Log:Signed and Delivered
After what would be a somewhat productive and informative conversation he'd had with both the Rogue and Penitent, the Capitalist is only now leaving the former's bunker, that slip of paper from earlier once more in hand. Dressed in an all black get-up, wearing a black dress shirt instead of the usual white, black slacks, shoes and tie, all he's missing is a suit jacket, but he hasn't worn one of those for a while. What he does wear is Conrad Wellson's expensive watch at his wrist.
His mind is, in truth, still on the discussion he'd had earlier, even as he circles the Y, before folding the sheet of paper to slip back beneath the Caregiver's door in passing. He's not quite sure if she's home and he had a mind of returning back to his room, but with the way she'd been drinking earlier, he can't help but be concerned, so he follows up the note slipping with a knock at her door.
The Caregiver is in her room and she's curled up with a copy of Phantom of the Opera on the couch instead of the bed. She'd napped there, woke up unpleasant even from that small sobering respite, had some coffee, and now is absorbing herself with other people's terrible things. Not her own. It's somewhat helping, or it's at least distracting. She used to read on her balcony a lot in Paris, but she forced herself to read works in all French, so sometimes it was like homework. Which was fine, stopping to look up things, especially from more archaic phrasings in older works, well, it was just as much distraction as the reading.
When the knock sounds, she rises up, prettily put back together as if prepared to dress, but not dressed up, still wrapped in an oriental flower robe of silk with blue and white patterning. The sleeves and drag of hem are long and trailing, and when she opens the door, she notices the paper on the floor at about the same time with realization. After looking at the Capitalist with a bat of her lashes, her lips twitch some and she tosses the book back toward the couch before leaning to pick up the paper, "If this says 'no', this is going to be an awkward reaction moment." She teases a bit on her own negligence and timing on the way down and straighten to read, "Oh good. Awkward avoided."
Her eyes flit from the paper to him with up and down of his outfit before she backs up some and beckons him in, "Come in."
The Capitalist looks pleasantly surprised that the Caregiver looked so put-together. The last few times that they'd shared company, she was a bit of a mess. What he doesn't immediately notice is the fretting and tension that had come over her since she'd awoken and to him, that's a good sign. "You look lovely as always." There's a smile at his lips, seemingly doing fine, himself, even if he just has this look that something is most likely on his mind.
"I wasn't sure when you were planning on holding this date night. Or where, to be honest. With those magical doors, we could go practically anywhere." Following her inside, he's also glad to see her room in order. It meant she didn't go into a panicked, angry frenzy the way she had done on wakening. His eyes follow the trail of the tossed book, curious as to what she may be reading, when he states, "I just came out of a meeting with Sinclair, uh.. Caleb. Or whatever that guy's name was who needed his eye plucked out due to glass or infection." He wasn't quite sure. "And Madison. We have a few theories and ideas that we want to try out that have to do with those two doors. One of these ideas makes them both so uncomfortable that they need time to speak to anyone who may be affected by it before we decide to do it."
The Caregiver looks down at herself with a touch of vaguely flustered smile at the Capitalist's moment of looking her over and paying compliment, and maybe it's not just because Christian had a way to put her to flutters, but because, well, isn't that all the men kicking around in there paying her a compliment, now? She doesn't try to work through exactly why she's being a little blushy there for a tick, though, she knows she seems to lack ability in disguising her particular cares and feelings in this place, for better or worse. Then holding the paper to carry over to drop at a nightstand, her other hand reaches for him to gently hold and lead to the couch, "Thank you. Come sit and tell me. I was just reading the Phantom. And it made me think of something, so I got bold and wrote the note."
Then she listens to his other bits on the meeting of ideas and theory and her head tilts a little, forgetting to sit immediately herself. But after leaning to replace the book to table too, she does, patting the cushioning next to her while continuing to listen and letting him settle, "... interesting. I was entirely too tipsy at the moment to have the rooms doing things to the way I was seeing people. I had been listening about things being different in there, populated and... but that threw me and no. That moment was not for me right then to try and take in. I think it was a little explained to me, but mm." She can't help but still look confused about what happened, and then she admits with a vaguely sheepish explanation, "Didn't understand or keep much of it. Brandy is my firewater, I should have known better. It's basically the fancy person's way of shooting tequila without looking like they want to mindblitz. I've learned things among the rich Parisians, you see."
Then she suggests, a leg drawing up some in curl as she angles herself toward conversation and him when seated, "But why would-- okay. Wait. Which subject do you want to tackle first, because I want to ask you something about those rooms to ensure it stays our particular enjoyment and not an 'oops' moment. So do you want that before or after you explain these uncomfortable ideas and what spurred them?"
Even though she's set the book aside and had even told him what it was that she was reading, he takes it in hand anyway to flip through some of the pages, though he makes certain that he doesn't lose her place within. Still, there things on his mind and the Capitalist wasn't going to let the fact that she left such a note beneath his door slide. "I don't think I've ever woken up in this place to find a note like that slid under my door." Licking at his lips in though and while it might look as if he were merely humoring her, he is giving this a lot of thought. "I do recall having other notes slipped into my room but that's neither here nor there, I think."
Though he tries not to be terribly obvious about it, once he leans over to set the book back onto the side table again, he does give her an appreciative look before settling back into his seat. "I already know what I'm planning on saying. I'm not sure if you're going to like all of it, but, I'll let you go first. Yours is still a mystery to me." Being reminded of both the disturbing moment of the Fool being stabbed to shit and then the aftermath with the time traveling door, he brings up, "I wasn't expecting or prepared for any of that either. But once I saw Madison, I had a feeling where we were, I mean, what universe we were in, but definitely wasn't expecting to go that far back in time. I... didn't even realize that was a thing." But before he forgets what he'd said earlier, he says, that smile on his lips, "But rather than listen to mek going on, go ahead. You had something on your mind."
"Mm. I thought about leaving a naughty one instead, but realized maybe that would have made me seem drunk. And I wasn't, so much, anymore." The Caregiver admits to the Capitalist, pulling in her breath to hold, then release with a vaguely lopsided dusting of smile at her lips. Leaning an arm against the back of the couch while turned in angling toward him, one of her legs automatically slips from the robe and curl to extend up in lax stretch of drape over his legs as he flips through the book. In fact, it almost seems like she was about to up and crawl over his lap entirely to deliver news, as she was so prone to do as Laine or Stella. The ol' thigh straddle, drape of arms, and direct eye contact.
She's easy enough about it, though, because it's mostly habitual lounge that actually happens before she's witting again and just leaves the limb there. Her hand flips one of her robe tie ends in little idle flick against his near forearm, "I was thinking if there's people in these places and -we've- been made to sing and dance, so to speak, for however many times respectively for whatever purpose..." Her eyes take a trip toward the ceiling with her lead up before her lashes bat and she looks right at the Capitalist again, clearly proud of the idea, "I think we should go to the opera. Actually watch something, listen to something big and dramatic and beautiful and tragic that is just... someone else's. Not ours. I think we're owed that."
"Mind you, though..." She tips her chin down a bit, "It is you I am asking, not Christian only, even if I -did- want him with me in the splendor of the Paris Opera House. I took Justin once and he fell asleep. Good sport, though. So my memory of it that is the clearest, it'd be after you were gone. Will that take you away and make you feel too much like Christian or me too much like Elaine for it to be right and something you'd want? Or can I just think it a different year, hell, a different decade? It wouldn't change the building or the performance, just the people."
Naughty notes slipped beneath the door, now that's what I've received before." The Capitalist says, that smile still on his lips. That's when his eyes follow just as she stretches out and extends a bared leg to rest within his lap. "And none of the others made me feel like I was 12 again with making me draw a circle around my answer." He starts this all off with, while not a straight face, a slightly amused one, but in the end the smile on his lips broaden as he has to laugh good-naturedly about the whole passed note thing.
One hand lowers to settle in on her shin, resting there. It's when the opera is brought up does he quiet down to listen to what she has to say. "The Actress could put on a show for us and the world if you'd like. I know she's been practicing, but I can't say that opera is her forte." That said, just the mention of Christian seems to be one of those things that he was planning on talking about, or at the very least, a topic on his mind. "If we go back to that Paris opera house, we'll be in that world and I would have no choice but to be Christian, I think... if that's how these rooms work. If you set your mind on something else entirely, who knows what will happen."
He doesn't really want to bring this topic up, especially not with her speaking of nice and romantic things, but with some of which was already said, he feels this need to bring it up now, "This was one of the tests that we wanted to run involving those doors, but I need to know..." While his gaze may have been on the Caregiver right before this moment, they drift away now, lowering to stare down at her leg once more, "What do Christian's parents know about... what happened to him? I need to know whether they believe," this is followed by a sigh, it's difficult to talk about, "Whether they believe he's dead or not. For certain."
"Yeah, I really don't see making Roxie put on a one person stage show for us a date like the Palais Garnier, which is art alone just on walk through, but if you don't like the idea, then it's pretty moot. I had other ones that didn't necessarily involve being in a private booth fine tuned and adjusted to suit how I wanted things from my memories. But if I could just... adjust, I-- uh, to be honest, I never tried to do anything with those rooms, myself, the first time. I just went in when others did." The Caregiver rakes a hand back through some of her hair like she needs something to do with her hand suddenly, but not until she's finished leaning forward to impulsively kiss at the side of the Capitalist's face with the 'twelve year old' bit, smothering some of her own smile into the smash of lips there at his cheek.
Her expression sobers, some, though, as his conversation takes a turn to testing things, "That's... an odd subject for a test. You're going to have to explain to me where this idea about testing things is coming from and what the ideas are working to prove, but that..." Her tongue pushes against the back of her teeth as her own eyes drop for a beat. Then Laine has to be there for Christian. She flexes her leg with tighten and draw into slide so she can sit in straddle sit over his legs, arms reaching to lay in drape about his neck and shoulders as she prepares to quietly explain.
"Justin didn't know how or what to say or do at first because Vivian didn't come back and was counted as missing too. He went to them. They... it was complicated for him to explain, I don't know the details, entirely, it distressed him to talk about it. I think the general conversation ended with them knowing, but not accepting it as an explanation and wanting more. And I don't know if that's because it's not what they -want- to believe or because the details they were given were just too overwhelming." She pauses, words quiet, "I wrote them a letter too. It wasn't very long. But I think he gave it to them too to try and make them believe."
"Who said it would be a one person stage show? There's countless other actors who could join her, I'm sure." The Capitalist points out, "These worlds are filled with people now and from what I've heard, people who would recognize you if you've known them in that particular life." He even returns her smile when she leans forward to place a playful kiss against his cheek. But all of that is short-lived.
"It's an interesting test and I have to see whether I'm the right candidate for it or not." He's not quite expecting the reaction he gets, both watching and feeling her move into to straddle his legs, one of his hands lowers down to her hip, just as he feels a breath catch within his throat, his eyes focusing on hers with her being this close.
"So, if I showed up at some point, a year or two after the Lodge, there's a chance that they might think that Justin lied to them?" Thinking on this he says, tone quiet, "Caleb," He'll use that name as she knows him by it rather than Sinclair, "told us how he and Roen and a few others like Profe--" He has a difficult time not addressing Ethan Drake without the Professor title, "Ethan Drake. Anyway, they went back to Oregon, to this place that they bought using... Caleb's money that he," Yeah, he's not clear about the story, "look, all I know is they went back to Oregon, 1 year after Caleb died at the Lodge. They didn't go to the Eager Beaver, but to some place that Colorado and Ethan were living at, I think. And despite being dead or having died in that encounter, Roen and Caleb were alive, as if they'd never died. And since the inhabitants of these worlds recognize us if they knew us in life, I'd asked him if anyone recognized him and he said no. Then said that he was unwilling to test it out. So with that in mind, this would only work if my parents believed me to be dead, but what if I arrived home, setting the time to a year or two after Price died. Would they be shocked to see me alive and well or would they act as if I never died at all. That is what a question going through my mind."
"I'm not sure. Your parents sound like a gamble if you're wanting to do a test to just see if you're recognized as the walking dead. They might think you're off covering something else with the robbery involvement speculation and Vivian never returning, no proof, the details at the Lodge glossed, so on. If you're wanting to maybe do it in part for another reason... I'd leave that for after the test." The Caregiver tilts her head a little and looks at the Capitalist with a slip of knowing and remembering the guilt Christian had for pulling the wool over the eyes of his parents and leaving them high and dry thinking he was dead or criminal. And without words, she's basically telling him it's okay to think it and try with caution from the tone of her voice.
Her hand makes skimming of fingertips at the small hairs on the nape of the Capitalist's neck, just above dark shirt collar, lashes batting as she points out, "But you know that Justin knows you're dead. And I happen to know where he lives. Granted, he'll start yelling about ghosts, immediately. But if you need the actual -confirmation- of the test..." She pauses, "Would the people just be there because they're expected to be there? Because it's home, or because it's Justin's condo or... also, what does confirming with someone whether they believe you dead or alive prove? And what -exactly- are the more dangerous ideas I feel this is just lead up to, suddenly?"
Though the Laine still so heavily a piece of Caregiver is all tissied up with quiet worry for the emotional fallout of what the Capitalist is suggesting, there's a moment the longer she sits like that where she seems to becoming hyperaware of just how she seems to have ended up too, despite subject matter. It takes a few quick blinks to refocus as her breath rises, holds, then doesn't immediately come back out. Until it does... a little shuddery. But she's still mind over matter, more or less.
"Right, Justin!" The Caregiver had mentioned Justin but it's slipped the Capitalist's mind, being so focused on Christian's parents. The other parts, about his parents, it does make him stop to consider, "Bella said that she returned to the childhood home of... Max, was it? The girl she was at the Lodge. We don't know at what period of time she returned home to her mother, but nothing was amiss then. I just want to know whether the people we meet through those doors, if they know what went on at the Lodge, or the Island or anywhere. I want to know just how real they are."
As for the more dangerous test, the Capitalist may not see it as that, but others wanted caution to go with it. "I honestly have no idea how this next test will play out. All that I'd said, seeing as we could travel back into time, that what if we went back there, Madison and I, to the board meeting where I was pitching Wyred Fest to our father. What if we changed the location, moved it from the Grey Island. Or cancel it at all," This is said with a hurried and slightly flustered, "which would make the Wellson patriarch all the more upset with me," Conrad, "for wasting his time. But I was never going to win his love or affection, so what would it really matter?" The dangerous part is then mentioned, "What Caleb was worried about was... if Wyred Fest isn't held at Grey Island, then Professor Drake wouldn't have sacrificed himself and died, which in turn, made him end up here. My take on this is that Caleb would be feeling pretty lonely without Drake here and while it's understandable, if we could change things and save lives, why wouldn't we?"
Even the Capitalist would be a victim of this change, as Conrad met Maata on the island. He realizes this and though it's a difficult sacrifice for him to make, despite her not being here in more, he was still willing to move forward with this plan. "None of us knows what will happen. What difference we will make. Madison... Anette, Emily, whatever you want to call her, she was afraid that if we succeeded and things did change, that she'd be stuck as Madison, living that life. In truth, I don't know if anything will happen."
"That seems a little extreme. In fact, it seems a lot extreme to me when you're talking about change. I don't think that's really the nature of those things. In fact, honestly, the more layered this conversation gets, the more I think of how these things just show up in those rooms as representations from our minds, and honestly, it's...mrrrnrrrmmrrrn... how to explain..." The Caregiver looks uncertain while the Capitalist explains the other venturing possibility, but not because it's worry for danger, moreso that the people think they can affect things or be stuck affected in turn. She makes a humming, frustrated noise that's half a little growl because the concept of reality is a tricky thing.
"I'm not saying don't try things, by any stretch. But think of it more simply, based on the example you just gave me about Max. Because maybe this is happening because the strings want us to fucking dance again. And what better way than to try and traumatize ourselves with our pasts all over again just because we have the option? Remember what I said about the struggle being more than part of the end game, sometimes?"
The brunette wets her lips and tells the Capitalist with venturing, her hand lifting to watch her fingertips dust in drag along his shirt collar, "What if Max just remembered home as a natural place to be accepted and time didn't matter, and therefore nothing was amiss? What if she -wanted- it that way when she opened the door?" Her head tilts, "What if I made a living image of a life where you are dead? And what if I left the room, came out, went back in and made a life where you were still alive because I wanted it to be that way? Those doors open to what we want them to open to, right?"
For a moment the Capitalist's eyes narrow, especially when the Caregiver is trying to make him look at the whole thing in another way altogether. "I've already had thoughts about that, but that doesn't mean that I am not going to not try any of these options out." She can feel that tension in his body, the more she continues on. Perhaps he KNOWS that some of what she says may be true, but that doesn't mean he doesn't want to believe that changes can be made.
"I know that you're saying, but I'd still rather test these theories and do nothing." There's even a shift now as if he's preparing to rise to standing. "In truth, I need to /see/ what could have been, even if they don't amount to anything." His tone even becomes terse, no matter how gently she tries to tell him that his ideas are wrong. Or that's how he sees it. "But yes, we can set things in a certain way, which is why, going forward, we need to follow the same timeline that we're working on. Or better yet, never leave. We could live a lifetime in that world. It'll be a whole lot better than just sitting here."
"You're hearing what you want to hear out of me right now and I'm going to need you to kindly fucking stop it." The Caregiver tells the Capitalist as he starts to shift to tension instead of entertaining new options or theories as well. Her hand pulls back and away and she makes as if to get up in a huff, but then, instead, she knits her brows stubbornly and digs her little ass right there on his legs so he's going to have to throw her off.
Because she's quickly clarifying, hands coming to push with a sudden heated firmness of flat palms and curling fingers at his chest, despite her calm, "You're mistaking me as Laine worry naysaying here, who I am not. You think I want to sit here and hide? Why do you think I'm trying to understand this time? I'm not saying don't try to test anything. I'm saying that if we're going in to test Justin by me conjuring a memory if his condo, I would make the space from my own memories where you're dead and you would be treated a certain way. Maybe not so much if I adjusted it on a second venture in, where I want people to treat my life and therefore you as if--"
Then she sets her teeth on edge, "I'm saying be thorough in what you're testing so you know -how- to know if you're actually changing anything or not. You need baselines. You learn the game board, then you learn the pieces, then you learn the rules. Right? But if you've already -thought- of that angle, just say so next time instead of jumping to me trying to tie you down from trying." Her hands drop and she starts to shift off after saying her defensive piece with not an ounce of shying from eye contact. It's not exactly combative, but it's her damn sure not apologizing for herself in Laine fashion for what was misunderstood.
"What I'm hearing are reasons on why you think I'm wasting my time on this. If that's not what you're trying to say, then maybe you should say what you really mean." The Capitalist says in a forceful tone, his body even rises a touch off his seat, only to feel her pressing stubbornly down on him. There is a moment where he actually would have cast her aside, but that is what Driscoll would have done and none-too-lightly too. Instead, she can feel him settling back down, the look of annoyance on his face as he meets her gaze directly. It seems that neither of them are planning on backing down from this.
When she no longer seems to be trying to tell him how she believes the doors to work, he listens, but she can feel that the tension remains. The Capitalist, never liked anyone questioning anything he's done, so even if she didn't mean to do it, that part of him has been easily set off. Definitely one of his hot buttons.
"You're supposed to go into this as if you never woke up in this place. Christian is dead and nothing, not in that reality, will bring him back." He rarely likes to admit that he's died before, always avoiding thinking on the deaths that he'd experienced whenever possible. "You play it as if you've never left there, because that's how it is in their reality."
When she's finally off of his lap, he rises to stand. It's not a quick, reflexive action, but something that he gradually moves to do. "I would have told you the full plan if you didn't decide to question what I'd already said." Feeling the knots in his neck from just this abrupt rise of annoyance, he tilts his head to the side, feeling that sweet crack of relief, just before he straightens his tie. "The question had come up before and my answer is, if we're hopping in and out of those realities, we need to make sure we bring the correct reality back." Once he feels that he's put together, shirt smoothed down, he adds, "If it were up to me, I would just stay there and see how the changes played out. But not everyone likes who they were, depending on the story. I chose Wyred Fest because that is the only time where I have the power to prevent something of my own creation. Everything else, I'm just there for the ride."
"I already told you I didn't even use the doors before, so if I'm wrong about it, especially with them being so different now, because remember, I wasn't privy to this conversation you were in... that was also me trying to go back and forth with you and understand, moreso than -question-. I'm hardly an interrogator even on my naggiest days in any life." The Caregiver rises up as the Capitalist does and paces over to look at herself in the vanity mirror to keep her profile or back largely to him to hide her expression, reaching to touch the glass for a beat with helpless finger motion, her next words quiet.
"But yeah. He's dead. I laid in his fucking blood. I just lived a year without him. Should be easy enough to do. I don't suppose there's anything I can do to help in the other regards. I didn't have that life you want to play out." Her hand pulls back from the glass suddenly, then she decides, "Might not hurt to do a little testing of my own."
"Actually," The Capitalist says in regards to the Island, "Madison and I were thinking of doing research when we're back there. The internet being a thing. She was tempted to see what happened to Emily and... why she didn't revert to an older Emily instead of a younger Madison when went to Angeline's hospital. It's the same world where Ethan Drake from the lodge grew up to be Professor Drake, after all." All of this is said in a matter-of-fact way, but his voice softens, "I was wondering if Laine were still around and what she'd been doing this whole time. But you nor the others became those people from the Lodge even if they would have existed." A pause, when he remembers, "But Danny and O'Neil were both dead." Now he has to wonder if Laine were dead as well in 2010, but he doesn't dare voice it. It's definitely something for him to ponder on.
Everything said about Christian, while noted, is not remarked on. He lived Christian's life, experienced his death and then felt the emotional aftermath that followed. His gaze drawn to the Caregiver at the mirror, he falls quiet for a time and simply watches her from afar. "After learning of what we can do in those rooms, it's definitely opened up new opportunities for me. Those fuzzy memories, the ones like photographs are so much clearer there than they've ever been in this place." He almost sounds like someone planning to correct several wrongs that had happened in his various lifetimes.
"I had considered... what would have happened if Christian never told Hawkins about the Lodge." He looks to be heading towards the door, but just this thought has him stopping in thought, "If he'd prevented Stella from going as well and leave that whole mess behind." In his mind, it sounds like a pleasant fantasy, but in the end, he knows the truth, "Would the world have ended because of my selfishness. Even if it was this selfishness that landed me at the Lodge to begin with." With those words out, he heads towards the door, then decides to say, "The date is still on. Choose your time and place."
"... good. I'll plan. Good night, lovely." The Caregiver tells the Capitalist after standing in quiet and just listening, looking at herself in the mirror reflection. She pours from a bottle on the vanity into a glass and downs it as he heads out, casting a small, somewhat sad smile back over her shoulder toward his retreating form. Then losing her robe, she drifts into the bathroom with the bottle and the glass to run bath water. Neither the contents of the bottle or the general intact state of that glass are long for things before the Facility resets. Naturally, she waits for him to go before falling apart again and testing anything at all. But the way she feels at the moment, testing and drinking might not be the most stellar of ideas.