2007-03-17: Reconnected, Remaining Retired


Jane_icon.gif Elena_icon.gif Eric_icon.gif

Summary: Elena and Eric visit Jane at her apartment. The women reconnect as friends, but one is left in Company - forced retirement from activism.

Date It Happened: March 17, 2007

Reconnected, Remaining Retired

Apartment 108 in a Greenwich Village high rise building

There's sound coming through the door of apartment 108, but it's not from a guitar as one might expect on approaching the residence of Doctor Michelle Jane Forrest. No, this is a piano being played. Of course, she is who she is, and the tune is of a rock and blues variety, her skill not so polished as with the six strings, but still demonstrative of practice and study.

She gains entry in the building easily. Eric lives there, so with him around, Elena gets a free pass. She takes the elevators up to the floor Jane is in, stepping out and looking right and left to make sure the hall is clear. Fear makes you sharp. It's been a mantra that has stuck with her since Jack took her to lunch that day at Noodle Heaven. She moves across the hall, to knock on the door. She arrives with a young, well-built man with a sharp-featured face - good looking in a cleanshaven, masculine way. Lifting a hand, still huddled in her black coat given as to how cold it was outside, she knocks on the door softly.

"…you need a different coat? You can have mine if you need it," Eric Walker offers his shivering companion as he glances curiously down at her. A slight frown on his face as he stands there, hands in his pockets and looking…well…not the least bit cold he doesn't.

Not so much an elevator that needs be used to reach that door, or even stairs. Apartment 108 is on the first floor, after all. It's not so far, for that matter, from the one occupied by Benjamin Winters and daughter. Inside, when the knock comes, the piano sound stops and some seconds pass before the quieter sounds of locks being released are heard. When the door opens, there she stands. Jane's wearing a pair of dark sweatpants and a tank top, no shoes upon her feet. "Elena," she greets, surprised, as an expression of uncertainty mixed with hope spreads upon her features. Puzzlement joins in too, when she sights a man she doesn't recognize.

"Hi Jane. I was just walking Eric home." The girl walking the guy home. Typical Elena. She didn't really think about it when she said it. "He lives in the same apartment building. He and I have a Calculus study session together. Eric, this is my friend, Jane," she says, stepping back so the two can shake hands. She looks at Jane concernedly, with a warm smile. "I just wanted to come by and see how you were doing. I heard you had it rough in the last two weeks. From Peter. Is this a bad time? Are you practicing?" When Eric offers his coat, she looks at him. "…but it's such a nice coat….it's alright, I'll survive," she says, surprised and taken aback a bit by the surprisingly chivalrous gesture. Her cheeks heat up a bit, but she attempts to dispell it. She's here for Jane. Jane.

"Alright," Eric says easily enough as he shrugs. "…just wondering, you were so hunched up under that one." He says teasingly. As the door opens though a warm smile spreads across his face and he nods towards her. "Hello!" He says quite cheerfully as he nods towards Jane. "Seems that we are nearly neighbors and I didn't know it."

"Come in, Elena, Eric," Jane offers, stepping aside. "I'm almost always playing something when I've got time on my hands, I like to keep them busy. Especially now." She looks from one to the other, her eyes resting finally on the latina. There's a trace of that shame and worry coming into them, but less so than the previous encounter at Starbucks. "I'm glad you came, I… wanted to talk with you about something, so please, hear me out once you get comfortable. May I get you anything to eat or drink?" Her right hand comes out to be shaken should the man choose. "Pleased to meet you, Eric."

"Yes please." Elena looks relieved to be out of the hallway….and she exhales with relief, stepping into the much warmer confines of Jane's apartment. "You apartment is so warm," she sighs, her eyes closing with bliss. She unbuttons her frayed coat….no wonder she was so cold. It was old. Then again coats, especially in New York, were pretty damned expensive. With her family barely scraping by, and most of her Starbucks money going to supplies and books for school, it's not surprising she's stuck wearing things until they fall apart. "Alright….we can talk," she says gently. "Is everything okay?"

Eric does indeed shake hands, continuing to smile as he steps into the room. He looks slightly suprised by teh state of Elena's coat, but otherwise just keeps him mouth shut for the moment and looking around.

Her hand is soft and smooth, the nails short, but bearing calluses on the fingertips when shaken and released. "I'm not sure how much you know, Elena, and it's embarrassing to admit it, I hope I can trust you and Eric to not tell anyone else, but…" Jane trails off to draw a deep breath and release it before continuing, "I've done things I'm not proud of. I can't believe I ever in my life fell like that, but… I did. I'm six days clean, three since coming out of cold turkey, right here." The apartment bears no evidence of that ordeal, however, she put everything right again since then. "One of the things I need to do is learn who I may have hurt and make amends, if I can, to not let regrets fester and risk dragging me down again. When my calls weren't returned, I thought maybe I'd done wrong by you."

"….what do you mean…?" Elena says slowly, casting a glance towards Eric and following to where Jane moves to be seated. She doesn't sit down yet. Concerned, dark eyes just fall on Jane when she begins the way she does. "What do you mean you've done things you're not proud of? What do you mean you're six days 'clean'?" There's a slight quaver to her voice…which she clamps down with her sheer stubborness. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. What did they do? WHAT DID THEY DO?

Eric raises a hand to place it comfortingly on Elena's arm as he listens to Jane. "Pleasure to meet you!" He adds easily enough, his own hand with few calouses himself. He just blinks though at what she said, raising one slightly confused eyebrow towards her. What the hell is up? What happened?

The door is closed as the group moves inside, Jane walks with them into the main room and waits for them to be seated if they want before sitting herself, evidence of her upbringing in a blueblood society home, perhaps. "There's so much unclear about the past weeks, some things I remember and some I don't. But six days ago I woke up in a halfway house somewhere south of Atlantic City, with pills scattered around and a bunch of messages from Jim, my sponsor. He said I'd left rehab and was worried about me. I didn't want to believe it, but with the fog in my head, and the withdrawal I was starting…" Her eyes close, it's clear how much the entire thing embarrasses, shames her, "I knew it had to be real. I came home, here, and fought it all off. The shaking, the craving for a fix."

At Eric's touch on arm, Elena gapes at Jane, not believing what she was hearing. Clean? Fix? Rehab? Jane was the most squeaky-clean person she knew! She was no addict! And what shaking? What fix? What did they do to her? Did they make her…. a hand unconsciously clenches tightly into a fist on the side, her teeth grinding into one another behind her closed mouth as anger creeps up to her cheeks. This was too extreme. This was so unfair. She only went because they were holding her boyfriend. What woman with a spine -wouldn't- do the same thing she did? Cass's warning not to talk to Jane about the Company wars with her desire to shake her friend and tell her that she was NEVER so stupid enough to be a junkie. "…have you….made contact with….Jim….recently?" she asks, forcing the words out.

"I called him when I got home, and he told me he wasn't sure what I'd been taking. One of the Ds. Demerol, Dilaudid… I asked him to meet me, I don't have a face to match the name, but he wouldn't. Said he had theatre tickets, so I hung up on him. Haven't made contact since, and don't plan to." Jane's head tilts, she seems puzzled a bit by the reaction and moments later her face falls. It seems she's reading the anger as disappointment in, with her. "You didn't know, I guess, God knows what you must think of me now, but I beat it, Elena."

No. Of course they wouldn't. Of course they wouldn't make contact. Elena detaches from Eric for a moment, walking over to Jane and taking a seat next to her. "Jane," she says softly. "You're my friend. What sort of friend would I be if I just….start on thinking so harshly about you when I don't know the story?" The lie. It sickens her so much. She wanted to tell Jane the truth, but she can't. Not while she was so addled and lost and so convinced of the addiction she never had. She lifts a hand to rest it on her shoulder. "And of course you beat it. You're….very strong. You always were."

"Thanks," Jane replies softly. "It was hell, but I made it. Three days, the second was the worst. Shaking, headaches, wanting to go shoot up. I don't know what ever prompted me to take things, I just know I did." Her ideas, her thoughts on the why go unspoken. "Thank you for still believing in me, Elena." She leans back on the couch with eyes closed, taking comfort from the hand on her shoulder.

Lies. Web of LIES. Elena's expression twists a bit, but thankfully it holds. All the fiery latina wants to do is grab onto Jane and shake her and tell her that she had never been an addict, but she clamps down hard on the urge. Instead, she reaches out to hug her should she have it, and she doesn't say anything. She wanted to cry - she could feel the tears, but she stubbornly stomps the urge into the curb. "So what did they tell you in rehab?" she asks softly. "Do you remember it? Anything? Did they at least feed you when you were there?" The last is said tightly.

Eric just watches the pair of them, a sympethic frown on his face. Oh this just sin't good at all it isn't. The young man though looks down and just sighs and shakes his head, eyes closing. He sets one hand on Elena's back for just a moment before he nods easily. "You're alright now, that's the important thing."

"I don't remember rehab," she answers quietly. "I don't remember any of it at all. There's blank spots, and waking up on the 11th somewhere south of AC. I had to have been really bad to go so blank. I can't even begin to imagine what I might've done, who I might've hurt during that time." Jane's eyes reopen and shift toward Eric, she nods slowly in response. "I'm pulling it back together. Just… don't tell anyone about this, you know? I'm a lawyer, and though I don't practice it like most do, I still want to have it. I'd probably not have issues with the bar, but I really don't want to risk it." Looking from one to the other, there's the hope, the need, to know this stays confidential.

Eric's hand barely comforts. She feels it try to soothe, but she's so….ANGRY. Elena detaches and takes a deep breath, and she nods to Jane. "We won't say anything. You have my word." She looks over at her, and she reaches out to take Jane's hand gently. It was the sort of hand that indicated that she didn't have to work much all her life - save perhaps on her guitar. The calluses were present on the fingertips. She squeezes her fingers softly. "How is the shaking?" she asks softly. "Are you taking anything for that?"

"Nothing," Jane answers. "It tapered off over the third day, and it's gone now. The headaches and cravings too, they're gone. But I still don't completely trust myself, so I stay busy as I can, just in case." Her eyes glance over to the collection of guitars, and she remarks softly "Now I know something of what you wrote about, John." Turning back to where her hand is taken, the woman goes quiet. There's something of a pride starting to show now, over having survived, left unspoken of. And evidence exists of another fact she hasn't shared: that she managed it without screaming. The apartment doesn't have broken glass lying around, the windows are intact. Did she restrain that ability, or did she just have the damage fixed?

Eric just nods easily towards her. "I won't tell a soul," The young man says easily before he looks down at his shoes a moment. "You have my word as well," He nods once towards her, though really he lets Elena handle most of this. He dosn't know her as well is all.

Her apartment looks intact, and Elena has to wonder if Jane even remembers her ability at all. She clearly remembers she's a lawyer, and that she's looking for work. She pulls away, her shoulder nudging Eric's a bit. She looks over at him and blinks, noticing that he had ventured over to where she was on the couch, but she smiles at him faintly and glances down at her hands. "What else do you want to tell me, Jane?" she asks. "I mean, if it helps to talk. You know I'm here for you." She looks around the apartment herself, trying to see if there's anything out of place in where she is.

There's no evidence of glass fragments that might've been missed in a clean up, no seeming trace of repair like a window replacement. It all suggests Jane managed not to let loose in her darkest time over those three days. "I've been playing a lot lately, starting to write some, I feel more connected than ever to my music," the woman states. "The best tunes come from things like this, the one bright side to having endured it." Her voice is soft, as something else is mulled over, and a question is asked. "How well do you know me, Elena?"

"Yeah…" Elena says somewhat distractedly. She looks at Jane and she quirks her brows. "I know you fairly well," she tells Jane honestly. "You used to come to where I work early morning. I would treat you to breakfast and make your coffee. And then we'd….talk. About our hobbies. Our similarities. I went with you to see a doctor once for a check up. You don't really have a favorite, you would vary on the flavors depending on the mood, but you're partial to vanilla capuccino."

Eric hasn't sat yet, he's just simply standing and looking around. Standing behind Elena easily as he glances around the place. However at the talk he glances down lightly, just a tad uncomfrotable. "…if you two would like to talk, I can go get us some dinner?" He offers towards the pair of ladies with an easy smile.

She nods slowly, listening, and glances at Eric when he speaks. "I've got food here," Jane offers, "but eating in from an out source doesn't sound bad. Maybe burgers. And fries." Her attention shifts back to the latina, and a quiet chuckle escapes. "I wrote a tune I call Brunette Canary's Course. It's about the experience. And I thought about band names, one that sticks in my head is Ultimate Soprano." She, perhaps, isn't sure she laid that out there or not, and so chooses something that would be innocuous if she hadn't and speak volumes if she did.

"I'd love to listen to it at some point. When it's perfected," Elena says with a smile. She exhales softly, shaking her head from the wallowing, gutwrenching guilt and anger - but she does attempt to smile at Jane and push those expressions away. Plenty of time and space to cry and beat on a pillow when she gets home. "Anyway….I'll visit again soon, and you know where I work so if you want to stop by again, we can chat like old times. I'm glad to see you're doing better, and I wish I can stay longer but….Papa is expecting me home. He's probably wondering where I am." Elena looks startled at the very nice offer from Eric, and she grins, rubbing the back of her neck. "Eh…you don't have to, Eric…." she says. She's already mooched off him enough.

Eric shakes his head. "Its fine, if you need to go home I'll just drop it off here on the way back up to my room," The young man seems happy enough to help as he drifts easyly over towards the door. "Burgers and fries it is…I'll be back soon…" A pause then before he glances down at Elena and smiles. "Call if you need me."

Her eyes linger on the latina for some moments after she finishes speaking, as if wondering whether or not the words she chose for the band hold any meaning to Elena. Jane knows she trusted some people, but isn't certain whether or not there were others, especially with drugs involved. "When I came by your work and we talked about… hobbies, I never seemed high to you?" Eric is addressed as he moves to go for food, she states "I'll pay you when you get back, man." And back to the other woman she goes. "It's a shame you have to leave. Can't stick around to eat with me, chica?" A grin forms, and she glances over to the guitars. Her voice softly sings something from memory. "What would you think if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me? Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song, I will try not to sing out of key. Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends…"

She pauses, Elena looking over at Jane as she asks her that. "I'll do you one better and make -you- dinner to make up for it, how's that?" she says with a smile. "I used to want to be a chef. Eric can come too, if he wants. He never cooks for himself." She gives the young man by the door a teasing grin. At the inquiry, she pauses, and she stands up slowly from the couch, shaking her head. "No," she says, not having the heart to lie. Sadness ached somewhere in her ribcage. "You were never high when you were around me. You were always alert. And lucid." She gathers up her coat and shrugs it on her shoulders. "I guess that would account for my shock…but that doesn't change anything." The lie. It felt like it was eating her. "I'll be around to make sure you get better, Jane. I promise. Whenever you need it, just come in for some coffee." She winks. "I'll hook you up."

"Okay," Jane replies. "I'll come around for coffee, and devour your cooking soon. "I'm glad you never saw me high, I can't express how much." But there's a tinge of disappointment to her voice, maybe from the fact they're not staying, maybe from Elena not responding to the test. It's something she's nervous about, and yet wants to come clean with. So another attempt is made, cryptically. "What happens when I scream?"

She pauses as she shakes her jacket back on her, Elena looking over to stare at Jane. Maybe….she remembers a little bit? She pauses. "When you scream…" she says softly. "You said you can shatter windows and break glass. You've never really showed it to me, though, but you told me you did. Like some of the best sopranos in the world." She watches Jane for a moment, her hand resting on the door. "Why?"

The smile widens, her eyes resting on the latina. "I wasn't sure I told you about that, Elena. It's not something I share much, you know? But I just felt since I can trust you with… recent events, I might've let you in on that, and if I hadn't I was debating it now." Jane pauses for a moment, looking at a wall, before quietly adding "Good night, and take care."

"Yeah….you told me a while back. What you do is special," Elena says softly, watching her look away to look at the wall. "You too, Jane," she says softly, opening the door and stepping out, closing the door behind her. She rests her back against the wood a bit, closing her eyes and her fists clenched so tightly she could feel her nails draw blood in her palms. Finally, she pushes away, and heads for the main entrance of the building.

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