(2018-11-19) Crash and Burn
Calvin invites Vic to dinner after he has a tough night. She gets a tour of his home, a wild ride, and they're lucky they don't wind up in the hospital.
Players:
calvin..vic..

Calvin called Vic late last night. It was long after the charity gig in the wee hours. He didn't say why but he really, really wanted Vic to come by the ranch for a casual Sunday dinner. He even offered to send a car. So just as the sun is setting, a pricy black sedan pulls up to Vic's, ready to whisk her away.

It's not a short ride. Starkweather ranch is a ways out and Calvin lives on what he calls the 'far end'. Which seems literally means that as they blow past the main, fancy entrance of the ranch and further in. The car turns off the main road and onto a smooth paved driveway. You'd miss it if you didn't know where to look. A short winding ways down and they meet a gate. The car stops briefly, there is a metallic clunk and the gate opens. Now more weaving through the trees until it opens up and…

Calvin said his home was modest. Calvin is a liar. The clearing contains a large and beautiful 2 story log home. Three car garage. Paved front entrance, cleared of snow. (It's heated. She'll know when she gets out.) It was a massive porch with seating and swings. Huge windows reveal rustic sitting rooms. It's almost too much. Almost not quite Cal.

But he's standing on the porch, in just jeans and a sweater, like a cold dork.

*

It's not every day one has a Rockstar send a car to pick you up. Vic was a little wary at first, but if Calvin is in trouble, she isn't going to argue over the ride. The PI is in jeans, boots, and a chunky sweater, under her winter coat, with a scarf, gloves, and knit hat, because she's feeling the cold this year thanks to not having an internal furnace fuel by booze any longer. All that is visible when she reaches the door is her eyes. And those eyes are wide at the grandeur of Chez Calvin. She makes her way to the porch and tugs her scarf down below her chin. "This is your idea of modest, eh Cal?" she asks with a small smile. "It's beautiful." Because it is. And kind of reminiscent of a dream home for Vic. She always wanted a log cabin in the woods somewhere, someday.

*

"Well, it cost about ten million to put together, counting clearing the land because it was all woods before. Also decorating, which I didn't do by the way. I flew in my lady from Austin and her whole damn team to do that. And…well, it has features. I'll give you the tour." He nods for her to follow him in.

That foyer. Big, made of stone and wood, The staircase draws the eye. The ceiling is a set of massive skylights, showing off that dark, glittering night. Calvin helps Vic unlayer and hang her items in an open coat room.A fireplace is burning somewhere, one can smell the wood. "But I sold my place in Los Angeles for fourish million. My home in Austin was the one featured on Cribs back in the day. That was almost 9 million and that was a steal for the buyer. And my New York penthouse…well, you don't wanna know. You have a nice ride out here? See why I sent a car. It's hard to find. Especially after dark."

*

Vic's head is on a swivel as she gets out of her layers, revealing a simple pale blue cable knit sweater and regular old jeans beneath, with her winter boots. She gestures at them as if asking is she should take her shoes off before stepping on his pretty floors. "I can only imagine what you had to pay in New York. I had friends try to live there paying through the nose for little more than a broom closet with a microwave." She pauses under the skylights to look up at the night sky, which is much easier to see here away from the city proper. "The drive was fine. Glad there's no minibar in the car, though," she points out.

*

"I actually checked that. Minibars. Dry rides only." Calvin seems to shrink a little when his once his hands are free and he's standing there, looking at Vic. "I, uh, there are a couple of little, uh, wetbars. Those are full of water and soda…nothing alcoholic. I started building this place while Dex was still alive so it had a full bar in the basement and on the back deck but I had them ripped out while I was rehabbing. Replaced with a big fucking grill setup and arcade machines." He gives his head a jerk. "Tour. Real quick." It really is the super fast version. Sitting room in the front with the giant windows and the fireplace. A kitchen, big and modern. There is food there. When he said casual, he meant it. It's a fun spread of various takeout. Chinese and thai. Pizza and fried chicken. It's greasy comfort food. But..the desert is homemade. Cupcakes. Decorated with little turkey shaped cookies in orange icing. The tour goes past the bathrooms, a small TV room and out to the garage. Behold his late model pickup. Behold his all wheel drive Tesla. Behold the car with the cover that has almost an inch of dust it seems. "And uh…yeah. Basement's better."

*

Vic tucks her hands into her front pockets, or her fingertips because whoever created the front pockets on women's jeans clearly did not intend for them to ever be used. She grins at the spread of take out, and tips her chin towards the cupcakes. "Your work? Or Katherine's?" she asks. She eyes the Tesla like it's an alien, because her entire life earnings likely couldn't buy one of those. "What's under the cover? Looks like you haven't even looked at it in a while." She watches Calvin carefully, taking in his reactions to the various rooms, to see which ones the man is more excited about. It says a lot about a person, where they feel most happy and comfortable.

*

"The cupcakes are my creation!" Calvin seems almost offended but he's grinning. Grinning all the way up to Vic's question about the car. "Come here. You're right. I need to clean the cover, start the engine…" He trails off. He instructs her to grab the other side. He takes a deep breath and underneath is a very clean, sporty silver Jaguar. The seats have monogrammed covers. The letter D. Meanwhile, Calvin looks a little stricken.

*

Vic helps remove the cover, and she whistles low at the sight of the Jag. She peers in the window and notes the monogram. "Dex's I'm guessing? She's a beaut, Cal. Your brother had some excellent taste in cars." She straightens and moves to put a hand against his back, lightly. "You all right seeing it? You really should start her up. She'll be cranky if she's left idle too long." She knows a bit about vehicle repair after building the Triumph with her husband. Her voice is quiet, and her eyes are sympathetic as he sees another memory of his twin.

*

"No." Calvin says, shaking his head. "He always wanted a Jag. This wasn't his first. He got a new one other year or so. This was just his last. Dad used to come in here and start it up but…you see I've neglected it." He frowns and pushes on. He opens the door and slips behind the seat. Keys drop from the sun visor. Calvin just keeps breathing. The starts the Jag. It makes a bit of a fuss when it turns over. It's been a while. But soon it's purring and Calvin just exhales. He's relieved. "Dad, Mom, and Mat would draw straws over kicking my ass if this didn't start." He sighs and then smiles suddenly. "Vic? You like to go fast?"

*

Vic gives the hood a gently pat pat when it starts up for Cal and murmurs, "Good girl." At the question a brow arches, and one corner of her mouth twitches upwards in a grin. "What do you think? Of course I do! Though I don't think I've gone fast sober since the last time I was in a car chase as a cop." A long time ago. "Why do you ask?" Her head tilts curiously, one hand on her hip.

*

Calvin leans over and opens the passenger side. "Get in. Let's stretch her legs. Dex is probably doing a twirl because a woman is getting in his car but…" He smirks.

*

Vic laughs at the comment and she rounds the car to slide into the passenger seat. "I can't say no to an invitation like that." She looks up at the roof of the car, "I promise Dex, I'm not a girly girl. I ride a motorcycle!" she offers heavenward to appease any spirits that might be about. She buckles up though, because dammit, she was a cop. "Let's DO this!" Vroom vroom!

*

Calvin can do nothing but oblige. As the garage opens, he says, "Dex would like you. He'd let you ride with only a little bitching." He chuckles suddenly, as if told an unexpected joke. "…christ, man…you know me." He mutters just before putting that Jag into gear and heading off. He keeps it leisurely until they get to the gate. Once it opens, Cal opens her up and they go peeling down the rest of the drive. He drifts onto the road and they are off. It's puts up some more fuss as he accelerates but soon it's all a blur. Cal puts the windows down, letting the frigid air mix with the blasting heat from the vents. "I know these roads like the back of Dex's hand! Many, many, many rides just like this in lesser cars with worse roads!" He hollers over the wind. It's a manual but country boy Calvin knows exactly how to drive stick with style. Soon, they are pushing 70 on these pitch back roads and Cal shows no sign of wanting to slow.

*

At first, Vic is caught up in the reckless abandon of it all. She's lets out a yell of joy and sticks her hand out the window to feel the air rush by. As they get faster, in the darker night, and on the wintry roads, however, she seems to sober up a bit. If she was drunk, this would be a total blast. But she's sober, and there's that little itch at the back of her skull that points out this is a really dumb way to die without ever having had dinner with the Rockstar. She reaches a hand over to tap on his leg. "Maybe we should slow up a bit, Cal? Might be icy out here!" she yells over the wind.

*

"I know these roads, Vic! I know where the ice forms!" Cal yells confidently. "Like watch this curve coming up…" Famous last words, right? But something makes the vehicle jerk towards the ditch and Calvin calmly and evenly slows down. They come up on the curve at a reasonable speed and still slowing. This is a good thing as that is when the left front tire blows. Calvin startles but keeps control. When they hit the ditch, it's a hard jolt and nothing more.

*

Vic sucks in a breath as they head for the curve, and when the tire blows her hands both go up away from the dash. It took years of police training to break that instinct to brace them on the dash and not wind up with shattered elbows and dislocated shoulders. The jolt slams her against her seatbelt and her breath rushes back out of her hard. She sits very still for a long moment until she's sure nothing is injured, then looks over to Calvin to check on him as well. "Apparently, your tires decided you were being too cocky," she notes with a short bark of a laugh. No harm done. It's gonna suck walking back though if he doesn't have someone to call for a ride.

*

Calvin laughs. "Dex really didn't want pussy in his car." He laughs again. "Drama queen." He starts to sniffle as he pats himself down to find his phone. He has it but he doesn't dial right away. "I performed last night. Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Mom used to sing it to us, then with us, every year when The Wizard of Oz came on. I was alone, Vic. The last benefit I did was for Dex's charity. I had Mat with me and some of Dex's friends. It was fine. This time it was just me. Alone. Getting dressed, warming up, waiting for my cue. And after…it was me packing up and leaving. By myself." He turns to Vic. "When you have a twin, you are never alone. I /hate/ being alone. Hate." His voice cracks. "Then I was flour bombed by a protester for wearing leather. We fought—you probably saw it. It's online." He chuckles dryly. "It was the first time I performed and really, really missed Dex. When I called you late, I had been staring at this bottle of vodka for way too long. Drinking isn't even my first choice but it was what I could get. The bottle is with my Mom now. I didn't do anything. I spent the day making my house look like someone happy lives there. You keep helping me and you don't even know."

*

Vic is speechless for a moment, blinking at Calvin as if seeing him in a very different light. This man has gotten her to break a decade and a half alcohol habit. She can never repay him for that. She gives him a small smile and she reaches over to put a hand to his bearded face. "I think your brother would be very proud of you, Cal. Both for getting back on that stage for a good cause, and for not giving in to the craving despite things getting tough. You can always call me. No matter what. Or drop by anytime. Any. Time. You understand?" she says sincerely. "You're helping yourself. If I can be a reason for you to do that, then I'm happy to be."

*

"I…" Calvin begins with a cough. "I'm sober but it's so hard. I hate it and I keep wondering why I bother. I…I still don't have that answer to be perfectly honest but…" He takes a few breaths. "I did it. You are doing it. We lost people we loved but we are still in motion so…just keep moving, I guess." His face nuzzles into her hand. Something about that seems so needy. Who touches Calvin now? He parts from her and taps across his phone. "My cousin lives up there, through those trees. He has a jacked up 4x4. No need for a tow."

*

When he draws back, Vic settles her hand back in her lap. She rubs at her chest with the other where the seat belt caught her. That'll ache for a couple days. "Hopefully you're better at reheating takeout than you are at driving or we might starve tonight," she points out with a grin.

*

"I've lived on takeout and reheated shit for like, two decades. I'm excellent at it." Calvin says, still sniffling. His emotions hang and linger for ages. His voice is still wavering as he calls his cousin. He tells him that he's just shaken. He's fine. FINE. Once he finishes he leans on the steering wheel. "He's coming. Sorry, I wrecked us. Kinda. I should have checked the tires. It sat too long. I could have killed us. Fuck, I'm sorry, Vic. I'll…what are you doing for Thanksgiving?"

*

"This was hardly almost killing us. We were both sober and had a little ditch visit, that's all. It's probably Karma for neither of us being splattered on the asphalt as some point while we were drunk or high," Vic points out with that odd wisdom she seems to foster. "So you're forgiven, Cal. As for turkey day? Willow and I had no plans. We were just going to see if we could find some made to reheat dinners somewhere to throw in my oven. Neither of us cook really. Neither of us has a family thing to be at."

*

"We have a massive Christmas, Shays and Starkweathers. But Thanksgiving is such a trash holiday, we didn't celebrate it much growing up. Just football and a roast. But the first Thanksgiving in Austin with Dex, we decided to celebrate it. Make it ridiculous. We got friends together and dressed up like pilgrims. Sang christmas songs. Anyway, years later, it evolved into something more sedate but still, it's meant for friends more than family. My band is coming in so we're going to cook. You and Willow are invited." Beat. "Yes, that means I'll be in the studio next week. Shhh." He smiles a little and winks.

*

Vic actually blushes a little bit at the wink. "My lips are sealed, I promise. I'm glad to hear you'll be back in the studio though. The world could use some decent music again," she notes. "And I'll let Willow know. She will be over the moon." She totally will. And so will Vic, but she's not about to admit that.

*

"Good. Good. We'll be glad to have you." Beat. "And Willow. Her too. I, uh, yeah. Studio. I'll show it when we get back. It's half the basement but this will be the first time in full action. I'm psyched to get some of this stuff out of me. I got this new producer. Some whiz kid. It's should be some solid work. Very personal." Headlights moves through the trees ahead. "That's my cousin coming. Victoria…" He begins, looking to her. "Stay with me tonight, please? I don't think I should be alone. I'll keep you fed and the screening room downstairs…we can watch like, anything you want. How do you feel about cheesy romance? I have a weakness. Shit like…the Christmas Prince. Love it. You in?" He looks at her with those big blue eyes, hopeful and bright.

*

"Hallmark Christmas movie marathon? Throw in 'It's a Wonderful Life' and you've got a deal." She's definitely blushing at the request to spend the night, but hey, he's slept on her couch so, only fair. "And who can say no to those damned blue eyes of his.

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