|Obed Brandt | Hades (obedear) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-06-25 16:23:00
|Entry tags:||charon, hades|
drunken confessions & hijacked affairs
Who: Carver and Obed
What: catching up
When: Saturday, June 3rd, early evening
Lately Obed had been doing a great many things outside his comfort zone, and it showed. His skin bore the subtle pink glow of one unaccustomed to sun trying -- with questionable success -- to become reacquainted with it. One fingertip had a small laceration, evidence of his continued attempts at the upkeep of the bonsai tree his former fiancee had given him. And for once, his laptop was closed and put away, as he found himself attempting to separate his work from his personal life a bit more decisively.
This last change in behavior was due in no small part to Abel. Obed's conversation with his relatively new acquaintance had left him, if not shaken, then as close to it as he had been in quite some time. These new developments were not entirely the cause of his asking Carver over, but they played a sizable role.
"Guest's choice," he said, as he pulled a number of bottles from one cabinet. "You're probably sick to death of wine at this point. I've got Bulleit, Lagavulin, and Patrón Silver."
“A little whiskey would do me some good,” Carver said, sinking into the couch with a sigh that betrayed just how little he’d been sleeping in the days since his return. “I’ll be honest with you, boss, I could happily go the rest of my life without seeing a damn bottle of wine right now. If your folks don’t start chilling out and really enjoying that retirement of theirs…”
Obed snorted. "So I tell them," he said. "I'm not sure they know how." He moved from kitchen to living room, two glasses of rye, two ice cubes each, in his hands. He sighed as he settled back into the sofa, and handed one glass over to his friend. "I take it the trip was unpleasant," he said. "Anything you think I should know?" He smiled wryly. "And be blunt. I'm getting very good at taking bad news."
Carver took a long drink and leaned back, his sigh this time faintly more content. “Well -- I think I saved the Eureka situation, but just barely. Apparently, your dad had Jacob pitching pretty nonstop before I got there. To the folks we were already distributing to. It was a nightmare convincing them we weren’t ‘A’, desperate for their business because something was wrong, and ‘B’, two steps removed from a spambot. Don’t worry, I had a long talk with Jacob about who’s the boss here.” He shook his head and took another long drink. “The wine festival in Newport was OK though. Kathy’s good people. I think we’ll get another couple restaurants carrying us out of it. Not feeling too great about that bed and breakfast in Arizona though. I think you need new management there, to be honest, cute as Mr. and Mrs. Levin are.”
"They certainly are," Obed said. His tongue traced the seam of his subtly smiling lips. "The reviewers love them. They're very… inviting. But that won't count for much in the long run, so." He shook his head. "All right. See who you can find to replace them. That demo really loves the comfortable couple angle, though, so if you can at least get close to that I'd really appreciate it."
He paused for a small sip from his glass. "I'll talk to my parents about Jacob. I get that they don't want to fully retire, but I don't need them or their minions getting underfoot when you're trying to work."
Carver swirled the whiskey in his glass, ice cubes clinking. “I can talk to the Levins maybe. Or -- fuck, if there was at least someone else to do, you know, the paperwork and that shit. They just can’t keep records worth a damn and they keep giving booze away.” His voice raised until it was a high-pitched, elderly quaver. “‘Oh but it was such a nice couple, on their honeymoon, sweetie…’” He dropped back to his normal tone. “‘Yes Mrs. Levin, a glass of wine would’ve been all right Mrs. Levin, but three bottles Mrs. Levin…”
Obed chuckled against the rim of his glass. "I see," he said. "Still. If they can't be trusted and a bookkeeper won't keep them in line, I don't see any reason to keep them, kind and welcoming as they may be." He shrugged. "I leave it to your discretion, but I'm not sure I want to give them a second chance. I have enough to deal with right now, I don't particularly want to have to deal with this same issue in another six months."
He gestured to Carver, one brow softly arched. "So what about you, Ray? Are you doing anything for yourself now that you're home for a bit? I can't have you burning out, you know."
Carver shrugged. “I'm good. Met one of our wacky neighbors the other day. Took myself out for a drink. Oh. Saw your ex.” He stopped and drank, giving Obed room to decide whether he wanted to discuss Isobel or not.
A small, noncommittal sound slipped free of Obed, whose jaw had gone tight at the sound of that word. He filled the silence, brief but heavy, with a long pull from his glass. It was nearly empty when he lowered it once more. "Not every conversation has to be about me," he muttered. "But if you'd like to say 'I told you so,' feel free."
Carver chuckled. “Nah. I know you cared about her and far as I can tell the feelings were mutual… All I was suggesting was a little caution, you know. She doesn’t seem so bad.” He smiled, absently. “Anyway, if you don’t wanna talk about it, you don’t wanna talk about it. So how about them Angels, hmm?”
Shaking his head, Obed dipped a figurative toe into the conversation he did not truly want to have. "I have to ask," he said. "Did you two plan a little debriefing, or was your meeting completely coincidental?" His thinned lips twisted into something akin to a smile. "Now I'm curious, foolish as I know that is."
Carver threw Obed a faintly disgusted look. “Why would I plan something like that with someone I barely know and didn’t even really like? C’mon boss, don’t start getting paranoid.”
"Cautious," Obed corrected, pointing an index finger at Carver from against the side of his glass. "Just as you suggested. Not paranoid. And to prove how entirely not paranoid I am, let's talk about this wacky neighbor instead. You'll have to narrow it down a little farther, though. Who was this, and how did that go?"
“Miley? No, that wasn’t it. Brittany. Brittany Bernard. That trash mag journo that wrote that garbage about you for TMZ. I wanted to get the mail but she was in the mailroom and apparently my suitcase wheels squeaking pissed her off. We had a little stand off.”
Obed had rolled his eyes the moment the name had crossed his friend's lips. The briefest mention of his legal team had sent her scurrying back into the darkness; he did not seriously consider her a threat, but she was enough of a nuisance as it was. To hear her name again, and so soon, was markedly displeasing.
"I can imagine how well that went," Obed said. "I'm just glad she seems to have gotten my message the first time around. I have enough going on right now without adding bad press on top of it all."
“Agreed,” Carver said, underlining the statement with a nod. “So what’d you do to set her sights on you, anyway? I mean, bad enough that someone spins up that total bullshit. But to have it turn out to be a neighbor? Did you poison her dog or something?” He grinned. “Although she seemed the type who’d write that kind of shit because you bumped into her on the stairs.” He made a little ‘crazy’ gesture by his right temple.
Obed chuckled. "That's about the right of it," he said. "We first met at this…" He gestured vaguely with one hand. "Event, that building management put together. A meet your neighbors sort of thing. I thought I was being quite friendly to be honest, but she seemed… combative is one word for it, I suppose. Just an abrasive sort of personality." He shrugged. "I really think that's all it took."
“‘Combative’ is the perfect word for it.” Carver shook his head. “Well, maybe I ought to have watched my step with her more, but she definitely has a way of getting under your skin.” He sighed. Leaned back and rubbed his forehead with one hand. “So when are we taking that trip to Alaska? I think we both need a long fucking vacation. Somewhere without signal so your damn folks can’t track me down.”
"How does this weekend sound?" Obed said. The frayed edges of his voice made clear he was not entirely joking. "The bonsai tree can mind itself for a few days. And I could use the fresh air. I'll give my parents a call so you don't come back to one million voicemails."
Caught off guard slightly, Carver paused, merely blinking at Obed, and then laughed himself free of his surprise. “Sure, why the hell not? Why else are we making all this fat cash?” He toasted Obed with his glass.
A light clinking of their glasses marked their toast; Obed smiled, and nodded agreement. "This weekend it is. My next step forward into my reclaimed bachelorhood, and a well-earned vacation for you." He tossed back what remained of his drink, leaning forward to set his glass aside on the coffee table.