Log:Coffee and Concern

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Coffee and Concern
Characters  •   Ashley Freeland  •  Hector de la Huerta  •
Location  •  Big Ben
Date  •  2019-08-17
Summary  •  Ashley and Hector discuss Cash, mostly.

Friday night and all the cool kids are out and about. To make things even worse, there is a full moon; not that Ashley believes in such silliness about all the crazies coming out on such nights. She is much too smart. Something that is unusual though, is that she has no posse. Alone and enjoying her Ziggy-shake as she writes in her journal. Not diary...that never leaves her bedroom. Dressed to the max, of course, in the very latest style. Make-up perfect.


Hector is wearing an Offspring tee over the saftey pined black jeans, buttons carefully transfered to the shirt in the safe formation. His hair has had about a week to start growing out. He peers around the inside of the coffe house a bit sceptically. He spots Ashley, of course. He stands there hesitanting for most of a minute, but desiding, strides up to her table. His tone is polite, "Might I join you? We should probably talk."


Ashley glances up from her journal, closing it as she does so. It may not be her diary, but it's still secret stuff. A smile is offered to Hector before she gestures to a chair at her table. "Please." Her brow furrows a little. "Should we?Has something happened?" Her eyes narrow a little. "Have you dumped Cash again?"


Hector starts to smile, then looks horrified, No! Nothing like that!" he sits down across from her, "I wanted... to make sure you were... okay with things." He fidgets with the drink list. "We've never really talked. I know I've been the villain in all your lives and now I'm back with Cash. I wanted to see... I don't know. If we're okay."


"Why wouldn't I be okay with things?" Ashley replies in a flat tone. "Cash has recovered from when you broke his heart and had the police drag him back home. Well, recovered only because you took him back." Her frown suggests she isn't a big fan of her brother's emotional well being being held ransom to the whims of Hector. "It's his life." Ashley attempts some maturity in her response. "Why did you take him back? Or should I really ask, why were you so cruel last year?"


Hector nods, accepting the fairness of her opinion of him. He takes a breath, "My Mother was dying." He looks down at his hand, "We got accepted into a special experimental treatment program back east. I... I should have taken him with us. I realized that once he started talking about coming and helping, but it was already too late. I didn't know they'd send the cops. I thought they'd come themselves. He kept talking about how much he missed you all and I thought I had to chose. Between my Mom and him, only I didn't." He looks up at her, his devastation in his expression, "I love him, Ashley, I always loved him. I was stupid and wrong and I don't deserve him taking me back, but I never for a second stopped loving him."


Ashley listens with a rather cold expression before nodding once at the end of the spiel. "Yes, you were stupid. Not sure how it could have been too late to take Cash with you, but we can't change the past. It's been done and, hopefully, corrected." She studies Hector across the table before another question, her voice much lower in volume. "Is Cash on drugs? Did you do that kind of thing in San Francisco. Not marijuana and things like that. The hard stuff. Cocaine? Heroin?"


Hector looks truly despairing, "I'd already called your parents. If I could have taken it back i would. They were so rough with him and they wouldn't let me calm him down or get his jacket or anything." He looks at her straight, "I know it was unforgivable, Ashley."

Her question really shocks him, "Do you honestly think I'd want people on cocaine and heroin anywhere near him?" He takes a breath, "Look, there was a lot of pot floating around the beach parties we went to, and I can't swear one way or another to that. We were kind of a pot and hallucinogen crowd, but I didn't drop acid or take mushrooms when I was with him or anything like that, though people did at some of the parties we went to. I did a terrible fucking thing, and I get that, but nothing good comes from coke that I ever saw and heroin is... I mean fuck, once you start injecting things it's a lifetime commitment."


"Cash doesn't really do calm. Certainly not in situations like that" Ashley replies with a screwing up of her nose before shrugging. "He is very empathetic." As for the drugs, she contemplates Hector's protests with pursed lips and a wary gaze. "Maybe you can explain some things then? Like, why he is suddenly distant. It's not just because you're back and he's distracted by true love, he seems distracted by everything. And we're not talking much." That last is probably the worst part of it.

Ashley pulls out a piece of paper from her backpack and places it in front of Hector. "And maybe you can explain this?" It is Cash's poster asking for fellow sufferers of light sensitivity and what sounds like other withdrawal symptoms to contact him.


Hector sighs, "I'd never seen a full meltdown before. Just the little ones. He was mostly... okay when we were together, you know? I'd see he was getting uncomfortable and sort of... fix things? Before that got bad." He blinks slowly, "I noticed he was... not like i remembered him, but a lot of things have happened." Then he's staring at the sheet, brow wrinkled, "That's... weird." There s a long pause. "Silver was talking about some chick dosing people with drugged wine at some party? Maybe someone called into his show about it?" He looks her in the eyes, "He hasn't seemed high when we were together at all. Not coke or heroin or any of the... usual stuff one sees at parties? he's seemed restless, kind of?"


"Does he wear sunglasses all the time around you?" Ashley asks, trying to keep the concern from her voice. "Drugged wine? Seriously? Does anyone know who this...chick...was? Something is being done about her, right?" A shake of her head at the state of the world. "Restless is a good way of putting it. It's not normal that he hasn't talked to me for so long. That he's not sharing. I'm worried, Hector."


Hector tries to think, "Maybe? I remember him taking him off for his music lesson, but that was indoors, and it didn't seem odd at the beach in the sun." He shakes his head, "I heard the thing about the weird lady like second or third hand. I kept meaning to mention it to him to warn him. He can be a little... easy to trick. Shit! you think maybe he's hooked on something?" He reaches impulsively across to touch her wrist, leaning forward, "I swear to you I don't have anything that could addict him that he could stumble across, just weed and some blotter nd we'd _know_ if he got ino my acid stash. I will do everything in my power to figure out if he is taking anything and who's giving it to him, okay?"


"I don't know" Ashley sighs about Cash's addictions. "Something is not right. Maybe we should find out about this woman with the wine. Or tell the police." She does not pull away from the touch, offering a brave smile to Hector's offer to help out. "Thanks. You see him a lot more than me." A little snort of amusement. "I guess we can bond over concern for Cash."


Hector smiles shyly, "I'd like that. I know this wasn't an auspicious start for a friendship, but we both really do care about him and whatever's going on, I want to get to the bottom of it. I want... to protect him, Ash. I know all the ways he can be vulnerable and all the ways he's strong and creative and amazing. I'll never ask him to be anyone he isn't. If someone is tricking him or hurting them? I want to hurt them back but good. I think we should try to figure out who was at this beach party. See if cash or one of the others can give us a proper description of this chick and what happened. We need real information instead of rumors if we're involving authorities, and we need to... make sure cash isnt hurt by how they react.


"It was probably some tourist anyway. Moved on already" Ashley frowns, "But we should definitely still investigate. Drugs have no place in our community." A beat. "Would you like a coffee or something? I am sure he wants to protect you too, Hector. Your arrival certainly stirred up a hornet's nest. People hating each other all over the place....and being punched."


Hector gives her a quick smile, "sure. Coffee or Italian soda, whatever's good here. I think we should both ask around and see what we can find, and I'll definitely talk to him and see if he'll tell me what's going on." He rubs the back of his neck, "I didn't intend to start a whole Montague vs. Capulet dust up. I really did just want to keep my head down until college.


"Hmm...I think I can guess where you like to keep your head down too" Ashley deadpans before grabbing a menu from the next table. "They name the food and drink after artists so you'll have to figure out which one it is." A nod to his ideas on what to do next. "You said that Silver met this woman? I could ask Amy to see what she has to say."


Hector gives a bark of a laugh, "I do give as good as I get." He shakes his head, "She didn't. She's the one who warned me though. I don't know who she got it from." Remembering the other night, he studies her face, "Everything okay? With you and Amy? I was... kind of worried about her the other night. Like I know she hates me, but she seemed upset about something not to do with how puncheable my face is."


"Umm...why would I know what was wrong with Amy?" Ashley asks with a confused expression - what an actress! Is their secret relationship known to everyone? "She just happens to be the only Lester I know that won't punch at the first word." The other Lesters must be very bad. "She doesn't hate you but she doesn't like fuss. She doesn't understand all this ado about nothing...that's how she sees it at least. Every now and then she gets into a mood. Still a wonderful person at her core." Ashley clears her throat. "I hear."


Hector rolls his eyes, "You're the only one she doesn't punch at first word as far as I can tell." He eyes her, "She saw me through a window when she was passing in the street and marched in to pick a fight with me. Something was clearly the fuck bothering her besides me existing and the whereabouts of her roller blades." He holds up a hand, "Which definitely had nothing to do with me." He takes a breath, "Look I don't know what the deal is with you too if if your friends or something else and you definitely don't have to tell me, just... I was worried, okay? And it's no like she's going to tell me what's up. I know how... how Lesters can be." Clearly the rumors haven't reached Ashley yet. "Probably better than you can imagine right now. Just... Nevermind." He looks away, blushing faintly.


"I doubt I'm the //only// one" Ashley half protests before raising her eyebrows at talk of fighting, "It's probably that time of the month" she shrugs. "We're...our friendship...is fine. But thank you for being worried. I'll talk to her and see if there was something more to it." A wry smile. "They do keep to themselves" she agrees about the Lesters before a tilt of her head at the blushing. "Spill" she states firmly. "What else is going on."


Hector thinks that over, "Other Lesters too probably." He shakes his head, "Nothing anymore. You'll likely hear rumors now that... people know. I dated one of them. Briefly. When I first came here." Quickly, "Don't worry. I told Cash when we got together again. I need to explain some more details now the who part is out." He looks sheepish, "Just whatever you hear, he didn't... take advantage of me or anything and that's not why I'm pissed."


Ashley stares at Hector with his revelation. Her lips purse as she thinks on this before she shrugs. "I am told that the Lesters have a...animal attraction...to them. You dated one as soon as you got here? Didn't you know that Cash lived here? All that time in San Francisco, not to mention you calling our parents, and you didn't figure out he was here?" It's not her business but... "Why would anyone think he took advantage of you? Is he fifty or something? Seb?"


Hector sighs, "I knew he was here, but he hated me. I was... lonely and unhappy and sometimes is nice to not have to think. We were on the downlow because of the age thing, which was a accident, but we decided to keep on after we figured it out for a while. It was a mistake and he was a dick, but not THAT kind of dick, you know?" He laughs, "No, not Seb. I mean he's gorgeous, but he's kind of an asshole and all... parental. Morrison was definitely not parental."


"Morrison?" There's no accounting for taste it seems. "I'm sure he was both kinds of dick" Ashley smiles sweetly. "I am sure Cash 'hated' you when you finally did meet again but it all wor4ked out, didn't it? It couldn't have worked out months earlier? But, like I said before, can't change history. The age difference was an accident?" That seems to amuse her. "Did you decide on your rock star coffee?"


Hector opts for the Syd Viscous rather randomly. He shakes his head, "It couldn't. Cash wasn't speaking to me even to yell unitl mid February and we kind of needed to move through the yelling and wanting me dead to the talking things through part. This was January. It was dark. he thought I was in college. I though he was either in college or a football player I hadn't met yet. You were the one who brought up the... magnetism. It was a mistake, and yes, I make a lot of those."


"Most people make mistakes" Ashley shrugs, though the way she says it suggests she personally doesn't. A nod about what coffee he is after and she dashes off to order. She isn't gone long. "Did you and Cash ever actually talk in San Francisco?" Ashley muses on her return. "Not knowing about your school years. What sports you played." It all seems very odd to her. "But, yes, he was angry for a long time."


Hector looks down, "There were things we talked about and things we didn't. I knew what town he was from, but it didn't mean anything to me because I didn't know who my dad was or that she got knocked up on vacation here. I knew how torn he was about breaking up with his boyfriend, but I didn't know who he was. Like Spear and I actually bonded over his heartbreak before we figured out that his ex and my ex were the same person. I knew how much he missed you. we talked about music and movies. I taught him to surf. We played a lot of music together. He had a right to be angry. You all do. I appreciate you not telling your parents I was the one. In San Francisco. He's had enough disruption and misery this year." He looks her in the eyes. I'm not leaving him. We're hoping we'll get accepted to the same school at at least ones close enough for weekend visits. I will look, but I'll never cheat on him. If marriage were legal, I'd propose. I know he can't... handle change well. My hope is I can smooth things for him like I did back home. for the rest of his life."


"It's like 'Days of Our Lives' around here. It should be more like 'Beverly Hills 90210'" Ashley sighs. "Anger isn't a right, it's a reaction. And it's entirely up to the person getting angry to feel that way." A smile as she thinks of Amy. "Okay, for some it is more a way of life, but you get what I'm saying." A shake of her head. "I wouldn't tell our parents. That's up to Cash to tell them that. We keep each other's secrets and we always will. Being twins just makes that even firmer." She nods about future schooling as Hector's coffee arrives. "I hope it all works out for you both. Long distance relationships are supposed to be pretty tough." A fond smile. "You'd marry him?"


Hector smiles crookedly, "I'm still trying to get used to the whole sibling thing." He thanks the server and takes a curious sip, "Not bad." And another. He looks her in the eyes, "I never want to be without him again, Ash. We just... make more sense together. I am furious at myself for hurting him and for all the time we lost him being angry and me being miserable. Never again. We make each other happy. I think it helps that I'm from outside, you know? That we got to see each other fresh without a whole generational saga with of history on our heads. It was just the two of us figuring each other out. We'd go surf in the mornings, then eat, then busk. Maybe hang out eating dinner and watching movies, maybe go hang with my friends at the beach. Sometimes we'd take the day off and go to the zoo or whatever. We just fit."


"That's quite the relaxed life there" Ashley grins. "You managed to survive on busking? Rents must be cheap in San Francisco. Not that I'm jealous or anything." She would never admit it even if she was. Ashley's life is based on overachieving, not relaxing. "I guess I'm your sister now too? If you could get married I mean. Yes, anger and misery are not as fun as peace and happiness." She laughs to herself. "Sorry, but I'm going to leave whether you fit each other well alone."


Hector shakes his head, "He lived on our fire escape until... until he didn't. My mom owned the apartment, but it's gone now. We ate on the busking money sometimes, and we bought things he needed, more clothes, a keyboard, a surfboard. I sent the keyboard and his clothes back so he's have them when he got home. I expressed the jacket. I know how important it is to him. His board's still in storage with most of my stuff I couldn't bring." He grins, roiling his eyes, "I didn't mean it like that. I mean, we make each other happy and he finds me... restful. He can just be Cash with me and not have to try to pretend he's someone else or try to fit some idea of who he's supposed to be think he does at school. We're still working on rebuilding the trust, but I'm patient and I get him."


"The fire escape? Does it not rain there much? I might move there too" Ashley decides before sucking on her straw again. "I would love to see Cash surf" she giggles. "Or, should I say, fall into the water a lot." Another shrug. "Cash has always done his own thing. One of the reasons he left. Wanted to be himself, you know. And he has his radio show. And if he adds the happiness he deserves to that, he will do awesome. So make sure he stays happy." A wink for Hector...though she does mean it.


Hector's face is pointed as if he's studying his coffee, but he asks her carefully, "Do you want to be? A sort of Sister I mean? Even after what I did?" He looks at her like this was obvious, "It was Summer." He decides not to comment on how good her brother looked in a skin tight rash guard. He ducks his head, smiling, "We're working on it. The happy part."


"If Cash is happy, and he loves you, and he wants to marry you too, then that makes me a sister" Ashley replies matter-of-factly. "So, sure, you're my brother too. Hey, if we can't forgive family, who can we forgive? Keep working on that happiness, it makes it all worthwhile. Love has its ups and downs...and not just in the sex part...but holding the person you love makes it all worthwhile." A pause. "So I hear."


Hector gives her a smile, all sunshine and dimples, "I have not asked him yet, so don't spoil the surprise, but I think I will. We could maybe have a commitment ceremony after we graduate.... Is your family religious at all?" He cocks his head, "It's okay if you don't want to talk about what's going on with you, but I won't tell, you know. I kept the Morrison thing secret right up until we had that unfortunately public argument in the park the other day."


"Religious? Well...my mother believes in the power of status, does that count? Dad is live and let live. You might have a bad opinion of them with all that happened but they're good people. They want us to be happy. I really believe that." Ashley frowns across the table. "Sorry about your mom. That must be tough." As for her own relationships, her response is to shake her head. "It's okay. One person has already suffered for me, I don't need to get other people involved. After graduation...after Prom...I won't have to care what people think anymore."


Hector snorts at the 'power of status,' but shakes his head, "He knows they love him." He looks into his coffee, "She was sick a long time, but she seemed to be doing okay, but then she collapsed and it all went very fast." His eyes go watery, but he manages to hold it in. He sips his coffee to cover his expression until he can control it properly. He says carefully, "I won't judge you for who you love, you know, and I'm a good listener despite appearances."


"Ask anyone, Hector, the only person I love is myself" Ashley grins before giving a more accurate answer. "You may not care who I love. I may not care who I love. But most other people do care. I just need to get through high school and everything will be fine." She toys with her straw for a moment. "If they're willing to wait. Hey! I thought we were being cheery and happy. What kind of music do you like? Aren't 'Ace of Base' the best? They will be around for decades."


Hector snorts, "You forget, I've seen you with your twin. I'm not falling for claims that you're entirely self agendaed, but if you want to change the topic sure. They're a bit pop for my taste, but good to dance too. I'm more punk/metal/industrial, but I'm pretty eclectic. Faith No More, Pansy Division, Offspring, Smashing Pumpkins, Anthrax. Some classic bands like X, Rasputina, Black Flag, Floyd, Sisters of Mercy... I want to be a song writer. I mean the music part, I've no knack for poetry."


"Oh...you don't like that grunge stuff, do you? Uggh. How depressed are that lot? And their style..." A roll of Ashley's eyes and a shake of her head in disgust. "Clothes do come in bright colors, you know? Or just colours." A dismissive wave of her hand. "Whatever. Each to their own. I haven't actually heard of half of those bands" she laughs, "But they're probably stuff that Cash plays on his show. I wish he'd let me choose some music. You probably don't like 'Boyz II Men'. 'All-4-Luv'? 'Roxette'?"


Hector miles, "Oh, I like Nirvana and I hope Kurt lives forever, I just think of grunge as a kind of punk mixed with alt rock. he's a kick ass lyricist. Don't we all feel stupid and contagious sometimes? I know I do. And I feel like Polly is a thematic descendant of X's "Johnny hit and Run Pauline," and you can't get more punk than that. Problem is musically Nirvana sort of... goes in circles? It's more complex than, say Prong, who can barely play their instruments, but it doesn't really go anywhere, which is I guess the nature of depression.... Boyz to Men do really tight performances. Even if it's not my kind of music, I respect them...Roxette can do a really lovely ballad. Which One's all for Love? Hmmm... you like Concrete Blonde at all?"


Cash has a hard time explaining music to Ashley, what hope does Hector have? Ashley did get kicked out of music lessons for being incompetent after all - the official story is that she dropped it to concentrate n her studies. "I just like what I like" is her succinct reply. "Oh, All-4-Love was a song, not a band" she smiles. "'Color Me Badd' were the artist. 'Concrete Blonde'? Umm...hum a few bars? You and Cash will have a band? Already have a band?"


Hector doesn't seem to mind, "There's nothing wrong with liking what you like. Art's like that. People are drawn to things that speak to them. It's not a matter of one thing being right and something else being wrong." He smiles crookedly, "I wish I had a band. I like playing with people. I suppose it's another thing to talk to Cash about." He has a very nice tenor it turns out. He sings, "There's a crack in the mirror/And a bloodstain on the bed/There's a crack in the mirror/And a bloodstain on the bed/Oh, you were a vampire/And baby, I'm the walking dead/Oh, you were a vampire/And baby, I'm the walking dead..."


"Oh, I disagree" Ashley teases, "What is popular at high school is very much up to me." She listens to the song with a little confusion. "Umm...is that the theme to Dracula or something? Sounds a bit nasty to put on the radio." A shake of her head. "If that's 'Concrete Blonde', then I don't know it. Sorry. Cash does have a good singing voice. If you say it's a tenor, I will take your word. Though I think it's worth at least a fifty. Tenner seems cheap."


Hector laughs softly, "Well you are the Queen... It's Goth, but kind of pop. It's about Interview with a Vampire, maybe. Nevermind." He drains his coffee, "Thank you for listening and understanding. It really does make a difference."


"Hey, I'm your sister, of course I'll listen. Hopefully, I will get a chance to talk with my other brother before too long. Take care, Hector" Ashley smiles warmly, reopening her journal once he leaves to add some new information.