(2018-03-13) We Should Have Gone to Rio
We Should Have Gone to Rio
Summary: Some people just can't trust a good thing when they see it.
Date: m y s t a r y, tbd
Related: None
Player Characters: Eddie, Gwen, Ida

Grimhart Park - Grimhart Cafe

This boxy cafe is starkly minimalistic in its white-and-brown design, with recessed lighting, a chrome coffee bar displaying the wide assortment of baked goods through its glass front and large windows on all sides overlooking the water. The staff is chatty and informal.

Rain rain rain. Rain rain rain. Also rain. The world outside is obscured by a heavy downpour. The clouds above are lit by the city lights, strange shades of greys, browns, purples and orange moving sluggishly across the night. It makes the little cafe feel cut off from the outside world, just a few late night customers and a solitary barista at the front engrossed in some phone game. Ida is lounging in the pleather and chrome corner booth, casually posed like a model (draw me like one of your French girls) as she stirs her coffee and stares at the window. The rain has turned the glass into warped mirrors, so she seems to be looking at the reflected ceiling lights - though her gaze is just unfocused enough it's clear she's a thousand miles away.

The cafe radio is playing something low and soft by Ella Fitzgerald. But this half-pint imitation / Put me on the blink again / I'm wild again, beguiled again…

The sound of the rain picks up as the doors swing open, then fades down when they swing shut again. Eddie stands there on the little rubber mat in front of the door, dripping. He runs his fingers through his hair to ring the water out a little, and looks down at his coat for a minute before giving it up for a lost cause and shrugging it off. The jacket underneath is damp, but that's all. It's a better coat than it looks like. He looks around to find Ida, which doesn't take very long. It's a small place, and she's not easy to miss. Going over to the booth, he snags a chair from a nearby table to hang his coat over, and slides into place opposite the Fairest without waiting for an invitation. "How much you have to bribe them to put something good on the radio?"

Behind Eddie the door swings open once more… A brassy-haired woman with blue skin steps in. Her hands stuffed into the pockets of the leather jacket she wears over a soaked hoodie. Her feet squeak squeak squeak as Gwen walks into the little cafe, glancing around with a frown on her lips.

"Eddie." The Fairest, snapped out of her little reverie, shoots the thus named sleuth a smile. "It is good to see you. I guess I was just lucky, they changed it when I was placing my order. It was something awful before that." She gives a little shrug, her 1940s suit revealed as her own trench is draped to dry over the back of the booth. She pushes a little plate of tiny lollipop cake things over to him. "These are quite good. The green ones are melon flavored, the brown are bourbon and brown sugar cake." The smile's turned into a bit of a teasing grin with the melon part for some reason, before she spots the blue skinned woman. "Ah. Do you know her?"

"Somebody ought to be lucky, I guess. Just for symmetry." Eddie looks down at the offered plate, wavering until he hears the word 'bourbon'. He snags one of the brown ones and pops it into his mouth with a grin, then turns and looks at the window she was staring out a minute ago. "What's this? Staring at your reflection. Vanity," he tsks. He's already turning to look over his shoulder at the door, when Ida asks about the clockwork girl. "Gwen!" he hollers, a greeting and an answer all-in-one, waving for the redhead to come on over.

Gwen shrieks when her name is called, jumping a good three feet in the air and swivelling toward the sound of Eddie's voice. "Ugh." says Gwen, a hand going to her heart. The windup girl shuffles in his direction and says, caustically, "Eddie Brundle, my favorite book-interrupter." Then her diamond-cut sapphire eyes shift to Ida and she blinks. "Hallo."

Diamond-cut sapphire meet opal-and-bug eyes, Ida smiling pleasantly after an initial twitch and pause at the shriek and jump. "Hello. That is a flattering title for him, the world does have many book interrupters. How are you?" She then looks back over at Eddie and takes one of the bourbon cakes with a haughty little sniff. "I was saving these for you but considering that statement clearly you do not want them after all." Except her dimples are showing. "How was the Midori?"

The speakers keep crooning: He's a fool and don't I know it / But a fool can have his charms / I'm in love and don't I show it / Like a babe in arms

"I've always wanted to be somebody's favorite," Eddie says, wistfully. He flashes the Fairest sitting across from him a grin, and answers the question: "Green." Then he scoots around to the middle of the booth to make room for Gwen, gesturing for her to sit. If he's got to sit a little closer to Ida to do it, well, that's just the price of hospitality. "Gwen, Ida. Ida, Gwen Dolin. Gwen's our junior snowflake in town, and at least the second meanest redhead in my life these days."

He furrows his brow and listens to the music, really hearing the lyrics, now that he's settled down. "Sometimes I get the feeling I'm being made fun of."

Gwen reaches out and pinches Eddie, right on the arm. She settles into the booth and peers at the cakepops, sighing softly. "So annoying." The cakepops? Those sapphire eyes turn back to Ida and she smiles pleasantly, "Nice to meet you. I'm Gwen." A roll of her eyes is given to Eddie and she says, "I was being nice."

"So, who is the first?" Ida gives Eddie a bit of a raised eyebrow there, before pushing the plate of cake pops (green round ones that are melon flavored, brown square ones that are bourbon-brown sugar) over towards the doll like newcome. "Please, if you like sweets they are quite nice."

Eddie's arm has a weird resistance to it, skin a little stiff, like a shirt with too much starch. She can feel it even through the jacket. He rubs at it and puts on a sullen face. "I don't know," he answers Ida, "she's making a pretty strong case for herself, tonight. Hey! Hey you, with the phone!" He calls out to the barrista, holding up a hand and snapping his fingers obnoxiously. "Coffee."
Gwen picks up a cakepop and rolls it between her fingertips, frowning a little bit. She says, "I make these sometimes." She sticks the entire thing into her mouth, and pulls the stick free. Dropping the stick into Eddie's lap. She then smacks his hand when he snaps his fingers at the barrista. "Stop that." She hisses, "That's rude."

Ida is leaned back against the booth, watching the interaction between the other two with a smile that turns into a little laugh at the smack. "I like her." Then a look back over at Gwen, and she's frowning somewhat. Puzzled. "You bake… Ah! I remember you now. When I was first in town way back when, you offered me a job. It was a restaurant, I think? But I ended up working for Eddie instead. I apologize, it has been a while." She also looks a bit different now compared to then.

The barrista seems to get a kick out of that, too. "I'll defer to your authority on rudeness," Eddie teases Gwen, sucking on his stung knuckles. "You would," he mutters at Ida. He consoles himself picking up the stick that Gwen dropped in his lap, chewing at the end that used to have cake on it while he waits for his coffee to show up. It doesn't take long, probably because nobody bothered to heat it.
"Can I get a chai latte with white chocolate sauce?" Gwen asks of the person who brings the coffee, and smiles a little tooooo wide. And then turns toward Ida to say, "Oh, yes, that's a thing I used to do. Offer people jobs." She lifts her shoulders and drops them a moment and then eyes Eddie, saying, "Ew…"

"Do have some greens, dear. It is good for you." Ida offers Eddie a melon cake pop to go with his cold greasy coffee. She then oohs at Gwen's order, "That sounds delicious. I did not know they had that, I will have to come here more often." She considers and nods at the blue skinned woman's note about 'used to'. "Things have changed around here. It has turned into quite the big city for one."
As Ella Fitgerald fades away with a last mention of bewitching and bewildering, the music changes over. Violins, clarinets, a female choir and then Dean Martin's rich voice: The boat rides we would take - The moonlight on the lake - The way we danced and hummed our favorite song - The things we did last summer - I'll remember all winter long…

Eddie grins around the lollipop stick at Gwen. "If you think that's bad, you ought to see what i had for lunch." He takes a drink of his coffee and makes a face, then grabs the sugar shaker and starts converting it into mud. "I don't like what's good for me," he says to Ida, spitting the stick into his mug, "Lucky for you." He takes a green anyway, just to have something to make gross noises sucking on while he gets to work stirring.

Gwen says, a little sadly, "Things have changed, yes." A little shake of her head is given, copper wires brushing over shoulders. She eyes Eddie for a moment as he turns his coffee into sludge. To Ida she wonders, "How does he have any teeth still?"

"Aw, I should get you awful coffee more often if you are going to be that sweet to me," Ida responds to Eddie, dimples showing again. Turning back to Gwen she stifles laughter and moves her too-sharp fingers in an expressively 'who knows' gesture. "I think his mouth has adapted to its environment. His teeth are now made out of sugar, perhaps?"

Visible islands of sugar peak above the coffee as Eddie stirs, not making much progress between the cold and the saturation. He takes a drink and smiles a wide approving smile, chattering his teeth at Gwen. "I'm a man of many mysteries. And I drink a lot of varnish."

Gwen leans away from the chattering and says, "I need to pee.". And then she gets off and wanders away.

"Ah, so that is why the coffee pot in the office smells like turpentine." Ida is about to say something more, then is left blinking after Gwen. A pause to sip her coffee. "… Well. She is still a most forthright lady. It is a refreshing trait."

We never could explain that sudden summer rain / The looks we got when we got back…

Eddie watches Gwen go away, rubbing at the sore spot on his arm again and waiting 'til she's out of earshot to decide: "I like her." He takes another slug of his coffee, and slides back over to the vacated spot in the booth. "You know, I never asked. Where were you, when you woke up?"

She might be pouting, just a little, though it's conveniently half obscured by the mug. Then Ida lifts a brow at the new topic. "Alaska. Outskirts of Anchorage. I apparently had just flown in from Iceland. What I was doing and why I am less sure of." She reaches over to her coat, pilfering through the pockets before offering him a bundle of postcards and envelopes held together by a rubber band. It's a lot of "I wish you were here" stuff, with hand written greetings in Ida's hand writing on the backs but the actual messages left unfinished, like they were interrupted. They are from around the world, and have the real stamps from each country on them. Iceland, England, South Africa, Canada, Italy, Japan, Germany, Australia…

"I hear Alaska's nice in January," Eddie says, deadpan. He takes the bundle of postcards and rolls off the rubber band and starts reading, big eyes squinting. After a moment he lets out a little snarl and swallows his pride and comes out of his pocket with those readers he's been wearing. How they can actually help is anybody's guess, with all the dust and smudges and scratches on the lenses, but they seem to do the trick. After he gets through a few he pulls a handful of napkins out of the little chrome napkin holder, to take notes on.

That gets a little smile in return. "Yes. You know how much I love cold weather." Deadpan right back, as she leans into the squishy brown naugahyde back of the booth again, sipping her drink. "I have photos on my phone of my hands. The first pictures I took, trying to understand how the camera worked. They turned rather fascinating colors at those temperatures." She flexes her fingers, skin gleaming, tips as sharp as any knife. The postcard greetings are a little strange in tone. Some of them are outright incoherent once you get past the first greeting, normal words put together in ways that are fine at first glance but when you actually try to read… An example 'Prepare fearful flying on the wings of wings of wings of. No wings. No reach, no touch, no talk. Shhh. Can not get through. Not enough. Sleep hurts. Theft of my mind. Amber trap. Cobweb snare. But I know I am missing you. Hunt. Hunt it down. Take it back. Find me again. Find you again. They took your name from me.' There is a lot of that, of fear and wrath and lack of sleep, amber and cobwebs, that she knows she is missing something, that someone took something, took someone from her, and that she'll find that missing something or someone again, and her hand writing in each starts out fluid and normal and then get shaky and scrawly and in a few places the pens have gone through the paper.

Just once, Eddie's eyes roll up over the frames of his glasses to study the woman sitting across from him, his brows furrowed, a tight little frown on his face. Worry? Skepticism? Sorrow? He is a Winter, after all. Probably some of all of that, but he's pretty hard to read, and he turns his attention back to the postcards and doesn't come up for air until he's reached the bottom of the stack. Once he's done he gathers them back together again and sits thinking, tapping his finger on the table. "I guess dates would have been a little much to ask for, considering the general tone of things. When did you wake up, exactly?"

"January 6th." Ida watches Eddie's face, though her own is likewise very well composed. How is the weather, how are the kids, how about that local sportsteam. But the wings at corners of her eyes are… They're not angry. But there's movement, a little tremble to the tips. Flash of ruby, amethyst, sapphire, emerald against the gold of her skin. "The closest I have is that one from Dover Castle in England, celebrating the 800th year anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, June 15th." Ida reaches over, gingerly making her way through the stack until she can pull out a card with a photo of some big rectangular grey castle set on green rolling hills. "And I think there's one celebrating Christmas 2013. But no dates otherwise."

"Three years ago," Eddie murmurs, maybe just showing off that he remembers something from highschool, and his facility with basic math. He examines the proffered photo, drifting off in thought, then screws on a smirk. "You didn't get enough of castles, in the old days? Well, it looks like you had a more interesting time than I did, the past seven years. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You were always the cosmopolitan, between the two of us. Any idea what you were doing, like for money? Circus fliers, or anything?"

"Apparently not. Regrettably I did not get to experience the adventures I apparently had. Or rather, my memories of them are strange." She pauses, looking back at that rainy blank dark window again. Speaking more slowly, trying to find a way to verbally describe strangeness. "They are all a faded sepia color, like old photographs in my head. They feel staged and artificial. I remember more clearly not being able to sleep, and all this… A constant feeling of beating my head against a window I could not see. Trying to break through. I believe I had a lot of migraines, genuinely, when awake. I reread the postcards earlier today, I had planned on giving them to you tomorrow to review, it made me remember something of how it felt." Her fingers twitch like she wishes she had a cigarette in them. "I am not sure. If I was with a circus or some other kind of show I did not keep any records with me. And why would I have gone to Alaska in January? It makes no sense."

Oh, look. There is a cigarette between them. How did that happen? Eddie casts a glance over to the barista, but in typical millenial fashion she doesn't seem to care about much beyond her phone, kids these days. "No, it doesn't. But I'll figure it out." That could be a promise, meant to reassure, or a threat, meant to frighten. He might not know himself, yet. "How about your passport? Somebody must have shammed you up a pretty good one, if it's held up through all this." He strikes a match, and holds it out, the flame dancing in the mirror of the window.

Cigarette for passport seems like something you'd hear in the USSR black market during the 1980s collapse. Nonetheless, Ida accepts both smoke and flame, a smile showing as she inhales. Fingers steady as she offers that requested passport. Ida Redd. The fake ID is solid, and it's thoroughly stamped through. All the countries she mentioned and a few more - India, Russia, France, Poland and more, some rarely publically mentioned old East Bloc, middle-eastern and Asian countries as well. It's less the travel list of the Instragram wealthy and famous and more something like a very specialized business person or, well, federal agent. Most places only visited once, though the countries she mentioned are there at least three-four times. The departure is in 2010, June 21st the summer solstice, leaving Seattle for London. In 2011 she was very specifically in the US, in Washington, came in through Seattle from Copenhagen. The next stamp after that is six months later, leaving from Seattle to Canada. Then back to Seattle. Then Canada. The postcards around that time are particularly shaken, frustrated, wrinkled and wrathful and sad, the knowledge that something isn't just missing but was TAKEN from her burningly raw and fresh and bright. Before that it's just confused. Something must have happened to her to make it so clear, but the postcards don't say what. "My name is the same as the one I had here, though I don't remember having this done." She gestures at the passport. "And it wasn't like I felt the need to travel either way."

Eddie studies the passport carefully, both for information, and to assess the quality of the forgery. He stalls out there in 2011, going very still. Seattle. So close. How did it get so cold in here? He tears his eyes away and swallows some cold coffee, and goes back to taking notes. He has a whole pile by now, using both sides of each napkin, like the Eskimos. "I wouldn't mind traveling. To Antarctica, maybe, or Death Valley, or any place nicer than Port Angeles, really. It looks like you didn't get started right away. At least not with this."

"I hear Death Valley is lovely this time of year. In the 70s. We could do a road trip." Ida sips her — is it coffee? milkshake? tea? water? she doesn't seem to notice nor really care, it's just something to occupy her hands with. Hide her lips behind. Though her voice when she speaks is calm as ever, just a faint trickle of emotions around the edges like smoke haze around the closed door of a room that's just started catching fire. "It is as I said. My last clear memory is getting drunk with you and Lucas after that thing with the spiders. You said…" She smiles, down into the cup. "You said you wanted to skip town. That we should go to Rio. That you wanted to clear out our accounts and just go to Rio right that night."

A deep breath. She sits up straight, and her gaze- saying that she looks at him isn't the word. It is more like she aims and throws her gaze at his just like she might her knives. Throwing it with all the speed and force and skill and heat of one of her blades. Out to shatter the ice that has grown between them. Her voice follows, a little rough, a little raw. "I wish we had. I wish we had been together there for all these past years."

Softer, softer, the simple truth there gleaming between them. "I missed you."

Eddie takes in a big ragged breath and lets it out small and quiet, like the last breath of a man dying with a knife between his ribs. The other end of the table recedes into the phantom distance, space stretching impossibly in the close confines of the little cafe booth. "I missed you, too," he says, his voice muffled by that uncanny gap, "after you went away. But I quit wishing a long time ago. You can die of wishing, if you let it happen." He gathers up his napkins, now that the ink is dry, and folds them up and puts them in his pocket.

"I think I have enough, for now. If you remember anything else, let me know. It's like I said: I'll figure this thing out." A promise, or a threat. "And then we'll figure out the rest. Take care of yourself, Ida."

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