Attempted interactions

(OOC: Reserved for Lilly Teal and Carmine Field.)

"So..."

Lilly shifted a little from foot to foot. First to break the horribly uncomfortable silence. Carmine could choose to take that as a positive point if he wanted, that he would not break under attempts to stare him into giving him information.

Not that interrogators regularly used the silent treatment.

"How's-"

Work? She'd prefer not to know.

Rey? That would defeat the purpose of this outing.

Life?

... does he even have a life?

"... things?"

    • Reynard Lowkey
      Reynard Lowkey

      The break in silence had taken Carmine by surprise. He'd freely admit it. For a long while now, the two of them had simply enjoyed each other's company in peace and quiet he always so desperately attempted to achieve. So rare, were these days that lacked the usual anxieties of his normal operations that he welcomed the lack of noise. Except...

      "Things are. They're good." He left it at that. Sure there should have been the obvious follow up of "How about you" at the very least. But he, and this is not something he'd admit to, had no such nerve to do so. 

      It wasn't anything against Lily, no, he found her to be a pleasant friend. But given the sheer lack of anything resembling a friendship between just the two of them, it might be better to call her an acquaintance. 

      He sat deathly still as his brain fought with itself to either maintain the eternity stretching silence between them or for to just once in his life be a friendly person of his own accord. He suggested this whole thing to begin with after all. 

      His eyes darted over to Lilly a few times, checking to see if maybe he could register some sort of response to his non-answer. Nothing. That he could tell, at least. His turn then. 

      "So..." He grimaced. Seriously? The same intro as her? 

      "I-" No, don't make this about yourself, come on man! 

      Literally start with anything you don't know about her. 

      Which is everything outside of 1) bookstore and 2) Rey. All of which are off limits for today. 

      "Seen anything lately?" Brilliant. 

      • Lilly Teal
        Lilly Teal

        "No."

        She winced. That sounded very abrupt. She didn't want to seem like she was cutting him off, or that she didn't want to talk to him. She did! She really did!

        It's just that she couldn't remember struggling so hard to be friends with someone before.

        Well... that wasn't fair. They were friends. Ish. And he was a very sweet person. It was just that talking to him was more of a struggle than she had been prepared for.

        It didn't hit until just now that Rey was the one filling up all the silences. She feigned looking up at the sky at an interesting cloud, not wanting to see what she expected was a discouraged expression on his face from the tone that only she was imagining that been very abrupt.

        "Sorry. That was. I mean, no, not lately. It's been slow these days. Which is. You know. Kind of great. For St. Canard, I mean."

        Oh no. Stop babbling. He doesn't care.

        There was another silence, but not as long as before, as she quickly jumped in with a witty and well-timed-

        "... um. Do you. Like. Movies?"

        On the inside, she had covered her face with her hands in mortification. Do you like movies? Maybe ask him WHAT kind of movies he likes rather than if he likes an entire form of entertainment?

        For the next question I can ask if he likes water.

        • Reynard Lowkey
          Reynard Lowkey

          He blinked. Opened and then closed his mouth. 

          Not because he found the sort of question to be ridiculously bare, but because he couldn't for the life of him remember if he did or not. You'd think it would be a simple yes or no (though why no, even he'd have a hard time explaining), but he had to ask himself one thing. When was the last time he saw a movie? A year? Maybe more? Good grief, he really had nothing going for him right now. 

          He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the first time since they both sat down. Once his squirming had ended he felt too much time had passed and he had to answer. "They're okay." 

          His own inner self was bashing his head into a metaphorical brick wall. Okay? Try not to hurt yourself pulling out the lengthiest words in your vocabulary. 

          "I mean, I haven't seen any in a while. With work and all..." No, no talk of work. She doesn't like that. Or he assumed. She didn't need to hear about it regardless. "...food is good too." 

          Oh yes, food is good. Not 'I enjoy cooking even if I'm not good at it.'

          Certainly not 'My father has been making fantastic dishes for us for as long as I can remember and if I weren't a criminal I could consider being a chef an all right alternative'. 

          Let's just say food is good. 

          Awful as that was, he still felt a very subtle but convincing feeling that he was making this about himself. He needed to learn about her not ramble on about his life.

          • Lilly Teal
            Lilly Teal

            She seemed a little nonplussed by this change of topic. Or perhaps just the way the topic was broached.

            If it even had been broached. Maybe it was just an observation and he didn't actually want to go too deep into it.

            "It is," she managed. Well done. Not 'On the subject of food, what's your favourite dish?'

            Not 'my uncle is hopeless at taking care of himself so I'm learning and it's actually quite fun and rewarding.'

            There was even an option of 'Do you cook?'

            But no. It is.

            She sighed internally. This was silly. She had to try and ask some questions. She really did want to learn more about him, and giving one or two word answers to everything he said wasn't going to help with that. At least she didn't squirm this time, or direct her eyes to the sky. That was either an improvement or a giving up.

            You know what. I'm going to ask him what he likes to eat. Food is usually a good topic of conversation. Opening her mouth to ask it, she turned to face him, and immediately flinched at his forbidding frown.

            What? What did I say?! I'm sorry! Is food not good?! Am I not allowed to like food?!

            "Sorry!" she squeaked. She didn't even know what she was supposed to be sorry FOR, she just really felt that she needed to apologise to that face.

            • Reynard Lowkey
              Reynard Lowkey

              Well, that was confusing. 

              To him, this whole thing was confusing, why was this so hard? Of the plethora of stupidly difficult tasks he handles day to day, this was somehow the biggest disaster to date. 

              "What? What for?" The slightest arch in  his brows were meant to convey a change in expression, but it might come off as more angry. This wasn't going how he had planned. "I think I should be saying sorry."

              It was a bitter admittance, done with a mumble. Much as he hated to admit it, this was his idea and thus his fault. He opted to stare at the ground instead. 

              "I don't think I...know anything about you," the hesitance in his voice must be encouraging. "But I want to. So...who are-I mean, what do you like? To do? What do you like to do? For fun?"

              His intense stare became more intense. 

              • Lilly Teal
                Lilly Teal

                The ground would have quailed under that angry, intense stare, if it hadn't been a completely inanimate object.

                "Oh..." Feeling strangely guilty, since his words didn't match up with his face and she felt she had read the whole situation wrong, she reached out and touched his shoulder lightly. "No. Ah. Don't apologise."

                It may have been his idea, but she really wanted to go along with it. That shared out the blame, right?

                "Fun. I..." she wracked her brains, suddenly having no idea what she did for fun. What even was fun?

                "Music!" she blurted out. "I mean books, of course. But music. Listening, singing, dancing to it. Er... do you like music? Sorry."

                Pausing, she took a little breath, and tried to start again on the right footing.

                "Carmine, what kind of music do you like? Maybe we can share some."

                • Reynard Lowkey
                  Reynard Lowkey

                  "Well..." His voice actually seemed to move up above what's been a pretty consistent monotone. And is that...yes, I believe that is the beginnings of a sheepish smile. 

                  "Sorry, I don't think you'd like any of the music I listened to," he paused. Hesitant to share much more. But he was already here, might as well go all in. "My father was pretty strict on what was playing on the radio." 

                  He didn't say it with any contempt, you could almost hear the smile in his words. Trust me, it was strange for him as well. 

                  "'You're only hearing real rock in my house', he'd used to say. Pretty much all excessively old-school stuff." 

                  Huh, that was the most he'd said in a while. 

                  • Lilly Teal
                    Lilly Teal

                     

                    She smiled a little at that. When next the pause came, it was very brief, and comfortable, not something that felt like it needed to be broken.

                    Maybe only she felt like that, but she appreciated the shift in feeling.

                    "I don't think I've heard anything like that. But I would like to try one. My grandmother used to think anything other than classical was 'far too exciting for a young lady', so we couldn't play anything else in front of her. I... didn't know you had a father."

                    The next pause was a little embarrassed, and she shook her head. "Sorry. That was silly to say, of course. It's just... nice to hear?"

                    It's nice knowing you have family. Or had. Neither of us have ever mentioned family members like this. It makes you more real.

                    • Reynard Lowkey
                      Reynard Lowkey

                      Alright, he couldn't hide a smile that time. You didn't know I had a father? 

                      "It's a good thing we're doing this then. Getting to know each other, I mean." As opposed to what? 

                      "I can lend you some of our records. He still listens to them from time to time, but if I told him it's for a friend he'll...well, first he'll ask if it's a girl, then if I'm trying to bust out some smooth moves and...I'll just take some and bring them back when ever." 

                      That was a bit embarrassing. Why did I say all that? 

                      "I-if you'd like of course." Ahem. 

                      • Lilly Teal
                        Lilly Teal

                        This time there was no silence, because Lilly was giggling very quietly.

                        "He sounds lovely, your father." I'd like to meet him, but I don't want to scare you by suggesting that even as a far future plan. Not yet. "And I'd love that. I'll exchange with you if you like. I have records of the swing music I used to practice with for voice lessons."

                        Bless uncle Matthew for bringing them over. He didn't even have to.

                        "If you father will let my music play in your house, of course" she added, a gentle tease. "I wouldn't want to be a corrupting influence in his eyes."

                        • Reynard Lowkey
                          Reynard Lowkey

                          "Mmm, thank you for being so considerate." It was nice to hear her laugh. Has he ever heard it before? I he couldn't actually remember. 

                          "I think you'll like him, if you ever do want to come over," he hoped the subtle invite was received. "He likes company, oh and cooking. He'll ask you a million questions on your favorite thing to eat. And trust me, he will try to make it right there. Just warning you." 

                          But giving it some thought, music and a home cooked meal with a friend sounded down right enjoyable. He even considered putting time in so he could just have a day like that. Wow, this is moving fast. 

                           

                          • Lilly Teal
                            Lilly Teal

                            "That... actually sounds wonderful," she said, her smile much warmer and more sincere. "I'd love that, any time you'd want to have me. I'll... eh, even bring dessert?"

                            It's been so long since I've actually visited anyone and definitely not since I was home. People bring desserts or salads or things to people's houses when they didn't have staff, right?

                            "And the music, of course."

                            Please invite me soon. I'd love to make more friends and feel closer to you.

                            "So he likes cooking!" Is that why food is good? "Do you?"

                            • Reynard Lowkey
                              Reynard Lowkey

                              "I'm terrible. He's tried teaching me, but it never stuck." To him at least. His standards were pretty high for himself eating nothing but his father's home cooking when not out and about. "Besides, he's the king of the kitchen, no need to try and usurp the throne." 

                              She hasn't said a word about anyone but her grandmother... 

                              "Do you live alone?" It was a bold question in his mind, but something about the tone of things felt right enough to ask bold questions anyways.

                              • Lilly Teal
                                Lilly Teal

                                "I live with an uncle. My uncle." I don't know why I said it like that, that was weird. Maybe my brain was working out my family in the background, since we're talking about it.

                                "It's really just us, and I'm pretty sure he only knows how to make good tea and coffee and used to eat out most of the time."

                                Or not eat at all, who knows?

                                "So I've been trying to learn on my own, so he actually eats. It's an uphill battle but not too bad. I can do cake!" I mean, on the subject of bringing things to your house for if you invite me to dinner?

                                • Reynard Lowkey
                                  Reynard Lowkey

                                  "So you live a stubborn old man, too huh?" It may not be getting him to eat that's a challenge, but he had individual stress lines for every argument he's had with his father. Mapped out even. 

                                  "We don't do deserts too much. He'd appreciate that, I think." Why yes that was a formal invitation. No, he couldn't have been more direct. 

                                  "Are you a native to St. Canard?" Seems like a silly question, but, you never know. 

                                  • Lilly Teal
                                    Lilly Teal

                                    "Then I'd bring one. Whenever you'd want."

                                    WHAT DO YOU SAY TO NEXT MONDAY AT EIGHT.

                                    For half a second, she looked like she really wanted to say that, but tamped it down firmly.

                                    "I'm not, actually. I grew up in England until just a few years ago. My parents and my grandmother and I. We lived by the sea." There's no real need to add that but... you know. "So St. Canard is still, let's be kind and say surprising. I'd imagine if you've been here your whole life the strangeness is just as normal."

                                    Actually, if he was a native of the city, this might be the perfect opportunity to find out if that was true. She shifted to face him a little more, glad he was finally looking at her again, even if he still did look annoyed. She was starting to suspect that it wasn't actually annoyance. Just Carmine being Carmine.

                                    "Are you from here?"

                                    • Reynard Lowkey
                                      Reynard Lowkey

                                      "Born and raised." Not a hint of pride in the statement. But hardly any malice. It was just a fact. Like the sky was blue and mutants ran about causing mayhem on alternating weekends. 

                                      "My, um, family has been here for generations. Not much of us go outside the city limits." 

                                      He paused again. But more tense this time. He didn't like that segue, change the subject. 

                                      "I figured you'd be used to strange by now. I'm not running around with fire shooting out of my eyes, or whatever, but I'm not exactly a typical citizen." 

                                      He tried to make light of it, but he wondered, how did she feel about his...career. Maybe this was a mistake. 

                                      • Lilly Teal
                                        Lilly Teal

                                        She smiled warmly, giving no indication of any resentment.

                                        Sure, she wasn't comfortable with it. But she wasn't against him for it. He was kind to her, and his career hadn't negatively impacted her any more than the regular villains of St. Canard had.

                                        Perhaps, on the face of things, that was a bit of a selfish point of view. She always believed in doing the right thing, and being good and moral, so it was definitely hypocritical to continue being friends with him, and never consider calling the police.

                                        Or, if you want to keep the police out of it, at least stop encouraging him.

                                        But friends, actual kind friends who weren't just taking advantage of her desire to make people happy, who made things infinitely less lonely and made her want to be better for them, those were valuable and trumped everything else she believed in.

                                        So however I feel about your career, that doesn't change how I feel about you, her smile seemed to say, though she gently decided not to pick up on the subject.

                                        "I'm used to the baseline strangeness. I genuinely thought I'd seen all the supervillains this city has to offer, but it keeps surprising me in new and... frankly sometimes terrifying ways. There was a vengeful ghost in my shop just a week ago. I definitely wasn't ready for that."

                                        • Reynard Lowkey
                                          Reynard Lowkey

                                          An unquestionably worried looked replaced any of that ambiguous anger his face usually sported as he slowly turned towards Lilly. He didn't say anything immediately, but the attempt at words was clearly trying to escape his throat. After a harsh swallow, he composed himself enough to speak. 

                                          "And. And is the. The ghost," his words were thoughtful. Definitely not shaky. "Is it still around? Did you get an exorcist? What did you do to get a vengeful spirit there in the first place?" 

                                          He was suspicious to say the least. Possibly not a fan of the supernatural. Certainly not shaking. 

                                          • Lilly Teal
                                            Lilly Teal

                                            "I didn't do anything!" She threw up her hands, not picking up on Carmine's strange reaction at first. "A customer decided to bring in a random item that that thrown at them from a car. First of all, who does that?! And it turned out the ladle was haunted by an angry lunchlady and she thought I was her school librarian and that she apparently had a vendetta against-"

                                            So that was fun.

                                            "But she's gone now. It was definitely the strangest and honestly one of the more terrifying things that's happened in two years."

                                            She turned to look at Carmine again, and paused, just slightly. "Sorry. Um. Is this a bad topic? Everything's as normal at the shop now, really."

                                            • Reynard Lowkey
                                              Reynard Lowkey

                                              What? 

                                              "What? Oh! No no. It's fine. Fine. I'm okay with it. Honest." But he was not okay with it. 

                                              He attempted to let his last words be the final say on the matter. But his foot was tapping, his hands twitching. Okay, he can't hold it in. 

                                              "I mean, there's a lot happening in the city, certainly. And I can handle it all, of course. Mutants, super powered freaks, bill collectors, name it. But then you've hot your ghosts. And monsters. And demons. And witches. And other uncategoizable things that don't abide to the laws of physics." 

                                              Can you blame me for not being thrilled about being around them? 

                                              "But -ahem- glad you're okay."

                                              • Lilly Teal
                                                Lilly Teal

                                                She nodded in understanding. That latter category was... well, it was hard to keep calm and it was even harder to move off from the experience when you still sometimes had visions of your walls turning into cheese.

                                                That's oddly a lot scarier than them just crashing down around you.

                                                "We could definitely do with less of those." She smiled. "All I'm saying is... there's a lot stranger and more surprising things than you in this city. And I definitely wouldn't pick any of them to sit on a park bench with over you."

                                                • Reynard Lowkey
                                                  Reynard Lowkey

                                                  "I would hope so." 

                                                  He laughed a little. Okay, tension gone. As were spirits. Hopefully. Then he looked up and around. Realizing time had passed by pretty quick all of a sudden. But he wasn't bothered, oddly enough. 

                                                  "I like it here too though. It's weird, I've lived here all my life, but I can't remember the last time I was just sitting at a bench like this."

                                                  Or relax period.  

                                                  "We should do this more often. Hang out or something."

                                                  • Lilly Teal
                                                    Lilly Teal

                                                    "We should." Said with nothing but sincerity. "I hope you don't mind me saying so, but you really don't look like you take a lot of breaks. Even if you need to."

                                                    That might be where the expression comes from. And the fact that until five minutes ago, you were sitting on the bench like it was going to attack you.

                                                    It was really nice, seeing him loosen up even a little. Had she ever seen him like that?

                                                    "So I'd happily be your excuse to relax." She smiled, giving him a friendly little shoulder nudge. "We can talk about how good food is and how movies exist."

                                                    And now, she was relieved to feel, there was nothing in the silence but comfort. The sort of silence that you could sit in with a friend for hours with nobody caring about breaking it.

                                                    She gave a happy little sigh and looked up at the sky again. Not to deflect an uncomfortable conversation this time, but to genuinely enjoy the clouds.

                                                    "I'm really, really glad you suggested this," she continued, finding no awkwardness in turning back to look at him again. "I wanted to spend time with you but I just didn't know how to. Does... that make sense?" I do hope it does, otherwise I was the only one who apparently doesn't know how to spend time with people.

                                                    • Reynard Lowkey
                                                      Reynard Lowkey

                                                      "Perfectly." 

                                                      When he looked at her this time, he had a smile on. An amused one. Then he looked away and chuckled at what he was about to admit, despite himself. 

                                                      "Can I tell you something? It's felt horribly awkward for me that I couldn't strike up a basic conversation with you. Until now that is. But, before, heh, most of the time I couldn't think of anything to say so I. Mostly kept quiet and let Lowk- Rey. Rey do the talking." 

                                                      He swears he will never get used to referring to him in such casual terms.