(2018-10-28) Apology Gift
Vic drops by Starkweather Music to bring Calvin a small gift for having to push his case back a few days. Or at least that's her excuse.
Players:
calvin..vic..

Starkweather Music is a large refurbished brick building near Smelter and University. The store has a warm ambience, which must be tricky to accomplish in such a large space. The first story is dedicated to a long line of counters and displays of guitars, acoustic, electric and bass and another display of classical instruments. The back half is mostly vinyl records and according to signage, the music workshop and lesson space. Upstairs, the walls are lined with the more expensive guitars. The large floor space here is where the drum kits, keyboards, pianos live. The further back is the sound equipment section and anything else you may need as a DJ. The office must be here as the ubiquitous Staff Only door is up here. The building next door was purchased by Starkweather and has a sign announcing an expansion into rental studio space and inside, the walls look the same but sounds of construction are often heard.

Starkweather Music is OPEN for business and Calvin is in. He is in the store nearly every day. He's very hands-on. Twitter or Facebook posts of him at the register checking out excited fans are not uncommon. Also, if people call asking if he's there, employees are instructed to tell the truth. It's not terrible busy this afternoon though. Just a pair of clerks are here. One is fussing with a register while the other is helping a greasy teen pick out an acoustic guitar.

*

Vic had a really terrible night last night, thanks to the carnival, the dead body, the long process of giving her statement, and then being up late hacking up all the smoke out of her lungs. As such, she had to reschedule her trip to Denver, and needs to let Calvin know. She comes to his music store bearing gifts by way of apology at least.

The PI is in jeans. Boots, and a white t-shirt that says "Bad Cop, No Donut" on it. There is a canvas messenger bag slung crossbody, the bulk resting on one hip. It looks like she came by bus and the mighty power of her two feet, which likely means she's been drinking. One thing she won't do is ride her Triumph when she's been drinking steadily. It's too special to risk wrecking, and she's too smart to be that stupid.

He might remember how she was in high school; the clean-cut detective's daughter, top 1% of the class in grades, sang in the show choir, tutored other kids, long hair, almost no makeup, a naturally pretty girl who was great with computers from their onset in the school system. She didn't drink, or smoke, or do drugs, and she was the one who always drove home the wasted kids at school parties and football games. She was a good kid, who wanted to keep her record spotless for the police academy. In the yearbook she was "Most Likely To Arrest Us In the Future". Where that sweet thing went is anyone's guess, as she seems long gone; it's like a mocha Frappuccino became bitter black coffee over time. The woman Victoria Carmichael morphed into steps into the store with the jingle jangle of bells.

*

The clerks both look up when the doors chime. The one with the greasy kid gets back to his hard sell. The register fixer knows Vic. She was the kid of an old cheating client. Typical story there. Vic may not even remember. But young lady does and beams at Vic. "Hi, Mrs. Grey!" Her name tag says Denise. "Welcome to Starkweather Music! How can I help you?" She chirps. "I never got a chance to thank you for exposing my dad. The divorce was the best thing that ever happened to my Mom. She's in India doing the Eat, Pray, Love thing."'

*

Vic remembers the face but names are harder since she's been perpetually at least buzzed for the last decade and a half. The nametag gets a quick glance and one side of her mouth comes up a tiny bit - her version of a smile. "Denise. Glad to hear your mom is doing well." Small talk is uncomfortable for the PI, probably not a great trait for a snoopy detective. She tilts her chin towards rest of the place. "Is Calvin in? I need to chat with him."

*

"He /is/!" Denise says, leaning in and hushing. "I was at the carnival when the fire broke out. I was stuck near the top of the ferris wheel. Saw it all." She frowns. "I know he and Mat and Mrs. Shay were there but he came in not long after my shift started. He had a bag of fast food and went straight to his office. Hasn't left since." She points in the general direction of the offices. "—Through the staff door and down the hall. His office is right at the end.

Upstairs, past the staff door is a mostly a bright open breakroom with lockers, a pair of tables and a couch in front of a flat screen TV. There is a short hall and at the end is a dark wooden door. It has a garish golden star in the style of old movie dressing rooms. It simply reads: Calvin Shay, Owner. It's written in his handwriting over the star, adding to the silliness of it.

*

Vic strolls her way through the store, looking around to reacquaint herself with it. She hadn't been by in a bit, since picking up some vinyl for her dad's birthday a while back. She maneuvers up the stairs, through the break room, and down the hall, grinning at the star on the door. She raps on it with the back of her knuckles and calls out. "Telegram! Candygram! Landshark!"

*

There is a small commotion in the office. Maybe someone falling? "Ugh—Come on in!" Calvin calls…from the floor behind his desk. It was someone falling. Calvin seems to have tipped backward and slammed against the wall before crumpling down there. "I'm fine! Just fine!" He's quickly on his knees, at least, peering at Vic over the desk. "Oh. Hey! How're feeling?" Calvin says, picking himself and the chair back up. He looks like shit. Unrested, unshowered, completely rumpled. His hair might still have some soot on it. His clothes are different but the cleanliness of them is debatable. The simple t-shirt and jeans combo look like they came from the bottom of a hamper.

At least the office is nice. Not terribly large but bright with big windows and fair colors. The desk and chairs are totally money though. So is the minimalist art. His desk has family pictures. A wedding picture is front and center. Dex is the groom, in a dark suit with short, neatly gelled hair and the bigger smile. Beside him is Calvin, the Best Man, clearly. He is beaming too with a guitar hanging from his back. The brothers looked so happy.

*

Vic opens the door, brows raised in curiosity at the commotion. She closes the door behind her before stepping up to the desk to look down at Calvin's face. "Let me guess. You slept in that chair, and I just startled you awake?" she asks, folding her arms over her chest. There's only a little bit of judgement in her expression. She's faceplanted at her desk in the Agency more than once and woken up to a trail of drool connecting her to some unfortunate case file. She slides down into a chair and frowns at him. "You've been here all night, haven't you? You didn't look like you were in a good headspace after the carnival fiasco." She stretches out her legs and crosses them at the ankles.

*

"Close!" Calvin admits, sitting back in the chair. That's money too. New money. "I went home with my mom. Mat came too and after we all calmed down and my folks were in bed, Mat and I stayed up. Talked the rest of the night. We left after breakfast. I tried to sleep but…" He shrugs. "So I came into work and /then/ I fell asleep only to be startled by you. So almost." He smiles, pleasantly, as if he was never bothered.

That's Calvin Shay for you. He and Dex were similar that way. Always happy kids. Popular and well-liked. They milked that identical twin look, both of them rocking the same floppy haircut and outfits that didn't exactly match but it was enough to confuse people. Which was their mission statement as soon as they started school. "But uh, no…Mat scared me bad. Plus, I'm claustrophobic. I would have never went in that fun house if I wasn't following Mom and I didn't expect so many people. Oh…and the fire too." He leans on his desk. "Cops came for their statement this morning. I couldn't tell them much. I kinda black out a little when I panic."

*

Vic leans her elbow on the chair arm and presses her hand to her mouth, trying not to chuckle at Calvin's current state. It's just interesting to not be the one being scraped up off the pavement for once. "Well, I come bearing gifts. I was supposed to be in Denver today to work on your case, but I was up all night giving the police statements and apologizing for my well-meaning assistant moving the dead body, and coughing up both lungs, so I've had to push it back to mid-week."

She opens the flap on her messenger bag and fishes out a handful of game tickets. "My assistant managed to score four tickets for me for the UCC game, from Everett Franklin himself, and I thought it might be nice to have you, your mom, and Mat be my guests. Get you all over that fun house with a nice open air stadium and some football." Is she coloring a bit around her ears? Is that almost a blush?

*

Calvin lights up at the sight of game tickets. "Oh shit. I did want to catch a game this season. Thanks! I'll probably bring my dad though. Mom isn't the type but he and Mat get into full arguments about football. I mean, they love each other but they get really heated over sports. I almost called the cops during the last world cup." He sighs. "Don't worry about rushing up to Denver. We just went through a whole fucking /thing/ so, take your time. Her lawyer and my lawyer are in contact and mine knows not to call about it unless it's dire." He coughs a little, then a lot before spitting into his trash can. "Sorry. So, when's the game?"

*

"Tuesday night, if it's not too soon for you," Vic replies with a nervous smile. "Mat is family of some sort?" She asks curiously. The coughing and spitting has her frowning deeply though, and sitting up. "Did you stop and see any of the paramedics after you got out of the funhouse? You might need to get some pure oxygen in there, to clear out your lungs and get your sats up to normal, Cal. Smoke inhalation is no joke. Damn EMTs kept me sitting on the bumper of their rig with a mask for 20 minutes last night."

*

"Mat's my brother-in-law. Mateo Shay. Dex married him the year before he passed." Calvin answers, looking for his smartphone. "They'd been together since like, 2000 though so Mat's family. He's also an amazing audio engineer, which is how I met him in the first pla—There you are!" He finds his phone on the floor and enters the date. "No, I didn't see a paramedic. None of us did. I can call a doc out to the Ranch to check on us though, if you're that concerned." He eyes her, lips quirked on one side.

*

"I'd do that, especially for your mom. But you too. I don't like the sound of that cough," Vic notes with concern in her eyes. At the news of Mat's identity she ponders quietly a moment. "Dex didn't go public until just a little while before he passed, right? That has me thinking…did Dex ever mention some crazy chick trying to blackmail him with a kid he couldn't have possibly fathered? If I were a low life golddigger like this baby mama, I'd have gone for the twin brother first. Less publicity, more likely to just want it to be handled quietly and paid off, than a superstar needing a paternity test to clear his name," she points out.

*

"I'll call a doctor out for the lot of us, alright?" Calvin taps that out on his phone. "Yeah, Dex was in Narnia for a long time. He didn't tell the family until after he met Mat." Beat. "I mean, I knew since I knew what being gay was. But we're twins so…" He shrugs. "That's why I call it Narnia. It was a fantasy. And…yeah, his coming out was on the cover of People. They bought the photo rights to the wedding. This was right before the Supreme Court decision too. It was a whole fucking deal." He pauses to think. "Jenna ain't a bright girl. Pretty. Sweet. Stupid. But…Dex and I share the same DNA. Stupid broad. She could have blamed Dex for her kid and yeah, it would be a bigger pain in the ass to argue. I mean, yeah, he was in a long term gay relationship but what does that really mean, right?"

*

"Can you get me access to his text and email accounts? I'll be respectful, I promise. But if she figured this out shortly after she had the kid, she might have contacted him. And he probably shut her down with his orientation. But if the mails are still there…" Vic trails off. If they're still there, they are evidence that she's just a flat out liar trying to get to the Shay money.

*

"Ha! This chick…" He starts tapping through his phone. "I'll text you his info. I'm his estate guy so it's cool with me. It's all as he left it. He never mentioned this to me but…he wouldn't. He always saw me as the emotionally vulnerable one and would have very well hid a stupid baby mama drama from me."

*

"I'll still head up to Denver, since that won't stand alone, but we'll get you through this Cal, I promise," Vic swears with a small smile. For her that's a huge smile. "You should go home and get some real rest and see that doc at the ranch. It's nice to have you back in town, really, and I'd be sorely disappointed if you dropped from smoke inhalation before the game." To have someone to talk to that climbed out of the pits of addiction, who might be able to inspire her to the same, is a good thing. "So uh, I'll see you Tuesday? I can meet you at the stadium entrance?" She stands up and brushes her hands down the thighs of her jeans, like one would smooth down a skirt.

*

Calvin stands up and comes from around the desk. He intends to walk her out. Like a gentleman. "I have your orders, ma'am." He opens the office door for her. "I have no intention on missing out on Tuesday." He says with effortless charm and a big grin.

*

Oh damn, that is definitely a blush this time. Vic shoves her hands in her pockets and even smiles more broadly. "See you then, Cal," she says before she heads out, a mantra in her head repeating 'notadatenotadatenotadate'.

(feel free to tag the log with character names of those involved!)

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