2007-06-12: The Suddenly Full House


Jane_icon.gif Portia_icon.gif Ramon_icon.gif Manuel_icon.gif Parker_icon.gif Desiree_icon.gif Elena_icon.gif

Summary:Two guitarists meet, play, and discuss music. Then they go inside, and there's suddenly a very full house.

Date It Happened: June 12th, 2007

The Suddenly Full House

Outside, then inside, the Gomez Apartment in Queens, NYC

It's a slightly rainy day today, at the present time the sky isn't depositing water on New York and its residents, at least not in this area of town. A twenty-something brunette, clad in a full grey t-shirt with a Yale emblem across the front and dark shorts with athletic shoes and white socks, makes her way along the street leading to Casa Gomez. She's got a guitar case slung over one shoulder and a backpack over the other, one hand holding a closed umbrella. As she approaches the apartment building, she can be seen to wear a subdued expression.

Tiptoing out from the direction of the Gomez Apartment, Portia's got her own guitar in hand. Really, she doesn't want to be playing inside simply because she doesn't want to disturb anyone that may be around. She notes that it's not raining, so she stops and looks for somewhere not too far that she won't feel too awkward playing music at. Jane gets a quick glance, then one that lingers as the girl realizes she has a guitar.

And the other guitar-armed person is heading right for her. Jane turns from the path to approach that apartment building and walks toward the entrance. Her face is more clearly visible now, she's close enough to see something's on her mind. Not angry, more regretful, pensive. A brief glance is given to the girl as she nears to pass along her way.

Portia watches Jane as she heads towards the building, holding her guitar carefully. She just sort of blinks. "You alright?" She offers, quietly. While she doesn't know the woman, Portia still seems concerned.

"I will be," the five foot eight inch brunette answers quietly. "I just have some things to talk over with a friend who lives here. To make up for a thing or two I did." Jane pauses, turning toward the girl and her guitar, realizing it'll likely be some time before Elena's around anyway. She'd have called, but, well, this is something she wants to cover in person. "You play?"

"Yeah." Portia replies, offering a small nod. "Definitely. Trying to make it big." She doesn't mind sharing that dream with anyone and everyone she runs into. Mostly because she feels like she needs to prove she's serious.

That draws a smile from the woman. "Really?" she asks, not in a disbelieving way. "Play," Jane suggests, nodding toward the girl's instrument and studying it, to make a mental note of acoustic or electric, the maker, color, what hand the girl plays with, and suchlike. "Let's hear what you've got, yeah?" Whatever mental commentary she might be having is held back until sounds have been heard and considered.

Portia's guitar isn't top of the line, nor is it the most basic of acoustic guitars, but somewhere in the middle. She looks back at Jane and smiles at the suggestion, giving a bit of a nod. "I'm hoping to sing and play and get signed.. s'why I came to New York." Well, one of the reasons. Her mother was the other. Reaching down to strum her fingers across the strings, Portia begins to play. And she's really on her game today, as she hits every chord and such just right, focusing seriously on her playing.

This one has chops. Jane's face shows she knows this, as the girl plays. Her head nods along after a few moments, one foot starts to tap, and something else develops. A change of attitude settles over her. She's shifting into performance mode. The backpack goes to ground, as does the guitar case just a moment later. "You've got talent, and you take care of it well. Instrument's in tune." She bends and opens the case, pulling the lid back. Inside is a red and white Fender Strat. Electric. "Who are your influences?" she asks.

Portia oohs a little as she sees the guitar. Yeah, she likes that one. "I don't have anyone in particular, I just kind of draw from a lot of things. I've been writing my own lyrics too. I basically like a lot of rock and pop stuff, though."

"No favorite band, no one you heard at some point whose tunes just set you on fire, made you feel like you had to go out and learn to play?" Jane raises an eyebrow, wondering a bit about that. "Me, it started young. My 'rents wanted me to grow up and be a society woman. Well rounded, you know? So they put me in the frilly fancy little girl dresses, sent me to learn things like ballet and other dance, and the piano too. I discovered guitar and some other instruments later, after I saw a few people on video." A small amp is pulled out, she plugs into it, and begins to play. It's a smoking guitar solo, the one that leads from We Will Rock You to We Are The Champions. The volume is kept down so as not to blast away the entire first floor, however. She's a bit upstaged by Portia's showing, though she doesn't let on at all.

"Yeah? Well.. fancy dresses aren't always bad." Portia giggles, watching Jane. "I just kinda got into it once I realized I was pretty good at it after trying. And I really wanted to just go for something that I felt I could succeed at and enjoyed. So I did. I wouldn't mind listening to more music and finding more stuff. I just kind of have a lot of stuff I like from various different sources." She giggles. "I do like Flogging Molly though." She does seem impressed, not only by Jane's skill but by the shiny guitar. "You're really good!"

"Thanks," she answers, as her fingers go still. "I've been playing and studying for ten years. More than that, if you count the lessons earlier in piano. You say you write your own stuff too?" Her fingers shift, as if about to start something else. "Piece of solid advice about that. Anything you write, musically, that you think is valuable, do one or both of two things. Put a copy into an envelope, seal it, and mail the thing to yourself. Never open it. The other is take a copy to a notary public, get it witnessed you showed it at a date and time, then keep it safe."

"Really?" Portia nods at the idea, trying to think on it. She's got a few.. maybe she'll do that. "I haven't been doing it nearly that long… I hope I'll get better eventually. Do you have a band and play or anything?"

"The reason is it's so easy to get ripped off, y'know? Someone hears you play a tune, decides he or she can make money with it, and steals the thing. How do you prove you wrote it and when? Another thing: Before you sign any kind of contract, or get your parents to sign one for you, make sure the thing's been looked over by a lawyer. Lots of well known pros don't own their stuff. Starting out, being poor, sometimes starving, they got flashed a big check and didn't pay attention to what they signed." Then she pauses, thinking a moment before answering the question. "I do," Jane states, grinning. "Got a band, working on some tunes to record, and a steady gig as a session guitarist with a studio. Plus I wander the city a lot, playing on the street where the mood strikes. Walk up, set down, plug in, and start playing. Leave the case open, so people passing by can throw in what they want. It's the purest way, really. Me, the instrument, and the audience. They like it enough to pay, or don't. No one in the middle. But… don't go doing anything like that without your 'rents giving the nod, yeah?"

"Mama's pretty good herself, though she'd never be caught dead singin' or playing." Portia grins at that, glancing over to Jane. "I like doing that kind of stuff.. I'll make sure if I get any offers that someone looks it over. Don't want anyone stealing my songs or anything either." She grins. "That's so cool that you've got a band and are gonna record and stuff."

Nodding, the woman quietly states "It's a sad fact of life. Lots of people want to make it in music, most won't. Those on the edge aren't always nice about trying to shove their feet in the door by any opportunity they see. You have to believe in yourself, keep going, and have a thick skin. You've probably seen how Simon Cowell cuts people down. You need to be or become able to take that without breaking." Her head tilts. "But then again, remembering what I do about girls your age when I was in school, you might've already faced worse. Some of those are catty enough to make Simon look nice."

Portia can't help but grin. "I lived in Paris for a year. Some of the things those French girls said would probably make Simon Cowell cry." She giggles. "I'm not afraid of standing my ground, though. I think I can make it. I want to try.."

"Good for you," Jane replies with a spreading grin. The girl lived in France. Interesting. Speaking resumes, but not in English. Now it's in French. "You live in this building? I know a cheap lawyer you or your parents can contact about contracts and such if the time comes. She doesn't charge anything at all to do basic things for young starting musicians. Because she's one herself." The grin spreads further, accompanied by a brief laugh.

Portia's grin broadens as Jane speaks in French, and the reply in French is smooth and practiced. She's been in france very recently, after all. "Yes, my mother's staying with some friends of hers here and so I've just come to stay here with her, me and my brother." She grins at the idea. "That'd be great. My mama will like that."

"You need to study everything you can, too. Music, and things outside music. Go to college, get a degree. Get two degrees, maybe even three." Jane suggests this because, well, she did. "Name's Jane. Doctor M. Jane Forrest." Her right hand, with warm smooth skin and contrasting calluses from playing a lot of guitar at the ends of her fingers, is extended to shake.

Portia smiles broadly. "Wow. You're a doctor too? That's really impressive. I don't know how well I'll do in college, but I'd like to do that someday. I'd like to travel, too. France was amazing." She takes the hand, shaking it gently. "Portia Maddox. Do you live in this building too?"

The name Maddox doesn't register, she probably hasn't heard it before. Jane's grip isn't weak, but also isn't crushing like some guys might have. "No, I live on Manhattan, Greenwich Village. I came out to see one of your neighbors. Kinda made some errors I have to set right. Might be a while yet before she gets home." Her fingers are starting to move again, starting a Pat Benatar tune. Shadows On The Night. Shortly into it her voice kicks in, to provide the lyrics. She's a soprano, one with belting power akin to Pat and Ann Wilson.

But something is off. Not long after her voice starts, Jane stops. She shakes her head, mutters something self-critical, and starts over from the beginning. The second go seems much more satisfying to her.

"Oh, I see. Well, I guess you can always hang out here til your friend shows up." Portia smiles, listening in as Jane plays. After a moment, she moves, despite not knowing the song, to try and fill in an accompanyment. She might not know it exactly, but she is doing a pretty good job of making do.

It isn't just the playing and the voice, but the way she moves as well. A way of carrying herself, as if Jane were on and owning a stage. Frontwomanship, some would call it. Stage presence. It's a fairly fast paced tune. "We're runnin' with the shadows on the night, so baby take my hand, it'll be all right. Surrender all your dreams to me tonight, they'll come true in the end."

Portia is more than just impressed. Seems Jane's won a bit of a fan in Portia. She watches Jane sing and play, her own fingers still strumming along in tune, but mostly she focuses on watching the performance. "You really love doing this, don't you?" She murmurs, half to herself as much as to Jane.

"I do," she answers a few minutes later when the song is ended, as her voice and fingers go still. "It kinda takes that sort of passion, you know? It's been a long road to making it here, being a professional musician in New York and making a living from it. Not that I really had to worry about money, but still. I got detoured going through law school." Jane laughs. "Yeah, I'm the cheap lawyer who can read contracts for people and help them not get ripped off."

A nod, and Portia smiles a little. "I'd like to be able to make someone feel something through my music. I really like doing it, and I like that I can be good at it stuff." She looks a little sheepish. "Law school too? You've done a lot. You look kinda young to have done all that, though.. you must be really smart."

"Twenty-four," Jane answers with a laugh. "Seven years college, total. And Yale at that. School's important for you, even going into music and performing. So much to be learned about instruments, styles, people, and things outside music. Broaden your experiences, your knowledge, give yourself more things to write songs about." She lets her eyes wander into the distance as the topic is shifted back to music. "Playing guitar fits just about any situation or mood, for me. I play when I'm happy, play when I'm angry, or sad. I can always use it to express what's going on."

Portia smiles. "I know how that feels. I feel like I'm able to express whatever I want by playing and singing." She leans her head back. "But that's a long time to be in school! Did you like it?"

"I made the most of it," Jane replies, chuckling wistfully. "I didn't, and don't, particularly want to be a lawyer. I don't practice for a living. But I went through the school and earned the doctorate. It's mine, and a useful tool. I don't need an agent, for example. I can do that myself. And I can give time for free helping other musicians deal with copyright and contract stuff." And she's starting to pack up. "I should go inside soon and see if Elena's around."

Portia smiles, glancing back over as she mentions how she's her own agent. "That's really cool. And a good move. Save you money, I guess!" She blinks for a moment. "Elena?" She suddenly giggles. "One of the Gomezes?"

"That's her," she answers, as the instrument is set into the case and the small amp is stowed away. "You met her, or them, Portia?" Jane closes the latches and moves to set her gear back over shoulders. "I should give you my number to give your mother. Any and all of this needs to be upfront with her. No secrets or surprises."

Portia watches Jane, smiling a little. "Haven't met her yet, but I will, soon. My mama's living with them. Her name's Desiree. She told me I'd like Elena cause she dances." She grins a little more broadly.

A quiet grin takes hold, as she considers leaving and letting Portia tell her mother about all this, and see how the tale is shared when Desiree herself makes contact. The crossing of paths just keeps mounting up. "I know your mother," Jane relates, "met her at Times Square a few months ago. We're good." And now Jane is really, really glad she put all those cautions into the talk about music, the guidance to be serious about school. Yes, she is. "Is she home right now?"

"Not right now. I don't think it'll be long before she's home, though." Portia smiles. "That's pretty neat. I guess New York isn't so big after all.. seems like everyone knows everyone else pretty well." She glances to the door. "But you're welcome to come in and wait."

"Welcome to New York, Portia," Jane replies, as she moves toward the building. "Thanks." Her eyes are adrift in thought, turning back to the matters she needs to discuss with Elena. The apology, at that, she needs to make.

"Thanks." Portia replies, moving back towards the Gomez apartment. She carries her own guitar carefully, moving towards the door.

Once inside, the elder guitarist sets down her gear and settles onto the couch, her eyes taking focus on one of the walls. "Thanks again," Jane offers.

Portia moves to flop down nearby as she sets her guitar aside, glancing around. "So what's Elena like?"

"She's studious, kind, a good friend, and smart," Jane replies with a quiet smile. And perhaps had her retinas scarred for life recently, the guest thinks. Seeking to do something other than speak of the Gomezes and how she knows them, or the girl's mother, she reopens the guitar case to pull her Fender Strat back out, and retrieves some sheet music from the bottom. Left untouched there is her single copy of a Black Canary comic.

Portia smiles at that, offering a nod while she looks back around. She doesn't want to interrupt Jane now with her sheet music.

"Flogging Molly, you said," she asks, looking through the stacks to see if she has any of their work in it, and finds she doesn't. "Thought I might have some, but sadly I don't. Is there something you thought about playing, though? Maybe have a look through mine and pick something, learn a new song or two. Or you could play some of your own writing.

Portia glances back to Jane, giving a small nod. "I could show you some of the stuff I've written if you'd like.. and I definitely wouldn't mind learning a new song or two."

"You're on, Portia," Jane replies, leaning back on the couch to listen and enjoy. Her guitar case and the pulled out sheet music remain where they are. There's a good variety among the pages. Beatles, AC/DC, Pat Benatar, Heart, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Green Day, Dave Matthews…

Seated on the couch, Portia's got her guitar on her lap. She glances to the sheet music Jane pulled out, but then instead decides to go for her own stuff. She likes to have the opportunity to sing and play, especially when she wrote it herself. She starts to play, shutting her eyes and letting herself really get into the performing of the music, strumming along an intro. The music is upbeat, definitely sort of a pop-rock style feel to it.

Listening quietly on the couch with her own guitar in hand, Jane seems impressed by the girl's playing, once again. No verbal comment is made, it's all in the expression to her face. While doing so, she leans forward and pulls the six by three inch box from her pack, glancing at a clock and hoping Elena returns soon. Or at least she thinks Elena is out. It's just… something she wanted to do in person.

The door slams open, and in comes Ramon, speaking in rapid fire Spanish. He ends up walking right past the two, not even noticing them at first as he sets a laptop up on the kitchen counter. Then his Something Wrong instinct kicks in, and given his afternoon, what happens is he spins around, pulling a box cutter in one smooth defensive motion, his eyes going blank and his lips lifting up into a snarl as he faces…some friend of his daughter's who he didn't expect and…a little girl he doesn't know. Confusion wars instantly with his defensive posture.

Parker comes walking into the main room, drawn by both the music and his desire for a coke from the fridge. "Hey, Tia. Doin' some practicin.?" He casually gets a coke from the fridge, then notices the woman sitting with his sister. "Who's your friend, sis?"

Desiree is having a very confusing dream about a giant lobster and a villainous giraffe when, suddenly, they start singing and playing the guitar. Just when they start arguing over whether they'll be a rock band or a bluegrass duo, the realism of the music is enough to jar her from her slumber. She palms her face and brushes aside a curtain of curly hair. It's the slam of the door that really wakes her up, though - she sits up like a bolt in the bedroom that belongs to Juanita but is being used by she and Portia. What time is it? Who knows. Time for pants, though, Dezi does know that much - or for a skirt, as the case may be. She hops off the bed and roams around the somewhat disastrous bedroom , stumbling into a grey skirt and throwing on a fuzzy purple sweater as she emerges into—

… the woman squints. "Jane?" Then, more animated and to the point: "Ramon!" She ruffles the messy hair at the back of her head and looks sheepish. "… I wantcha to meet Parker and Portia."

To say Manny's…cautious, even entering his own home, is to put it lightly. He wouldn't particularly blame Elena if she put him to sleep as soon as he walked in the door, but at his father's request and hoping Elena's /not/ that vindictive, Manny pushes the door open and looks inside to find…a large amount of people, only one of whom he's related to. And, hopefully, only one of whom will understand the teen's first words upon entering the house, "(Who the hell…?)"

She is not going through the front door.

Elena liked high places. She liked to climb. So there she is, sitting in the fire escape, leaning against the railing and hearing the couple across the street fighting again, with the baby wailing. Her fingers flip her phone's cover open, closed, open, closed, propping her chin up on one hand and fiddling with it - the typical 'undecided' gesture whether to call someone or not. Finally, she claps it shut, and she stows her phone away into her back pocket and climbs further up so she can open the window to her bedroom and sneak in. Closing it behind her, she removes her clip, shaking out her hair and moving further in to open the door leading to the apartment's inner sanctum.

"I'm home," she says, having ditched her bag and the one bag she had extra, acquired from shopping earlier with a friend.

So much for playing a little song. While Portia was really into it, eyes shut and everything, she didn't really notice Ramon's entrance until the door slams and the quick speech in Spanish. She opens her eyes, a little surprised, her playing stopping abruptly. His defensive position startles her a little, to the point that she almost loses her guitar, but she quickly grips at it, clutching it towards her chest as if it will somehow protect her from whatever's about to ensue. It's almost fight or flight instinct, but she's calmed when she notes her mother's presence arriving in the room. That calming effect doesn't last too long as Manny also enters the room and, while she doesn't understand what he's saying, his tone is more than enough to spook her. She doesn't move, however, managing to keep her composure. Her tone, while a little strained, is mostly calm. "I thought you said they were nice, Mama."

This is not so good. She was a bit nervous about this in the first place, her pensiveness was visible when she approached the building and met Portia. Now, with the angry entrance of Ramon, the apparent anger of Manny arriving, and the impression from what Desiree says that the family who lives here isn't aware of her child… children, given the one who calls Portia sis and goes to the fridge… Jane has become less comfortable. She begins to pack her gear away and speaks to Desi. "Hey. I… came to speak with Elena, was hoping she'd be home soon, but this is a bad time. Can you give her this?" She holds up the six by three inch cardboard box up, then sets it on the table and resumes preparing to leave. "Sorry to be in the way, everyone. Portia, you've got great sounds. Talk to you and your mother another time?" Eyes move between mother and daughter, questioningly.

Ramon puts the box cutter away and says to Jane, shortly, in English, "I'll do that." And then in Spanish, to Manny: "(Jesus. Put that thing in the freezer or something until we're sure its not a bomb)." He takes a few deep breaths and composes himself, and in a low rumbling growl, "Nice to meet you, children. You gave your mother a scare running all over New York. You could have gotten yourself killed." His house is /full/. He closes the laptop. "Do I need to order pizza or Chinese?" You'd never guess he thought he'd have to commit murder in defense of his family five seconds ago.

Desiree's gaze flicks to the door on Manny's entrance and her eyes widen. There's no mistaking the 'oh crap' moment, but she's outshining it with a bright smile. For /everyone/. Even Elena, before the girl even registers the full house. "We're in here, 'Lena!" she calls out. Her smile is actually a little manic, it's so huge and sunshiney. "… They are!" she tells Portia. Right? Right? The woman lifts her eyebrows hopefully in the direction of Ramon and his deadly son, eyeing the boxcutter somewhat nervously as it disappears. Why does he even-= let's not go there right now. She wanders over to stand near Parker, a hand touching the boy's back. "Yeah, Jane. S'nice seein' you again! Keep on keepin' a eye on Jaden." She shoves Parker ever-so-slightly and nods at Portia, too. Engage your manners, kids. "Parker, Portia, this here's Ramon and Manny, and here comes 'Lena. Remember your manners, now."

The first person she sees is Desiree, and Elena smiles, stepping further into the apartment. "Hi, Dezi, what's— " She falls quiet, staring at the bodies in the not-so-big space. "Jane, what are you doing here?" she asks, surprised to see the lawyer there. The last she saw of Jane, she was…..nevermind. When her gaze flicks over to Parker and Portia, she gives them a small smile, pushing her fingers through her tousled hair. "Hey, guys, find your way here okay?" she asks. To her father, she laughs. "I think it's for the best….I can personally go for pizza right now."

To Manny, she doesn't say anything. Instead, she moves over to where her little brother is, reaching out to squeeze his hand gently. "We should get one with pepperoni, canadian bacon, and Jalapenos, Papa," she says, sliding her hands in her pockets. Manny's favorite toppings. While she can't talk to him head to head right now, she can at least show, in some subtle way, that she's forgiven him.

Parker waves a bit at the introductions. "Hi. How y'all doin'?" He looks over at Ramon and says. "Umm…thanks for lettin' us crash here sir. If it's gettin' too crowded here, maybe me an' Portia should go to a motel or somethin'?" He walks over towards his sister as he talks and places a comforting hand on her shoulder.
Manuel just sorta smirks at the instruction from his father, glancing back toward the bedrooms when he hears Elena's voice. /Great…/ he thinks to himself, not having had a chance to talk with his sister … quite yet. Following his father's instruction, Manny moves to grab the box, stopping when he picks it up off the table, "(I know it's better to be safe, papa…but do we really think someone like her's handin' Ella a bomb?)"

He shrugs a little bit, carrying the package toward the kitchen, stopping when his hand is grabbed by Elena. A smile is flashed to his sister, knowing at the very least, he and Elena have a … long talk to be had. The package, intended for Elena, is offered to the elder Gomez sibling, Manny glancing to Ramon to see if all is well, "(Something from your friend.)"

She understands Spanish. Ramon's words make Jane blink, several times, and she replies in Spanish, quickly. "(Freezer? Bomb? No, no, that's not a bomb. Open it. It's a pair of mirrorshaded sunglasses for your daughter, so she can… not see things she really doesn't want to see. Ever.)" The lawyer/guitarist is growing steadily more antsy, not even able really to make eye contact with Senorita Gomez. There's shame about her features, easy to spot. "Elena. I… was hoping to talk with you, in person, about…" No, she isn't going to say it. La Latina saw, she knows. "I'm cured now." The package, when opened, will be seen to hold exactly what the giver claimed. Mirrorshades, in a feminine style, with wire frames.

Pursing her lips, Portia assesses the situation. There's Ramon, who's talking about how they could've died, Desiree telling them to mind their manners, Jane who is rapidly trying to retreat, Parker who's trying to diffuse the situation, Elena who seems pretty cheerful and calm about things, and Manny who she can't quite read at all. Most young girls in Portia's situation probably would have melted down by now. But not Portia. She glances to Jane offering her a graceful nod. "Thanks.. I'll definitely see you again soon." Her gaze also shifts to Elena, smiling faintly. Just by the way Elena's already handling the situation, Portia likes her. So she does the opposite of what most 14 year olds would do in this situation. She simply stays where she is and stays quiet.

Ramon has the grace to look embarrassed and rubs the back of his head. Then he pinches the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, just sort of nodding. Pizza, sunglasses, whatever. But at least he's no longer threatening and being really paranoid. The deep crags in his face go a bit deeper, then Parker's statement catches up to him. He looks at the boy and says, "Not on my watch you won't."

Parker blinks a bit in surprise at Ramon's comment. He really doesn't know what to make of it, so he just nods a bit and stands next to Portia. "Well, umm…thanks you, sir. But we really don't want ta impose on y'all. And quarters around hear look ta be a might bit tight."

"Y'aint goin' to a motel by yourself," Desiree tells Parker matter-of-factly, looking between her son and Ramon. "But it— it is awfully crowded in here all of a sudden, and this— " 'This' being the twins showing up, "is all sorta… sudden." She takes a seat close beside Portia, just out of the way of the neck of the guitar, folding her hands on her lap, leaning over her knees and peering up at everyone. "… So pizza."

"It's really not a problem, you can always take Luis's bed and Portia can take mine," the Latina girl tells Parker cheerfully. When Jane explains what she's doing there, she furrows her brows a little bit. "Oh…." And then, it sinks in. "OH." Elena laughs, and takes the box from Manny. "Thanks, Jane," she says. "You didn't have to do that, give me any more presents and I might start to feel really guilty." She winks. Easing away from Manny, she smiles towards the Maddox children - these are Dezi's kids, she's trying to make them feel welcome. Turning back to her friend, she adds. "Well, if you're leaving, Jane, least I can do is walk you to the door." She's fairly confident that the apartment isn't going to implode if she steps away from the center of the room. So she starts heading over to where Jane is standing, so she can lead the woman out of the door. "Sorry I didn't tell you, it was all pretty sudden," she murmurs to Jane as she opens the door.

Ramon's mouth twitches into a tight, unpleasant line as they start going on and on about room, but all he says is, "You're welcome here." And with this bit of social pleasantry out of the way, he goes to order lots and lots of pizza. He's radiating tension but no hostility, though an air of affronted pride settles over him like a cloak.

Manuel blinks and shrugs a little bit, settling himself back against the wall. He looks between Ramon, Elena, Desiree, and the various … less than familiar faces. Silent, the teen's eyes flick from person to person, knowing he's got…a lot of people to talk to in the room. Admittedly, most of them are her family members. He opens his mouth to say something…then changes his mind, shaking his head and just shutting his mouth again.

Silence has consumed Portia the way a hobo consumes a ham sandwich. She moves her guitar out of the way, setting it down where it won't get stepped on or kicked or the like. She observes the room, making no move to get up, move, or even speak in the slightest. Who knows what she's thinking about behind those quiet eyes.
Walking with Elena, after picking up her gear, Jane seems subdued still. Whatever she and Elena discussed is shameful to her. No comment is made until they're in a spot where she can, she hopes, speak for the latina's ears only. In whispers. "I… I don't know where to start, Elena. I embarrassed myself so deeply. But they were right. She came back. I got the better of her. Knocked her out, guitar over the head. Then I taped her mouth shut, and tied her down. Called Pete. And didn't even think to put anything on when he arrived. I just opened the door."

"……….." Elena stares at Jane when she hears about the tale, and then, she sighs. At least Peter had been there to diffuse the situation. Hard times were the ones in which he truly shone, after all. "It wasn't like I was offended, Jane, I was surprised, is all. Don't worry yout head about it, but I'm glad you're cured. Honest." She opens the door and gently guides Jane out, but she remains at the doorway - she could -feel tension- bleed out from the room and she needed to try and quell it just a little. "Truth be told I didn't have the -slightest- idea as to how to fix you….but I'm glad Peter did something about it." She looks over her shoulder. "Anyway…I should get back in there."

Parker sits down next to Portia. he sees how vulnerable she's feeling and he's not too sure of his status himself. He puts his hand on Portia's just to reasure her that he's there.

So shortly after she sat down, Dezi is standing up again; she squeezes Portia's shoulder warmly, smiles to her and Parker, and winds her way into the kitchen after Ramon. "I'm sorry 'bout all of this bein' sprung on you like this. Is' your home," she says in a quiet voice that's meant just for them. Granted, it's hard to be private in a small apartment like this. …Then again, Desiree doesn't seem to have any clue about the unusual Jane and Elena are having as she looks to Ramon with concern. She adjusts the sleeve of her sweater; it's all a little off-kilter. "I can take the kids to a mo-tel…"

Ramon stares at Dezi. "I told you they were welcome. I told them they were welcome," he murmurs back, equally low, but intense. His eyes narrow to dark slits. "We can afford it," he says. "I can take care of this. Stop suggesting that I can't. I was caught by surprise, that's all. I'm sorry I scared them. I had — " he grimaces. "Some stuff came up that we'll all talk about later, in regards to the guy who likes puppet shows. That's all. I didn't mean to scare them," he repeats, and then, equally intense, "And we've got the money and will make the space." Stiff pride accompanies that latter statement every time a version of it is uttered.

"She reversed it, all of it, before we let her go, Elena," Jane whispers just outside the door. "Her name is Lyndsay, she's a gothic type, partly. Don't know much more, but she can make people do things with her voice. I got lucky, somehow managed to have enough backbone to finally resist. Keep your eyes open for that one. After I resisted, I cranked the tv volume all the way so I couldn't hear her anymore. It worked. Gave me enough free will to knock her out when she wouldn't leave. Pete's… got her ability now too." She sucks in a deep breath. "Sorry to be part of the sudden crowd, I… just had to tell you in person, get it out. Don't want to dash on the hospitality, but this is no place for me to be right now. Call me soon?" And without really waiting for an answer, her head bowed in a lingering measure of that shame, she heads out of the building.

Portia watches her mother get up, and she looks back over as Parker's hand settles on hers. Her silence is broken as she leans in to murmur something quietly to her brother, expression serious. "Don't want to complicate things for Mama…" She murmurs.

Parker whispers back to his sister, "Well, it's already complicated, yeah?" He looks up at Dezi and gives mamma a bit of a smile. "We'll keep out from under everyone's foot, mamma. And I'll keep a close eye on Portia, so you don't have to worry none there, either."

"Huh? Oh they'll be fine. It ain't— I wasn't— " Desiree, it seems, is slightly thrown by Ramon at the moment. She looks back at Parker and smiles his way, and though it's every bit sincere in /theory/, a hint of the unintentionally patronizing 'sure you will, sweetie' vibe, which mothers are naturals at, slips through. She looks back at Ramon, poised to say something, her worried expression loud and clear. Anything that has to do with the 'guy who likes puppet shows' can't be good, and with the kids here… "So!" She brightens suddenly, whirls, and heads back to the living room. "You were playin' a song for Jane, Portia? Portia wants to be a singer," she announces to everybody.

Manuel glances from Elena and Jane to Parker and Portia, only quirking an eyebrow upward. He honestly has no clue about what's going on, so the teen just stays quiet…until he remembers something, looking over to his father. Pushing off the wall, the younger Gomez sibling steps over to his father, "(What was it you needed to tell me about, papa?)"

On the surface, Ramon says, "Later," to Manuel. He comes out and regards Portia. "If you've got a voice anything like your mother's," he informs her, "You'll bring all of New York to its knees in a minute." A pause. "I attended an opening of one of New York's clubs run by some singer or another. I'll go get her name out of my book. Maybe I can get you a spot or some advice or something."

"….alright, Jane. I'll see you soon," Elena says, somewhat faintly, watching Jane leave. Shaking her head, she closes the door, tucking the package underneath her arm and stepping in. "I'll call Vito's, see if we can't feed an army within a span of 45 minutes or less." She wonders if Nadia's father actually takes a drill to any delivery boys that went over the 30 minute mark for deliveries….but surely he can't be THAT violent! She looks at the Russo/Maddoxes and smiles. "How are you guys liking New York?" she asks, planting her dancing rump on the coffee table and grinning at the twins. "Is it anything like Paris? I've never been, one day hopefully though…"

Portia looks to Parker for a long moment before she glances back to Desiree. "Mama.." Her tone is that of one who knows her mother is showing off, a slightly embarassed but none-the-less not denying tone. But Ramon's genuine compliment and offer to help causes her to smile. "That'd be great! Mama's got a great voice, I think she just gets a little embarassed about it. Mama's the reason I wanted to sing."

Manuel's eyes go wide when he hears his father's voice, albeit only in his mind, as Ramon's better than Manny at the stoicism. His father's response, though, draws a nod from the teen, who glances toward Elena. Without realizing how bad it might look, Manny rolls one palm over the other knuckles, each one cracking, then on the other hand. He looks over at Elena, opting to actually be social with the newcomers, looking over curiously, "Singer, huh?" He clicks his tongue a little, thinking for a moment before asking, "You guys are … how old?" He's just curious…he's seen young singers, of course; but the girl seems a little younger than normal.
Parker has reconnected.
Parker nods at her sister's assessment. "Yeah, an' she's gotten real good, too. That's jus' about all she did last year is sit around the house and sing an' pracice her guitar." He looks over at Manny. "We're 14. Just turned that a few months ago."

Disjointedly from the conversation, Desiree looks sharply at Ramon all of a sudden in surprise? but whatever the reason, she says nothing of it. Instead, she smiles more brightly; that is, until she looks distinctly self-conscious because of Ramon and Portia's compliments. Rolling her eyes - but still smiling - she pokes her daughter's shoulder as she sits back down beside her. "That's real sweet of you to get the name of that singer, Ramon." Looking to the kids, she says, "'Lena knows a lotta people in the city too, ain't that right, 'Lena? Her boss is some kinda computer celebrity." Whatever that means. Dezi has no clue what she's talking about there.

"Elena knows everyone," Ramon replies with a nod. "I think she went to that thing too. Elena, what was the name of that lady? S-something wasn't it? T-something? That jazz club? I don't really remember, I was just there for the food. She pushed that guy down on stage or something as part of one of her songs?"

"I….don't really know -that- many….you both make it seem like I know half of New York or something," Elena says with a laugh, rubbing the back of her neck lightly. "My boss is Jaden Cain. He's the CEO of EvoSoft, but that was recently…well, they're merging with Lancaster Electronics, which is owned by another friend of mine who goes to NYU with me," she explains to the twins. "And…..to be honest I don't know the owner of the Jazz club you went to, Papa," she tells Ramon. "But Jaden has his own band, and Jane just got signed on to his label, so if Portia wants to sing, I think she fell in the right crowd."

"You know more'n the rest of us," Manny winks at his sister, actually joking with her some. He grins a little bit, looking over at Portia curiously, "Fourteen? And already wanting to be a singer?" He lgances at Desiree, doing his best to be the friendly big-brother figure. Sorta. "Got an ambitious kid…"

Portia gives a bit of a nod. "Found something I'm good at and I'm going after it." She states, glancing between the small group. "Well, any help would be great. Already heard from a few people."

Desiree quirks an eyebrow when Ramon tries to explain. Pushing some guy down on stage? What kind of club did they go to, anyway? "Oh, well, hey! Maybe we oughta bring that CD of yours over to Mr. Cain. He certainly seems to be some kinda bigshot if his party's any indication." She looks over at Manny and shrugs good-naturedly. "Is' good to have ambition." She nods to Portia and there's a touch of pride in her smile, yessir.

"What about you, Parker?" He also looks over Elena plantively. "When's that pizza going to get here?" He's worse than one of the kids and pizza is FULL of all sorts of stuff he isn't supposed to eat. It's a win win combo as far as he's concerned.

Parker looks at Ramon when he's addressed. "Well, ain't much ta tell about me. Portia's the real star of th' family. I like motorcycle racin'. Won a Junior Motocross race back in Laurel. Guess that's what I'd like ta do for my life. But finishin' school's important too."

Manuel chokes on his breath as Parker introduces himself, "Wait…" He glances over at the kid, eyebrow raised again, "You're fourteen and a /racer/?" Okay, Manny's version of racing and Parker's are probably different…but he's still intrigued.

"….see? Something in common already," Elena says cheerfully, beaming at Parker and Manuel. She stands up, and stretches her arms idly over her head, feeling her joints pop. "Anyway, I'm gonna go see what's up with that pizza. I'll be back." She waves to the family, and then moves for the door so she can wait for the pizza guy.

Aww, look at her kids. Ambitious. …so ambitious that they hop on planes to New York without telling anyone, but Dezi isn't thinking about that faux pas right now. She grins as she looks from Parker to Manny, and should probably be worried about their shared love of fast-moving things with wheels, but she's not thinking about that right now, either.

Ramon is. Among other things. But he decides he's thrown around enough harsh sternness for one night, and looks interested to see Manny's reaction to Parker, though he's not showing it. And soon it's Dezi he's watching, through half lidded eyes, like some sort of contented hunting cat. Or he's thinking really deeply and she happens to be in that direction. One of the two.

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