*is pelted with VHS tapes of Full House re-runs*
(That was the crappiest sitcom I could think of off the top of my head.)
Title: Cliff Notes
Rating: PG - Gen
Spoilers: General (for all aired episodes)
Disclaimers: DA & characters are owned by their various creators.
Summary: Alec has no social skills. Cindy deals with it with an eggplant & Herman Melville.
Cindy knew it was him by the knock on the door.
She knew it would be only a matter of days before he'd be back.
It had all started out as only faintly distressing at first. A month ago it hadn’t felt that bad when he began dropping in on her days off with cases of beer. Then a few early mornings he would be right there in front of the building waiting causally to inquire if she was headed down the corner to the java joint. She wasn’t sure if she had slowly enabled his bizarre inability to adhere to social convention or he was on his own ride, but it gotten a lot worse as soon as there were any signs of acceptance regarding his uninvited presence. After a series of incidents which nearly induced cardiac arrest, Cindy knew that things had needed to drastically change.
The moment that had shifted the awkward to unbearable had been only last week. While she had been conditioning her hair a shadow had appeared outside the opaque shower curtain like that movie with the psycho motel freak. After some hurled objects, her terrified screaming and a very startled Alec, she had explained in graphic detail what would happen to a crotch when introduced to a waffle iron if he kept up the routine. The transgenic had refused the practical suggestion of a small bell around his neck and padlocks were as meaningless as the concept of modesty. That left one other unsavory option.
The knock came again.
If a fist on wood could sound impatient, apathetic and patronizing then Alec had somehow nailed it. Quietly as she could, she got up on her toes to look out the peephole. The hallway was empty but that didn’t mean anything.
“Sorry, honey.” Cindy whispered smugly. “Nobody home.”
She narrowed her eyes and stepped back when the dim fisheye view of the corridor went abruptly black. From the sound, she knew a hand had been slid right over it to block her surveillance. Mere inches away on the other side of the door she heard him noisily clear his throat.
“If I couldn’t already hear you in there all the way out by the elevator you should know that when you use a peephole your face naturally blots out the ambient light so it pretty much lets whatever maniac outside with a semi-automatic know that you’re not only home but standing right where they can aim and blow your head off without even leaving prints—“
Cindy swung open the door before his voice got loud enough to bother any of her neighbors.
Where there had been no one before, there was now Alec standing expectantly. Used to seeing him in the same three variations of riding clothes, she was surprised to see clean jeans and an agreeably trendy brown sweater that didn’t appear like he’d recently been wading through a dumpster. But even what he had deemed casual still didn’t really seem like it. Looking him up and down, she realized that maybe it was how he wore it that made it look different than it would on anyone else. All that normalcy was just a few creases and folds away from a uniform.
“I couldn’t help but notice that you’re cooking.” Alec said pointedly.
Leaning in the doorway to block any attempted entrance, Cindy glanced back over her shoulder. If the guy meant microwaving a frozen lump of parmigiana into something close to room temperature than he was absolutely correct. Eyeing him with begrudging appraisal she wondered what else Alec could pick up from all the way over in that creaking elevator. She wondered if it would be really weird to ask him if he happened to know if she was going to get her period by at least this weekend. There was a circuit party hitting dockside and she wanted to attend without worrying about much of anything throughout its 48 hour hallucinogenic duration.
Alec’s hopeful look was replaced by vague worry when nothing seemed to be happening to bring him closer to food. With a sigh, she dropped her arm. The flimsy barrier of the long silk sleeve of her robe fell away from between the outside and her home.
“Come on in.”
Clicking and sliding all the locks back in place, she listened to Alec do his orbit of the small abode he knew already by heart. She was never quite sure what it was he was expecting to discover upon every new inspection but he did it anyway. Alec momentarily examined the third rate whiskey that was sitting on a tray with the even cheaper vodka. He poured himself a glass and made an elaborate face of disgust on the first swallow when he noticed her watching.
“Anyone ever tell you that you drink too much?”
With a thoughtful pause, Alec studied the amber liquid with renewed consideration. After a few moments, he gave her a grin before taking another sip.
“No one ever tells me anything.” He shrugged.
Not sure how to respond to his answer, she yanked on an oven mitt. Pulling the steaming tray out onto the stovetop, she decided it was probably a good thing Alec stopped by this evening. She usually always bought the big portions meant for families because her roommate ate more than a few people put together, but Cindy was dining alone this evening and not a fan of leftovers. Peeling the cover off, it did smell much better than expected despite the misfortunate severity of the freezer burn.
“Do you want a plate?”
Alec took his distracted gaze away from the bookcase and absently shook his head.
“Good.” Cindy mumbled as she pulled up a stool to one side of the small table. “Less dishes to wash.”
Sticking the other fork in the opposite end of the pan of electromagnetically radiated food, she tested her first bite before getting serious. To her surprise it was even better than lukewarm. Hovering right below too hot to eat, the insides were nicely far from being a solid icy block. Wondering what precisely was keeping a transgenic from being face down in free chow, she watched Alec’s hand run lightly over the uneven jam of paperbacks. It was then that she remembered that there actually was something new to look at around here. Not much, but something.
Yesterday, she had gone and spent a few hours at the used bookstore that sat at the end of her street. Half the stacks towards the back of the place were fused together in swelled rotting heaps under the leaky pipes, but there were a few things worth the trip if you went digging. Wanting a cheap romance for her lunch breaks she ended up with a high school American classics workbook instead. It was worse than used and the memories of her last experience with the featured tale inside were less than pleasant. Most of the traditional novels force fed by the academic hadn’t left much of a lingering impression other than how painful it was to write a coherent paper. But she had a vague fondness for all the dramatic notions Herman Melville had almost broken his own neck reiterating. Obsession and idealism. Revenge and absolution. Good and evil. Throw in the briny salt air, churning gray waves and a relentless narrative and you had yourself a decent afternoon.
That had been the goal anyway.
After she had smacked down a dollar for the thing it was promptly shoved into the rows of the other unread books of her collection. It figured it had taken her less than 24 hours to even remember the grand intention to get reacquainted with some biblical sea angst. But it made her feel better to know it was there if she actually wanted to read it. Maybe she’d open it up tonight instead of tuning in to that new reality show about surgery that went wrong.
Alec sat down opposite her with the copy half open. It took Cindy a moment to realize that he wasn’t randomly flipping the worn paper in boredom. Watching his eyes run down every page before another turn she saw that he was reading it. Lifting another forkful of dinner to her mouth, she thought it would be polite if she was quiet while he worked it through. It never felt right to interrupt a person when they were down deep in a read. Besides, she didn’t have long to wait to hear what he thought of it all. In fact, only about five minutes went by before Alec hit the back cover.
“What is this?”
It wasn’t exactly a poignant statement on religious symbology but it was a good a question as any.
“Some people say it’s a boat load of dogma.” Cindy said hesitantly. “Me personally? I think it’s about a crazy guy and a crazy whale. And no offense, but it makes sense to me that both of ‘em are white—”
“No, what is this?”
Alec was holding up his heaping fork.
“Oh.” Cindy hoped she wouldn’t have to explain the dynamics of the inscrutable vegetable outside of its name. “It’s eggplant.”
“I’ll admit, this girl is a sucker for anything breaded and fried—”
“What? No. The book. It was good.”
It was good? Cindy looked at the novel the transgenic had consumed and dissected all in less time it’d taken her to pay for it. Putting down words like popcorn might be efficient but where did all the fun go? Half the appeal was wallowing for hours in anguish on your sofa as the protagonist fucked up his life while you sat by and helplessly watched. Tearing a piece off the baguette she’d left between them, she thought of a straightforward way to find out if ‘good’ was all Alec could get.
“So what was your favorite part?”
He deliberated over the unidentifiable lump of cheese and tomato sauce before putting it in his mouth. Chewing slowly, Alec’s pace picked up when he discovered that it wasn’t something he was going to have to spit out into his readied napkin.
“I liked it when the whale got away.”
“Well, see now?” Cindy chided with a smile. “You went and gave away the whole thing.”
Alec’s fork hovered, his brow creasing suddenly in frustration. Guilt made everyone uncomfortable but the sensation seemed to always do a number on the transgenics. Cindy was never prepared for what they considered a big deal. What should be trivial turned into a grave offense. Alec wet his lips and did his best to make it right again.
“I mean, there’s a lot of stuff in there? So if the fish got away once, than you know maybe the fish gets away a lot of times and I was just talking about one time but I don’t know why that guy kept calling it a fish because a whale is technically a mammal because it breathes air and has live young even though it doesn’t live on dry—“
“It’s okay, sugar.” Cindy dipped a piece of bread in the pan and handed it to him. “Everyone knows the end of that story.”
Sidetracked by the method to scoop up the copious amounts of sauce he was leaving behind, Alec grew silent again as he ate. Cindy finished her ample corner of the tray and watched the rest of it and the bread disappear shortly afterwards. Sitting back, she was too full to do much else than look up at the clock and think longingly of bed.
Alec fought a smirk and nudged the book forward.
“There’s an awesome part about how a guy falls right into a gutted whale.”
“And he can’t get out because you know it’s like a sea-o-guts but then—“
“Do you want some coffee?”
"How ‘bout some cake?"
Cindy blinked at him. She knew their spidey senses were good but catching onto an ice cream cake in the freezer was just uncanny. Observing her bewilderment, Alec helpfully lifted a shopping receipt that was sitting forgotten on his side of the table. Midol, tea, panty liners, hair dye, cake… The mocha layered delicacy had been meant to last her through upcoming hormone stretch but she supposed it didn’t really make much difference.
“Then will you leave?”
Cindy got to her feet.
“Coming right up.”
Cross posted to jam_pony_fic
Cross posted to darkangelfic
Cross posted to x5_darkangel_x5