2007-07-15: Stray Meanings


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Jason returns to Cass' apartment and Lachlan turns into overprotective Scotsman. Fighting and leavings.

July 15th, 2007:

Stray Meanings

Cass' Apartment

For Cass, the week after warehouse explosions and near breakdowns has quickly gone back to regular days for her. Busy, trying to operate a store and work on her new lab space, but strangely normal for the strange and violent filled air that punctuated a couple of days there. In order to calm herself down and try some out her crafty skills, she's taken up sewing. Sort of. At the moment her project is an eye-patch and she's sewing something on it with white thread. For now, what it is she's sewing can't be readily identified. But, still, even when trying to do something normal like cross stitch, Cass manages to find a weird twist to it.
Jason has partially disconnected.

It's been one hell of a day, with lots of rain and such. For Lachlan, it's been a very bad day. Because while he was training one of his clients' dogs, their toddler decided to hurl on the Scotsman. And that required a shower. So after complaining to Cass up and down about how they were never going to have children ever and most definitely never one as pukey as that one, he dropped his clothes off in the hamper and hopped in the shower. Now he's coming out of it with a towel wrapped around his waist, because he left his boxers in the bedroom. When he spots Cass' project, he raises an eyebrow. "'M no' dressin' up as a pirate again, baby," he notes flatly, though the smirk would indicate that he's not serious. He kinda knows what that's for.

Door locked? Maybe, maybe not. But the fact of the matter is that there's a key being jingled and the door's opening right up. Jason Rider, the person that Cass stole off the subway last week, has finally managed to get himself back to the place that he's crashing. Not that he's really been here lately, since he's been out and about at all times of the night and day, trying to find something of a job so that he doesn't be a freeloader. Hard to find one, though, when you don't know what you're experienced in. He comes in side, immediately turning around and pushing the door closed, before putting his skateboard against the door and moving to try and get himself out of his backpack. "The only thing I like about this city is the fact that the Muppets took it over in the 80s." Apparently, he remembers that movie, at least.

Perhaps mentioning that she had rescued a young man off the subway with Jack, Cass only glances up slightly when he enters. She's the one that gave him a key, so she's not all that startled when he comes in using one. Pulling a stitch through, she gives Jason a once over. "Yeah, but I think Guiliani got rid of them along with the homeless after he took over. They're probably in Jersey now." Then, she realizes that, whups! Lachlan is in a towel and probably nothing else. "Uh, Lach, why don't you get some clothes on. This is, well, this is Jason. Jack and I are helping him out while he gets his feet on the ground here. Oh, and the patch isn't for you, it's for Ramon." Something snazzy to take his mind off of the whole 'you lost an eye' thing.

As soon as the doorknob starts jingling, Lachlan tenses. Who is that?! What the hell?! RED ALERT IT'S A BREAK-IN. Bonnie comes roaring out of the bedroom, barking ferociously, but thankfully Cass isn't exactly panicking. Lachlan's able to give the stay command — which is sort of superfluous anyway, since Bonnie also knows Jason. So there the Scotsman stands in his towel, bewildered and shocked and somehow less than thrilled. See, he probably wasn't listening too good at the passing mention of that rescue thing. "Wh— ?" That's about the only coherent thing he can get out. Well, except for a glance down at himself. "'M wearin' clothes." Towels count.

"Hey Bonnie." Jason remarks with calm easy. The ferociousness doesn't stick around so that keeps Jason from flipping out. Immediately, he's going into his pocket for some sort of dog treat and crouching to see if he can't offer it to the watch dog. Might as well keep playing nice and all of that good stuff. "Poor Kermit. Stuck in Jersey. That can't be good." The dog treat is left for Bonnie to nibble all over, whilst Jason pushes back up to his feet and moves over towards the Lachlan. He raises a hand to offer it for Lach to shake. "Hey. I'm Jason. And I swear I don't want her bod."

All of Lachlan's emotions are all but expected from Cass. Slipping her needle into the eyepatch so that she doesn't lose it, she sets it onto the coffee table and turns so she can eye both Jason and Lachlan. "I told you about Jason, Lachlan. The boy from the subway? With Jack?" This should be ringing some bells to the Scot. "And you're not. You're wearing a towel. The moment you let go of the towel, you'll be wearing nothing. Which means that it's not clothing." While Lachlan's definition may be flexible, Cass' is not. "Yeah, it's not easy being green in Jersey, I'm sure." That's for Jason, as she smiles and lets the two men shake hands and finally meet, though the last comment from the younger man raises her eyebrow slightly.

Yeah, see, Lachlan was under the impression that Jason was staying with Jack. This? This is totally different. He glances at Jason's hand, but doesn't shake it. Instead, he just sort of glowers. It's not exactly Cass' body that he's really concerned with (though that is definitely a factor). "Sure yer no'. Prob'ly got some other scam goin', eh?" What? Lachlan, distrustful? Never.

"… Oookay." Jason just sighs and pulls his hand back to run it through his hair. "Duly noted, Mr. Lachlan." That same hand snatches the key from his other hand and moves to set it down on the nearest hard surface. "I just came back to say thanks for all your help, Cass. I actually found a place." He offers a small smile and backs up towards the door. "When I get my first check, I'll slide you whatever you need. Just say the word." Jason would rather be back on the streets than on the couch of the distrustful one.

Jack and Cass had an agreement to both watch Jason, however, with Trina in the hospital, Cass hasn't had the heart to move Jason. Jack has enough to worry about. Plus, why bother when he's doing fine here? "/Lachlan/!" Cass is not shy in her disapproval of Lachlan's take on this whole matter. "Jason Rider, you stay right where you are." Frowning, she glares at the Scot. "Lachlan, go put some clothes on and stop being rude to my guest." Then, she turns to Jason and studies him. He looks serious, but he just came in saying how much he hated New York. He's been here a week, what could he possibly rent on a hundred dollars in a week? "Have you actually found a place or are you trying to be polite because my boyfriend is being a jerk?"

Clothes are not important, because there is an intruder who may or may not be after Cass' bod (or more likely after her personal information, credit cards, bank account numbers, and whatever else he can make off with that isn't bolted down or on fire. Which would also include her bod. Unless it was on fire. But nobody wants that). Lachlan does not go to put on the unnecessary clothes that Cass demands, and he doesn't seem to flinch at all when she calls him a jerk and rude. Call him what you like, but he's a bull-headed ass, and damn if he's not suspicious too. "'M wearin' bloody clothes," he insists, never taking his eyes off Jason. "An' who the bloody hell is he? Ye dunna even know. How d'ye know he's no' here ta rip ye off?"

"He's right. I could be here to rip ye off. I could also be here to kill him and his little dog too. I don't even know myself." Jason sighs and holds his hands up, to make sure that he's not really looking as threatening as possible. His eyes are on Cass, just to show that he's not even trying to challenge Lachlan. He's actually agreeing with the man. "It's a place in the Village. I made a deal with the landlord. She's going to let me slide until my first paycheck. So I'll be okay." There. He's managed to answer the question without answering the question.

"He's already been here a couple of days and I haven't noticed anything missing." In fact, she hasn't even checked. Cass' trust is almost absolute. She can't help it, it's the way she tries to make the world better. "If he was going to rip me off, he should have done it by now." She, of course, doesn't know this for sure, but she's not about to back down with Lachlan. "/Exactly/, Jason." She frowns and studies him. "You don't know. I can't just let you leave when you have no idea who you are other than what's on a Montana driver's license. Plus, I promised Jack I'd look after you until it was his turn to have you crash on his couch. At least let me look the other place over. It could be cockroach infested or something." Say what you will of Cass' apartment, it's not infested with cockroaches. "Or we can go talk to Jack."

Inwardly, there's a chibi version of Lachlan that is FLAILING. Goddamn it, Cass. After flapping his jaw wordlessly for a second or two, he finally manages to shrill out, "The bloody hell is this?! He 'doesna know himself'?!" The quotes are implied; Lachlan is too manly to do the wiggly-fingers gesture. "S'tha' the shit he's been feedin' ye?! 'Course he's no' made off with anythin' yet; he's sizin' ye up an' wermin' 'is way in deep." The man said authoritatively.

"Listen. I don't want to be more trouble than I already am." Jason just keeps his hands where Lach can see them. He's definitely not going to be making any sudden moves. Not trying to fight, right now. Or at all. Ever. "Don't worry about it, Cass. I've got your number. I'll keep in touch." He slides over to where his bag is lying on the floor and hoists it up to put it back on his back. "You've been awesome. I really appreciate everything you've done…"

Inner-Lachlan can flail as much as he wants, Cass is going to keep on trusting people and hoping to see the best in them. Hence the venture with Jason. "He doesn't /know/ Lachlan. Leave him /be/!" She knew that he might not understand this, but now she's just getting angry at him. "Maybe for once in your life you shouldn't just /assume/ the worst in everyone you meet!" Poor Jason. He may not be wanting a fight, but his den mother is certainly about to throw one down on his behalf. "Look, Jason, really. I'm sorry about this. But you /don't/ have to go." If she lets him walk out and never hears from him again, she's going to be mightily worried and /very/ pissed. "Honestly. I don't mind you staying here at all."

"Yeah, g'on, get outta here." That's Lachlan's way of saying, "Bye, Jason! We'll miss you! Don't be a stranger! :D" Only a lot less chipperly. To Cass, he snaps, "Mebbe fer once in yer life, ye shouldna assume the best 'bout people. Tha's no' werked out one bloody bit." Oh, except the part where that part of Cass is probably the only reason that she's with him right now. Obviously he doesn't count that. Throwing up his free hand in an exasperated gesture, he stalks toward the bedroom and starts crowing in a mocking falsetto, "Oh Jesus, Cass! 'Ve fergotten m'self! Dunna know if I'm a bloody con man 'r no'! Mebbe if ye gimme yer bank account number, m'memory'll start comin' back!" SLAM goes the bedroom door.

"…" Jason sighs and shakes his head. "I'm gonna' go. Don't worry about me." Jason kicks his skateboard up into his hand. "I'm not as helpless as I'm clueless about who I am." He even has on a smile to show that he's not even worth worrying about. "You should probably go make sure he doesn't blow a gasket or something. I'm really sorry about all this." As he turns to open up the door, he looks back over his shoulder. "When I get settled? I'll invite you guys over for dinner or something. If, y'know, I know how to cook."

Just to show how angry Cass is at Lachlan, she says nothing to him. He can have his little spat and be the happier for it. Right now she is just /seething/. However, Jason is standing right there and she refrains from the long line of curses that she would /like/ to use. "You can say that, but I'm still going to," she tells Jason, the tension from this fight still leaking into her words. "I know you're not helpless, but I don't like the idea of you going out to some apartment without knowing anything. At the /very/ least, stop by the Den of Iniquity. That's Jacks' bar." Rummaging around for some paper and a pen, she writes down that address. And then she writes down Enlightenment Books' address. "This is my store. It's right in the East Village. If you need /anything/ stop by. And give me your address so maybe I could stop by for lunch. Believe me, none of this is actually your fault. This is because my boyfriend is being an overprotective, chauvinistic pig who thinks I can't take care of myself." Which, is some cases, is true. She wishes she could think of a valid way to keep him from leaving like this, but after /that/ show, she doesn't actually blame him.
"But, still. Even with him. The offer to stay is still standing."

Jason pockets the addresses and gives a nod. "I'll come by. I promise." He's probably lying as he doesn't want to get shot by this crazy boyfriend if he even comes near Cass again. He's too much of an unknown factor to really try and risk the whole visiting Cass thing. Maybe he'll slide himself over to this Den place and see if he can like… crash in the supply closet or something. "Don't be too hard on him, okay? He just wants to protect you." And with a little smile, that may be too charming or something, he tries to leave Lachlan in a position to not be yelled at. "I'd do the same thing." That was not a hit on! Swear!

For whatever reason Jason says that, Cass looks disbelieving. Or, at least, skeptical. "Okay. It's a promise that I'll be holding you to." Because she has very little information on Jason. In order for her to find him again, she's trusting him to actually come back. "Yeah, well, he's doing it in a stupid way," she grumbles at Jason. It's not his problem, though, and while he /does/ try, there's very little that Jason can say that will get Lachlan out of the doghouse tonight. "Just…be careful." The worry seeps back into her voice. "And go see Jack."

"Jack. Got it. Not too sure about the careful thing. It's New York." And with that, he's dropping the skateboard down to the floor so that he can skate his way out of Cass' life forever. He really shouldn't have lied, but he doesn't want to leave more bad things in his wake. He's already broken up what was probably a happy home, so now he's going to make it a point to not even see Jack. Don't need to screw up two lives while trying to make a life of his own.

As Jason skateboards out of the apartment, Cass already starts to fret. It's New York. If anything happens to Jason in between here and the East Village, really, it's her fault for letting him leave because Lachlan is being overprotective and a jerk. Frowning, she picks up her cellphone and starts to dial Jack's number, and then pauses. "Oh, this is really stupid." Since when did she allow Lachlan to rule who she tries to help? It's not too long after Jason scoots out the door that she quickly throws open the door to chase the poor kid down. "Hey! Jason! Wait up!"

Leaning back on the skateboard, Jason comes to a quick enough halt and turns around to see the Cass and her jogg-ish nature catching up to him. "Uh oh. Did I forget to clean my last dishes or something?" He's immediately thinking up things that could be wrong with the whole fact that he's leaving. Because, well, the boyfriend should take precedence over some possible con artist.

That's true. Lachlan does take precedence over a lot of things in her life, but morality is not one of them. Cass frowns. "Look, if that place in the East Village. If it doesn't work out, I've got a place for you to stay. That's not my apartment, so you don't have to deal with angry toweled Scotsmen. It's at a hospital, but there's a bed or two down there. It's not really homey, but it's a place to sleep if you need it. I just…I just wanted to say that. In case." Because offering a place to stay despite Lachlan's anger is something she has to do. The guilt of letting Jason just sleep out on the streets is something that she /couldn't/ live with.

Jason just freezes for a moment and then realizes that she must know he was lying and is trying to give him a second place to do whatever he needs to do. "Thank you." is all he says, not indicating with words whether or not he was a lying bastard. But his eyes may be able to tell the story or what not. And there's probably some invasion of space, but it's at this moment that he moves to try and get himself a hug on the Cass. She's been wonderful to him.

Actually, Cass /didn't/ know that he was lying. She just knows that the East Village is /not/ really a good neighborhood to find an apartment in and should that woman change her mind and kick Jason out, she wanted him to know he had a place to go. Plus, if Jason was going to leave, she didn't want it to be in the middle of a fight. After all, she feels responsible for this young man's welfare and she can't in good conscience just let him leave without knowing for sure where he's going to go. In her own way, she's just as protective. After hugging Jason back, with a comforting pat on the back, she smiles. "You're welcome."

That's it for Jason. He'll probably end up taking her up on that hospital offer, if nothing else pans out. But after a moment of hesitation, he's climbing back onto his skateboard and kick, pushing off before he gets caught up in another long goodbye. Considering his condition, he probably won't even remember her tomorrow anyway.

Cass watches Jason skateboard off with a deep feeling of misgivings about it. Not to mention a whole lot of anger for Lachlan chasing of someone she wanted to help. With a sigh, she turns around and heads back into her apartment.

Lachlan is no longer getting dressed. He is, in fact, dressed. In pajama bottoms. They're brand-new too. Now he's hanging out in the kitchen getting a drink, and doesn't even look up when Cass comes back into the apartment. Somehow, he knows he's in trouble — and likewise, he doesn't seem to care.

Shutting the door behind her, Cass pauses, but then locks it. Brand new pajama bottoms isn't about to save Lachlan from his girlfriend's wrath. However, she doesn't seem quite keen on starting the fight immediately. Instead, she drops right down on the couch and picks up the eyepatch she was working on before this whole thing started.

After a bit of clinking around, Lachlan reemerges from the kitchen with a glass of scotch, glances at the front door, then grunts quite simply, "So he's gone, eh?" There's no regret or remorse in the question, just a whole lot of indifference.

Cass never expected Lachlan's handling of the situation to have remorse or regret. However, she's angry and, well, she shouldn't take it out on poor Ramon's eyepatch. When he emerges from the kitchen, the book store owner merely gets up, puts the eyebpatch carefully down on the table and makes for the bedroom. "Yes. I'm going to bed."

Well, then. Watching Cass head for the bedroom, Lachlan doesn't seem the least bit surprised. It's sort of expected, actually. Once she reaches the door, he grunts softly. "Guess I'll sleep onna couch, then." He figures that's where he'd be relegated anyway if he tried to follow.

The two have had their fair share of fights in their relationship, so the routine is known, if not well practiced. "Sleep where you want," she says with her own brand of clipped indifference. After all they've been through, the last thing she wants is a fight. However, she can't just let this slip. So, she'll just pick the more childish option for once and ignore the problem.

Two can play the childish game, and when it comes to childish games, he's definitely one of the best. He's had experience. As far as Lachlan's concerned, this isn't his problem, so he's not going to bring it up. Cass is the one with the problem here, obviously. Or maybe he's just a stubborn ass. Or all of the above. Whatever the case, this is an issue about Cass' well-being and safety, so his backing down is not going to happen easily. With another grunt, he heads to the couch and drops onto it as though this is some sort of everyday occurrence. Then he takes a gulp from his scotch. Yep. Everything Is Normal Here.

Unfortunately, Cass isn't quite so good at the childish games. It may actually be her problem, but Lachlan is the one that /made/ it a problem. It was fine before he tried to be the overprotective male. Her face falls a little when Lachlan chooses the couch, however, she can be just as stubborn. So, she softly closes the door to the bedroom. Oh yes, everything is back to normal. Just so.

About a half-hour later, the bedroom door opens again and Lachlan enters. Maybe he decided not to sleep on the couch after all!

When the door opens, Cass rolls over to look at the door. Lately it's harder for her to sleep without someone next to her. "Lach?" She doesn't really expect it to be anyone else, but it's more the asking to gauge his temperament.

Uh. Well. Now that he's here, Lachlan is struck with a sudden bout of pride. QUICK THINK UP AN EXCUSE. "Need a blanket," he mutters lamely. Because a blanket in the summer is definitely a wonderful idea. So with plenty of halting steps, he starts toward the bed, stops, starts forward, stops, moves again, then finally comes to a halt about three feet away, where he just stands awkwardly.

Jason may have been a good enough liar that Cass couldn't see through him, but Lachlan just isn't. Or maybe he's just not around her. When he stands there awkwardly, she frowns. "You don't have to chase away people who I'm trying to help," she says simply. No yelling, less anger. Just, sleepily forceful.

"Yeah, well, ye dunna have ta help ever'one tha' gives ye a sob story onna street either," retorts Lachlan in an equally less-than-angry tone. He tries to shove his hands into his pockets, but his pajama bottoms lack them, so he just looks stupid and finally winds up crossing his arms over his chest. "Tha's how ye get hurt."

"Jack wanted to help, too." Cass points out. "He thought Jason was safe enough. And he didn't give the sob story. It wasn't like he was asking for money or something. He didn't even ask for a place to stay." It's hard for her to shake her head while it's lying on a pillow, but she manages. "He didn't hurt me. And I don't think he would. He's a good kid. All he needed was to get his feet on the ground." She frowns. "I know you may not like it, but I can't turn away from someone like that. I /can't/. I wouldn't be able to live with myself knowing I could help and didn't. It's just who I am." And it's not about to change any time soon.

"Then give 'im some money fer a hotel 'r somethin'. Ye dunna invite 'im inta yer place. Ye dunno who he is." Sure, maybe he's a little paranoid. If he'd been there and saw how things went down, he would likely not be reacting this way. Unfortunately, that's an 'if'. Regardless, Lachlan doesn't sound like he really wants to fight over this either. Like a lot of his arguments with Cass, he knows he'll wind up losing. So with a sigh, he finishes his journey to the bed and slides under the covers. Sure he needed a blanket. There's one right here.

"Where am I going to get the money to put somebody up in a hotel for a week?" Especially at New York prices. There are some things Cass has saved up for. A week long stay in a hotel is not one of them. Perhaps the paranoia is still there, she's given him a good reason to be paranoid, but she doesn't want to fight about it, either. It's not that she dislikes winning most fights - she likes that part - it's that she doesn't like the fighting in the first place. Once he's under the blankets, she flips over to face him again.

But Lachlan is not facing Cass. He's turned on his side and has his back to her. Because now it's time to sulk and attempt to retain some form of dignity in the face of this battle that most likely is lost. "Could stay with m'mum, then." See, it's a secret joke on Jason, because Lachlan would never wish his mother on anyone, and she's also the shrewdest woman ever to walk the face of the earth. He'd never get away with anything under her watch.

Then, seeing Lachlan isn't about to face her, Cass sighs and turns again so that she's lying on her back. Not facing away or toward him, this works for all occasions. Not knowing the joke, she snorts. "If we ever see him again." Because even after her attempt to stop him and make sure he knew that she didn't mind him staying, she's not sure he'll be back. Especially after the hug. It seemed kind of final.

Another grunt from Lachlan and he goes silent. Conversation is over, it seems. It'll take him a few more minutes to get over it and roll over, but he does eventually and also eventually winds up with an arm around Cass. It's not easy sleeping without her either, see.

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