Crossing The Threshold

Log Info

Title: Crossing The Threshold
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Liv, Reg, Sandra
NPCs: Evelyn Prieto, Kerry
Place: Prieto Residence, New York City
Time: 6/8/2010
Summary: Reg and Sandra arrive at the Prieto residence in NYC and are greeted by their hostess, her mother and an unexpected guest.

Surrounded by a high stone wall, the Prieto residence is an island to itself. Willows shroud much of the view, while a hedge-maze dominates the west side. Amongst the white marble and the massive windows - some span the length of a room, others multiple stories - the architecture evokes an old-world castle through Hollywood's eyes: balconies, turrets and baroque arches. Inside, that old-world style translates into furniture and filigree, pale, bright and ornate. Everything is hard and polished, every surface showing a faint reflection. And everywhere, there is glasswork, from the immense art-sculpture chandelier to tiny paperweight orbs.

Liv arrived early this morning, having packed light - after all, most of her life, at least as far as physical possessions go, is still here. She's out reading in a small gazebo, keeping one eye on the driveway.

And a figure can be seen walking up the driveway, carrying a single suitcase. Reg's footsteps bring him towards the front door, and he lifts a hand to knock upon it, after setting the suitcase down. It's a small one. Not a huge one. One of those small 'travel size' jobbers, really.

Liv looks up from her book and closes it with a snap, jumping down the gazebo steps. "Hey, Reg!" she calls, waving as she makes her way over. She eyes the almost-knock for a second and then shrugs inwardly. It's not as if she can say anything more helpful than 'brace yourself.' "You're the first one here," she says.

"Am I?" He looks surprised. "I figured Stephanie would be here first, for sure," He tells her. A shrug of his shoulder, and instead of knocking, he leans against the door. "How're you? What're you reading?" He wonders, glancing at the young woman's book.

"Why?" Liv wonders. "I don't think her travel plans worked out that way, that's all." She crinkles her nose. "I'm fine. Two seconds in the house and she's at me to dress better and explain *what* they're teaching me at that wretched school." A slight inflection of her voice, obviously mimicking - though she doesn't actually attempt it. "So I skipped out to greet people. How about you? How was the trip?" An ironic spike of the brow, as if she suspects him of shortening it. "Oh, this? Some newcomer fantasy humorist. Not sure if I like it yet."

“Just seems to me she'd be prompt, that's all," Reg says with a shrug. He listens, saying, "Sounds like she was worried about you," he says after a moment, casually perching on a handy bit of scenery, probably a railing. "Oh. Is it good? I need more books to read, though I honestly prefer science fiction," he says. Yes. The Greek godling prefers scifi.

"I think Stephanie's due in about noon," Liv says. "I've got everyone's itinerary blah blah blah …" She waves it off, then grimaces. "Something like that." A glance down at the book. "It's okay. The humor is a little exaggerated for my tastes. Almost gets in the way of the story." She cocks her head to the door. "You want to head in, get settled?"

"Hmm. Okay," the young man says, before pushing off the wall. "Sure. Let's go," he says, turning and pushing open the door, gesturing for her to lead him inside. "What's on your agenda anyway?" He wonders curiously, looking over at Liv.

The foyer is massive, two stories with a balconied second floor overlooking the main entryway. It's cold inside, a blast of air almost approaching frigid.
"Figured on doing a Broadway show for sure," Liv says, "some shopping for the girls, couple of the big sights - and I got a club recommendation, too. Age appropriate." Sarcasm twists her tone there.
One of the far doors opens, and out sails a striking older woman, although 'older' would be a difficult label to apply: she's stunning, with no obvious blemish of age. Tawny hair is raked back into a simple bun that still manages to look chique. "Good morning," she says briskly, "and welcome. You must be Reg?"
Closer up, the two women seem to be of a height … and that's about all they have in common, apart from piercing grey eyes

"Ah, shopping for the girls. That makes sense. I'll avoid that," Reg says with a chuckle. As he says this, he turns, watching the young woman as she walks in, "Good day, ma'am. Yes, I'm Reg," he says politely, offering a nod of greeting. "How're you, Ms. Prieto?"

"You can stay here - or hit some of the less frilly shops," Liv says, stiffening a bit as her mother approaches. But all she says to the woman is, "I told you it wouldn't be long."
"A pleasure to meet you," Evelyn says, the words articulated with soft precision, "and I am quite well, thank you. If you need anything, don't be shy about asking the staff. My home is yours, for the interim." She assesses him with a frank look. One eyebrow arches, amusement coloring her expression - but beyond that, there's no sign of what she's thinking.

"Maybe a bookstore," Reg tells Liv with a nod, before glancing towards Evelyn once more. "I'll remember that ma'am, but I doubt I'll need much. I tend to be fairly self-contained." As he speaks, he clasps his hands in front of himself, "You've got a lovely home, Ms. Prieto."

"If it comes to a choice between a bookstore and clothes-shopping, I might be there with you," Liv says.
"Really, Liv!" Evelyn sounds scandalized … but when her daughter flips her a short, startled look, she laughs, and the girl reluctantly joins in. "Fashion is a woman's first line of defense. I've tried to instill that in Liv, but I fear it hasn't taken." A slow, elegant roll of one shoulder. "Self-contained, hmm? Well, there is plenty of room to expand." At the compliment, she flashes a brief smile. "Again, thank you. I imagine you're pleased to be out of classes?"
"Not long before summer session starts up again," Liv points out. "Though I don't know if Reg is going back for it."

A smile is directed at Liv, before Reg chuckles at their byplay. He doesn't comment though, because for him, clothing is just…well, there. Anyway. He glances over at the other woman, and says, "Well. I'm happy to have a bit of relaxation, but I enjoy classes, really," he says to her with a shrug. "And yeah, Liv, I'm going back for summer session."

"Oh, good," Liv says, brightening visibly. "I mean, I have to go back for summer session … so it's nice to know there will be some other people there." She tucks her hands into her pockets, firmly not blushing.
Evelyn shakes her head, chuckling. "A young scholar … I never had to pressure Liv to finish her work, either." She gestures, and unless Reg intervenes, an unobtrusive servant will swoop down on his one suitcase.
Just inside, in the foyer, Liv and Reg stand, speaking with Evelyn Prieto - an elegant woman with tawny blonde hair, about of a height with her daughter. Otherwise, the lack of resemblance is sharp: she's composed, classically dressed, utterly assured in a manner that communicates itself to anyone nearby.

"Cool," Reg tells Liv, not batting an eye. He flashes a smile towards her before glancing at Evelyn, "Scholar? Ah…I guess so." He shrugs a shoulder, glancing at the servant. He lets them take his bag. Nothing important's in it, unless they want to dig through his undies. "Hopefully one of the others gets here, soon…" That's your cue, Sandra.

Indeed, this does seem to be Sandra's cue - for there comes a knock-knock-knocking from the chamber door … er… front door. Outside, with just one bag which she holds rather easily, is Sandra, her hair pulled back in a messy bun, dressed as impeccibly as she can manage, not really understanding these surface-dweller fashions. At least she manages to wait patiently, holding herself erect and proper as she waits.

"Yeah." Liv casts her mother a sidelong look, as if wary of what question is next going to come out of her mouth. At the knock, she scurries away, beating the staff to the punch. "Sandra," she says, unexpectedly giving the girl a hug … and then just as swiftly disengaging. Liv is not known for being very touchy-feely, and she's now acutely conscious of possibly breaking a boundary. "Uh. Come on in. Evelyn," she continues - it may be 'my mother' but it invariably seems to be 'Evelyn' in direct address - "this is Sandra."
“Young people so rarely seem to want to focus on building themselves a future …" Evelyn trails off, leaving that thought dangling as she pivots on her heel to face the new arrival. "I'm very pleased to meet you," she says, her voice cool and smooth. "I hope you do make yourself at home."

Lifting a hand, Reg greets Sandra with a wave, "Hi there, Sandra," he says, flashing a smile at the young woman. He watches the hug, and glances Evelyn curiously, "I don't know. I know a lot of people who think about the future," He says. With a shrug, he turns back to the others. "Have a good trip?" He asks Sandra curiously.

"Why stop at building your own future?" asks Sandra as she arches an eyebrow at Liv, before reaching out and offering an encouraching squeeze of the other young woman's shoulder as she answers the elder Prieto. Blue eyes glide across the scene, before stopping on Reg and offering a nod to the young man.
Then Sandra turns to fully face Evelyn Prieto, reaching for the silver bag at her side. "It is tradition, where I am from, to offer the Host a gift, in appreciation for their hospitality," she says, looking at the bag, then Evelyn. "Forgive me for not knowing your tastes, but I am told this is a very good vintage."

Liv smiles nervously, then smooths over her expression as she crosses back to the center of the foyer. "I'm afraid she's right, when it comes to me," she says. "Building my present is enough to handle. Yeah, how was the trip?" She's not totally sure how Sandra intended to come down … and any method could be odd, for an Atlantean.
Evelyn arches an eyebrow, evidently surprised - and for an instant, showing it - then flashes a smile. "Truly not necessary, but appreciated," she says, accepting the bag. "It is tradition many places, I think, but few bother to remember. Modern man grows boorish." A pause, and then the inevitable question, "Where are you from, then?"

"I was born in Atlanta," offers Sandra with a bow of her head. "Though, due to my family, I have traveled extensively. In fact, this is the first time I have been to a school, having private tutors all my life instead," she notes following Liv towards the center of the foyer. "The trip was well enough, a bit too much sitting in place for my tastes, but there was no way to avoid it," she offers with an imperious wave of her hand, dimissing the subject.
"As for Modern Man?" offers Sandra, a twist and a glance half over her shoulder to Evelyn, "There is something to be said about oral traditions and histories. If learning comes only from a book, then it is inevitable that some traditions fall by the wayside. But an oral story and moral tale is far more interactive using visual and auditory senses, sometimes even tactile, engaging much more of the brain, making it much more vivid and prone to rememberance."

"Yeah, that's why I read," Liv says, waving the book she still carries. "Passes the time, helps with the fidgets." She watches Sandra, eyes slightly narrowed and listening for some place where she might have to cover.
"Atlanta, yes … lovely city. I've filmed down there twice …" But Evelyn seems to let the subject go, grey eyes thoughtful as she regards the newest arrival. "Yet the oral tradition is a broken one, especially in a society as disparate and disconnected as this one," she says. "To find the handful of people who can teach you what only they know … that is a difficult thing. The more valued for that, but difficult. And what if memory fades or misrecalls?" She lifts one shoulder in an elegant shrug. "The printed word - the electronic word, now - is a necessary evil with the current mass of population. The spoken tradition is best kept to esoteric subjects."
Liv stirs uncomfortably, perhaps aware of some subtext in the speech. "Evelyn …"
"Such as manners," the woman concludes with a chuckle. "Which seem to be as mysterious as magic to far too many people. Are you thirsty, Sandra?"
Reg has, slightly before this, vanished off to get settled in his room.

"Indeed, you are right, Ms. Prieto," offers Sandra with a small bow of her head. "Still, I know of some families that keep their own oral traditions," she offers, arching an eyebrow at the woman. "And I believe that oral tradition and tactile input are the -only- ways to properly teach certain esoteric subjects," states the stately young woman. Then Sandra turns to Liv, away from Evelyn and offers a wink and a warm smile, before turning back to the Elder Prieto. "I could use with a drink, you have my thanks," she offers smoothly.

“As do I," Evelyn replies, smooth as silk. "Even my own, with their acting tradition. We have certain tricks of the trade that we like to keep close." So maybe she wasn't referring to anything arcane. She turns, gesturing. "Follow me."
Liv makes a face as Sandra looks in her direction and shakes her head, but she seems more relaxed now. "Yes, well, I have mentioned I'm not going into acting, right?"
"Darling, life is acting," Evelyn says in a droll voice. "You can no more stop acting than you can stop breathing." She leads the way into the kitchen and continues, "Lemonade? Soda? Of course, help yourself throughout the week."

"I would have to agree with your mother, Sullivan," offers Sandra with a faint twisting of her lips. "There are times, especially where I am from, where one acts, even if that is not how one actually wishes to behave. I believe the saying is - We all wear our own masks."
Sandra then offers a bit of a shrug and glances to Evelyn. "Whatever suits you, is fine with me," she states amicably.

Liv grimaces, both at the statement and the use of her full name. "True," she says, "but I'm not going into it as a profession. Is that accurate enough for you?" There's a hint of sourness to her grin, albiet not directed at Sandra.
"And in time, we become our masks, only to find that new ones are necessary," Evelyn remarks. A slight shrug, and she ducks into the (massive) fridge, emerging with lemonade and pouring glasses.

"Thank you, Ms. Prieto," Sandra offers gentilely as she takes the class of lemonade. "Indeed, becoming one's mask is unavoidable if it is used often enough. Though, woe be to the one who wears many masks at once, for they loose sight of who they are, and thus who they want to be."
A glance is given to Liv, and Sandra offers a warm smile. "Though, I dare say I have lost my manners, as Sullivan is my hostess as well, and this subject must surely bore her. Instead, since she mentioned shopping before, do you have suggestions of … hmmmm… boutiques to visit while we are here, Ms. Prieto?"

"Augh, just stop calling me Sullivan and we're okay," Liv says with a quirked smile. "I prefer to keep things simple, though. As few masks as possible."
This was casual, but Evelyn reacts as if it wasn't, a sudden jerk and flick of the chin, a twitching of the brows … and then her expression smooths over again. She leaves the subject of masks aside as requested, however, and continues, "Oh, yes, to be sure - for one, there's a surprising little place by the homely name of Charlotte's. Merely the windowshopping is well worth it. Though really, it would depend on your tastes - classical, edgy, ultra-feminine? I'm not up on teenaged fashions - you'd have to speak to Kerry for that."

An eyebrow arches at Evelyn's reaction, and Sandra partially bows at the way in silent apology, though she does not verbally do so. "To be honest, Ms. Prieto, I am not that current on teenaged fashions myself. Though, I do know I am none too fond of the Gothic style. I suppose I am more classic - I've oft been told I act far older than I actually am, for good and for ill."
Blue eyes slide to Liv as Sandra takes a sip of the lemonade. "Well, I did not wish to offend your mother who gave you such a fine name. But if Liv is what you wish to be called, I am more than honored to oblige."

"Gothic or Goth?" Evelyn asks, picking up on the verbal nuance. "But if classic is your vein, then I would be more equipped to offer suggestions." Though it's possible they are using different definitions of the word.
"About that," Liv mutters under her breath, then offers a smile. "It's less of a mouthful, in any case. But you invited Kerry?" A flash of irritation towards her mother.
“She needed a break," Evelyn says airily.
"Yes, because her life is so tough." Liv's tone could parch swampland.
“This is my roof, and there's more than ample space." Evelyn's tone remains mild. "In any case, I'm sure she'll be pleased to see you." A little bit of maternal guilt-tripping there, before she returns her attention to Sandra. "I fail to see that there's any ill in maturity."

"There are times where it is difficult to interact with those of my own age," offers Sandra as an example of ill in maturity. "Goth, I suppose. I assumed it was a truncated form of Gothic, I appear to be in error," she notes, pursing her lips thoughtfully, before nodding to Evelyn. "I am sure you will be invaluable in your suggestions, Ms. Prieto."
Sandra then shifts faintly, looking at Liv, before casting a glance at Evelyn. A smile warms the young woman's face as she reaches out to put a hand on Liv's shoulder. "I would be honored to meet this Kerry whom your mother has invited," she offers, before bowing her head deeply to Liv.

"Mmm, then you interact with people of your apparent age." Evelyn seems amused, never pausing on the linguistic oddity. "Of course, I have reached the age where one starts applying the process backwards." Not, apparently, in the least bit self-conscious about her age … but perhaps it's easy to be gracious when one has aged so well. "I do have a business call to make, however. Trying to convince a colleague to sign on for this movie …" She shakes her head.
Liv glances at Sandra, her expression slightly furrowed. She's trying to figure out how to phrase herself. Then she shrugs. "I was just surprised, that's all," she mostly recovers.
"Someone talking about me?" A blonde figure half-leans around the doorframe, then oozes the rest of the way into view. She's slight, short, thirtyish and dressed in black, a studded punk-rock look. "Oh, Liv! Hey." She bounds forward and swipes out in an attempt to ruffle the girl's hair. Liv ducks hastily, and Kerry keeps turning to flip a high-voltage smile to Sandra. "Well, hello there."

"Then I wish you the greatest of luck, and a swiftness in completing your desired task, Ms. Prieto," offers Sandra with another respectful bow of her head. The odd Atlantean girl is just turning back to Liv, a warm, knowing smile is offered, before another figure arrives, leaving Sandra blinking for a moment.
Sandra offers a regal, courteous nod to the new arrival, Kerry, apparently. "Good day to you, Miss," offers Sandra, glancing to Evelyn, then to Liv, as if deciding who was going to introduce the other woman.

"It will be swift, if he knows what's good for him," Evelyn says with mock tartness … and noticing that Sandra is glancing about for introductions, slips out of the kitchen and leaves them to her daughter.
Liv looks irritated, but presses it down and smooths her expression out into a smile. "Sandra, this is Kerry - a friend of the family. Kerry, Sandra - she's a friend from school."
"Friend of the family, hmph," Kerry says. "I taught Liv here how to shoot." By the cheerful, somewhat defiant smile, she's aware the kind of questions this raises, with Liv's public background. She thrusts out a hand. "Pleasure's all mine. From *school*, hmm? What goes on there? Ritual sacrifices? Moonlight orgies? Advanced astrophysics?"

"Modern Hydrodynamics as a marker of the New Industrial Revolution," offers Sandra with a deadpan, before smiling and taking Kerry's hand into her own. "Mixed with a sprinkler of Class Napping and anything goes." The handshake is firm, but loose, almost as if Sandra were afraid of squeezing too hard. "Ah. Well then, I hope that Liv learned her lessons well and has excellent aim," notes Sandra, with a smile towards Liv, then back to Kerry.
"Please, I am Sandra. And it is a pleasure to make your acquaintence, Kerry. Unless there is another title I should use instead of your name," is offered congenially.

"I got excellent marks in Class Napping," Liv says in a dry voice. "Especially during Civics." She laughs then. "My aim is wretched." If that's pointed, it's wrapped in a nice little bow of 'joke,' so it would be hard to take offense.
Kerry lets this roll right off her, returning the handshake with energy. "No, it's just Kerry - that's my first name," she says. "I hate standing on ceremony, especially in heels." Which she is wearing right now, for reference. "But alas, I'm afraid Liv was never a very quick study." Return jab delivered.

"Oh, I don't know, sometimes Ceremony needs to be taught who is in charge … heels are handy in that case," Sandra offers with a warm smile. "I just go by Sandra," she notes, making no mention on if it is her first name or not. Instead she turns to look at Liv, "Well, I have not really used a traditional ranged weapon. Though, I have had some lessons with the sword. Each family has their own traditions, no?"

"Well, I don't use a ranged weapon, either," Liv points out. The neither-does-Kerry lingers implied in the air. "That's true. I could see you with a sword …"
Kerry laughs, spreading her hands as if to concede. "I find that heels have an infinite number of uses, many of them unpleasant," she says, with a sort of nuance to the chipper smile that suggests that's not all humor. "Then Sandra it is. Fencing or regular? You can't swing a sabre in this town without hitting someone who thinks they're the next Inigo Montoya."

The reference is obviously lost on Sandra as she arches an eyebrow at Kerry in brief confusion. Then Sandra covers, waving her hand, dismissing it faintly, "Not fencing," she notes with a warm smile. "I still am having trouble getting used to walking in heels - my parents have let me walk barefoot at all possible times as per my want. I suppose in some ways I am spoiled," she notes before nodding.

"Well, it's easy for you and Liv to get away without wearing heels," Kerry says. "I, on the other hand …" She gestures down to her diminutive height.
"Kerry, seriously, you can wear whatever you want," Liv says pointedly.
Again, the blonde woman sails on as if this hadn't been said. "Barefoot? That's a good way to get glass cuts. And broadsword, then? You're with those SCA people?"
"Ah …" Liv seems to be debating how best to step in before there's another lost-in-translation moment. "Everyone has strange hobbies, Kerry. You included."
"My hobbies are perfectly normal," Kerry says with affected dignity, then laughs. "I probably should scatter … but if you're looking for a really *good* party, off the books … I know people." One gets the feeling that wouldn't be a legal party, either.

An eyebrow is arched at Kerry, and Sandra shakes her head. "No, I am not with those … Es-See-Ay, people," is offered. "And I have … tough feet and know how to walk lightly. But … if you really want to know… I was trained with a weapon similar to the spatha. (I think that's the name of it and I'm far too lazy to go look it up!) A thrusting short-sword."
Then Sandra tilts her head, before looking at Liv, then back to Kerry. "If there is time while we are here, we will gladly contact you for finding a 'good party'."

Liv tries to catch Sandra's eye and shake her head violently while Kerry isn't looking in her direction. It's doubtful how well this works.
Kerry purses her lips, expression puzzled. "Well, that's exotic," she says. "We all have our weapons of choice, though, don't we?" Leaning over, she snags a spare glass of lemonade and knocks it back. "You should. Really get a chance to cut loose." A bubbly smile again. "Again, good to meet you, Sandra. Sure I'll see you around." With that, she slinks out of the kitchen.

Sandra offers that same regal nod she gave earlier, to Kerry's parting. And it is several heartbeats later before she speaks. "I said if there was time. Let us make certain there is not," she offers looking over to Liv. "And I used your full name in your mother's presence to forge a better bond with her. Forgive me for doing so," offers Sandra as she sips at the lemonade, blinking at it curiously as she pulls it from her lips. "With what you have told me, I thought it best to tread carefully and be my most … diplomatic. It is good practice, as well."

"That would be better," Liv says with a chuckle. "Kerry is … a law unto herself. I think the parties she finds can be described much the same way." She lets out a breath, looking sheepish. "Oh? I'm sorry that I kind of thwarted that, in that case. I hadn't even thought of it." She nods once. "Well, I think you impressed her. I think. I'm guessing she's probably not thrilled with having company to interrupt 'mother-daughter bonding time -'" her tone is droll "- but she'd never show it."

"Of course not. Perhaps we should let slip that I was raised by nannies, rather than my mother … and let her come up with the idea of unnofficially adopting another daughter?" suggests Sandra with an upraised eyebrow, before taking another sip and peering at the drink again. "What is this again?"

Liv laughs. "Except you can't shapeshift … can you?" She smiles a bit, wryly. "Of course, I suppose you could learn …" She blinks in surprise. "You haven't had lemonade before yet? It's just the juice of lemonades, mixed with some sugar and … other things. None of them weird or arcane," she adds quickly.

"An interesting concoxtion. I grew up on … you … don't want to know," Sandra starts, then steers herself away from the topic. "Well, no. But I am young yet, who knows what I can do. At the school, we are pushed to explore our abilities, unlike at home where … it is just who we are." Sandra shrugs then and takes another sip. "I think … I like this," she notes with a finger tapping on the glass.

"Octopus blood?" Liv ventures. She squints a bit, nods once. "Yeah, I've already learned to do some things that I never expected, whereas before, I … was encouraged to focus on what I had to do." She tucks a strand of hair out of her eyes, absently. "Well, this is pretty darn good lemonade. It's not usually quite this good."

"Fermented Squid Ink, I hear there is something similar in Japan. And believe me, it is an aquired taste," offers Sandra. Then Sandra looks at the glass, and back to Liv. "Mother is happy to have her baby girl back home?"

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