(2018-11-29) Scorched Earth and Kudzu
Calvin drops by Vic's with pizza, a movie, and news of a tough day. The day gets better.
Players:
calvin..vic..

Vic has been busy. While Willow is working on Katherine's case, she has been working on all the other piddly little cases that pay the bills on the regular. She's also stopped by Calvin's studio on the regular to shoot some photos of him and the band at work, claiming she had some black and white film nearing expiration she needed to use up. She still uses a film camera, because negatives are more admissible in legal cases, due to the difficulty in altering them.

Today she's at home, with the office closed, working upstairs on her laptop. She's graduated from sweats to jeans, and from tees to a soft-looking sweater in a shade of blue not too far off from Calvin's eyes. Subconscious choice? Perhaps. The fuzzy bunny slippers are still a go, however. She sits at her dining table which is also her work desk, in front of the 'murder board', as she taps away at the keys, doing some research on finances for a client who believes her husband is cheating on her.

*

Calvin has been delighted by her attendance at the recording sessions. He's happier when she's around and more relaxed, according to some band members. Still, the nitpicking perfectionist of myth has been witnessed. It's not unlike him to stop everything and not just tell a musician how to play, but steal their instrument and do it himself. Leon and Lydia, Bass and Drums respectively, do not allow this behavior. Leon only ever gets suggestions. They must have worked this issue out long ago. And Lydia fights back, whacking Cal with the drumsticks or bodychecking him off. They have a certain chemistry, he and Lydia. They fight hard but work together well. The rest let it slide. Still, work is getting done, which is great considering his bandmates are going home in December. The work will begin in earnest after the new year.

Calvin never calls to say he's coming over. He will just show up after his shift at the store with a bag of takeout and a movie. And today is just the same as any other. The food is pizza. From the /nice/ place. And a movie from Redbox. He also just lets himself in because he still has that key. At least he doesn't move like a ninja. He can be heard unlocking the door and stomping before coming in. "Vic. I had a god damned day."

*

Vic has shown just a tiny bit of bristle-y expressions at his close relationship with Lydia, but that didn't last too long. If he didn't bang her and marry her high, she trusts him not to sober. She never disturbs them when they're working, just taking the photos as unobtrusively and beneath notice as she does when spying on cheating spouses for clients. More often than anything though, she looks incredibly proud of everything he works on in that studio, and is overjoyed at him creating again.

When the sound of his approach reaches her, she smiles, in spite of herself, and runs a hand through her hair to make sure it's not all over the place. It's so short that'd be quite a task, but the longer bits on top do tend to stand up on end now and then. "I smell pizza. There is nothing that pizza can't soothe, Cal," she quips, shutting the laptop down and getting up to greet him with a gentle kiss. "Tell me about your day."

*

Calvin always flinches a little when they kiss. He flinches and pulls away looking a bit flushed. A tone easier to see as his summer-fall tan fades. This quirk seems to be just that, a quirk. He is fine with kissing, giving and receiving. "Well, I upgraded the pizza because…man…" He fusses about the little kitchen, finding napkins and plates and whatnot. He bought a salad AND breadsticks. "I haven't…talked about Wren lately. There hasn't been much to tell. We work together whenever I work a whole shift though." He busies himself with the table and serving the food. "I'm training her myself, you know. It's just the retail part. Stocking, checking out, inventory. Boring shit. Today I figured, with the holiday folks coming in, she needed a little bit of a music lesson. Just some information to be better sell the /instruments/. Fuck, Vic…I can't keep her in the dark." Finally, he drops into a seat with a full plate in front of him.

*

Vic has gotten used to the flinch, much as he has probably gotten used to her awkward blushes and weird nerves whenever they get romantic. She's just as enthusiastic as he is, it's just a part of herself she shut off from the world for so long, it's a bit shy coming back into the light. It's like being in high school all over again. She listens to him pensively as she loads her own plate. She even puts a little salad on there, which her body will probably reject after decades of eating like a cop.

She puts the movie in and settles beside him, handing him the remote so he can start it when he feels like watching instead of talking. "What happened to trigger that thought?" she asks, a small smile on her face.

*

Calvin smiles back. He can't help himself, even when his mood is darkened. Yet, he shrugs. "I first thought about it on the drive over. It probably began as a simple staffing decision. My best, let's say, Rock salesperson goes home to Denver for the holidays. He knows the guitars, drums, bass and has sold me more than one instrument from the stock that /I/ picked. A guitar, the one I keep in the truck." That is a stranger quirk. He keeps a guitar, an acoustic with a red sunburst finish, in his truck. Why? Well, inspiration can strike at anytime. And it has once after a movie date. Sitting in a theater parking lot, in his warm pickup while he slowly strummed the very beginnings of a verse has to have been at least somewhat interesting.

"The other girl who works with the school age band geeks is leaving next week to see her family in Arizona. It made sense to get her started. And Vic, it was going well until…I handed her a guitar. I gave her one of my replica straps because—" It says SHAY on it. That's why. He doesn't need to finish. "She has my mom's hands. These beautiful long fingers. She held it like…it belonged there. I swear her fingers fell on C just by nature." He looks astonished. "Now, I'm offering her lessons in trade for camera lessons." He sighs.

*

Vic leans against him gently, eating her pizza and being the listener he's come to know her as. She's a great sounding board and though she might be gruff to her clients, it's that sincere listening that gets them to hire her. In her eyes one can see her considering each thing thoughtfully, sorting it, organizing it, and weighing it. She values what other people have to say, and treats their confessions accordingly.

"That sounds like a really good way to get to know her, build a bond up, until you feel comfortable telling her your relation to her, Cal." She reaches to tuck a bit of his hair behind his ear. "I've been meaning to ask you for piano lessons myself, now that you got me back into enjoying singing. I never learned, and I still regret that. Music is memory, and I think it'll keep me sharp."

*

"Piano? Shit." Calvin laughs, leaning back with his pizza. "The EP that made everyone remember I know how to play. Of course, Vic. I can teach you. You are never too old to learn piano and listen to no one who tells you different." He takes a moment to eat, frowning and pouting in the silence. "I'm going to tell her before Christmas. Just decided that now." His brows furrow. "I'm going to restructure the store. It's going online January 1st. I just got the link to show people today, remind me?" He pokes a tomato wedge. "The space beside the store has be replanned. Downstairs will be a karaoke bar and live venue. Upstairs will be the recording space for rent. My business manager is so excited because she's actually doing something as I prepare for the album. Double album." He clears his throat. "If it sells, I may tour. T-The point is…" He says, sounding a bit flustered. "If I want to make the solid connection, I need to do it soon. I-I…she's a sweet girl. She's hurting though. I realized this is her first Christmas without her mom. I remember mine without Dex. She needs me. She needs more kin."

*

"I am so proud of you Calvin. I know how tough this is to own up to. And I love that you're doing it for her good, not your own. It takes a lot of strength to be strong for someone else. And I think you're right. This is the right thing to do, and the right time to do it." Vic puts a hand to his cheek as she seems prone to do, a comforting gesture, a gentle one. "That first Christmas without them is the hardest. The rest suck too, but that first one was like having my soul shredded into little pieces, and all my willpower was bled out by it. I mean, I still crave a drink with every cell in my body, but I'm in a much better place with you in my life."

She swallows a lump in her throat at his mention of touring. And the bar. "A bar? With booze?" she asks, clarifying. She loves karaoke but she has been bar-free since her detox.

*

Calvin flinches again but grabs Vic's hand so she doesn't pull away. Then he nuzzles into her hand, closing his eyes. He lets out a shuddered breath. Ever the sensitive artist, his troubles are plain to see and there are many. "I'll start with the bar." He says after a few quiet moments. "I've been back and forth with about it with…fuck, everyone." He pulls away now to tic off his fingers. "My business manager insisted I had to serve. Grant looked like he saw a ghost when I mentioned it." Grant was the poor soul who took Dex's job as music manager. He's been at the recording sessions, watching intently. The pair have a good rapport but the whole story has not been told. "Everyone has an opinion on it. I really should serve alcohol if it's going to succeed in the long term." He sighs. "I drank alone. Note my utter lack of DUIs, for example. Bus, home, hotel, whereever. Bars don't bother me. Being alone does." His eyes seem to turn down. "But I'm limiting the hours. Booze is for late night. I'm too close to the Uni." He pauses again. "As for Wren…it's really fucking hard. I haven't begun to figure out an approach. I might just spit it out in the middle of a lesson."

*

"I've known a few coffee bars that had karaoke and open mic nights, that sort of thing. But if it's a bar serving alcohol, Cal, I won't be able to be there. You know that, right? Not this early in my sobriety. I'm doing well, but if I walked into a bar right now, I don't think I could not drink. I drank all the time, alone, in crowds, everywhere, every hour of the day." Vic looks ashamed of that. "But if you want to do this, you have my support. Just from afar. Ok?"

*

"Not okay." Calvin says, reaching into his pocket for his phone. "No one—I'm not cultivating art if one person feels they can't come and engage. Macy can get get fucked." He says, tapping out a text. "Don't worry. I'll put it on me. I'm pushing two years and I just /can't/ even." He rolls his eyes and grins. He looks up from the screen. "Before you even start, do not be embarrassed. I…slept on a lot of couches to keep from being alone and using. That was /after/ ninety days of rehab and ninety days with a live-in sober companion. A trigger is a trigger and they happen to me too. Stiil. You know that." He looks at his screen, snorts and taps away. "Grant will be happy. Did I tell you he was my sober companion? He's been clean for like, fourteen years now? He managed musicians before becoming a companion." Calvin chuckles. "So much for that career change."

*

"What if…" Vic ponders a moment, "What if you record the karaoke and provide them with a digital copy? That would set you apart from bars and coffee bars that do it. A real karaoke rock star experience at a place owned and operated by a Rockstar. It would be memory making, and talent finding, wouldn't it? Kind of a sort of Star Search thing every night."

She smiles at him. "Willow has been my sort of live in sober companion. I'm thinking of getting her a murphy bed in here for Christmas, without telling her it's for her because I don't think she'll admit she's sleeping on the couch downstairs."

*

"Oh! Oh…I can expand on that. There are already private rooms. I can offer a whole fucking rockstar experience for a price." Calvin beams. "An authentic one." He leans over the table and kisses Vic. "Smart. Fucking smart and hot and…good. I never managed to get all three at once before." He sits back. "If you didn't have Willow I would worry about you a million times more. I have to get her good present. Really spend some cash. Maybe…really good sheets for that bed." He leans on the table, gazing at Vic. "Don't worry about me going on tour. I saw the look and I'm unsure about it myself. I don't want to go on a fucking world tour again. Maybe a few dates in the hotspots. LA, NYC, Austin and Denver, of course. D.C. I'd do Vancouver and Toronto too. I have an odd following up there. My early stuff still sells really well there. It's weird. Anyway…that's a big IF. No one has even mentioned the idea to me. It's all me."

*

"With Grant there with you, I think I wouldn't worry too much. As long as I could come to some shows too. Because I'd miss you pretty fiercely I think. I've gotten spoiled having you in my life most every day. I'm not used to being happy. Even on tough days, when I really, really want a drink, I don't drink. I pull up that video you sent me and it's enough to keep me sober. Because I want to remember every moment I have with you." Vic is blushing to the roots of her hair at expressing herself this much.

*

Calvin looks down and away. "Aww, hell, Vic." He mumbles and now he turns colors. "That silly thing…I-I..it's a great song for, uh…new love. How often do you spend the holidays falling for someone? What are the chances?" He chuckles and looks at her again. "I've been working so hard this season because…I don't want to miss Dex. That's a…one way backslide and before you, I just crammed as much shit into the fall and winter as I could. Now, I'm like…I wish I had more time with her. Fuck me." He looks away again and coughs.

*

"We're not a couple of teenagers, Cal. We've both been down this road before, and we both have life obligations and things we need to do. Thankfully, we also both understand that." Vic reaches over for one of his hands to squeeze it. "I think, wow I can't believe I'm even saying this, I think it's better this time around, because we know the things we do, and we've lived the lives we have. I don't have to feel jealous of your studio time, because I have work to do myself, and it makes our time together all the sweeter. And just knowing I'll see you soon gets me through tough days. And makes me appreciate you so much more. Not that I wouldn't love spending every moment with you, because you are an amazing human being who shows me so many new things every time we're together, and makes me feel comfortable as myself. But it's not an obsession like when I was younger. Is that weird? Am I babbling?"

*

"A touch but you're asking a guy who sings his feelings to stadiums. It's better out, than in." Calvin winks and squeezes her hand. "One annulment and two marriages later, I would really, really hope I learned something. Uh…blondes are overrated, that's one." He grins, ticking off his fingers. "Younger women were a poor fit when I would put ten years between. I know me. It'd be twenty years now." He laughs but it fades quickly as he thinks. "Dex died and I thought my whole heart was broken. No one was getting in here." He taps his chest. "Because all that remained was…the husk of a twin's love on scorched and salted earth. Nothing to rebuild. Nothing to grow." He reaches up and smooths a bit of her hair. "You snuck in under the fence and found a spot and planted a seed. And it grew. Trespasser." He smirks.

*

Vic grins and she leans her head on his shoulder. "I am growing that seed like an invasive species. I'm totally Kudzu," she quips. "And losing Evan made my heart shrivel. I didn't think it could be brought back to life, but somehow, you've managed it. I blame those blue eyes of yours. No one could keep themselves from falling for those. Dammit."

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