2009-12-01: The Protector



Date: December 1, 2009


After getting fired by Hallis, Sydney makes tonnes of waffles and then has a chat with Tiago about stuff.

"The Protector"

Sydney's Apartment

After getting fired by Hallis the night before, Sydney is determined not to let the entire fair get her down. Having never actually been fired from anything she's determined to to stay upbeat. After all, she'd terminated therapy with Hallis once before only to get roped back in. She should feel free, yet she doesn't. There's a sense of regret as she rehashes each conversation. And when she rehashes… she cooks. And eats. And eats. Right now she's made pecan waffles — 20 of them. She'd doubled the recipe for no apparent reason other than she could.

With a smirk she piles the waffles onto a plate, takes three off, and then pads to the freezer where she takes out several buckets of ice cream that Eric had brought over. Among them is the triple chocolate godiva. She scoops a spoonful of each onto her waffles, and leaves the ice cream on the counter. Then she opens the fridge and takes out the chocolate sauce. Glancing at it she breaks into a fit of giggles before she douses her waffles in it.

It is a rare, rare thing, the fact that the apartment is entirely empty with the exception of Sydney puttering around. Usually, Tiago would be found playing videogames in the living room, or dozing off in the bedroom, or some combination of the two. After all, it's not like he has anything else to do, since Gene has yet to pass him his current task. And as if the apartment has recognized a distinctive lack of the semi-nudist Brazilian, it sends out a beacon, calling to him in a way not even a genius can understand.

Or…I might be making all that up.

Regardless, the front door cracks open, revealing a very solemn young man, clutching at what looks to be an outdated cell phone in hand. And as he strides inside, his lips have been pulled back into a tight frown. However…that smell. How /can/ someone be so serious when presented with the delicious aroma of waffles in the air?

"Jesus," he breaths out, Tiago's mouth practically watering. He is, after all, a man who lives off of take out. "Jesus, that smells swell…Oh. And hi, Syd!"

"Thank you!" the therapist chimes as she point towards the plateful of waffles, "Help yourself! I made them from scratch. Eric supplied the ice cream." Her lips curl into a smile as she takes her plate and cutlery to the table. With a sigh she sits down at the table and cuts into her waffles, making sure to use the ice cream on top as part of her perfect bite.

Shovelling that first bite into her mouth produces a broad grin. "Where you been Tiago??"

"You can like…do that? Make waffles from scratch? I always thought they came from those Eggo freezer packs…" It never occurred to Tiago to contemplate how those frozen treats came to being (perhaps a Waffle Tree of some sort?). Regardless, this only adds to his excitement, as he shoots forward into the kitchen, putting his problems to the side in favor of foraging up some sort of plate. "Aw man, this is so awesome! Hey, what's the occasion, yeah? Waffles are happy things, what're we celebratin'?" He inquires, piling 4 of the treats onto his plate. "And d'you got syrup?"
Her question is dealt with a glance in her direction as he makes his food. "Oh…well, jus' out. Callin' some of my friends, tryin' ta get a cheap-ass bike and…callin' my mom."

"Of course people can make waffles from scratch," Sydney grins. "What do you think the Eggo people make them from?" She frowns however at the notion of celebrating. "Um…" So she shovels another piece of waffle into her mouth as she considers something, anything worth celebrating at this moment. "Well…." She purses her lips together as she tilts her head. "I've figured out I can sometimes control my ability with some effort. AND my crush is attracted to me." She shrugs. "These are worth celebrating."

Sydney had never imagined Tiago or Lena with parents. Odd how that works. Of course, this is partially because she doesn't have a mother. She smiles weakly, "How is your mom?"

"Huh. I dunno! I guess there aint a waffleberry or nothin', is there?" Tiago looks suitably embarrassed, but he's not all that bothered by it. After all, he's fetched maple syrup, and now he's happy. As he pours it onto the waffles, he ends up licking his lips in anticipation. "I…we aint used ta havin' nothin' homemade. I can make omelets. That's it. And…well, Lena aint no cookin' genius either. So, we usually had chinese or somethin'…" He explains, trying to justify his ignorance. Once presented with Sydney's supposed cheer, the lad brightens considerably, peering over to her with a quirked brow. "You're crush, y'mean Eric? Well, damn, I coulda told you that ages ago. But that's all good stuff."

The question of his mother is a bit more carefully approached, though. He takes his sweet time, popping a bit of the waffle in his mouth. "Mhmm! It tastes better'n it smells! God, I - this is delicious!" Swallow. "My mom's…okay, I guess." There is something hesitant about his answer.
"Well, my Nana taught me to make these. She's a great cook." Wrinkling her nose, Sydney tilts her head, "What do you mean you knew ages ago? Seriously? How did you know? I'm an empath and I only just found out." Her cheeks flush a bit as she cuts another piece of the waffle to consume. It turns out three may be too many waffles, but she'll swallow them down anyways.

She frowns at bit at the response about Tiago's mom. "What's going on with your mom, Chi? Is everything okay?" Pause. "Don't lie to me. I can tell when people are lying to me…"

Tiago grins broadly, showing bright, glinting teeth. "I'm good, man. Like a fuckin' Love Doctor, or somethin'." Beat. "Or, nah. More like Lust Doctor. I can feel it, in the air, yeah? Like, the…the…those things that show when you want someone, it's science! I heard of it b'fore. Well, I can tell them. I like, know shit!" With this claim of being a pheromonal radar in tact, the lad proceeds to grin to Sydney, only disappearing when she continues her inquiry.

"My mom's fine. I aint lyin'," He murmurs uncomfortably, looking to the floor as he shuffles. And despite his discomfort, it's clear that he's telling the truth. "Jus' some other shit, that I dunno if I wanna talk about right now."

"Really? I couldn't tell," Sydney states honestly. "Until… well… I perceived his emotions quite purposefully. I feel kind of bad for him." She half smiles and then asks, "Could you tell I liked him?" She cuts into her waffle again.

She frowns but nods at the comment about his mom. "I'm glad she's fine. I can understand not wanting to talk about the family stuff though." She points towards the coffee table where the face-down picture frame is located, "They've been that way for a long while…" She purses her lips together, "We had a falling out, and— " she shrugs after cutting herself off.

Tiago grins slowly, impishly, as he quirks his head to the side and works with that gleam in his eyes, the one that shoes all of his malicious intent. "Y'blushed whenever his name came up in conversation. Y'don't blush when my name comes up in conversation. Aint that tellin' you somethin'?" He prompts, knowingly. He waits a bit longer, before chomping down on his waffles. He needs the sweets to deal with the conversation about family. His eyes are cast over towards the photo, where they linger momentarily. "…Who's they?" Beat. "Fallin' out how, Sydney?" His words are soft, gentle, but there's a little trail of maple syrup at the edge of his mouth. Making it hard to take the lad seriously.

With a smirk, Sydney nods slightly. "I … yeah." Her cheeks redden now for good measure. "I blush easily these days. After that night… well… anyways…" She shakes her head a bit to pull her out of her thoughts. "They're my grandparents." She cuts into her waffle again and runs it through melty-ice-cream-sauce mess. "My parents they were seventeen when they had me, and my mom died in childbirth so they raised me." Her lips twitch as she shovels another bit of waffle into her mouth. Her eyebrows furrow slightly, "I was engaged awhile back and they didn't support my decision to cancel the wedding. I haven't really been able to deal with them since. And not for lack of trying." She shrugs.

Tiago smiles devilishly, quirking his brows slightly. "Yeah, I'll say. It makes me wonder, what'd happen if I said somethin' that /should/ make ya blush. Or ask questions…like, didya like it? With him?" Once he's done being a complete and total ass, he sobers slightly, returning to his foodstuffs. "Yeah? My mom was like…sixteen or somethin' when she had me, too. My da…" Beat. "Where's your dad, then? If'you…if you don't mind me askin'? And…man, you're young! A weddin'? Why'd you call it off?"

And as if on cue, Sydney turns several shades of red. "We barely knew each other! And… it was because of Lena! What a question!" She wrinkles her nose before frowning, "My Dad didn't want me. Or, at least, I don't think he did. He and my mom were married in a shotgun wedding — yes, my Nana and Papa are those people, and when she died, he gave me up." She shrugs a bit.

Every muscle in her body tenses at the question about the wedding. "Well when you're an empath you feel things more intensely than other people…" She frowns as she stands to her feet and carries her dishes back to the kitchen, "I… uh… well…." After placing her dishes in the sink she returns the ice cream to the freezer. "… he wasn't a good guy for me…" A relationship summarized in seven words. "I broke it off six weeks before our wedding. Nana and Papa wanted me to follow through even though…" Frown.

Tiago looks even more enthusiastic by the flaming display that is Sydney. Highly amused, he find that he can't possible keep from pressing forward. "D'you regret it now? No, right? I love Lena's lovejuice, man. It makes it so much…/better/, huh?" Cutting himself off, he quirks his lips upwards. "Heh…yeah?" He inquires, suddenly becoming quite more subdued. The last bit earn a little more attention, as well as this query: "…Even though, what?"

In order to promote her into speaking, he lets out a shuddering breath. "Well…me too. My parents never got married non, but we lived tagether. Until like…my da just took off. I guess we weren't good 'nough for him…? But that was whatever - he left all his fuckin' gambling debts ta be paid off. And…it was jus' me and my mom, she couldn't…so, we moved. Ta Miami. Jus' me and my mom, without money or nothin'. She…she's done everythin' for me. She's all I got."

"I don't know what I think of the experience. I wish… I don't know. I like Eric. But I didn't even know him back then and…" another shrug. Sydney doesn't respond to the part about it being better with Lena, but hmms at the question. She frowns at Tiago's story, "Well my Dad didn't leave us any debt, but then he didn't leave a forwarding address either. I don't remember her. I don't even know if he ever held me."

Her lips curl downwards as she considers how to phrase her story. "I used to think it was normal. Like everyone loses their temper sometimes, right? I was only nineteen when we met and he was ten years older… somehow I always believed it was my fault when he hit me…" Her lips turn emotionless as she quips, "I broke up with him after he fractured my cheek bone. I was black and blue everywhere. My grandparents wouldn't support me, my friends wouldn't support me. So I went to Hope Hearth. I met the woman who is now my boss." There's a pause. "I'd tried to break up with him many times before, but every time I think my ability got in the way. I would be smitten with him the instant I saw him." Another pause. "I broke up with him in a letter. Left it at our apartment. I haven't seen him since."

"Oh, c'mon. Does that mean Ima need ta get you all high again for you ta jus' fuckin' admit that you want him? I can do it, y'know. He lives here too, right? I owe it ta the two of ya, for helpin' me and Lena out so much. And Jade, too. I…I dunno what we'd be doin' if it weren't for you guys." Wait. Waffles! He begins chomping down at it, arching his brows curiously as he chews. Enough talk about him and his daddy issues, there are more pressing issues at hand.

His fist tightens around the fork, until his knuckles become pale, blanched ghosts of what they happen to be. It's clear, especially to the Empath, that her story is agitating Tiago, making him uncomfrotable…angry even. Suddenly, he's not even hungry, and he stares at her with pale green eyes narrowed in a display of sobriety and intensity that is very uncharacteristic of him. "Le…My friend," he clarifies. After all, this is Lena's story to tell, if she wishes to. "My friend had a guy who beat her too. I fuckin' hated him. Wanted ta fuckin' kill him - and I woulda, too if…well, shit didn't go down." As in, if he didn't head a bloodsthirsty gang. "I /hate/ motherfuckers who hit women. I hate 'em. If anyone ever fuckin' lifted a hand against my mom, they'd be dead."

"Life doesn't just work that way for everyone though, Chi. I don't know if anything will come of any of it, but —" Sydney shrugs a little. "And he's… kind. I like that." He made her breakfast, permanently solidifying his spot on her good guy list.

"Well my ex never found me after that. The worst is I alway stook him back. Every single time he struck me I forgave him. I let it go. I thought it was fault that if only I was better it would all stop." She shrugs. "But that is why the photo remains faced-down. I needed them and they weren't here. And beyond that they told me I was outright wrong. I was black and blue and they dare tell me I'm wrong." She shakes her head, "They just never understood me or my decisions…"

Tiago is in a strange state of mind. Staring at the table top, he listens to her sullenly, pursing his lips tightly. Suddenly, he begins toying with the half waffles on his plate, pushing them around like teenagers are prone to. "I'm…I'm glad you aint thinkin' like that no more. I'm glad you got over that, 'cause it's bullshit. And…I'm sorry. I'm sorry your grandparents are dicks." It's possibly offensive, but Chi has always been rough around the edges anyway. "You were right ta end it then. And maybe one day, they'll recognize it and apologize ta you. I hope they will, y'know? Ima…Ima pray for you."

"The problem isn't them anymore. If I were a bigger person I might find it in myself to move on. It's over now. He's gone. But I'm the one who can't blaze past it. They don't guilt me about it anymore. They don't even talk about it, but knowing who they sided with doesn't exactly instil confidence…" Sydney sighs a bit as she rinses her dishes in the sink. "I used to wish they'd apologize. But I've come to accept I can only influence my own actions. And control what I do. I'm just not able to forgive yet. Thank you for the prayers though. I can always use that," the last sentence is met with a grin.

She glances at the plate of leftover waffles and shakes her head, "I've made way too much…" Another glance is cast towards Tiago, "Eric thinks we should move. He said he'd help find us a place away from… Hallis and George. I actually think it might not be a bad idea. W-would you guys want that?"

"Why shouldya forgive - they don't deserve it." Tiago is bitter, almost hateful at this point. For it's clear that he's projecting some of her concerns on his own life, despite not knowing this. He cant recognize that the forgiveness would be for Sydney herself, not for the grandparents. "They deserve ta have everythin' fucked up, 'cause of what they did. If they dont apologize, then what's the use?"

He trails off here, stewing to himself, clenching and unclenching his fists before sighing gently. He sinks into the chair that he is sitting in, before glancing up to Sydney. Already bothered, her request summons a stab of irritation. "Why the fuck do /we/ gotta move, /AGAIN/, 'cause of that bitch?" He throws out there defensively. "…I kinda wanna say no, I don' wanna move, jus' so that bitch don't win. But…whatever. Whatever you guys think is best."

She leaves the notions of forgiveness alone, choosing to focus instead on the group's imminent move. "Look Chi, it's not just about her, it's about us. There's four of us now… we could really use some more space. And I'm cool with the way things are, but it could be good. Especially if…" More get added to their numbers. "And I wouldn't have to block the door every time I open it, just in-case…"

Tiago shakes his head gently, lifting a hand in an attempt to silence Sydney. And slowly, he ends up quirking his lips in a weak smile. "It's cool, I said. We'll go. I guess you're right. It jus'…it sucks that she gets ta fuck with our lives so much. I /really/ liked my old apartment, and I'm too damn scared ta even go back and grab all my shit. Whatever, though. Can't jus' think 'bout me anymore, huh? Now, I gotta take care of Lena, and Jade and…and you. So, it's cool. I'm down with movin', I am."

"Alright. Well Eric said he'd help so hopefully we come up with something soon and we can go from there." Sydney nods at Tiago. "Thanks for looking out for us. I do appreciate having you around, Chi. You're like the protector," he's flashed a wide toothy grin before Syd puts the waffles in the fridge. "Alright, I need to get going —afternoon appointment. Tell the gals if they're hungry that the waffles are in the fridge. And there's ice cream in the freezer." She grins as she pulls on her coat. "Give me a call if you need anything. I have my cell."

Tiago beams. Positively, outright beams. Because it's things like that that he needs to hear every once in a while, that he's not useless, and that he does do a good job at his cardinal role - the protector. Hell, it's the only reason he continues to pump iron, now that he no longer needs to pimp his body out to have fun time. "No problem, Syd. None at all. Stay safe, yeah? I'll catchya later then…" Beat. "Thanks for the waffles!"

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