2007-05-16: What's Family For?


Jessica_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif Monica_icon.gif

Summary: Jessica — and Niki — get ready for the trip to Nevada, which for the former, includes asking Monica for a favour when she returns from New Orleans.

Date It Happened: May 16th, 2007

What's Family For?

Monica's House, NYC

Evening has fallen. The house is empty, save for one person: Jessica, but that doesn't mean she's alone. The closet door is ajar; there's a suitcase open on the floor, and she's tossing clothes into it item by item. Eventually, she shuts the door, coming face-to-face with the full-length mirror nailed to the outside.

"I can do this. We were doing okay, me and Micah and D.L. We were making it work," says the reflection in the mirror, more imploring, more accusing, and less calm than the woman on the outside.

"How, Niki? How long do you think you could make it work on a cheap bookstore salary parttime and D.L. running jobs you don't even know about on the side? Wake up. It's time to move on."

"Move on. Move on!" Paint Niki incredulous. "You're tearing my life apart, what choice do I have?"

"Hm." Jessica smiles. "I told you I'd show you. You said it yourself, didn't you? You don't have a choice, Niki. Survival of the freakin' fittest. Life's a bitch and then you die, or — you can be the bitch and survive. That's why you're going to tell me where the money is."

"You have to trust D.L." Niki crosses her arms, facing down her alter ego with an edge to her voice.

"Oh, I trust him alright. I trust him to do what I say. He loves you. It's pathetic, really, after what we've done to him."

"That was you," Niki snaps.

Jessica scoffs, crossing her arms as well, more firmly, her shoulders squared with confidence. "Please. You're as guilty as I am."

"He saved me. He saved us."

"And do you think we woulda needed saving, if--"

"Stop it," Niki shouts. She doesn't want to hear anymore, but maybe she's been decided all along when she says, "I'll tell you where the money is. It's outside. Six steps from the back door, two to the left."

"Good girl. Time to get rich."

Cut to… Monica's backyard, an hour later

It's getting to be a late hour, the city having been urged into darkness long ago. The night is still, a faint drizzle threatening the air with moisture. The house is still and dark; D.L., in his infinite wisdom - or need to get the hell away from his wife's alter ego - is nowhere to be seen, and must have taken Micah with him. Point being, the house is empty. Niki isn't home so it would seem. Outside, in the modest back yard, /something/ is going on.

Thunk. Thunk. Scrape.

Is someone /digging/?

Monica has just gotten home, really. From New Orleans and taking care of Nana, in fact? She's still dragging a suitcase and calling out. "Hello?" She calls out and then pauses to hear that sound, frowning and dropping her bags and such as she moves to find a broom and head for the backyard, holding it at the ready. "…Aunt Niki? Micah? Uncle…D.L.?"

No, no, and no. However, Monica's first call looks to be right: there's Niki, in the backyard, a few paces from the scraggly tree that calls the yard home. She has a shovel - and she's digging a shallow hole. The marred earth of the lawn is muddy, as is the tip of the shovel, which stops its determined thrusting when Monica gets nearer. Niki - or more specifically, Jessica - is drenched in a fine layer of sweat and misty rain, her jeans and black tanktop laden down, but mostly, it's her blonde hair that sticks to her face. She just stares in the direction of the back door, squinting with a furrowed brow, watching for… Monica?

Monica peeks her head out of the backyard and then sorta collapses against the backdoor when she sees 'Niki'. "Oh goodness, lawd, thank goodness…Auntie…I got scared for a moment." She pauses and continues to hold that broom as she lifts a hand. "Hey! Everythin' cool?"

"…Yeah," 'Auntie' answers. Everything's cool. She's digging in a hole in Monica's backyard and that's nothing to worry about, right? Totally normal. Despite the fact that is not remotely normal for Niki to be wielding a shovel for some less-than-upstanding purpose - at least less normal than she'd like; this isn't the first time - Jessica gives her pseudo-relative a thin smile. "I'm just— gardening." Smooth. She rests a hand stiffly on the handle. "How was New Orleans?"

Monica just stares at Niki for a few moments, warily even as she turns around to make sure the door is shut, taking a few steps towards the blond with an easygoing smile, chuckling softly. "Oh, Nawlins was fine, Nana and 'em send their love…" She does seem to nod and be okay with this gardening excuse until…"Wait…if you is gardening, where are the flowers?" She looks around curiously.

There's a flash of silver amidst the muddy patch of dirt "Niki" has been working at; it's gradually becoming filled with swirling water from the damp earth and the light drizzle in the air. …Flowers? No answer. "Monica… hey, I have a favour to ask," Jessica implores, letting the shovel fall with a dull *thwap* into the grass and dirt. She's wearing Niki's voice: sincere, warm, worried about imposing. She steps toward the younger woman, heading toward the house gradually. "I know you just got back…"

Monica glances towards that flash of silver before looking back to Niki, squinting and offering another careful smile. "Sure…" Is offered uncertainly as she grips her broom tightly and just watches the woman. Who she will never understand. "I mean, I'm a bit tired but…"

Jessica looks over her shoulder at the project she's leaving behind with a fleetingly grim straightening of her mouth, but she walks with Monica into the house. Shoving her dampened hair out of her face by raking her fingers through it once she steps inside, she eventually perches on the arm of a chair. "We're heading to Vegas this weekend some stuff we left behind in Nevada," she begins. It's obvious, even as she begins, that there's a whole more to this story than she says right away: she lets that blatancy sneak into her voice. "D.L. is…" She looks down, feigning dejection, anxiety, like she's confiding in Monica. "…he has a job there. It's not … it's breaking the law, what he's doing."

Monica turns to head for the fridge, to work on seeing what they have to drink as she listens. Tiny little glances snuck to her Aunt as she just ahhs. "So I'll have the house to mahself?" Is drawled in soft curiosity before she sobers up and frowns. "Uh…hunh?" Blink-Blink and she places a hand on her hip. Broom? Is leaned against a counter. Worry for her uncle, obvious.

"That's… sort of what I wanted to talk to you about," Jessica-as-Niki says softly, looking up to watch Monica with worry wrought all over her face. Damn, Niki is going to get wrinkles at this rate if she's like this all the time. She slides off of the arm of the chair. "I'm going with him— on the job. It's probably a bad idea," she prefaces, "But … I don't know what else to do, I got fired from the bookstore and a lot's happened since you've been gone," the blonde says with a shake of her head. "I… I need someone to look after Micah." Pause. And the kicker… "In Vegas."

Monica just blinks and blinks again. "…I'm sorry. I don't…xactly follow? You know I got mah restaurant here…" She starts out carefully, frowning again. "Why don't you just send him to stay with Nana or…he could stay here wit' me…I don't mind at all."

"No, he has to come," the blonde insists - firmly, but with a reluctant and sad tone to her voice, not a demanding one, much to Jessica's chagrin. Threatening people is so much easier. "It'll only be for a few days-he's looking forward to it. It's always been home, you know?" She affects a sigh, shrugging her slender shoulders and strolling closer to the kitchen. There's a pause once she reaches the counter, leaning against it was well, but it's quick; Niki has a lot to say tonight. Fact. Truth: she can't say any of it. Jessica continues in her near-flawless mimicry. "I want Micah there, but I don't want him to get into trouble, and his grandmother doesn't want anything to do with me anymore or I'd let him stay there. I don't trust her not to try to take him away from me."

Monica just stares at Niki. "So…what in the hell exactly you expectin' me to do?" She finally asks bluntly. "Keep mah bags packed and head to Vegas with ya'll?"

Jessica hesitates and turns sympathetic blues on Monica as if Niki is just /so put out/ over having to ask her for this favour. "If everything goes how it's supposed to, we're gonna… well, we're not gonna have to worry about money, not for a long time. Maybe not ever! You either. You know D.L. wants to look out for you too." Her shoulders sink. "If it's too much to ask…"

Monica just stares at Jessica, lowering her eyes for a moment and sighing. "I'll be in mah room, call me when it's time for ya'll to go…I'll stay packed, I just need to…sleep." And with that she turns on her heel and takes the broom with her as she retreats to her room.

Jessica turns to watch Monica go and, as the young woman is about to disappear into her room, she calls out, still the mirror image (pun intended) of Niki, "Monica."

Monica pauses in the frame of her door to look over her shoulder with an arched eyebrow. "Yeah?"

Stone still, the D.L.'s emotion-wrought wife smiles tenuously, but her eyes say it all, and it's only partially fabricated: "Thank you."

Monica smiles, face lighting up as she shrugs her shoulders. "What's family for? Hmm? You welcome." Then she's into her room and shutting the door quietly.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License