|Thomas Lee McCulloch | Белбог (bornebybliss) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2018-01-04 10:50:00
|Entry tags:||belobog, loki|
don't make it bad
Who: Nish and Thomas
What: Nish decides to cheer up a less-than-bubbly Thomas
Where: Thomas’ apartment, 907
When: Monday, December 11
After yoga on Sunday, Nish made a decision to do something about Thomas’ mood. He’d been absolutely not his usual chipper self, and while usually terminally cheerful people bothered her, Thomas was a friend, and she was concerned. She’d spent most of the yoga class dwelling on that instead of the various poses he led them through, and by the end of it she had a plan. After lunch with James, she went out hunting for the perfect cheer-up gift - an early christmas gift would do him good. In a cute little shop specialising in Buddhist and yoga items, she found a tabletop zen garden that she thought would be perfect to help him destress a little. She was almost out of the shop when she spotted an extra stone that she thought would make the gift a little more personal, and threw it in with his gift.
Monday after work she stopped on the way home to get two teas and some cupcakes at Alice’s shop, and then brought them and her nicely wrapped gift up to Thomas’ apartment, awkwardly balancing her armful of things and lightly rapping on his door.
A chill had settled into his bones with the changing seasons, and Thomas found himself hardpressed to fight it. With the passing of the summer months, California itself hadn’t exactly become cold--not in the autumn, and certainly not now, not in the middle of December and halfway to the equinox.
But Thomas had never been good with any season that wasn’t spring or summer. Anything else hurt, in a draining, oppressive manner. The pain wasn’t physical, but emotional--and spiritual. He felt it when he woke up in the morning, and when he went to bed (earlier and earlier as the days shortened; his energy levels were unsettling low, no matter how many vitamins he took and essential oils he used).
When he was a child and this happened, his father had always told him to get over it and be a man--as if being a man had anything to do with feeling…out of sorts during the typically colder months.
The sound of a knock at the door stirred Thomas from his circling, unhappy thoughts. He sighed to himself, glancing over at the slowly diminishing evening light from his living room window. No matter how often he kept the shades pulled back, no matter how often he wore a smile during Sunday morning yoga classes, he failed to find his center. He was unbalanced in his soul, and being in the sunshine--or feeling it on his skin--didn’t help as much as it usually did.
But it had always been this way, he reminded himself as he went to answer the door. He’d be better in the spring, that’s how this always worked.
“Miss Nish, I didn’t expect to see ya today,” Thomas said in surprise, eyes darting quickly to her overabundance of carried items. He hurried to help her inside, in what was likely the fastest he’d moved since coming home from work and letting himself melt onto the couch like spilled molasses gone dry.
“Ya oughta bring a bag next time,” he chided his friend, fretting like an old southern blue hair. “Did I happen to miss a party…? Or are ya just in the middle of runnin’ errands?” Thomas’ questions were uncertain, and he looked skeptically at the wrapped gift in Nish’s arms.
Nish smiled warmly when he opened the door, handing him the takeout tray of teas and following him inside. “Nope, didn’t miss anything,” she said, setting her packages down on the coffee table and sitting on the couch, waiting for him to join her. “This is for you,” she said, handing him the nicely wrapped gift. Rather than a winter theme like snowflakes or santas, the wrapping paper was summery - a sandy background with starfish and sand shovels and pails and palm trees.
“You’ve been looking pretty...down lately, and I thought maybe you needed some cheering up,” she said, turning her smile on him and lightly bumping his shoulder with hers.
After setting the tea tray onto the quickly disappearing coffee table, Thomas accepted Nish’s gift with a small, curious smile. He hadn’t decorated for the upcoming holiday, and so his apartment was otherwise empty of the more traditionally American Christmas embellishments. Until now, he supposed.
“I reckon I’ve always liked sunny beaches more than winter flurries,” Thomas admitted when he sat next to his friend, studying the wrapping paper’s cheerful art. It was a far cry from most of the wrapping paper he currently saw in stores, and he privately wondered just how Nish had managed to find it at this time of the year.
Toying with the tape on one of the edges, he looked over at Nish with a twinge of guilt. “Ya know, I don’t have anything for ya right now. But this is awfully nice of ya to do for me, and to stop by like this.” A slight warmth entered his smile, and he carefully began to open the gift. “I’ve just never been a fan of winter, and ya know how now it’s snowin’ here, like nothin’ I’ve ever heard of seein’ before in southern California.”
Nish gave him an indulgent smile at his mild complaint about the weather. She was thoroughly enjoying the snow, having come from further north where it was normally colder in winter. She’d been worried about how she’d handle a green Christmas this year, but was pleasantly surprised by the freak blizzard miraculously localised directly over their property.
However, she completely understood how difficult this must be for someone who loved the sun as much as Thomas did. If she felt uncomfortable in the constant California heat, he was just as uncomfortable in this strange snow storm.
“I’m not giving you a present just to get one in return,” she chided. She busied herself by opening the box of half-dozen cupcakes, pulling two out and setting one on a napkin in front of him. She’d had to order them special from Alice, but these were strawberry and cream, just like summer. She licked a bit of whipped cream off her knuckle and watched him carefully separating the tape from the paper, and finally sighed in amused frustration. “Ohh, just rip it,” she laughed, setting her cupcake down and pulling the teas from the takeout tray and then setting his down in front of him.
At Nish's mock frustration,Thomas’ smile grew slightly wider and he laughed in accord with her. “It's mighty pretty to be destroyin’ so carelessly,” he said in response, though while he spoke, he turned his attention fully to the package--the cupcake would have its turn in the limelight soon enough. In a series of short rips and tears of palm trees that once were whole, he'd managed to unwrap the present with the paper almost still in one piece.
“I've got a talent for this kinda thing, but it's only useful twice a year,” Thomas said lightly before inspecting Nish's gift; his eyes widened in surprised delight and gratitude as he pulled first the zen stone and then the zen garden from their resting place.
“Miss Nish, ya oughtn’t have done this,” he murmured appreciatively as he turned the stone over in his hand, the Sanskrit greeting warm and friendly. A slight prickle of tears gathered in the corner of his eyes; Thomas had never been one to fully mask his emotions. “Thank you,” he said with an earnest smile, nigh cradling his gifts in his hands before placing them gently down on the couch so that he could attend to the cupcake and hot tea.
“I'm obliged to ya for doin’ all this,” he remarked after finishing a bite of cupcake--undoubtedly a sweet bit of brightness on an otherwise overcast and snowy day.
His reaction to the gifts was exactly what she’d been hoping for, and a wide smile lit up her face. “I wanted to,” she said, briefly placing a hand over his with a light squeeze, “You’re my friend, and I’ve been worried about you, and I thought you could use some cheering up.” She smiled warmly over at him, glad to see a little bit of that usual spark back in his eyes.
“If ya don't mind me noticin’, we seem to have switched our moods lately,” Thomas observed with nothing other than friendly curiosity.
Her smile changed into something a little different, maybe a little bit of a blush creeping across her cheeks. “Maybe,” she said happily. “I’m...it’s kind of a long story,” she said with a short but happy sigh. “The short version is...the man I love came back to me,” she said, the words sounding more like something out of a rom-com than her own mouth. “We were separated for a few years, but now...it’s like he never left.” There were still things that needed sorting, discussions they needed to have, but emotionally they’d been able to pick up pretty much where they’d left off. And she was happy.
Despite how inexplicably listless he might have personally felt inside, Thomas couldn't help but be happy for his friend. He let the tea warm him, and Nish's news followed suit. The smile on his face was genuine, and a spark lit his eyes.
“I can't tell ya how happy I am to hear it,” he said with a touch of gratefulness--as if her happiness propelled him to feel happier, too. Even if only for a few short moments. “Love sure is a wonderful thing, and ya best keep hold on it this time,” Thomas quipped. “I reckon we could all learn to do the same,” he continued, picking at his cupcake and thinking briefly of the reason why he'd moved to California in the first place.
“Miss Nish, suppose it was meant to be, this fellow comin’ back into your life,” he stated gently, but with a serious undertone. He might not have believed in lasting happiness for himself--specifically during the winter months--but he sure as heck wanted to believe in it for Nish.
Nish was peeling the paper off her own cupcake and her warm smile morphed into one that was somewhat amused. “I hope so,” she said, ripping the bottom off the cupcake and pressing it to the cream on top, making an icing sandwich. She ran one finger along the excess cream on the edge and idly licked it off. “The thing is...well, maybe it was,” she confessed. She let her hands, cupcake and all, fall to her lap and looked over at him.
“These...gods inside us,” she began carefully, “the one inside me, and the one inside him...well, they’re married,” she said, but then frowned slightly. “Or...were...or, are…” she said with a bemused look on her face. “I just can’t help but think that...they’re the reason we’re together again, you know?” She’d shared this fear already with James, and with Rafe, and they’d both talked her down, but nevertheless, that fear persisted. What if the love between her and James wasn’t real, and only that of Loki and Sigyn was? It felt real to her, but how could she be sure of that?
Thomas nodded as if he fully understood, but he couldn't help but show a degree of surprise at her situation. “That's quite the pickle ya got there,” Thomas said carefully, devouring a portion of his own cupcake. He wasn't as well versed in the subject of inner deities as Nish was, but he knew more than enough about connecting to his inner soul.
And that was a matter dear to his own heart.
“In the end, Miss Nish, it's gonna come down to what ya feel yourself, not what some god feels. And if ya have feelings this strong, mayhaps it's a connection deeper than the surface level. Deeper even than how the gods feel.” With this declaration, Thomas smiled confidently. “Ya just gotta connect with what's really important inside,” he continued, briefly pressing a hand over his heart. “These gods, the way they feel, it's like a symbol of what your own hidden feelings are.”
He paused only to wet his whistle with tea. Thomas took a deep breath before announcing his assessment of the situation “Miss Nish, these gods chose ya two for a reason, and I have half a mind to believe that it's fate. It isn't so much about their love as it's about the love ya helped to create.” He finished his cupcake triumphantly, finally smiling more than a shadow of his usual grin.
That brought a smile out onto her face, her thoughts taking her back to the first time she’d met James - first, drunk at a bar, and second, on her couch the next morning. It should have been a disaster, but it had turned into a deep bond that even years of separation couldn’t break. “You’re probably right,” she mused aloud, the smile softening into something warmer. “For the first time in years...I feel like myself again.”
She finished her own cupcake and sipped her tea, then wiped her hands on a napkin. “Well, I shouldn’t take up too much of your time, I just...I hope this helps you find some peace,” she said, gesturing to the mini sandbox on the table.
“It’s already plumb perfect for that sort of thing,” Thomas stressed, his gaze following Nish’s gesture. He silently counted himself lucky to have made a friend like her. “Well, I suspect ya got plenty left to do today, and I don’t have half a mind to be keepin’ ya here forever,” he acquiesced to Nish, though it certainly would have been nice to spend more time together.
“Ya oughta go see that nice fellow of yours,” came his suggestion after he finished the rest of his cupcake.
Nish badly suppressed a grin and nodded. “That’s where I’m going...sort of,” she chuckled. “His birthday is in two days, and I have to go finish my plans for a surprise,” she explained happily. Today was the day she went to sweet-talk the receptionist at the hospital. Chocolate will definitely be involved.
She stood and collected her empty takeout cup and muffin wrapper, heading towards the door. “You take care; Next time I see you I expect a smile,” she chided gently.
“I’ll be wearin’ two of ‘em for ya,” Thomas drawled playfully, his heart lighter than it had been all winter. He rose to walk Nish to the door, as befitted a good host and gentleman. When she had gone, he decided to break in his zen garden--and break out of his foul mood.
At least for now, which was good enough.