2007-05-06: This Box Is Not A Ring


Cass_icon.gif Alyssa_icon.gif Lachlan_icon.gif


Cass calls Alyssa to warn her about the store being bugged and the Company possibly knowing about her. Lachlan comes over with a surprise which Cass really does not enjoy.

May 6th, 2007:

This Box is Not a Ring

Cass' Apartment, Brooklyn NY

PHONE: You dial the number 283-6318. It begins to ring.

PHONE: The other end answers, "Bananaphone."

PHONE: Cass pauses at the answer she receives from the other end, but it's only momentary. "Hey, Alyssa, it's Cass. Do you have a minute to talk?"

PHONE: Alyssa takes a moment before she answers, "Yeah. Sure. Look, sorry about lately… I've been sort of out of it."

PHONE: Cass says, "It's fine, Aly. I understand." And she really doesn't sound upset about Aly missing work. After all, there's not much book selling to do without books. "Look, I need to ask you something. Do you remember us talking about that list that you had with everyone's number on it? Of people who could do what you do? Do you still have it?"

PHONE: Alyssa sucks in a breath when the list is mentioned, "Umm… yeah. I brought it home sometime. That's… jeez, that's why I couldn't find it before. Got it after that, sure, but not when it mattered, of course."

PHONE: Cass lets out a short and worried sigh and launches immediately into an explanation. "Okay. I, uh, I need you to get rid of it. Or code it. Or make sure that no one else can get a hold of it. And I need you to keep a look out. I just found out someone's been spying on the store. I have no idea how long it's been going on, but they may know about you. And they may know you have something they want." Is there really a need to define the 'they'? "Be really careful, Alyssa. I don't know what they're up to. But if you get into /any/ trouble, you call me."

PHONE: Alyssa is quiet. Just quiet for a while. "Spying… wow, spying. How… how can you be sure?"

PHONE: Cass says, "Lachlan and I found a hidden camera that I certainly didn't put anywhere in the store." She sounds annoyed and certainly unhappy about the situation. "I don't know who put it there for sure, but I have a hunch. And if it's true, then I don't know what they know. I have no idea how long it's been there, how someone managed to put it there without anyone knowing…I just don't know." She lets out a frustrated breath. "I just wanted to let you know. So you can keep an extra eye out. I'm going to get to the bottom of this, but I want to make sure that no one else gets caught in the crossfire because we were trying to help them. I'm really sorry you got dragged into this situation, Alyssa."

PHONE: Alyssa says, "No, I — well, I can't quite say I'm /glad/… but it was cool for a while. And I let myself get all drag-ied. It was shamefully fun for a while. /I'm/ sorry if got sort of blah-arg lately. The store… I'm so sorry about the store…."

PHONE: Cass' tone of voice sounds slightly bemused at Alyssa's description. "Fun? I don't know if I'd quite call it that." But, then, she did know that Alyssa wanted to be involved in the crazy things that happened to fall in her lap. "It's okay. I've kinda felt like that, too. Don't worry about the store. The insurance has got most of it and I've already ordered more books. We'll be up and running again soon enough. Niki quit…but I hired Peter to take her place.

PHONE: Alyssa echoes, "/Peter/?" with less than her former girlish admiration. "But his psycho-ass girlfriend is the one who was in there with us! Can you even… I mean… What?"

PHONE: Cass says, "I know. I know. But…Peter isn't Elle." There's a sigh. "He saved me yesterday. Or tried to, anyway. He's still a good person, even if he has horrible taste in girls. I just won't let him know anything that I don't want other people to know. I still trust /him/. Just…not his girlfriend." It's a complicated situation, that's for sure. "If you want, I'll make sure you two aren't scheduled together."

Knock knock knock.

"Cass?" Lachlan is at the door. And he has a present! But that wouldn't be readily evident because he's behind the door.

PHONE: Alyssa rustles about indecisively with her phone a bit, shifting the thing around audibly and almost answering once or twice before she gets it together, "No, it's… it's fine. I'd rather know what's going on. Speaking of which, I got a text. Something about a guy……….. a /killer/."

The knocking on the door is heard and Cass stands up from lounging on the couch to go answer it. When the door swings open, she smiles at Lach and gestures with her free hand - the one she opened the door with - to come in. There's no verbal greeting for him quite yet because it's obvious that she's on the phone right now.

PHONE: Cass says, "Okay. That's good. I'd rather you knew, too." The more people are informed, the better. It sounds like there's a knock on her end, but other than the rustling of Cass walking over and opening the door, there's no other interruptions. "A text? About a killer? Is this…is this the Sylar guy?"

PHONE: Alyssa says, "Yeah. It says that Sylar thing. What does that mean?"

Lachlan readily enters the apartment when he's gestured inside, but he doesn't do anything to really interrupt the phone conversation. Not really. He /does/ step forward to press a kiss to her temple and murmur a quiet, "Hey, baby", but it's not loud enough to really break into any talks. There's a nondescript box under his arm that rattles a little when it's moved, but that can wait. He heads for the kitchen, hungry.

PHONE: Cass says, "He's a killer. He goes after people with abilities and…takes what they can do somehow by killing them. He attacked Peter a little while ago, but we haven't heard from him since." There's a softer "Hey" that's not directed into the phone before Cass continues. "I've got a picture of him. I'll bring it to the store so you can see it. If you ever see him, don't hesitate to run away. Call Peter or someone for help. He's extremely dangerous."

When Lachlan steps into the room and kisses her on the temple, Cass beams at him. "Hey," she replies softly and closes the door behind him. While she notices the box under her arm, she doesn't quite say anything yet. There's too many conversations going on at once. But, she does toss him a puzzled look and while staring pointedly at the box. 'What is that?' is the obvious question.

PHONE: Alyssa is quiet again, muttering and moving her phone. "… Okay. Wow. Cause we didn't have enough to worry about already, too. What did this cam— wait, is someone else there?"

The refrigerator is opened and the box set on the table. Lachlan glances over the selection before settling on opening a takeout carton of some nature and peering inside. A quick sniff-test and it is deemed edible. He straightens, closing the refrigerator, then looks to Cass. Her inquisitive expression is noted and he shakes his head, holding up a hand to his cheek with pinky and thumb extended to indicate a phone. Finish talking first, then he'll explain. Meanwhile, he goes hunting for a fork.

PHONE: Cass says, "Don't worry it's just Lach. He just showed up a second ago." And since Lachlan basically knows what Cass knows it's fine to talk in front of him. "Yeah. I know. We've got conspiracy theories, natural disasters and serial killers. Welcome to New York."

PHONE: Alyssa says, "And none of this was even showing, like, a couple of months ago or whatever. Who knew!"

Very little of what Cass may have would be bad. She tries to keep her fridge clean. Nodding her head, she grins and moves to the table where the box was set down. Setting the phone between her shoulder and her ear, she reaches out to pick it up and turn it about to see if she can guess what it contains. What a strange present.

PHONE: Alyssa says, "And /hey Lachlan/!"

And as they're closer together, Lachlan might hear Alyssa saying loudly, "/Hey Lachlan/!"

Fork accomplished, Lachlan leans back against the counter to enjoy his cold Whatever, lifting one eyebrow when he hears the shouted greeting from Alyssa. His brow furrows a moment and he mutters, "S'tha' Alyssa?" He thinks he recognizes the voice.

PHONE: Cass obligingly passes along the greeting, which Alyssa will hear as a muffled, "Yeah, it's Alyssa. She says hey." And then, her voice is louder when she actually responds to the other woman. "I know. It's definitely weird. As if New York wasn't already dangerous without a powered serial killer on the loose. So, be very careful.

Ha, he thought so. Lachlan smirks and lifts his fork in a greeting that won't be seen by its intended target. "Hey, 'Lyssa," he utters in a voice that also likely won't be heard too clearly by the other party, but that's what Cass is for. Then he goes silent again, munching away at his impromptu dinner. The box itself is only a plain white, thin cardboard affair with a great deal of weight to it. The slight rattling comes from what sounds like many metal things, muffled by another box.

PHONE: Alyssa says, "Shaaaaaall do. Well. Hmm. Seems twice as hard to just walk out the door nowadays. But I promise-promise I'm coming in to help with the shop and all that… I gotta get it together. Hey, I can let you go if you've got Lach's company."

Puzzling. Cass' face is obviously confused when she hears what the sound that the box is making. What in the world could be making that noise? It sounds like there are multiple things in there. Weird. Letting the box sit back down on the table, she gives Lachlan that curious look again.

PHONE: Cass says, "Lachlan says hey back." There, she has passed along all messages. "Yeah, tell me about it. But, we're all here for you should you need it. Remember, if you get into any trouble, call us." There's a pause. "Yeah. Sorry, he's trying to eat all my food out of the fridge and has some weird box thing he won't let me look at till I'm no longer distracted." She doesn't really sound too put out about it, though. "I'll talk to you soon. See you in the store soon?"

Lachlan isn't /really/ eating all the food. /Really/. He doesn't smile or grin as he would were he giving a normal, happiness-causing present either. Nope. He knows this one probably won't be well-received, so he just remains expressionless and munches a mouthful of the cold Whatever.

PHONE: Alyssa says, "Yeah. Definitely. Is it a little box? Like, a little velvety box where people put rings? Is it a riiiiiing?"

Only teasing, Cass doesn't gives Lachlan a grin to show that she really doesn't mean it. However, his expressionlessness makes her want to figure out what is going on all the more.

PHONE: Cass gives a laugh at that. "It is definitely not a small velvety box. And it's most certainly /not/ a ring. Unless Lachlan seems to think that my finger is the size of my entire hand. I'll give you the full report later."

PHONE: Alyssa says, "Pssssh. Fine. Don't give him too hard of a time for the size of your finger thing. He was kinda… well.. I'm not sure what he was that day at the store. But I'm sure it was for good."

In the middle of a mouthful, Lachlan doesn't think much of the velvety box comment, but when Cass mentions the R-word, he sucks in a sharp breath of shock and surprise — and cold Whatever. COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH HACK HACK! The Scotsman doubles over as he chokes on the bit of food that saw fit to fly down the wrong tube. A low grumbled "fffuuuuck" can be heard somewhere in there.

PHONE: Cass says, "It was for good." It's not hard to hear the smile in her voice. But, then there's the sound of coughing and hacking in the background. "Ack. Um, I think I may have killed Lachlan with that joke. I'll call you later! Be safe."

PHONE: Alyssa says, "Oops. Okay. Okay, for real this time. Bye."

PHONE: Cass says, "Bye!"

PHONE: You end your current call.

Cass didn't /mean/ to have that effect on Lachlan. She was only kidding! Of course she doesn't expect him to get her a ring. Ending the call, she drops the phone on the table and reaches out to give him a good firm thwack on the back, should he actually be choking. "Are you okay? Geez, I was only kidding. If you choke and die because of that, I'm going to be really angry at you."

Gurk hack! Whumpf! Gurk! Lachlan's not choking so much as going through a choking reflex. He straightens again after he's whacked on the back and clears his throat several times, hard, eyes watering. "Nah, 'm— " hrrrrgh "— fine. Jesus." Man, warn a guy next time. He blinks a few times to clear his eyesight and finally seems to get back under control. "Ever'thin' a'righ'?"

Holding a hand up to give another good whack should he need it, Cass' waits expectantly. Realizing that there's no more danger, she lets it drop. "Okay. Good." Taking this moment to reach in to grab some cold Whatever herself (without a fork, gasp!) she pops it into her mouth and chews before she answers. "Yeah. I was just warning Alyssa that the Company may know about her now. And what was going on in the store. Just want everyone to be on the same page and keeping a keener eye out. Especially since they've got to know by now that we know they were listening in."

Lachlan nods, not putting up a protest when Cass nabs some cold Whatever for herself, even if she uses her fingers. Hey, this was the guy who didn't care if the dog ate off his plate at dinner when he was a boy — fingers in his food aren't all that special. "S'good." He indicates the box on the table with a jerk of his head. "Ye can open it now, if ye like." And he readies himself for when she does, for inside the box, Cass will find a gun — a Glock G26 9mm sub-compact with a boxful of opened ammunition. And he knows that she isn't going to like it.

"It is." Cass licks her fingers and then wipes them on her jeans absently. While she's normally neat, well, everyone has their lazy moments. Heading over to the box when it's nodded at she opens it without picking it up. It's hard not to do. The good mood she had put herself in vanishes the moment she sees what is inside the box. She takes a good long stare at the weapon before closing the box again. "I told you I didn't want a gun." She does not sound amused. "Take it back."

The fact that the gun is unregistered makes it a little difficult to take back, but hey, Cass doesn't need to know this. Lachlan just chews thoughtfully at another mouthful, letting out a soft wheezing cough now and again as his throat continues to revert to normal. "C'mon, Cass," he intones after he's swallowed, his voice coaxing and pleading. "S'fer yer protection. 'll take ye ta the range an' show ye how ta fire it— "

"No." Turning away from the offending object, Cass shakes her head violently and moves into the kitchen to gets something else for her to eat. Something that doesn't require her to dig through the take out box Lachlan has. It's a good thing she doesn't know it's unregistered, that would just be another thing to add for her 'this is not a good thing' argument. "I specifically /told/ you I didn't want a gun here or at the store. I'm not about to learn how to kill anyone."

"S'ta keep 'em from killin /ye/," Lachlan argues, though his voice only rises a little and his tone becomes only the slightest bit confrontational. He keeps his gaze locked on Cass, his expression Very Serious. "Ye dunna have ta carry it, just keep it somewhere ye can get at in case yer attacked here 'r at the store 'r wherever. Doesna even have ta be used by ye, just … have it /there/, a'righ'?" Clearly he didn't actually give up on the gun argument yesterday.

"Yeah, where it could be found by someone else and used against me," Cass replies dryly. Grabbing a take out box of her own of some Chinese takeout she ordered the other night, she pops open the top and then goes searching for some chopsticks. One drawer and then another is opened until she pulls out a pair to eat with. "/No/, Lachlan. I already said I don't want it here. I don't like guns and I don't like them being here." Not exactly confrontational, she's forceful. There's very little that is about to change her mind about keeping a gun around.

That tone. Lachlan knows that tone. He really doesn't like that tone. It's like the 'don't-yell-at-me' tone. That tone means he isn't going to win the argument, and he frowns deeply, stabbing his cold Whatever forcefully with his fork. /Scowl/. "Fine," he grumbles, defeated. "'ll take it back t'morrow." Though not really. He'll hide it away in his apartment for his own use, or perhaps sell it. What's the good of having an unregistered firearm if not to put it to good use?

That is exactly the tone that Cass is using right now. Scooping out beef with broccoli with chopsticks she starts in on this. "Good." Because just the fact that it is on the table in a box kind of unnerves her. She taught Peter how to call a gun to him should he need it, but even then she didn't like holding it. And certainly didn't like the idea of him using it, but if anyone gets into more trouble than Cass, it's decidedly Peter. Even though she can tell Lachlan isn't happy about the outcome of this, she assumes that the argument is over.

And for a few tense, silent moments, it would seem that the argument /is/ over. Lachlan contents himself with eating his food, staring down into the carton and decidedly /not/ at Cass. Yes, it's back to /that/ stage. But the longer there is no talking, the more apparent it becomes that he's very much agitated by this turn of events. The carton is emptied and he pokes at the leavings because it is /all their fault/. Then, he closes the styrofoam carton with an audible, hollow /thwump/. "So, I'm guessin' yer /plannin'/ ta die, then?" Well, the argument was over for about a minute, at least.

While she's not exactly enjoying her cold beef with broccoli, Cass is hungry and will certainly eat it. The silence is also not a comfortable one, but as she's eating and isn't sure what she can say to lighten the mood at the moment, she lets it continue. The question comes out of nowhere and she looks up from her chopsticks to stare at Lachlan. "/What/? Of course not." Now there's no sort of illusion that this isn't about to become a discussion. An argument. She tenses.

"Yeah? Coulda fooled me," grunts the Scotsman as he moves to the trash to throw away his empty carton with more force than is really necessary. "'M tryin' ta help ye /no'/ get killed an' yer actin' stupid." No, Lachlan didn't really use that word intentionally. He's not trying to rile Cass, /really/ he's not. It just comes out.

Glaring over her makeshift food, Cass pauses in her scraping the sides for more. "No, Lachlan, you're giving me a /gun/ that I don't want and telling me that it's okay to shoot people. There's a marked difference between getting myself killed and not wanting to walk around with a concealed weapon." Oh, she heard that 's' word and it narrows her eyes even more. Consider her riled.

"So ye dunna think s'righ' ta have a gun an' ta shoot people tha're tryin' ta kill ye, then? Tha' it? B'cause tha's stupid." That one might have been meant to rankle. Lachlan drops his fork on to the counter near the sink, then turns to face Cass, arms cross over his chest. "'F they're gonna try ta kill ye with a conceal weapon, then ye'd bloody better well have one yerself."

"No, that's…" Cass shakes her head. It's like the same argument they're having over and over again. "Whenever you have a weapon like that, you make stupid decisions because you /can/. It's not the people trying to kill me, it's the fact that something harmless could be taken to be a threat and you can't exactly take back a bullet to the head. Plus, someone's /much/ more likely to try to shoot me if I have a gun out of their own self defense, than if I don't have one. Add on top of that that you can /miss/ and shoot someone entirely innocent. It's just…it /complicates/ things, Lachlan." Viciously stabbing her chopsticks into the take out, she doesn't quite look up at him until the very end. "And if you keep calling me stupid I'm going to attack you."

Considering the current line of conversation, that threat is somehow less than intimidating. "Yer talkin' like a bloody nancy," Lachlan snaps, clearly frustrated. Who'da thunk it? "'F they're gonna cause ye harm, best way ta stop 'em is ta /stop 'em/. Ye dunna just lay down an' take it, ye /figh' back/. 'F ye dunna figh' back, yer bloody /stupid/." Judging by the deliberate way in which the word is spoken and the meaningful glare he's giving Cass, that one really /was/ spoken purposefully. Oh yeah, Cass? /Oh yeah/?

"Just because I don't want to shoot someone doesn't mean I'm about to /lay down/ and take being threatened," Cass retorts. "You can fight back without resorting to shooting people. The /whole point/ of what we're trying to do is to not stoop down to those people's tactics of violence and fear. The moment I start to carry a gun around means I think their way is the only way." Still ideological, still naive in street tactics, Cass is not a fighter and has no hopes or desires to start to become one. Of course, she's not about to attack him physically as she's (obviously by now) a pacifist, even if he is using a word she specifically asked him not to. Instead, she just drops her carton onto the counter, glares and turns away from him. "You know what? Nevermind. I'm done talking about this." Especially if he's just going to be name-calling.

Oh-ho-ho, no. No, Cass made a threat and she hasn't followed throw. Cass isn't getting away from that. "S'a matter?" Lachlan snipes, pushing himself away from the sink and taking a few steps towards Cass' back, still keeping his arms crossed over his chest. "C'mon, ye said ye were gonna come after me, so do it! C'mon!"

Cass has hit Lachlan before. It's all been in teasing fun, though. Right now she's seething and it would be something quite different. "Leave it alone, Lachlan," she growls, stalking away from the kitchen and into the living room. She's not actually sure where she's going other than away from the man who wants to provoke her into hitting him.

Cass can try to get away all she likes, but Lachlan's not done. He follows right after. "Ye canna do it, can ye?" he snorts. And not waiting for an answer, he barrels right on: "/Tha's/ yer bloody /pro'lem/! Someone comes along wantin' ta put yer face through a bloody counter an' ye'd rather /talk/ 'em ta death! Tha's gonna get ye /killed/, Cass!" Flustered Scotsman is flustered.

Once in the living room, Cass really has no place to go. It's a limited space and unless she wants to walk out the door or go through the window, she's stuck. So, she decides to face Lachlan head on. Wheeling around, her eyes flash dangerously as she stares the Scotsman down. "No it's not. It's what's going to get /you/ killed, Lachlan! You don't have to escalate everything into a huge fight! Sometimes you /can/ talk your way out of a situation." Angrily, she crosses her arms in front of her chest. "Not to mention the fact that we're fight against a /secret/ organization. They're not going to come after anyone face on and give them a chance to fight back. It's going to be like the cameras, we're not going to have any idea it's there until it's too late."

Ouch. That /cut/. Lachlan's scowl darkens further and starts to become brooding — but then Cass tacks on that last argument. Gah! Flail! Splutter! "Tha's why ye gotta get /prepared/!" insists the Scotsman, clearly growing very exasperated with this argument. "Ye dunna just sit back when ye /know/ they're comin' after ye! Ye get /armed/!" Hraaaaargh! After some rather jerky movements of general flail-tude, he rubs his hand over his face hard, squeezing his eyes shut as though taken by a sudden headache. Guh. It's just the same argument over and over, and neither one is making any headway.

This fight looks like it's going to go on forever, because neither side is about to agree with the other. "I am /getting prepared/. Just not with guns." Cass keeps her arms crossed but finally moves. This time forward, for the kitchen. "This is obviously something we're not going to agree on," she adds, stating the obvious in a bland manner. "Let's just stop it."

Whatever. /Whatever/. Just /whatever/! "Fine." Lachlan doesn't make any movements to intercept Cass on her way to the kitchen, but he does follow her after a few moments. He pauses in the relative entrance and crosses his arms over his chest. "'M keepin' the gun." Just so she knows.

Packaging up what little is left of the Chinese takeout, Cass tosses it back into the fridge. Seeing that he's followed her into the kitchen - or at least to the door - she closes the fridge door and then leans up against it. With a frown, she answers, "Fine." He's the one that bought it, he can do what he wants with it. Just as long as she doesn't have to use it. "Just as long as it's not here."

What's the point of carrying it if it's not /here/? But … whatever. He's not going to argue it. Lachlan just grunts ambiguously and lets it go at that. He's tired of the arguing. After a few moments of staring at something on the opposite side of the kitchen, he lets out a sigh and relaxes a little more. He extends an arm towards Cass. "C'mere."

Finally it seems like the epic fight is over and the two will stay in their ambiguous silence for a little while. Cass is tired of fighting, too, as that seems to be all that's been happening lately. At the arm being extended, she steps forward to lean against him and tries to let all the tension that's built up in her shoulders roll away.

It's not that Lachlan enjoys fighting with Cass. She is, in fact, one of the few people he /doesn't/ enjoy fighting with. He wraps his arms around her in a great big bear hug and tucks his chin to bury his face into the top of her head with a heavy sigh. /He/ wants to stop fighting too. Two big fights in a row is just plain wearing. "Hey," he murmurs after a few moments, "I love ye, a'righ'? An' I dunna want nothin' bad ta happen ta ye." That's why he fights over these things.

"Oof!" Cass is wrapped into a bear hug, but she doesn't mind at all. Instead, she sort of just leans her weight against him and allows herself to be almost supported by him. "I know," she sighs. They just see things differently. "I love you, too. And I am being careful. But, you have to promise to be, too. I don't want something to happen to you, either."

"'M bein' careful. Nothin's gonna happen." Maybe that's the problem: each thinks they are being careful whilst the other disagrees. Hm. Lachlan doesn't have the higher brain functions to make this connection, however, and he goes silent for another few seconds before dipping his head to kiss Cass' cheek. "Y'know wha' ye need? Strip poker." Strip poker makes everything better.

However, Cass does pick up on that problem and she frowns. He's not exactly the most careful person in the world. But, she's had enough with fighting right now and so she'll let it drop for the moment. And it doesn't take long to get distracted. "/Strip/ poker? Come on, I can barely play regular poker. I might as well just be naked to start out with."

But … that's … Well /fine/. Lachlan mulls this over for a beat or two, then shrugs casually. "A'righ'." And then he proceeds to tug up the hem of Cass' shirt, because if she's /going/ to be naked to start out with, he should at /least/ get to participate in the stripping, right?

"H-hey!" Cass can't help but laugh. She should have seen this coming, but her mind was already wandering. "I was /kidding/!" But, she doesn't really fight the tugging up her shirt. In fact, she gives an impish grin and pulls at his shirt. Because it's not fair that /she/ should be the only one getting naked here. Who needs poker?

Well, a game of strip is just as effective and it cuts out the need to look for playing cards. That grin finds its way onto Lachlan's face too before he moves in for a kiss. And with a perfectly sturdy table right there, who needs a bed either? Cutting corners is fun.

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