappy side effect of me being a little hypochondriacal and a doctor — two things that don't make sense together but are together nonetheless. Besides I don't really understand why you're saying what you're saying. I mean, I don't really understand why it matters anyways — " Janet can't stop talking. She just keeps going and going and going " — they're just clothes that I make look good. Not that that's why I'm wearing them, I mean, they're just clothes and laundry day, you know I mean that's all it is. Ever. Forever — remember that time — " She can't stop…

Notes about love transition seamlessly into Dammit. In stark contrast to everything that is flowing out of Janet's mouth as though the woman breathed out words the way other people needed to exhale, Parker is markedly silent. Besides the artistic roll of knuckles as he goes up and down those particular chords, there's no change in him from beginning of ramble to— well, it's not like it's ending. But the point is, sitting deceptively casually at the bench, his face forward and his fingers playing, this BFF has affected a new treatment. A silent one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sT0g16_LQaQ

And the change of tune draws a marked silence from the other BFF, the rambling one, who stamps her foot on the floor. She scowls as she crosses her arms over her chest. And then sputters matter-of-factly, "This is childish. If you want to know something, just ask." Of course to ask he'd have to speak. "I'm sorry I lied," about what exactly is unclear, "but if you have a question all you have to do is ask." It's a challenge, but she knows he won't give in that easily. "FINE. We'll play the silent game." She blinks. "If you agree with me, stay silent." Beat. "Janet looks lovely in her little black dress she wore… yesterday." Her eyes narrow. Yup, it's an admission.

Cool as an ocean breeze: Parker is no first-time playing of this game. His chin does jut up slightly at the sound of what he'll be, essentially, silently agreeing to; but the motion is more accepting than anything else. I mean… she does look good, right? Except the part where the dress is already half-worn and it's like, can't everybody tell when that's going on? Everything sits differently on you — you don't walk as nicely because you feel kind of odd and not dirty exactly, but… wait. This is all silent, right? … Inner chatter? Check.

Rather than give any sort of reaction, he only delves deeper into his playing, rocking forward slightly to the harder beats. When he pulls back, it's so smooth that it might take a moment to realize the tune of — Apologize.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePyRrb2-fzs

Well that's something. The tune change sparks a glimmer of hope. "Stay silent if…" her gaze flits tot he ceiling as she ponders what the next silent agreement should be. "…if you are secretly hoping that I'm dating…" Janet's eyes narrow as she tries to think of a mildly outrageous pairing for herself, trying to get that best friend of hers to smile, even if it's just a smirk, "…Lena Olin and have chosen to bat for the other team." She manages to deliver the statement with a straight face as she steps towards the couch to sit down.

There's some squinting, the scrunching of nose, as Parker deliberates her choice of ladies to take the plunge with. Ehh… his evaluation is not enough to bring a smile to his face, though he does nibble a bit tellingly at his cheek. Meanwhile, the song title remains the same, as she has yet to live up to its peripheral command; also, it's come to someone's attention that particular peoples whose existence Parker has yet to be informed of got distinctly listed on a certain database of character information where his own name is notably lacking.

Still no smile. FAIL. "I'm sorry. I am. I'm sorry I lied. There. I APOLOGIZED." Beat. "Now…. let's see. Stay silent if…" she stares at Parker and once again manages that deadpan expression (this is difficult for her considering she's almost certain she'll get a reaction of some sort. "… if you think your ascott colour is ridiculous." While her lips remain straight, her eyes reflect a new level of mischief.

There'd be one more thing on Parker's list for which he would continue threading fingers up and down until she admitted, but she knows him a touch too well — just like he knows her. There's about three seconds for Torn before his mind is abruptly made up by the spin on the bench that throws his legs on the other side and has his finger pointing menacingly at her — yeah, he's really scary, folks — with a punctuating, "Ah!" Shoulders stiffened now deflate as he presses lips together in sullen disappointment, and sore losing. "Too far, baby. Too far."

Yay! She won! But… now he's sulking. Janet frowns. "It was meant to make you chuckle and disagree with me! Not be sad. Don't be sad. I like laughing Parker best‘." She walks around the keyboard to slide next to her BFF and poke him in the ribs. She leans over to press her lips against his cheek in a soft kiss. "You are adorable. All the time not matter what you wear. And the ascott is lovely." She winks while leaning in to poke his ribs again. "C’mon you know you want to poke me baaack~"

The poke is taken with a ah-ah-ahing! gasp and his whole slender body folding in on itself before she retreats. Parker groans out indecisively as he regains his height again, "Poke you right in your twice-worn little black dress," he mumbles, clinging to what he can of his sour mood. A nail is inserted between his teeth to nibble on; it's a small but sure sign of his actual frustration — he'd never risk breaking one of them otherwise. After a few moments, the hand drops into his lap. "I know you're seeing someone," he admits, strangely bland— void of all those little inflections, that higher pitch that makes up every other thing he's ever said. Like an alien pod arrived to take over him just for this moment. "It might be childish, but I thought I'd never have to ask with you."

And he has something there. Janet rests her fingers on the keyboard and begins to play one of the few things she can remember Heart and Soul. "Heart and soul~ I fell in love with~ Lost control, the way a fool would do~ Maaaaadly~ That little kiss you stole…~" After playing a few more bars she begins to play again — this time it's The Entertainer — notorious ice cream music. She stops mid-tune and returns her hands to her lap. "How long have you known?" Longer than today? Weeks? Her eyebrows furrow.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9_vXOzFT50

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cFkae0j_Ns

She's pouting just a little as she chooses to sit on her hands, anchoring herself to the bench in a way. She whispers, "I don't know why I didn't tell you." Except she does.

Tink tink tink of the keyboard keys and Parker is already something of himself again. Turning sideways enough to press his own little melody in again, he hums idly, "I don't want to doubt~ you, know everything about you…" Eyes drifting over to her, that despondent hand-in-lap position, there's a display of repentance even as he attempts to remain at least somewhat critical. Swinging his legs a second time, he bumps right in next to Janet, looping one leg around her and nudging her forward so he's somewhat wrapped around her, with his arms coming to either side.

His elbow knocks hers, subtly encouraging her to take up the keys again until she gets it — she'll probably get it. They could understand each other in total silence, if they weren't such jabber monsters. Should she decide to take him up on the offer, he uses both hands to create a rather elaborate rendition of the other half of the Heart and Soul she started.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9_vXOzFT50

"I can only imagine thaaaat," he says over tune, or lack there of, depending on her, "It was kind of thrilling to sneak around, which it is. And/or you thought I'd disapprove. Which. Already makes me disapprove more."

Janet relaxes when Parker plays around her; it's a comforting position, incredibly familiar. Positioning her fingers on the keys she begins to play her simple version of Heart and Soul, satisfied with the duet. A smile edges her lips as she can feel herself sneaking into Parker's good graces once again. She's not nearly as skilled as her friend, but she's not bad, mostly just rusty. It's been too long for her. //Heart and soul~ I fell in love with you~ Lost control~ Like a fool would do~ Glaaadly~"

Her cheeks flush a bright red. "It is thrilling to sneak around. But as far as disapproval is concerned… in my defence you always disapprove! I swear you've never liked a guy I've seen — I mean, seriously Parker. Don't you remember the disaster that was Bobby — ?" Of course, it's not exactly like Janet has the best taste in guys…

The truth is: she never really left them, though Parker's obstinately capable of getting into tragically sour moods, it's usually an indication of the more he cares. He doesn't mind much, either, if she's rusty on the keyboard — half the time he forgets what he was doing and improvises anyway. Between her words, his own voice is high and lazy, "Mister Blue Sky…" Not the right song? That's okay, because his left hand has begun to harmonize with a mash-up of a completely other melody. "Please tell us why… you had to hide away for sooooooo~ long…"

There's a small trip-up in the combining of all these elements: playing two songs, listening to her. It's when he has to give a snort that fumbles his fingers and reverts him back to purely Heart And Soul movements. "Yes. Bobby was a disaster," he retorts coolly, but immediately repents with a long whine and the tip of his head against the top of hers. "But how can I not disapprove, Janeticle, when it comes to somebody being with you who isn't a silversceen Irish sex icon? You have to appreciate how difficult and tenuous this is for me, pumpkin-apple. Here I want to giggle with you over who will call you back, but I also kind of want to kung-fu-chop the guy on principle." The life of no one being able to tell if you're a perfect best girlfriend or boy friend.

"I'd like to think," he adds delicately, yet loftily, "That when the right person comes along you won't have to be worried because you'll know there's no way I won't love him omg."

Janet side glances Parker and stops dead on the keyboard. "I liked Bobby. I liked Bobby a lot." She's virtually pouting now. "But then how was I supposed to know that he was married? Honestly. If there's one thing I know it's that people lie and there's nothing we can do about it. Besides, am I supposed to ask every guy I meet? That just makes for awkward dinner conversation." Her eyes narrow. "And I know for a fact new guy isn't. So that's one for me."

Her eyes sparkle with a new kind of mischief. "I will always be worried you'll hate them. You've never liked any of the fellas in my life. NONE of them. Not a one." At this she waggles a finger. "And I like the giggling over the phone calls, but I'm strong and smart and awesome. I can handle it." Resolve consumes her features. "I can." Kind of.

"None of them were right!" Parker announces snootily like the person who totally knows he is. His fingers pausing, he tucks the base of his hand against the edges of the keyboard while she eyes him thusly. "Besides, I'm completely laid-back. I wouldn't even mind if they didn't always do something on purpose, like, to annoy me. Like Evan. Evan who told me to back off? Or Tyler who cut my hair when I fell asleep to his extremely boring movie?" She's heard these names before; she will hear them again. Especially goddamn Tyler. THE HAIR.

"Well, fine. What's done is done." Bringing in his arms, he catches her with them, hefting her from just sitting in front of him to his lap in an easy motion. He's stronger than he looks — he'll surprise ya. Wiry. "How about you tell me New Guy's name so I can hack into his accounts and check his browser activity. That's not illegal, right? It's totally for safety reasons… and it's not like people password protect their histories…"

"Evan was really great until he threatened you. And what did I do when he did?" with a tilt of her head she crosses her arms over her chest. "I dumped him. That's what. I know where my priorities are. I know who is first in my heart." Her lips edge into a broader grin. "And Tyler was also dumped for that! Just for the record."

Janet takes a slow deep breath before she holds out a diplomatic hand ready to allay any objections. "He's a good guy, funny, cute, kind, good sense of humour, plays RockBand, loves Superman ice cream, feeds me waffles, very attentive… sweet…" her cheeks flush. "Just… don't be mad, okay? I like him. Remember I like him before you say anything too … you know." Beat. "His name is Jaden Cain."

It's hard, especially with any kind of ego, to not be mollified in some large part by the reminder that those guys were subsequently kicked to the curb. But then Parker is forced to feel an eeeeeeensy bit bad for having been responsible for the crash and burn of several of Janet's relationships. He throws back his shoulders and prepares himself to hear her defense of New Guy with as much open-mindedness as he can muster. Also: "… You didn't draw a moustache on yourself and pretend to be Dr. Jan again, did you…?" WHo else does these things — besides, you know. Parker. But he'd know if he was angry at himself for seeing Janet behind his back.

Beat. That beat. Parker's a bit still there underneath her. Then, calmly, he puts his hands on her hips and negotiates her onto the bench, sliiiides way to the edge, stands. Gnawing on a bit of cheek, he hovers there for a few pained seconds to gain enough composure to declare: "You hate me."

That was about what Janet expected. Except maybe a touch more dramatic. "Why would you say that? You know it's not true and don't try to convince me it is! I freakin' LOVE you Parker St. James, you know that you're first in my heart! You. Know. That. We just established that. And it's not a knock against you! You know it's not a knock against you, right?" Her eyes are starting to get watery now. She blinks hard to avoid shedding tears. She opens the keyboard again and starts to plunk out Fur Elise, clamping her mouth shut and tightening her jaw plunks out the eerie tune.

"He's Jaden Cain," is the easy answer from Parker of the stubborn lower lip and the accusing chin. "He's probably the only person my own parents can't buy! Ignoring that they, you know, wouldn't because he's everything they don't care about— " kind of like their son " — it's like you took what I said, ran with it, and said 'how much can I do the complete opposite?" This argument may reflect very little on the actual Cain, having so much more to do with backstory issues of the man delivering it. There's just one more little thing: "AND— he's redoing Back To The Future. Do you know who redoes classics? Douchebags redo classics, Janet!"

Equally stubborn and digging in her heels, Janet McCarty plays that eerie tune again and again and again. Lucky neighbours. In fact, the music starts to irritate one of the neighbours who bangs on the wall. She pouts as she plays, still blinking hard to curb any of her own feelings on the subject, focusing on the eerie tune rather than the current conversation. She tightens her jaw further while continuing to play and secretly wishing she knew how to play The Phantom of the Opera.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQTTFUtMSvQ

Hearing the wall-pounding, Parker twists left and right for something to— aha! A shoe is discovered nearby that he readily chucks at the offending wall space amidst a shout of, "EXCUSE US, WE'RE TRYING TO HAVE A DRAMATIC MOMENT IN HERE." Whether that gives anyone opposite-side pause or not, he's already moved on, thumping down warily next to Janet on the bench once more. By all rights, he wants to be upset, but her silence is plenty to let him know how she feels… and it's his fault.

He knows exactly what has to be done here.

Both hands come crashing down on a thunderous epic finale chord — the chord NO RE-TUUUUUUUURN.

Then, reaching down he plucks up one hand of Janet's and diligently positions it then the other into the opening she needs. Here, here, here, here — he piece by piece instructs her how to play the song she wanted to be angry at him with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ej1zMxbhOO0

The neighbour bangs on the wall again, but Janet doesn't care. Still frowning and blinking hard she nods while biting her lip to keep from uttering anything. In one heavy motion she gets that dramatic chord that she so desperately craves, the drama that is the Phantom of the Opera. She sniffles as two stray tears slide down her face, yet her lips edge a little out of the pout and into an almost-smile. She looks at him expectantly, she doesn't know how to proceed with the song.

Well, that's easily enough solved. Nestled in close to her like before, Parker inserts his hands underneath hers so that each of her fingers represents one of his. Then— he goes about playing the overture to Phantom of the Opera. There's a few hesitations here and there where he isn't sure of all the permutations, transposing several moments and bypassing others entirely. It gets the point across.

It's when he chances to glance over at her that the song falls entirely flat. Twisting his wrists so that he captures both of those hands still, he spins her on the bench to face him and uses their combined finger forces to rub somewhat vigorously at her showing tears. "No no no no no no— noo noooooooo. Jalovely, if you cry because of me I'm firmly tossing myself out of the window. Twice."

Janet's lip quivers fiercely as she continues to blink. At the words, however, she won't leave him hanging. "I." Sniffly. "Am." Sniffle. "Not." Sniffle. "Cry-" sniffle " -ing." Baaaawl. She can't hold it in any longer as large crocodile tears stream from her eyes. Leaning against Parker's shoulder she continues to bawl. "I… I… I … liaiaiake him, Par-ker, he's really nice to me… and now you haa-a-a-a-ate me-e-eee-e." The large crocodile tears and subsequent blubbering are all-in-all very I Love Lucy-esque.

"N-Nooo!" The flood gates are open! Parker's hands retreat to his own shoulders as he paddles them frantically in the air towards her in increasingly desperate motions demanding she stop. "Janet— Janet, no! I can't— I don't—! But what do I do when it's my fault?!" Apologize might be the likely, reasonable, common, and sane choice… but Parker St. James is none of these: he is a drama queen.

Toughening up — hahahahahaha — he squares his shoulders, gives Janet a stiff pat on the shoulder and then launches himself off the bench and straight over to the set of windows awaiting his imminent sacrifice. As they're both closed, he gets a hand under the first one and —

Nothing. It doesn't budge. Not even a little bit. Planting his feet against the floor, and then the crease of the wall, he pulls with every ounce of might he has and the window just does not even give one squeak. "Wh— " he pants, "— at did you— glue these— down with? Will Schuester's hair gel?"

Abruptly, he aborts the effort, tumbling to the floor in a pile of limbs that is soon reorganizing and marching towards the kitchen. "Screw this, I'm falling on your pizza cutter."

"Y-y-y-you a-a-a-are th-the o-o-one wh-who ha-a-a-a-a-tes meeee!" Janet blubbers. "Wh-ha-ha-ha-y would you kill yourself — my my my best friend doesn't love me anymore!!" she laments as she buries her face into her hands. "I - I - I - I painted them shut!! No one was here to help me so I did it freaking myself because that's what I do I'm independent because I'm totally fail at relationships because no one ever approves! At least Erin is talking to me now! Do I do this to myself?" Her cheeks are bright red now as she sits up to face him.

"Will Schuester does have a lot of hair gel." She tries her eyes on the sleeve of her tan trench coat. "I bet with Will Schuester's hair gell they could patch up the dam if it ever broke — " it's an olive branch. As she sees him squaring off towards the kitchen, Janet leaps off the bench to stand in his way. She wraps her arms around him and squeezes tightly.

"You could build a dam out of— " Intercepted on his noble path to self-destruction — which was likely doomed from the start considering he likes this shirt and the pizza cutter hasn't been washed since the last time he used it; he just hid it in the ice-box so that Janet wouldn't notice and compulsively have to wash it, herself, that wouldn't be fair, he'll get to it, probably, and it's not like she uses the ice-box anyway, who makes ice like that anymore anyway? — Parker oofs as he finds himself enveloped in all of Janet and his arms instinctively wrap around hers even before he figures out that's what she's there for.

"Sugar bear," he mutters half-heartedly, "You know that hating you would be to negate my very existence into a null void that sucks all happiness and life into it until there is naught left but a mark where the universe used to be like a tear that says: we turned our back on Janet McCarty and thus have we undone ourselves for all eternity."

"Mmmmm," Janet squeezes tighter. "That's better." Smiling brightly she closes her eyes and rests against. And then, back on track she offers, "I really really like him. I do. And I know I fall too hard and too fast and we've discussed this too many times before, but it's different, I think — " it's never different " — and I'm happy. And not just because of that, but because you're here, I'm out of that horrible job, Erin's back… I mean… what isn't there to be happy about?" Nothing, except when she's bawling. "And even happier now that you know." Further evidence she should've told him in the first place.

There's another bang on the wall to which Janet yells, "We're not singing anymore, Mrs. Rodriguez! Can't you tell the piano music has stopped — " Quieter she turns back to Parker, "You know I think she probably actually liked your playing…" especially considering there wasn't tonnes of banging when Janet was in the hallway.

"Alright, alright, you're happy," Parker surrenders with a huge inhale and then a matching sigh of epic proportions. "You know how difficult you make it to be properly dramatic, fluffymunny? Just— alright. I got nothing else. I'm not gonna be That Guy who tries to nitpick about why things aren't as good as they seem to be. That just takes way too much effort that I am not feeling. I just feel like—- THIS."

'THIS' being that he wants to squeeze Janet right back, lean until she's off the ground, and then toss her most enthusiastically over the back of the couch and onto it. And hopefully not onto the floor or anything kind of dangerous and bordered with sharp edges like the coffe— you know what. Let's not jinx it.

"Done and done. You've been thoroughly punished. Now I need sugar before I collapse of an extreme lack of proper nourishment." And he's going to go find it, not in the kitchen, but stashed somewhere else in the apartment he can't remember where. "Great, I'll just stand guard," he calls to Janet from each place he searches, tossing belongings this way or that, "Whenever you want to leave un-harassed I'll park at the keyboard and serenade her into a deceptive lull like a mythical creature."

"Wheeeeee~" Janet chimes as she's tossed onto the couch quite happily. Yay for the joy of a BFF! It's at this she glances down at yesterday's clothes before she rolls off the couch and skips off to her room for just a couple of minutes. She returns in blue scrub pants and an oversized t-shirt that reads HERE COMES TROUBLE in big bold block letters.

"My dear, one day I will write about you and once civilization fails and we lose everything it'll turn into myth. It'll be the mythical St. Parker James — the one who battled the Mexican beast next door with nothing but a lyre (that's what they'll say you played) and his bare hands. Yes, in the myth they'll call you a minstrel, I bet, but by the end of the tale you'll have been knighted for your feats against the beast."

"Hey~ Just a question for you… is it weird I'm talking to my sister again? I mean — I think it's good and am glad that something like repaired our rift blah blah blah, but I mean after all of those years of me complaining about my family… is it weird?"

An enthusiastic snort follows Janet's declaration of intent to write as Parker strolls leisurely to his place of happiness — the keyboard. He's found a package of pixie sticks above the ceiling fan and one of these is ripped open across the top while he curls his legs up underneath him, knees bouncing randomly. "With my bare hands? That sounds like a lot of trouble. Also, dirty. And like I might break a nail. Which, while a fact of life, extremely inconvenient because then you have to decide, like, well, do I redo all of them just because this one has broken — and if I don't, is it going to look ridiculous and uneven?" Answer: yes.

Shoving the open end of the sugary tube in his mouth, the young man attempts to almost very seriously take the new topic. "Nah, it's not weird. Okay, it's weird. But it's not wrong just because it's weird." And if he said otherwise, he might be a big lanky walking hypocrite of weird. "I think it's good. It's real good. Plus, you just sad it made you happy. Duh, conversation over. Parker sign of intelligence." But Parker? Not a peep to his own family.

"I missed her," Janet admits as she perches on the couch and draws her knees to her chest, hugging them tightly. "I missed all of them. Not that I'm really really talking to Mika. She's really… hyper and talks a lot." The pot calls the kettle black. "It does make me happy. I mean, have you seen me lately? I'm just off the wire happy. Not that I'm all emo and grumpy all of the time, but lately it's just been… different." She smiles softly before resting her chin on her knees. "Even though I'm unemployed." Beat. She grins broadly, "And I know what you did." She winces a little, "I'll pay you back, I swear. I know that I'm your baby girl and stuff, but it's just too generous…" she holds up two fingers to indicate scout's honour.

"I have nooooo~ idea what you're talking about," Parker declares in a decidedly sing-song manner that is highly appropriate to that he is back at the instrument and gearing up to drown out any of Janet's protests with a rousing chorus of something in rousing French sounding a good deal like Champs Elysees. His high long notes, when he decides to voice along, lend a bemusing whimsicalness to the typically romantic language. "I guess you've got it now, Ja-Majesty," he adds over his shoulder in between foreign words, "Everything~ all the time. We can celebrate with bubbly later." Which is the warming up preface to the much more ominous: "And talk about when I'm meeting Jaden Cain."

Janet opens her mouth to speak and then just shakes her head before sliding next to Parker on the bench. Shaking her head slightly she arches an eyebrow at him, "We'll discuss it later — both items will go on the agenda." She presses her lips into a small smile before closing her eyes and drinking in the moment. While she's starting to reconnect with her own, this is what family is — an insurmountable sense of belonging in the here and now. She leans into him a little and sways slightly to the music, allowing a strange kind of peace to wash over her.

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