2010-01-15: Pretty Far from Okay



Date: January 15, 2010


Janice decides she's been separated from her son for long enough, no matter how dangerous things are.

"Pretty Far from Okay"

Staten Island, New York

By now, Matt has more or less settled in at the Staten Island motel - it doesn't take long when you've only brought along as much stuff as you can carry in one bag. The good news is, the government still hasn't come knocking on his door (yet). The bad news is… without the support network he had back at the NYPD, he doesn't really know what to do, apart from keeping his eyes and ears open.

«things still ok here», he texts to Micah, and thus by proxy whoever else is still holed up at the safehouse in Germany. Now there was a guy with an ingenious mind, but he was pushing his own endurance in the process— Matt argued the point with Charlotte, but only up to a certain threshold.

Los Angeles, California

She tried to be patient. It was traumatic enough that her son had been taken, but to be away from him for so long was dragging on Janice's last nerves. There was only so much work she could do before she'd come home to an empty house and feel the sting of the silence once again. He was safe. She knew that much, but he was keeping their son somewhere, somewhere away from her. And she had taken enough. Picking up her cellphone off the coffee table (where she had been staring at it for a good five minutes), she pressed the speed dial and waited for the ring.

Meanwhile, across the country, Matt settles down on the couch after loading up the mini-fridge with a few more staples. Let's see, that show Afterlife is on, is that the one Janice used to watch on weekends—

Caught off guard by the ring, he almost drops the remote, then recovers and turns it off so he can answer the call. He hasn't programmed anything into the address book on this phone, but the area code alone is enough of a hint even before he checks the rest of the caller-ID display. "Yeah, I'm here."

Tonight, she's most certainly not watching TV. Janice shifts from where she was sitting on the couch into a more upright position as she hears him answer. It's that familiar voice on the other end, which almost sets her off thinking about the whole situation. "Matt," she murmurs, pausing for a moment. She's torn between immediately interrogating him on the whereabouts of their son or spending a moment or two at least asking about Matt. Taking a moment, she decides the wiser of the two choices is to ask after Matt first. Then the emotion picks up again, and both blend in a quick outpouring of everything Janice wantedand didn't wantto say. "Are you okay? How are you? Where is he?" She fires off the questions with only tiny pauses in between.

Matt isn't sure whether he'd rather deal with waiting for the questions to come out, or answering them after they do. If only he could dodge the whole thing, just grab Junior and Molly and run back to India… but the government nabbed Molly there once, they could do it again. And he'd be taking Janice's son away from her for good. And he'd be turning his back on everyone he knows here. He's not a coward.

"I'm fine, I—" he blurts out, then shakes his head. "No, I'm not fine, I was about five minutes away from getting hauled in myself. But I got warned away in time." As for the other question… "He's with friends. He's as safe as he can be, right now. Which he wouldn't be if I had him here."

"You're not with him?" Janice tries not to sound a little panicked, but leaving their son with people she doesn't know isn't exactly what she'd like to hear. She takes a breath out, though. He's not there because Matt was almost caught. That's a good reason to be away for now… maybe they were tracking Matt and he could lure them away from Junior. Either way, it doesn't soothe the anxiety in the pit of her stomach. "Where are you?" There's another pause. "Can I see him?"

"Yeah, I'm still in New York—" Matt stops there, leaving out details. If they're tapping the call, then he's probably screwed no matter what he does, but also he might have to move again before she gets here. "Look, just fly out here and call me back, I'll work out the rest then… Actually, on second thought, hold off on the plane tickets. I might be able to work out something faster." Charlotte did offer, after all.

As soon as he had said New York, Janice was practically ready to go out and jump on a plane just then. But Matt's suggestion has her confused. She'll just have to trust him on this. Sure, she doesn't have any other choice, but she's trying hard to be able to trust at all in this situation. "Okay.. just let me know. Please." She hesitates. "Look, I'm sorry about.. well, everything."

It isn't often that a single word manages to evoke twenty years of joy and frustration and effort and anger and bitterness. Matt forces himself to focus on just the past few months' worth; the rest is way too much to try to cover over the phone. "I'm sorry you got dragged into this," he replies. "This is my fight, not yours." And Molly's. And Junior's, presumably, not that he can do anything about it himself yet.

"But he's my son too, and that makes me a part of it, either way. I'm not going to lose him." Janice sounds certain of that much, at least. She lets out a heavy sigh, looking out at the empty room around her. "So you're safe, at least… where you're at, I mean?"

Matt gets up and wanders over to the window, glancing out through the blinds. "As safe as I can be." Considering that he's supposed to be going out and fighting the fight. In theory. "An old friend suggested it— he's the one who warned me about the other place. Anywhere's a risk, but this is less of one. And I've been disguising myself, so go easy on me when you see it, all right?"

"Why does that worry me?" Janice is actually smiling. "I'll try to take it easy on you, but.. no promises. I might be a little creeped out if you look like a serial killer." She slowly moves into the kitchen, pulling out a bottle of wine, followed by a glass from the cabinet. "It's good to hear that you're keeping safe.. but how long will this go on? You can't hide out your whole life."

"It's a subtle disguise! I didn't grow a mullet down to my waist or anything, geez."

"I don't intend to," Matt continues, his voice settling down once again, "but I don't know yet. I've been pretty cut off out here, so that's a lot of my usual tactics out the window. If I'd been a SEAL or something…"

Janice pauses. "Well, I'm really glad you don't have a mullet. Really glad." The wine is poured, then the bottle stored away as she sips from the glass. At least she's not as anxious now, and what the conversation won't cure, the wine will. "I can imagine. Just… tell me if you need anything, alright? I hate being completely cut off from everything."

There are a number of creature comforts that he could ask for, but he's less concerned with getting comfortable than staying alert. And he really doesn't want to accept any such thing from his ex, even if she was the one who offered. "…I'll let you know," Matt finally answers. Yeah, you can bring me some gauze if I get shot again.

She tried. Feeling as disconnected as ever, Janice takes another long sip of wine. "Thanks." She's not going to admit to him how useless she really feels out there. That's need-to-know. "So, uh, you'll let me know about seeing Matty, then?"

Matt furrows his brow, unsure how he feels about the diminutive of his own name. "Yeah, let me make another call and I'll get back to you. Might not be till tomorrow." It's already getting a bit late in New York, the folks in Germany may well have gone to bed already by now.

"Thank you. It means a lot to me, Matt." Janice swirls the glass of wine for a long moment before pushing it away from her, frowning at it. "That's okay. I'd just like to see him soon." A deep breath out. She's going to hold him to that.

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