The Day After

Log Info

Title: The Day After
Emitter: Liv
Characters: Stephanie, Liv
NPCs: Kerry
Place: Prieto Residence, New York City
Time: 6/11/10, early morning and noonish
Summary: The day after her/their harrowing encounter with Evelyn Prieto, Stephanie converses with some of the house's other guests.

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.

Early Friday morning - the day after Stephanie's encounter with Evelyn Prieto and the harrowing split of bodies and minds. By the time the twins wake up, however, the damage is healed … and two have become one again. Discount it as a dream, however? Not likely. In any case, Stephanie has been awake only a few moments when there's a knock on the door.

~~Steven?!?~~ Stephanie's first thought is for her twin. ~Right here, sister-mine.~ The mental equivalent of them hugging, clinging to each other, and then, sotto-mente. ~Thank you.~ He whispers. ~~Love you.~~ Her reply, though such a wealth of subtext from both of them. Sitting up, Stephanie makes her way to the door, opening it and keyed up for battle.

On the other side of the door is Kerry - recognizably so, even though she's gone redhead now rather than blonde. She dresses about the same, however: skin-tight leggings and a black silk top with a neckline maybe an inch from being indecent, two inch heels. She takes two startled steps backwards at the sight of Stephanie. "I thought you were a wreck," are the first words out of her mouth.

Mis-matched blue eyes blaze, light and dark. "A wreck?" Softly spoken. "A Wreck." Stephanie's voice raise in volume to a more normal tone, though there's some serious intensity to her expression, her enunciation, her body language. Those two steps back are the only thing that prevented Steph from getting physical, which is probably good for all involved. Her eyes narrow, and though her expression is flatly emotionless there's an undertone of menace as she looks to Kerry. "Did you want something?" To her credit the words are not at all harsh.

Kerry's head snaps up. She stares down Stephanie, a slight quirk of her lip not quite daring the girl, but conveying with absolute clarity that she's not afraid of a scuffle, either. "I'm here to check on you, actually," she says, voice edged with frost. "Wanted to see how you're doing. Expected a lot worse. Hunter and I have done some hardcore sparring and he's pretty damn vicious even in practice." There is definitely morbid curiosity in the gaze that rakes over Stephanie's frame.

~Don't, sister-mine. Just keep your cool.~ And before Stephanie can protest. ~For now. We need information.~ And she agrees. "So are you here on your own, or were you sent?" Stephanie folds her arms over her chest (such as it is). She eyes the other girl's outfit. "So, do you pick your own outfits or do you just have a group of thirteen year old boys do the designs?" Yes. She went there. Definitely not in the 'win friends and influence people' mode. ~Oh, that's great, sis—I'm sure that this will be a long and very informative visit.~ Steven reproaches. ~~…~~ Just a sense of her irritation, no words. "For what its worth we're fine, not even in pain. Not sure why or how." Stephanie admits with a smidge less hostility.

Kerry releases an irritated snort. "At least boys - of any age - would be interested," she says. "But I have to be Rolemodel Rachel when I'm in my usual skin, so it's good to cut loose. I don't suppose you want a husband?" Letting that thought dangle, she subjects Stephanie to another narrow study. "You look … unblemished. Are there really two of you?" The tone having not been set as friendly, she doesn't seem to feel any urge to be tactful … but she finally comes 'round to the first question, pursing her lips. "I'm here on my own. Don't read anything into it."

Kerry shoots…and scores. "Yes. There's two of us. We're twins." Stephanie admits. "And…I never really thought about a husband." A sigh, and then her shoulders slump a bit as she steps to the side, and motions for Kerry to step into the room. "I feel fine, not even an ache. Just some really unpleasant memories." And then a tight little smile dripping malicious glee. "And some pretty pleasant ones of causing your boss some serious frustration." She looks to Kerry. "So…how is mommy Prieto doing?"

Kerry glides into the room, claiming the chair and making herself at home, all limb sprawl and idleness. "Huh," she says. "I know what it's like to live someone else's life, but sharing a body … no. Well, wife, then?" There's a little barb buried under the flippant words. "Was it worth it?" she asks. "In my experience, Evelyn tends to give better than she gets. But just to be clear, she's not my boss. She asked me in as a favor. Offered me a kid in payment, but I said, 'Oh, hell fuck no.'" By the vaguely outraged intonation and way she phrases it, that's a direct quote. "She's as grouchy as I've seen her in ages. Which means that everything has a 'please' appended onto it in such fashion that it sounds like a death sentence. Just before I headed over this way, her daughter dropped in. Better Liv than me, thanks."

Steph's expression tightens at he barb. "Look…people are uncomfortable around me, until recently I had a handful of friends and have never been on a date. Steven and I have been together since before we were born, okay? I don't know any other way. WE don't know any other way." And then thinking about something that multiple people have said, she relaxes. "But…at least we've never been lonely, at least we have someone that we can depend on, no matter what, forever. Sure, not 'normal'…until reent times that was something we had regrets about. But no longer. There's nothing we'd change, not a damn thing. No regrets." She looks to Kerry then. "So…if you're doing her bidding, favor or not, how is she not your boss?" And the twins cannot help but smile at the news of Prieto's grumpiness.
The news of Liv's visit causes Steph some concern, and then she nods slowly. "Liv is stronger than even she knows. Let Evil Lyn try as she might, her 'daughter' will not break." And Stephanie's surety is irrefutable.

Kerry's lips pull up into a smirk. "If you don't have regrets, why are you so defensive?" she inquires … though the pressure on that question is released as she makes a rather childish face. "It's a matter of semantics. She may be much older than I am, but she has no particular authority over me." Protesting too much? Maybe. She laughs at the last. "Oh, Stephanie, I've known Liv a *lot* longer than you have, and you shouldn't put your faith in a pillar of sand." The smirk returns, and she loops it back to the first point, "Chalk it up to your experience with people, I guess."

"No, no particular authority — just what you give her." Ow. Direct much? "Old habits die hard, I guess. I've had 16 years of ostracism. Forgive me if I'm a little new to the 'having real friends' thing." Stephanie smiles. "Maybe, sure…you've known her a lot longer than I have, but I've seen her outside of her mother's influence. And I may not have a lot of experience, but I've been around people, and I /am/ a telepath. You sure you want to mock my people sense? You know what Liv -let you see-, no more, no less. I'll bet that not one of the people you work with, work UNDER, have ever shown you their true selves, their honest feelings. And really, with her penchant for brain washing, how can you be sure you've not been messed with?"

Kerry flinches, but swiftly returns to a chipper smile. "Oh, so you go prying about in people's brains to figure out what makes them tick? And that's what supposed to make me trust your people sense?" Oh, it's obvious by the look that the tiny blonde knows she's twisting the meaning of that inside out. "I'll pass, thanks. And you've never seen Soul Shadows together." Her voice drops, oddly soft as well. "Being with the only people in the world who know your assumed face is just that … putting aside a facade that isn't just permanent, it's your reason for existing … I think I know my friends pretty damn well." She swoops back up into levity again with startling speed, more laughter. "Oh, Evelyn doesn't need to brainwash me."

"Nice reversal." Stephanie murmurs. "You don't honestly think I casually rummage around in people's heads, do you?" A shake of her head as one light bue and one dark blue eye study Kerry's expression. "There's nothing that will develop your sense of ethics faster than being able to read minds. TRUST me. You really don't have a choice…when it starts, you have no filters in place, so everyone's thoughts are shoved down your throat. You can't sleep, you can't think straight — the only thing you think about is shutting them out. That…or suicide. People's thoughts are generally a lot more vile than they'd want anyone else to know." Yes, thats' the voice of experience right there. "You'll pass on what?

"It's what I'd do if I had the ability," Kerry admits. "But then again, I'm pretty familiar with just how vile people are." There's just too much sweet in that smile. "I don't think much could shock me. I mean, I hang around with Hunter." That's one part flip, one part quite serious. She tips her head forward. "I'll pass on trusting your people sense, all the same," she clarifies.


The day creeps onwards. Stephanie managed to find another glass artifact to knock off … but the rest are no longer where expected. So thus … scavenger hunt? Regardless, while out and about, a voice hails her from the bottom of the main stairs. "Steph! … Steph?" Liv stands there, holding a covered tray, an anxious expression on her face.

Steph wasn't even subtle this time, she just found one, picked it up over her head, and then with a patently false smile said. "Oops! Butter fingers." And dropped it. No, she's not feeling like being a particularly good guest prisoner. And then the scavender hunt begins, the girl stalking about and not being particularly careful about her searching. It would thus be pretty easy for Liv to locate her. A momentary pause, then Steph turns to face her friend with the grimace she was sporting melting away. "Hey Liv, are you okay?" Yes, first thought was to ask if LIV was okay!

"Am I okay?" Liv echoes, incredulous. She sidesteps up the stairs with the tray on her hip, hurrying to join Stephanie. "This is my house. Of course I'm all right." An acrid snap underlies her tone. "How are you? I'm surprised to see you up and about … even though Reg was definitely worn out." Then she waggles the tray and adds sheepishly, "I err, picked up some sweets from the kitchen and going to come knock on your door." Her head tips up, her eyes searching the other's face with fierce intensity.

"Oh, are you terribly fond of it? I'm afraid we've made a bit of a mess in the basement, and…well, there was this glass thingie that got broken just a few minutes ago…" Steph is actually a little nervous that there might be fallout from Liv! Yes, she's silly, but there you go. Steph stands still for the visual exam, and then she looks for a spot to sit down with Liv. "Actually…skipped breakfast, some sweets sound pretty good. I guess Reg did something to help take care of the…stuff." A flash of smile. "Did a great job too, we feel completely fine." Physically.

"No, no … I mean, I spent most of my childhood here …" Liv takes a moment to sweep a glance down the corridor, a pensive look creasing her lips. "But it's just a place, if you know what I mean? It was a dwelling, but not a home." The brow quirks, catching the anxiety. "Oh, come on. Seriously." She waves a hand and steps around the bend to a long bay window with a windowseat. She sets down the tray on the cushions and pulls off the cover, revealing an assortment of muffins, cookies and a pair of chocolate pastries. "Are you sure? I heard she separated you …"

"She did…but we were still together…" Steph taps her temple. "…in here. I could feel him, so though I could also SEE him, it wasn't so bad. I think I vexed your mom a bit when I mind blasted Steven then kept him out telepathically rather than let them torture him." A nod. "And then of course rescue came and your mom fled the scene." Settling onto the window seat, Steph takes a cookie, nibbling on it a bit as she ponders. "It was really weird, but…we were still linked, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I'm not even sure it was real. Hard to say."

"That's amazing," Liv says, though her face goes pale at the description. "Oh. It's … that was quick thinking." She swallows hard. "Oh, it was real. At the least the part the others barged in on." Her hand oozes down to grab a cookie, but she doesn't actually take a bite. "Or should I not have told you that?" Her tone is wry, but the humor leaches out of it as she continues, "I'm so sorry that I invited you here and exposed you to this. That my mother is …" She can't seem to find a word. "I should have left this vacation a family affair, and I can't apologize enough."

"It got a little hairy when your mom tried to murder him, stabbed him here…" Stephanie brushes fingers over her shoulder, right about where the collar bone is. And then seeing the state Liv is in, she reaches out to take one of her hands free. "Liv, please…you can apologize too much." This with a quirky smile. "Neither of us blames you for the actions of Evil Lyn. You're not to blame. Not in the least." She grips firmly, and then presses her brow to her friend's. "Please, don't beat yourself up over what happened, so not worth your time to do that. We should focus on getting hell outta Dodge instead."

Liv jumps at the brow contact, half-jerking back - more by instinct than intent. When she realizes she's doing it, she gives Stephanie's hand a quick squeeze in return. "I just … can't picture Evelyn trying to kill one of my *friends* …" Perhaps there's some very buried level of Liv that still wants to believe better of the person who raised her. "I brought us here. Nothing would have happened, without that." She flashes a faltering expression that might have been a smile in another life. "No arguments on trying to get out. You going to be up for it?"

"No offense, Liv…but your mom is a psycho bitch. I know we want to think better of the people that figure prominently in our upbringing, but…I was there, I saw the strike. I /felt/ it. I guarantee you, she tried to kill us." And then she leans back, still holding Liv's hand, needing the contact as much as the other girl probably does. "Steven says that you're still not responsible for someone else's actions. They CHOSE to make this a trap, they used us, and worse — they used YOU to bait it. You're as much a victim as we are in a very real sense." At that question, she meets your gaze, light and dark blue eyes intense, her expression one of absolute determination. "We're up for it. Bitch. Must. Pay." She states in a harsh husk.

Liv flinches, but her grip tightens this time, almost painfully so before she relaxes. "Yeah, okay," she says in a slightly hoarse voice. "It's not like I don't know she's killed people." She tries to make this flip, seems to know even as she says it that it's not going to work. "Before I came to school, I held my peace because I figured I owed them, all of them … and that revealing the people who raised me would be a betrayal of the new leaf I was trying to turn over. Does that make sense?" She seems to urgently need to get this across. "Not that I feel that way now …
"Hi, Steven," she adds after a brief pause. "Good to 'hear' from you. You're wrong, though. I'm the only one here who's safe." But then she pulls her head back sharply to study Stephanie, her brows creasing down in a perturbed expression. "Uh. Guess that answers *that* question. I think maybe we should wind you up and stand out of your way."

"I'm sorry, I truly am. I didn't mean to make you feel worse." Stephanie shakes her head, leaning back a bit, but still holding your hand if you'll permit it. "You felt that loyalty was their due, and I can't blame you for that. They DID raise you. And sure…I can see not wanting to start a new life on the straight and narrow with an act of betrayal." She smiles then, and the voice that talks is Steven's. "We don't blame you, and the important part is that we stick together, and learn from this." Stephanie nods then. "Agreed. And it sounds like that's just what we're doing." A wry smile. "Are you sure you're safe? I wouldn't count on that too much, Kerry for example thinks you're spineless. Then again — with her fashion sense I'd say her judgement is at best marginal." A tight smile. "We'll be ready, and we'll all do our parts. What more can one ask?"

"Don't apologize." Liv shakes her head. "I just wanted you both to understand. Your opinions and approval matter to me, a lot." She seems more relaxed with the physical contact now. "And you do see a different side of them. Not that makes any of this any less wrong …" She blinks a bit as Steven speaks out, then grins. "I'm afraid to ask what you're learning from all this." But then she snorts. "Kerry's full of hot air. She's just too used to thinking of me as a little girl, and I'm not that, any more." She nods once, brusquely. "It will be enough. Has to be."

A genuinely sweet smile. "Liv…we do. We really do. You were the first friend we made at Steranko, that counts for a lot. You, Jack, and Miranda are the first people to truly accept us /as is/. No expectations, no fear, nothing like that — how can we hold something like this against you?" Steph laughs then, and lets Steven speak. "We've learned…a lot. There's a joke in a movie we loved — a bird was flying south, but he froze and fell to earth in a cattle pasture. A passing cow crapped on him, and that warmed him and revived him. The bird sang for joy and drew the attention of a passing tomcat, which dug him out of the manure, and ate him." Steven as Stephanie smiles. Odd to see the different body language, but there it is. "The moral is this — those that shit on you aren't always your enemies, those who get you OUT of shit aren't always your friends, and when you're IN deep shit it is best to keep your big mouth shut."

"It shouldn't be that hard," Liv says, tone fierce. "You're an amazing person - amazing people - and the rest is just details." She smiles timorously. "Your friendship - and having someone I can trust - means so much to me. Part of me keeps waiting for that to get kicked out from under me …" She makes a face. "Very easily, you could." She blinks then, considering the joke with a smirk. "I'm not even going to ask about who plays which parts in this particular drama. But … cute, guys. Real cute."

"But…see…people, non-Neos, our very nature is an assault on their subconscious — this is why animals freak out around us. It shouldn't be that hard, but we're too odd for most to cope with, so they keep us at a distance or further if they can manage. Even our own father can't deal with us since we lost mom. How can we expect anyone else to accept what our own family doesn't?" Gee, does that sound a little familiar? A wry smile, and the twins shake their head. "No, not easily at all." They grin then and Steph leans back, drawing her legs up under her. "Great joke, in Assassins with Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas. Fun."

"Maybe those of us who are close to you are just a little creepy, too," Liv says with a half smile, then shakes her head. "No. Can't be. Jack is one of the most up-and-up guys I know." Sobering again, she gives Stephanie's hand a quick squeeze. "Mind over instinct is a big part of what makes us human, so it's not too much to expect. But I'm sorry. It can't be easy to have a father in absentia like that." Though she does bow her head in silent acknowledgement of that question. "Family: can't live with 'em, end up the prime suspect if you put 'em through a meat-grinder." She squirms back, positioning herself against the window frame. "Huh. Think I've seen that, but it's been a long time."

"Maybe…but people are lazy by nature most of the time, most people are anyway." Finishing her cookie, Steph smiles. "I'm glad we talked. I feel a lot better about things. Don't worry, we'll get out of here and then all will be right again. Or nearly." Steph squeezes your hand once more, then finally releases it. "C'mon, lets watch a movie of something. Chill a little. I think I've done enough damage for one day."

"I have no patience for lazy people," Liv says. "I'm going to start zotting them in the tail when I see them." She bobs her head. "Me, too." She sounds a little surprised. "And I'm … really glad you're all right. It's going to work out, has to." She swings to the floor, landing with a thunk. "Sounds like a plan. Come on, I'll show you the selection." One wonders … is there still cable in shadow?

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