|Paul Halloran is the Earth-Shaker (i_sea_you) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2010-08-04 07:25:00
|Entry tags:||aphrodite, poseidon|
Who: Lia and Paul! Completed log.
What: Happy Reunions.
Where: Starting off in the lobby, then up to Lia's apartment.
When: Why the hell do I never know when we are?
Warnings: Not much to speak of, y'all.
The building was beautiful, she couldn't deny that. It was different than her condo in Manhattan Beach (which she was renting out practically at cost - sentimental value!). There was something a little odd about it. Not in appearance, definitely - it was a gorgeous space in a perfect location. But that could have been it, couldn't it? A little too perfect?
Now that was a thought easily pushed aside, especially in Lia's mind.
Her apartment was just about set. Though she loved her place in Manhattan Beach, it was always fun to decorate a new space. Now she was in the lobby, carrying a few shopping bags with her to the elevator, humming something sweet and naughty under her breath with a little grin.
After turning another corner that didn't exist, for the millionth or so time (why did this keep happening?!) Paul was getting frustrated. This building was insane - and normally he wouldn't attribute adjectives to an inanimate object, but he really just did not know how else to describe such a place. It was like the building was purposely fucking with him to get him lost and disoriented. Well, no such luck! He was going to take the stairs down, find the nearest bar, and get completely hammered. That will show 'em!
It was a bit of a hike down from the tenth floor but he was in shape and didn't mind the exercise - besides, it was much worse going back up. When he got to the lobby he meant to just go on and hurry out the front door, but something stopped him. Was that - ?! No, it couldn't be. Paul did a double take, immediately stopping in his tracks as his head snapped back, the vertebrae in his neck popping from the sudden movement.
"Lia? Is that you?" he inquired, cautiously heading in her direction - the tractor beam sucked him in. "Do you...you probably don't remember me," he added sheepishly, shaking his head. They had met a few times, and technically he had known her as long as she had known Vince. "Sorry to have bothered you." Maybe it was just some girl who looked just like Lia. But if it was her then this was one hell of a coincidence.
At the first sound of his voice, Lia's head canted to one side, a curious little quirk arching her brow. As he kept talking, she smiled - the friendliness in his tone and familiarity of his voice were enough to evoke the expression - then turned to look at him as he approached, taking in his whole appearance while focused on his face. Her smile lit up more brightly as she recognized him fully, the little look turning to a wide grin as she set down her bags and moved toward him.
"Paul! Of course I remember you, sweetheart," she laughed as she reached out to give him a warm hug. "How could I forget such a handsome guy?" She grinned, kissing his cheek. She pulled back then, looking him over with a parody of a critical eye. "Good lord, Paul, you look fantastic. Whatever you're doing, it's working." She looked back up to his face and winked at him.
"Now, what are you doing here? Visiting our Vincent Alexander?" she asked. "I just went to a hookah bar with him this past weekend." She cast a glance at the front door. "I guess since you were walking toward the door, you're on your way out?" Already the slightest teasing little moue was forming on her lips.
Naturally, a blush crept its way up into Paul's cheeks - he couldn't help it, but it wasn't everyday that he was told he was handsome and looking fantastic. "It's really good to see you," he said sincerely, returning the hug and the kiss on the cheek. "You, um...you..." Erm. Well, it was obvious that Lia looked good. From what he remembered, there was never a time where she didn't look good. How to phrase it in such a way that didn't make him seem like a pig? "You look great!" There, that was good. "You haven't changed a bit."
Lia gave him a warm, bright smile. Paul was as sweet as ever, it seemed. It was good that some things didn't change.
At the question, he smiled, and didn't make any effort to run for the front door. "I live here, actually," Paul said with a glance toward the staircase. Lia's eyes widened and her smile broadened. "Up on the tenth floor. I was just on my way out for a drink, but - " Then he remembered his manners. "Do you need some help bringing all your things up? What floor are you on? This elevator is kind of temperamental," he admitted. With his luck, it would take until the second coming of Jesus Christ to get to the lobby and then explode when he put one foot over the threshold. But he would get on it anyway, and help her with her luggage. It was the polite thing to do.
"Oh, thank you so much, Paul. I really would appreciate it." She handed him two of the bags, keeping two for herself. "I'm on - well, I guess it doesn't have a number? I'm in D3," she smiled. The building is gorgeous, really." She looked at the elevator with a critical eye, but pressed the button anyway; she wasn't about to walk all the way up the stairs with her bags, flip flops or no. "Temperamental, hmm?" she asked, hoping the machine responded to the call. "Sounds suspicious," she said with a grin. She brushed a curl from her face with a grin. "And now that you mention it, I remember Xander telling me you were living here, too. So how long have you been living here? How do you like it?"
Ever the gentleman, Paul picked up the bags while they waited for the elevator. "It has a history of dumping me off at the floor I don't want to be on so I've been making good use of the stairs," he chuckled. Lia's eyes widened as she looked up at the numbers above the doors, as though they might start lighting up at random. "But it may just be some weird mechanical malfunction." Or it was possessed, but he didn't particularly want to broach that subject just yet. He would start to sound like Vince with his goofy jokes involving the building being haunted.
But surprisingly, the elevator doors opened after only a bit of waiting, and Paul let Lia go first before he followed with the bags, pressing the button for D3. "I've only been here a few weeks," he said. "But...I like it so far. It is a really nice building, architecture-wise, and my apartment has a great ocean view. Something ideal for me," he grinned. She grinned back at him, nodding. A Navy brat like Paul could only be at home by the sea. "How about you, what brings you here? I listen to your radio show when I can. It's really great." And one of these days, he may even call in if he didn't feel like a complete idiot disguising his voice!
"Aw, thanks, Paul! That's really sweet of you," she said sincerely as the elevator moved smoothly upward, seemingly without incident. "As far as what brings me here, you know..." She laughed and shook her head. "It'll sound crazy. I mean, I extended my commute by half an hour in the best-case scenario, you know? I was really happy where I was. But I came here to visit Xander, and it felt... right. Like, right in a way I've never really felt before, you know?"
The elevator bell rang, and the doors opened onto -
"Yes! This is my floor!" Lia grinned victoriously and waved him toward her apartment. After a little search for her keys, she opened the door and gave Paul a little bow.
"Please, come in," she said, waving her hand. The apartment was completely unpacked, and looked as though it had been arranged by an interior decorator. The space was open and airy, and the living room was decorated in white with aqua accents in a modern, if not quite minimalist style. Things looked as though they were chosen with comfort in mind as well as aesthetics. Bouquets of fresh flowers decorated the space, and a rug that complemented the look adorned the hardwood floor in front of the quite impressive windows, which offered an unimpeded view of the beach.
"You can just put those down right there, Paul," she said with a smile. "So welcome."
Following instructions like a good solider, Paul set the bags down in the specified place, then jokingly held his hand out for a tip. Lia took it with a laugh and kissed it smartly. "Your apartment is fantastic," he noted, looking around. He especially liked the aqua accents - but he loved any colors that were cool, calming, and reminded him of sea life.
"Thank you," she said warmly, appreciative of the praise of her work.
"But I know what you mean about feeling at home. I guess that's why I moved in here too. It was like...I couldn't resist for some reason. Everything fit together perfectly." Maybe he was starting to sound way metaphysical, much more than he would have liked. But it was the truth, and better than just convincing himself that the rent was reasonable for an awesome ocean view apartment so that's why he took it.
"That's exactly what I'm talking about," she agreed, nodding as she looked toward the ocean. "Even having you and Xander here - it's like -" she shook her head with another laugh. How could she explain that having them there was part of what made it feel like home? Not just as in she liked them, they were friends, that was comfortable and familiar, but like - like they were all supposed to be together somehow, like they were all rooted together and would keep finding each other until - she didn't know what. It was all this weird, intuitive feeling that she just listened to and tried not to question too much. She'd known Paul for years, but that didn't mean he wouldn't think she was crazy. "It felt like the thing to do, you know?" She walked back over to him and looped her arm through his, walking him to her sofa. "So how've you been really? Breaking any hearts lately?" She offered him a little grin.
Paul took a seat on the couch, feeling at ease. He could understand what Lia was saying. Once he got over the initial shock of learning that Vince, Roy, and Honey were all living in the same building, a small part of him was actually comforted and relieved. At least this way he could keep an eye on them - make sure Roy didn't work himself to death, he could rescue Vince when he hit rock bottom again, and be around when Honey was tired of being strong.
"I think it'll make more sense as time goes on. Maybe we're all secretly a part of some reality show," he joked. Then he rapidly blushed - damnit, he just couldn't control the red cheeks anymore. He used to be so good at that too. But that was before his confidence took a nosedive into the ground, thanks to The Accident.
"No broken hearts," he confirmed with an innocent shrug of the shoulders. "I haven't dated much since college because I've just been so busy with work. But I figure it will happen eventually - not breaking someone's heart, of course," he amended quickly. "I mean...finding someone. The right person. What about you? Are you seeing anyone?"
"Oh, I'm always seeing someone," she grinned, waving her hand inconclusively. "Several someones, in fact," she confided with a laugh. "No front-runners at the moment, but there's always hope, right?" She winked. "In the meantime, it's nice to have fun and meet people," she told him. And it was - Lia never had a problem being a free agent, or dating around. To her, the concept of "The One" wasn't one she worried about often. She knew it was true of some people, but didn't really see it happening for herself. The idea of getting married and having kids - "settling down" - seemed kind of bizarre to her, or at least, a bizarre event for her life, in particular. For someone like Paul, though she could see it being a great thing, and she decided then to keep an eye out for him in that regard.
"I'm sure you're going to find the right person, Paul," she said with total confidence. "You're a great catch in every way. You just need the right girl to come along." Cocking her head to one side, she said, "You know, Paul - you seem a little different. Is everything OK?" she asked. "It's like - you're a little off your game or something? Do you want a drink?"
Crap. Paul had forgotten how observant Lia was when it came to other people - it was like she had a radar on emotional change or something. Usually, he was the one being observant about that sort of thing, but to people who knew him well, he probably would seem a little different. But how to explain? He didn't want to talk about The Accident. That subject was completely taboo and forbidden to him. It would just bring back a flood of terrible memories and completely taint his existence for the next few days. When Paul got in a funk, it was hard to get him out of it.
"A drink would be great actually," he confirmed with a nod and a small smile. "Whatever you have is fine. And, well..." He cleared his throat. "My dad just passed away, not too long ago." That was the truth, and also something that had formed a figurative dark cloud over his head. "It was strange. He was healthy all his life and then had a heart attack out of nowhere. So I just...it was so sudden. I'm still trying to cope with it, I guess."
Lia watched him carefully as he seemed to consider her questions, then nodded at him when he accepted her offer of a drink. She was already moving toward the kitchen when his confession stopped her in her tracks; she turned around and sat next to him, putting a hand over his. "Oh, Paul," she breathed softly. "I'm so sorry." With that, she offered him a tight, warm hug. He returned the hug with just as much warmth, feeling soothed somewhat - physical contact was nice, especially the non-superficial type, which he could tell this was. It was a comforting gesture.
"You definitely need a drink," she declared. Rising from her place next to him, she went to the kitchen, opening the refrigerator and getting him a beer. "I hope you don't mind a microbrew - they're from when I had company over a few nights ago," she said, opening the bottle, then walking back into the room with it. She handed it to him, then sat back down, giving him a little more space this time.
"Is there anything I can do to help?"
"Hopefully you won't mind when I call you up for more drinking?" Paul replied, grinning crookedly as he took the beer. But it was good to have friends around here. He had a feeling he would need as many as he could get. "And no, I'm not picky about beer, really," he went on. "But hey, anytime you want to come over for dinner or something? I'll make whatever you want." He was actually quite handy in the kitchen. This was sort of a requirement, or he'd be like any other bachelor living off of take-out and Easy Mac.
Lia grinned, crossing her legs. "That sounds amazing. I don't remember the last time I had a home-cooked meal," she confessed. Paul was aware that despite her many talents, cooking was not one of her strong suits. "And I definitely won't mind if you call me up for more drinking. I'm making it my personal mission not only to find the best bars in this town, but also the best wine shop." She grinned. "I think I'm going to like it here, Paul! I'm so glad we ran into each other, and that you're living here." She paused, then, quiet for a moment, then looked at him sideways.
"That was a pretty good redirect, by the way." She gave him a little half-smile. "But if you don't want to talk about it, we don't have to. But I'm here whenever you need me, if you do."
"Oh, well..." Paul laughed a little, taking a nice swig of beer. "I'm just...you know...I forgot how perceptive you were," he said, and that was a compliment. "No one's really asked in awhile. Or offered." To talk about 'feelings,' was what he meant. "But I'll definitely keep it in mind. And if it's wine bars you want, you got it. Even if we have to go all the way to wine country or something."
He paused, taking another sip of beer but still obviously thinking about things. "It's just strange, you know? To be a completely healthy person and then all of a sudden just...have a heart attack." It had been bothering him even more than it had before, probably because of the discussion he had with Vince about the death of his own father - like how similar the two deaths were. "Anyway, I'm probably just trying to rationalize it or something," he decided, shaking his head.
"I don't know about rationalizing," she said, smoothing the line of her pant leg, though her eyes didn't leave him. "That's a hard thing to go through," she said softly. She remembered that Xander had recently lost his father as well. She imagined Paul had to know about it; he and Xander were close. She wondered if they'd talked about it - but then, Xander wasn't necessarily the most open about his feelings. She gave Paul a little half-smile. "A lot of people are pretty uncomfortable talking about emotions, especially when they involve painful experiences," she said. "But any time you want to talk, or just have a few drinks, I'm around." Her half-smile widened a bit. "My expertise does go beyond love and sex, you know." She winked at him.
With a little stretch, she settled back in the cushions. "So tell me about this place. Who else lives here? What are the people like? And when are we going for a swim?" She grinned. A love of the sea was something she and Paul had always had in common. She'd never known someone who felt the same affinity for it she did before she'd met Paul, but she was pretty certain he understood the sea on a level that even she probably couldn't reach. Either way, he was great fun in the water.
Paul smiled gratefully. "Thanks," he said, and though it was just one word, truly he was glad that Lia would be willing to listen to his nonsensical ramblings and conspiracy theories. And advice on love, well, he wasn't going to pretend he knew everything about that subject either.
"Roy's here, my old friend from high school," he shrugged. "It seems like an odd coincidence too. The people seem alright. I haven't run into any questionable folk yet," he grinned. "And we can go swimming whenever you want. We can take my boat out and make a day of it."
Lia canted her head to one side, a curious quirk to her brow. "You know someone else here? And you guys didn't plan this?" she asked. "That does seem like a weird coincidence." Lia wasn't one to talk much about the supernatural. She didn't claim to know one way or the other what was true and what wasn't; she'd certainly had her share of experiences that might indicate that there was more to the world than what could be seen, but that wasn't a topic of conversation most people would necessarily appreciate or latch onto. "Are there a lot of people in the building? I haven't seen many people at all, but I've been so busy moving, and you know I keep odd hours sometimes," she grinned sheepishly.
"Didn't plan it," Paul confirmed, and his tone suggested that he thought it was weird too. Of the supernatural variety? Perhaps. Normally he wouldn't have put much stock in such things but he was beginning to think that anything was possible. "Mmm...doesn't seem like there are many people here yet," he shook his head. "It's fairly new, I think? But it's - " He paused, trying to think of the best way to word this. "It's a strange building. The elevator is quirky, like I said before, and sometimes the hallways play tricks on you. Or seem to. Or maybe it's just me. Or maybe the building has a life of it's own." Quickly, he downed the rest of his beer. "...nevermind, just ignore that."
Lia shook her head. She wanted to laugh to ease the tension, but she couldn't make herself. Instead, she said with a little smile that was more sincere than her very convincing laugh would have been, "Listen, strange things happen sometimes. I don't like to get into all my little espiritista business, but places have... an energy, I guess, right?" she asked, brushing a lock of hair back from her face. "Whatever the reason, it's drawn some of us - maybe all of us, even - here. At least it's good people, right?" She smiled more broadly, then. "I mean, if I get to live around the corner from you and Xander and your friends, I can't complain about that." She shifted on the couch. "And the view's gorgeous," she smiled.
The talk of the building having an 'energy' so to speak made sense - a little - or at the very least, Paul tried to bang it against the walls of his brain a few times until it started to form into something coherent. Perhaps there was something to that - only time would tell.
"The view is gorgeous," he admitted. "It's a great place to come home to." He just came home alone, but that was neither here nor there. "But hey?" He looked over at Lia. "I'm glad you're here. Really."
Lia's smile was warm and sweet, then. She moved over next to him and gave him a big, tight hug. "Thanks, Paul," she said, smiling even as she drew away. "I'm really glad you're here, too." She grinned and reached for his hand for a squeeze. "We're going to have lots of fun. Great things are going to happen here; I can feel it."