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I'm afraid that rather a lot of titles I've been coming up with lately are punny...



Love in the Time of Choler

When Angelica opened the door, the last thing she expected out of Kendis' mouth was, "What the fuck has she done to me?"

"What?" Angelica said, frowning.

Kendis shouldered past her into the apartment, her crutches thumping loudly on the hardwood floor. Kit emerged from the bedroom, pulling a t-shirt on. "Hey, Kendis," he said cheerily.

Angelica shut the door and listened to the locks throwing themselves a moment before turning to the room. "What the fuck are you talking about?" she inquired sweetly.

Kendis scowlingly lowered herself into a chair. "I'm talking about fucking Jane Liberty," she snarled.

Angelica sat in the chair opposite her, knees carefully pressed together under her silk dressing gown. "What has she done? Sorry. What has she fucking done?"

"I've been going to work," Kendis said, mopping her sweaty brow with a bandana handkerchief. It was the first really hot day of spring, and it looked like she'd been in a hurry. "As you do. But the thing is, everyone at the home is a fucking genius the whole time I'm there. I was suspecting that something was going on. Everyone was sharper than usual, even the staff. But then…" She lost her coherence in a growl of rage and made helpless little grabby gestures with her hands.

Kit pressed a glass of icewater into one of them and Kendis gave him a grateful look. She drained half the glass at a go, and then continued. "Then Betty, who's been demented and almost completely nonverbal for a fucking decade, out of nowhere starts lecturing one of our elderly Libertarian jackasses on history. Complicated political history about the fucking Harding administration. I didn't even know she was a political history professor before the Alzheimer's." She finished the glass and mopped her face some more.

"So you think…" Angelica began, but Kendis cut her off.

"I know that woman had to've done something to me," she said. "When I saw her last, she patted me on the hand and said that she couldn't thank me enough, but she'd try. I think this is what she fucking meant."

"She amped you up," Kit said, refilling the glass with the pitcher he was holding.

"Like fuckin' crazy," Kendis said, taking another long drink.

Angelica and Kit traded a slightly baffled look. Finally, Angelica said, "So what's the down side here?"

Kendis stared at her. "What's the… she fucking messed with me, that's the down side. Without asking."

"Oh," Angelica said, light dawning. "Oh! Yeah. When you put it like that… yeah, that's fucked up."

Kendis thumped one of her crutches on the floor irritably. "It's seriously fucked up. But… I can't ask her to turn it off! That's the really fucked part!"

"Wait, why not?" Kit said, topping up her glass again.

Kendis sighed and rolled her eyes. "Because… you didn't see their faces, dude. The people at the home. They were so happy, most of them, when they realized they could recognize their kids or grandkids or just their fuckin' nurse. They could talk, mostly. They're not all there -- there's a bunch of shit that's frustrating, like not having words, or having huge holes in their memories, or not being able to do something. But I heard one lady telling a nurse that it was what she'd prayed to happen when she was first diagnosed, it was this enormous gift from God. And…" She scrubbed at her face irritably with her free hand. "If I can give these people a few scraps of joy in what's left of their lives, I can't give that up. I would be the shittiest excuse for a human being ever if I did."

Kit looked at Angelica with his eyebrows raised, then said, "They'll figure out it's you, eventually. Someone will notice that they don't do as well on your days off. And then what will you do?"

Kendis shrugged. "I'll… I dunno. I've gotta think about it."

Angelica was about to say something when she heard scratching at the door. She leapt up, flustered, and hurried to the door, saying, "Sorry, sorry," over her shoulder. She barely glanced at the identification panel before throwing open the door.

The great golden wolf was skinny and drooping as he slunk in the door. He didn't even look up at the people in the room, but let Angelica lay a hand on his neck and hurry him toward the bathroom. "We'll be a few minutes," she said to Kendis and Kit's surprised faces, and shut herself and Simon into the bathroom.

"It's been a long time," she said, pulling towels from the closet as he shifted shape.

"I know," he mumbled, climbing into the shower and turning on the water.

"She still locking the door on you?"

"Yeah, but Watson lets me out every day," he said, and she could smell her chocolate shampoo already. "I just... didn't have the energy to leave."

"Oh, baby," she said, and got the sweatpants and t-shirt she always kept for him out of the closet as well, and plugged in the clippers and put down newspaper, and all the preparations she kept ready for his intermittent visits. She set out the T and syringe for him on the sink, next to her own various medicine bottles.

He finally mustered, "How have you been?"

She thought about the meetings in Madame Destiny's living room, about the fact that she knew what was wrong with him and why it was happening, about the fact that she had no idea whatsoever how to fix it... and said, "Doing all right. Work's been busy. No men in black on the streets around here lately."

"TV says they're mostly at the big tent revival thing," he said, emerging from the shower and rubbing himself all over with her fluffiest towel.

"Huh," she said, plugging in the clippers and setting to work on bringing his hair and beard under control. "I guess they're all shiny brothers or whatever it's called."

"Yeah," he said, standing still and naked and dripping on the newspapers while she made short work of his excess hair. "Job still busy?"

"Yeah," she said. "I'm applying to new jobs to replace the shitwork I got fired from, but that's pretty soulsucking."

He stepped back into the shower to wash the bits of hair off. "I'm sorry. I could talk to Mom about that lab job?"

"No, still not desperate enough to jump into her field." She bent and folded up the hair cuttings in the newspaper. "Still, if she's got a need for a bookkeeper or something like that..."

"Okay," he said, drying off again and reaching for the sink. "I'll let Tizemt know. She's pretty much running the lab now."

She politely turned her back, busying herself with making sure she managed to get all the hair into the trash while he stabbed himself in the ass.

It was only half an hour later that she emerged with Simon, having scrubbed, shaved, and clothed him in the meantime. Kit was telling Kendis a story, but he stopped when the door opened and both of them looked up.

Kendis broke into a grin. "Simon, man, it's been a dog's age!"

Simon smiled wanly and scratched at his beard. "Yeah, things've been kinda fucked up. You're lookin' good, Kendis."

"More'n I can say for you, man," she said, bluntly enough to make Angelica wince. "You look like hell. Not workin' out?"

"No," Simon said.

Kit had somehow managed to slouch to his feet without Angelica noticing, but now he stood up straight and was watching Simon closely.

Angelica half-smiled, half-grimaced, and said, "Kit, this is Simon, one of my old friends. Simon, this is Kit. He's been… staying here." She did not want to try to explain that.

Simon looked up and stepped forward automatically, the well-trained little gentleman, but when his gaze struck Kit's, he straightened right up, shoulders back, looking up into Kit's face while they shook hands. The handshake went on for a little too long, and both of them stood taller, legs locked and braced, staring intently into each other's eyes.

Angelica glanced at Kendis, who put a hand over her mouth to hide a smile.

"Nice to meet you," Simon said, baring his teeth.

"Likewise," Kit said, showing his suddenly long and pointed-seeming choppers.

"You from around here?" Simon asked, and Angelica could almost see the hairs on the back of his neck standing up.

"Nope," Kit said, and added, with a faintly pitying air, "Guess you are, though."

"Yep," Simon said, bracing his hands on his hips, which made his still-admirable pecs stand out in the tight t-shirt. "That means I've known Angelica for a long time."

"Bet so," Kit said, with a stiff dip of his chin that suggested he conceded that small point. "I've travelled a lot. Seen a lot. She's one of the finest folks I've met in a long time."

Angelica noticed that Kendis' shoulders were shaking. While she agreed with Kendis that this was comedy gold, she had to admit that she didn't mind having this kind of macho posturing happening between two extremely hot men over her.

"I agree with you there," Simon said, offering a stiff little nod of his own.

The two men continued to stare at each other until Kendis finally snorted laughter out loud. Then they both turned looks of such outraged dignity on her that Angelica started to laugh too. And then the boys turned sheepish, Simon rubbing the back of his head and Kit barking a laugh.

When Angelica recovered finally, she said, "We've got the makings for a big dinner, you two want to stay?"

"Oh, hell, yes," Kendis said, chuckling and reaching over to punch Simon in the arm. "I haven't laughed this much in forever."











Date: 2013-08-09 09:07 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Simon looked up and stepped forward automatically, the well-trained little gentleman, but when his gaze struck Kit's, he straightened right up, shoulders back, looking up into Kit's face while they shook hands. The handshake went on for a little too long, and both of them stood taller, legs locked and braced, staring intently into each other's eyes.

....BAHAHAHA.

Date: 2013-08-10 02:06 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
:)

Date: 2016-06-22 09:28 pm (UTC)
susanreads: my avatar, a white woman with brown hair and glasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] susanreads
Oh wow, I'd forgotten that staring match!

I'm re-reading book 3, and finding so many clues about Angelica that went whoosh! over my head the first time. I noticed people who knew her before college getting used to the new her, but I wasn't sure until quite a bit later. I don't know what I thought that other conversation with Kit (the first time she takes him home) was about.

Date: 2016-06-27 07:09 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Oh, I'm so glad. I'll probably be starting to edit volume 3 this fall, and I was fretting about the clues. :}

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