(2018-11-13) The Mistake He Made
Calvin runs to Vic's after a shocking encounter. She goes from patient to caregiver.
Players:
calvin..vic..

Vic has gone through pure unadulterated hell for the last week. There was puking and headaches and fevers, but she thankfully didn't have any seizures from the DTs. Willow has been there every day, keeping the place clean, sleeping on Vic's couch, making her eat and say hydrated, and being the receiver of God only knows how much verbal abuse. On the shifts Calvin has taken, it's probably most interesting when she sleeps, as little as that is. She has nightmares often, and her sleep is tumultuous, resulting in him getting a glimpse of the belt of floral tattoos around her waist. It's impressive, and old school style tattoo art.

Today she is past the worst of it, and Willow has gone out to do her laundry for her at the Suds n' Duds. Vic is at the small table in front of her 'murder board' sipping coffee and tacking up information for Katherine's case. She's feeling well enough to work, even though she looks like roadkill. She's in sweatpants and a tee-shirt with a hoodie, and slippers.

*

Calvin was a kitten compared to the raging beast that began this journey with her. He was kind to Vic, making it clear that he always there if she needed anything. Anything but booze. But he was never pushy about it, usually only looking up his smartphone or tablet when addressed…but her nightmares unnerved him. That's when Vic would wake to find him sitting closer than he'd been before. Calvin lets himself in after a firm knock and a holler once inside. Yes, of course, he had a key made for this occasion. Calvin approaches Vic and hangs his apartment key on the board. He's bundled from the cold, sure but he's added his hat and a large pair of sunglasses. It's kinda odd. Especially as he doesn't remove anything right away. "You seem to be feeling better. This is Kate's case, yeah? What's hers about…if I may ask?" He sounds like he's been gargling gravel. Hoarse and deep.

*

Vic runs a hand through her hair, as if concerned about her appearance at Calvin's arrival, hilariously, as if he hasn't just seen her a full week being a regurgitation machine. A brow arches at the hat and shades, and them not being removed. "That depends, are you going to be coming on to Grey Investigations as a silent partner? Otherwise its confidential client info." Is she joking? Or is it a legit suggestion? "And didn't your momma tell you not to wear a hat and sunglasses inside a home?" She chin tips to the pot of coffee brewed and ready on the kitchen counter.

*

"Mom taught me a lot of things." He grumbles as he serves himself some coffee. He hesitates at the pot before grunting to himself, "Your voice is already fucked, drink the damn coffee." And that he does. "I can be a silent partner…an investor, if you ever consider expansion. But I think you're alright without me." His words sounds far sadder than they need to be. "I just needed to know if I was allowed to look at the board. I don't mean to—whatever." He then starts to unbundle. It's obvious once the glasses come off that he's been crying. Like, he might have just pulled it together outside in his truck. Removed gloves reveal badly bandaged knuckles and grimy nails. He doesn't miss a beat as he turns back to Vic. "You can have the key I made. You don't need babysitting, I think…or do you?" He smiles a little and it even reaches his red, puffy eyes.

*

Vic waves a hand at the board. "You can look. Everything up there is public information and Katherine has no issues with sharing it if it leads to answers. Her family, other than her and two younger sisters, were killed in a car accident some years back. Head on collision with a stolen truck, driver fled the scene, police never ID'd him. I'm working on it for her, hope to give her some clos-…"

She stops mid-sentence as she sees his face and his hands. "What the actual fuck, Calvin? Are you all right? What happened!? Sit!" That last comes out as authoritative as she can make it while still at quarter steam from her detox. She grabs a first aid kit off the top of the fridge and sets it on the table, opening it to rummage through for some antibiotic ointment and bandages. "Out with it. And yeah, though I can maybe manage it on my own, I think you need the key. Because I'm pretty sure there will be emergencies with my sobriety and I trust you in my home." That is a LOT coming from a former cop. She shoves a box of tissues over to him.

*

At first, Calvin seems confused at Vic's concern. As if he's forgotten that he looks and sounds a bit like he's been ground up and spit out. He sits as told and blinks dumbly at Vic. "I'm fine. Nothing happened." The disconnect here is real. He doesn't even look at his hands and when he sniffles, he simply wipes the snot away. "You're right. I'll keep the key. Emergencies happen." He looks over at the board. "Yeah. Kate and I talked a little about what happened. More from the emotional side but I didn't know there was a fleeing driver. You have any leads?" He rasps. Back to those hands. They are cut and bruised and scrapped. The cleanup job is just a step up from tying on a dirty rag. You can still see debris in the wounds. Hell, his wrists pop a little when he turns them.

Somewhere, there is a tree who is telling all his tree friends about the fight he just won.

*

"What in the sam hill did you punch, Calvin?" Vic asks, eying the wounds as she wipes them clean with one of those antiseptic pads and spies the debris. "You're lucky I know first aid." She gets tweezers out of the box and grimaces at him. "This won't tickle, so hold still." She begins to pluck out the shards of tree one by one."

I'm just getting back into picking at Kate's case. I'm going to get emergency room records for the day of the accident, from every place within ten miles of the accident site. The collision killed a family, he couldn't have walked away unscathed, and must have needed medical treatment. I'm betting the PD checked the closest hospitals, but if this guy was on drugs, serious drugs, he likely was able to walk a lot further than a sober person. So I'm expanding the search area further than the cops would have."

*

<FS3> Vic rolls First Aid: Failure. (4 6 6 1 5)

*

Calvin hollers in pain and pulls his hands away. "Where did you learn first aid? Cracker Jack box?! For fuck's s-sake…" And this is the reconnect. His eyes water and he covers his face and leans forward. "Oh, Vic. I fucked up. I fucked up and just…forgot about it. Didn't even care! And then my fuckup came back. And it looked in my eyes and Dex would know what to do. He'd know what to say but he isn't f-fucking here and so I punched a tree in the family cemetery while yelling at Dex to just fucking talk to me. I prayed he'd answer. He didn't. So I punched more…then I, uh…seemed like I blinked and the next thing I recall was knocking on your door. That happens sometimes. Like blacking out minus the liquor."

*

Vic holds up a hand and makes soothing sounds, like one would to a skittish horse, or a crazy perp on the cop beat. "Cal, shh, it's ok, just tell me what happened. I have ears to listen, and God knows I owe you big for getting me sober." She takes his hand again, trying to be more gentle with it. "It was the police academy, more about getting it done than doing it gently I guess," she murmurs quietly. "Now what's this fuck up? Or who if you looked it in the eye?"

*

Calvin holds his hands to his chest for a moment longer. "It was so fucking stupid. I'm getting too old to fight with trees. I need my hands." Now he holds them back out as they tremble. "You're going to judge me." He says with a whimper. "I can't stand that. I hate to be judged on my bad acts when I try to do good. Do better. Be better. But all I am ever going to be is—is another deadbeat, burnout, washed up artist. I'm a walking cliche for the whole world to see." He falls silent then, avoiding Vic's gaze.

*

"I'm not going to judge you, Calvin. Judging you would be ridiculous considering what you just watched me go through. Pot, kettle. I'm here to support you, like you've supported me. You're my friend." And youthful fantasy. Whee. "You're not a clich?. You struggled for real reasons, much deeper than rock and roll. You had your heart broken by the loss of your brother, your twin." She cleans the wound again once the debris is out, then begins applying ointment and bandages. "And you definitely need these hands. These hands are magic. So tell me what's going on."

*

"Yes, yes you are. Dex judged me. Dex never judged me for anything else in our life but this. He still supported me. He still had my back. He kept my secret." Calvin takes a deep breath with a shuddered exhale. "But he thought less of me. Just a little. I disappointed him. He died disappointed in me." Calvin cries and he keeps crying, very quietly for a few moments more.

Finally, he fesses up. "Fall of 1998. I was twenty-three. Denver was the last stop on my first tour. After that, I came home for a few weeks. Lay low. Rest up before getting back to work. I met a girl—woman. Pretty woman. Tough. Kinda like you, in a way." He swallows and continues. "We hooked up but there wasn't much raw chemistry. She was just a nice girl and I wanted…Courtney Love. I mean, not literally but…you know. Wild and trashy. I was into that." He stops to clean up his face a bit. "I was already back in Austin when she called me. She was pregnant. I…I freaked out. I didn't want any kids. End of story. She needed an abortion. I told her Dex would go with her. I'm such a piece of shit, Vic."

His mouth quivers but he pulls it together. "She wanted to keep it and I didn't have to be involved at all. There are documents I made her sign in a safe somewhere." He hiccups and coughs. "We moved on. And then, Vic…that woman's daughter walked into my store looking for a job. Christ, how on earth did I keep it together?"

*

Vic listens, thoughtfully, carefully. She sighs quietly. "Honestly Calvin? You managed to just make one bastard kid in all your years of stardom? That's pretty damn good. What happens from here though? You have choices. You're in a different place now. Your family is in a different place. Maybe now there's some room there for a relationship with your daughter? I mean, if anyone told me even just a year ago I'd have a twenty something rainbow farting unicorn for an assistant, I'd have punched them in the mouth. But Willow is kinda growing on me. I'm letting her sleep here most nights. I think she might not have a place to live." She grimaces. "What's her name? Your daughter?" She covers his bandaged hand lightly with her own.

*

"My daughter." Calvin says very slowly. "I was very, very much into safe sex. Big advocate in those late nineties. I think I did a PSA when those were a thing." He sighs. "I always used protection. I never left a full condom behind. When Plan B became a thing, I used to keep it in my travel bag. And I've paid for, at least, three abortions. Maybe five. She was my wife and it was more than once so the math is fuzzy and, of course, when I turned forty I got a vasectomy because I was tired of protecting my seed. I never wanted kids. I like babies but once they start moving and talking, I'm through." A small chuckle. "Sasha Wren Blackmore. She goes by Wren. She doesn't really look like me but she's an artist. Photographer." He sounds proud of this. "I don't know what to do with her yet. Her mother passed in May. I was way too chicken shit to pay my respects. Wren was close to her mother. She still gets that look when she talks about it. Like someone slapped her in the face. She's still raw. I can't say anything to her now. Not yet. She needs time. I-I hired her. Set her to work with me when I'm working a shift. I'm going to…be a friend. A boss. Whatever she needs right now. Then, one day…" He can't finish the sentence. He just starts to shake his head.

*

Vic reaches to grasp both his hands lightly. "Calvin, it might help her to know now, that she isn't alone. She's grieving and all she had was her mother. Shit, make something up, tell her that your ex didn't want you being a bad influence on her and you agreed to not be in her life. Or tell her the truth. But I think you need to tell her." She smiles at him wanly. "Sometimes I regret that I didn't have any kids, that there wasn't part of Evan to live on after he passed. Other times I'm grateful I don't wake up to see little faces with his eyes looking back at me every day, reminding me of what I lost. But how do YOU feel about this girl? If there is guilt there, which I think your knuckles would say there is, maybe you need to clear that off your conscious by helping this kid get back on her feet? Maybe that would make you feel settled right with your brother?"

*

Calvin squeezes Vic's hands. "I have to think about it all first. This girl is damn near scared of her shadow and she's heartbroken. Mom's on a pedestal right now. If I just blurt it out, I'll be Satan and Mom the martyr. Which is true but…it can be spun." He looks away a moment. "How do I feel about her? I know her family, second hand. I know her mom worked hard to raise her alone. Her mother also respected my wishes. Right now, I just want to know who she is. Help her get over this grief patch. I want to take care of her." He shakes his head, as if to clear it. "I'm just going to take care of her, as best I can at this position. But, I'll tell her. I will." He slowly lets go of Vic's hands. "Thanks. Uh. Let's get me cleaned up, yeah? I—thank you for listening." His voice cracks. "I don't have any real friends, you know? Peril of celebrity. I had a million friends until I crashed and burned. Still, after Dex died…I've been really alone. So. Point is, you kept me sober another day. Thank you. I'll stop crying soon, I'm sure. Feel free to ignore it."

*

"Then you get yourself into my shower, and I'll throw a set of Evan's PJs your way. You're bunking here tonight just to be safe, Calvin. I got your back, you have mine." Vic shoos him towards her bathroom.

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