|Percy I. Chapman | Ἑρμης (polytropus) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-12-22 10:13:00
|Entry tags:||hecate, hermes|
she said, 'there is no reason and the truth is plain to see'
Who: Kate and Percy
What: Kate distracts herself by making Percy a thank-you lunch
Where: Kate's apartment
When: Backdated like whoa to Thursday, April 20
Kate was still reeling from the dream and realizations she’d had three nights ago, and she’d spent the interim days going over and over it in her mind. The hallways hadn’t reverted back to normal, so other than taking the dogs out for a bathroom break, she’d stayed inside, but by Thursday she’d started to get cabin fever without access to television, the internet, or (and what she really wanted, especially after Monday night) her family.
So she’d texted Percy, who’d agreed to move their lunch plans for the day to a home meal, seeing as how the option to go to a restaurant was out of the question. She needed to do something, and it was getting well past time to thank Percy properly for walking her dogs when she had food poisoning a few weeks ago.
She thought long and hard about creating a satisfying meal from the contents of her fridge and came up with herb-baked chicken, rosemary garlic potato fries, and green beans pan-fried with garlic. It wasn’t glamorous or unique, but she hoped the heavy use of herbs would make up for it in flavor.
The chicken and potatoes were nearly finished and the green beans warm and set aside when the knock sounded at the door. She went to open it.
Searching for a semblance of normalcy amongst the myriad of oddities happening within the walls of Pax Petale, Percy had been more than happy to take the stairs up to Kate's apartment for lunch. He timed himself--one of the few uses of his phone left available to him--and came in at two minutes faster than his trek from the day before.
Not too shabby.
At the opening of the door, the strong scent of herbs wafted out from within Kate's apartment, and a whiff of garlic came along with the other pleasant smells. Percy smiled in greeting at his neighbor, who no longer seemed as if she felt unwell.
“Hey there,” he said. “Hope I'm not too early, but I see you've vampire-proofed your place, so I'm glad I made it here before dark.” He'd brought a bottle of Canada Dry with him from his personal stash of mixers, which he displayed sheepishly. “Not that you need it anymore, but I brought this just in case.”
Kate laughed as she took the bottle and placed it on the counter. “Thanks, we might need it after this meal. Sorry, is it too strong? I didn’t have much by way of tasty food, but I didn’t want it to be bland.” As she spoke she left the dogs to greet Percy while she made her way to the living room windows to air out the apartment. She remembered why she’d pulled the shades as soon as she opened them again, but she raised the window anyway to let in the mild breeze from the impossibly placed river outside.
“Not at all,” came his response. “There's nothing better than garlic to clear your head.” Temporarily distracted by the dogs, he bent to greet them with loving pats, stopping only to close the door behind him. After a few more moments of joyful reunion with the cheerful canines, Percy meandered further into Kate's apartment. The light filtering in from the windows was, he'd finally decided after a long week, not unnatural--but neither was it wholly soothing.
“And not that I'm in de Nile ,” Percy began, managing to keep a straight face, “I just wasn't aware of this place’s peculiarities when I signed the lease. Of course, I'm not going to complain about the freebies scattered around the floors.” With a shrug, he took a quick look into the kitchen. “By the way, do you need any help?” He likely would have offered sooner, of course, but that would have kept the dogs waiting for attention. Surely that would have been a crime.
Rolling her eyes good-humoredly at Percy’s pun, Kate made her way back to the kitchen just in time for the microwave to ding that lunch was done. She put on a mitt and placed the steaming dish from the oven onto the stove. “Perfect timing. Just help yourself to whatever you’d like to drink and I’ll plate this up.” She proceeded to do just that, placing the heaping meals onto the table along with utensils and napkins. The dogs, as usual, lay themselves on the kitchen floor in the most strategic tripping positions.
She poured herself some of the ginger ale Percy had brought and, as she sat down, said, “Just imagine the chicken has a delicious cranberry sauce, the green beans are covered in slivered toasted almonds, and the fries are accompanied by a lemon yogurt dip.” Which is what she would have made had she been allowed to go grocery shopping.
“Don't mind if I do,” he said mostly to himself, making use of the bottle he'd brought with him; there didn't seem a possible reason why ginger ale couldn't go perfectly well with a meal as powerfully strong smelling as this one.
And when Kate delivered the plates to the table, the meal looked as good as it smelled. He waited politely for her to sit until he took his own seat, deciding privately that it was a good thing he'd eaten a light breakfast. “As you wish, Gordon Ramsay, although I think I'd rather save the cranberries for Thanksgiving.” Percy flashed a smile at Kate, happily reaching for his fork. “Going up eight flights of stairs takes a lot out of a guy, so this is more than enough--thank you.” He chewed a piece of chicken almost thoughtfully. “You know, I'm happy to walk the dogs if you feel sick again. Or if you don't. Either way is perfectly fine with me.” Nevermind that no one could even leave Pax at the moment.
Kate returned the smile. “Thanks, we all appreciate it.” She took a bite of chicken with a piece of green bean and concluded it would do. “I’ve been walking them a little on this floor and the 10th, but it’s not the same. And they’re confused about it all.” Not to mention she was, too. She hadn’t meant to discuss the changes in the building, but it was hard to avoid the purple elephant in the room. “How have you been holding up?”
The potato fries were slowly but surely disappearing from his plate. He speared a mouthful of the main course, pausing to answer Kate's question. “It can't be any easier for them than it is for us. But I admit that I’m not having too difficult of a time.” Percy flipped through a mental catalogue of the sights he'd seen on each floor during his explorations, both alone and with the egregious BB. “I never would have expected something like this to happen in my wildest dreams,” he continued, tapping his fork on the plate a few times, thinking. “Have you explored any of the other floors? There's a grove of olive trees downstairs, can you imagine?”
Kate took a sip of ginger ale before answering. “I saw them when I tried to get out of the building, but I haven’t been back. I have no idea how any of this is even possible.” She remembered the shriveled heads on the 10th floor, the crocodile by the elevators, the bog on the 7th floor, the disturbing visions that accosted her both in her sleep and now in her waking life. “But it’s dangerous.” She looked at him critically. “You haven’t eaten anything from the halls, have you?”
At the word dangerous, his brows arched with interest. Nothing he'd personally seen had seemed outright dangerous, but perhaps Kate had come across entirely different situations on the floors. He wasn't about to rule out the possibility. After all, Isobel had said something to him about a large reptilian elevator guard. Good thing he much more preferred using the stairs.
“Not the halls,” Percy answered with a shrug, pushing a few green beans across his plate. “But I did take some of the olives.” He smiled, proving how undaunted he'd felt by swiping fruit from strange trees. “Nothing bad has happened. I'll probably throw them on a pizza when I can get out of the building. The way I see it is that the main crux of the matter isn't how these changes happened. It's why any of it happened. And why each floor has its own cultural theme.” Percy paused, wondering what had gotten to Kate--other than the obvious floor changes. He opted for humor as a gentler way to probe for information. “If only we had an archaeologist in the building, I’m sure they'd get to the bottom of it. However, barring the arrival of Indiana Jones, I'll be content with moving faster than normal. Tell me you've developed super powers, too, or I'm going to feel singled out by the apartment gods.”
Super powers? Kate quirked an eyebrow at him. She would have traded her spirit senses with Isobel’s plant worshippers and Percy’s apparent speediness any day. “More like a curse,” she said, although the reminder that others had weird abilities did make her feel slightly better. She focused on his. “How fast is faster?”
He quirked a brow at Kate’s comment, curious as to what could possibly be that terrible of a...new attribute. She seemed unwilling to divulge further, and so Percy went into a commentary on his own experiences. “Imagine making it up and down the stairs in far less than half the time it normally takes you. But you’re not running, you’re walking. It almost feels instantaneous at this point--two minutes or less to cover quite a few flights of stairs.” Percy took a bite of his meal, reflecting on the situation at hand. “Not that I’m complaining, even if I do feel like a hamster stuck on a wheel.” Smiling at his own joke, he looked earnestly at Kate, judging how to best ask about her own hidden talent.
“I have often been stuck in traffic wishing I could teleport,” she mused, relaxing slightly. “Maybe we all just wished hard enough for things like that, and somehow the building...made it happen?” She shook her head. “Like you said, wildest dreams. I’m still not convinced it’s not some nightmare I’m stuck in.” Deep down, though, she knew that wasn’t true; she’d experienced enough nightmares recently to know the difference.
“In my experience, it’s always better to look on the bright side,” he offered, shrugging a little. “I always wanted to travel at the speed of light. And at any rate, no one here’s been harmed by their changes--that I know of--which means that whatever’s happened is likely meant to either be positive in nature, or at least moderately neutral. Eye-opening, maybe. Just a little food for thought,” Percy said, glancing at his plate for literal emphasis. “It shouldn’t have to be a nightmare,” he added, far less flippantly than his earlier bravado. “Unless…well, don’t heed my words if they don’t exactly apply to whatever’s happened to you.”
As she finished her meal, Kate thought over Percy’s words. Yes, it was rough to see her dead grandfather and dog, knowing that when she woke they would still be gone. She hated thinking about it, about death, and didn’t appreciate the constant reminders this week was bestowing on her. But if she looked at it Percy’s way, flipped it around to be something positive...then what was it? A chance to see people she loved again, even though she had already said goodbye forever?
“You’re probably right,” she said as she put her fork down on her empty plate. “That’s a good way to look at things. I just have my routine, and having it disturbed to this magnitude...well, I want to be careful.” She stood and gathered her dirty dishes. “Are you finished?” she asked, indicating toward his plate.
He nodded, acquiescing both matters: one, that Kate operated on a fundamentally different level than him in regards to structured routines being shaken, and two, that he’d eaten as much as possible when trying to both digest a well-made meal and discuss the mechanics of their building going third dimension on them. And then a third matter, further trying to digest food while discussing the additional changes to them on an individual basis. Which, Percy privately concluded, would remain a mystery on Kate’s part until she was either comfortable with it herself (unlikely, from what he’d seen) or no longer cared about exposing her suddenly acquired super powers (preferably they were of the positive sort, though it did not seem to be so).
“I’ll say it as many times as necessary: Kate, that was delicious. I feel spoiled,” Percy half-jested, rising from his chair as well. He collected the used napkins, the only remaining portions of their meal together that Kate hadn’t already scooped up in her effort to clean the table. Discarding them in the kitchen trash can, he dusted off his hands and leaned against the counter--purposely affecting an air of casual nonchalance.
“You know, if you need help with the dish clean up, I’m not entirely opposed to doing it. I can officially guarantee that right now, it’ll take no time at all.”
Kate chuckled as she finished dumping everything into the sink. “I don’t normally have guests clean up after themselves, but…” But she was curious to see someone in the building control some of the weirdness going on. She opened the dishwasher, shooed the dogs into the living room, and then stood with her arms folded, watching Percy. “Well, go on then. Impress me.” There was only the slightest hint of challenge to accompany her smile.
Although he was admittedly surprised, Percy nonetheless recovered quickly. “If you insist,” he said with a cheeky grin, not uncomfortable in the least with his new development. But maybe he’d been lucky out of how many people who lived in their current building? Not many, so it wasn’t as if it was technically difficult to end up with a winning hand.
“I’ll try not to mix the pots and the pans too much,” Percy assured Kate, making a show of pretending to roll his shirt sleeves up as he drew close to the dishwasher and sink full of used dishes. He assessed the situation, eying each piece of dirtied dinnerware, and noting the amount of allotted space within the dishwasher itself.
And then he did it, easily enough. It certainly felt no different than usual if he didn’t think about it--the speed, the utter quickness at which he was able to switch the sink on to rinse the plates before stacking them next to each other on the bottom roll-out shelf, followed by the silverware into their holder, and the cups they’d used. As he finished, stopping the sink’s flow of water at the same time, he wondered if time itself had slowed down, or if he had somehow passed through it.
Or maybe he’d been watching too many science fiction movies as of late. Dusting his hands off, Percy turned to face Kate with a proud grin plastered on his face. “Not bad for a beginner at this whole speed thing, huh?”
Kate had dramatically thrown up her hands and stepped well out of Percy’s space to give him room as he equally dramatically rolled up his sleeves, but as she watched him load the dishwasher, her playful smile turned forced. It really did seem to go faster than usual, and she said as much. “Although my expectations could be playing with my mind,” she added, though she didn’t put much conviction into the words. She looked around the rest of her apartment pointedly, finger tapping her lips thoughtfully. “Now, I was planning to vacuum tonight…” she teased.
“I don’t usually hire myself out for cleaning services, but for you, I’ll make an exception,” he joked, delighted at Kate’s reaction. So it wasn’t just him, after all--she saw what had happened, she noticed the change, too.