2010-06-21: You Can't Go Home Again



NPC: Charles Kirkwood

Date: June 21, 2010


As one door opens, another closes.

"You Can't Go Home Again"

Randall's apartment

Carrie is slowly getting used to the idea of living with Randall. All the usual complaints - toilet seat up, hair, etc etc are things she's already used to, and Randall at least bathes regularly and has decent dental hygiene, so no complaints there. But this whole romance thing. That's another matter entirely. Nobody ever tells you how long it takes to get used to sharing a bed with someone. (About 24 hours, after which time you're so tired you could sleep well next to a hungry leopard. Soooft. Fuzzzy…) They don't warn you about the ups and downs of trusting someone else with so much of how you feel about the world. And then, of course, there are second thoughts. When she's alone, Carrie has more than once questioned the wisdom of this. And yet. And yet. He makes her feel wanted. Like this thing that has stood between her and normal people for the last however many years of her life is not only not a problem, it's actively interesting. And for that small investment of caring - not that he stopped there - Randall won the girl's heart. It's just all a bit of a shock.

Carrie's lying on the aforementioned bed in her pajamas, reading a comic book, feeling rather lazy, like she should be out hunting for a job.

It's been a rollercoaster for Randall, too. He doesn't think he's rebounding from any of his past mess-ups, but is he too close to the situation to tell? Not like he can talk about it with her, either - it would be super incredibly awkward, plus she only knows the barest outlines of the history anyway. And what's with the little piles of new stuff here and there? That couldn't have all fit in her backpack. For all he raves about learning about new things, this is an awful lot at once.

Not that he'd trade it for the world.

He wandered out to the kitchen a while back to figure out breakfast… a long while back, long enough to either be working on something fancy, or have gotten distracted. It proves to be the latter; he's on the phone as he reappears in the doorway. "You're sure? I mean, I get it, I'm halfway across the country and—" Leaving that sentence half-finished, he walks over and sits down on the mattress, resting a hand on Carrie's shoulder. "And if it's really what you want, hey, great… it'll just take me a little while to wrap my head around it, you know?"

Carrie looks up from the comic book (looks like an issue of AKA Goldfish dating to the early 1990s) but doesn't say anything. She tries to keep her expression from looking too concerned, but… she still feels awful about Portia, and it's too easy to jump to the conclusion that he's talking to her right now. Carrie doesn't say anything though, just watches and listens. And waves. And pets his hand. And sets the comic book down with the care a 15 year old comic book deserves.

The other voice, also male, can be faintly heard even from a few feet away. "Okay, dad," Randall says after a little bit, "call me back when you get the schedule worked out?" Aha, so that's who he's talking to. "Things here are… interesting, but I should be able to get a little time off and come help out." His lips quirk into a frown: he's not telling the whole story, nor even particularly pretending like he is.

Carrie relaxes and chuckles softly. "Hi dad." she says, perhaps loud enough for the phone to pick up. She watches Randall's reaction, and tries to ignore the conversation she's trying to listen in on. Ugh. It gets complicated.

Sounds like it was loud enough after all - whatever Randall's dad is saying, he sounds pretty amused now, while Randall himself sighs and flops onto his back. "I will! Okay, I gotta— yeah. Bye."

Hanging up the phone and tossing it onto a pile of clean laundry waiting to be put away, he turns to Carrie and tugs at her waist, laughing. "Oh, you just had to do that, huh? I was gonna bring up that subject… when he called back…"

Carrie giggles and smiles and scootches closer to Randall. She nods, her expression growing more serious for a moment. "I figured if there was screaming to be done about living in sin, might as well get it over with, you know? But he didn't sound that upset.

Randall shakes his head. "Well, he just knows that you're here, not that you're living here… but he did notice how early in the morning it is." Even earlier for the dad, assuming he's still back in California. "I really don't know how he'd take it— I mean, he knows what I came out here looking for, but only a little of what I actually found. He's pretty good at trying to reach out, though."

Carrie nods. "He has the same ability you do? Seeing auras and all that?" Carrie scratches her head and pets Randall's cheek. "I mean, it's not like you're a kid or anything. I keep saying to myself that he's not going to mind, that nobody but you and I care about all this. And then I keep thinking about Portia. so I dunno.

That catches Randall even more off guard. "What—? No, he just knows about it, he isn't involved in it. We had some arguments sometimes… he still kind of thinks I'm off being a damn fool, he just figures I at least know how to keep my head about water while I'm doing it." Sitting up, he draws his knees to his chest, absently staring off at nothing in particular. "Anyway, the thing is, he's looking at selling the old place, getting a condo in Florida. Too much empty space - mom passed away several years back - and with me gone on top of that…"

Carrie looks up at Randall and sits up as well. She reaches over to touch his face. "So the old homestead will be gone, huh? You grew up there? One place the whole time?"

Randall nods. "Most of it— we moved when I was about two years old, so I don't remember anything about the old place except seeing a couple photos of it later." Beat. "The other thing is— he wanted to see if I could take some time off, come help him move stuff. Assuming he goes through with it. I'd pretty much have to quit the office temp job to do it, not that that's anything new…"

Carrie nods. "On the California end or the Florida end?" She says softly. Sure. They can pick up when he gets back. Sure. She's not attached to this little place. For pete's sake she's lived here less than a month. It's not like she's put down roots here. Right?

"Oh, he's got a couple of friends in California to help on that end," Randall explains. "And he'd sell some of the stuff anyway— it's Florida where he needs help unpacking everything. I think a week would probably be enough to at least clear through the most important stuff… I just hate the idea of not getting to see you for that long, I mean I could call but it wouldn't be the same." Not like having her in his arms. It's so damn intoxicating… making it out to the day job has started requiring a force of will, just from that alone.

Carrie doesn't read minds in any fashion other than the original building plans that come with them about how to put them (back) together. So it's probably almost maybe complete coincidence that she takes that moment to slide into Randall's arms. "I'd go with you if I could afford to. But my nest egg isn't big enough for plane tickets anywhere. I'd have to find someone else who's rich and powerful with a critically injured daughter or something."

Instinctively, Randall draws her closer, and thinks for a second. "Well— I don't know anyone like that, otherwise I would've told you already. But he might be willing to cover a second ticket for an extra set of hands— I'd have to ask him. He's in pretty good shape, there's just a lot of stuff even if it's cut down some." So no big opportunities to save the day there, either, unless maybe something heavy gets dropped on a foot.

Carrie shrugs. "I'm not all that strong or anything, but if he's looking for warm body labor… heck, I'm just about to the point of going and standing in the line with all those guys who don't speak English for day labor, and this would at least get me to Florida." She chews her lip a moment. "Florida with you." she adds.

Another laugh. "I like the sound of that. Just don't stand in that line down there, I think they have one too." That plan settled for now, Randall moves closer and—

They're going to be occupied for a while. Maybe lunch is still in the cards…

Carrie chuckles and closes her eyes and relishes the touches and the intimacy, and the richness of the emotions she's feeling. She lets one hand sink into Randall's back and keeps the other free to play with his hair. There were times when she doubted, after the mangling she's been through, that she could ever be happy again. But this? This is what happiness feels like.

Maybe dinner.

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