2008-01-15: Ugly Secrets

Starring:

Heidi_icon.gif Lachlan_icon.gif

Summary:

Heidi and Lachlan both have problems that have to do with keeping secrets. They bond over booze. Heidi goes back to Lachlan and Cass' hotel room.

Date It Happened: January 15th, 2008

Ugly Secrets


Kalahari Water Hole

Heidi Petrelli has a secret.

It's a secret she's promised she wouldn't tell, despite the fact that she knows she can potentially save many, many lives by getting the word out. Telling could have a whole range of consequences, though. Logan could start killing people. He could kill her. The kids. Nathan could be institutionalised, cut off from people he loves, thereby giving him no chance of recovery. Heidi's weighed the options, and a week is fair. If she can't get him to come around, no one can, and yet… She doesn't have to sit at home and take the verbal abuse. She doesn't have to look at him, knowing damn well that it's Nathan, stuck inside the psyche of someone he doesn't want to be.

It - in a word - sucks.

There are about a hundred bars in the city with some deviation of 'watering hole' in their names. This one just happens to be the 'Kalahari Water Hole,' and it is in this one that Heidi finds herself. She's… not dressed to impress. In fact, it looks like she walked out of the house in something close to pajamas. An old black t-shirt that looks like it might have been used as a smock at one point, and black track pants. Her hair's pulled back, and her blue eyes are looking down at some sort of mixed drink that's already three quarters gone. Though seated at the bar, most people are ignoring her. She's never been here before.

Neither has Lachlan, but it was the closest place to the hotel. He's been extra cautious about going out lately, but the mini-bar ran out, and he wasn't too impressed with the prices at the hotel bar. So he found the closest place to get drunk with plans to drop by the nearest booze-selling store on the way home. Besides, he hates being cooped up now. There's only so much TV he can watch. So he's seated at the bar as well and is being ignored, already pretty far in his single-handed attack on New York's scotch reserves. Ironically, he's dressed pretty well, but that's because his wardrobe lacks grimy things now. He's been watching Heidi for a few minutes now, trying to figure out where he's seen her before (his mind's a bit hazy). When it finally dawns on him, he picks up his drink and moves down the bar toward her. "Hey," he grunts. "Yer, uh … yer. Ye were there when Cass was shot." Bad with names.

As Lachlan approaches, Heidi kind of ignores him. She's not here looking for guys, and most people would recognise her, anyway. Her best shot is to give the offending party the cold shoulder and hope they go away! It's not too often that Heidi sits around drowing her sorrows. In fact, the last time she remembers drinking out of despair was when she got a C in a class back in college.

Then, Lachlan mentions Cass, and the woman turns her eyes to him. Smiles a little. "Hey, Lachlan," she says. The smile fade pretty much instantly after that, as she supplies her own name, "Heidi," as it seems he's forgotten. That's okay; they met under duress. Suddenly feeling the need to defend why she's here, she fumbles over the next statement: "Needed to get— uh. Out. For awhile."

Heidi! That's it. He knew it started with an H. She really doesn't need to defend herself to Lachlan, but he feels a bit of the same need as well. He is, after all, in a bar without Cass and has a history of cheating. "Oh, uh, yeah. Me too." He takes the seat next to hers and waves the bartender over for another refill. "Things've been a bit … rough."

Heidi looks back at her glass. By the look in her eyes, she's already had a couple, and she's seriously contemplating another. It doesn't help. She knows it never helps, except that it gives her a headache in the morning, and now she's going to have to go home to Logan drunk. This was a bad idea— "Me, too," she says to the bartender.

Rough. Things have been rough. That's putting it mildly. "Yeah. They have," Heidi replies. As the bartender brings her another drink, she takes a sip. Laughs. "I don't even like this drink, you know? Seems strong enough, though." There's a smile, but it's gone again as her attention goes from Lachlan to the rough surface of the bar. "Have you ever tried to prevent something, only to make it worse?"

Drinking helps Lachlan, but only temporarily. And scotch is the best he can do. The question causes him to peer down into his glass, spinning it slowly between thumbs and forefingers on the bar. "Yeah. Tried ta no' tell anyone 'bout somethin' tha' was happenin', an' then it just … got worse. S'why things're rough."

Sigh. He casts a glance over at Heidi, brow furrowing. "S'hard knowin' wha' ta do, y'know? D'ye say somethin' an' risk losin' everythin', 'r d'ye keep yer trap shut an' lose it all anyway?"

Yes, this is exactly the situation in which Heidi has found herself. No matter what she does, she's essentially screwed, and despite thinking about the answer to this question for hours, she can't decide on a solution either way. At the end of a week, she loses Nathan forever. That was the promise, and in order to keep her boys safe - herself safe - she has to honour it. If there's another way, she hasn't come upon it yet. "It's kind of like you and I are going through the same thing," she says. Somehow, a quarter of her glass is already gone. Oops! In any case, she's pretty sure that Lachlan's significant other is not harbouring a second personality, but the situations are overlapping just slightly. Maybe she could tell him. They're at a bar— No. Well… "One of my friends I've known for a really long time is a totally different person now. I don't even know them anymore. We used to be close. Now— " She decides to make Nathan a 'she' for this. She doesn't want anyone turning suspicion to Nathan. "…Now she's made it very clear that she doesn't… " The statement ends with her shaking her head.

Not quite the same situation Lachlan is going through, but he can relate on some level. His brow furrows more at that. "Tha's rough, yeah. But mebbe s'time ta move on." He is, of course, assuming this is an old friend who has gradually changed, not a sudden abrupt change. He's not reading the situation correctly.

Heidi can't move on. Moving on from Logan would be giving up on Nathan. Lachlan might not like her husband, but Heidi's been through so much with him, that this seems like a really crummy time to leave… When he needs her most. Not really wanting to clarify, she says, "Yeah, it might be." With her drink half-gone, she looks over at Lachlan, tilting her head and raising an eyebrow. She's waiting for his story now. Granted, the stereotype that Scots don't need an excuse to drink might apply here, but he's already stated that it's something else.

Lachlan blinks, then realizes he's expected to have a go. When it dawns on him, he looks down into his glass again. Heidi's not the only one with secrets. He doesn't exactly want to give much away either.

"I, uh. Kept somethin' from someone fer a while. Somethin' 'bout me tha's, uh. Pretty bad. An' it got ta a point where s'been even worse fer us. Almost ended us when I finally told 'er." Okay, so he's not that good at being vague. Cass has started some seed of honesty in him that's hard to shake, apparently.

Shouldn't she be laughing or something? Isn't this Happy Hour? Yeah! She should be finding all this really hilarious, and yet, the more she talks, and the more Lachlan talks, the sadder she feels. Where she doesn't know the exact reason for their relationship troubles, she can guess that it's about him and Cass. Maybe it's the drinks, but she's about to make Lachlan hate Nathan even more.

"Nathan… has had…" Several "…an affair. Not too long ago." She closes her eyes, bites the inside of her bottom lip. "You … work through. It's easy to end things, but you work through." Maybe that's not as encouraging as she wanted it to be. Her drink is gone, though, and after she hails for another, she drops her head onto the bar with a loud thud.

Lachlan's not finding any of this hilarious either. He frowns into his glass again, lips pursed. If he didn't trust Cass, he'd be extremely unhappy about her friendship with Nathan after that revelation, but he does trust her. He can't really be righteously enraged at the idea either — because he's been a cheating bastard too. "Yeah, we're … we're werkin' on it. S'no' easy."

He sighs again and then — thud. He glances over at Heidi, perplexed, then tentatively reaches out a hand to rest on her shoulder. "Hey, c'mon. Dunna be like tha'." It makes him feel kinda cruddy too. "S'gonna get better." Right?

Thud. Her head hits the countertop again.

Then her drink arrives, and she sits up. That was actually kind of painful! Putting a cold hand on the back of her neck, she just stares at the glass. "It's not easy." Heidi exhales sharply - a silent laugh. There's more bad than good in the world. And even if you're a good person, it seems like bad things are unavoidable.

"Yeah, it'll get better," she says quietly. It always seems to, and even this can't crush that little spark of optimism. "Not sure how at this point, but I know it will. I tell that to the kids a lot." Her voice breaks at this point. She's going to cry. Look out, Lachlan. "I have to be strong, but I just need— I need a little while to fall apart, so I'm here. I can… be strong tomorrow." That said, she drains half her glass. "After the headache."

It's amazing. In all the misery, Lachlan didn't think he'd find someone having a worse time right now than he was. Not even at a bar. His hand remains on her shoulder and gives an encouraging squeeze. "Must be harder with kids." He's given kids a lot of thought ever since Peter came back from the future saying that Lachlan and Cass had one. It's still a very bizarre sort of idea, but he can understand it now, too. "Well listen, if ye need anythin', lemme know an' I can try ta help." This stems from that whole bit where she's worse off than he is.

For once, Heidi wouldn't argue that she's having the worst time in the world at the moment. She knows that this Logan will, in the future, become president and ruin everything for the entire country. There are lives on the line. Stupidly, though, she wants to reach him. Get through to him, and that's the thought that keeps her quiet. "I — Don't— I can't— " She needs something. She needs a place to stay for the night, because she's terrified that Logan will take advantage of her while she's drunk, and despite the fact that she knows Logan, Heidi doesn't want him touching her. "I can't go home."

Well, he said he'd help, and that one's pretty easy. He can understand the reasoning, too, because he doesn't want to go home either (but for a rather different reason). That's why they've got a hotel room. Lachlan considers it a moment before he utters, "Well, listen, Cass an' I've got a hotel room. S'no' too far from here. Ye can come stay with us fer a bit. S'got two beds." Two because Cass was mad at him when they checked in.

Despite some appearances, it's a wholly innocent gesture. This time last year, it would not have been, because this time last year, Lachlan had no qualms about taking advantage of a drunk and bereaved woman. How times have changed.

It's a damn good thing that Lachlan isn't tempted to take advantage of Heidi. With a little leading at this point… well, it's hard to say no when you're drunk, and Heidi definitely is. While she wouldn't actively throw herself on Lachlan… well. At this point, she's sure she's lost Nathan forever and ever, and she needs some cheering up, and— but no. Not if there's the slightest glimmer of hope.

Heidi doesn't answer. She just kind of nods. Yeah, that's a good idea. She'll stay at a hotel for the night. She's sure Logan must be gone again by now, anyway. He hasn't really been keeping up his end of the bargain — he probably won't even miss her. Eying her glass again, she states, "My drink's gone."

Even inebriated as he is, it's doubtful Lachlan would even be receptive. He's been there and done that once, and he knows what would happen if it occurred again. Plus, his relationship is not on the rocks — a little bumpy right now, sure — and he doesn't have the added pressure of his significant other not being herself. He's in a safe place, and so is Heidi.

The Scot grins a little. "S'a'righ', we can pick up somethin' on the way back. Was gonna get some anyway, b'cause the mini-bar's out in the room." Travesty! He rises off his stool and digs around for his wallet to pay for his drinks, then pauses. "D'ye wanna call Nathan an' tell 'im where ye'll be in case he needs ye?"

AAAAAAAAH CALL NATHAN NO.

Bright red, blaring alarms go off inside her head with enough force to sober her. While her eyes widen and she makes a gasping sound of protest, Heidi manages to collect herself enough where she doesn't shout 'NO' in the middle of the bar. Bad idea. Bad idea calling Nathan.

"I've got my cell phone," she says, indicating the pocket in her purse. "He's been busy with a project all week. I told him I'd be out tonight, anyway. I don't think he'll worry." …Even so, she seems suspiciously uncomfortable with the very idea of talking to Nathan.

Afraid, even.

And it only just now occurs to Lachlan that Something Is Up — but then he's never been the most observant of people. So it takes a blatant clue such as this to even give him the idea that all is not right at the Petrelli household. He stares at Heidi a moment, frowns, but nods. "A'righ', then, dunna worry 'bout it." Because she seems to be worrying. A lot. And now Lachlan's ire for Nathan is starting to rise again. What the hell has he done this time?

Whatever, he's not going to question or press right now. Heidi needs somewhere to go and relax and take her mind off things for a bit, and that's the important part. Nathan and whatever it is that he's done can wait. "C'mon, let's get outta here." And pray they're not followed back to the hotel — in any sense.

Despite being slightly drunk, she seems to have an okay time walking. There's a few incidents where she seems about ready to fall over, though she recovers. Heidi is a woman who can hold her liquor, as she's demonstrated several times. Still, when your blood alcohol level is fairly high, you're still going to wobble a little.

When she's sure she has her feet, she nods, holding onto Lachlan's shoulder in a silent bid for support.

If he knew what happened to Nathan, maybe he wouldn't be so quick to direct his anger at the man. It's not her husband that's doing this, after all… It's a part of him, sure, but this is an illness. No one can reach him, because only one person knows; Logan has left no way in to Nathan, either. He's like a brick wall. "Thank— Thank you," she slurs as she heads for the door.

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