2007-08-15: Slothpile

Starring:

Caleb_icon.gif Erin_icon.gif

Summary: After almost a year of not talking to her family, Erin seeks out her brother, Caleb. She means to tell him about her… problem, but it never comes up.

Date It Happened: 15 AUGUST 2007

Slothpile


Caleb's Apartment, The Bronx

The elevator is broken, and so by the time one gets to the ninth story in the typical Bronx apartment complex, it had BETTER BE GOOD. Which it isn't, really. But it's a good excuse to never do exercise, at least, which is the way Caleb sees it. Right now, he is making himself a sandwich in the tiny corner that is his kitchen, where no one bothered to even lay tile instead of carpet to separate it from the rest of the room. The whole space is cluttered, but not unclean. Bacon sizzles in a pan, and he moves to open a window so that the whole place doesn't smell like breakfast by the time he's done. Outside, it's pretty sunny and warm, and appropriately, he is wearing jeans and a t-shirt - it has the image of a sloth, Godzilla size, stomping through some kind of city, the image is cracked enough to indicate many washings and much use.

—-

Mapquest is a wonderful thing.

In every city except for this one, apparently. Erin doesn't drive much. There's a car sitting in a car shed outside her apartment that gets use maybe once a week. Twice if necessary, and she wasn't going to chance a trip to the Bronx on her own. So, almost fifty dollars and one cab ride later, Erin ended up having to get out and walk most of the way there, because her directions were fail. Still, if anyone can help her when she's going through all this… Caleb can. She hopes. If she can even tell him— After all, Taine freaked out.

She doesn't look much like a television star right now. Wearing a t-shirt and jean shorts, hair back, sweating a little - though there are sunglasses over her eyes, of course - she looks like she's just been walking around in the hot August sun. And she has. Nearly two hours of that has created a red line across her nose, which is starting to sting as she knocks on her brother's door. "Caleb? I hope you're home. If you're not, I'm breaking down your damn door and waiting."

—-

Definitely not expecting guests. Caleb usually doesn't, if his cluttered room is of any indication. Switching off the oven so he doesn't burn the house down, he quickly grabs an armful of laundry from the couch and flings it into his room, the door of which snapped shut. That would have to do. "I'm home, just— " He points at the door, because she can see that, and glances around the space. No porn, no underwear. Okay, we're good. He moves towards his door, undoing the lock and chain before pulling it on. Perhaps he shouldn't be started to see his sister, but he is, blinking once. "Erin?"

—-

Rolling her eyes behind dark lenses, Erin sighs. Despite the fact that she's indoors now, the sunglasses remain in place… She's hoping Caleb takes it as some sort of diva star thing. "Yeah." Haven't seen you in awhile, how're you doing, is everything okay here with you, how's work— None of this is asked, because it honestly doesn't occur to Erin to ask it. It's Caleb. He's a guy. She doesn't want to know what he's been doing. "Was wondering if you had awhile." Yeah, she still doesn't know if she'll be telling him anything, but just to talk to someone she's known her whole life would be excellent comfort right now. "Can I come in?"

—-

Caleb stares blankly at the dark lenses where her eyes should be. Freakin' TV stars and their wearing sunglasses indoors. He sort of gestures towards her, then to himself, then around, as if to try and communicate how weird this situation is, before hs broad shoulders slump a little. "Yeah, you can." He pushes the door further open for her and walks back inside, running a hand through his hair as he navigates his way back to the kitchen. "Did someone die?"

—-

God. Jesus. He's weird. Still, he's the first one Erin thought of to talk to. Really the only one she'd talk to in this situation. Two people know, and she still hasn't decided if she's going to tell Caleb yet. It's not weird for your sister to drop in after like, a year of no communication, right? Just because she had a fight with the whole family about something she can't even remember now doesn't mean she can't say hi to her sibling once in awhile, right? "Yeah, it's weird, she knows it. "Thank— Caleb." Die? Die? Well, truthfully — "I think they'd call you before they'd call me," she says dryly, with a bit of a half-smile. "No one died. I just miss you guys." Wait. She's supposed to ask something here. "…How… have you been?"

—-

Bacon is dumped onto a slice of bread, assorted salad is added, and Caleb isn't about to interrupt his sandwich processes to offer an estranged sister a seat. If there even is one, she can find it just fine. He raises an eyebrow to himself at the comment about who they'd call first, not about to disagree, all things considered. Then, she asks that question, which earns her a look from her younger brother, and a hint of an amused smile. "I've been fine," he says, looking away to cut his bacon-and-salad sandwich in half, picking up a piece and leaning against the counter. "The usual." He gestures to her a little with his sandwich. "I've missed you to, but don't you have a gazillion friends to visit instead?" Bite is partaken. Crunchy deliciousness.

—-

Nice, Caleb. Wonderful manners. Still, she's never really minded his oddness in the past, and it seems a lot like a homecoming to her, actually. So. Hi, Caleb, I'm a freak. Are you? That would make me feel a lot better if you could kill people with your eyes.

No, not yet.

"That smells really good," she says of the sandwich, looking around his apartment, until she finally finds a place to sit that looks… okay. She'd love a sandwich, actually. And, in fact, she gets up from her seat, covers the few paces between them, and takes the other half of Caleb's sandwich. Really, it's his apartment, he can make another. Back to her designated seat she goes!

The question causes a frown. She has friends, but… "Not as many as you'd think. Look, can I ask you something? Has anything strange been happening?" To you, is unspoken, but she does nod in his direction a bit.

—-

And there goes half his sandwich. The world will have to wonder if he was ever intending to give her the other half before she just took it! …probably not. Caleb simply rolls his eyes, however, and makes no protest. Just like old times, in any McCarty situation. He moves to straddle the arm of his couch, just as she asks her question. And in all honesty, he doesn't know what she could possibly be referring to. "Sure," he answers, before swallowing that mouthful of sandwich. "In what context exactly?"

—-

This is stupid. Suddenly, she feels like she's come over to ask Caleb something like… Has he seen any dragons flying around New York lately. Stupid. Because she has to be crazy, even if she knows she's not. Plus, now she has half a sandwich, and she's more interested in that than finding out if 'freak' runs in the family. "Got any juice or pop or anything?" GET TO WORK, CALEB. YOU HAVE COMPANY.

"I dunno, just… Ah, if you don't know, then it's probably nothing. I heard— Have you been watching One Life lately?" Silly question, perhaps. Boys don't watch soaps. It ruins their … man-ness or something. Who the hell knows. "Getting close to the beginning of a storyline. It's a good time to start watching if you haven't been." Perhaps gesturing with a sandwich is one thing that runs in the family, because… she does. At the TV.

—-

Kind of like a teenager, Caleb blinks at her… then draaags himself to stand and move backwards the fridge, opening the door and peering inside. "One Life?" he asks, as if he had no clue what she's talking about, but— no, he does. He's not that clueless. "I haven't been keeping up. Work is kind of— I can set the VHS to record, I guess." He doesn't sound overly enthusiastic, just willing. A juice box is found somewhere at the back, and he checks the used-by-date. Still good. The apple+blackcurrent sugary drink is tossed towards Erin. "Strange in what context?" he presses.

—-

"Yeah, genius, One Life." Ass. He knows exactly what she's talking about — she thinks. Right? Then again, she kind of never did call her family to tell them she got a part on a popular Daytime Drama. Oops? Small oversight. "I'm doing set design for ABC - one of their shows films out of New York. I also got a part on the show. Meant to— Ah. Tell you, but it's been busy." And I can make people really sick, and—

It scares her. "Look, would it be enough to say I just really need you guys right now? You. At least, if I can't— with the rest of the family…" Don't make her beg. She's having a moment of weakness here, though she does manage to reach up and catch the juice box with relative ease, while the other hand is still holding the sandwich.

—-

Hopping up to sit on the kitchen counter, Caleb tears off more bites from his sandwich, but he's listening. And at that last bit, he sort of… glances down at his hands a little guiltily, dusts them off of bread crumbs. "Well, I mean…" He gestures around a little one-handedly, heels bumping against the cupboards he sits upon gently. "I'm always here, Erin. The only reason you're feeling like you can't is— " And then? He actually cuts himself off from saying the callous thing. Someone mark this down in history. With a sigh, he shrugs. "I'm here. What's going on?"

—-

She does bristle a little. Even if he's cut himself off, she knows where he was going with that. "Look, it's not all my fault," Erin states defensively, and though he can't see it, her eyes are narrowed. He'll probably be able to notice that lip curl, though. At least Caleb didn't say it, because… because then she'd have to retaliate, and Erin's really not so sure it's a good idea to get truly mad at anyone right now.

Another couple bites later, she works on getting the straw into her juicebox without dropping the bacon-salad sandwich all over her brother's questionable floor. She could make something up right now. Lying? One of her strong points, and she's not ashamed to admit it. After all, she's an actor. But she came here for a reason. "I think there's something wrong with me."

—-

Oh hell no does Caleb want to fight about this. During that rocky stage of McCarty history, he will be well remembered for his valiant ducking and covering. At her defensive statement, Caleb nods once. Because, she's quite correct - it wasn't all her fault. But it's clear in his eyes that he has all kinds of opinions, and ones that he's now holding in check. Because this next bit seems to be important. His gaze becomes more pointed, his usual serious expression in place despite his somewhat surrealist T-shirt and his hair not particularly combed for the day. "You're not sick, are you?" She doesn't have HIV, right? Or cancer? This, of course, is naturally where Caleb's brain goes.

—-

Good call, Caleb.

"No?" is her answer to the question as to whether or not she's sick. "I don't think so." Then again, what she and Ali both have… could be a disease, right? Her roommate said it was genetic, though, so if that's the case— If she's wrong, she can just dismiss this as some sort of practical-joke-slash-publicity-stunt and then proceed to never talk to Caleb again for at least another year. Totally weird and random, everyone gets a good laugh except Caleb, and Erin goes back to having only two people know. Maybe it's better that way.

Does she have to tell him now? "I'm not sick, it's just stress." Reassuring, said with a smile. "Getting… Headaches. You know. Haven't worked in front of a camera for a while. Nothing to worry about, just wanted to know I have someone I can talk to. You know, who knows." That she was pushed into acting and doesn't always love it. CHANGE THE SUBJECT. "Got a girlfriend yet?"

—-

And Caleb is entirely unimpressed. Oh, her lie is accepted, to a degree - because this is JUST TYPICAL isn't it. The secret thing that moved her to come talk to him is in fact just a few tension headaches and probably boredom. That serious expression flattens in vague annoyance, and that next question doesn't help much. "No, I don't have a girlfriend," he says, with a slight eyeroll. "Listen, Erin, you'll do fine, so… just relax. You're a good actress, whether you like it or not, aaand you don't need me to tell you that."

—-

Boredom? BOREDOM? If only he knew what was REALLY going on! Which could be remedied if she just told him, but that's beside the point. Oh, she can tell he's annoyed, but she's really not ready for her brother to point at her and call her a freak, even if she's called herself that before. Taine gave her another chance, but Taine— Who knows? That could have been a fluke, and she still hasn't forgiven him yet. And really, she can't let people see her this vulnerable. It'll end up in the papers or something. Given that she's starting to feel a little more relaxed, though, once she's done with her half of the sandwich, she does pull the sunglasses off and set them on the couch, leaning back on it. "No, I don't, but it helps to hear." Noticing his shirt, she adds, "You've got a muppet on your chest." What the hell, Caleb. Grow up, plz? She'd offer to take him out for dinner or something, but— What is he wearing!?

—-

"Well, there you go," he mutters, when she says it helps. Then, he stretches out his shirt to glance down, as if to remember what it is he pulled on. "It's— what?" What? Caleb gives her an incredulous look. Who doesn't know what a sloth looks like? Really. "I have a three-toed sloth on my chest, not a muppet," he corrects. Beat. "It's terrorising Tokyo."

—-

Yeah, she wishes she could tell him, but how do you figure out a way to say that? As many times as Erin's gone over it in her head, as she looks at him now, she just… can't do it. Hoo boy. Hopefully he doesn't find out like Taine and Ali did!

One eyebrow arches. Sloth? "Isn't that one of the seven deadly sins?" The thing looks too cute to be a sin. There's some contradictory information going on here, and ERIN IS CONFUSED. Really, why the hell would she know what a sloth is, anyway? She's only lived around Caleb her whole life, right? "It's a muppet. Hey, I'm ordering pizza." She pulls her cell phone out of her purse, starts to dial. "You're paying." Despite the fact that they just had a sandwich between them… It's Friday night in the city, which means if they order pizza now, it'll be here in approximately TWO HOURS.

—-

Stare. Stare. Okay, so, he didn't know she scored a soap opera TV role, she doesn't know about— HOW COULD SHE NOT KNOW. Utterly ignoring the pizza thing, Caleb moves across the room, and starts rifling through a stack of books and paper. A crumpled photo envelope is withdrawn, as you know, who has time to actually organise photos these days? He flumps down into the couch next to her, and starts sorting through the glossy images. He finds one, of a grown sloth that seems to be wrapping its long arms around Caleb's midsection, head resting somewhere on his chest. Caleb is actually smiling in this photo too, which does him a world of favour, and likely something he should do more often. He's in his Bronx zoo uniform and seems to be giving a little talk on the Mighty Sloth to a small group of highschool students standing about. "See? It's a real animal."

—-

Well, come on. Sloths are like platypi. They're just too odd-looking to be real! HOW IS ERIN SUPPOSED TO KNOW— that some weird fluke of evolution created a creature who moves .00000003 miles an hour and spends most of its life on the same branch WHERE IT WAS BORN!? or… something. Sloths must dispurse or there would be one area of the world that was just a giant slothpile. "Oh my god," is her reaction to the picture, which she reaches out and takes, with a smirk on her face. Wow, it's just like the thing on his shirt, and it's real, and hugging him, and… "You work at the zoo?" She's going to tease him, yes. Because he's got a great face for acting, and he HAS before, and he's working with hairy things that look like they were drawn my Jim Friggin' Henson. "That is so adorable."

—-

Caleb purses his lips when the idea of working at a zoo is somehow a point for teasing, and he goes to snatch back the photo. "You know there's a hundred applicants for every one position at a zoo?" he says, a little testily. "That's statistical fact for you. I'm still at school, but I'm doing good there, too." He angles the photo somewhat, before shrugging. "They're cute. And real. This one is named Penny."

—-

As soon as he takes back the photo, Erin - still grinning - dials her phone. "Sure," she says into the receiver as she's put on HOLD. Damn pizza places. "You know how many people audition for roles on TV?" she counters, because obviously, Caleb started this, and she's going to continue it, because that's what big sisters do. In other words, HER JOB WAS HARDER TO GET, NAH-NAH. And she doesn't have green-furred muppets hanging off her midsection like hairy leaches. It is kind of cute, but Erin is not an animal person. She hasn't been to the zoo in like a bajillion years, and it was a fight over cats that introduced her to freaks in the first place. She just didn't know she was one at the time. While she's on hold: "Cay, what do you want on the pizza?"

—-

"Nothing with mushroom," Caleb says, slumping back into his seat as he puts the photo away, shaking his head. To him, have a green-furred muppet hanging off his midsection like a hairy leech is awesome. "Because, you know, wildlife conservation and animal care is totally on par with being an actress on day time TV. Are you going to drink that juice? Because I'm going to put it back in the fridge."

—-

Is she going to drink that juice!? IS SHE GOING T— In answer, Erin licks the box. Haha, hers now.

Mature.

"Oh, come on, that's not why I came here." She doesn't want to pick a fight with him, though she is slightly annoyed that what she does is any less important than what he does. Entartainment is important, too! Once she's off hold, Erin orders a pizza with just the basics - cheese, pepperoni, and green peppers - and the delivery time is estimated somewhere around now and forever o'clock. Once she's off the phone, she's drinking the juice, even if she doesn't like it all that much. "So you work with sloths. What the hell made you decide to do that? They're kind of creepy."

—-

OH FINE. Caleb levels a mild glare at her and her juice box licking tendencies, folding his arms over his chest. "They're not creepy, you just said Penny was adorable," he says, almost muttering. "Maybe with this whole," gesturegesture between them, "new thing you're doing with the keeping in touch, I can introduce you. To them." …let me show you my friends, they're slow moving and have algae in their fur.

—-

And maybe one day he'll find out why she really came over, who knows! It might be a better idea to keep her distance to protect her family, but Erin is a selfish creature, and she will take all the support she can gather. Looking at his shirt again, then up into his eyes, she shrugs. It could be fun to meet the sloths, as creepy and as adorable as they are. She still can't decide. Maybe a little bit of both. Grabbing her sunglasses so she doesn't lose them, Erin perches them on her head, though she's leaving her eyes visible, at least. No more soap opera diva stuff, it seems. "…How's mom and dad and the other brats?" …By which she means Janet and Mikayla, of course.

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