|Isobel Brandt \\ Persephone (praxidike) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-03-29 15:35:00
|Entry tags:||loki, persephone|
Someday I'll wear pyjamas in the daytime
Who: Nish and Isobel
What: Nish spends her last non-working day with Isobel
When: Tuesday afternoon (3/28), about six hours after this thread
Lucas had finally told her she could go back to work, tomorrow. Her last follow-up with him had been yesterday and he’d given her the go-ahead to resume regular activities. Whether this included sex, especially her prefered kind of sex, she hadn’t asked, though now she was thinking she should have. She did tell him about missing running in the mornings, which was close enough, and he’d said to take it slow. Work up to her usual pace. Don’t overdo it. And don’t forget to take the beta blockers and keep the nitro in her purse just in case. She hadn’t realized she’d need to use them so soon.
This morning she’d had to use the nitroglycerine for the first time, after an...arguement with Rafe. It still stung, and the words they’d both said to each other still swam in her head, but her headache from the medication had finally worn off by the afternoon. After scrounging in her fridge for something to eat she spotted the box of cupcakes from Alice’s shop decided to do something she’d been thinking about since the weekend, since this was her last day to do it, at least for a while. She padded back into her room and got a little more appropriately dressed, made two mugs of tea and took the elevator up to the highest floor she’d ever been to so far, knocking on a door she’d never been to yet and waiting to see if Isobel was even home.
Isobel was; she worked from home a few afternoons a week, one to be able to better focus on the various paperwork items involved with her business, and two, because she'd established early on in her and Obed's relationship that they'd have at least one or two home cooked meals together. Following the strangeness of her birthday, she was glad to be at home in the familiar environment of their shared apartment, and was very surprised to have a visitor in the middle of the day. She hadn't even changed out of her pajamas, but she rose from her seat at the kitchen table and padded softly toward the front door, hushing Hanni as he yipped along with her to see who was knocking.
"Oh, hello, Nish," she said, one foot working to keep Hanni indoors while the other pulled the door open wide enough to stick her face out. "Did you need something?"
Immediately Nish realized the flaw in her plan. She should have called first, or sent her a message on the network, or...something. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry,” she said, frowning at the other woman’s pajamas. “I didn’t want to disturb you,” she said, now starting to feel like an intruder rather than a surprise guest. “Did I wake you? I was just…” she searched for words, and then settled for handing over one of the steaming takeout cups of tea. “I felt like celebrating,” she said stupidly, which wasn’t at all the reason for her visit, and now she wanted to take it back. “I can come back later...if you want…”
"Oh, no!" Isobel bent to scoop the pom into her arms, opening the door wider as she took in the treats Nish had on hand. "I'm just working from home today. I can take a break, though! Come on in," she replied, holding the door open so the other woman could come in. "What are we celebrating?"
Nish stepped inside after her, still feeling as if she was intruding, but smiling and following her into the apartment all the same. “Well…I got some good news, and I thought of cupcakes, but they’re better shared,” she said, referring to the little box she’d handed Isobel. “Rafe is...busy, and I didn’t really...well, I didn’t know who else I could…” she paused, nervous. It was hard to admit it like this. The real reason she was here was to make a friend. A girl friend. And she was terrible at it, at least when she was trying to make friends.
Her good news was just a hook, the same she’d used yesterday with Alice in her shop. An icebreaker. Sure, she’d spent an evening with them on the weekend, but Rafe had been there as a buffer. Actually making friends on her own like this, it was a huge step the nurses in her group therapy had encouraged them all to take. Make friends. New friends who didn’t know you before your trauma, as a way of moving on from it. And after the party...she’d found she liked Alice and Isobel. Rafe had been right about them, of course.
Isobel put Hanni back on the floor, and the small dog wasted no time in promptly sniffing Nish's shoes and pants.
"If he bothers you at all, let me know and I can put him in his crate," Isobel said, stepping forward to take the drinks from Nish's grasp.
Nish smiled, “Ohh, he’s great. He probably smells cat on me though,” she noted, slipping her shoes off at the door before following Isobel.
"Let me help you. Come on into the kitchen," she continued, a warm smile on her face. She did note the name of the shop where Nish had gotten the pastries -- Rosemary & Thyme -- and her smile broadened. "Oh, you went to Alice's shop? I love that place. It's so cute -- and that means the food will be good. This must be some quite good news!"
She brought Nish deeper into the apartment, the wide, luxurious space sprawling before them; everything was neatly in its place, and clean. Hanni followed after them, his little nails clicking on the hardwood. Isobel's bare feet padded back to the kitchen table, which she quickly cleared of the little paperwork she'd been going through. Isobel motioned to one of the chairs. "So, what's up?"
Nish took her time looking over the space around her, noting the light airiness of it, the sense of wealth all around. “It’s like a completely different building up here, isn’t it?” she mused aloud, in awe. She loved her apartment, it was perfect for her, but this was pure luxury. Isobel noted her gaze, following it with her own, shrugging.
"It's...Obed's decision. I just helped with the decorating." She did not mind the space as much as she used to; mostly, she'd simply grown used to it. She took a seat at the kitchen table.
Nish smiled and sat at the table with her, cradling the hot tea in her hand and glancing briefly at the closed box. “I don’t know...how much you know about me. I’ve been off work for a while because I’ve been...not well,” she said, choosing her words carefully. She still wasn’t well, but she was...well enough. “My doctor told me yesterday I can return to work tomorrow, so I’m a little excited,” she said with a friendly smile. Saying it out loud, she felt it was kind of a stupid reason for bringing tea and cupcakes to someone that she barely knew, but she thought she needed some excuse to start a conversation besides the ‘want to be friends’ her mother told her to say to the other kids in kindergarten.
"That's wonderful," Isobel replied, taking a gentle sniff of the offered cup. It smelled good, though she knew whatever came from Alice's bakery would be great on its own standard.
“It’s Earl Grey,” Nish said at Isobel’s curiosity. “I usually go for peppermint, but I wanted a little caffeine. I hope it’s okay,” she added.
"I had a lovely evening with you and Rafe, and Alice. It's something we should do again. I always want to get Obed out more." Hanni danced around under the table, finally taking a spot between their two chairs, curling up in a small, puffy ball.
Nish smiled, nodding in agreement. “I’d like that. I...enjoyed myself more than I thought I would.” She didn’t mention her nervousness before the party, losing herself so much in assisting with the food preparation that Rafe had to stop and calm her down again before their guests arrived. Now, looking back on it, her fears seemed ridiculous.
"Where do you work?" Isobel took a tentative sip of the tea, smiling at the taste, and then took a longer one.
“I’m...well, I guess you could say I’m self employed,” Nish said, sipping her own tea and humming as the warm comforting liquid warmed her insides. “I used to do Public Defender work for the State, but about a month ago I quit to focus on my own private practice.” She paused for a moment, and then realised she didn’t actually answer her question. “I’m a lawyer,” she clarified, “criminal defence law.”
"Wow," Isobel replied, respect written clearly on her features. "I was about to say I'm self-employed, too, but nothing that exciting. The more I keep hearing from people in this building, I feel like I might've picked one of the most boring jobs." She laughed slightly, fingers rimming her tea cup. "That must be a very fulfilling profession. How did you get into it?"
Nish smiled wryly, reaching forward to open the nicely wrapped box stamped with the Rosemary & Thyme logo, revealing four different perfectly iced cupcakes. She offered the box to Isobel to take first pick. “You’d think so,” she said with a shrug. “Sometimes I wish my job was boring. But you’re right, I do enjoy it, most of the time. It’s hard, it’s stressful, but I’m good at it. And I suppose there is the whole ‘make a difference’ aspect, though sometimes my own clients turn my stomach.” She sipped her tea again and caught Isobel’s eye with a slight frown. “That’s why I quit working for the State. I couldn’t handle it.”
Isobel carefully selected a chocolate cupcake with white icing from the box, placing it on the table in front of her.
"I can't even imagine," she offered softly; it hurt her just when people mistreated plants. It was difficult to comprehend working in a profession where one was forced to deal with the perpetrators of more serious, human crimes. "Let me get some plates, and some paper towels." She stood up from the table, crossing into the kitchen to get some small dessert plates from one cupboard. Hanni hopped up on all fours, his two front paws going to the seat of Nish's chair, yipping. Nish smiled, leaning over to pet Hanni on the head.
“You are going to get me in trouble with my cat later, little guy,” she said with a grin, “I don’t know his opinion on dogs yet.”
"Oh, please don't give him any desserts," Isobel called out, her voice distant. "He'll beg for all he's worth, but we've found they heavily disagree with his stomach." Hanni whined as though to counter Isobel's words. She shook her head, padding back to the table and offering Nish a plate. "That's good then that you're diverging into work that you care more about. If you didn't, I'm sure it might've burned you out after too long. And it sounds like, more than ever, you need something less stressful."
“You have no idea,” Nish said, accepting the plate from her and reaching into the box to pull out the strawberry cupcake.
She sat down again, hooking a finger in Hanni's collar and gently pulling him away from Nish's chair. "You just love to make a little nuisance of yourself, don't you?" Reaching down with both hands, she scritched Hanni on either side of his tiny head. He huffed in contentment.
Nish smiled, “it’s alright, he’s adorable,” she said, smiling down at the little puffball. She pulled apart her cupcake , halving it at the bottom and then pressing the bottom on top of the icing, making a sandwich, casually licking icing off one of her fingers.
“I meant to thank you, by the way,” she said, pulling a piece of her cupcake sandwich from the whole and popping it in her mouth. “You were the only other person at the party who wasn’t drinking. It’s…” she paused, sitting back in her chair, suddenly wishing she hadn’t brought it up. “It’s been two weeks. Without a drink. And that was…hard.” Rafe had offered to not serve wine, but she wouldn’t let him do that just for her. Halfway through the party though, she was wishing she’d said yes.
Isobel tensed for a moment, then started breaking off small pieces of her cupcake. "Yeah," she offered, shrugging lightly. "So much of our culture revolves around alcohol; I'm just...trying to take a break. For health reasons."
“Me too,” Nish agreed quietly.Though for her, it wasn’t just a break. The idea of the rest of her life without alcohol, or without the possibility of ever taking another drug for the fun of it, was daunting, and a little frightening.
She put a piece of cupcake in her mouth, chewing and swallowing before speaking again, politely changing the subject. "So do you have a lot of cases lined up, once you get back?"
Nish nodded, also relieved by the change in topic. “Yeah,” she admitted with a little laugh, “I apparently have a few clients who are mad at me for taking off so abruptly,” she shrugged. “I was still...doing some light work from home, calling people and making appointments for when I went back, but I couldn’t go to court, I couldn’t meet with clients, I couldn’t be in the office. That was hard too.” She felt a smile break out on her face though, thinking about Jessica. “I have an amazing secretary though, she kept the ship afloat while the captain was down.” She had plans to stop by Alice’s shop on the way to work on Wednesday to pick up a half a dozen cupcakes for her. And to also give her a raise.
Isobel smiled, chewing another piece of cupcake before replying. Her tongue took a swift pass over her teeth, keeping them clean and clear of any lingering chocolate. "That's wonderful. It's silly to say, but it is difficult to find good help. I'm glad you've got someone who's keeping things afloat when you're busy elsewhere." She thought briefly of Sheila and the others at the nursery, who had all been more than gracious when Isobel had been down and out for the count. It reminded her that she needed to keep her own business together, if not only for herself but for the people she was supporting.
"Is it just you and her?"
Nish nodded, swallowing her own mouthful of frosting and cake. She took a sip of tea before replying. “She’s great. She’s somewhat new; she’s only had one other admin job before I got her, but she learns fast. Very adaptable, dependable. And...well, she probably saved my life,” she said, only after the words were out did she realise she’d actually said them. She bit her cheek, berating herself for bringing it up, and stuffed another piece of cupcake in her mouth as if to shut herself up.
"I've had workers like that, so I know what you mean. I mean...workplace events can get so overwhelming. Sheila's certainly saved my butt more than once," Isobel agreed, completely missing Nish's true meaning. "I hope you hold on to her, then. She's happy working with you, right? I always worry about that, that the work environment is good, or the pay, or just...anything. Another thing to worry about on top of all the paperwork, right?"
She caught Isobel’s eyes, realising that the other woman had completely missed what she’d said, grateful for the misunderstanding. “Yeah,” she said with a relieved smile, tension lifting from her shoulders again. “This is my first time being a boss, on my own at least. I worked in a firm in Chicago, but I was one of a handful of partners so I didn’t have direct responsibility over staff. This is all new to me.” Finding Jess had been a stroke of luck, one that she was increasingly thankful for the more she got to know her.
Isobel's head bobbed. "I was, I mean, I am still like that, but there's a lot of good reading out there. One that I found especially helpful was The One Thing You Need to Know, by Buckingham? I might still have my copy around here, somewhere." Several moves did not make for an especially organized household. "But it's also still in print, I believe. There's also Ibarra's Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader, or everyone's favorite, How to Win Friends and Influence People." She finished halfway through her cupcake, deciding to save the rest for later. One hand dropped to the side of her chair, Hanni poking his nose into her fingers.
"But it sounds like you have a good handle on it. What are your plans for the rest of the day?"
Nish had been nodding and making mental notes of the suggested books, quietly polishing off her cupcake. She was mildly startled when it was her turn to talk, taking a moment to swallow the cake in her mouth and take another sip of tea. “I’m not sure,” she said honestly. “I went surfing for the first time this morning with Rafe...but I think I might just have a quiet evening in and go to bed early,” she said with a shrug. She had a lot to think about, and her headache still wasn’t completely gone. This morning had been...complicated, but thoughts of her first surfing lesson still made her smile. She hoped it would become a regular thing with them, though recent events have put ‘regular’ anything with them in doubt, in her mind.
"Wow; I've never been surfing. Obed surprised me with a hike for my birthday last week; it's the first time I've been outside the city or even just outdoors that wasn't my plant nursery in...probably at least a year," Isobel laughed. "How did you like it?"
Her brows rose with interest at the mention of a surprise hike - something else she could suggest to Rafe that wouldn't be as taxing on her heart as running is. She smiled wanly at the memory of the beach that morning.
“It was amazing,” she said, “I've never done that before, but Rafe is a very good teacher. I also had Max to thank for some of it...all that work in class on finding your center of balance came in handy trying to balance on the board.” She sipped her tea again, still smiling, though it was slightly subdued with thoughts of earlier.
“We only caught the smaller waves, but we'll work up to bigger ones. He's already an expert of course,” she said with a wry grin, “but he's very patient. And he looks pretty good soaking wet in swim trunks,” she couldn't help adding with a guilty little laugh.
Isobel's head bobbed, glad to see her newfound friend talking about lighter subjects. Her eyes fell back to the paperwork she'd pushed aside, a small ball of anxiety welling up in her gut.
"I really hate to bring this to a premature end," she said, looking back at Nish. "This really has been lovely. Thank you for dropping by. Maybe you and Rafe could join Obed and I for dinner one night? You both could help me convince Obed to go to the beach more often. I know I'll never get him on a surfboard, but at least getting him out into the sun would be a huge step forward."
Nish smiled, finishing the last of her tea. “I’d like that, and I’m sure Rafe would to. And he can be very persuasive about things he’s passionate about,” she added. “He managed to get me on a surfboard, after all.” Although she had wanted to do it, it had still taken a certain amount of coaching to actually get her to commit. And she hadn’t regretted it.
She stood from her seat, nodding a little to Isobel, “well, don’t let me keep you from your work...I’ll have plenty of my own tomorrow. We should keep in touch...maybe we can have dinner before class on Monday next week?” she suggested. Making friends was hard, keeping them was harder. But she found that she wanted to put in the effort.
Isobel's head bobbed, rising after Nish to see her out. "Let me see what our schedules look like, but that might work. It'd certainly be fun." Hanni popped up between them, scurrying ahead to beat them to the door. "Thank you for the cupcake and the tea. I'll definitely see what I can do about returning the favor." She held the door wide, sweeping Nish out it with a smile and a wave. She regretted having to see the woman go, but the promise of a later event planned gave her something to look forward to.