2010-01-11: Stealing Beth's Thunder

Starring:

Beth_V4icon.pngErin_V4icon.pngTaine_V4icon.png

Date: January 11th, 2010

Summary:

Erin's attempt to be a nice human being goes horribly, horribly wrong. Lesson learned.


"Stealing Beth's Thunder"

School Trailer, Afterlife Set, NYC

Erin is in a good mood - a rare good mood. Because she's finally let herself close to someone - really close - and the world didn't end because of it. It might be fore that reason that Erin invited Taine along on this little… adventure. Sneaking cookies to the resident Child Vampire has become a bit of a game. Maybe she wants Taine to see that she's not completely heartless, or maybe she just wants to share the wealth. The cookie wealth.

Today, they're meeting in the school trailer outside the main building. Once in awhile, the show gets a good number of under-eighteens, which warrants the use of a designated room. Of course, it's not really in use right now, since there's only the one. But there are rumours that Cordelia will create more legions of young vampires in the near future. It's enough so that Erin noticed the cobwebs had been cleaned off and the heat had been turned on.

So in Beth's dressing room, she left a note, a map, and a picture of the cookies that are being held for ransom. "C'mon," she says to Taine as she leads him toward the trailer. "It's cold out here. And I want to get there before Beth does."

It's been a giddy several weeks for young Beth. The set has become something of a sanctuary, with disapproving Mother Bear dropping her off but not being able to follow, and the crew welcoming her into their midst. She's developed a few tentative friendships beyond that with Erin and in a lot of ways, the girl has begun to blossom. So much so that Mrs. Thorne has noticed the signs of budding independence and decided to put the kibosh on them.

That is why the elder Thorne has contrived to follow her daughter to set, intending…she isn't certain what. But whatever it is, it'll put an end to Beth's misbehaviour. She is a tall, rail-thin woman, who might have been attractive if she didn't hold her mouth so tightly. Her ashy blonde hair is currently hidden under a silk scarf, and large Jackie O shades hide the eyes that are a darker version of Beth's. She is also trailing the younger Thorne at a discrete distance.

Beth, oblivious to her mother's intentions, dashes through the hallway with the map clutched in both hands for easy reference. Erin and Taine might hear the metal door behind them burst open as the little blonde exits into the cold, her sweater-boots crunching over snow as she races the pair towards the trailer. "I'm going to win!" It's a laughing taunt, delivered breathlessly as she catches the older actors and darts past them for the trailer's door.

Only for a short time did Taine think the woman who plays Morgan Starr was a heartless diva. It didn't last long! But that's beside the point. Dressed warmly, he's used to the cold, cause despite popular belief, Australia does have cold winters. "It'd be summer where I come from. This other side of the world still confuses me," he says with a shiver and chatter of teeth. "I've never actually been to the schooling trailer," he admits, despite the string of young actors they had during the high school phases of the show.

And then suddenly there's a young voice behind them, and a darting runner who streaks past them. "Oh you…" Little brat? PERHAPS. Erin wanted to win, so instead of keeping his slow walk, he starts to run after, taking advantage of his longer legs and the fitness he has to stay in for the shirtless scenes (damn those shirtless scenes) and moves to dip down and grab her around the shoulders, hugging her against his chest and stopping her. Not planning to win himself, but he supposes he's strong enough to hold a little girl!

Erin has absolutely no intention of letting a kid win this— Suddenly made up race to the school trailer. It wasn't originally a race, but now that Beth has made it so… Well… May the best woman (Erin) totally annihilate the competition!

As soon as she hears the voice behind her, she turns, blue eyes widening. SHOOT. They were supposed to be there first! That's what the idea behind a treasure hunt is. There's no prize at the end if the prize… giver? isn't there to give it! "HA!" she exclaims when Taine catches Beth, and then the older actress is off, sprinting the last few yards to the trailer, up the stairs, through the door… And then slams it shut behind her.

Wait.

Turning, she opens the door again. Out of breath, red in the face, she holds up her arms (along with the bag of cookies in one hand) victoriously. "In your face. Can't beat a crime-fighting porcupine! Oh yeah!" There's a pause, and then, "Now get in here. It's fucking freezing out there."

"Taaaaaaaine!"

Only thirteen year old girls can manage that shrieky, piercing sort of whine. Beth is probably saved from an early death only by virtue of the giggles that break up the pitch of it. But she makes the actor work for his cheating by kicking her booted feet and trying to squirm free. The slipperiness of her waterproof parka might be a help, here. "Noooo, you let her win! Augh, you're so mean!"

She doesn't mean it. Really. The grin gives away the lie.

With Erin gloating in the doorway, Beth is that much more fired up to earn her freedom. Suddenly the girl seems to go boneless, lifting her arms at the same time all of her (insignificant) weight shifts to the lower part of her body. It's a baby trick but one that stands her in good stead. As she slithers free of the man, her hands playfully slapping at Taine's arms, a spark of static leaps between them. The pop is tiny, the impact less so. That's the danger of playing in the cold.

Beth doesn't appear to notice, too intent on running forward again and clattering up the stairs to launch herself at Erin. She hops, trying to reach the bag of cookies while giggling out a scold for the woman's cheating ways. Oblivious to the other woman who has been watching the scene from the soundstage's exit, her mouth growing smaller and smaller as she takes in the scene.

"Whoa!" Taine cries out, arms flying away at the impact of a static shock. Such a tiny happens in normal situations at times, so he doesn't think anything of it, really, other ran rubbing his arms and going ow in his head. The teenager might have lost, but she took a small casualty in the process! In the form of Taine's dignity. It's fine, though, his dignity has been fractured enough times by women on this cast.

Following behind, he doesn't run, which'll lead him into the trailer last. "Do I get points for the assist, at least?" he asks, though he's aware that the points will likely come in the form of cookies. He'll take kisses as a form of payment as well.

But he has doubts that will happen, even if she's closer to him. Wishful thinking has kept him holding on for all these years! Why stop now!?

Notably, Erin didn't think this all the way through, because she didn't expect the kid to try to flatten her to get at the cookies. "No— No!"

Too late. At least the fall - as it is - is controlled enough so that no bones are broken in the process. With them both being about the same height, Beth will find that she'll be able to grab the cookies easily. "All you had to do was ask!" she says, voice not quite making it to the realm of irritated… Because she's not.

What must the woman watching them think is in that bag? It must be pretty addictive, huh? Couldn't be something as innocent as cookies!

"All this for sugar," Erin mutters, extracting herself from the floor, getting to her feet, and brushing herself off. "Seriously, you'd think she never had cookies before," she goes on, reaching out for Taine so she can grab him by the shirt and pull him the rest of the way into the trailer. Too cold out there! "And you…" She says to Beth. "It was supposed to take you at least half an hour to figure out the map. What the hell? Are you crazy smart or something?"

Victory! Beth scrambles up with the bag in hand, still giggling as she retreats to the nearest desk to enjoy her treasure. For all of that displayed eagerness, she's rather prissy about the precise way in which the bag is opened. It's important that the packaging not be torn. So it takes a moment to peel open the paper in order to get to the plastic tray inside.

"You're a dirty cheater," she informs Taine solemnly as he's drawn inside. Then a broad, sunny grin claims her face and the plastic tray of sugary goodness is extended towards the pair of them first. Manners dictate age before beauty. But the smile fades as Erin appears to scold her. "Thank you for the cookies, Erin. Mother dropped me off early, I found it…I'm sorry I ruined the game."

Awwwwwww.

Anxiety and heartbreak will have to be put on hold for the moment, however. Stronger emotions will be needed, for the door is yanked open yet again. A fresh burst of cold air invades the trailer, along with the tall and narrow figure of Mrs. Thorne. The shades are yanked off to allow her glare more impact.

"What is going on here?"

"There's no rules that said 'Taine isn't allowed to grab Beth while Erin runs ahead to the trailer.'" That's his response to cheating. Can't cheat when there's no rules that said it wasn't allowed! Unless someone changed the rule book, in which case, it's cheating of another kind. And he wouldn't have been the cheater in that case!

Stepping deeper inside, he dusts off his coat as if that'll get rid of some of the cold. Too bad it doesn't work like that. It was a funny sight to see. Taine decides it's not a good idea to tell Erin she's good with kids. It might be taken wrong, considering recent events.

Uhoh. He looks at the woman who set the whole thing up. What is going on here? It's not worthy of the bad kind of emphasis, though!
The kids contrite attitude about everything kind of bothers Erin. Beth is learning to be a kid again, though, which is the whole goal behind these games. "Yeah, don't worry about it," she mutters, taking the very best cookie and hopping up on the teacher's desk. As a person with little regard for rules to begin with, she shouldn't be enforcing her own - whether or not they were written down. "Just gimme a head start next time, okay? And hey, being smart's a compliment, so— "

She trails off as the door opens again. What the—

The first words out of Erin's mouth - after she stands and faces Ms. Thorne with all of her five-foot-two frame - are "You're not allowed on the set anymore." Scared? No, Erin is scared of nothing. Despite behind caught with her hand in the cookie jar - or cookie tray, as it is, she's not going to let some brain-dead shrew teach her daughter how to be a spoiled child actor.

Erin went through that. It sucks. "Taine, this is Beth's mother. You remember… The one who used to scream at everyone."

Mrs. Thorne has no intention of screaming, right now. She is beyond screaming as an expression of her fury. She is cold-angry, radiating intense disapproval as her eyes cut from Taine to Erin and finally to Beth. That look from her mother is enough to cause the girl to drop the tray of cookies, which spray over the floor. "You are not her mother," Hazel hisses, without taking her eyes off of the shrinking violet that is her daughter. "And I asked what is going on in here?" But it's a rhetorical question. Mrs. Thorne can see and she does not like it. Not one little bit. It's bad enough that her precious angel was manhandled by an Australian. Now she's eating cookies? Plainly this is some deviant sort of foreplay. Corruption of the lowest sort!

Beth's stammered explanation and apology is cut short when her mother rudely shoulders past Taine to seize the girl's arm. "Mama, n-no! It was just…it wasn't anything, Erin was just…ow!" The yelp escapes as the girl is yanked back towards the door. It would be easy to miss the tiny sparks of blue light flickering around her hands, flailing about as they are.

"Not a word!" Hazel snaps, pinning both Erin and Taine with a fresh glare. Forbidding them to follow, that look does. "I am done with this. Look for another actress! My daughter quits!"

"Bloody— " Taine looks shocked at the way the girl is being treated, even if he'd seen it before on set a few times. On set is different than in normal situations. On set people get frazzled and frustrated, and when someone lives off the money of their daughter, it could easily cause random bitchiness. But this is beyond bitchiness. He might have been holding the girl in place for a moment, but he wasn't doing it out of unkindness. And he certainly wasn't threatening something the girl obviously loves. She would get her cookies anyway!

"They're just cookies, woman. The most you'll have to worry about is brushing her teeth after. You don't have to be such a bitch about it." Yes, he just called her that.

No, Erin's not her mother, and she has the good sense not to argue at this moment. Or maybe it's just the fact that she, herself, looks cowed by the woman's words. It's something never seen on her face - almost humiliation. At being caught? Not quite that. Memories are powerful things, though, and she's pretty much helpless to do anything helpful as Beth is dragged away. Pulling her off the show, though—

Well, it might actually be a good thing for the kid, except then she'd be in an endless cycle of auditions and acting classes until she landed a new role somewhere else. Somewhere where Erin couldn't help her anymore. "Uh— " she starts intelligently. "No— no, you can't just — She can't just quit. You have any idea how hard it would be for her to find another job if she quit before her contract was up?" It's an argument Taine has used on Erin many times. Recently, in fact!

She isn't looking at Beth at the moment, which is why she fails to notice the electicity sparking between the girl's fingers. Coincidentally, Erin is seriously considering bestowing some horrible disease upon Ms. Thorne in an attempt to get her to sit still long enough to talk some sense into her.

See? Hazel's opinion of Australians is confirmed when Taine fights reason with obscenity. She is entirely unaware of the picture she presents, gaudy red lips peeled back from her teeth to snarl at the man. What she might have said to him, and to Erin with her ineffective argument, is prevented by Beth's first official tantrum since toddlerhood.

The prospect of leaving the show, where she has made friends and begun to come into her own, is horrifying. And Beth won't stand for it. Quite simply, she snaps.

"NO!" Beth tries to tear free of her mother's grip, which only causes that hand to clamp down harder on her arm. "I'm not leaving, you can't make me! I'm NOT LEAVING ERIN!" Such hero-worship might be touching if it didn't immediately precede a sudden burst of eerie blue-white light. The rush of fear and anger causes sparks to become arcs of electricity that dance around the little teenager. Suddenly both females appear to be struggling inside of that crackling cage but Mrs. Thorne's contortions have more to do with the electricity pouring through her daughter's body into her own. The smell of burning hair mingles with ozone.

Then the light is gone and Hazel falls to the ground, eyes staring and mouth agape. Beth stares too. "M— mama?"

There are moments when things just feel like they should be in a movie. Suddenly Taine wonders if there's a new plot that they're filming with electricity monsters! Or maybe they've appeared in a Scifi Saturday Original Movie! Or— It seems quite unreal. He'd been about to support Erin in the whole 'breaking on contract' thing. The show might let her out of her contract for budget purposes, but they created the role of Cordelia and were writing many plots around her and her vampirism that she's kind of a money grabber…

They wouldn't just let her out.

Which would affect her career and likely earn her a bad name in the studios. But— that all gets shot to hell. With a lightning bolt.

"Where the— how— bloody hell." Sure, he's known about Erin for a while now, but that didn't mean he's seen anything like sudden lightning. Lightning in the winter is rare, but it could happen… But— What just happened!?

Maybe because she's slightly more attuned to these things does Erin notice those tiny sparks seconds before they become deadly. Her own ability, manifestly unsafe just as this one is, appeared in a similar fashion, and she can see the signs of something long-repressed seeking to destroy.

For just a second, she's actually concerned for Hazel. Only for a second, though. As the trailer is lit up by the bright blue light, Erin grabs Taine by the shoulders and pulls him backward, away from Beth and her mother. She doesn't know what's happening, but it can't be good.

Half-shielding her eyes, she can't help looking out under one arm to see what's happening. The last time she saw someone painfully contorting like that was when she killed that agent in the soundstage. Not a good memory.

Despite knowing on some level what just happened, Erin can't do anything other than stare for a good long while after the light subsides. Crouching down on the floor, wide eyes focused on Beth's mother, Erin creeps forward. She only glances at Beth for a moment, before holding her hand above Ms. Thorne's body without touching it. She doesn't want to be electorcuted herself.

After a moment of thought, she says. "We have to get out of here. Taine, she's like me."

Hazel's eyes remain fixed and startled, lips parted on a breath she'll never draw. The electricity is gone and the woman remains crumpled on the floor, unmoving.

Beth is not so deathly composed. "M-mama?" she repeats. It's a younger girl's voice, a child's. She collapses to her knees, hard enough to bruise them against the floor, and brushes by Erin's hand to seize her mother's shoulder. A shake makes Mrs. Thorne's head loll. "Mama! Mama, wake up! I'm sorry I'm sorry I didn't mean it! Wake up!" Desperate, tear-filled eyes turn up to Erin and Taine. "Make her wake up? Please? I didn't mean it! I didn't I'm so sorry make her wake up!" she begs, voice climbing higher and higher until it breaks into hysteria.

Crap. Now they have to worry about they themselves being electrocuted. Erin's understandably afraid, given the circumstances, and she's very carefully weighing her options. Either attempt to calm a hysterical girl down through the use of words alone and risk another discharge of electricity, or…

Well, Erin's never been known for her tender, loving, nurturing demeanor. Her eyes focus on the girl while her hand searches the floor for something. Finally, her fingers close on a heavy textbook. Perfect. "Beth, I am so, so sorry," she says earnestly, quietly. But this really is for the kid's own good - and theirs. With enough force to knock someone out, Erin swings the book directly at Beth's head.

Probably not the best thing to do. But in the long run… No one else dies.

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