[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She pulls the VW Bus up outside the house. For once there is no loud music playing–no bad techno, no Southern rock, no metal. In fact, there is no music playing period. There’s barely any sound, thanks to the fact that Sarita is a good enough mechanic to keep the vehicle in tip-top shape. She parks it at the curb and a cigarette but goes flying out the window before the Strider slips out, shutting the door behind her.
She looks tired. She’s holding it together, because she didn’t know Asha as well as her packmates. The ripping of someone out of the pack link was traumatizing, to be sure. But she didn’t lose it like Sinclair, and she kept her chin up as best she could. The others knew Asha. Sarita didn’t, she was just the woman’s pack-sister for a blink of time. But still, it’s not easy for her and the slight glassiness to usually-vibrant eyes as well as the circles underneath attest to that.
She lights up another cigarette and, looking around, she makes her way toward the door.
[Amy] The house looks different with lights on. The porch light reflects off of a shiny new door handle, and the living room lights are on behind makeshift sheet curtains.
Amy opens the door when Sarita gets there, looking unsure but mustering a slight smile. “Hey…”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey.” She gives a faint smile of her own and moves to hug Amy, on instinct. She stops herself though, looking uncomfortable once she has. “Uh…sorry.” She chews on her lip a little.
[Amy] She looks… better. The dark circles are still under her eyes, but the sunburn is better and her skin has stopped peeling. Even more notably, she seems to be sober. She takes a partial step back when Sarita tries to hug her, though it may be as much to let her sister in as anything.
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Whatever the reason, she takes the attempted embrace as the reason why. She ducks her head and slips inside, taking a drag off the cigarette. “Electricity, huh?”
[Amy] “Yeah….” She looks uncomfortable, moving over to the air mattress that’s covered with a blanket and standing in as furniture. “You okay?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She shrugs and runs a hand through her hair, taking a lean against the wall near the air mattress/ “The rest of them are pretty fucked up. Kate has her guy to keep her good, Lukas has Danicka and keeping us straight. Sinclair broke down.” She shrugs. “It’s not good. I’ll….I’ll live.”
She leans her head back against the wall and looks at Amy. “You?”
[Amy] “Why did you do it?” She settles in on the air mattress, leaning to the side to get the ashtray and a pack of cigarettes.
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Fuck.” It sounds almost like she’s supplying the word as a reason, for a moment. She shrugs and looks off to the wall. “I fucking panicked. You gotta understand, I had just gotten to the god damned Broho and was talking with some chick who’s name I don’t even remember right now about the kinfolk hunting bullshit. Then all of a sudden Hunter’s there smelling like gasoline and screaming at the top of his lungs before he pops into the Umbra. I had to practically talk the fucker down off the Umbral ledge of the roof long enough for Kate to do a Truth of Gaia so we could get to the bottom of things, and then Lukas cleanse him.”
She shuts her eyes. “Then I spent half the God-damned night following him around until I lost him because he was popping in and out of the Umbra, and spent the other half trying to find him. I had no idea if he was going to go suicidal, Amy. And I thought the same might happen to you. So I fucking panicked.”
She shrugs and opens her eyes again, though they stay on the ground. She takes a drag off her cigarette. “Doesn’t matter. It was a stupid fuckin’ plan anyway that even if it wasn’t a horrible thing to do, would never have worked.”
[Amy] She’s very calm, eyes flickering away now and then as Sarita speaks. “Why did you think he was going to go suicidal?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I just…” She chews on her lip. She has no idea what to say here. She fidgets, eyes looking to the door for a moment like she wants to flee, and she rubs at an eye with the heel of her hand.
“Amy…” It’s a plea, sounding almost like a lupine whine.
[Amy] “Why?” She sounds patient, taking a long drag of her cigarette and talking through the smoke. “What’s with the gas smell? What made you so worried about what Defiance was doing all of a sudden?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Please, don’t.” She shakes her head, hands wrapping around her waist. “It was how he died. Can you just let it go there? Please?”
[Amy] “I know how he died.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks up suddenly, eyes widening. “You kno–” And then she pauses, and blinks. The surprise…no, the stun…is obvious on her face.
“You know.” It’s said in a slower tone, and she frowns as she looks away. “I get it.” A nod. “You wanted me to know what it felt like. What you went through.”
[Amy] “He told me. Not everything yet, but the general idea. I just wanted to see how far you would take the lie, is all. It doesn’t have anything to do with punishing you. I understand”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A little shake of her head. “I should have been up front with you. I’m sorry.”
[Amy] “No. You know me better than that. You knew what might have happened.” She takes another drag from the cigarette “Just sit the fuck down, hey?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She hesitates, almost like it might be some kind of trick, before she gives in. She crosses over to sit carefully down on the air mattress, slumping a little once she does. “Still. I’m sorry.”
[Amy] She leans in, shoulders touching now. “Me too. For all of it. Everything is different now, if we want it to be or not.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “How do you mean?”
[Amy] “You’ve got your pack. The loft and everything. That’s where you should be. I’ve got…you, sometimes. Hunter sometimes. I need to figure out what to do the other times.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks down at her knees. Her jaw sets, and when she speaks, it’s quiet. “Please don’t.”
[Amy] “Don’t what?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I need you in my life, Amy.” She swallows hard, breathing slowly and deliberately. “Not in a, ‘we’ll see each other a couple of times a week for coffee and talk about our day’ kind of way. You’re my fucking sister, Amy. I need you as much and even more than the people who are in my fucking head every fucking minute of the god damned day.”
[Amy] “This was our house, Sar. I don’t have a goddamned thing left of him but his coat and like, five days that we had here. That’s it. I know it’s selfish as fuck, but I need to be here right now. I’m not ready to let go of what those couple days were like with him and Hunter before everything went to shit.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I get that. I’m not saying…” She squeezes her eyes shot and shakes her head. “I just refuse to let you drift away from me. I will not let that happen.”
[Amy] “Nobody’s saying it’s going to.” She seems to be using that phrase a lot lately, for a variety of things.
“We’ve got some shit to figure out. Not just you, either. I mean, I up and left. Not like we both don’t have shit to make up for, you know?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I get it. It…” She shrugs and opens her eyes, taking the last drag of her cigarette and crushing out a full trail of ash in the ashtray before she lights up another one.
“I freaked out at first, but I got over it. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?”
[Amy] “Yeah. Exactly. You did what you had to do, too. I can’t be pissed at you any more than I can be pissed at Hunter.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She gives a little shrug. “So, how’s this gonna work then?”
[Amy] “Are you going to move into the loft, pretty much? Be with your pack?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I don’t know.” She shakes her head. “No, I don’t think so. I mean…we have the room in the loft.” The ‘we’ is tangible. “And I’ve been staying there since you left and now, with Asha….you now. But I’d always planned on still getting us a place when you…” She trails off. “Maybe I’ll just keep the spot in the Broho, or get my own place. I don’t know…I haven’t much been thinking of living arrangements.”
[Amy] “I’m probably not going to want to be here forever.” Forever isn’t as long as most people think. Isn’t that what she said earlier?
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods a little. “We’ll…take it day by day, I guess. Figure out what works for us, right?” She tries for a smile, and fails miserably. “We’re the play it by ear kind.”
[Amy] “Don’t be mad at me for this. Please? I can’t explain why I have to stay here.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I understand why, Amy. I’m not mad. I totally get it.” She takes a slow breath. “I’m sorry for everything. I really am.”
[Amy] “Me too” She gives a sideways hug. “Do you want to stay here tonight?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] It’s slow, the crack in the dam. It starts with the touch from Amy, and it draws a slow breath with just a hint of a catch in it. It’s not going to break, not now. Maybe not tonight. But it will. “Yeah. Yeah, I…I should get back, but…I can’t right now. Maybe I’m terrible, but…I can’t.”
[Amy] “Just stay. It’s safe here.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A little shake of her head and a dry, mirthless smile. “There is no ‘safe,’ Ames. We both know that. We never played with a safety net…the problem was, we just never fell before now.”
[Amy] “We haven’t done a lot of things before now.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth.” She sighs and wipes at her eyes. There isn’t anything there, but she feels like there should be. “Do you have anything to drink here?”
[Amy] “Cold beer in the now working fridge. Everything else is at the hotel.”
And there’s the stab of guilt.
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Thanks to everything compounding on itself, for once she doesn’t read Amy like an open book. Instead she just sighs. “Fuck. Pot it is, then.”
[Amy] “You got it in here, or do you have to go to the van?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I got it.” She pulls a bag out of her pocket. “I thought, if nothing else, I could give you some so you wouldn’t have to go get your own if you…you know.”
[Amy] “If I wanted to stop thinking?” She gives her a strange smile, pulling out her phone and sending a quick text.
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She shakes her head. “If you just wanted me to go.”
[Amy] Her phone goes back in her pocket, and she leans into Sarita again. “You’re stuck with me. Different than before, but still.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A sigh. Another crack. “Ain’t no bein’ stuck about it. Ain’t no one else I’d rather be stuck with.”
[Amy] “It’s going to happen to you one of these days, you know. It better end up better though.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, right.” She snorts. “You remember that Fang cop Derek?”
[Amy] “I think so. Kind of blond?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah.” She nods. “That’s who I’m attracting like Spanish fly at the moment.”
[Amy] “So what’s wrong with that? Neither of us are going to wind up with our own tribe.”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Have you ever seen a stray fucking puppydog following behind you with the big, pathetic wide-eyed, ‘please take me home with you, p-p-p-p-please’?” She rolls her eyes. “What do you think I would do to someone like that?”
[Amy] “What’s the worst that can happen?”
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “He’s a police officer, I’m a fucking drug dealer. Just consider that for starters.” She shakes her heads. “He’s sweet, but there is a certain level of pathetic to it and I would want to take a few bottles of valium after I broke him.”
[Amy] She laughs a little “Yeah, but the irony is priceless’
[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, not gonna happen. And what’s worse is that I already gave him the let-down and he hasn’t given up.” She starts to roll a joint. “If he starts stalking me, we may have to have a talk.”